Maia Atlantis: Ancient World Blogs

Tom Elliott (

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April 21, 2015

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Our ancestors used knives two million years ago

This is much earlier than originally thought.Kathleen Kuman, a professor of archaeology at the...

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

America: Difficult to Understand Words

Challenged by dictionary use, "Troyjjefferson" is relieved to find that he is not the only on having difficulty following the complications of the English language. In reply to Dealer Dave's verbal gyrations ("Illicit vs. Illegal", Ancient Coins Sunday, April 19, 2015) he adds
Thanks for discussing the difference between the illegal and illicit gathering of ancient coins. It can be difficult to distinguish between the two in some cases, especially those involving parties and countries that are warring with the United States. By knowing this information, it's possible to collect coins legally, even if the means are illicit.
But then how to call the market a licit one if the commodities it handles are themselves illicit, and why would anyone WANT to buy illicit goods even though that does not seem to disturb Mr Johnson? Whatis meant by Mr J following his comment with a link to a well-known Chicago coin dealer (commercial rival to Mr Welsh)? Are the two of them accusing the other dealer of selling those illict coins?

That ISIL may be considered as "warring with the US" does NOT make the coins smuggled from militant - (or rebel-) held territories of Iraq or Syria any the less illegal. Unless Mr Jefferson is arguing that ISIL territory be recognized as a state.

American School of Classical Studies in Athens: News

Students from Athens University visiting the ASCSA Archives

Φοιτητές του Πανεπιστημίου Αθηνών στα Αρχεία της Αμερικανικής Σχολής Κλασικών Σπουδών

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Marriage is Sacred

Marriage sacred

I talked about this topic in my Sunday school class this past Sunday, as we reached the treatment of divorce in 1 Corinthians 7. Different phrases are used in our time – “Biblical marriage,” “traditional marriage,” “the sanctity of marriage.” All of them are used largely synonymously, and hypocritically. Tackling divorce would defend the New Testament’s teaching on marriage. But attacking the right of others to marry, using Scripture as an excuse while refusing to live by its teachings about marriage in a consistent manner, is shameful hypocrisy.

I wonder how those who use this language can think their hypocrisy is not visible to most people. Have they managed to deceive themselves? It doesn’t take much investigation to recognize that the institution of marriage discussed in the Bible is one that is assumed rather than introduced there. We find in the Bible no instructions on how people become married, no liturgy for a wedding ceremony. The patriarchal form of marriage is assumed as a social institution, and all that we find are stories and laws which reflect it, and ethical teachings which call upon people with certain values to approach this social institution in particular ways.

Hardly anyone today in North America practices the ancient institution of marriage as it was understood thousands of years ago, or even traditional marriage as it existed a few hundred years ago as reflected in period dramas. And that is not as “unbiblical” as might first appear.

If there is a core principle about marriage in the Bible, it is arguably that found in Genesis 2. It is a story which Jesus recognized for what it is, a non-literal depiction of marriage. The story is literally about one person becoming two, but it explicitly states that it is symbolic and is really about two people becoming one.

Companionship, that experience of finding one’s other half, is the universal that spans the ages. And, for those interested in applying such biblical principles to the present day, it is an experience which is not limited to people of opposite gender.

And so let’s defend the sanctity of marriage. Let’s emphasize fidelity, love, and companionship, as Genesis does. And let us do so in a way that is not about male and female, slave and free, rich and poor, as marriage has traditionally been.

Jim Davila (


ASKING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: Why is Israel called Israel? A brief history of the tribe and of the word 'Israel,' and how the modern state almost came to be called something completely different. Hint: Who is Isaac Pernhoff? (Elon Gilad, Haaretz).
This week the State of Israel celebrates its 67th Independence Day, which is an apposite time to ask: How did Israel get its name?

This is actually three separate questions. What did the name Israel originally mean? How did the ancient Jewish people and their homeland come to be known as "Israel"? And how and why was this particular name chosen for the modern state?

The Israel Stele

“Israel” has been the name of an ethnic group in the Levant going back at least 3200 years, based on the first known mention of the name in the written record, which was in ancient Egypt.

That is a hieroglyphic inscription on the Merneptah Stele (also known as the "Israel Stele"). Dating from the late 13th century BCE, the inscription says that "Israel is laid waste, its seed is no more".

In any case, for all Pharaoh Merneptah's claim to have crushed the people called Israel, they did survive the Egyptian incursion into Canaan in the late 13th century BCE and would evolve into a consolidated Kingdom of Israel centered around the capital city, Samaria, during the first centuries of the first millennium BCE. But evidently the name Israel goes back more than 3200 years: how did this tribe get that name?

Interesting article. It might have benefitted from also mentioning the ninth-century B.C.E. Mesha Stele, in which the King of Moab made a similar and similarly erroneous claim to have annihilated Israel. The Meneptah Stele and the Moabite Stele are the two earliest surviving dateable mentions of Israel.

The Cairo Geniza and JTS library renovations

Say Goodbye to This Treasure Trove of Rare Texts — Until 2018 (Josh Nathan-Kazis, The Forward).
The greatest collection of rare Jewish historical documents in the United States will be boxed up later this year and put into storage until at least 2018, the Forward has learned.

The library at Manhattan’s Jewish Theological Seminary — Conservative Judaism’s largest rabbinic seminary — holds the most impressive compilation of Jewish historical materials outside of Jerusalem: hundreds of ancient Jewish marriage contracts, thousands of unique manuscripts, and tens of thousands of fragments recovered in Egypt from the famed Cairo Genizah.

Now, the future of this collection is a matter of heated debate in Jewish scholarly circles as JTS sells off real estate assets to help ease a years-long financial crunch. Over the next few years, JTS plans to sell two buildings now serving as residence halls to developers, along with air rights to its main campus. The school will also replace its current library building with a new library and conference center.

In addition to the temporary closing of the rare books collection, other, longer-term changes are coming, too. The library’s circulating collection and its archives will largely be stored off-site once the new library is constructed. Meanwhile, the school’s beit midrash, or religious study hall, will be built into the new library.

This is not an uncommon situation, perhaps because the corpus of scholarly books has reached a critical mass and libraries are finding it impossible to continue to display it all in the traditional open stacks. The Library of the University of St. Andrews recently made similar changes, sending the bulk of the collection to outside storage and setting up a dedicated reading room (the building of a former local church) to consult the (extensive and important) special collections. If you need a book in storage, it will be brought in, usually within a day. So far the system seems to be working well enough.

More on the Cairo Geniza collection at JTS is here and here.

To buy or not to buy

DILEMMA: History dies in ISIL’s hands, but curators worry buying artifacts would fund terrorism (Joseph Brean, The National Post).
As ISIL terrorists use power drills, bulldozers and explosives to destroy the cultural and architectural heritage of ancient Mesopotamia — Christian, Muslim and pre-Abrahamic from the ancient Assyrian capital Nimrud to the tomb of the Biblical Jonah in Mosul — western curators hoping to preserve what is left are caught in a dilemma.

Some want to buy artifacts to protect and preserve them, such as James Cuno, president of the J. Paul Getty Trust, the world’s wealthiest art institution, who has described the vandalism as “an argument for why portable works of art should be distributed throughout the world and not concentrated in one place.”

But others are loudly calling for an effective ban on trade in Assyrian antiquities and other relics from the war zone. They say the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is not simply eradicating the idolatry it denounces as heretical, but in fact is hypocritically selling what it can on a black market, and destroying everything else. In this view, buying artifacts to preserve them in Western galleries is tantamount to funding terrorism.

This is a very difficult, no-win situation and I do not have a solution.

Background on ISIS's assault on the past is here with many links.

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Lo Stato dell’Arte 13 - XIII Congresso IGIIC

Dal tredicesima edizione del Congresso IGIIC (Gruppo Italiano dell'International Institute for Conservation) - Lo Stato dell'Arte si svolgerà al Centro Conservazione e Restauro La Venaria Reale a Torino dal 22 al 24 ottobre 2015. L'evento è dedicato alla presentazione e discussione dei recenti studi ed applicazioni nell'ambio del restauro e della conservazione dei beni culturali ma anche gli aspetti legati alla conservazione preventiva e alla sicurezza e la sostenibilità ambientale e  Fino al 30 Aprile 2015 è possibile presentare abstract.

Jim Davila (

From Mao to Gnosticism

Q. and A.: Willis Barnstone on Translating Mao and Touring Beijing With Allen Ginsberg (Ian Johnson, NYT Blog).
Willis Barnstone is a polymath author of more than 70 books — a poet, translator and scholar of Gnosticism and the New Testament. But the 87-year-old also has had a long and colorful relationship with China, translating Mao Zedong’s poetry and befriending numerous Chinese artists and political leaders in the 1980s.

Recently he was in Beijing to speak at the Bookworm Literary Festival. In an interview, he discussed his love of classical Chinese poetry, a telegram he sent to Zhou Enlai and taking Allen Ginsberg to a Taoist temple.

Most of the article is about Barnstone's experiences with China and translating the poetry of Mao. That happens to be interesting to me because I am just now finishing the biography of Mao by Pantsov and Levine, Mao: The Real Story. That would be neither here nor there but for the fact that Barnstone has also come up in PaleoJudaica as a translator (with Marvin Meyer) of Gnostic texts and (on his own) of his idiosyncratic canon called The Restored New Testament. This recent interview nicely rounds out the picture of his work.

Antiquity Now

Strata: Portraits of Humanity, Episode 6, “The Somerset Levels and Moors” and “Euskal Jaiak”

Episode 6 of the documentary series Strata:  Portraits of Humanity, produced by AntiquityNOW’s partner, Archaeological Legacy Institute, comprises two films that explore the forces that bind us as a people in a particular society. From King Arthur and the Isle … Continue reading

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Nuovi spazi reali e virtuali per scoprire il Museo del Design Ceramico di Laveno

E' stato presentato Venerdì 17 Aprile 2015 a Villa Frua di Laveno Mombello il nuovo progetto promosso dal Comune di Laveno Mombello e MIDeC (Museo Internazionale del Design Ceramico), ideato e curato da Dalia Gallico e realizzato grazie alla preziosa collaborazione di Regione Lombardia, Assessorato alla Cultura e “Laveno Mombello s.r.l.”, Società partecipata dal Comune di Laveno Mombello.

Blogging Pompeii

Blog post: Pompeii and Rome

By Virginia Campbell on
Pompeii and Rome
On this, the 2768th birthday of Rome, it occurs to me there could not be a better time to take a look at the inscriptions in Pompeii that provide evidence of the connection this relatively small Campanian town had with the one and only urbs, the capital of the world. Though there are a number of graffiti that mention Rome specifically, usually as a place one has been, I am interested in those that mention an emperor. As with a goodly amount of the epigraphic evidence of Pompeii, there is a collection both of official and unofficial texts.

There are a series of inscriptions, as would be expected in any city under Roman rule, found on the bases of statues dedicated to various emperors and members of their families. Typically found a public area such as the Forum or the Triangular Forum, these include dedications to Augustus and his wife Livia (as Julia Augusta, a name she was granted in AD 14), Marcellus, nephew and one time heir of Augustus, Agrippina the Younger, wife of Claudius and mother to Nero, and Nero himself.
Read the full post here.


Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Focus on UK Metal Detecting: Balmy Find

UK metal detectorist and wannabe TV presenter James Balme ‏("Just loving my latest find !!! Ancient Votive Bronze Horse ..") says the contextless "Ancient Votive Bronze Horse ... " which he has just found is "now with experts for analysis". While that is in progress, he made a You Tube video of his find:
See for yourself the latest discovery made by archaeologist and Presenter James Balme of an ancient votive bronze horse in stunning condition. The Statue is currently being studied by experts and early indications suggest that the horse could be almost 3000 years old !!! A relic of the Early Bronze Age ?? A tantalizing look back into the past for sure. The style of the horse is archaic and mirrors many of the horses seen on the reverse of early Celtic coinage ....

I suggest Greek gift shop would be a better place to look for the analogies to both the form and the giveaway chemical patination. Here without the overblown claims and the heroic music are a few to put this detectorist's  "Celtic" one in context. There's a base more or less like Mr Balme's on one in the Louvre. Here's one from Christie's, and here's one nicked from Olympia (they got it back). Mr Balme, where are you claiming you found that one?

UPDATE 20th April 2015:
Mr Balme replies:
.2 godziny temu
no not quite so .... now confirmed authentic Mr Barford .... sorry to dissapoint [sic].... best of luck. Ur 19 years to [sic] late...
Well, let us see the name of these trade "experts" then. Let us see who can't tell chemical patina from earth-grimed patina. I am not at all "disappointed". I like it when metal detectorists find fakes and cannot tell the difference. It shows why we need a PAS staffed by proper archaeologists and not "volunteers". Whatever it is, it is not here though on the PAS database.

UPDATE UPDATE 20th April 2015:
Now the balmy "Presenter" claims:
"Excavated in 1965. Full provenance held. Now being prepared for auction. This is not a metal detecting find. You really need to mind your own business Paul". 
I think when a metal detectorist like Mr Balme announces he's made a "discovery" of an ancient artefact (he called it a "find"), it suggests he's found something with his metal detector. What metal detectorists do and claim is indeed everybody's business, they do not have a monopoly of the archaeological heritage.

Now the gentleman has blocked me from his Twitter account just to make sure I cannot see any of his further claims and pseudo-discoveries. He's not blocked me from his Facebook account (yet), and there we read more about this "find", he seems to have bought it (for his "collection") at the end of last month:
"James Balme dodał 2 nowe zdjęcia.
Fantastic Ancient Bronze Stag acquired this evening, another one for the collection... Circa 2nd century BC - 1st Century AD and excavated in Europe in the late 1950's !!! Stands at 4 1/2 inches tall, over 4 inches wide, weight is 1 Kilo ... A stunning example with triangle pierced design in the base"
It appears he bought it (on eBay maybe?) as an "ancient stag" and the mutable collecting history then was that it was dug up in the 1950s. Mr Balme was had. So here we have yet another case of a metal detectorist buying something on the antiquities (and fake antiquities) market and pretending that it is one of his "finds". That is simply dishonest and contaminates the historical record with spurious "finds".

This is not the first time that this particular amateur archaeologist has been caught out by a purchased item presented as a "discovery" but in fact a modern confection: Sarah Griffiths, 'Mysterious Anglo-Saxon carving is discovered in a back GARDEN - and it may contain a hidden message' MailOnline, 10 February 2015. Then there is the "ancient" Thai Buddha (export license?) he recently "discovered" - sawn off, but inexplicably has the same patina inside the cast as outside...  As for the "Royal Seal of Ramesses The Great" he claims also to have "Discovered" (Archaeologist and presenter James Balme continues his search for important objects and artifacts that lay hidden awaiting discovery in some of the most unlikely places. Well just a few days ago he made yet another exciting discovery, this time in a charity shop in Herfordshire !!"). It bears not the slightest resemblance to any genuine Egyptian artefact, and is a tourist fantasy-piece (imitating a mini-stela). The author of this pastiche gets the name of the ruler (and protocol of its representation) wrong, the inscription is gibberish and the iconography of the reverse is meaningless and comical in its non-canonic execution (the figure looks as if it was copied from a cylinder-seal). There is a dealer in New York who is alternately laughed at and execrated for selling such stuff  as genuine artefacts to the credulous, here "archaeologist" Balme reveals himself to be little better at assessing such claims than those customers. 

To return to the "ancient stag-horse", to establish its (and his) legitimacy, Mr Balme should release the "full provenance held" and the names of the "experts" who "authenticated" this piece. If he has the provenance of the excavated find, he will be able to show us also the documents of assignment of ownership in the source country (or was it stolen?) and the export licence proving it is not an illicit antiquity. No archaeologist  should get involved in handling illicit antiquities or potential illicit antiquities, or passing fakes off as authentic 'grounded' artefacts.

Mr Balme can carry on blocking me, that shows how this "archaeologist" reacts to debate about his "finds" and his interpretation of them. Shame on you, sir.

Mike Anderson's Ancient History Blog

The Roman Empire and Dacia

The history of Rome and Dacia is another example of friction at the edge of the Empire causing a confrontation with people who refused to be subjugated. It took the Romans nearly twenty years to defeat Dacia once hostilities broke into the open.

With the eastern European frontier the Romans employed, as elsewhere, the same strategy. First, they required that the frontier facilitate traffic flowing between the various parts of the Empire. Second they rejected areas that were difficult to settle. Third they specified that the frontier include lands that could provide food and natural resources for the Romans settled there.

The tribe of Dacians was located north of the Danube River in southeastern Europe in what is today Romania and Moldova. At various times in their history, The Dacians, called Getae by the Greeks, expanded south of the Danube to the edge of the Balkan Mountains in what is now modern Bulgaria. The Dacians had a propensity for centralization which was rare for the peoples of the region and this trait made them a dangerous adversary for any power operating in the vicinity of the Danube.

During the first century AD, before Trajan, the Roman frontier in southeast Europe had its northern boundary at the Danube River stretching from Vienna all the way to the Black Sea. The Danube was fortified along its entire length with large forts, watchtowers, and auxiliary units assigned to reconnaissance, while two naval fleets, the Classis Pannonica and Classis Moesia, patrolled the river itself.

The map above shows the geography of the Balkans area.

Dacian raids against Rome were somewhat controlled under Augustus through reprisal operations. Tiberius tried diplomacy but was unsuccessful, possibly because the Dacians possessed gold and refused to be bought off. Then, during the middle of the first century AD, the Romans used Sarmatian Lazyges as a buffer by having them occupy areas Between the Tisza River and the Danube. The Lazyges, a nomadic people, were willing to take as payback for their territorial commitment Roman help in suppressing internal rebel activity.

In 85/86, during the reign of Domitian, the Dacians came together under the rule of Decebalus and became more belligerent. A Dacian attack on Moesia in 87 led to a Roman pursuit across the Danube and a serious Roman defeat, later avenged by Roman victory at Tapae in 88. Domitian had designs on attacking the Dacian capital at Sarmizegethusa but delays caused by matters needing Roman attention elsewhere resulted in a lost opportunity. By the time Rome turned its attention back to Dacia, the client kingdoms of the Danube had crumbled, making a large scale attack no longer possible. Uncertainty in the region required that Domitian treat with the Dacians, including the offering of a technical aid program, so things remained quiet along the eastern Danube up until the time of Domitian’s assassination in 96 AD.

Trajan attacked Dacia in the 101-2 period, defeated Decebalus, and exacted severe concessions on the losers. Almost immediately, the terms of the treaty were abused and a second war commenced in 105. This time Trajan laid siege to Sarmizegethusa and destroyed it. Decebalus committed suicide to avoid Roman capture.

Trajan made Dacia a Roman province extending its land as a deep wedge north from the Danube, a design intended to separate the local tribes and decrease their ability to organize together. This Dacian wedge survived until 270, when Aurelian abandoned the territory to conserve military resources.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: THIASOS: Rivista di archeologia e architettura antica - Journal of archaeology and ancient architecture

 [First posted in AWOL 20 September 2013, updated 20 April 2015]

THIASOS: Rivista di archeologia e architettura antica - Journal of archaeology and ancient architecture
Thiasos è un’iniziativa editoriale on-line, collegata alla pubblicazione di volumi monografici, in formato digitale e cartaceo, per i tipi della Quasar Edizioni. Si tratta di un progetto volto a incrementare e migliorare il dialogo sui temi di ricerca delle culture antiche, nella consapevolezza della loro attualità.

La partecipazione si intende aperta a tutti coloro che intendono collaborare con contributi scientifici, proposte, informazioni, secondo gli schemi dell’implementazione libera e collettiva degli spazi della rete, da condividere non solo come fruitori. L’unico filtro ritenuto necessario è quello della qualità scientifica e dell’impegno, che vengono valutati dal comitato scientifico in prima istanza e poi da referee esterni, italiani e stranieri, sia per i testi a stampa che per quelli presentati on-line...

Thiasos is an on-line editorial initiative, connected to the publication of monographs, edited both in electronic and paper version, for Quasar Publisher. The project aims to increase and to improve the discussion concerning scientific research on ancient cultures, that are still nowadays a topical subject.

Participation is open to everyone wishing to contribute with scientific papers, proposals, information, in accordance with the free and collective implementation schemes of on-line spaces, to be used not only as beneficiaries. The sole participation criteria are scientific quality and commitment, that are evaluated firstly by the scientific committee and subsequently by external referees, Italian and foreign ones, with regard both to paper version and on-line version texts...
Biblioteca virtuale
è un repertorio di edizioni rare o di difficile reperimento, relativo alle tematiche della rivista.

April 20, 2015

Ancient Art

One of the slightly less glamourous looking Egyptian pyramids...

One of the slightly less glamourous looking Egyptian pyramids visible today: the Unas Pyraimd.

Despite looking like not much more than a 43m high heap of rubble today, the historical significance of this structure is great. The last of the rulers of Egypt’s 5th dynasty, Unas, had his pyramid built to the south of Djoser complex’s in Saqqara. It is dated to approximately 2340 BCE.

Within this pyramid we find the first appearance of the ‘pyramid texts’: which are of the oldest religious texts known in the world. These texts, in part, discuss the existence of Unas in the afterlife, in the community of gods.

The pyramid texts of Unas make for… interesting reading to say the least. Below are translated sections from these famous texts. 

Unas cometh forth into heaven by thee, Ra. The face of Unas is like the [faces of the] Hawks. The wings of Unas are like [those of] geese. The nails of Unas are like the claws of the god Tuf. There is no [evil] word concerning Unas on earth among men. There is no hostile speech about him with the gods. Unas hath destroyed his word, he hath ascended to heaven.” […]

Unas hath weighed his words with the hidden god who hath no name, on the day of hacking in pieces the firstborn… Unas devoureth men, and liveth upon the gods, he is the lord of envoys whom he sendeth forth on his missions. ‘He who cutteth off hairy scalps,’ who dwelleth in the fields, tieth the gods with ropes. Tcheser-tep shepherdeth them for Unas and driveth them unto him; and the Cord-master hath bound them for slaughter. Khensu, the slayer of the wicked, cutteth their throats, and draweth out their intestines, for it is he whom Unas sendeth to slaughter [them], and Shesmu cutteth them in pieces, and boileth their members in his blazing caldrons of the night. Unas eateth their magical powers, and he swalloweth their spirit-souls.” (Budge translation, via Project Gutenberg).

Photo taken by Dennis Jarvis.

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Christian Robots

Click here to view the embedded video.

The above segment from the Daily Show looks like it could have been inspired by my book chapter, “Robots, Rights, and Religion” in Religion and Science Fiction.

The video came to my attention via Atheist Rev. See also the website of Christopher Benek, who is featured in the video.


Aboriginal protests over plundered artefacts in British Museum

As anticipated previously, the Dja Dja Wurrung tribe in Australia is protesting about the display of various Aboriginal artefacts in the British Museum. These protests are likely to increase later in the year, when the artefacts return to Australia ass a temporary loan.

Aboriginal bark painting of a barramundi dating from 1861

Aboriginal bark painting of a barramundi dating from 1861


Preservation or plunder? The battle over the British Museum’s Indigenous Australian show
Paul Daley
Thursday 9 April 2015 08.00 BST

It’s been less than a century since the world’s leading collectors began acknowledging Indigenous Australian art as more than mere ethnographic artefact. Since then, the most enlightened, from Hong Kong to London, New York to Paris, have understood that when you purchase a piece of Indigenous art you become its custodian – not its owner. That image depicting a moment on one of the myriad songlines that have criss-crossed the continent during 60,000 years of Indigenous civilisation can adorn your wall. But you will never have copyright. Sometimes, not even the creator owns the painterly iconography and motif attached to particular stories that are family, clan or tribe – but not individual – possessions.

Such understanding is now implicit in the compact between collectors and creators, as remote Indigenous Australian arts centres match a rapacious international market with the rights of some of the world’s most accomplished, and impoverished, modern artists to support themselves and their families. But for museums, especially those of the great empires, ownership of Indigenous cultural property remains an existential bedrock. Which brings me to the British Museum and its forthcoming exhibition, Indigenous Australia: Enduring Civilisation. To call this exhibition – and a related one, Encounters, planned for Canberra’s National Museum of Australia – controversial dramatically understates the bitter politics, anger and behind-the-scenes enmity provoked by the British Museum’s continued ownership of some 6,000 Indigenous Australian items variously acquired after British contact, invasion and occupation of the continent beginning in 1770.

Some Indigenous Australians want what they rightly regard as their property (some of it stolen in circumstances of extreme violence on the Australian colonial frontier) returned. Others have been more conciliatory, saying that the British Museum (which insists it has been on a long journey of consultation with Indigenous communities ahead of its exhibition) has preserved items that would otherwise have been lost.

Indigenous Australian activists are, sources say, likely to mount some form of protest when the exhibition opens in London. Much bigger, angrier, protests and possible legal action are likely to greet the Canberra exhibition in November when items from the British Museum collection will go to Australia under the safeguard of the 2013 Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Act which legally prohibits Indigenous moves for repatriation.

Forewarning of this comes from Shane Mortimer, an elder of the Ngambri people on whose land the Australian capital, Canberra, is built: “If the Ngambri people went to England, killed 90% of the population and everything else that is indigenous to England and sent the crown jewels back to Ngambri Country as a prize exhibit … what would the remaining 10% of English people have to say about that? The exhibition should not proceed without the permission of the owners of all of the items.” And that will never be granted.

After the British Museum launched its exhibition in January, veteran Indigenous Australian activist Gary Foley wrote on the museum’s Facebook page: “Bet they won’t be prepared to seriously discuss issues of repatriation of cultural materials obtained through nefarious means … because of their retention of the so-called ‘Elgin marbles’.” Last month, historian and university lecturer Foley again attacked the museum in a seminar convened by the Greek Orthodox community of Melbourne, which sees parallels between the museum’s stance on the requested return of Indigenous Australian objects and the Parthenon marbles. He said: “The British Museum grew out of the era of colonialism. The rest of the world grew out of those ideas 100 years ago. Their position has no credibility in the modern world. It’s really that simple.”

Repealing the Australian legislation that will protect Indigenous objects on loan to Australia from the British Museum collection would “highlight the outrageous position of those at the British Museum who refuse to return anything to anybody, because they’re scared of the precedent that might be, in terms of the Parthenon Marbles,” Foley said.

The British Museum holds more than 6,000 Indigenous Australian items in its collection, of which only a minute percentage is usually on display. With the addition of some items from Australian collections including the national museum, it is in a unique position to tell a compelling story of one of the oldest, most resilient civilisations over 60 millennia, including its relatively recent, catastrophic, point of contact with colonialism. Exhibition objects include stone and metal tools, ceremonial headdresses, baskets, spears, masks, fish traps, photographs, and paintings, some of which have never been displayed before. The older objects have profound spiritual significance for the communities where they belong, linking the living with ancestors and elements of the past.

They also testify to the existential threat that was implied in first contact. Perhaps most seminal is the wooden shield dropped by a Gweagel tribesman during a violent confrontation with the crew of Captain James Cook’s HMB Endeavour at Botany Bay in autumn 1770. Witness, botanist Joseph Banks, insisted that the obvious hole in the shield came from a “single pointed lance”; Indigenous Australians say the hole is from a musket round – more plausible, you’d have to agree, given Cook and his men shot at and wounded Gweagel that day.

An elegant exhibition catalogue does not attempt to sugar-coat the violence against and dispossession of the locals, who died in vast numbers (estimates vary from a conservative 20,000 to at least 60,000) in clashes with explorers, settlers, British soldiers and police until the last accepted massacre at Coniston, Northern Territory, in 1928. “The essential truth is that Aboriginal people were dispossessed from their land by force, their populations reduced by disease and violence, and their cultural beliefs and practices disrespected and sometimes destroyed.” Indeed, the catalogue – which includes essays by Gaye Sculthorpe, the Indigenous Tasmanian curating the exhibition who has, since 2013, been curator of the museum’s Oceania and Australia section – is perhaps indispensible when it comes to understanding the back story of this contentious collection.

Sculthorpe’s involvement has been controversial for some Indigenous people agitating for the repatriation of items in the British Museum’s collection. Some are furious. Others see a potential advantage in having Sculthorpe – one of Australia’s most esteemed curators of Indigenous Australian cultural material – on the inside. Gary Murray, an elder of the Dja Dja Wurrung people of central Victoria, who knows Sculthorpe well, says: “We actually hope that Gaye Sculthorpe stays there at the British Museum because she is our link to that Indigenous collection that they stubbornly refuse to give back to us. She is a good mediator – we know that from her involvement in native title disputes in Australia.” (Sculthorpe was a member of the National Native Title Tribunal which helps determine Indigenous land claims under the Australian Commonwealth Native Title Act for 13 years until 2013). “But me and my people believe she needs to step up right now and show strong leadership and get our things back – not stand in front of the display case. We’re waiting.”

The catalogue includes the oldest- known pieces of rare bark art created by the Dja Dja Wurrung that were sold to the museum in the 1850s by Scottish settler John Hunter Kerr. Murray was central to a failed Dja Dja Wurrung attempt to have the barks permanently returned to his people while they were on loan from the British Museum to the Melbourne Museum in 2004. Murray, supported by many others including Foley – who then worked at the Melbourne Museum (where Sculthorpe, too, had once worked) – invoked the Federal Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act to seize the barks while they were in Victoria. After a protracted court case brought by the Melbourne Museum (now Victoria Museum) that was fought largely at the behest of the British Museum (not least, to guarantee future loans), the barks were returned to London.

At least one of the barks is likely to visit its country of origin again for the linked Canberra exhibition later this year, shielded by the 2013 Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Act. While that legislation covers objects on loan from all countries, it was intentionally drafted to prevent the repatriation of Indigenous artefacts on loan to Australia. Most of the thousands of ancestral human remains in collections across Europe and elsewhere are not covered by the act; intransigence by institutions such as the British Museum, however, constitute the biggest continued impediment to the repatriation of Indigenous Australian body parts.

Of the Dja Dja Wurrung barks, Murray told me recently: “It taunts us spiritually.”


“Because it’s our inheritance. They belong to my people. And they have been denied to us. They are a direct link to our ancestors. They are for me and for my children and my grandchildren. And I’m not going to be around for long, so we want them back.”

The inclusion of the barks in the exhibition catalogue, when their permanent repatriation is off the table, is provocative, even if it references their contentious backstory: “This particular case, and others like it, touches on a number of the fraught and challenging issues with which the Indigenous Australia: Enduring Civilisation exhibition engages.” The British Museum, it says, grapples with issues “involved in ensuring that connections between people and collections are maintained … This exhibition is just one small part of this very complex and ongoing process”.

Indeed, the questions that burn uncomfortably at the core of this exhibition and the linked one in Canberra are about imperial acquisition and continued ownership. The counter-argument, of course, has always been that had the British Museum not acquired items such as the Dja Dja Wurrung barks and the Gweagel shield, they may otherwise have turned to dust. Is salvation – or imperial arrogance – most identifiable in the British Museum’s Indigenous collection? Many of the items in this collection were, after all, designed for utilitarian, ceremonial or decorative function – not posterity.

Which leads to bigger questions: should Indigenous Australian culture be preserved primarily in institutions, as too many paternal white politicians insist? Or is it best lived and nurtured in traditional lifestyles in home countries across the continent?

• Indigenous Australians: Enduring Civilisation is at the British Museum, London WC1, 23 April-2 August. Details:

The post Aboriginal protests over plundered artefacts in British Museum appeared first on Elginism.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Live Webcast: Center for Hellenic Studies 24 April 2015 Research Symposium

Live Webcast: Center for Hellenic Studies April 2015 Research Symposium
Join us on Friday, April 24 for a live webcast of the biannual Center for Hellenic Studies Research Symposium!

The stream will be available at No special software is required. Persons interested in watching the stream should click on the link above and the stream will play in their web browser.

Have questions for the presenters? Contact us via the online form or the live chat room.

Friday, April 24

Session 1, 9:30-11:00 am (EDT)

“Local Pantheons in Motion: Synoecism and Patron Deities in Hellenistic Rhodes”Stéphanie Paul, University of LiegeAbstract
“The Social Dynamics of Dedication in the Delian Inventories of the Third Century: Audience, Function and Temporality”Christy Constantakopoulou, Birkbeck CollegeAbstract
“Connecting People: Mobility and Networks in the Corpus of Greek Private Letters”Madalina Dana, University Paris 1 – Panthéon SorbonneAbstract

Session 2, 11:30 am-12:30 pm (EDT)

“Seeing Hera in the IliadSeemee Ali, Carthage CollegeAbstract
“Painting, Ethics, and Ontology in Republic 5”Zacharoula Petraki, University of CreteAbstract

Session 3, 2:00-3:00 pm (EDT)

“To the Dregs:  Drawing Meaning from the Rhodian Handles of Hellenistic Ashkelon”Kate Birney, Wesleyan UniversityAbstract
“Data Sharing as Publication in Classical Archaeology”Eric Kansa, University of California, Berkeley

Session 4, 3:30-4:30 pm (EDT)

“The Actors’ Repertoire, Fifth-Century Drama and Early Tragic Revivals”Sebastiana Nervegna, University of Sydney Abstract
“Isocrates’ Theory of Goodwill (Eunoia) as a Precursor of Emotional Intelligence”Maria G. Xanthou, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Open University of CyprusAbstract

ArcheoNet BE

Beyond the Grave. 5000 jaar dood en begravingen in de Lage Landen

In de Universiteitsbibliotheek van de KU Leuven opent zondag de 16de editie van de jaarlijkse tentoonstelling van studentenkring Alfa. Op de tentoonstelling ‘Beyond the Grave’ focussen de studenten archeologie dit jaar op 5000 jaar dood en begravingen in de Lage Landen. Op donderdag 30 april vindt een openingsnocturne plaats.

De tentoonstelling bestaat dit jaar uit twee delen. Aan de linkerkant van de zaal zal aan de hand van archeologische objecten en de nodige achtergrondinformatie een chronologisch overzicht worden geschetst van de begravingsrituelen in de Lage Landen over een periode van 5000 jaar. Daarnaast bestaat archeologie natuurlijk niet alleen uit objecten; de andere kant van de zaal zal meer informatie bieden over de wetenschappelijke kant van de zaak. Een speciale nadruk wordt hierbij gelegd op de fysische antropologie, maar ook DNA-onderzoek en dieetreconstructies vormen een aspect van de actuele archeologische praktijk.

Praktisch: ‘Beyond the Grave’, van 26 april tot 13 juni in de Universiteitsbibliotheek KU Leuven (Mgr. Ladeuzeplein 21, Leuven). Open maandag tot donderdag (9–20 uur), vrijdag (9–17 uur) en zaterdag (10–13 uur). Vrije toegang. Nocturne op 30 april om 20.00 uur met een lezing van dr. Quentin Bourgeois (Universiteit Leiden).

David Gill (Looting Matters)

"The trade and auction houses are doing the best they can "

I have been interested to read the responses to the decision to withdraw four antiquities from Christie's. The latest is by Georgina Adams ("The Art Market: Blue Period Picasso emerges", Financial Times 17 April 2015). A spokesperson for Christie's commented that they needed access to the confiscated archives, and Chris Marinello of the Art Recovery Group is quoted, "The trade and auction houses are doing the best they can with the available information".

One of the withdrawn pieces passed through the December 1985 sale at Sotheby's. Any "due diligence researcher" or member of an auction house will know the significance of that sale. And to help them along their way the list of consignments from Boursaud (and ultimately, it seems, from Giacomo Medici) has been published. Six years ago I drew attention to some of the issues relating to the year 1985, so to miss this item in such a sale but then to state that "The trade and auction houses are doing the best they can with the available information" suggests that some of these so-called "researchers" need to do better. Indeed one of the 1985 pieces was seized from an auction-house beginning with ... C ...

One of the other pieces also surfaced through Sotheby's in 1986. Again a researcher familiar with these sales should have been alerted: the "Medici youth" from 2010, and the Graham Geddes collection in 2008. And it is a year that I highlighted back in 2010.

For the other two pieces Montreal and Japan are both significant for potential associations with Gianfranco Becchina ... and Tsirogiannis has linked them to objects in the Basel Dossier.

I have a great deal of respect for Marinello when it comes to fine art but I wonder if he has not understood the toxicity of the antiquities market.

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

US Dealer, No Debate

US coin dealer Dave Welsh is adamant (April 19, 2015):
I don't consider blog posts as being contributions to "the heritage debate." There is no such debate, except perhaps in Mr. Barford's mind, where many other uniquities reside
Mr Welsh apparently regards the heritage as something which is not discussed, and merely there for the US dealer to dictate to the rest of the world what he and he alone is going to do with it. This is quite a common attitude amongst US collectors and dealers ( DOS-2015-0010) who seem unrepentant neo-colonialists to a man.

Nevertheless, the heritage belongs to us all, and whatever wannabe-imperialist American shopkeepers and coin fondlers think, policies on heritage in many countries is a matter for wide public consultation and debate. There is in many civilised countries a lively and informed debate on what the heritage "is" and on many aspects of preservation, and indeed on the commerce in cultural property. Perhaps Temecula, California lags behind the rest of the world in that regard. That does not mean that the debate is not going on in other places, including blogs such as PACHI, Looting matters, Heritage Journal, Conflict AntiquitiesSaving Antiquities for EveryoneThe Punching Bag, Ancient Heritage, Chasing Aphrodite, Cultural Heritage LawyerIt Surfaced Down Under!, Museum Security NetworkTrafficking Culture, Anonymous Swiss CollectorARCAblog, Institute of Art and Law Blog, Plundered Art, etc.

Irene Hahn and Bingley Austin (Roman History Books and More)

upcoming chats, may 6 & 20: 'cleopatra' by h. rider haggard

B0084AYR98Our chats on May 6 & 20 are on an unusual novel by H. Rider Haggard:
Cleopatra, as seen from the Egyptian POV.

The book is available both on Gutenberg and (also free) on Kindle.

  • May 6: Let's plan through Book II, Chapter VIII.
  • May 20: Through the end.

HaggardHaggard: Reputation and legacy.

Chat Room Directions for Newcomers


Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing

Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing 
The Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing is founded on the premise that computer methods are now fundamental to every stage of the editorial process. We use digital tools to locate and view the original materials; to transcribe them into electronic form; to compare the texts and to analyze the patterns of variation; and we publish them electronically. 

ITSEE projects range from electronic editions of a single manuscript to large-scale investigation and analysis of complex textual traditions and the development of innovative tools and platforms for digital editing. ITSEE staff have developed internationally-accepted encodings for original source description, transcription and textual apparatus; have created widely-used software for the transcription and collation of manuscripts; have worked with evolutionary biologists on applying their methods to textual traditions; and have collaborated on a number of electronic editing projects. 

ITSEE is home to the International Greek New Testament Project's ongoing work on a new edition of the Gospel according to John, led by D.C. Parker, as part of the Novum Testamentum Graece: Editio Critica Maior. Another team is producing an edition of the earliest Latin evidence for the New Testament in surviving manuscripts and quotations in Christian authors. The Birmingham Virtual Manuscript Room (VMR), developed by ITSEE, is the first stage in an ambitious project to develop a online workspace for collaborative editing with partners in Europe (Münster, Trier and the Interedition consortium) and Canada (University of Saskatchewan). Members of ITSEE have led or advised numerous electronic editing projects, including the Codex Sinaiticus Project, the Canterbury Tales Project, the Parliament Rolls of Medieval England, Dante's Monarchia and Johnson's Dictionary on CD-ROM


The Greek New Testament

A critical edition of the Gospel according to St John, prepared by members of the International Greek New Testament Project and the Institut für Neutestamentliche Textforschung in Germany.

The Pauline Commentaries (COMPAUL)

A project to investigate early commentaries on Paul as sources for the biblical text. The project will also contribute to planned editions of the Pauline letters in Greek and Latin.

The Virtual Manuscript Room and Workspace for Collaborative Editing

In collaboration with the INTF in Münster and KoZe in Trier, ITSEE is working on developing the Virtual Manuscript Room, hosting both images of manuscripts held at the University of Birmingham and developing a platform for other institutions to make their collections available on their own servers which are referenced on a central hub.

Vetus Latina Iohannes

A critical edition of the Old Latin translations of the Gospel according to St John, for publication in both electronic and print format.

Codex Sinaiticus project

A digital edition of Codex Sinaiticus, prepared in collaboration with the four libraries holding parts of the manuscript.

The digital Codex Bezae

A complete transcription of the Latin and Greek texts of Codex Bezae Cantabrigiensis, funded by Cambridge University Library.

Carmelite texts

This research is led by Dr V Edden at the University of Birmingham.

Carole Raddato (Following Hadrian)

The Hadrianic Baths at Aphrodisias, Caria (Turkey)


Octavian, from a Letter of Octavian to Stephanus (governor of Laodicea) concerning Aphrodisias, c. 38 BC

Mosaic depicting Aphrodite, from the east Bouleuterion, 2nd century AD, Aphrodisias Museum, Turkey Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Mosaic depicting Aphrodite, from the east Bouleuterion, 2nd century AD, Aphrodisias Museum, Turkey
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The beautiful ancient Greek city of Aphrodisias, still partly excavated, is one of the most important archaeological sites of the late Hellenistic and Roman period in Turkey. The city was located in Caria in Asia Minor, on a plateau 600 meters above sea level. Today it lies near Geyre village, some 80 kilometers west of Denizli. The city was founded in the 2nd century BC on the site of a rural sanctuary of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. It was named after Aphrodite who had her unique cult image, the Aphrodite of Aphrodisias, and who became the city’s patron goddess.

Relief image of Aphrodite of Aphrodisias, dedicated by Theodoros, from the theatre, 2nd-3rd century AD, Aphrodisias Museum, Turkey Statue of Aphrodite of Aphrodisias, from the Bouleuterion, 2nd century AD, the best-preserved version of the cult statue of Aphrodite in her temple, Aphrodisias Museum, Turkey

In the 1st century BC Aphrodisias came under the protection of Augustus, following the return to the city of Zoilos, an Aphrodisian who had been made a free man by the Roman emperor. Zoilos had become a very wealthy man when he returned to Aphrodisas in 40 BC and this initiated a period of prosperity and growth. He was responsible for the planning of much of the civic centres of Aphrodisias and of many of its early monumental projects. The ruins that remain today reflect this period of wealth which lasted until the 6th century. They include a Temple of Aphrodite, a theatre, a large Agora with its associated Bouleuterion (council house), a bath complex and a stadium.

Plan of Aphrodisias

Plan of Aphrodisias

A nearby marble quarry provided the ancient city with a supply of high-quality white and blue marble and a school of sculptors flourished in Aphrodisias and rose to prominence under Hadrian. Aphrodisian signatures have been found on sculptures in Italy and Greece, notably on the Centaurs discovered at Hadrian’s Villa.

Hadrian AE28 Diassarion of Caria, Aphrodisias. AV K LI TPAIN ADPIANOC CE, laureate and cuirassed bust right, seen from front, slight drapery on left shoulder / AFRODEICIEWN, cult state of Artemis of Aphrodisias standing facing within tetrastyle shrine with arched central bay; ornate roofline.

Hadrian AE28 Diassarion of Caria, Aphrodisias. AV K LI TPAIN ADPIANOC CE, laureate and cuirassed bust right, seen from front, slight drapery on left shoulder / AFRODEICIEWN, cult state of Aphrodite of Aphrodisias standing facing within tetrastyle shrine with arched central bay; ornate roofline.

Hadrian visited Aphrodisias on one of his journeys to the Greek East. The city’s council had baths constructed as a memorial of his visit. They were constructed on the Roman model, with a series of parallel vaulted halls. Directly in front of the entrance on the north side was a marble pool ornamented with statues and with large pillars at the corners.

The open-air pool with columns at its corners and surrounding statues of the Hadrianic Baths, Aphrosidias Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The pool of the tetrastyle court with columns at its corners and surrounding statues of the Hadrianic Baths, Aphrosidias
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The pool of the tetrastyle court with columns at its corners and surrounding statues of the Hadrianic Baths, Aphrosidias Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The pool of the tetrastyle court with columns at its corners and surrounding statues of the Hadrianic Baths, Aphrosidias
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The pool of the tetrastyle court with columns at its corners and surrounding statues of the Hadrianic Baths, Aphrosidias Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The pool of the tetrastyle court with columns at its corners and surrounding statues of the Hadrianic Baths, Aphrosidias
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The parallel vaulted rooms were, in order, the apodyterium (changing room), the frigidarium (cold baths), the tepidarium (warm baths) and the calidarium (hot baths). The lower walls of these halls, which are still standing, were built out of huge limestone blocks and faced with marble. The vaults, which no longer survive, were made out of mortared rubble, plastered on the underside. The floors were lined with marble.

The apodyterium (changing room) of the Hadrianic Baths, Aphrodisias Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Hadrianic Baths, Aphrodisias
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The pool of the tetrastyle court with columns at its corners and surrounding statues of the Hadrianic Baths, Aphrosidias Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The pool of the tetrastyle court with columns at its corners and surrounding statues of the Hadrianic Baths, Aphrosidias
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The apodyterium (changing room) of the Hadrianic Baths, Aphrodisias Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Hadrianic Baths, Aphrodisias
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Hadrianic Baths, Aphrodisias
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The first excavations on the Hadrianic Baths were undertaken in the year 1904 by the French engineer, amateur archeologist and collector Paul Gaudin. A portion of the works unearthed in the course of this excavation were moved to the Istanbul Archaeology Museum, while some were removed from the country without permission. A marble torso, part of the Old Fisherman’s statue which was discovered there, was sold to Berlin’s Pergamon Museum by Gaudin’s heirs (while the head was discovered only in 1989 and remains in Aphrodisias). Today, the Old Fisherman’s torso is on display in the Altes Museum, Berlin.

The Aphrodisias old fisherman, dating between 150 and 250 AD, the head is a plaster cast of the original, discovered at Aphrodisias in 1989, Altes Museum, Berlin Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Aphrodisias old fisherman, dating between 150 and 250 AD, the head is a plaster cast of the original, discovered at Aphrodisias in 1989, Altes Museum, Berlin
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The baths were richly decorated with sculptures, including mythological statues depicting Trojan themes around the pool, architectural decoration of the highest quality in the palaestra and in the front portico.

The pilaster friezes of the palaestra which are distinctive works of the Aphrodisias school of sculpture, Aphrodisias Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The pilaster friezes of the palaestra which are distinctive works of the Aphrodisias school of sculpture, Aphrodisias
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The bath complex was carefully maintained throughout antiquity and was still functioning in the 6th century AD when it continued to attract wealthy sponsorship for its redecoration. The complex was both a bathing facility and a museum of marble statuary.

Nude hero, Achilles?, from the Hadrianic Baths, 2nd century AD, Aphrodisias Museum Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Nude hero, Achilles?, from the Hadrianic Baths, 2nd century AD, Aphrodisias Museum
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Achilles and Penthesilea statue group from the tetrastyle court of the Hadrianic Baths, 1st-2nd century AD, Aphrodisias Museum Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The Achilles and Penthesilea statue group from the tetrastyle court of the Hadrianic Baths, 1st-2nd century AD, Aphrodisias Museum
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

The statue group (image above) depicts the hero Achilles supporting the Amazon queen whom he has fatally wounded and fallen in love with. The stab wound under her right breast was carefully carved and painted.

Heroic male torso wearing a chlamys, 2nd century AD, Aphrodisias Museum Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Heroic male torso wearing a chlamys, 2nd century AD, Aphrodisias Museum
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Priestess wearing a star-decorated crown, found in the Hadrianic Baths, 2nd-3rd century AD, Aphrodisias Museum Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Priestess wearing a star-decorated crown, found in the Hadrianic Baths, 2nd-3rd century AD, Aphrodisias Museum
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Head of a Satyr playing the double flute, found in the Hadrianic Baths, late 2nd or 3rd century AD, Aphrodisias Museum Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Head of a Satyr playing the double flute, found in the Hadrianic Baths, late 2nd or 3rd century AD, Aphrodisias Museum
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Marble head of a goddess, found in the Hadrianic Baths, 2nd century AD, Aphrodisias Museum Marble head of a goddess, found in the Hadrianic Baths, 2nd century AD, Aphrodisias Museum

The long-lived Hadrianic Baths provide an unparalleled opportunity to examine the evolution of statuary decoration in imperial bath complexes over time.

Statue of a Governor wearing the chlamys (cloak) with two children, found in the Hadrianic Baths, 5th century AD, Aphrodisias Museum Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Statue of a Governor wearing the chlamys (cloak) with two children, found in the Hadrianic Baths, 5th century AD, Aphrodisias Museum
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

A  major  conservation  project  in  the  Hadrianic  Baths begun  in  2010 under the auspices of New York University and the Institute of Fine Arts. Work has been focused mainly in the rooms with hypocausts and walls were restored. Sadly a large part of the baths was fenced when I visited the site last month and all the vaulted rooms were inaccessible. The images below show some of the rooms of the bath complex after conservation in 2013 (source).


New York University – A report on the archaeological field season

Sources: IFA Excavations at Aphrodisias / Aphrodisias School of Archaeology – University of Oxford / Aphrodisias 2013 – A report on the archaeological field season (pdf)

Filed under: Archaeology Travel, Asia Minor, Caria, Hadrian, Photography, Roman art, Turkey Tagged: Aphrodisias, Aphrodisias Carole Raddato, Aphrodisias Museum

Archaeology Magazine

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Shipwrecked Champagne: Leathery, Still Pretty Good

Scientists say that 170-year old champagne found on a shipwreck at the bottom of the Baltic Sea...

CHS Fellowships Research Bulletin

Abstract–Local Pantheons in Motion: Synoecism and Patron Deities in Hellenistic Rhodes

This paper addresses some of the limitations of the concept of patron deity through the case-study of the island of Rhodes after the synoecism of 408/7 BC, as well as, in a wider perspective, the impact of historical events on the religious landscape. Focusing on the main cults of Helios, Athena, and Zeus, it will assess how these cults were related, on different levels, to the concerns of political unity during the Hellenistic period. While Helios had a representative function of the unified polis of Rhodes in relation to the mythical past of the island, the cult configurations of Athena and Zeus and its local variations reflect the dialectic at play between unification and strong regional identities. more

Abstract–Isocrates’ Theory of Goodwill (Eunoia) as a Precursor of Emotional Intelligence

Εunoia is one of Isocrates’ core paideutic concepts. I aim to show that if Isocratean philosophical and rhetorical pedagogy is meaningfully modified and combined with eunoia into a nuanced system of emotional intelligence (EI), applicable to internal and international politics and public relations, then eunoia emerges as a versatile, multifarious and interactive emotion and concept. In that sense, it comprises a special emotional configuration, resulting from the cognitive appraisal of feelings as subjective experiences of emotional state, bodily symptoms, facial and vocal expressions and action tendencies. De Pace and Antidosis present us with two different uses of eunoia-theory at a macro- and micro-level. In De Pace Isocrates applies the theory of eunoia to interstate relations and contextualizes it within the causality of fifth and fourth c. BCE events. In Antidosis, he applies the same theory to the relation between an individual and the Athenians as a collective body in the […] more

Abstract–Painting, Ethics, and Ontology in Republic 5

In this paper I examine Plato’s use of the art of painting in the Republic, Book 5 as a metaphor for the integration of citizens in the harmonious society of the ideal city. In the Republic, Plato presents Socrates as a verbal painter who constructs a wide and diverse range of verbal images (eikones). The majority of these images are highly colorful, ornate and intricate. Yet, the Socratic images which depict the ideal city are always very simple. The harmonious city is consistently presented as an individual: a statue, or an andreikelon. In this paper I take the view that Plato’s metaphors of the ideal city as a single man in the Republic Plato help us raise a number of complex philosophic problems with regard to a) the inculcation of virtues in the inhabitants of the ideal city, b) the attainment of civic unity and harmony, and c) the ‘participation’ […] more

Abstract–The Actors’ Repertoire, Fifth-Century Drama and Early Tragic Revivals

This contribution deals with the theatrical afterlife of Euripides’ Telephus, Aeschylus’Edonians and Libation Bearers. The sources for their ancient reception share two features: (i) Classical dramatists recall the visual aspects of these plays, thus suggesting familiarity with their performance, decades after they premiered; and (ii) these tragedies can be consistently identified in the theatre-related records from the fourth century onwards. This pattern is probably not a coincidence. It suggests that these plays were reperformed around the Mediterranean after the fifth century because they were already successfully restaged in late fifth-century Attica. more

Abstract–Connecting People: Mobility and Networks in the Corpus of Greek Private Letters

The goal of this article is primarily to highlight the phenomenon of the communication trough letter-writing from the city to its territory, from territory to territory or towards the inland regions, as a most important form of mobility in the corpus of Greek private letters. Entrusted to close relations or simply to passing people, who in turn confide it to other acquaintances, the letter travels a distance that its senders or its receivers have no doubt never entirely crossed: it is, somehow, the most seasoned traveller. In this way, it is the letter that puts in touch masters and subordinates, families, business partners and friends, whilst having the merit of giving an account of connected, renewed or abruptly-broken contacts. In the colonial environment, which is the result of a long-lasting coexistence, the shared practices operate between Greeks and the local populations, between Greeks of different origins established in the apoikiai, […] more

Abstract–The Social Dynamics of Dedication in the Delian Inventories of the Third Century: Audience, Function and Temporality

My project explores the social dynamics of dedication, as they are reflected in the dedications recorded in the Delian inventories during the third century BC. The Delian practice of annually producing inventories of dedications is quite exceptional. Very few sanctuaries produce regular publication of their inventories; the practice is restricted to Athens and Attica, Delos, and to a lesser extent Didyma. The inventories of Athenian and Attic sanctuaries have attracted considerable attention in modern scholarship. However, the same kind of attention has not been applied to the Delian inventories. While the Delian inventories have been studied in order to discuss their purpose (Linders, Hamilton), issues of literacy (Linders), history of objects (Prêtre), the overall structure of the administration of the sanctuary (Vial, Chankowski), and the date of establishment of festivals, especially royal festivals (Bruneau), no one has ever attempted to use them in order to examine the social dynamics of […] more

Abstract–To the Dregs: Drawing Meaning from the Rhodian Handles of Hellenistic Ashkelon

Rhodian amphorae, distinctive for their shape and their rose-stamped handles, are emblematic of specialized wine trade during the Hellenistic period. Their presence in quantity at sites throughout the Mediterranean has been used as a barometer for a city’s financial success and the wealth of its inhabitants, while sudden fluctuations have been correlated with commercial, political or even cultural change. This paper presents a preliminary study of the Rhodian stamped handles from the port city of Ashkelon, in an effort to add nuance to our understanding of the city’s economic development and commercial connections throughout the Hellenistic period. Due to its scale, Ashkelon offers a unique opportunity for spatial study, by comparing distribution patterns between neighborhoods and public or private spaces. The resulting blend of chronological and spatial analysis not only sheds light on use patterns of Rhodian amphorae themselves, but also illuminates a significant commercial and urban shift that occurs […] more

Archaeology Magazine


Russia Yaroslavl steelYAROSLAVL, RUSSIA—Analysis of a fragment taken from a saber found in a mass grave in the historic trade center of Yaroslavl indicates it is the oldest crucible steel weapon in Eastern Europe. Steel of this kind was first produced in India in the first century A.D., and later in Central Asia, but it was very expensive during the medieval period. The grave, located alongside the Dormition Cathedral, holds the remains of people slaughtered during the invasion of the city by Batu Khan in 1238. “The site contains comprehensive evidence of the atrocity committed that day. We found numerous skeletons of murdered women and children, many household objects like dishes, jewelry, many weapons, and this saber,” Asya Engovatova of the Russian Academy of Sciences said in a press release. The weapon’s handle has been lost, and its blade is bent. Micro-cracks in the blade show that it had been heated to a high temperature, perhaps in order to bend it before it was discarded. Engovatova thinks the blade may have belonged to a wealthy warrior from Batu Khan’s army. 


Neanderthal cooking herbsSAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA—Neanderthals went extinct in most of Europe around 40,000 years ago, some 5,000 years after the arrival of the first modern humans. “The issue of Neanderthal extinction is very complex, and very little is agreed upon,” Anna Goldfield of Boston University said at the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, reported in Live Science. She thinks that mastery of fire may have given modern humans an advantage over Neanderthals in the struggle for survival. Cooking would have provided modern humans with more calories from the same amount of food, and it kills bacteria, making the food safer to eat. Fires also provide warmth. Goldfield and mathematical biologist Ross Booton of the University of Sheffield used mathematical models to simulate how the populations of modern humans and Neanderthals might have changed if modern humans were using fire more frequently than Neanderthals, and when the two groups were using fire about equally. They also looked at the reindeer population—a food source for both groups. The numbers suggest that if modern humans used fire more often than the Neanderthals, they would have eventually won the competition for resources. Meanwhile, The Huffington Post reports that a study published in the journal Antiquity suggests that Neanderthals living in northern Spain some 50,000 years ago were cooking with chamomile and yarrow, which have anti-microbial and anti-parasitic properties, just because they liked the taste. Chemicals from the herbs and chemicals associated with smoked and cooked meats were found on the Neanderthals’ teeth by a team led by Karen Hardy of the University of Barcelona. Sabrina Krief of the Museum of Natural History in Paris and her colleagues agree that the Neanderthals may have used the herbs as medicine, or even as flavor enhancers, since they have observed chimpanzees in the wild chewing bitter herbs and flavorful soils before and during meat-based meals. “The strong, bitter taste of the leaves may modify the flavor of viscera, muscles, organs, or water. The bitter taste of the cooked plant does not necessarily disappear completely; chamomile, or example remains bitter when infused,” they wrote. To read more about Neanderthals, see "Should We Clone Neanderthals?"


Egypt Memphis wallCAIRO, EGYPT—A team from the Russian Institute of Egyptology at Kom Tuman has uncovered white limestone fragments of the wall that surrounded the Old Kingdom capital of Memphis, which sits at the mouth of the Nile Delta. The 5,200-year-old enclosure wall protected the palaces of the pharaohs and the state administrative buildings. “Unlike royal tombs, pyramids, mortuary, and cult-related temples and any other buildings related to the afterlife, ancient Egyptian royal palaces, administrative offices, houses, and other life-related buildings were often made of mud brick,” Kamal Wahid, director of the central administration of Giza antiquities, told The Cairo Post. The city, now known for its colossal statue of Ramses II, was founded at the end of the fourth millennium B.C. by Menes, the first-dynasty pharaoh who was the first to unify the kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt. “A number of pottery-making ovens and bronze tools were also found. The excavations will continue and we will be working to unearth the rest of the wall, as well as any archaeological elements which could help us to know more about this early period of Egyptian history,” added Galina A. Belova, director of the Russian archaeological team. To read about another recent discovery in Egypt, see "Tomb of the Chantress."

CHS Fellowships Research Bulletin

Abstract–Seeing Hera in the Iliad

Hera is the most under-appreciated deity in the pantheon of Homer’s Iliad. Inseminating mortals with thoughts and understanding the secret plans of Zeus, Hera proves to be a goddess of the mind. Hera’s characteristic sphere of action is the phrénes, the realm of physiological, emotional, and intellectual activity. Hera’s own creative vision enlarges the imaginative scope of the epic – for her noetic mode of seeing brings unity to what is otherwise disparate and heterogeneous, including the community of gods themselves. In effect, Homer’s Hera solves the political riddle of Hesiod’s Theogony and thus stabilizes the Olympian regime. more

He has a wife you know

artchiculture: FAMOUS AUTHORSClassic Bookshelf: This site has...



  • Classic Bookshelf: This site has put classic novels online, from Charles Dickens to Charlotte Bronte.
  • The Online Books Page: The University of Pennsylvania hosts this book search and database.
  • Project Gutenberg: This famous site has over 27,000 free books online.
  • Page by Page Books: Find books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and H.G. Wells, as well as speeches from George W. Bush on this site.
  • Classic Book Library: Genres here include historical fiction, history, science fiction, mystery, romance and children’s literature, but they’re all classics.
  • Classic Reader: Here you can read Shakespeare, young adult fiction and more.
  • Read Print: From George Orwell to Alexandre Dumas to George Eliot to Charles Darwin, this online library is stocked with the best classics.
  • Planet eBook: Download free classic literature titles here, from Dostoevsky to D.H. Lawrence to Joseph Conrad.
  • The Spectator Project: Montclair State University’s project features full-text, online versions of The Spectator and The Tatler.
  • Bibliomania: This site has more than 2,000 classic texts, plus study guides and reference books.
  • Online Library of Literature: Find full and unabridged texts of classic literature, including the Bronte sisters, Mark Twain and more.
  • Bartleby: Bartleby has much more than just the classics, but its collection of anthologies and other important novels made it famous.
  • has a huge selection of novels, including works by Lewis Carroll, Willa Cather, Sherwood Anderson, Flaubert, George Eliot, F. Scott Fitzgerald and others.
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  • Lookybook: Access children’s picture books here.



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  • LibriVox: LibriVox has a good selection of historical fiction.
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  • Free History Books: This collection features U.S. history books, including works by Paul Jennings, Sarah Morgan Dawson, Josiah Quincy and others.
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  • Prize-winning books online: Use this directory to connect to full-text copies of Newbery winners, Nobel Prize winners and Pulitzer winners.

asylum-art: Pichi&Avo: Graffiti Art x Greek...


Pichi&Avo: Graffiti Art x Greek Mythology

Classical art lives on, even in graffiti. That might be a bit of a surprise, but characters from Greek Mythology are softly shaded with spray paints and traditional tagging added here and there to compose various murals. It’s all brilliantly done by Pichi&Avo, the duo from Spain who met in 2007 and since then became great friends and collaborators. They’ve been traveling all over Europe to paint iconic pieces, such as their biggest one including Greeks and a Trojan (like Homero, Achilles, and Menelaus) painted on shipping containers at the Rock Werchter festival in Belgium.

Tom Matrullo (Classics in Sarasota)

Two-mouthed play: the duality of the Philoctetes

προσαναγκάζειν τὸν Σωκράτη ὁμολογεῖν αὐτοὺς τοῦ αὐτοῦ ἀνδρὸς εἶναι κωμῳδίαν καὶ τραγῳδίαν ἐπίστασθαι ποιεῖν, καὶ τὸν τέχνῃ τραγῳδοποιὸν ὄντα καὶ κωμῳδοποιὸν εἶναι.
Socrates was compelling them to admit that the same man could have the knowledge required for writing comedy and tragedy—that the fully skilled tragedian could be a comedian as well. Plato, Symposium.

To some it seems impossible that I could still have something left to say about Sophocles' Philoctetes. A friend has delicately suggested that I should make an end. Let's end with the man who wrote it - a man whose work embodies a fusion of thought and feeling. As the late Eduardo Galeano wrote,
My language is a feel-thinking language, feeling and thinking at once, that is why it is a celebration of life, and at once it is a denunciation of everything that is not allowed in life to be real life, its plenitude.
Sophocles was about 88 when his Philoctetes was performed, winning first prize. It's an old man's play, a storehouse of an extraordinary life in 5th century Athens.

It's worth noticing that his abandoned character was neither a woman, a poor man, or someone of less than 100% Greek ethnicity. This is not a tale of racism, sexism or classism. Rather, it's a story about what the best are capable of doing to their peers under the intense pressures of life, war, and duty.

Never in dispute is the fact that Philoctetes was most cruelly used by the Atreides and by Odysseus at their bidding. His resulting suffering and alienation are explored in potent speeches. Nothing hides the sordidness of the case, nothing embellishes. The harsh natural world coupled with the mute neglect and indifference of his peers is voiced with the plenitude Galeano speaks of:
Birds my victims, tribes of bright-eyed wild creatures,
tenants of these hills, you need not flee from me or my house.
No more the strength of my hands, of my bow, is mine.
Come! It is a good time to glut yourselves freely on my discolored flesh . . .
                                                                        (Grene 1148-52)
 πταναὶ θῆραι χαροπῶν τ᾽ ἔθνη θηρῶνοὓς ὅδ᾽ ἔχει χῶρος οὐρεσιβώταςμηκέτ᾽ ἀπ᾽ αὐλίων φυγᾷ 1150πηδᾶτ᾽οὐ γὰρ ἔχω χεροῖν τὰν πρόσθεν βελέων ἀλκάν δύστανος ἐγὼ τανῦνἀλλ᾽ ἀνέδην δὲ χῶρος ἄρ᾽ οὐκέτι φοβητὸς οὐκέθ᾽ ὑμῖν1155ἕρπετενῦν καλὸν ἀντίφονον κορέσαι στόμα πρὸς χάριν ἐμᾶς σαρκὸς αἰόλας
But the thrust and climax of the play is not here. His suffering is rendered with naturalistic power, but this is one moment within a larger mythical encounter. (We noted the co-presence of both naturalism and mythic language early on in our reading of this play.)

Sophocles expands the tragic frame to bring in Odysseus, the man of occasion, the crafty illusionist, the resourceful man of words. Odysseus is comedic through and through; his skills are practical, group-oriented, businesslike. He is an agent sent to do a job -- he is there to ensure through winning words a happy end for all.

We miss part of the strange texture of the play if we do not relish the potential comedy of Odysseus. His self-referential denigration as the false Merchant would be delightful in the hands of the right actor. Twice in the play Odysseus runs offstage to avoid being shot by Philoctetes or pummeled by Neoptolemus. Depending on how this is performed, it can be a dramatic show of cowardly smarts, or a broader "feets-don't-fail-me-now" piece of farce typical of low characters in ancient Comedy.

Odysseus announces at the very start that he has a ruse; he seems confident of its ability to persuade Philoctetes to return to the war. At every point in the play, we are uncertain whether fateful events are unfolding of themselves, or we are audiences to a script authored and directed by Odysseus. The tension is structural: Tragedy's dignity, pathos, and claim to significance are never more at risk than when comedy threatens to puncture the spell.

. . . the fully skilled tragedian could be a comedian as well.
Sophocles appears to have fulfilled the high goal of Socrates: he has shown he knows how to produce both genres -- a double-mouthed play. Poised perfectly, the text turns endlessly around this duality, not unlike one of those ambiguous illusions that seem one moment to be one thing, and suddenly quite another thing altogether.

The heightened relation of the comedic and tragic in the Philoctetes differs from earlier works of this playwright. The text holds both masks in tension.

It might be fanciful to see a resemblance here to the tension Socrates speaks of in the Symposium with regard to Eros, but it's hard to resist. At the feast he tells Diotima's tale of the inevitable attraction of Poros and Penia, Resource (or, Contrivance) and Poverty, whose union produces Eros the archer. Poros and Penia are like figures in the tapestry of the Philoctetes: a man in isolation, lacking all, unloved, encounters an artful speaker seeking his seduction.

As Socrates puts it:
Eros is ever poor, and far from tender or beautiful as most suppose him: [203d] rather is he hard and parched, shoeless and homeless; on the bare ground always he lies with no bedding, and takes his rest on doorsteps and waysides in the open air. . .

Eros is . . .  always weaving some stratagem; desirous and competent of wisdom, throughout life ensuing the truth; a master of jugglery, witchcraft, [203e] and artful speech.
The rhetorical duel of the Philoctetes -- strangely akin to that which Socrates finds within Eros itself -- sets in motion the endgame of the Trojan war and mirrors its beginning. Odysseus woos Philoctetes and takes him off in his ship, much as Paris had seduced Helen. Fortunes are turning. Philoctetes' heel will be made whole, enabling him to wound Paris mortally in the heel. The saddest man on Earth has the Heraclean bow, and he's on his way to Troy.

Farewell, foothold of Lemnos embraced by two seas, [1465] and send me sailing fair to my heart's content there where mighty Fate and the intent of my friends carries me, and the all-taming god who has brought these things to pass.

Samuel Hardy (Conflict Antiquities)

A medieval ivory icon disappeared during war in Georgia, ‘miraculously reappeared at Christie’s’ in Switzerland

The Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) judged that the case constituted (or symbolised) one of the ‘basic events’ of war and peace in the Caucasus at the time. I learned of it through the Museum Security Network (MSN). Background During the South Ossetian War (also known as the First South Ossetia War), between […]

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Pre-Inca canals may solve Lima's water crisis

A revival of pre-Inca water technology in the mountains of the Andes is set to keep taps flowing in...

Penn Museum Blog

Ringo’s Futuristic School of Thought

The work in the Penn Museum Archives never ends. The backlog resists attempts at taming it. The Archives is happy to have a number of interns and volunteers who are willing to help organize, catalog, and preserve the documents, drawings, and photographs in the collections. Alyssa Velazquez is one such intern, who is presently reorganizing the storage of the old glass plate negatives. The Museum has at least 30,000 glass plates, in sizes ranging from 3×4 inches to 11×14 inches. Many of these were originally transported into the field, were shot and developed there, and were then brought back to the Museum. Others were taken in the Museum’s Photo Studio, which was established by at least 1902. The Adventures of Ringo and Sobek is a social science satire centered around the Museum’s old records, surroundings, and areas of study.

In the Continuing Adventures of Ringo and Sobek:

Sobek, it’s no good.
The dratted mechanics have seized up-
And I can’t figure out what all the reluctance is about.
The world is falling apart.
The pipes,
The typewriter,
They can’t keep up.
If we are to survive these changing times we need to prepare.
When all else fails…
We must always be able to depend on our wits.
Therefore, I’ve decided to enroll us into one of the museum’s nightly seminars.
A very reputable professor teaches a rather exclusive course on the modern world.
While the term modern is puzzling,
His credentials are rather extensive.

I, personally, went to him so as to see about the scheduling of a private session.
I felt I had to explain your condition,
Your lack of mobility,
And the need to be accommodating to your stature.
With your inability to travel, all instructions would have to be had on our shelf.
Which he seemed very obliging to conduct.
I feel this is owing to a decrease in registered students.
Mr. Burrows: our soon to be tutor,
Appears to be occupationally engaged with the enemy.
However, he greatly enjoys this close proximity.

His dwelling is littered with screens and buttons of all imagination.
Wires and cords form a kind of modernistic carpet,
Well-worn and matted from Mr. Burrows’ continued scurrying about the space.
It appeared to me, as our initial interview wore on, that instead of alleviating tasks,
His contraptions made for continual motion and constant monitoring.

The focal point of our instruction will be the utilization of these contraptions.
It is Mr. Burrows’ mindset, that these supportive elements are our future.
Mr. Burrows preaches that all arguments to the contrary are futile.
We then proceeded into my first lesson with a very hands-on exercise.
At his insistence I was made to explore the many controls;
This had to be done blind folded.
It was an example exercise of Mr. Burrows’ proverbial saying: comprehension does not require sight.

At first I thought this mode of behavior was due to Mr. Burrows’ own lack of eyesight
Yet he assured me that all of humanity, regardless of eye and ear size,
Were producing more statistical productivity through generalized interactives.
Particularly those solely based off of sensory stimulation versus antiquated critical thinking initiatives.

I will admit, I did not do particularly well at that first interview.
But I am assured that through continual exposure,
My way of thinking and engaging will adjust itself.
Mr. Burrows’ recommendation to our current predicament is to portray ourselves in digital sensibility, and by doing so, everything else will fall into order.

It my belief Sobek, that you will find the whole experience very formative.
In fact your affinity to the solitary is similar to Mr.Burrows, which leads me to believe that you will be an excellent student in the art of the future.
While Mr. Burrows’ larger screens and controls are not portable, he has devised a specified lesson plan that he promises will provide adequate simulations.
As he said when I left his company the other day, “where there is a wire, there is a way.”

Mr. Burrows stares straight ahead, firm in his convictions.
The future he said is inorganic and our failure to embrace his motorized windows is from our own lack of foresight.
Imagine Sobek, a future full of so many portals.
What if we should get lost?
If we do become lost, I hope that we never lose sight of each other.

Mr. Burrows' Future

The Futuristic Classroom

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Did Neanderthals Die Off Because They Couldn't Harness Fire?

SAN FRANCISCO — Neanderthals may have died off because they failed to harness the power of fire to...

The Egyptiana Emporium

NEWS: British archaeologists discover Old Kingdom mastaba in Delta


(Source: Luxor Times).

“The Egypt Exploration Society mission has unearthed King Khaba of 3rd Dynasty’s (ruled for 6 years) mastaba in Quesna, Minufiya governorate in the Delta.

Dr. Mamdouh El Damaty, Minister of Antiquities said “It is the first time to discover an Old Kingdom tomb in Quesna which is known for Roman period antiquities.”

(Source: Luxor Times).


Dr. Joanne Rowland, director of the mission (EES Delta Survey) said “In 2010, a mud brick structure was discovered to the north of the site which the team suggested was a mastaba and then the excavations continued until in 2014, a seal with the King’s name was found and confirmed it was his tomb.” – via Luxor Times.


Herculaneum papyrus rolls...

... read all about them, in The Economist.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

The first tomb of King Kha-Ba discovered in the Nile Delta

In collaboration with the ministry of antiquities, the National Geographic Society in Egypt...

James Darlack and Michael Hanel (BibleWorks Blog)

BibleWorks 10 - User Lexicon

One of the great things about books (real paper ones), is that you can take notes in the margins, highlight things, circle important ideas, etc. Although there are various ways to replicate this digitally, I’ve always thought that when it comes to lexicons, there was something even more powerful that could be done. What if I want to combine information from multiple lexica into one resource? I could always add a note in BDAG, that says, “see Kittel here,” but then I still need to flip back and forth from one book to the next.

BibleWorks 10’s answer to this is the creation of a user lexicon. With the user lexicon, users can create their own lexica, taking information from various sources and putting it all together in one place. So for instance, if you like some things that are from Danker’s Concise Greek-English Lexicon, but there was also a good note you wanted from BDAG or some other lexicon. You could now copy those sections that you want and put them all in an entry that you create and manage for any given word or lemma.

For pastors and scholars who do word studies, this is an easy way to keep track of all that work that you’ve done and keep it in one place, so you don’t always have to go looking around for that one word study you did back in Seminary.

Or maybe you hear a good sermon or read a good journal article on a particular word. Previously you could perhaps make note of this in BibleWorks in a user note at a given chapter or verse in the Bible, but what if the thought pertained more to a word itself. By using the user lexicon, you can quickly find this information which you might otherwise not think about because it’s buried in a chapter note in some other book of the Bible.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Ancient crucible steel weapon found in Eastern Europe

Sometimes old friends give you a surprise. Russian archaeologists were conducting a routine...

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Nuovi sviluppi sulla Tomografia a Coerenza ottica per l'indagine non invasiva di dipinti

Alcuni ricercatori della Nottingham Trent University's School of Science and Technology hanno collaborato con la National Galelry di Londra per mettere a punto uno strumento capace di catturare i dettagli della superficie di opere d'arte in maniera non invasiva.

Per Lineam Valli

22. Was Hadrian’s Wall the first frontier in Britain?

Various lines have been claimed as early ‘frontiers’ for Roman Britain, starting with the Severn–Trent (or Fosse Way) line, the Gask Ridge in Scotland, and the Stanegate in Northumberland and Cumbria, but Hadrian’s Wall is undoubtedly the first mural barrier and, as such, an indisputable frontier. Most of the other claimants can be dismissed as fortified roads by the sceptical.

Further reading: Breeze and Dobson 2000

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

The Holy Trilogy

I’ll be giving a paper at SBL in November comparing sci-fi canons (with particular focus on Star Wars, given the new direction the franchise is taking) and Biblical canons. And so I was struck when a couple of items came to my attention today, all connected by the use of the phrase “The Holy Trilogy,” an obvious play on the “Holy Trinity.” For many fans, the original three films are sacrosanct. Others think the rejection of the prequels is a blasphemous rebellion against the authority of Emperor Lucas.

Here’s a cartoon, from a series “The Holy Trilogy” by Ryan Roos, that makes an interesting parallel (and which might make it into my SBL powerpoint):

Star Wars and the Bible

And then there were these photos taken by Steven Kiefer at the recent Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, where the canon was discussed:

Holy Trilogy 1 Holy Trilogy 2

I’ve shared thoughts here before, and will share more here as well as in my paper in November. What do you think can be learned by comparing science fiction and Biblical canons – and they ways their fans use them and debate them?

I may also need to include this College Humor video:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Végh Zsuzsanna and Simon Zsolt (Agyagtábla, papirusz)

Cikkek innen-onnan

Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy 26 (2015)
  • A petroglyph of a smiting pharaoh in the Negev (Davida Eisenberg-Degen)
  • Nouveaux documents sabéens provenant de Kamna du VIIIe–VIIe siècle avant J.-C. (Mounir Arbach, Irene Rossi)
  • Buried far from home: Sasanian graves at Jebel al-Emeilah (Sharjah, UAE) (Adelina Kutterer, Sabah A. Jasim, Eisa Yousif)

JAOS 134/4 (2014)
  • John J. Lowe: Transitive Nominals in Old Avestan
  • Mitka Golub: The Distribution of Personal Names in the Land of Israel and Transjordan during the Iron II Period

Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage Studies 3/1 (2015)
  • The Palace versus the Home: Social Status and Zooarchaeology at Tušḫan (Ziyaret Tepe), a Neo-Assyrian Administrative Provincial Capital in Southeastern Turkey (Tina L. Greenfield)

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

G. Ruffini, The Bishop, The Eparch, and The King: Old Nubian texts from Qasr Ibrim (P. QI4)

The Bishop, The Eparch, and The King: Old Nubian texts from Qasr Ibrim (P. QI4)
(The Journal of Juristic Papyrology Supplements) by Giovanni Ruffini

Series: The Journal of Juristic Papyrology Supplements
Hardcover: 350 pages
Publisher: Journal of Juristic Papyrology (November 1, 2014)
ISBN-10: 8393842514
ISBN-13: 978-8393842513
Review in BMCR
Giovanni R. Ruffini, The Bishop, the Eparch, and the King: Old Nubian Texts from Qasr Ibrim (P. QI 4). Journal of Juristic Papyrology supplements, 22.   Warsaw:  Journal of Juristic Papyrology, 2014.  Pp. xiv, 367.  ISBN 9788393842513.  $70.00.

Reviewed by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei, Centre for Modern Thought, University of Aberdeen (
Giovanni Ruffini here brings us the fourth volume of Old Nubian material from the excavations at Qasr Ibrim, more than twenty years after the first three publications by Plumley and Browne.1 This large volume of previously unpublished material, which also forms the documentary backbone to Ruffini's study Medieval Nubia: A Social and Economic History,2 gathers in it a wide selection of documentary materials including land-sales, letters, a royal decree, and accounts, dating mainly from the twelfth century and providing many new insights into the historical, social, and economical context of the multilingual community of Qasr Ibrim, one of the important centers of medieval Nubian culture.
In his introduction, Ruffini first offers a short background of the Old Nubian Qasr Ibrim material and its publication history. The section “Historical Commentary” builds on the preliminary analyses of the material in Medieval Nubia, pointing out several interesting new insights into the political structure of medieval Nubia and details about its economical and fiscal system such as the first attestation of the gold dinar in Old Nubian (108.113). The organization of the documentary material is made according to genre and origin: texts from Qasr Ibrim Archive 1, mainly containing land-sales written on scrolls found in a jar; texts from Archive 4, which are all letters; and finally—save for a royal decree by King Siti, a bilingual Greek-Old Nubian literary document, presumably by a certain bishop Iōannēs, and two miscellaneous texts—a large remainder of letters and accounts.

etc. at BMCR

North American Papyrology Seminar I

***Preliminary Schedule***
The American Society of Papyrologists Presents
North American Papyrology Seminar I

Friday, May 15, 5:00 PM
Keynote Address:
James Keenan Loyola University, Chicago
Reception following lecture

Saturday, May 16
9:30 AM
David Ratzan (New York University and Sarah Goler (Columbia University)
"Progress Report on the Recent Work of the Ancient Ink Laboratory at Columbia University"

10:45 AM
Isabelle Marthot and Philip Sellew (University of Minnesota)
"The Ancient Lives Project: Training Students in Papyrology While Curating the Texts"
11:45-1:15 PM: break for lunch

1:30 PM
W. Graham Claytor (University of Basel)
"The Papyrus Collection of the University of Basel" 2:00 PM
William A. Johnson (Duke University)
"An Intriguing Ptolemaic Commentary from the Yale Collection"
***15 minute break***

2:45 PM
Micaela Langellotti (University of California, Berkeley)
"A Division of Property from the Grapheion of Tebtunis" 3:15 PM
Michael Zellman-Rohrer (University of California, Berkeley) "An Edition of Two Private Letters in the British Museum"
***15 minute break***

4:00 PM
Lincoln H. Blumell (Brigham Young University)
"Some Unpublished Texts in the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology"

4:30 PM
Brendan Haug (University of Michigan)
"Four Greek and Arabic Village Lists from the early Medieval Fayyum"
Travel Information

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

The Future of a More Public Byzantium

I had a lovely weekend in Boston at the Mary Jaharis Center at Hellenic College Holy Cross and quite enjoyed a range of graduate student papers on Byzantine related topics. The program, hospitality, and conversations with colleagues was first class, and it provided a window into the next generation of Byzantine studies professionals as well as some frank conversations about how Byzantine studies can engage a wider audience.

As per usual, I’ll offer a few observations:

1. Byzantium and the Margins. While the papers presented at the conference were not necessary representative of all the work being done by graduate students in Byzantine studies in the U.S. right now, it does allow us to observe some “trending topics” in Byzantine studies. In particular, I was impressed by the work being done around the margins of the “traditional” Byzantine world. While there were a handful of papers on theology and liturgy, for example, the conference saw little attention to the canonical texts or buildings of the Byzantine capital and a greater interest in geographic and conceptual edges of the traditional Byzantine world.

For example, there were papers on Genovese settlements in the Black Sea, on the art of the Red Monastery in Egypt, on Danishmend and Frankish coinage with Byzantine iconography, on attitudes toward iconoclasm in Arab lands, and attitudes toward the Jews in Byzantium. A paper that began with an image of Theodore Metochites at the church of the Chora in Istanbul, soon departed for Italy and Serbia to understand the headwear of Byzantine elites. What all these papers indicated to me is that the next generation of Byzantine scholars will be less fixated on defining and articulating what is essentially Byzantine and more focused on considering Byzantium in a relational way and locate Byzantine culture and society at the intersection of various currents of interaction and various distinct, but related communities. While this is not a new trend in the study of Byzantium (and reflects larger trends in the study of the premodern Mediterranean), it was remarkable to see how deeply this notion of Byzantium has permeated graduate student research.   

2. Byzantine Data. I was also interested to see how many of the papers drew either explicitly or implicitly on databases. I began to wonder where the great gaggle of data being produced by graduate students as the basis for their arguments goes after they defend (and publish) their dissertations. I got to thinking about a data clearing house for Byzantine related datasets that could support a wide range of research. I began to worry that these bespoke datasets could molder on a hard drive for years after a research project is done, and, at the same time, think about how these databases could provide important complements to ongoing or future research. I wonder how frequently we re-invent the wheel when we don’t share our data and whether making dissertation datasets available would encourage scholars to produce collaborative datasets to the benefit of the larger Byzantine Studies project.

I have to admit that I’m as guilty of this as anyone because my dissertation dataset had lingered relatively untouched on my laptop for years (although to be fair, my dissertation has been available as a free download since 2004!). Perhaps that’s what got me thinking about how these valuable troves of data could expand what Byzantine Studies has to offer the larger community of scholars.

3. Digital Centers and Byzantine Studies. One of the points that Jim Skedros brought up during our lunchtime panel is that there is no single outlet serving to make Byzantine Studies accessible to the general public. Instead, our field relies on personal blogs and a diverse set of institutions like Dumbarton Oaks, the Metropolitan Museum, BSANA and the Mary Jaharis Center to provide support for the study of Byzantium rather than a central institution like the Archaeological Institute of America or even the American Schools of Oriental Research. Considering the small number of scholars working in this field and its trans and interdisciplinary nature, it is particularly difficult that our energies and output are scattered over so many disparate institutions.

I wonder whether one of the institutions committed to the health of Byzantine studies should convene a conference that discusses ways to open the field of Byzantine studies to the wider academic and popular world. The goals of such a gathering would be to establish guidelines and support for a Byzantine outreach page with a dedicated (if not full time) editor, regularly updated content, and a system for driving traffic, dissemination in various (print?) formats, and archiving. These efforts require institutional support and “by in” even if it does not extend to any substantial financial investment. Having a single destination for outreach within academia and beyond would benefit the various stakeholders and perhaps even create a place for scholarly communication on various Byzantine issues and forge a stronger sense of community between various institutions.  

4. Theory and Practice. Finally, I detected a certain aversion to theorizing Byzantine studies both from the students in the panel and the participants in the lunchtime roundtable. I think our aversion to theory contributes to the struggle to connect the world of Byzantine scholarship to the larger project of the humanities or even Mediterranean history. Theoretical terms for whatever their benefit in interpreting and analyzing evidence from the past, provides a venue for engaging scholars working with similar approaches in other periods and fields.

Engaging the popular media and the general public will also require some theoretical savvy on the part of scholars of Byzantium. As the Middle East is going through a particularly dynamic and unsettled period, Byzantinists must be particularly sensitive to any effort to lend a historical perspective to events in this region without awareness of Orientalism, post colonial perspectives, and various models for articulating past perspectives to present events. The graduate students and panelists surely have the knowledge and understanding to make Byzantium relevant to a wider audience, but showing their framework more explicitly will make Byzantium a more active participant in producing useful pasts.

5. The Chapel. Finally, no post on Byzantium would be complete with a photo of a church. In this case, it is the chapel on the Hellenic Holy Cross campus that is modeled (loosely) after the church of the Holy Apostles in the Athenian Agora. According to Kostis Kourelis, the church was designed by Stuart Thompson who had quite a few other high-profile commissions in both Greece and America.

IMG 3089


Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Database of Neo-Sumerian Texts (BDTNS)

 [First posted in AWOL 19 January 2012, updated, 20 April 2015]

Database of Neo-Sumerian Texts (BDTNS)

The Database of Neo-Sumerian Texts has been developed at the Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (Madrid).

The aim of the project has been the creation of an open database able to manage more than 90,300 administrative cuneiform tablets written in the Sumerian language (c. 77,900 published, and 12,400 unpublished). These tablets belong to the Neo-Sumerian period (c. 2100-2000 BC), coming basically from five southern cities of Ancient Mesopotamia –Ur, Nippur, Drehem, Girsu and Umma–, and to a minor extent from some other urban settlements of the Neo-Sumerian period.

James Darlack and Michael Hanel (BibleWorks Blog)

BibleWorks 10 - Color Customization

One new feature in BibleWorks 10 is the ability to do much more customization with the color scheme used in BibleWorks. So for instance, you can control the title bar and column backgrounds as well as menu and window text colors.

On the one hand, this is a minor new feature (but don’t tell that to the programmers, who probably spent weeks making this possible and then even more time ironing out the wrinkles) that doesn’t affect the content of BibleWorks, but it is a nice little bump to the program that allows user to make colors fresh and make the program fit your overall aesthetic. BibleWorks 10 comes loaded with several different color schemes, so that you do not need to be a color genius to find something that works for you. You can start with a new color scheme and slowly change and adapt it if there are some colors you don’t like.

In addition to the colors that come packaged in BibleWorks 10, some of the beta-testers also made their own color schemes and were willing to share them with me so that I could pass them along to you. So if you’ve tried all the color schemes in BibleWorks and you’re still looking for one that’s just you, maybe you can give some of these extra ones to try. You can also check out the BibleWorks forums, as users there may share some of their own personal color schemes too!

DOWNLOAD More Color Schemes! - To use the colors, unzip the file to the \init\ subfolder of BibleWorks 10. When you restart BibleWorks 10, these new color schemes will be found listed along with the ones that initially came with BibleWorks 10 [Color schemes provided by Michael Tan & Mark Hoffman].

BibleWorks 10 has arrived!

For those of you have found word of this either through Facebook, the BibleWorks web page or the BibleWorks Forums, BibleWorks 10 has made its grand entrance TODAY!

I’ve been lucky enough to have spent a good amount of time working with BW10 as a beta tester, so I thought I would try to give you all some idea of what’s going on in BW10, as I have with other versions. The posts may not be as thorough as other releases, unfortunately. This has less to do with my enthusiasm and more to do with my life circumstances (we’re expecting baby #2 very soon and I still have a lot to do in my “real life”!). But stay tuned for the good stuff coming very soon!

[P.S. - I'm not sure the comments work on the blog for some reason. So I'm simply turning them off]

CHS Fellowships Research Bulletin

Live Webcast: April 2015 Research Symposium

Join us on Friday, April 24 for a live webcast of the biannual Center for Hellenic Studies Research Symposium! The stream will be available at No special software is required. Persons interested in watching the stream should click on the link above and the stream will play in their web browser. Have questions for the presenters? Contact us via the online form or the live chat room. Friday, April 24 Session 1, 9:30-11:00 am (EDT) “Local Pantheons in Motion: Synoecism and Patron Deities in Hellenistic Rhodes” Stéphanie Paul, University of Liege Abstract “The Social Dynamics of Dedication in the Delian Inventories of the Third Century: Audience, Function and Temporality” Christy Constantakopoulou, Birkbeck College Abstract “Connecting People: Mobility and Networks in the Corpus of Greek Private Letters” Madalina Dana, University Paris 1 – Panthéon Sorbonne Abstract Session 2, 11:30 am-12:30 pm (EDT) “Seeing Hera in the Iliad ” Seemee Ali, Carthage College Abstract “Painting, […] more

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

LOST Rewatch: Recon

The episode begins with Sawyer making Jin some tea. Then Smokey and his group return. Kate asks Claire about the thing in the crib, and she says it was all she had. When Cindi asks Smokey what happened to the people who stayed behind at the temple, he says that the black smoke killed them. He them reassures the children who are scared. We see the boy carrying a teddy bear. When Saywer asks what happened at the temple, he says that he is the “smoke thing.” He sends Sawyer to do some recon, to see what the other survivors of the Ajira flight are planning, since he believes they mean to do them harm. He wants to use the plane to leave the island. Sawyer finds a bunch of dead bodies on Hydra Island. Then he sees a woman running through the jungle and chases her. She says she is the only one left. When he says he can take her to his group on the main island, she says “Thank God,” and he replies, “God has nothing to do with it.” The woman calls herself Zoe. Sawyer pulls a gun but then she whistles for her people in the bushes, who have guns. They take him to a submarine (on the way passing a small sonic fence being set up). He is taken to Charles Widmore. Sawyer tells him that he will bring “Locke” to his doorstep so that he can kill him. He says that in exchange he wants safe passage off the island for himself and those with him. He says they have a deal. Then Sawyer goes back and tells him everything.

Claire-and-KateClaire jumps Kate with a knife, planning to kill her for taking Aaron. Smokey intervenes, saying that Kate did what she had to after Claire disappeared, and telling Claire that her behavior is inappropriate. Sayid sits by and watches. Smokey tells Kate that he was the one who told Claire that the Others had her baby. He says that it gave her something to hate, which could help her get through what she was going through, but when Kate told her the truth, that hate got placed on her. Smokey tells Kate that he had a mother who was crazy, a very disturbed woman, and as a result he had some growing pains, problems that he is still trying to work his way through, which could have been avoided if things had been different. He says that now Aaron has a crazy mother too. Later, Claire says she is sorry, she cries and thanks Kate for taking care of Aaron, and hugs Kate.

Sawyer tells Kate that his plan is to get the submarine while Widmore and Smokey fight it out.

In the afterlife, James is in bed with a woman. Then he does the pigeon drop scam with the briefcase of money. She pulls a gun, and it turns out that he is a cop, and Miles is his partner. Later we see him at his desk, calling people named Anthony Cooper. Miles sets him up with a date with Charlotte. She asks him why he became a cop. He says that he came to a point in his life at which he was either going to become a criminal or a cop, and he chose cop. Back at his place, after they make love, she finds his Sawyer file, and he throws a tantrum and kicks her out. The next day, Miles confronts James about going to Australia when he said he was in Palm Springs. That evening we see him eating a TV dinner, drinking beer, and watching Little House on the Prairie. Charles Ingalls tells Laura that people who die aren’t really gone. He goes to Charlotte’s apartment but she tells him that he blew it. James then gives Miles his Sawyer file, telling him the truth for the first time about what happened when he was 9 years old. He says he has been trying to hunt down the grifter and con man named Sawyer ever since he left the academy. He says that when he finds the right Anthony Cooper, he plans to kill him. Then someone crashes into their car and runs, Jamea chases them. It is Kate!

It was interesting to rewatch this episode in view of what we later learn about Smokey and Jacob’s backstory. The entire series has a focus on the baggage that parents leave their children with, and so it was very fitting that that prove to be a key element in the underlying conflict about the island.


Noel Tan (The Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog)

Seized Kapoor treasures include a large number of Cambodian and Thai artefacts

The treasure trove of disgraced antiques dealer Subhash Kapoor was seized by the authorities in New York and the list of antiquities recovered were made public. Among them are a number of Cambodian and Thai artefacts, amounting to millions of dollars in value.

New York Authorities Seek Custody of Stolen Artifacts Worth Over $100 Million
New York Times, 14 April 2015

Major US Seizure Included Cambodian Artifacts
Cambodia Daily, 16 April 2015

At least $3 million worth of Cambodian artifacts are part of a massive cache of smuggled antiquities that have been seized by New York authorities after being smuggled into the U.S. by an art dealer, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.

After a two-yearlong investigation into the assets of New York City art dealer Subhash Kapoor, the Manhattan district attorney’s office on Tuesday asked a judge for permission to take custody of 2,622 relics worth more than $100 million that were stolen from various Asian countries, the Times reported.

The relics were confiscated from six of the art dealer’s galleries and storage spaces in a series of raids that began in 2012 known as “Operation Hidden Idol.” Altogether, the pieces uncovered during the raids represent the largest art seizure in U.S. history, according to the Times.

The cache includes several major Cambodian artifacts, including a $1.2-million Naga statue found in Mr. Kapoor’s Art of the Past gallery on Madison Avenue in Manhattan, according to court documents released by the newspaper.

Full stories here and here.

466-year-old chapel to be restored

An ancient chapel built during the 16th century Portuguese colonial period in historic Malacca will finally be restored by the local authorities.

Source: The Star 20150325

Source: The Star 20150325

466-year-old chapel set to undergo restoration
The Star, 25 March 2015

Lent 2015 brought cheer to thousands of Catholics here with news that the ancient Rosary Chapel (Ermida de Rosario) will be restored, ending its days of neglect.

Malacca Museum Corporation (Perzim) has received the go-ahead from the management of St Peter’s Church of Malacca to start work on the 466-year-old building and the land it stands on in Jalan Bunga Raya Pantai along Malacca River.

“With the permission granted, work will begin very soon,” Perzim general manager Datuk Khamis Abas said yesterday.

Joseph Sta Maria, a representative of minority ethnic communities under the state Barisan Nasional’s social service unit (Pembela), said the announcement brought joy not only to Catholics in Malacca but also nationwide.

Full story here.

ASOR Blog (American Schools of Oriental Research)

11 Photos from Nimrud

Ancient Near East Today Banner

Reports indicate that ISIS has destroyed portions of the Assyrian city of Nimrud. Photos from 2008-2010 document some of what … Read more

The post 11 Photos from Nimrud appeared first on The ASOR Blog.

Noel Tan (The Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog)

National Heritage, but vandalised and under-maintained

Locals bemoan the lack of maintenance of the Gua Tambun rock art site, despite having been designated as a national heritage site. I recorded the site as part of my MA research several years ago and there was very little or promotion of the site then and it is sad to hear that this is still the case.

Vandalism at Gua Tambun. The Malay Mail 20150411

Vandalism at Gua Tambun. The Malay Mail 20150411


National heritage lost to ravages of time and vandals
Malay Mail, 11 April 2015

In another country, a drawing dating back thousands of years ago would have become the pride of the nation, a major tourist attraction and a well-guarded heritage.

Such an artifact would have been flaunted to the extremes, ensuring it would never be lost and continue to generate as much tourist dollars as possible.

But, sadly, that is not the case for the drawings on the walls of a collapsed cave in Tambun, a five-minute drive from the centre of Ipoh town.

Believed to have been discovered by British soldiers in 1959, the drawings are said to be at least 3,000 years old although there have been claims they could even be 12,000 years old.

Full story here.

Thibaut Castelli (Spartokos a Lu)

L’Or de Phanagoria

Trejster, M. J. (2015) : фанагория. Результаты археологических исследований. Том 2. Золото фанагории / Fanagorija. Rezul’taty arkheologicheskikh issledovanij. Tom 2. Zoloto Fanagorii, Moscou, , [Phanagoria. Les résultats de la recherche archéologique. Volume 2. L’Or de Phanagoria].

Cet ouvrage dirigé par un grand spécialiste de la toreutique antique s’intéresse aux objets en or découverts à Phanagoria, cité du royaume du Bosphore. Après une histoire des découvertes, sont présentés le contexte de découverte des 277 objets présentés, datés entre le IVe s. av. J.-C. et le Ve s. ap. J. -C. Une étude numismatique, épigraphique et technique des bijoux permet d’enrichir l’analyse. Grâce aux analyses physiques, il est possible de déterminer les productions de Phanagoria et les produits importés. Le catalogue illustré présente les différents artefacts qui se trouvent dans 4 grandes collections russes.

Le sommaire :

or phanagoria

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Temple Dedicated to Chinese Taoist Monk Excavated

Chinese archaeologists have excavated a major temple dedicated to a Chinese Taoist master in east...

James Hamrick (The Ancient Bookshelf)

Scripture in the Mishnah

An excellent resource for those interested in early Jewish interpretation of scripture is Alexander Samely's Midrashic Units in the Mishnah.  The website is a companion to his fascinating work Rabbinic Interpretation of Scripture in the Mishnah (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002).  Find it in a library here, or purchase it here

The website has a database and accompanying resources for all of the examples of biblical interpretation in the Mishnah with the exception of Avot (which the author indicates will be added in the future).  Samely has provided an English translation of each Midrashic unit and an analysis/commentary that uses the categories and terms he developed in his book.

You can search by tractate, biblical book, the code/category, the rabbi, formal features, or use a search term field.

This is a fantastic online resource for those interested in early scriptural interpretation and Rabbinic literature.  

A good summary quote from chapter 2 of Samely's book:

"Mishnaic interpretations do not target the whole of Scripture, or any one of its larger parts, but rather segments approximately of sentence length.  The hermeneutic licence to cut the text into small units which can be interpreted as if they stood alone creates a wide hermeneutic choice.  Its fundamental effect is that the segment, taken in isolation, is less determined in topic, reference, or meaning than as part of a Scriptural environment (co-text).  The Mishnah, in surrounding the segment with different co-text, can thus appoint a fresh topic, reference, or meaning for the biblical words" (31).

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: Studies in Mediterranean antiquity and classics

[First posted in AWOL 6 July 2013, updated  20 April 2015]

Studies in Mediterranean antiquity and classics
ISSN: 1934-3442
SMAC features the outstanding research of undergraduates at Macalester College in the study of ancient Mediterranean people and cultures. Papers are welcome addressing the languages, literature, material culture, societies or history of the ancient Mediterranean world or their reception in later historical periods. Submissions are peer reviewed by advanced students at Macalester College.

Current Issue: Volume 3, Issue 1 (2013)


James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Pistis Sophias

Click here to view the embedded video.

The composition is by Andrew Violette, and the score, which is visible in the video, is also available on IMSLP.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

123 stolen artefacts to return to Egypt

A collection of antiquities are to be returned to Egypt after being found in a persons luggage at...

Jim Davila (

More on Sanders's Guggenheim

Guggenheim Fellowship Awarded to Trinity College's Seth Sanders (The Hartford Courant). Excerpt:
"Religious people have struggled with the Bible's contradictions since they first read it, and scholars have used them as a window into how it was created. What my project can explain is why those contradictions were put in the text in the first place," Sanders said.

"As a collection of incompatible versions of similar stories, the Torah is unlike any other major work of ancient literature," Sanders said. "Biblical scholarship still cannot agree on how this new paradigm arose. My project draws on ancient Near Eastern evidence to explain what is new about it by placing the Torah in literary history."
Background here and here, and PaleoJudaica has referred often to his work as well.

You can read a lot more about Prof. Sanders's research at his current blog, sethlsanders and his earlier blog Serving the Word.

Ben Hur and the Pope

Pope Francis blesses Ben-Hur's new Jesus at the Vatican (Ben Child, The Guardian)

Brazil’s Rodrigo Santoro, who is playing Christ in a new Ben-Hur movie, was filming in Rome when he met the pope.

The Brazilian actor Rodrigo Santoro, who is cast as Jesus Christ in the forthcoming biblical epic Ben-Hur, has been blessed by Pope Francis at the Vatican.


Santoro and fellow cast member Nazanin Boniadi attended a weekly papal audience event during a break from production, where they met Pope Francis. The pair also took a picture in front of the Vatican.

Background on the new film version of Ben Hur is here and links.

Current Epigraphy

XXIème Rencontre franco-italienne sur l’épigraphie du monde romain. Campobasso, September 24-26, 2015

XXIème Rencontre franco-italienne sur l’épigraphie du monde romain:

Evoluzione dell’organizzazione istituzionale cittadina in Italia e nelle province occidentali: dalla tarda-Repubblica all’epoca severiana.


Campobasso (Italy), September 24-26, 2015

XXI Rencontre provisional programme


For further information:

Jim Davila (

Herodium walkway

Herodium walkway reveals more of Jewish king's grand designs (Reuters/Israel HaYom).

Archaeologists unearth grand arched walkway in one of King Herod's major buildings • They believe he intended it to be used for his burial procession, but changed his mind and covered it over • The discovery is to open to the public in about a year.
Lots more on Herod the Great and Herodium here with many links.

Menahem Haran (1924-2015)

SAD NEWS FROM H-JUDAIC: Obituary: Prof. Menahem Haran.
H-Judaic is deeply saddened to learn of the passing, at age 91, of Professor Menahem Haran (1924-2015), Yehezkel Kaufmann Emeritus Professor of Biblical Studies at the Hebrew University and one of the towering figures of Jewish biblical scholarship. ...
May his memory be for a blessing.

Review of Fine and Koller (eds.), Talmuda de-Eretz Israel

Steven Fine, Aaron Koller (ed.), Talmuda de-Eretz Israel: Archaeology and the Rabbis in Late Antique Palestine. Studia Judaica, Bd 73. Berlin; Boston: De Gruyter, 2014. Pp. xiii, 352. ISBN 9781614514855. €119.95.

Reviewed by Joseph Geiger, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (
The present volume is a welcome collection of papers by a variety of scholars each dealing with a specific problem. None of the contributions, however, faces the crucial larger issue: do the texts indeed reflect the material realities? No well known holders of a negative view on this question contributed to the volume. The general approach is summed up in two contributions included as “Afterwords,” one by an eminent archaeologist, Eric Meyers, the other by an eminent rabbinic scholar, Daniel Sperber. Meyers remains committed to the idea that, in order to understand the world of the rabbis better, “it is imperative to be immersed in the textual material including the visual and epigraphical sources that are chronologically relevant” (305). He goes on to demonstrate this with respect to burial customs, remains of foodstuffs, stone vessels, ritual baths, synagogues and issues of gender – most of which are discussed at length by contributions in the volume. Sperber's article insists on the need for philological examination prior to the evaluation of the material finds. The piece is a bibliographic treasure-trove – though unfortunately needs editing.

Bryn Mawr Classical Review

2015.04.31: Retórica y discurso en el teatro griego

Review of Milagros Quijada Sagredo, M. Carmen Encinas Reguero, Retórica y discurso en el teatro griego​. Madrid: 2013. Pp. 339. ISBN 9788478827787 .

2015.04.30: La puissance de l'intelligible: la theorie plotinienne des Formes au miroir de l'heritage medioplatonicien. Ancient and medieval philosophy. Series 1, 51

Review of Alexandra Michalewski, La puissance de l'intelligible: la theorie plotinienne des Formes au miroir de l'heritage medioplatonicien. Ancient and medieval philosophy. Series 1, 51. Leuven: 2014. Pp. vii, 264. €82.50. ISBN 9789462700024.

2015.04.29: Libanius: A Critical Introduction

Review of Lieve Van Hoof, Libanius: A Critical Introduction. Cambridge, New York: 2014. Pp. xvi, 387. $120.00. ISBN 9781107013773.

David Gill (Looting Matters)

Collecting histories matter

I see that there continues to be significant issues raised over the four antiquities withdrawn from Christie's. the key issue that needs to be addressed is an improvement in the due diligence process. It would appear that the collecting histories for these four objects were either incomplete or had not been authenticated. The advocates of a licit market need to demonstrate how an object passed through known collections and sales, and that paperwork should be authenticated. This is not an issue about access to images but rather about the rigour of those undertaking the research by or on behalf of the auction houses. 

Separately, how often are dealers represented in the paperwork as collectors? so, for example, is, say, a Japanese Collector shorthand for a Japanese dealer operating out of Switzerland? 

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Un workshop sulle tecniche neutroniche per i beni culturali

Venerdi, 24 Aprile 2015 dalle ore 9.30 a Palazzo Coppini - Centro Studi e Incontri Internazionali si terrà un Workshop dal titolo "Applicazione delle Tecniche Neutroniche di Diffrazione e Imaging ai Beni Culturali". 

Kristina Killgrove (Powered by Osteons)

Triumphs and Tribulations in Teaching (AAPA 2015 Poster Session)

During last month's American Association of Physical Anthropologists conference, I participated in a really interesting poster session on Triumphs and Tribulations in Teaching, organized by Laurie Kauffman and Jessica Westin.  We talked about the possibility of putting all the posters up on the web for wider dissemination following the conference, and I offered my blog as a platform for that.

Following is the abstract for the session, as well as the titles and authors of each poster.  Small pics of the posters can be embiggened by clicking on them; the [Abstract] link takes you to the AAPA online abstracts; clicking on names brings you to authors' professional pages; and clicking on the titles gives you a link to the full PDF in Google Drive.

Enjoy!  (And if you use these ideas in your own teaching, the various authors would surely appreciate a quick note here or via email, as many of us are putting together teaching portfolios for tenure and promotion purposes.)

Triumphs and Tribulations in Teaching

A recent survey of the AAPA membership indicates a substantial number of contingent and teaching-focused faculty. Approximately 14% of AAPA members reported their “current primary position” as either “Temporary Position” or “Permanent Position, Teaching Faculty”. According to the American Association of University Professors, more than 50% of faculty hold part-time positions, and more than 76% hold non-tenure track positions. The Higher Education Research Institute has found that 59.1% of faculty spend more than 9 hours per week preparing for teaching undergraduate courses, while a study of Boise State University faculty found professors spent 40% of their working time on teaching-related activities. These data demonstrate the importance of teaching and non-tenure track faculty in today’s higher education landscape. The idea for this symposium grew out of the inaugural meeting of the Anthropologists outside of Anthropology departments, Contingent, and Teaching-focused faculty (AACT) Task Force, under the umbrella of the Committee on Diversity, which occurred at the 2014 meetings in Calgary. In this symposium, we provide a space for physical anthropologists to share a particular, broadly-defined teaching challenge or success. Additionally, we want to increase opportunities at the annual meetings for physical anthropologists to engage with others regarding their teaching, to share best-practices and solutions to teaching-related problems, and to gain teaching tools to help better serve students in whatever discipline we may teach. Symposium topics include the use of technology in the classroom, active and hands-on learning techniques, teaching through field courses, and overall measures of student success.

1. Correlates of success in science classes. [AbstractJ.L. Westin
2. Examination of primate conservation knowledge amongst college students. [Abstract] J.M. Morris, A. Skrinyer, L. Lease
3. Engaging students through active participation in a community-based conservation initiative. [AbstractC.T. Cloutier, A.R. Halloran
4. Experiential learning via research projects in freshmen biological anthropology courses. [AbstractT.D. Pan, P.A. Kramer
5. Field courses for non-majors. [AbstractL. Kauffman
6. Body and Brain: Anatomy of team-based learning in a preclinical science course. [Abstract] A.B. Taylor, J. Velkey, J. Gwyer, L.E. White
7. Evolve: Gameplay in introductory biological anthropology courses. [AbstractM.C. Pitre, N.M. Burt, H.J. Hunold
8. Making physical anthropology "physical" in the online classroom: Digital collections and virtual experiences. [Abstract] J.D. Cramer
9. Teaching with ePortfolios. [Abstract] M.S. Schaefer, K.J. Lewis
10. Are you ready to rumble?! Sports championship mimicry to educate about adaptations, community ecology, and conservation. [Abstract] C.N. Anderson, K.L. Lewton, J.A. Drew, K. Hinde
11. Twerking, limericks, and 3D printing: Shaking up Human Osteology assignments. [AbstractK. Killgrove, A.N. Acosta
12. Virtually there: Using live-feeding cameras to teach primate behavior. [Abstract] C.A. Cooke, M. Rodrigues
13. Resurrecting lives: a contextualized data analysis and collaboration exercise in a bioarchaeology seminar. [AbstractC. Liu
14. GenBank and the promise of online resources for undergraduate research. [Abstract] A. Kitchen, J. Steinmetz
15. Integrating anthropology and biology: Comparing success rates and learning outcomes across majors when taking Human Evolution. [Abstract] D.A. Hernandez, K.D. O'Neill, B.C. Verrelli, A.L. Rector

Laura Gibbs (Bestiaria Latina Blog)

Latin Proverbs and Fables Round-Up: April 20

Here is a round-up of today's proverbs and fables - and for previous posts, check out the Bestiaria Latina Blog archives. If you are a Pinterest user, you might enjoy following the Bestiaria Latina at Pinterest, and there is also a LatinLOLCat Board.

HODIE (Roman Calendar): ante diem duodecimum Kalendas Maias.

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


TINY PROVERBS: Today's tiny proverb is: Mone sale (English: Add wit to your advice).

3-WORD MOTTOES: Today's 3-word verb-less motto is Virtute et veritate (English: Through worthiness and truth).

ANIMAL PROVERBS: Today's animal proverb is Canis sine dentibus vehementius latrat (English: A dog without teeth barks the more fiercely).

POLYDORUS: Today's proverb from Polydorus is: Omnis qui male agit, odit lucem (English: Everyone who does wicked deeds hates the light).

PROPER NAME PROVERBS: Today's proper name proverb from Erasmus is Iapeto antiquior (English: Older than Iapetus; from Adagia 5.2.51 - The ancient Titan Iapetus was a distant ancestor of the human race, being as he was the father of Prometheus).

GREEK PROVERBS: Today's proverb is Σήψει καὶ πέτρην ὁ πολὺς χρόνος (English: A long period of time will make even the stone decay).

BREVISSIMA: The distich poster for today is Cum Carum Moneas. Click here for a full-sized view.

And here are today's proverbial LOLcats:

Nolite fieri servi hominum.
Become not servants of men.

Non parvum est seipsum noscere.
It is no small thing to know oneself.


FABULAE FACILES: The fable from the Fabulae Faciles widget is Iuppiter et Apollo, a fable about why Jupiter really is the king of the gods (this fable has a vocabulary list).

MILLE FABULAE: The fable from the Mille Fabulae et Una widget is Iuppiter et Agricola, which is yet another fable about the mighty Jupiter.

Ne nimium

Words from Mythology. For more about MUSEUM and the Muses, see this blog post.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: Forum Kritische Archäologie

 [First posted in AWOL 24 October 2913, updated 19 April 2015]

Forum Kritische Archäologie
ISSN: 2194-346X
Das Interesse an den politischen Dimensionen der Archäologie hat global stark zugenommen, was auch zur Infragestellung von Wahrheitsbehauptungen der archäologischen Forschung selbst führte. Auseinandersetzungen dieser Art reichen von Forderungen der Rückführung von Kulturgütern bis hin zur Frage, wer über die Vergangenheit Anderer forschen, reden oder schreiben darf oder welches Verhältnis wir zu den “Anderen” der Vergangenheit entwickeln können und sollten. Man kann heute kaum von einer ethisch fundierten, gesellschaftlich verantwortlichen Archäologie reden, wenn sie sich nicht mit diesen Themen beschäftigt.

Forum Kritische Archäologie hat zum Ziel, die Auseinandersetzung mit solchen Fragen im deutschsprachigen Raum zu fördern. [weiter lesen]
Vierte Ausgabe (2015)
[zur Ausgabe Forum Kritische Archäologie 4 (2015)]
Streitraum: Das Leipziger Völkerschlacht-Reenactment
Bertram Haude
Krieg als Hobby? Das Leipziger Völkerschlacht-Reenactment und der Versuch einer Entgegnung

Stefanie Samida

Wolfgang Hochbruck
Eine Replik auf Bertram Haudes Essay "Krieg als Hobby?"

Tom Stern
Reenactment, Archäologie und Film – Ein Seitenblick auf Bertram Haudes Essay "Krieg als Hobby?"

Streitraum 'Reenactment' als Reader

Dritte Ausgabe (2014)
[zur Ausgabe Forum Kritische Archäologie 3 (2014)]
Themenheft: Zeichen der Zeit. Archäologische Perspektiven auf Zeiterfahrung, Zeitpraktiken und Zeitkonzepte
Herausgegeben von Sabine Reinhold und Kerstin P. Hofmann
Kerstin P. Hofmann und Sabine Reinhold
ZeitSpurenSuchen. Eine Einleitung

Ulrike Sommer
Zeit, Erinnerung und Geschichte

Ulf Ickerodt
Gleichzeitiges und Ungleichzeitiges, Lebensrhythmen und Eigenzeiten in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart – Bemerkungen zur Unbestimmtheitsrelation von archäologischen Zeitbeobachtungen

Undine Stabrey
Archäologie als Zeitmaschine: Zur Temporalisierung von Dingen

Eva Rosenstock
Zyklische Abläufe als Hilfsmittel zur Deutung von Zeit in der Archäologie

Stefanie Samida
Moderne Zeitreisen oder Die performative Aneignung vergangener Lebenswelten

Themensheft 'Zeichen der Zeit' dieser Ausgabe als Reader
Streitraum: Ausstellungszensur
Stefan Maneval Niemand hat die Absicht, einen Aufsatz zu zensieren. Archäologie, Politik und Zensur im Zusammenhang mit der Ausstellung "Roads of Arabia. Archäologische Schätze aus Saudi-Arabien"
Dominik Bonatz Archäologie, Politik und Zensur im Zusammenhang mit der Ausstellung 'Roads of Arabia'
Susanne Bocher Museen und ethische Grundsätze
Mamoun FansaSchuld haben die Politik und die Geschichte
Streitraum 'Ausstellungszensur' als Reader
Streitraum: Entangled
Susan Pollock, Reinhard Bernbeck, Carolin Jauß, Johannes Greger, Constance von
Rüden, Stefan Schreiber
Entangled Discussions: Talking with Ian Hodder About His Book Entangled

Ian Hodder
Dis-entangling Entanglement: A Response to my Critics

Streitraum 'Hodder: Entangled' als Reader

Zweite Ausgabe (2013)
[zur Ausgabe Forum Kritische Archäologie 2 (2013)]
Petra WodtkeArchäologie als Kulturwissenschaft.
Leila Papoli Yazdi et al.
Uncomfortable, irregular, anarchist: an archaeology of repetition. Archaeological investigations in the Faculty of Art and Architecture, Bu Ali Sina University (Hamadan, Iran).
Stefan Schreiber
Archäologie der Aneignung. Zum Umgang mit Dingen aus kulturfremden Kontexten.

Dawid KobiałkaOn (very) new and (extremely) critical archaeologies, or, why one may remain forever eighteen years behind the truly new.
Reinhard Bernbeck
In Defense of "the New": a Response to Dawid Kobiałka.


Erste Ausgabe (2012)
[zur Ausgabe Forum Kritische Archäologie 1 (2012)]
(Diskussion: Was ist eine kritische Archäologie)

Alexander HerreraEin Kurzbeitrag zur kritischen Archäologie aus Lateinamerika
Yannis Hamilakis
"...Not being at home in one's home": ontology, temporality, critique

Leila Papoli Yazdi & Omran Garazhian
Archaeology as an imported commodity: a critical approach to the position of archaeology in Iran

Hans Peter Hahn
Archäologie und Ethnologie: Welche gemeinsamen Grundlagen?

Matthias JungWas soll und was kann eine "kritische Archäologie" leisten?
Stefan BurmeisterNach dem Post-
Constance von RüdenDer Tigersprung ins Vergangene - ein Plädoyer für eine Kritische Archäologie
Meredith S. Chesson
Achieving an Angle of Repose? Ethics and Engagement in Critical Archaeology

Raphael Greenberg
Critical archaeology in practice

Randall H. McGuire
Critical archaeology and praxis. [deutsche Version: Kritische Archäologie und Praxis]

Claire Smith
The benefits and risks of critical archaeology

Cornelius HoltorfKritische Archäologie ist angewandte Archäologie
Stefan AltekampKritische Klassische Archäologie?
Julia BudkaZur Notwendigkeit einer kritischen Archäologie – einige Bemerkungen aus ägyptologischer Perspektive
Beat SchweizerKritische Archäologie(n). Zwei oder drei Dinge, die ich davon weiß
Carolyn Nakamura
Archaeology and the capacity to aspire [deutsche Version: Archäologie und die Fähigkeit des Bestrebens]

Ömür Harmanşah
Critical archaeologies for political engagements with place

Jason De León
Victor, archaeology of the contemporary, and the politics of researching unauthorized border crossing: a brief and personal history of the undocumented migration project

Maria Theresia StarzmannKritische Archäologie: Gedanken zu einer undisziplinären und dekolonialen Wissenschaft
Alfredo González-Ruibal
Against post-politics: a critical archaeology for the 21st century

[Gesamte Ausgabe 1 (2012) als Reader. Diskussion: Was ist eine kritische Archäologie]

April 19, 2015

Tom Matrullo (Classics in Sarasota)

Some plans for the fall

So we are considering setting Dante's Paradiso as our reading beginning in the fall. It's a formidable text, and anyone who intends to join in really should read, or recently (within a few years) have read both the Inferno and Purgatorio. Many will use Mandelbaum, but other translations will simply make our task more interesting.

Giuseppe Mazzotta
For those wishing to review and/or gather some recent academic views of Dante, there is Yale Prof. Giuseppe Mazzotta's intro to the Commedia online entitled Dante in Translation, free of charge.

The course consists of 24 lectures which can be downloaded in a variety of formats - everything from transcripts to videos. Click on an individual lecture to see the media options.

To help refresh our memory, we will read the first few cantos of the Inferno followed by a few of the Purgatorio.

Peter D'Epiro's excellent translation of Paradiso I which we looked at last time is here.

Dante and Beatrice speak to Piccarda and Constance (Par. 3)

Ancient Art

Pont du Gard: a Roman aqueduct in France, constructed about 19...

Pont du Gard: a Roman aqueduct in France, constructed about 19 BCE. This technical and artistic masterpiece was built to allow the aqueduct of Nîmes to cross the Gard river. It is about 50m high and has three levels, the longest of which measures 275m long.

Photo courtesy of & taken by Dimitris Kilymis.

Ancient Human Footprints Along Ileret, Kenya Lakeside

An ancient footprint from Ileret, Kenya: one of several sets showing evidence of Homo erectus males travelling in groups.

An ancient footprint from Ileret, Kenya: one of several sets showing evidence of Homo erectus males travelling in groups.

In the late 2000s, 22 footprints were found near Ileret, Kenya. These prints are beleive to be 1.5 million years old. The study documenting this find focused on the anatomy of these footprints; Homo erectus who ambulated much like modern humans. Neil Roach, from the AMNH, returned to Ileret and have found more footprints — about 100. The findings were presented at this week’s annual meeting of the Paleoanthropology Society in San Francisco. These prints represent multiple individuals walking in one direction along a lakeside, possibly hunting for antelope or wildebeest. Curtis Marean, from ASU, questions this presumption,

Who knows what they’re doing there. It could be a group hunt, but it could also be lakeshore foraging. It’s a completely novel piece of data. I think it’s a really interesting way to get an angle on what communities were doing in the past.

Filed under: Blog, Physical Anthropology Tagged: footprints, homo erectus, ileret, kenya, paleoanthropology, Physical Anthropology

Sanskrit Studies Links and Information


Mathematics in Sanskrit poetry compilation introduces interesting facts about metrical counting in छन्दशास्त्रः ChandashAstra, Sanskrit prosody, Chamakam, the text in which "devotee prays for almost everything needed for human happiness and specifies each item," time measurement, Rama's bodily features in numbers as perceived by Hanumana, mathamatics in Carantic music et cetera. While this covers some of the popular aspects, the general topic of ancient Indian mathematics is addressed in many different places Wikipedia : Indian mathematics, History of Mathematics - The Indian Contribution, the story of Indian mathamatics, A Brief History of Ancient Indian Mathematics by Rajen Barua, Contribution to Mathematics by Sudheer Birodkar, History of Hindu Mathamatics parts 1 and 2, Ancient Hindu civilisation and mathematics by R.N. Das, Indian Mathematics in Sanskrit: Concepts and Achievements, et cetera.

ArcheoNet BE

De kokende graver

Jeroen Van Vaerenbergh combineert sinds kort zijn job als archeoloog met zijn tweede liefde: koken. Als ‘Food Archeoloog’ versmelt hij beide interesses in een project dat hem al jaren nauw aan het hart ligt: tonen hoe mensen vroeger kookten en met voedingsproducten omgingen, op basis van archeologisch bewijsmateriaal.

Zelf verwoordt hij het zo: “De Food Archeoloog heeft het gehad met het herbegraven van archeologische verhalen in stoffige depots en duffe rapporten. Via unieke Food-belevingen, waarbij smaak, geur en gevoel centraal staan, onthult De Food Archeoloog een tijdloos verhaal over puurheid, traditie, ambacht, duurzaamheid, diversiteit, zintuiglijkheid en traagheid.”

Het project krijgt steeds meer media-aandacht. Er was aleen uitgebreid interview in De Tijd (pdf) en Jeroen verzorgt vanaf nu ook een vaste kook-rubriek in Ex situ, het onvolprezen tijdschrift voor archeologisch Vlaanderen. Op maandag 20 april komt de Food Archeologie bovendien aan bod in Reyers Laat op Canvas (rond 22u30). Kijken dus, nu archeologie eens positief in beeld komt.

Meer info:

Adrian Murdoch (Bread and Circuses)

Heliogabalus Imperator

A musical curiosity - an orchestral work from 1972 by the German composer Hans Werner Henze. Thanks to DD for passing over.

ArcheoNet BE

Archeologie op The Loop: van eerste landbouwers tot militair vliegveld

Op zondag 26 april organiseert het Masereelfonds in Gent een lezing over de opgravingen rond Flanders Expo. Sinds 2007 vinden onderzoekers er restanten van middeleeuwers, Romeinen, Kelten, bronstijdboeren en zelfs de eerste landbouwers in de regio. Afgelopen januari rondde het team de grootste opgraving tot nu toe af. Archeoloog Johan Hoorne neemt je tijdens zijn lezing mee op een archeologische ontdekkingsreis op één van de belangrijkste archeologische sites van de laatste jaren in Vlaanderen. Meer informatie over de lezing vind je op

Brice C. Jones

Domestic Violence, Local Bishops, and a Church in a Fourth Century Papyrus

P.Oxy. 6.903 is a fourth century papyrus that was discovered in 1897 in the ancient Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchus. It is complete and generally well-preserved (image below). The papyrus is an affidavit comprised of a complaint from a Christian woman against her husband, who is charged with verbally and physically abusing her, their slaves, and foster children. Apparently, the husband suspected that the wife and the slaves were stealing from him. And so, he locks them up and violently abuses them. The wife is therefore turning to the state for protection.

The papyrus is historically interesting for several reasons. For one, it documents a Christian woman going to church on the Sabbath (ἀπελθοῦσα [εἰ]ς τὸ κυριακὸν ἐν σαμβάθῳ). This is interesting because we learn from many early Christian authors that Christians no longer observed the Sabbath (e.g., Ignatius, Mag. 9; Tertullian Idol. 14). The papyrus also documents a clear case of violence against slaves. The text states that the husband “insulted his slaves and my [the wife’s] slave Zoe and half killed them with blows, and he applied fire to my foster-daughters.” We learn from other ancient sources that slaves often suffered extreme violence at the hands of their slave owners, so we should take this description at face value. Notice that both the husband and the wife owned slaves, which suggests they were wealthy. Another interesting feature of the text is that some local bishops served as reconcilers: “he [i.e., the husband] swore in the presence of the bishops” (ὤμοσεν ἐπὶ παρουσίᾳ τῶν ἐπισκόπων). This demonstrates that the clergy were appealed to in the first instance, and that the wife was forced to turn to the state only after the church proved ineffective in settling the dispute. This raises many questions concerning the authoritative boundaries of Christian clergy in domestic affairs. 

Overall, this is a fascinating papyrus that gives a glimpse into the realities of domestic life, spousal abuse, and the role of Christian clergy. More importantly, it provides good evidence that women could and did make use of the Roman legal system to protect themselves against violence from their husbands. Here is an English translation of the text (Greek text here) along with an image of the papyrus: 

"Concerning all the insults uttered by him against me. He shut up his own slaves and mine with my foster-daughters and his agent and son for seven whole days in his cellars, having insulted his slaves and my slave Zoe and half killed them with blows, and he applied fire to my foster-daughters, having stripped them quite naked, which is contrary to the laws. He also said to the same foster-daughters, 'Give up all that is hers,' and they said, 'She has nothing with us'; and to the slaves when they were being beaten he said, 'What did she take from my house?' And they under torture said, 'She has taken nothing of yours, but all your property is safe.' Zoilus went to see him because he had shut up his foster-son, and he said to him, 'Have you come on account of your foster-son or of such a woman, to talk about her?' He swore in the presence of the bishops and of his own brothers, 'Henceforward I will not hide all my keys from her [he trusted his slaves but would not trust me]; I will stop and not insult her.' Whereupon a marriage deed was made, and after his agreement and his oaths, he again hid the keys from me; and when I had gone out to the church on the Sabbath he had the outside doors shut on me, saying 'Why did you go to the church?' and using many terms of abuse to my face, and through his nose. There were 100 artabae of corn due to the State on my account of which he paid nothing, not a single artaba. He obtained possession of the books, and shut them up saying, 'Pay the price of the hundred artabae,' having himself paid nothing, as I stated before; and he said to his slaves, 'Provide helpers, to shut her up also.' Choous his assistant was carried off to prison, and Euthalamus gave security for him which was insufficient, so I took a little more and gave it for the said Choous. When I met him at Antinoopolis having my bathing-bag [?] with my ornaments, he said to me, 'I shall take anything you have with you on account of the security which you gave to my assistant Choous for his dues to the State.' To all this his mother will bear witness. He also persisted in vexing my soul about his slave Anilla, both at Antinoopolis and here, saying, 'Send away this slave, for she knows how much she has possessed herself of,' probably wanting to get me involved, and on this pretext to take away whatever I have myself. But I refused to send her away, and he kept saying, 'A month hence I will take a mistress.' God knows this is true."

Per Lineam Valli

21. Did Hadrian’s Wall change after it was built?

Just as it changed whilst being built, so it changed afterwards. The Romans began to replace the Turf Wall with a stone curtain between the Irthing and Milecastle 54 before the Wall was abandoned in favour of the Antonine Wall, only to resume that process when they subsequently returned to it. That very abandonment and reoccupation led to changes too. Turrets were abandoned and some even demolished, a fort added at Newcastle, and the bridges at Willowford and Chesters (and perhaps Carlisle too) were rebuilt on a grander scale, probably during the latter part of the 2nd century AD (although not necessarily all at the same time).

There was also substantial rebuilding of the curtain wall under Septimius Severus, making up for the deficiencies of the earlier structure and the ravages of time.

Further reading: Breeze and Dobson 2000

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)


BTW phd040115s

BTW, this comes from @PHDComics. It is a follow-up to another cartoon from there which I shared recently. See also a recent article suggesting that emoticons are not ruining language but revolutionizing it.

The Egyptiana Emporium

NEWS: Russian archaeologists unearth ‘white walls’ of ancient Memphis


The Head of the Russian archeological expedition Galina Belova expressed hope that “other archeological witnesses of this early period of Ancient Egypt’s history dated back to nearly 3200 B.C.” will be discovered (Source: Sputnik News).

A team of Russian archeologists working in Saqqara near Egypt’s Cairo discovered the remains of the so-called “The White Wall” of the ancient Egyptian capital Memphis. Its Ancient Egyptian name was Inbu-Hedj which is translated as “The White Walls.”

According to Egyptian Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al-Damati, the finding of the great historic site was made near the town of Mit Rahina, 20 kilometers south of Cairo and near Saqqara which was the necropolis of Memphis.

In addition to the parts of the wall, well-preserved remains of stoves and bronzes were found.

“We hope this finding will enhance our knowledge of one the most important cities of Ancient Egypt. Memphis played a significant political, religious and economic role in the history of the country. One of its names was Inbu-Hedj, or the White Walls,” the minister said.

The Head of the Russian archeological expedition Galina Belova, in her turn, explained that now scientists are finishing excavation on the site and will search for other parts of the wall in the coming days. She also expressed hope that “other archeological witnesses of this early period of Ancient Egypt’s history dated back to nearly 3200 B.C.” will be discovered.

Egyptian authorities are taking efforts to maintain free and secure conditions for Russian archeologists on the site. The tourist police and Giza security office have boosted security measures. The administration is helping clear the excavation site of modern constructions.

Memphis holds a special place in the history of Ancient Egypt and is believed to the oldest capital of Egypt. The city was founded more than 5,200 years ago by the pharaoh Menes. Memphis was capital of Egypt during the period of the Old Kingdom. Now it is listed as a world historic heritage site. Located south of Cairo, Saqqara and Mit Rahina have already delivered several important archeological findings. Among them are the stepped pyramid of Djoser and the famous statue of Ramses. Meanwhile, Egyptian and foreign archeological teams continue their work in the area in a bid to uncover new unique monuments” – via Sputnik News.

NEWS: Royal chapel discovered in Heliopolis

(Source: Luxor Times).

“Dr. Mamdouh El Damaty, Minister of Antiquities, announced on 14th April 2015 that the Egyptian-German mission working at Heliopolis temple discovered the lower part of a chapel dated back to the reign of Nectanebo I, 30th Dynasty. 

The chapel lower part is a group of inscribed basalt stone blocks beside a part of a royal statue bears the cartouch of King Nectanebo I.
“This discovery is important because it is the first time to find a chapel within the temple. Lowering the underground water levels is ongoing at the moment to resume the excavations in one of the biggest and most important temples in ancient Egypt.” Minister said.

Dr. Ayman Ashmawy, head of the Egyptian team of the mission, said “The part of the unearthed statue depicting King Merneptah of 19th Dynasty while making an offering to goddesses. The excavations showed layers of settlements including pottery and other archaeological elements dated back to predynastic periods.


(Source: Luxor Times).

Dr. Dietrich Raue, head of the mission, said that it is expected to discover the remains of the chapel during the next excavations seasons. Dr. Raue also pointed out that the temple mud brick wall of 15meters width was discovered and hope to find more elements in the temple area in the future” – via Luxor Times.

The Archaeology News Network

'White Walls' of ancient Memphis unearthed

A team of Russian archaeologists working in Saqqara near Egypt’s Cairo discovered the remains of the so-called "The White Wall" of the ancient Egyptian capital Memphis. Its ancient Egyptian name was Inbu-Hedj which is translated as "The White Walls." Saqqara is a village in Egypt, located 30 km south of Cairo, serving as necropolis  for the Ancient Egyptian capital, Memphis [Credit: Sputnik/ A. Basenko]According to Egyptian...

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BiblePlaces Blog

Weekend Roundup, Part 2

John Beck is a guest on Our Daily Bread: Exploring the Land of the Story: Unlocking Biblical Geography. Beck’s Discovery House Bible Atlas has just been released. Beck is interviewed about his atlas on the Good Book Blog.

The Museum of the Bible is hosting a series of lectures in Oklahoma City twice a month through July. The final event is a first-century meal.

Here’s an impressive collection of photographs of medieval stained glass illustrating the Bible.

The Palestine Exploration Fund shares some photos of field books that belonged to Charles Wilson.

There’s a new website for the Sardis Expedition.

The Israel Post has issued a stamp featuring the Cyrus Cylinder.

Juan Manuel Tebes has a lengthy summary of the debate over David and Solomon on the ASOR Blog.

Gabriel Barkay will be lecturing in Kentucky on April 30.

Hershel Shanks is on The Book and the Spade discussing the 2015 excavation season.

HT: Steven Anderson, Agade, Charles Savelle

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

LOST Rewatch: Dr. Linus

The episode begins with Ben Linus running through the jungle. He catches up with Ilana and the others who had escaped the temple, and they head to the beach. Ilana gives Miles the ashes of Jacob’s body and asks how he died. Miles says that Linus killed him. Ilana tells Ben that Jacob was the closest thing she ever had to a father. Ben tries to convince her that psychics like Miles are unreliable. Ben happens across a copy of Chaim Potok’s The Chosen. Then Ilana gets Ben to dig a grave for himself. Miles and Ben talk, and Miles tells him that right up until the moment the knife went through Jacob’s heart, Jacob hoped he was wrong about him. Smokey comes back amd sets Ben free, and tells him to come to the Hydra station. He says that Ben can be in charge of the island after he leaves. He tells him where there is a gun, and Ben runs. He reaches the gun and makes Ilana drop her gun. Ben explains to Ilana that he sacrificed everything, including his daughter, for the island and for Jacob, and he didn’t even care. He said he was afraid of losing his power, and he says that he does not expect Ilana to forgive him, because he cannot forgive himself. He says he’ll go to Locke, because he’s the only one who will have him. Ilana says, “I’ll have you” and walks away, leaving him stunned. He follows her back to the beach.

Richard takes Jack and Hurley to the Black Rock. He tells them that his not aging is a gift from Jacob. Richard then says there is something he needs to do: die. Inside, Richard says that this is the first time he has come back there in all the time he has been on the island. Richard says that he can’t kill himself, and so he wants them to do it for him. He says that being touched by Jacob is supposed to be a gift, but it is a curse. He says that Jacob said that he was there for a purpose, and so now his life has no purpose, and that is why he wants to die. Jack lights the dynamite, and then says, “Now, let’s talk.” Jack has realized that he was brought to the island by Jacob and Jacob wanted him to see the image in the lighthouse, and that he had been watching him. The dynamite fuse burns out instead of exploding. Richard asks what now, and Jack proposes going back to where they started. And so Jack, Hurley and Richard go to the beach and meet up with Miles, Sun, Lapidus, Ilana, and Ben. In the final moments we see that Widmore has reached the island via submarine.

In the afterlife, Ben teaches about Napoleon losing his power on the island of Elba. He is told by the principal to cover detention instead of history club. He discusses matters with Artz, who teaches science. Locke suggests that Ben should be the principal. At home, we see that Ben is caring for his elderly father. It is poignant to see him change his father’s oxygen canister, given his gassing of him in the other timeline. His father talks about having gone to the island with the Dharma Initiative and wonders whether their lives would have been better if they had stayed. Then the doorbell rings and it is Alex, who wondered about the fact that history club didn’t meet. The AP exam is coming up and she wanted the extra tutoring, and so they make arrangements to meet in the library they next morning. Ben learns from her that the principal and the nurse had sex at the school, and she had overheard them. Ben then goes to Artz and tells him about Principal Reynolds, and asks for his help to access the nurse’s e-mail account. Ben then blackmails Principal Reynolds into resigning, and recommending him as his replacement. Reynolds threatens to give Alexandra Rousseau a negative letter of recommendation to Yale. Ben chooses her letter over his power. Knowing this is an afterlife while rewatching makes it poignant, as both stories depict a path of redemption for Ben. And Ilana’s extending of forgiveness and acceptance to a man who, in essence, murdered her god is incredibly powerful, and plays a role in Ben’s transformation.

Ben gun at Ilana



Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: Bulletin d’information du Groupe BCNH

Bulletin d’information du Groupe BCNH
La Bibliothèque copte de Nag Hammadi
Lancée en 1974 à l’Université Laval (Québec, Canada), l’édition de la Bibliothèque copte de Nag Hammadi (BCNH) est la seule initiative francophone d’envergure consacrée à ces manuscrits; son but est de produire de ces textes des éditions critiques accompagnées de traductions françaises et de commentaires explicatifs. Conservés au Musée copte du Vieux Caire, les manuscrits sont accessibles par le truchement d’une édition photographique patronnée par l’UNESCO et le service des antiquités de la République Arabe d’Égypte. Cette publication photographique, qui reproduit les feuillets de papyrus tels quels, rend les textes accessibles aux spécialistes et sert de base ensuite aux éditions critiques, qui reconstruisent dans la mesure du possible les lacunes des manuscrits, pour ensuite donner lieu à des traductions, à des analyses philologiques et à des commentaires explicatifs.
C’est à cette entreprise d’édition critique, de traduction française et d’analyse, que s’attaquèrent à l’Université Laval en 1974 les regrettés Jacques É. Ménard et Hervé Gagné, entourés de jeunes chercheurs québécois et étrangers. Deux entreprises analogues avaient été lancées quelques années auparavant, l’une à Berlin par le Berliner Arbeitskreis für koptisch-gnostische Schriften, l’autre à l’Institute for Antiquity and Christianity de Claremont (CA).

Recently Published at Archaeopress: Open Access

Recently Published at Archaeopress: Open Access

Setting the Scene: The deceased and regenerative cult within offering table imagery of the Egyptian Old to Middle Kingdoms (c.2686 – c.1650 BC) by Barbara O’Neill. 123 pages. Archaeopress Egyptology . Download
Ancient Egyptian offering table scenes have been explored from chronological and art historical perspectives over the past century of Egyptological research. This descriptive overview has usually centred on the diachronic evolution of philology and food offerings, focussing less frequently on offering table images as discrete elements of highly codified information. The exploration into offering 
CAA2014. 21st Century Archaeology Concepts, methods and tools. Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Conference on Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology edited by F. Giligny, F. Djindjian, L. Costa, P. Moscati and S. Robert. vi+649 pages; illustrated throughout in colour and black & white.Book contents pageDownload
This volume brings together a selection of papers proposed for the Proceedings of the 42nd Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology conference (CAA), hosted at Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University from 22nd to 25th April 2014. The program was divided into different themes and this structure has been maintained in the arrangement of articles in the various chapters of this book. Chapter headings include: Historiography; Field and Laboratory Data Recording; Ontologies and Standards; Internet and Archaeology; Archaeological Information Systems; GIS and Spatial Analysis; Mathematics and Statistics in Archaeology; 3D Archaeology and Virtual Archaeology; Multi-Agent Systems and Complex System Modelling.
CAA2014 is also available in paperback, priced £75.00. Click here for more information. 
Roman Barrows by Velika Gorica, Croatia, and Pannonian Glazed and Samian Pottery Production by Rajka Makjanić and Remza Koščević. Download
Description of Roman Barrows from the first and second centuries AD excavated in the 1980s in the forest of Turopoljski Lug near Velika Gorica (Zagreb), Croatia. Special attention is given to a luxurious lead-glazed relief bowl found on the funeral pyre of Barrow V, probably from a local Pannonian workshop, with decoration inspired by western Samian ware.
Arthur Evans in Dubrovnik and Split (1875-1882) by Branko Kirigin. ii+14 pages; illustrated throughout in colour and black & white.Download
Thanks to the biography by Joan Evans, sister of Arthur Evans, the research of John J. Wilkes and the new biography by Silvia L. Horwitz, we know much about Arthur Evans’s work in the Balkans prior to his discoveries on Crete. This work will not repeat here the achievements Evans has made for archaeology, ethnography and cultural history of the region including his remarkable journalistic work where he showed deep knowledge of regional politics and admiration towards the Slav freedom movement ‘against Turks, Austrians, Russians, or any others – including Englishmen – who refused them their right to self-determination’. This work presents some details on the everyday life of Arthur Evans in Dubrovnik and Split as seen by the local people who wrote about him in newspapers, journals or books, material that is not easily available to those interested in Evans’s pre-Knossos period.
The Origins and Use of the Potter’s Wheel in Ancient Egypt (VIDEO) by Sarah K. Doherty. Download
A sequence of video's from Sarah K. Doherty to compliment her publication Archaeopress Egyptology 7: The Origins and Use of the Potter’s Wheel in Ancient Egypt.
Hand-building Cooking Pot, El Nazla Pottery

See the incredible hand building process using the paddle and anvil technique. This is still the traditional method of creating water jars in Egypt, unusually the potter is male.

Throwing Pottery with a Replica Ancient Egyptian Potter's Wheel

This is the results of my experiments in creating an ancient Egyptian potter's wheel and making replica Old Kingdom (4th dynasty c2600 BC) pottery. The wheel head is wooden, the base comprises a socket and pivot of basalt or limestone.

Throwing on a kick wheel at El Nazla, Faiyoum, Egypt

This shows the quick throwing and coiling process used by the potters of El Nazla, Faiyoum, Egypt.

Electric Wheel Throwing compared to ancient

Compare the actions of wheel throwing using a modern electric wheel. Notice how I use both hands to throw.

Sarah K. Doherty's publication The Origins and Use of the Potter’s Wheel in Ancient Egypt is available now priced £29.00. View description and full contents listings here.
Die Anfänge des kontinentalen Transportwesens und seine Auswirkungen auf die Bolerázer und Badener Kulturen by Tünde Horváth. iv+77 pages; illustrated throughout in colour and black & white. German text.Book contents pageDownload
The earliest finds of wheeled vehicles in northern and central Europe date to 3900-3600 BC. However finds (3400–3300 BC) from the Boleráz sites of Arbon/Bleiche 3 and Bad Buchau/Torwiesen II, linked to pile-dwelling settlements, indicate methods of transport typical for higher altitudes (slides, sleds, etc.). The Boleráz and Baden cultures overlap in the Carpathian Basin between 3300–3000 BC and this period seems to have produced transport models that parallel finds in today’s Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, and other regions. These suggest that generally the Boleráz settlers inside the Carpathian Basin did not know, or use, the wheel in the fullest sense. Cart and wheel forms are indicated only from Grave 177 at Budakalász (2800–2600 BC). The Hungarian Baden finds follow the Danube and to the East there are no certain vehicle remains. It is difficult to tell whether the Boleráz finds are linked to the wider Alpine zone, and the Baden finds are perhaps associated with the mixed-culture sites along the eastern slopes of the Carpathians. The four-wheeled wagon was a development linked to the plains and the Steppes (Cucuteni–Tripolje, Pre-Yamnaja, Yamnaja). The nature of the finds relating to vehicles associated with lake and riverine settlements reveal technical and material features: there is evidence of a high degree of carving, if not decoration, and these communities pointed the way for future skills and developments in wheel and cart/wagon manufacture.
Bell Beaker in Eastern Emilia (Northern Italy) Taken from Around the Petit-Chasseur Site in Sion (Valais, Switzerland) and New Approaches to the Bell Beaker Culture by Nicola Dal Santo, Alessandro Ferrari, Gabriella Morico and Giuliana Steffè. Pages 205-236.Download
This paper presents recent pre-Bell Beaker groups and other groups contemporary to Bell Beaker, such as the final stages of Spilamberto Group, the Castenaso facies and the Marzaglia facies, recently recognised after rescue excavations. New Bell Beaker settlements and some aspects of recent and final Bell Beaker Culture are discusssed. In Emilia Romagna the final stages of Beaker phenomenon, here called Late Bell Beaker, are well documented and they are contemporary to the development of Early Bronze Age communities in the southern fringe of central Pre-Alps (Polada Culture).
This paper is taken from Around the Petit-Chasseur Site in Sion (Valais, Switzerland) and New Approaches to the Bell Beaker Culture: Proceedings of the International Conference (Sion, Switzerland – October 27th – 30th 2011) edited by Marie Besse, Archaeopress 2014. Click on the PDF to read the full paper online, or download to your device. The full volume is available in paperback here.
Occlusal macrowear, antemortem tooth loss, and temporomandibular joint arthritis at Predynastic Naqada Taken from Palaeopathology in Egypt and Nubia: A century in review by Nancy C. Lovell. Pages 95-106.Download
This paper is based on the results of an examination of crania and mandibles from three cemeteries at Predynastic Naqada, which were excavated by Petrie in 1895. These remains are curated as part of the Duckworth Collection at the University of Cambridge. Patterns of occlusal macrowear, antemortem tooth loss, and lesions of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) are described, and are discussed in the contexts of diet and the biomechanics of mastication. The incomplete nature of most of the dentitions restricted the assessment of the pathological conditions, but no statistically significant differences were observed in the prevalence of TMJ arthritis between males and females, nor between elite and non-elite cemetery samples. Furthermore, antemortem tooth loss and occlusal wear were not associated with TMJ lesions.
This paper is taken from Palaeopathology in Egypt and Nubia: A century in review edited by Ryan Metcalfe, Jenefer Cockitt and Rosalie David, Archaeopress 2014. Click on the PDF to read the full paper online, or download to your device. The full volume is available in paperback here.
Terra Sigillata / Samian Ware found in Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) now at the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb by Rajka Makjanić. Download
Publication of Samian ware from the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb, found in Roman Siscia. The assemblage includes Italian, Gaulish, African, Pannonian, Moesian and other pottery. It also incorporates a study on some types of North Italian Sigillata and their distribution in Pannonia. First published in BAR S621.
Shipwrecks and Global ‘Worming’ by P. Palma and L.N. Santhakumaran. ii+62 pages; illustrated in full colour throughout.Book contents pageDownload
Marine borers, particularly the shipworms, as destroyers of timber, par excellence, are well known from very ancient times. They attacked the wooden hulls of ships with such intensity that the weakened bottom planks broke up even due to a mild impact caused by hitting a rock or any floating objects inducing shipwrecks. Even the survival of sunken ships as wrecks depends on the mercy of wood-destroying organisms, which may turn these ‘port-holes’ to history into meaningless junks. The silent saboteurs, involved in several early shipwrecks, are the molluscan and crustacean borers, aided by bacteria and fungi.

This paper presents an account of the marine wood-borers, together with a historical review of literature on their depredation on wooden ships, and on protective methods adopted from antiquity to modern times. The seriousness with which early mariners faced the problem of bio-deterioration and the fear the wood-borers created in their minds have been brought to light with, in some cases, excerpts from their journals and books. The anxiety and concern for protecting the ships from the ravages of wood-borers and for their own safety, as evidenced from their accounts, are discussed. Classification of various groups of marine wood-borers with notes on characters of systematic value and a complete list of species so far recorded in literature have been included under Appendix I and II. Methods employed to prevent damage to the boats included deep-charring, coating with pitch, coal-tar, whale oil and mustard oil with lime; scupper nailing (‘filling’); sheathing with animal skin, hair, tarred paper, wooden boards (untreated or soaked in coal tar, Ferrous sulphate, Copper sulphate or Lead monoxide); sheathing with metals (Lead or Copper sheets); plastic, neoprene coated ply-woods; and painting with Copper oxide, Pentachlorophenol or phenylarsenious oxide. None of these imparts complete protection. Recent archaeological investigations carried out in British waters, especially on ‘Mary Rose’, are also summarised. It is suggested that, though borers are instrumental in inducing ship-wrecks thereby enriching the materials for archaeological studies, excavations at known ship-wreck sites should be augmented to unearth valuable historical data, before they are lost to satisfy the insatiable appetite of these pests.
Alternative Trajectories in Bronze Age Landscapes and the ‘Failure’ to Enclose: A Case Study from the Middle Dunajec Valley Taken from Settlement, Communication and Exchange around the Western Carpathians by Tobias L. Kienlin, Marta Korczyńska and Klaus Cappenberg. Pages 159-200.Download
Drawing on current archaeological work in the surroundings of the Bronze Age hilltop-settlement of Janowice on the middle part of the Dunajec valley in this paper we want to highlight some shortcomings in the traditional modelling of Bronze Age landscapes. Instead of focusing on political power and the control of trade and exchange along the Dunajec valley, it is asked in what other sense the hilltop-settlement of Janowice with its long history of occupation from broadly the Middle Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age could have been ‘central’ for the development of this micro-region. GIS applications are used to integrate the spatial data obtained and to improve our understanding of local environment, choices of site location and subsistence economy. In a wider perspective, attention is drawn to the variability in Bronze Age landscapes – even along the course of the same river valley. In broadly the same cultural and natural setting there were different ‘solutions’ or strategies available to communities in order to cope with external restraints and cultural notions how social life should be organised. The development of these communities was contingent upon numerous factors beyond even the most sophisticated attempt at geographical modelling. In consequence, we must not mistake any notions we may hold on the development of Bronze Age society for a model of general applicability.
This paper is taken from Settlement, Communication and Exchange around the Western Carpathians edited by T. L. Kienlin, P. Valde-Nowak, M. Korczyńska, K. Cappenberg and J. Ociepka, Archaeopress 2014. Click on the PDF to read the full paper online, or download to your device. The full volume is available in paperback here.
New Geophysical Data on the Internal Structure of the Gáva Sites of Andrid-Corlat and Căuaş-Sighetiu in North-Western Romania Taken from Settlement, Communication and Exchange around the Western Carpathians by Tobias L. Kienlin and Liviu Marta. Pages 381-403.Download
Over the past years there has been an intensification of archaeological research on fortified settlements of the Late Bronze Age Gáva culture in the lowlands or marshes of the Tisza river and its tributaries. Unlike fortified sites on the hilltops along the mountain ranges of the Carpathians, that traditionally attracted archaeological research, much less is known on their lowland counterparts. It is in the context of this group of fortified lowland sites that Căuaş-Sighetiu and Andrid-Corlat have to be seen, which are located on islands in the swamps of the Romanian Ier valley. Fortified sites of the Gáva culture and its neighbouring groups, that may reach substantial size, are interpreted everything from the proto-urban centres of hierarchical societies, via the focal points of tribal groups, to refuges in times of crisis or enclosures for livestock. In fact, little still is known on the occupation of such sites. Our work at Căuaş- Sighetiu and Andrid-Corlat is one step towards a better understanding of such sites in terms of their internal organisation and their function in a wider settlement network. Drawing on data from a joint project of the Muzeul Judeţean Satu Mare and the Institut für Ur- und Frühgeschichte, Universität zu Köln, in this paper we will focus on the spatial organisation of the settlement remains. New magnetometer data is available that allows for the first time a comparison of both sites and their internal organisation. It is shown, that even in the same micro-region and during broadly the same period, there may be considerable variability. Our data indicate that both sites were occupied by closely comparable household units. Between them, however, they show indications of rather different notions how social space should be organised. It is an important task for future work to understand why such differences occurred, and how such sites relate to smaller neighbouring sites in chronological and functional terms.
This paper is taken from Settlement, Communication and Exchange around the Western Carpathians edited by T. L. Kienlin, P. Valde-Nowak, M. Korczyńska, K. Cappenberg and J. Ociepka, Archaeopress 2014. Click on the PDF to read the full paper online, or download to your device. The full volume is available in paperback here.
Tard-Tatárdomb: An Update on the Intensive Survey Work on the Multi-Layer Hatvan and Füzesabony Period Settlement Taken from Settlement, Communication and Exchange around the Western Carpathians by Klára P. Fischl, Tobias L. Kienlin, Tamás Pusztai, Helmut Brückner, Simone Klumpp, Beáta Tugya and György Lengyel. Pages 341-379.Download
In this paper the results of an intensive survey programme are discussed carried out on the Early to Middle Bronze Age site of Tard-Tatárdomb on the foothills of the Bükk mountains. This work is part of a joint project that seeks to provide more detailed information on the multi-layer tell or tell-like sites of the Hatvan and Füzesabony periods in northern Hungary than was hitherto available. Starting on the micro-level it is our aim to explore the inner structure of these settlements, to establish the location and the structure of households, to establish if there are settlement parts with specialised function, and to compare the architecture and activity patterns of the various parts of these sites. On a macro-level an attempt is made to define the factors that determined the choice of site location and to understand the spatial organisation of settlement in environmental, economic and social terms. In the long-run, it is asked what role the sites examined had to play in the settlement network of the Hatvan and Füzesabony cultures, and an attempt will be made at comparing the land use, economy and society of both groups. To this end, our current research is based mainly on intensive archaeological survey, aerial photography, topographical measurements and magnetometer survey that provide important data both on the intra- and off-site level. In this paper we discuss the spatial data obtained by aerial photography and magnetometry as well as the results of our intensive surface survey including aspects of lithic raw material procurement and the evidence from animal bone finds.
This paper is taken from Settlement, Communication and Exchange around the Western Carpathians edited by T. L. Kienlin, P. Valde-Nowak, M. Korczyńska, K. Cappenberg and J. Ociepka, Archaeopress 2014. Click on the PDF to read the full paper online, or download to your device. The full volume is available in paperback here.
Megaliths of Easter Island Taken from Around the Petit-Chasseur Site in Sion (Valais, Switzerland) and New Approaches to the Bell Beaker Culture by Nicolas Cauwe. Pages 321-330.Download
In 1992, a thesis came to light, sustaining the collapse of Easter Island’s culture after a change in the landscape. This idea was more than a simple hypothesis: the demonstration of the deforestation of the island was the basis of this reflection. The solution presented here appears radically contradictory; however it is not more than an amendment of the previous one: twenty years ago, understanding of environmental change contributed fundamentally to knowledge; since then, the dossier has been enriched with the history of the island’s monuments. Now we know that the statue platforms never were destroyed, but conscientiously dismantled and converted into necropolis. Likewise it is demonstrable that the volcano-quarry (Rano Raraku), where the moai were sculpted, was not abandoned in mid-operation, but voluntarily turned into an assembly of human figures. The absence of great famines on Rapa Nui during the 17th and the 18th centuries is shown by precise analyses. The very scarce presence of weapons of war is a fact deduced from technological studies. Finally, critical examination of the myths and legends shows that these texts do not record historical events, but the view which Easter Islanders at the end of the 19th century took of their past, after they had been irredeemably cut off from it by circumstances beyond their control. It is therefore incontestable that the last generations of Rapanui before the arrival of the white man had begun a deep re-structuring of their politico-religious system. Starting from this new documentary basis, we must look for new hypotheses. That one proposed here, namely a globalisation of island’s society giving new visibility to the god Makemake to the detriment of the traditional pantheon, which was placed under a taboo, seems provisionally the most credible, since it accounts for all the elements recorded so far. This mutation of Rapanui’s society was in progress at the time of the arrival of the 18th century explorers. They were not aware of it, but no one could have been on first discovering a hitherto unknown people. The first step of new arrivals is to describe the present; the underlying dynamic can only be discerned later, with hindsight.
This paper is taken from Around the Petit-Chasseur Site in Sion (Valais, Switzerland) and New Approaches to the Bell Beaker Culture: Proceedings of the International Conference (Sion, Switzerland – October 27th – 30th 2011) edited by Marie Besse, Archaeopress 2014. Click on the PDF to read the full paper online, or download to your device. The full volume is available in paperback here.
‘Metal makes the wheel go round’: the development and diffusion of studded-tread wheels in the Ancient Near East and the Old World Chapter 18 from ΑΘΥΡΜΑΤΑ: Critical Essays on the Archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean in Honour of E. Susan Sherratt by Simone Mühl. Pages 159-176.Download
As emphasized by the image on the cover of Stuart Piggott’s book Ancient Europe (1965), the wheel is, perhaps, one of humanity’s greatest inventions. The ingenuity and simplicity of its idea and the forms we know today are the result of a long process that involved several stages of construction, testing and cumulative improvement. Developments in wheel technology were, of course, related to the emergence of different categories of vehicles – including different forms of carts, wagons, or chariots – each representing a response to changing needs in agriculture, elite representation and warfare. One of these modifications was the ‘studded-tread wheel’ and this will form the focus of this paper.
This paper is taken from ΑΘΥΡΜΑΤΑ: Critical Essays on the Archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean in Honour of E. Susan Sherratt edited by Yannis Galanakis, Toby Wilkinson and John Bennet, Archaeopress 2014. Click on the PDF to read the full paper online, or download to your device. The full volume is available in paperback here.
Arthur Evans and the quest for the “origins of Mycenaean culture” Chapter 11 from ΑΘΥΡΜΑΤΑ: Critical Essays on the Archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean in Honour of E. Susan Sherratt by Yannis Galanakis. Pages 85-98.Download
It is hard to say what chance had first drawn his attention to the unknown island; it seems as if a thousand tiny facts and things had drifted like dust and settled to weigh down the scales of his decision (J. Evans 1943: 299)

What were these “thousand tiny facts and things”, that Joan Evans alluded to in her influential biographical history, that attracted Arthur Evans to Crete? An answer to this question may be gleaned from a series of clues in the Evans story, which are described as pivotal and decisive for the development of Aegean archaeology; namely his transformation from a museum director and collector of antiquities interested in history, art and archaeological research, to one of the most influential figures in the – still nascent in those days – field of Aegean archaeology. It is his quest for clues of a pre-alphabetic writing system in this area of the Mediterranean that is now pinpointed by scholars as the critical moment which led to the “dramatic fulfillment” of Evans’s “most sanguine expectations”: the discovery at Knossos, in various deposits, of materials inscribed with pre-alphabetic writing.
This paper is taken from ΑΘΥΡΜΑΤΑ: Critical Essays on the Archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean in Honour of E. Susan Sherratt edited by Yannis Galanakis, Toby Wilkinson and John Bennet, Archaeopress 2014. Click on the PDF to read the full paper online, or download to your device. The full volume is available in paperback here.
The Middle Helladic Large Building Complex at Kolonna. A Preliminary View Taken from Our Cups Are Full: Pottery and Society in the Aegean Bronze Age by Walter Gauß, Michael Lindblom and Rudolfine Smetana. Pages 76-87.Download
This paper introduces the so-called Large Building Complex at Kolonna, Aegina for the first time in a comprehensive way. The “Large Building Complex” is the thus far largest building found at Kolonna, except the fortification wall. The Building was constructed at the beginning of the Middle Helladic period (MH I/II) and remained in use until the beginning of the Late Helladic period (LH I/II ). Within its long history, it underwent a series of changes and modifications. Size and dimensions as well as the rich finds from its interior clearly indicate that the “Large Building Complex” is the unambiguous residential building from Middle Helladic Kolonna.
Late Classic Ceramic Technology and Its Social Implications at Yaxuná, Yucatán: A Petrographic Analysis of a Sample of Arena Group Ceramics Chapter 19 from The Archaeology of Yucatán: New Directions and Data by Tatiana Loya González and Travis W. Stanton. pages 337-362.Download
This chapter represents an effort to interpret the social and cultural aspects of ceramic technology and how they relate to the political economy of the site of Yaxuná, Yucatán during the Late Classic (A.D. 600-700/750, Yaxuná III) (see also Loya González 2008; Loya González and Stanton 2013). We begin by introducing the reader to the archaeology of Yaxuná, with an emphasis on the Late Classic period and a diagnostic pottery group – Arena – that only appears during this time. We then describe the Arena Group ceramics in more detail and the role they have played in defining power struggles and control over central Yucatán in the archaeological literature. Focusing on a petrographic analysis of a sample of Arena Group ceramics from Yaxuná conducted during spring of 2009 at the Center for Material Research in Archaeology and Ethnology (CMRAE) at MIT we then discuss the implications of tempers found in the Yaxuná vicinity and those used in the making of the Arena Group vessels. Finally, we discuss the economic relationship between the sites of Yaxuná and Cobá – two cities that were connected by a 100 km long raised causeway during the Late Classic.
This paper is taken from The Archaeology of Yucatán: New Directions and Data edited by Travis W. Stanton, Archaeopress 2014. Click on the PDF to read the full paper online, or download to your device. The full volume is available in paperback here.
Pilgrimage to Binsey: Medieval and Modern Taken from Binsey: Oxford's Holy Place by Lydia Carr. Pages 81-88.Download
Binsey’s holy well, with its literary and spiritual overtones, represents a key attraction of the little church for the modern visitor. In this brief essay, the broad history of pilgrimage in England is considered before approaching Binsey’s own post-Reformation history.
This paper is taken from Binsey: Oxford’s Holy Place - Its saint, village, and people edited by Lydia Carr, Russell Dewhurst and Martin Henig, Archaeopress 2014. Click on the PDF to read the full paper online, or download to your device. The full volume is available in paperback here.
The Archaeology of the North Sea Palaeolandscapes Chapter 9 from Mapping Doggerland: The Mesolithic Landscapes of the Southern North Sea by Simon Fitch, Vincent Gaffney and Kenneth Thomson. Download
From the introduction: The map data generated as part of this project represents one of the largest samples of a, potentially, well preserved early Holocene landscape surviving in Europe and it is essential that some consideration of the archaeological context of the mapped remains is presented here. The European cultural period associated with this landscape is the Mesolithic which lasts between c. 10,000 BP and c. 5,500 BP, dependent on geographic position. Tremendous environmental change forms the backdrop to cultural events throughout this period. Sea level rise, associated with climate change, resulted in the loss of more than 30,000 km2 of habitable landscape across the southern North Sea basin during the Mesolithic alone, and the inundation of this immense area has essentially left us with a ‘black hole’ in the archaeological record for northwestern Europe as a whole. This situation is made worse by the fact that finds from the region only rarely possess an accurate provenance or context (Koojimans 1971; Verhart 2004). View pdf to continue…
This paper is taken from Mapping Doggerland: The Mesolithic Landscapes of the Southern North Sea edited by Vincent Gaffney. Kenneth Thomson and Simon Finch, Archaeopress 2007. Click on the PDF to read the full paper online, or download to your device. The full volume is available in paperback here.
Gods at all hours: Saite Period coffins of the ‘eleven-eleven’ type This paper is taken from Body, Cosmos and Eternity: New Trends of Research on Iconography and Symbolism of Ancient Egyptian Coffins by Jonathan Elias and Carter Lupton. 122-133.Download
A distinct coffin style known as the Eleven-Eleven, featuring a lid format with processions of eleven gods on the right and left sides, came into prominence in the later Saite Period (likely after 630 BC). It is a style found in multiple regions throughout Upper Egypt. Examples have been found at Akhmim, Thebes and Edfu. The current study presents new findings arising from analysis of an Eleven-Eleven coffin manufactured around 600 BC for the funerary preparer Djed-hor son of Padiamon and Neshmut-Renenutet from Akhmim (Milwaukee Public Museum A10264). Critical information relating to how the Eleven-Eleven was intended to function symbolically comes from a little known container fragment found at the end of the 19th century by Naville at the Delta site of Tell el-Baklieh (Hermopolis Parva). It shows that the twenty-two gods of the Eleven-Eleven style had protective functions linked to the Day- and Night-hour goddesses of the Stundenwachen tradition. The twenty-two deities served as guardians of the deceased during the eleven divisions between the twelve hours of Day- and the eleven divisions between the twelve hours of Night. With full hours and inter-hourly divisions properly supervised by deities, all aspects of time were therefore protected as the transformation of the deceased into a resurrected being occurred.
This paper is taken from Body, Cosmos and Eternity: New Trends of Research on Iconography and Symbolism of Ancient Egyptian Coffins edited by Rogério Sousa, Archaeopress 2014. Click on the PDF to read the full paper online, or download to your device. The full volume is available in paperback or pdf eBook here.
Investigating the orientation of Hafit tomb entrances in Wādī Andām, Oman This paper is taken from Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 44 (2014) by William M. Deadman. 139-152.Download
This paper presents the results and analysis of a small research project exploring the orientation of Hafit tomb entrances in Wadi Andam, Oman. Measurements were taken at three sites along the course of the wadi: Fulayj in the northern mountains, Khashbah in the foothills, and ΚUyun on the plains to the south. The clear similarity between the collective tomb entrance orientation data and the annual variation in the position of the sunrise suggests that the path of the sun was of great significance to the Hafit population of Wadi Andam, and that it was recorded in their tomb architecture. Variation in the tomb entrance data between the three sites suggests that the population was nomadic and moved between areas of Wadi Andam according to season. These results are discussed in the context of the distribution of Hafit tombs and the terrain of Wadi Andam in order to explore how, where, and when this seasonal migration could have occurred. Ethnographic studies of the modern nomadic pastoralists of Oman and the UAE are examined to provide potential parallels and to obtain a better understanding of the driving force behind the Hafit seasonal nomadism. The tomb entrance orientation measurements from Wadi Andam are also presented alongside the available published data, revealing a possible east/west regional divide in the Hafit funerary architecture of the northern Oman peninsula. The results of this research suggest that the Hafit population of Wadi Andam was nomadic, and migrated from the southern plains in the summer to the mountains and foothills when the rains came in the winter, moving through the terrain along the major watercourses and building tombs on nearby elevated areas as they were needed, with entrances pointing towards the sunrise.
This paper is taken from Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 44 edited by Robert Hoyland & Sarah Morriss, Archaeopress 2014. Click on the PDF to read the full paper online, or download to your device. The full volume is available in paperback here.
Towards a Hadramitic lexicon: lexical notes on terms relating to the formulary and rituals in expiatory inscriptions This paper is taken from Languages of Southern Arabia: Supplement to the Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies Volume 44 (2014) by Alessia Prioletta. 101-110.Download
Although the corpus of Hadramitic inscriptions is highly fragmented both chronologically and geographically, its grammatical system and above all its lexicon display unique traits that make it of particular interest to scholars. These traits are especially well defined in the textual genre of the expiatory inscriptions since they display a distinctive formulary and ritual lexicon compared to the textual counterparts in the other South Arabian kingdoms. The study focuses, in particular, on the lexical analysis of some key terms that appear in the fixed formulas within which these inscriptions are structured. The lexicon of these texts is characterized by many unique features compared to the other ASA languages and, on a broader level, combines isoglosses with the Southern Semitic languages, archaisms that recall Akkadian, and a more typically Central Semitic lexicon. These elements still await full analysis and systematic organization into a comparative Hadramitic lexicon that will allow scholars to pursue broader studies on the position of Hadramitic within the Ancient South Arabian and Semitic in general.
This paper is taken from Languages of Southern Arabia: Supplement to the Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies Volume 44 edited by Orhan Elmaz and Janet C.E. Watson, Archaeopress 2014. Click on the PDF to read the full paper online, or download to your device. The full volume is available in paperback here.
Maritime activity and the Divine: an overview of religious expression by Mediterranean seafarers, fishermen and travellers Chapter 1.1 from Ships, Saints and Sealore: Cultural Heritage and Ethnography of the Mediterranean and the Red Sea by Timmy Gambin. 3-12.Download
Over the past decades, modern technologies such as electronic navigational aids, improved ship designs and accurate weather forecasts have all contributed to making maritime activity safer. However, even today the undertaking of a journey by sea or even a fishing trip involves varying degrees of danger. Over the centuries, those involved with earning a living at sea, as well as those simply travelling by ship, have invoked specific rituals and developed particular superstitions. These could be aimed at alleviating fears, supplication for a safe journey or simply to plea for a bumper catch. The relationship between seafarers and the divine is not limited to a particular chronological period, religion or geographical zone. The aim of this paper is to illustrate broadly how the maritime-divine link has manifested itself through time. The presentation has been divided into a number of themes that include ritual, iconography and the deities themselves.
This paper is taken from Ships, Saints and Sealore: Cultural Heritage and Ethnography of the Mediterranean and the Red Sea edited by Dionisius A. Agius, Timmy Gambin and Athena Trakadas with contributions by Harriet Nash, Archaeopress 2014. Click on the PDF to read the full paper online, or download to your device. The full volume is available in paperback here.
Sailing the Red Sea: ships, infrastructure, seafarers and society Chapter 5.1 from Ships, Saints and Sealore: Cultural Heritage and Ethnography of the Mediterranean and the Red Sea by Cheryl Ward. 115-123.Download
Sailing along the coast reinforces the benefits of long-established Indian Ocean monsoon and trade patterns that extended into the Red Sea. Vastly profitable and culturally significant expeditions and fleets channelled people and exotic animals from giraffes to elephants, Chinese porcelains, coffee, incense, textiles and other goods into a durable, if episodic, infrastructure of coastal sites in a pattern that endured for thousands of years. The acquisition and influx of exotic materials established economic and social interactions illuminated by recent archaeological exploration of anchorages, harbours, shipwrecks and other installations. New data from Red Sea sites offer a basis for examining the development of extensive maritime systems from the middle of the third millennium BCE through the early modern era.
This paper is taken from Ships, Saints and Sealore: Cultural Heritage and Ethnography of the Mediterranean and the Red Sea edited by Dionisius A. Agius, Timmy Gambin and Athena Trakadas with contributions by Harriet Nash, Archaeopress 2014. Click on the PDF to read the full paper online, or download to your device. The full volume is available in paperback here.
The Boudica Code: recognising a 'symbolic logic' within Iron Age material culture Taken from Landscapes and Artefacts: Studies in East Anglian Archaeology Presented to Andrew Rogerson by John Davies. 27-34.Download
The material culture of the Iceni carries a wealth of imagery and symbols. It is apparent that a number of these representations were repeatedly chosen and, by implication, that they carried meaning for the Iceni. The deep significance of symbols and imagery in material culture can be observed in relation to other tribal societies, such as the plains Indians of North America, whose objects of everyday use possessed deep symbolic importance to them.
This paper is taken from Landscapes and Artefacts: Studies in East Anglian Archaeology Presented to Andrew Rogerson edited by Steven Ashley and Adrian Marsden, Archaeopress 2014. Click on the PDF to read the full paper online, or download to your device. The full volume is available in paperback here.
A note on the development of Cypriot Late Roman D forms 2 and 9 Taken from LRFW 1. Late Roman Fine Wares. Solving problems of typology and chronology. A review of the evidence, debate and new contexts by Paul Reynolds. 57-65.Download
The development and evolution of LRD 2 into LRD 9 through the 5th to 7th centuries is traced and illustrated through a revision of the evidence presented in Late Roman Pottery (Hayes 1972) and finds from new contexts excavated in Beirut.
This paper is taken from LRFW 1. Late Roman Fine Wares. Solving problems of typology and chronology. A review of the evidence, debate and new contexts edited by Miguel Ángel Cau, Paul Reynolds and Michel Bonifay, Archaeopress 2012. Click on the PDF to read the full paper online, or download to your device. The full volume is available in paperback here.
An initiative for the revision of late Roman fine wares in the Mediterranean (c. AD 200-700): The Barcelona ICREA/ESF Workshop Taken from LRFW 1. Late Roman Fine Wares. Solving problems of typology and chronology. A review of the evidence, debate and new contexts by Miguel Ángel Cau, Paul Reynolds and Michel Bonifay. 1-13.Download
This paper summarises both the evolution and the results of the Barcelona ICREA/ESF workshop on late Roman fine wares. A brief guide to what we agreed were the principal Mediterranean contexts for the dating of fine wares, as well as a summary of the principal conclusions on the dating and sources of ARS, LRC and LRD forms are presented. Plans for the publication of the workshop and its results, as well as future collaborative projects are outlined.
This paper is taken from LRFW 1. Late Roman Fine Wares. Solving problems of typology and chronology. A review of the evidence, debate and new contexts edited by Miguel Ángel Cau, Paul Reynolds and Michel Bonifay, Archaeopress 2012. Click on the PDF to read the full paper online, or download to your device. The full volume is available in paperback here.
Ceramica e contesti nel Quartiere Bizantino del Pythion di Gortina (Creta): alla ricerca della “complessità” nella datazione Taken from LRFW 1. Late Roman Fine Wares. Solving problems of typology and chronology. A review of the evidence, debate and new contexts by Enrico Zanini and Stefano Costa. 33-44. Italian text.Download
The paper explores some critical points in the dating of fine tableware found in occupation deposits and contexts of late Antique and early Byzantine sites in the Mediterranean. The refinement of the typological-chronological seriation of artifacts, the availability of increasingly sophisticated stratigraphic sequences and the awareness of the multiplicity of possible cognitive approaches create the conditions for a methodological reflection on the complexity of dating.
This paper is taken from LRFW 1. Late Roman Fine Wares. Solving problems of typology and chronology. A review of the evidence, debate and new contexts edited by Miguel Ángel Cau, Paul Reynolds and Michel Bonifay, Archaeopress 2012. Click on the PDF to read the full paper online, or download to your device. The full volume is available in paperback here.
Sigillatas africanas y orientales de mediados del VI d. C. procedentes de los rellenos de colmatación de una cisterna de Hispalis (Sevilla) Los contextos de la Plaza de la Pescadería Taken from LRFW 1. Late Roman Fine Wares. Solving problems of typology and chronology. A review of the evidence, debate and new contexts by Jacobo Vázquez Paz and Enrique García Vargas. Download

The public works carried out on the road network of Seville (Spain) uncovered a structural complex of Roman date for the storage and redistribution of water. According to some

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Dealer: "We Takes the Stuff we Wants"

It is always worth glancing at Heritage Actions HJ "Snippets". Short, snappy, to the point, not requiring much reading and always making a good point in the heritage debate. The latest talks of the neo-colonialist attitudes of a certain area of the antiquities trade:
Wow! US coin dealer reveals scary attitude!
An American coin dealer has just said something remarkable… “this observer sees great merit in recasting US heritage enforcement policy to refuse import restriction requests from states that do not make a very serious effort to enforce heritage protection laws within their borders.”  Anyone who isn’t one of his customers will have little difficulty in seeing that he’s saying …. if things aren’t protected in a country let me and my colleagues buy that unprotected stuff without having to establish if it’s stolen”. Charming! And bear in mind, Britain is one of those countries that do not make a very serious effort to enforce heritage protection laws (how can it be otherwise when portable antiquities policies are only voluntary and most detectorists don’t co-operate?) so what he’s saying is that he “sees great merit” in him importing British detecting finds on a no-questions-asked basis!  Well there’s a surprise! Not.

The Coin Dealer and Body Bags

How appalling, ISIL may, admits dugup Dealer Dave ("Islamic State" Terrorists and the Antiquities Market', Friday, April 17, 2015),
"be exploiting the legitimate first world art market by taking advantage of its traditional reliance upon confidence in long-established sources and personal connections, and a centuries-old tradition of anonymous sales by collectors unwilling to publicly disclose their divestitures for personal, security or financial reasons". 
Personally I cannot see how such a market can in any way be described as "legitimate". Instead of being exploited by ISIL suppliers, the current no-questions asked market allows their creation. A more transparent, accountable and careful market would be impossible for them to penetrate. Dealer Dave is worried that this may affect dugup dealers as governmental efforts to regulate trafficking in blood antiquities "will almost certainly lay a heavy and indiscriminate hand on the antiquities market". Bravo. He says:
Collectors and dealers should exercise due diligence, prudent restraint and caution in considering acquisition of coins struck in, or known to have circulated in, Syria and Mesopotamia, Be certain that such acquisitions do not include anything not verifiably traceable to a collection or dealer stock prior to August 2011, when the ISI became active in the Syrian insurgency.
So the sales of antiquities by militants fighting the US-led invasion from 2003 onwards do not concern collectors? The sales that allowed the purchase of weapons and munitions which led to the death of member of the anti-Saddam coalition? The sales that led to young men going home in body bags? This does not concern Dealer Dave, who is apparently only interested in erosion of profits through attempts to fight ISIL?

The legislation deciding licit and illicit antiquities in both Syria and Iraq goes back a good deal beyond "August 2011". In Syria, to be precise at least 1963, and Iraq  back to 1936. Anything brought into any "old collection" after those dates without the proper release documentation are illicit antiquities. And it matters not a hoot if the dealer threw away the documentation in order to hide the actual date of import, or by what "long-established sources and personal connections" they passed through on the way out of the source country. 

UPDATE 18th April 2015

Nope, Dealer Dave just does not get it does he? It takes a special kind of intellect to have something explained to you repeatedly in plain English over a number of years and still not manage to even hear what was said, let alone understand it. So he's updated his blog post with a repetition of some ad hominem pseudo-biographical details he made up, he disingenuously pretends he does not understand what I wrote:
Readers are cautioned that "illicit" is Barfordian doublespeak for "undocumented" or "unprovenanced." It does not mean "illegal."
He apparently feels that his readers have to be "warned" about Mr Barford. Perhaps the slack-jawed hillbilly ones will heed his warning. Those with a spark of intelligence will check out what the word "illicit" means if they do not already know. Mr Welsh, despite claiming to "read or speak five modern languages in addition to Latin, Greek and studies in extinct ancient scripts found on coins" and despite having it explained to him a number of times clearly does not.  One can have an illicit relationship without it being illegal in any sense. Many people do Mr Welsh. Illicit narcotics - such as designer drugs - are not illegal Mr Welsh, that is their nature. Many people use them and understand the difference - that does not make them a good thing to be involved in Mr Welsh. Especially if they are of undocumented origins, like many coins you say we should treat as 'kosher'. There are many dangers in handling designer drugs of unknown origin, Mr Welsh.

Let us note the name of the Convention we are referring to here. In the European English version the title and text use the word "illicit" - not "illegal". In the parallel French text the word used is "illicite" and not "illégal" ("Convention concernant les mesures à prendre pour interdire et empêcher l'importation, l'exportation et le transfert de propriété illicites des biens culturels"). It is the same in the parallel Spanish text ("Convención sobre las medidas que deben adoptarse para prohibir e impedir la importación, la exportación y la transferencia de propiedad ilícitas de bienes culturales"). The Russian text uses the word незаконный and not нелегальный. I really do not understand how anyone can with a straight face claim that the Convention meant to use the term "illegal" and through some mistake which has not been noticed in 45 years, accidentally used the word "illicit".

In that sense therefore (see the Convention's Article 3):
The legislation deciding licit and illicit antiquities in both Syria and Iraq goes back a good deal beyond "August 2011". In Syria, to be precise at least 1963, and Iraq  back to 1936. Anything brought into any "old collection" after those dates without the proper release documentation are illicit antiquities."
That is not any kind of "double-talk", it is a cold hard fact. In order for the trade in these items to be considered legitimate, there is no way around the fact that these dates must be respected by all handling this material who want to be counted as doing a legitimate business in a responsible manner. That dealers like Mr Welsh continue to attempt to find a way around that (like doing what he calls "due diligence" going only as far back as August 2011 and trying to convince his clients that its enough) is symptomatic. It speaks volumes for what is really going on in the antiquities trade. The way Mr Welsh attempts to deflect attention from perfectly valid criticism through ad hominems and alienation of himself from any discussion of the issues is also symptomatic. It speaks volumes for the current state of the heritage debate.

This dodging the issues has been going on now for decades. It is time for this to be replaced by proper discussion, whether the dealers and collectors choose to take part in it or not. I rather get the impression from the sort of activity discussed here that they want to become alienated so they can play the victim like they normally do.

UPDATE 19th April 2015

Nope, Dealer Dave really, really just does not get it does he? The adjective "moronic" really does seem quite apposite to Dealer Dave's line of argument here. Either he really is stupid and does not see what is being discussed, or he thinks we are all stupid and will not spot a sleight-of-hand trick. Illicit sex Mr Welsh is not "undocumented sex". And yes, yes he is dodging the issues once again.

ArcheoNet BE

ABO zoekt junior archeoloog

Voor de versterking van zijn nieuwe archeologische team is het consultancybureau ABO op zoek naar een junior archeoloog (m/v). Kandidaten beschikken over een diploma archeologie en hebben tenminste zes maanden terreinervaring. De junior archeoloog zal ingezet worden bij projecten in Vlaanderen (Gent, Aartselaar, Hasselt) of Brussel. Je vindt de volledige vacature op

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Learn Musical Intervals With John Williams

Singers and other musicians often remember musical intervals by reference to famous examples of them – for instance, many of us, if we need to sing a perfect 4th, think “Here Comes the Bride.”

It struck me recently to look into whether one can do this limiting oneself to John Williams’ film scores:

Half step (ascending): Jaws Theme
Half step (descending): Jurassic Park Theme

Whole step (ascending): Duel of the Fates, Close Encounters
Whole step (descending): Hymn to the Fallen (Saving Private Ryan)

Minor third (ascending): ?
Minor third (descending): Olympic Fanfare and Theme (trumpets)

Major third (ascending):  The Throne Room, Summon the Heroes
Major third (descending): Imperial March

Fourth: The Force Theme (may the FOURTH be with you!), Hedwig’s Theme, Cantina Band

Fifth (ascending): Star Wars Main Theme, E. T. Theme
Fifth (descending): Superman

Minor sixth: Across the Stars (Love Theme from Star Wars Episode II)
Major sixth: Princess Leia’s Theme, Han Solo and the Princess

Dominant seventh: ?
Major seventh: ?

Octave: Schindler’s List

Can anyone offer help filling in compositions by John Williams for the intervals that are missing? I’ve limited myself to the starting notes of pieces, or of the main theme of pieces, and so I may need to dig deeper inside specific works to find what I am looking for. Any suggestions?

The Imperial March Darth Vader Theme Saxofón-1


Archaeological News on Tumblr

Haryana's Harappa saluted women 5,000 years ago

CHANDIGARH: Given its skewed sex ratio and long list of repressive khap diktats, it is difficult to...

Jim Davila (

McKendrick et al. (eds.), Codex Sinaiticus

ETC: New Book on Codex Sinaiticus (Peter M. Head). The 2009 conference that produced the papers was noted here.

Review of Hadavas, Lucian, On the Death of Peregrinus

C. T. Hadavas, Lucian, On the Death of Peregrinus: An Intermediate Ancient Greek Reader. [Beloit, WI]: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014. Pp. xxviii, 154. ISBN 9781500303099. $12.95 (pb).

Reviewed by Serena Pirrotta, Berlin (
She concludes:
The compact presentation of all necessary information about Lucian and the Peregrinus in the introductory chapters, the exhaustive footnotes with suggestions for translation, and the reader-friendly layout make Havadas’ book a useful learning tool for students near the beginning of their classics curriculum.
What an interesting text to use for a student reader.

All Mesopotamia




Neo-Assyrian, 8th Century, BCE

Sculpture, Limestone

The Oriental Institute, Univ. of Chicago

Dienekes' Anthropology Blog

mtDNA of Alaskan Eskimos

AJPA DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.22750

Mitochondrial diversity of Iñupiat people from the Alaskan North Slope provides evidence for the origins of the Paleo- and Neo-Eskimo peoples 

Jennifer A. Raff et al.



All modern Iñupiaq speakers share a common origin, the result of a recent (∼800 YBP) and rapid trans-Arctic migration by the Neo-Eskimo Thule, who replaced the previous Paleo-Eskimo inhabitants of the region. Reduced mitochondrial haplogroup diversity in the eastern Arctic supports the archaeological hypothesis that the migration occurred in an eastward direction. We tested the hypothesis that the Alaskan North Slope served as the origin of the Neo- and Paleo-Eskimo populations further east.

Materials and Methods:

We sequenced HVR I and HVR II of the mitochondrial D-loop from 151 individuals in eight Alaska North Slope communities, and compared genetic diversity and phylogenetic relationships between the North Slope Inupiat and other Arctic populations from Siberia, the Aleutian Islands, Canada, and Greenland.


Mitochondrial lineages from the North Slope villages had a low frequency (2%) of non-Arctic maternal admixture, and all haplogroups (A2, A2a, A2b, D2a, and D4b1a–formerly known as D3) found in previously sequenced Neo- and Paleo-Eskimos and living Inuit and Eskimo peoples from across the North American Arctic. Lineages basal for each haplogroup were present in the North Slope. We also found the first occurrence of two haplogroups in contemporary North American Arctic populations: D2a, previously identified only in Aleuts and Paleo-Eskimos, and the pan-American C4.


Our results yield insight into the maternal population history of the Alaskan North Slope and support the hypothesis that this region served as an ancestral pool for eastward movements to Canada and Greenland, for both the Paleo-Eskimo and Neo-Eskimo populations


James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Star Wars Force Awakens Trailer

Click here to view the embedded video.

I’m sure everyone has already seen the above trailer for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. But I still wanted to share it, just to join in the excitement, and to give regular readers a place to talk about it. IO9 not only shared it, but offered detailed analysis, speculation on the political situation reflected in the trailer, and also shared a trailer for the new Star Wars Battlefront game.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Hopefully now that they have a Force Awakens episode, we’ll finally get our The Force action figure…


April 18, 2015

Ancient Art

A 7th century Swedish helmet.Found in Vendel, Uppland, this...

A 7th century Swedish helmet.

Found in Vendel, Uppland, this stunning helmet once belonged to a man who presumably played an eminent role in Uppland’s political sphere during the 7th century. The bronze crest of this helmet is in the shape of a dragon or bird.

The owner of this helmet belonged to a long line of dynastic rulers, each of which were buried the same manner. This particular helmet was found within a boat burial, which also contained cooking utensils, tools, weapons, and three horses and dogs.

While his status is evident, we don’t know exactly who this man was. Some have suggested that this burial, and others like it, may relate to the kings of Icelandic sagas, such as Egil, Östen, Yngvar, Alrek and Erik. We will probably never know the exact identity of this man -but the pictured helmet stands as a testament to the power he once held, and the beautifully intricate craftsmanship of the era.

Courtesy of & can be viewed at The Swedish History Museum, Stockholm: 109204. Via their Flickr page.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access to Athenian Agora Excavation Data

 [First posted in AWOL 27 May 2012, updated 18 April 2015]

Agora Excavations
Excavations in the Athenian Agora are formally published through the Athenian Agora monograph series and articles in Hesperia, the journal of the American School. A number of digital resources are also made available free-of-charge for teaching and research purposes.
With the support of the Packard Humanities Institute (PHI) the Athenian Agora Excavations have been involved over the last decade in an ambitious program of digitizing older materials and experimenting with the use of new technology to record continuing excavations.
For general information about the Athenian Agora excavations, including contact information and a history of the excavations, please visit
See linked data for Athens via awld.js
See linked data for Attica via awld.js

Mary Beard (A Don's Life)

What is Gibraltar for?


I came back from Spain from Gibraltar airport (thanks again for all suggestions on visiting places, much enjoyed Italica...). The truth is that I have not ever given very much thought to this little island, beyond reflecting that Spain didn't have much of a leg to stand on, given its own tiny overseas territories in North Africa (Ceuta and Melilla).When I actually set foot in the place, it all seemed rather more puzzling.

First I hadn't quite realised exactly how tiny it was. What on earth can living here really be like, especially as there are so many people? Do they really, whatever the protestations, operate as a de facto part of Spain? It didn't to be honrest look like that, despite the very wide range of polyglot names in the local paper which I picked up, for some enlightenment.

And there were clear signs of a practical stand-off.


On the way to the airport (above) from the Spanish side there are NO signs directing you to it at all. Now I had already spotted that Spain can give helpful signs in Arabic on the motorway to the North African ferry, so to have no sign whatsoever to the Gibraltar airport can only be a hostile gesture. Indeed some indications of route would have been extremely useful, as we were stuck for some time in an almighty traffic jam, caused as it turned out by a little plane landing at the airport. I had read, but not taken in, that the main road to the rock crosses the airport runway. This means that there is a level crossing style queue every time something lands or takes off. Yes, really.

But what turned out to be most puzzling was the official status of the whole place. It is a British overseas territory, and it is a member of the EU. So how come I can buy duty free booze? I queried this, saying at the duty free that I was going back to the UK (I dont think the airport, which is pretty damn new, built as a presumably aggressive gesture, actually serves anywhere else) .. was I really entitled to a bottle of Absolut Vodka for 8.50? Yes madam, they said. I thought we were part of the the same country, I queried.... Puzzled look from the shop-man.

I left none the wiser, but not particularly planning a return trip.

Irene Hahn and Bingley Austin (Roman History Books and More)

online book chats

Exlibris logo, click for website This blog is an adjunct to The Roman History Reading Group which meets on the first and third Wednesday of each month except August in our chat room from 9:30 to 11:00 p.m. US EST (UTC/GMT -04).  This means that in Asia and Australia/Pacific, it's daytime. Here is a world time clock as a general assistance for non-USAns.

Chat room location (with instructions) at Skype IM.

2015 Reading Schedule

Haggard B0084AYR98May 6 & 20
Cleopatra by H. Rider Haggard
(free on Gutenberg and Kindle)

9780307743749June 3 & 17
Dying Every Day: Seneca at the Court of Nero
by James Romm
Author chat (June 17)
also as eBook

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Jim Davila (

Don't let this happen to you

STEVE CARUSO: How to Know When You Shouldn’t Publish Your Own “Translation.” Also a cautionary tale about Google Image searches. Cross-file under Aramaic Watch (sort of).

Rob Cain (Ancient Rome Refocused)

Why did Paganism die?

I’m the type of guy that tears out an article out of the newspaper, folds it up, and carries it about in my wallet. It has to be special. The subject has to be something that pricks on some unexplainable level. The Wall Street Journal’s Weekend edition, Saturday/Sunday, March 21-22 2015 had a fascinating book review on two recently published works: Coming Out Christian in the Roman World by Douglas Boin and Pagans by James J. O’Donnell.   I fully intend to find these books and crack them open – however it’s really ‘something’ to find a newspaper review that provokes the same thoughts and sense of awe that I am sure the books will provide once I get a copy.   I just want to say that Peter Thonemann’s book review was outstanding, well-written, well-researched, and the article itself was a joy to read like remembering a college class that really opened your eyes to the nature of the world.

The title reads: Rome at the Crossroads. The article reviews two books that study a fascinating point. Why did Rome choose the path of Christianity? Was it sudden? Was it a gradual awakening? What are the crossroads where a society chooses or discovers another path?

How many of us can claim that we ever witnessed a societal crossroad in the first place? There’s only a couple I can think of.  The Digital Age?  The Civil Rights Movement?

According to the article large Christian communities rose up only 150 years after the death of Jesus. ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEARS! This is nothing on the calendar of human endeavor. What is 150 years, really? This is two to three generations at the most.

So Boin and O’Donnell have to answer a very big question. What made paganism “roll over” in a very short space of time?

No. I am not forgetting the persecutions.   However, even an emperor or two would eventually find a trusted advisor to be Christian, even as high as the corridors of the imperial house.

What made paganism die? Was paganism already on its way out? Was there something in the pagan thought that made it ready for something new?

This quote by Gibbon is at the top of the page of the article: “According to the maxims of universal tolerance, the Romans protected a superstition which they despised.”  Meaning…the Romans did not believe in the Pantheon of Gods but continued with it as a matter of course…tradition dies hard some say.

However, as Christians were being rounded up, what happened to those that escaped the net?  There had to be some missed, who hid, who denied their faith when confronted, who lived under the radar and were careful of any misspoken word that might give them away.

Were there Romans perfunctory ‘burning the incense to the Emperor’ as we pay our taxes today? The article brings up that many Romans were quite happy to serve the Emperor, pay their taxes, serve in the Army, and keep a secret Christian altar in the basement. Can man serve two masters? Short answer: Yes, but not very long. Maybe the pagans served two masters long enough until it was ‘safe’ to serve one.

Was paganism weak? The article poses this question. I don’t believe they were weak at all. For thousands of years they conquered, explored, went adventuring, pillaged and dared the gods, and lived on to build empires. It certainly provided a basis to explain the world. It provided an explanation of the changing of the seasons, of man, of a world filled with unanswered questions.

A pagan philosopher exclaimed upon witnessing the properties of a magnetic rock: “There are gods in everything.”

Maybe all that man needed at that time was one. Maybe there were just too many sacrifices (burning incense, and animal sacrifice) to be made to a list of gods that covered anything and everything. Maybe there were just too many ‘masters’ too serve in that ‘pagan’’ world when you have a god for anything you can name (the door, the heavens, the stoop, the harvest, the hymen and the wind, etc, etc).

Maybe Matthew 6:24 is correct: “No man can serve two masters.” Maybe Judeo/Christian thought provided the one religion needed at the right time to cut down the confusion. Was Christianity more flexible (i.e. turning Saturnalia into Christmas)?   I leave that one to the scholars.

These are too many questions for me, and already my head hurts.  I had coffee with a good friend Dr. Vincent Guss in hopes of a cureI showed him the article.  He is a clincial Ethicist and Board Certfied Chaplain. He had different take on my explanation of the article: “The Roman religion lacked spirituality.”  I sent him the article later and he sent back this email.


Thanks so much for the article and the good conversation about how and why “Paganism” was so easily replaced by “Christianity”.  The article and our conversation gave me the opportunity to pause, consider and reflect on that important topic for our culture as it developed in ancient times.  I am honored that you valued my perspective regarding the lack of spirituality (by the time of the “common era”) that so-called Roman paganism had as compared to Christianity at that time, and was the most likely reason that Paganism all but disappeared by the 4th Century. I fully agree with the author of the article in his final words: “…it is dispiriting  to [say] ‘novelty intervened to distract people'” as the reason that “…the implausible triumph of Christianity” replaced paganism so easily.  I believe that regardless of philosophical or religious orientation (or the lack of either), humankind as a deep need for spirituality.  When the “religion of the day” (such as what “passes: as Christianity for many) does not meet that need, people will search and find it elsewhere.  (I have a thesis that today the State Religion of America is Professional and Collegiate football, the Church is the NFL, the Cathedrals are the massive stadiums, the choir/vestal virgins are the cheerleaders and the players are the gladiators performing to the glory of their god–money, fame and applause!–if you are a football fan, pardon my opinionated sarcasim).

End  quote.

Saw Vincent for coffee later in the week  (followup appointment…ha, ha) and he had just one additional comment: “Maybe paganism was already dead when Christianity came about.”

As for Thonemann, the book reviewer, he has achieved something rare.  He made me discuss religion and philosophy, something I rarely do.  Considering Peter Thonemann is a lecturer at All Souls College at Oxford University it should come to no surprise that he can inspire and raise the level of discussion in as little as twelve paragraphs.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

More on Antiquitist Neocolonialism

"Ultimately the only way to stop the
destruction of Iraq and Syria’s cultural heritage
is to stop the destruction of Iraq and Syria" Christopher Jones.
The antiquities trade and its supporters, especially those from across the Atlantic are calling for military action to counteract (retaliate for) destruction of cultural property, from Arthur Houghton, Hugh Eakin and now - invoking the responsibility to protect - we have fresh notions of imposing western will from Ann Marlowe. Bodybags against mudbrick and sculpted stone. As Christopher Jones in an excellent Hyperallergic essay ('In Battle Against ISIS, Saving Lives or Ancient Artifacts' April 17, 2015) argues:
There is nevertheless something deeply unsettling about calls to kill to protect cultural heritage, especially when tens of thousands of human beings have been massacred, tortured, raped, and enslaved by ISIS and millions more are refugees. What does it say about our values when the destruction of priceless yet nevertheless inanimate objects takes urgency over protecting the lives of human beings? Are ancient artifacts, no matter how valuable, ever worth taking a human life for, even if that human being is a member of ISIS? And is there anything more reminiscent of 19th-century colonialism than Western intervention in a country to secure its ancient artifacts while ignoring the suffering of its living population?

BiblePlaces Blog

Weekend Roundup, Part 1

Leen Ritmeyer comments on the report that the stone floor inside the Dome of the Rock is being removed. The Temple Mount Sifting Project posts a recent photo with a note that more details will be posted soon.

A shrine from the 30th Dynasty Pharaoh Nectanebo I was recently discovered in Cairo.

The Shroud of Turin goes back on display tomorrow for the first time since 2010.

ISIS has released video showing its destruction of the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud.

Accordance Bible Software has just released two significant works from Carta on inscriptions related to the Bible: The Raging Torrent: Historical Inscriptions from Assyria and Babylonia Relating to Ancient Israel, by Mordechai Cogan and Echoes from the Past: Hebrew and Cognate Inscriptions from the Biblical Period, by Shmuel Ahituv. Both are on sale for a few more days.

Ferrell Jenkins shares a series of photos that illustrate the story of Jesus and his disciples passing through the grain fields on the Sabbath.

A 2009 lecture by Geza Vermes on the Dead Sea Scrolls is now online.

The new ESV Bible app was designed to be the most beautiful and intuitive Bible app currently available (for iOS only). Mark Hoffman provides a survey of many available for Android and the iPhone.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis

The CAMPVS: Greek, Roman, Late Antique, & Byzantine Studies ... and beyond

Latin Twitter Bots

This is a quick post to mention two new Latin literature Twitter bots. I’ll post the technical stuff elsewhere, but if you’d like a little Latin in your Twitter feed, or would like to have your fortune told by Vergil, look no further. @DistichaCatonis: The distichs of Cato, tweeted randomly by the hour. These two-line hexameter […]

Thibaut Castelli (Spartokos a Lu)

An emporium in the chora of Apollonia Pontica

Khristov, I. (2014) :  Подводниархеологически проучванияв залива Вромос,акватория на гр. Черноморец(Емпорион в хората на Аполония Понтика)Underwater archaeological researches in the gulf of Vromos, aquatory of Chernomoretz (An emporium in the chora of Apollonia Pontica), Sofia.

Cet ouvrage bilingue de 216 pages publie les fouilles sous-marines du site de Chernomoretz, quelques kilomètres à l’ouest d’Apollonia. Les périodes classiques et hellénistiques sont attestées par de la céramique thrace, des tuiles, de la céramique de cuisine, des amphores… L’occupation romaine quant à elle est connue par des briques, des canalisations, des amphores… datée jusqu’au IVe s.  Une analyse des traces de contenu sur les amphores a été faite et révèle la présence de résine de pin. L’auteur fait l’hypothèse qu’il s’agit d’un emporion au sein du territoire apolloniate.

On pourra regretter que la légende des cartes n’est pas traduite en anglais.

le sommaire :


Per Lineam Valli

20. Did Hadrian’s Wall change during construction?

Frequently. These changes fall into several different categories: narrowing the width of the curtain wall, increasing the length of the Wall system, the addition of forts, and the addition of the Vallum. The curtain wall was at first constructed to a standard width of 10 Roman feet (9ft 9in or 2.96m) but, at some point after foundations of this width had been laid between Newcastle and the river Irthing, a decision was made to narrow the width of the curtain wall to 8 Roman feet (7ft 9in or 2.37m). This width change is unlikely to have affected the height.

It seems the initial design was for a wall 76 Roman miles (69.9 statute miles or 112.5km) long running from Newcastle to Bowness, consisting of fortlets every Roman mile (the milecastles) and towers every third of a Roman mile (the turrets). It is assumed troops were to be supplied to man these from the forts on the Stanegate, just south of the line of the Wall. This was found to be impractical and a decision made to construct forts on the Wall itself. Another decision was made to construct an earthwork (which we call the Vallum) behind the Wall and this may have post-dated the fort decision (since it swerves around some of them, as at Benwell and Halton Chesters), although not by much, since at least one of them (Carrawburgh) overlies it.

One final significant decision was made to extend the Wall beyond Newcastle to Wallsend, making it notionally 80 Roman miles (73.6 statute miles or 118.4km) long.

Further reading: Breeze and Dobson 2000

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Orphic Dreams

I recently had a dream in which I was at an academic conference of some sort. After listening to a paper, in which Orphism had been mentioned, I asked a question, asking the presenter to say more on that subject because it is an area that I’ve long been curious about but with which I am not particularly familiar.

And then I woke up – presumably because my brain did not have the requisite information to fill in what the speaker would say about Orphism.

And so here’s another reason to become broadly educated – if you don’t, it may interfere with you getting the sleep you need.

If any readers of this blog are well-versed in the Orphic tradition and would like to share their knowledge, please do so!


The Archaeology News Network

Antiquities market on alert for looted Syrian spoils

As armed groups in Syria and Iraq destroy priceless archaeological sites, European authorities and dealers are on high alert for smaller, looted artefacts put on sale to help finance the jihadists' war. Looted funerary reliefs from Palmyra [Credit: AP/SANA]Stolen-art expert Chris Marinello, director of Art Recovery International, said he has been shown photographs of items being offered from Syria that were "clearly looted right out...

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James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

LOST Rewatch: Sundown

In the afterlife reality, Nadia is married to Sayid’s brother Omar. His brother is in trouble, having borrowed money from someone. He asks Sayid to help convince the man who says he owes interest for as long as he has the business he started. Sayid says he is sorry, he isn’t the man he was when he was an interrogator for the Republican Guard. But then Omar is put in hospital, and Sayid wants to act but Nadia begs him not to. Later, Nadia asks why he pushed her towards his brother. Sayid says that the past twelve years he has been trying to wash his hands of the horrible things he has done, and he cannot be with her because he does not deserve her. The next day, another Iraqi stops Sayid in the street and takes him to a restaurant’s kitchen. Keamy is making eggs. He says that he is the man who lent Omar money. They talk, then Sayid makes a move and shoots them all. He then hears banging from a fridge and rescues Jin from there.

On the island, Sayid asks Dogen about the machine they used to “test” him. Dogen says that for every man there is a scale, balancing good and evil. Dogen says that his scale tipped the wrong way, and they think it would be best if he were dead. Sayid protests that he is a good man, but Dogen attacks him and they fight. Dogen is abt to kill him, but the falling of a baseball causes him to stop, and instead tells him to leave that place and never come back.

Outside the temple, Smokey sends Claire in. She asks if he is going to hurt the people inside, and he says “only the ones who won’t listen.” After Claire tells Dogen that Smokey wants him to come out, Dogen calls Sayid back. He says that Claire has been influenced by an angry man, who was trapped but is now free since Jacob is dead. He says he is evil incarnate. He tells Sayid to kill him. When Sayid sees Locke, he stabs him as instructed, but it does no harm. Smokey says shame on him for giving in to what Dogen demanded. Smokey asks Sayid what he would say if he told him that he could have anything he wanted. He says the only thing he ever wanted died in his arms and he will never see it again. Smokey asks, “but what if you could?” Sayid goes back amd delivers a message, saying that a man that he met is going to leave the island forever, and they do not need to stay here anymore. They have until sundown to decide. Cindi asks what happens if they don’t go with him by sundown, and Sayid says they will die. Sayid goes to Dogen and asks why he twice had someone try to kill him, but didn’t take the opportunity to do it himself. Dogen talks about how he picked his son up from baseball when his son was 12, after drinking to celebrate a promotion. He says that Jacob them came to him and offered to save his son, if he would come to the island to work for him. He guesses that the man outside made a similar offer to him. They talk some more, then Sayid drowns Dogen in the pool.

Kate returns to the temple and learns that Claire is there. Kate talks to Claire and tells her that she took Aaron and raised him. Later. She and Miles run as sundown arrives and the black smoke attacks. She runs to get Claire, while Miles encounters Ilana, Lapidus, and Ben. Ben goes to get Sayid, saying that there is still time, but Sayid smiles wryly and says “Not for me.” Sun joins them, and they escape through the secret passage. Kate goes with Sayid and Claire to join the group with Smokey.

The story is very reminiscent of Star Wars, in which Anakin finds himself confronted with evidence that the line between the good guys and the bad guys, the Jedi and the Sith, is blurry, and so decides to throw himself all in on a side which nonetheless seems to have fewer scruples than the other.

Lost - Sundown - Naveen Andrews as Sayid Jarrah

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Athenian Agora Preliminary Reports

Athenian Agora Preliminary Reports

[Agora Report] Excavations 2013: Preliminary Report on the 2013 Excavation Season.

John Camp ... This report is a based on one prepared for the student volunteers for them to take away at the end of the season. It is therefore to be regarded as very preliminary, and subject to considerable alteration ...

[Agora Report] Excavations 2012: Preliminary Report on the 2012 Excavation Season.

John Camp ... Excavations were carried out in the Athenian Agora from June 11 to August 3, 2012 with a team of some 60 student volunteers, representing 30 universities and eight countries. This is a very preliminary ... 11 Jun-3 Aug 2012


[Agora Report] Excavations 2011: Preliminary Report on the 2011 Excavation Season.

John Camp ... Excavations in the Athenian Agora were conducted by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens from June 13th to August 5th, 2011. The work was carried out in three sections, two of them overlying ... 13 Jun-5 Aug 2011



Open Access Journal: Bulletin Monumental

Bulletin Monumental
eISSN - 2275-5039 
Le Bulletin monumental, publication de la Société française d’Archéologie depuis 1835, est une revue trimestrielle qui vise un public de spécialistes et d’amateurs « éclairés » s’intéressant au patrimoine et à l’architecture du haut Moyen-âge jusqu’au XX° siècle. Chaque livraison, illustrée de photographies et de plans, offre des articles de fond et des rubriques d’information (actualités, bibliographie, chronique, commentaires critiques et comptes-rendus).

Trafficking Culture

Pilling Collection of Fremont Culture Figurines

A Fremont Culture figurine stolen from the collection of a Utah museum and anonymously returned nearly four decades later.

The so-called Fremont Culture lived in the Utah region from approximately 700 to 1300 AD. The culture, which was contemporaneous to the more famous Ancient Pueblo/Anasazi culture to the south, is defined by a number of similar material cultural traits including gray ware pottery and distinctive basketry and petroglyphs.

Discovery of the Pilling Collection

In March 1950 a rancher named Clarence Pilling (along with his brothers Art and Woodrow and ranch hands Dusty Pruitt and Tony Finn) discovered eleven clay figurines in a rock overhang while searching a side canyon of Range Creek, Utah for lost cattle (College of Eastern Utah Prehistoric Museum n.d.; Lobell 2012; Maffly 2012). The figurines were found lying in a row, uncovered and visible in a slight recess four feet above ground level (Morss 1954: 3). Pilling brought the figurines to a family friend named Geneve Oliver who took them to Neil Judd at the Smithsonian and then to Noel Morss at Harvard’s Peabody Museum.

The figurines are now commonly called ‘Pilling Figurines’ or the ‘Pilling Collection’ and the site they were found at is referred to as the ‘Pilling Site’ or ‘Pilling Cave’ (College of Eastern Utah Prehistoric Museum n.d.). The figurines were officially the property of the Pilling family but eventually became federal property and were placed under the care of the College of Eastern Utah’s Prehistoric Museum, where they remain (Maffly 2012).

Description of the Pilling Figurines and site

Noel Morss of the Peabody Museum inspected the figurines and then visited the site where he made some preliminary archaeological and geological observations (Morss 1954: 3). The figurines are between four and six inches long and are made of unbaked clay (Opsahl 2012). They are decorated with applied clay ornaments and red, buff and black paint (Morss 1954: 3; Opsahl 2012). Excluding the applied ornaments, the figurines were constructed all as one piece without the addition of temper (Morss 1954: 4). The backs of the figurines are undecorated (College of Eastern Utah Prehistoric Museum n.d.). Morss believed that the figurines were meant to be seen from the front and, because their applied decorations were so fragile, they could not have been carried around or attached to a person nor could they have been tied to anything in a vertical position (Morss 1954: 6).

The figurines appear to be organized into six matched pairs of male and female ‘mates’ (Morse 1954: 6; Vo-Duc 2012). The females have breasts and wider hips and wear aprons and the males wear breechclouts or kilt-like skirts, which may represent fringed leather (Morss 1954: 4–5). A twelfth figurine presumably did not survive to be found by Pilling, meaning that there is one more female figurine than male figurine (College of Eastern Utah Prehistoric Museum n.d.). Based on iconographic idiosyncrasies, Morss determined that the figurines were all made by the same artist, but were not necessarily made at the same time (Morse 1954: 6; Lobell 2012). However, he felt it was probable that each figure of a ‘couple’ were constructed together (Morss 1954: 6).

The Pilling Site itself is an irregular area that is about 100 feet long and twelve feet wide at its broadest point (College of Eastern Utah Prehistoric Museum n.d.). The remains of an oval shaped room with a stone foundation and wooden superstructure were found at the site (Morss 1954: 3). A number of well-preserved timbers from this structure were still in situ when Morss visited in the early 1950s (Morss 1954: 3). The figurines were found associated with other objects and appear to have been deliberately placed below a poorly-preserved petroglyph of a stylized human figure (College of Eastern Utah Prehistoric Museum n.d.; Vo-Duc 2012). The petroglyph was rendered in white paint with an inverted trapezoidal head, broad shoulders, a flaring base, and without arms or legs (Morss 1954: 3).

Display and disappearance

The figurines have been on public display in various locations since shortly after they were found. Throughout the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s the Pilling Collection was displayed in a number of banks, courthouses, and hotels in Utah. In 1973, the figurines were displayed at the Zions First National Back, Carbon-Emery Division, in Price, Utah (Lobell 2012). A photograph of this exhibition published in the Deseret Magazine showed all eleven figurines (Lobell 2012). In 1974 the figurines were on display in the College of Eastern Utah (now Utah State University Eastern) Prehistoric Museum, also in Price (Lobell 2012). Only ten of the figurines made it to that exhibition. One of those ten figurines had broken in half meaning that there still seemed to be eleven pieces in the collection. This may have caused some confusion and the loss of the eleventh figurine went unnoticed for some time (Maffly 2012).1

Morss designated the missing figurine, one of the males, as ‘No. 2′ (Morss 1954: 6). The figurine is decorated with a spotted line of red paint on the forehead and three horizontal lines of red paint under the eyes. It wears ear ornaments, a necklace of three tiers of pierced pendants, a discoid belt, and a fringed ‘kilt’ (Morss 1954: 6).

An anonymous delivery

In November 2011, a small box was delivered to the office of Bonnie Pitblado, an anthropologist at Utah State University. The box had been hand-delivered to Pitblado’s assistant by an anonymous person and contained what appeared to be a Fremont Culture figurine in the style of the Pilling Collection pieces along with a typed note (Opsahl 2012; Lobell 2012). The note stated that:

‘Sometime between 1978 and 1982 I came into possession of this piece by way of a vagabond acquaintance. He had told of ‘acquiring’ it near Vernal, Utah. I have great interest and respect for this continent’s native culture and have always hoped to somehow return this to wherever it had come from. It has rarely been out of the soft leather covering I put around it and have kept it in the condition in which I received it.

Recently in conversation I mentioned its existence to a friend and told of my desire to find its original home, they offered to help and were able to find that it may be the missing piece of the Pilling Figurine set. I am very excited at the prospect of it being returned to its proper place. Thanks to all who are involved in making this happen.’ (as printed in Maffly 2012).

Pitblado has had no interaction with the person who returned the figurine. She believes that the person may wish to remain anonymous because of recent federal raids of Utah-based antiquities looters (from Maffly 2012).

Scientific analysis of the figurines

A preliminary comparison of photographs of the complete Pilling Collection and the artifact delivered to Pitblado hinted at a possible match with the missing eleventh figurine (Lobell 2012). Fearing that the object might be a fake, Pitblado sought the expertise of multidisciplinary group of scholars to confirm the figurine belonged with the Pilling Collection. James Adovasio, a textile expert from Mercyhurst College, confirmed that the artist who made the figurines placed them on baskets to dry. After examining the female ‘mate’ of the missing figurine and the figurine delivered to Pitblado, he found the basket impression patterns to be the same, a feature that he believes could not have been faked (Lobell 2012).

X-ray fluorescence confirmed that both the clay and the pigments found on the Pilling Collection pieces and the figurine sent to Pitblado share the same geochemical signature (Lobell 2012). In other words, the clay and pigment used to make all eleven figurines, including the one delivered to Pitblado, came from the same source. Furthermore, the signature of the returned figurine is more like that of the ‘mate’ of the missing figurine than any other figurine in the Pilling Collection (Lobell 2012).

Steve Nelson, a geochemist at Brigham Young University, used a scanning electron microscope to confirm the presence of a lacquer called ‘alvar’ on the returned figurine (Lobell 2012). This is significant because it is known that in 1950 all eleven figurines were treated with this substance while they were being studied at the Peabody Museum (Morss 1954: 4; Lobell 2012).

Molly Boeka Cannon of Utah State University’s geospatial anthropology lab (also called the Utah Crime Lab) ran forensic fingerprint tests on prints found embedded in the clay of the figurines (Opsahl 2012). These prints are thought to be ancient. No definitive match was found between the prints embedded in the returned figurine and the remaining ten figurines from the Pilling collection as most of these prints had been purposely smoothed over by the artist who made the objects (Opsahl 2012).

Identity confirmed

Based on the results of these scientific analyses, the returned figurine is considered to be the missing artefact from the Pilling Collection. It is now on display at the Utah State University Eastern Prehistoric Museum along with the other ten figurines in the Collection. The rock shelter on which the figurines were found has since collapsed but archaeologists have located other Fremont cultural features near the Pilling Site (College of Eastern Utah Prehistoric Museum n.d.). The circumstances of the theft of the eleventh Pilling Figurine and the identity of the person who returned it remain unclear.

This case study is a good example of the fractured chains of provenance cultural objects can have in the market, disappearing and resurfacing with no verifiable information about all or part of their periods off the public record, the ease with which knowledge of an object’s true importance can be wiped out by a loss or theft, and the subsequent lack of knowledge on the part of private buyers as to what it is they are actually buying.


College of Eastern Utah Prehistoric Museum (n.d.) ‘The Pilling Figurines’, Website of the College of Eastern Utah., accessed 8 September 2012.

Lobell, Jarrett A. (2012), ‘Investigating a Decades-Old Disappearance’, Archaeology Magazine 65(4)., accessed 8 September 2012.

Maffly, Brian (2012), ‘Has Utah State University found long-lost prehistoric figurine?’, The Salt Lake City Tribune, 13 April., accessed 8 September 2012.

Morss, Noel (1954), Clay Figurines of the American Southwest, Cambridge: Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology.

Opsahl, Kevin (2012), ‘Tale of the stolen artifact: Anonymous delivery appears to be long-lost Fremont figurine’, The Herald Journal, April 23., accessed 8 September 2012.

Vo-Duc, Viviane (2012), ’1,000-year-old Pilling figurine reunited with collection’, KSL News, 23 April., accessed 9 September 2012.

1. Several news sources state that the figurine was ‘lost’ sometime in the 1960s (for example Maffly 2012). However, the presence of photographs (it won’t let me put a comment here, but is there a source for the photographs that can be mentioned here?) of a complete collection in 1973 and a collection minus the one figurine in 1974 point to the presumed theft of the figurine between those two exhibitions.

AMIR: Access to Mideast and Islamic Resources

Newly Open Access Journal: JMEWS: Journal of Middle East Women's Studies

JMEWS: Journal of Middle East Women's Studies 
ISSN: 1552-5864 
e-ISSN: 1558-9579
JMEWS is the official journal of the Association for Middle East Women's Studies.

This interdisciplinary journal advances the fields of Middle East gender, sexuality, and women's studies through the contributions of academics, artists, and activists from around the globe working in the interpretive social sciences and humanities. JMEWS publishes area-specific research informed by transnational feminist, sexuality, masculinity, and cultural theories and scholarship. It is particularly interested in work that employs historical, ethnographic, literary, textual, and visual analyses and methodologies. The journal also publishes book and film reviews, review essays, and dissertation abstracts that highlight theoretical innovation in gender and sexuality studies focused on the Middle East.

Full Text and Abstracts: January 2015 - Present  
March 2015; 11 (1) : 1 - 137 

The Archaeology News Network

Homo erectus footprints hint at ancient hunting party

A long-past hunting party left a permanent sign of its outing — and it was not empty beer cans. Dozens of 1.5-million-year-old human footprints in Kenya may be evidence of an early antelope hunt, offering a rare look at the lives of ancient humans, researchers reported at a conference in California this week. An ancient footprint from Ileret, Kenya: one of several sets showing evidence  of Homo erectus males travelling in groups...

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Martin Rundkvist (Aardvarchaeology)

Sketches of Boz

In the second novel-length third of Stephen Jarvis’s hefty Death and Mr Pickwick, artist and caricaturist Robert Seymour starts in earnest to put ideas together for the Pickwick Papers. Yes, that’s right: here (as maybe in reality) it is the illustrator who comes up with the concept for the book, but being dyslexic and proud he doesn’t want to write it himself. Narrative pictures with brief “letterpress” text added by someone else afterwards is an established form at the time. Charles Dickens finally makes his entrance on the novel’s stage, first as as “Chatham Charlie”, then under his pen name “Boz”, and receives the commission to write the book. He gets the job because a more well-known writer turns it down, and because Boz is believed to be good at keeping to deadlines in a serialised form. Twelve thousand words a month!

The frame story continues to be interesting. Here, fat Mr. Inbelicate continually tries to convince the incredulous narrator that Seymour conceived most of Pickwick, and instructs him to write the novel thus. This of course mirrors the relationship between Seymour and Boz. Mr. Inbelicate has the idea for the book and has collected vast historical materials for it, but for some reason he can’t or won’t write it himself.

As in the first third of the novel, the digressions are many (what on Earth is the gratuitously cruel story of that electro-doctor doing there!?), and so are the minor characters, almost all of whom are male. Reading this fat paper book, which I have serialised for convenience into three volumes using a kitchen knife, I really missed the search function of an e-book. It would have been immensely useful in order to keep track of the many not very memorable participants in the 1830s London publishing scene.

At one point we see Seymour driven almost to suicide after being lampooned in print by a publisher he’s quarrelled with. And we see him moving to a new address with a summer house in the back garden, the very place where we know from real history that he will finally end his life after Pickwick’s initial instalments appear. The first third of the novel has Seymour. This the second third has Seymour + Boz clashing over creative control. The last third will have Boz only, and I expect Seymour’s widow Jane to step to the fore as a more important character (after 540 pp.) to claim her share of the bounty from the best-selling serialised novel. Stay tuned.

Stephen Jarvis’s Death and Mr Pickwick will be out in the UK from Penguin Random House on 21 May, and in the US from Farrar, Straus & Giroux on 23 June. I reviewed the first third of the book on 16 March.

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Prehistoric sites on Ireland's largest island

A little west of a Neolithic court tomb on Slievemore Mountain, Achill - the largest island off the northwest coast of County Mayo, Ireland, around 100 kilometres northwest of Galway...

New instrument dates ancient skeleton

At 3.67 million years, the skeleton named 'Little Foot' is among the oldest hominid skeletons dated. The rare, nearly complete skeleton of Australopithecus was first discovered 21 years ago in...

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

No Sin To Be Homosexual

No sin to be homosexual

“We are each created in the image of God. It is no badge of honor to be heterosexual and it is no sin to be homosexual, just as it is no honor to be White and no sin to be Black. It is simply who we are.”

The quote from Rabbi Paul Menitoff comes from his opinion piece in Reform Judaism, “Boycott the Boy Scouts.” I thought it important to share it, since it illustrates a very different kind of reasoning based on the Bible than many Americans are familiar with if their contact with the Bible has been through conservative Christianity. In Reform Judaism, the concept of b’tzelem elohim – being made in the image of God – is a key moral foundation, one which is derived from the Bible but which trumps what individual passages may happen to say, much as the Golden Rule trumped passages about slavery for the abolitionists who opposed conservative Christians who defended slavery based on a variety of individual passages.

See also Mark Silk’s article arguing that Genesis supports same-sex relationships.

ArcheoNet BE

Vlaamse archeoloog ontdekt Armeense versterkingen in Turkije

Het weekblad Knack wijdt deze week een interessant artikel aan het onderzoek van archeoloog Dweezil Vandekerckhove. In het kader van zijn doctoraat aan de universiteit van Cardiff bracht hij middeleeuwse Armeense nederzettingen en versterkingen in de zuid-Turkse regio Cilicië in kaart. De ontdekking van verschillende nieuwe sites werpt een nieuw licht op de nog nauwelijks bestudeerde geschiedenis van het ‘Koninkrijk Armenië’, dat ontstond in het kader van de kruistochten.

Jim Davila (

Jones on the ancient papyrus market

ASOR BLOG: Ancient Papyri Online and for Sale (Brice C. Jones).
Over the last decade, we have witnessed a growing fascination with ancient papyri from Egypt. By now, most people have heard of the Gospel of Judas, published in 2006, the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife, which made headlines in 2014, or, most recently, the controversial fragment of the Gospel of Mark that is reputed to have been extracted from Egyptian mummy cartonnage. What all of these manuscripts have in common is the material upon which their texts were inscribed: papyrus. What is this material? And where are all these manuscripts coming from?

More on and from Dr. Brice C. Jones is here and links. More on the Gospel of Jesus' Wife is also there and links. Ditto for the Gospel of Judas (also here and links) and the supposedly first-century manuscript of the Gospel of Mark (also here and links).

The oldest Hebrew Cairo Geniza fragment in Cambridge?

GENIZA FRAGMENT OF THE MONTH (NOVEMBER 2010): The oldest Hebrew fragment in the Collection? T-S NS 3.21.
... The scroll, of which two parts have been found in the T-S Collection, T-S NS 3.21 and a small piece T-S NS 4.3, contains only the book of Genesis, so it may have been a Genesis scroll rather than the whole Torah. Colette Sirat estimated that if it had contained the whole Torah, then it would have measured 40m long. The script is highly distinctive, when compared with that of most Bible fragments in the Collection, with an acutely-angled serif and what Ada Yardeni believes are some of the earliest regular examples of tagin, the ornamental 'crowns' that appear only in Torah scrolls (with a few exceptions). The hand is similar to that of the (very few) Hebrew and Aramaic papyri of the Byzantine period (300–700 CE).

Sirat also detects differences from the Masoretic Text (MT) in the division of paragraphs (paraša petuḥa and paraša setuma), though these are minor, and one consonantal difference from the MT at Genesis 17:1, where the scroll has שנה for the MT's plural שנים.
Genesis 17:1, showing the singular where MT has the plural

According to Sirat, the scroll is early, pre-Islamic, and dates from the fifth or sixth century. Although this is centuries earlier than the great majority of Genizah fragments, it would make it contemporaneous with some of the underscripts of the palimpsests in the Collection and its survival in the Genizah is therefore not at all impossible. Nothing is straightforward in dealing with undated manuscripts, however, and Ada Yardeni prefers to date it later, to the eighth or ninth century, still early, but not as spectacularly so. There appear to be sufficient grounds, however, to believe that an earlier dating is more likely, given the clear differences in hand, in particular, from most other Bible manuscripts found in the Genizah, and it is thrilling to think that this scroll may have been in use in synagogue services hundreds of years before being consigned to the Ben Ezra Genizah.

Bryn Mawr Classical Review

2015.04.28: The Bishop, the Eparch, and the King: Old Nubian Texts from Qasr Ibrim (P. QI 4). Journal of Juristic Papyrology supplements, 22

Review of Giovanni R. Ruffini, The Bishop, the Eparch, and the King: Old Nubian Texts from Qasr Ibrim (P. QI 4). Journal of Juristic Papyrology supplements, 22. Warsaw: 2014. Pp. xiv, 367. $70.00. ISBN 9788393842513.

2015.04.27: Talmuda de-Eretz Israel: Archaeology and the Rabbis in Late Antique Palestine. Studia Judaica, Bd 73

Review of Steven Fine, Aaron Koller, Talmuda de-Eretz Israel: Archaeology and the Rabbis in Late Antique Palestine. Studia Judaica, Bd 73. Berlin; Boston: 2014. Pp. xiii, 352. €119.95. ISBN 9781614514855.

2015.04.26: The 'Enneads' of Plotinus: A Commentary, Volume 1. Translated by Elizabeth Key Fowden and Nicolas Pilavachi

Review of Paul Kalligas, The 'Enneads' of Plotinus: A Commentary, Volume 1. Translated by Elizabeth Key Fowden and Nicolas Pilavachi. Princeton; Oxford: 2014. Pp. xx, 706. $85.00. ISBN 9780691154213.