Maia Atlantis: Ancient World Blogs

Tom Elliott (

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

November 25, 2014

Laboratoire Orient et Méditerranée

La rive orientale de la mer Rouge, d'Aqaba aux Îles Farasan durant l'Antiquité

Conférence donnée par Laila Nehmé
dans le cadre du Séminaire "Techniques et économies de la Méditerranée antique" dirigé par Jean-Pierre Brun.
- Pour en savoir plus sur ce séminaire

JPEG - 143.5 ko
Carte de la Coste d'Arabie, Mer Rouge et Golphe de Perse, tirée de la carte Françoise de l'Océan Oriental - 1754

November 21, 2014

Laboratoire Orient et Méditerranée

L'hittitologie aujourd'hui : études sur l'Anatolie hittite et néo-hittite à l'occasion du centenaire de la naissance d'Emmanuel Laroche

Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations, Université Koç, Istiklal cadd. 181, Beyoglu/Istanbul

Colloque organisé par Alice Mouton et l'Institut Français d'études anatoliennes (IFEA)

Ces rencontres se tiendront à l'occasion du centenaire de la naissance d'Emmanuel Laroche

- Consulter le programme


November 14, 2014

Laboratoire Orient et Méditerranée

Le christianisme syriaque en Asie centrale et en Chine

XIIe Table ronde de la Société d'études syriaques :
Le christianisme syriaque en Asie centrale et en Chine

- Consulter le programme

La Société d'études syriaques organise chaque année une table ronde thématique à l'intention de ses membres, des syriacisants français et étrangers, et de tous ceux qui sont intéressés par les cultures syriaques en Orient, en Asie et en Occident.

Chaque table ronde débouche sur un volume publié l'année suivante dans la collection Etudes syriaques.
Derniers volumes parus :
Les Pères grecs dans la tradition syriaque (2007)
L'Ancien Testament en syriaque (2008)
L'historiographie syriaque (2009)
Le monachisme syriaque (2010)
La mystique syriaque (2011)
L'hagiographie syriaque (2012)
Les églises en monde syriaque (2013)
Les sciences en syriaque (2014)

informations :

avec le soutien du Labex RESMED

Les mots de la paix

Journée d'étude organisée dans le cadre du projet de recherche :
La paix : concepts, pratiques et systèmes politiques

- Télécharger le programme

October 22, 2014

Laboratoire Orient et Méditerranée

Rencontres scientifiques d'Antiquité Classique et Tardive

Programme de la première séance

- Pour en savoir plus sur ces rencontres

October 20, 2014

Archaeology Magazine

Rock Art Panels May Be Linked to Hallucinogenic Plants

New-Mexic0-Rock-ArtALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO—Archaeologist Lawrence Loendorf of Sacred Sites Research was documenting rock art sites in southern New Mexico when he realized that hallucinogenic plants were growing beneath panels painted with series of triangles in red, yellow, and black. One of the plants, known as coyote tobacco, contains up to three times the amount of nicotine as conventional tobacco. It can bring on a trance-like state if smoked continuously for six to eight hours. The other plant, datura, is a potentially deadly psychedelic drug. He’s also found 1,000-year-old pottery at the 24 sites. “Every one of the sites where we find the tobacco, we also find El Paso ceramics, or we find other kinds of pots…that date generally in that same range,” Loendorf told Western Digs. The painted triangle motifs are recognized as a symbol of water and water-carrying vessels, so Loendorf speculates that shamans may have brought the plants to the sites for use in ceremonies and ended up seeding the plants accidentally. “I think that probably the ultimate reason for going through this trance is to intervene with spirits to make it rain,” he explained. The rock art will be dated with plasma oxidation technology. For more on rock art in New Mexico, see "Searching for the Comanche Empire."

Ancient Art

An extremely old stamp. This ancient stamp dates to the 22nd...

An extremely old stamp.

This ancient stamp dates to the 22nd century BC, and is from the holy city of Nippur, located southeastern Iraq. Nippur was the religious centre of Mesopotamia for thousands of years, and was believed to have been where Enlil created mankind.

Translated, the inscription on the stamp reads: Narâm-Sîn built the house/temple of the god Enlil. As the British Museum state: “Such stamps were used to impress or mark the bricks of important religious and public buildings. They are therefore an important source for the identification of architecture and a valuable criterion for the date of a building.” The impression in front of the stamp is modern.

Artefact courtesy of & currently located at The British Museum, London. Photo taken by Klaus Wagensonner.

Doug's Archaeology: Investigating the Profession and Research

Open Access Does NOT equal You, the Author, Paying

Open Access hurts young scholars, people from poor countries, people not working in Universities, and those in poor disciplines, like Archaeology, etc. etc. etc. because they can’t afford paying $2,000, $3,000, $10,000 to get published in OA publications.

I have my suspicions about how this rumor got started. Critics of Open Access, like Jeffrey Beall, mention some of these issues in tirades* against Open Access. But, probably 99% of people who publish in scholarly journals do not actually follow the debate about scholarly publishing. I highly suspect that most of you feel this way because you have tried to publish with Springer, Elsevier, Wiley, etc. and have gone through their automatic system that asks you if you want to have your article made Open Access for only $6,000. Which makes their offer of color printing a steal at only $1000 extra.

If you have had this experience I would be surprised that you don’t view Open Access as a scam to fleece you out of your hard earned research money- or if your are an independent scholar, your lunch/rent money.

“There are three types of lies — lies, damn lies, and statistics.” ― Benjamin Disraeli

It is Open Access Week and I am back to my series on publishing in Archaeology so I thought I would tackle some of the issues surrounding Open Access publishing in Archaeology and in the World. First up is the misconception that Open Access means you pay and pay a lot.

‘Gold open-access is the predominant open-access model’- Beall

In case you are not aware, Gold Open Access is when the author pays to have their work made Open Access. I asked Beall about where he got the data to back up such a statement but there was no response**. Though the data out there says that actually most Open Access publishers do not charge authors anything, as in 0$, 0£ to publish. A quick look at the Directory of Open Access Journals finds that 6,444 journals DON’T charge you to publish vs. 3,065 that do charge. That is a 2 to 1 ratio of journals not charging anyone.

Archaeology Does Not Charge

I can actually count on my hands the number of Open Access Journals that run an author pays model in Archaeology- Internet Archaeology, STAR, and journals at Ubiqity Press. There are a few other journals out there but they tend to be run by disreputable publishers and are basically scams. I have a list of 200+ places you can publish your work and it would be free. It gets a bit fuzzy in that some of these places don’t have Creative Commons licenses or rolling walls (free access after a year or two) so not OA in some people’s eyes. But, there are literally hundreds of places to publish in Archaeology where it costs you and the readers nothing.

They Charge But Do They Really?

Famously, PLOS ONE, the mega Open Access Journal, waves fees if requested. Here is what Internet Archaeology has to say about the issue of affording fees-

‘All proposals are assessed purely on their academic quality. The decision to publish an article in Internet Archaeology is wholly independent of payment or ability to pay. However where publication costs can be covered by your research sponsor, we appreciate your assistance in applying for these costs (also called APCs). Waivers are possible and considered on a case-by-case basis.’

Reputable OA publishers will waive fees if you can not afford them. I love the work that Internet Archaeology does and would try my hardest to find funds to support their work. However, that system is based scholarly comradery and not exhortation.

They Charge But How Much Really?

Even if you can get a waiver there are many journals that are very reasonable in fees. From STAR -

‘Members of the Society for Archaeological Sciences receive full waiver of Article Publication Charges as a benefit of their membership.’

You know how much membership in SAS is? $20 unwaged. You could get the student or retired members discount of $15. Yes, for $15 you can get published Open Access and receive the SAS newsletter, pretty great deal. I know many archaeologists that spend that much money in 30 seconds at the bar.

Something to Think About…

There is no denying that there are publishers that use extortion tactics to get you to pay for Open Access i.e. you can’t publish OA with us unless you pay $5,000. However, the majority of Open Access journals don’t charge you. When they do many offer waivers (IA or PLOS ONE or the many others) and if even if you have to pay most of the fees are very reasonable. Seriously, $20 and you get the SAS bulletin, is a great deal. In some cases this money is go to support publishers doing innovative work, like IA. I hope I have convinced you that the majority of OA publishing is not about extorting $10,000 from researchers that could use that money for … well, research.

Prestige, Prestige, Prestige

Yes, I realise that a common perception is that the people charging $6,000 for OA, control the “prestigious” journals  but that is not actually true, but for another post. One corrected misconception at a time.


* Not sure that is the right word but it certainly was not a scholarly analysis of Open Access. I think the wikipedia page describes it best- “In December 2013, Beall published a comment in tripleC, an open access journal, in which he articulated his criticism of open access publishing in general.[4] He portrays open access publishing as an “anti-corporatist movement” whose advocates pursue the goal of “kill[ing] off the for-profit publishers and mak[ing] scholarly publishing a cooperative and socialistic enterprise”. Further, he considers that the “open access movement is a Euro-dominant one, a neo-colonial attempt to cast scholarly communication policy according to the aspirations of a cliquish minority of European collectivists”. According to Beall, “the emergence of numerous predatory publishers” has been “a product of the open-access movement”. In a subsequent article published by Joseph Esposito on his blog, Scholarly Kitchen, Esposito commented that “much of what he says seems to me to be correct, but simply overstated and stuffed inside a political wrapper“.

** He answered other comments after I posted mine so he at least say it. Maybe he got busy and forgot to answer?

ArcheoNet BE

20ste Romeinensymposium Amsterdam op 12 december

Op vrijdag 12 december organiseert de Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam voor de 20ste keer het jaarlijkse Romeinensymposium over actuele thema’s uit het onderzoek van Romeins Nederland en omstreken. Bijzondere aandacht wordt dit jaar geschonken aan het onderzoek van rurale nederzettingen en aan het einde van het Romeinse gezag in de Laat-Romeinse tijd. Deelname is zoals altijd gratis, maar aanmelden is wel verplicht. Meer informatie en het volledige programma vind je op

Archaeology Magazine

Mastodon May Have Been Butchered at Ohio Site

Ohio-Mammoth-ExcavationBELLVILLE, OHIO—Volunteers are assisting Nigel Brush of Ashland University with the excavation of a mastodon skeleton discovered by a farmer in his soybean field. Among the pieces of tusk, leg, rib, and ankle bone the diggers have uncovered bits of flint and lines of charcoal that could show the animal had been butchered and cooked by Ice Age hunters. Further analysis will look for traces of blood on the flint flakes and cut marks on the bones. “It has the potential to be special,” Brush told The Columbus Dispatch. For more on Ice Age people of the Americas, see ARCHAEOLOGY's "America, in the Beginning."

CT Scans of Pharaohs Lead to Arthritis Rediagnosis

Ramses-II-MummyCAIRO, EGYPT—The mummies of 13 Egyptian pharaohs and queens who lived between 1492 and 1153 B.C. were x-rayed in the 1980s. The images indicated that Amenhotep III and three other pharaohs suffered from ankylosing spondylitis (AS), a disabling form of arthritis characterized by the erosion of the sacroiliac joints or fused facet joints. New CT scans of those mummies have given researchers led by radiologist Sahar N. Saleem and Egyptologist Zahi Hawass a better look at their ancient bones, according to a report in Science. The team found that all four pharaohs, whose average age at the time of death was 63, probably had diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis, a form of arthritis that can be asymptomatic. In particular, Amenhotep III was 50 years old when he died, and his skeleton showed no signs of spinal deformity. He may have experienced mild back stiffness when he got up in the morning. To read about the role of animal mummies in ancient Egypt, see ARCHAEOLOGY’s "Messengers to the Gods."  

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online) defining the intellectual concepts of pottery is a collaborative project dedicated to defining the intellectual concepts of pottery following the tenets of linked open data and the formulation of an ontology for representing and sharing ceramic data across disparate data systems. While the project is focused primarily on the definition of concepts within Greek black- and red-figure pottery, is extensible toward the definition of concepts in other fields of pottery studies.

See the github account at, which contains repositories for the RDF data and the publication framework. This framework could be applied to other linked data thesauri.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

New "Nazi War Diggers" Allegations

ThePipeLine suggests that the amateur metal detectorists involved in the controversial TV series “Nazi War Diggers” were involved in the handling of potentially lethal unexploded munitions ('New "Nazi War Diggers" Allegations', October 1 2014). I guess the word "battlefield" is a new term for them...

America isn't doing much to stop a booming trade in looted Syrian art

Erin Thompson, a professor of art crime at John Jay College and author of the forthcoming book "To Own the Past: How Collectors Reveal, Shape, and Destroy History," argues that the US should restrict imports of Syrian antiquities to reduce looting that’s funding ISIS.T.J. Raphael.
"America isn't doing much to stop a booming trade in looted Syrian art" The Takeaway October 19, 2014

Végh Zsuzsanna and Simon Zsolt (Agyagtábla, papirusz)

61. RAI - első körlevél

61e RAI Geneva and Bern - First Circular 

The Département des sciences de l’Antiquité, Faculté des Lettres, of the University of Geneva and the Abteilung für Vorderasiatische Archäologie, Institut für Archäologische Wissenschaften, of the University of Bern have the honor and pleasure of inviting you to convene for the 61st Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, which will be held in Geneva and Bern on 22–26 June 2015. We are excited to host the second Rencontre in Switzerland!

Our theme will be "Text and Image." The traditional gap between those of us who study the written legacy and those who study the material legacy has broadened over the past decades. This is unfortunate since “both the archaeologist and philologist have access to only half of the total object of historical research: the complete human of the past” (Jean Bottéro). The 61st Rencontre endeavors to stimulate a renewed dialogue, calling for contributions of individuals or teams who integrate the two disciplines with the goal of achieving comprehensive interpretations. Text and Image is to be understood in a wide sense: we welcome not only papers on relationships of the two media, but, in a more general way, all efforts that aim at a holistic understanding of the complete ancient Near Eastern human being.

In addition to contributions on the main theme, we welcome papers and posters on current research in both philology and archaeology. These, however, will not be included in the proceedings of the congress, which will be solely dedicated to Text and Image.

There will also be time for workshops, where people sharing a common interest can meet in parallel sessions. Workshops are intended for existing workgroups, special fields or new initiatives. A workshop must include a minimum of four related lectures. Proposals for topics, including a provisional list of contributions or participants, must be submitted to the organizing committee by no later than 30 November 2014. Eisenbrauns may publish workshop proceedings as distinct volumes; the responsibility for publication will lie with the organizers of the workshop.

The papers of all sessions will last no more than 20 minutes, with a further 10 minutes for discussion. We kindly ask the participants to deliver their papers in English, French or German. There will be no more than three to four parallel sessions. If too many papers are offered we will make a selection. In order to make such decisions, we ask for informative abstracts of 200 words by no later than 1 April 2015. Since the abstracts will be distributed in printed form, we recommend that non-native speakers have their text proofread. Participants of a workshop will submit their abstract directly to the organizers of their workshop, who will pass on the information to the organizing committee once the program of their workshop is final and no later than 1 April 2015.

The registration fees will remain the same as those for the past two Rencontres. You can register for the Rencontre in Switzerland by submitting the registration form on our website ( A form for the submission of abstracts is also found under the rubric “Registration,” while information on the venues, travel and accommodation are provided for under the rubric “Practical Information.”

The second circular is planned for February 2015. Should you have any questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Please find more information on our website 

We look forward to receiving you in Switzerland !

Your Organizing Committee
A. Ahrens, P. Attinger, A. Cavigneaux, M. Jaques, S. Kulemann-Ossen, P. M. Michel, C. Mittermayer, G. O. Nicolet, M. Novák, A.-C. Rendu, S. Rutishauser, A. Sollee, C. E. Suter, and J. Tudeau

Open Access Archaeology

Open Access Archaeology Digest #577

Open Access (free to read) Archaeology articles:

Notice of a Portrait on Panel, formerly in Stirling Castle.

Archaeological research in the Madai-Baturong region, Sabah

New evidence of brown glaze stoneware kilns along the East Road from Angkor

Learn more about Open Access and Archaeology at:

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Kuhn Rhapsodies

Click here to view the embedded video.

I don’t think I had heard of composer Joseph F. Kuhn before coming across this YouTube video. If you like late Romantic music, and especially piano concertos of that era, you will like this. The video includes three works: Manhattan Rhapsody, Midnight Rhapsody, and Rhapsody d’Amour, all from 1961. There are moments which are highly reminiscent of works like Richard Adinsell’s Warsaw Concerto and Hubert Bath’s Cornish Rhapsody. If you don’t know those, here they are:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Click here to view the embedded video.


Archaeological News on Tumblr

Underwater Exploration of Spanish Shipwreck in Zakynthos

The Spanish shipwreck that lies in the sea bottom just off the coast of Zakynthos, Greece,...

Archaeology Magazine

Possible Witch Bottle Found in England

Witch-Bottle-EnglandNOTTINGHAMSHIRE, ENGLAND—An intact green bottle has been unearthed at the site of the Old Magnus Buildings, constructed during the Tudor, Georgian, and Victorian periods for use as a free school. “Finding this very fragile bottle in one piece supports the idea that it was carefully placed in the ground. Perhaps it was buried during the Georgian part of the Old Magnus Building, but we can’t be certain,” archaeologist Will Munford of Pre-construct Archaeological Services of Lincoln told BBC News. The bottle may have been filled with fingernail clippings, hair, and urine, or pins as a protection from witches. “It’s a fascinating object and part of the history of Newark. If it is a witching bottle, it tells us a great deal about how people once viewed the world,” project manager Bryony Robins added. The building is being remodeled as part of England’s new National Civil War Centre. For more on the archaeology of witchcraft in England, see ARCHAEOLOGY's "The Witches of Cornwall."

American Philological Association

Women's Classical Caucus Awards

Every year the Women’s Classical Caucus presents three awards, recognizing excellence in the following categories:

   1. an article (book chapter, etc.) published in the three calendar years prior to the nominating year given in honor of Barbara McManus: $250

   2. an oral paper presented at a major conference in the year prior to 30 June of the nominating year by a pre-Ph.D. scholar (ca. 20 minutes in length as delivered): $150

   3. an oral paper presented at a major conference in the year prior to 30 June of the nominating year by a post-Ph.D. scholar (ca. 20 minutes in length as delivered): $150

Antiquity Now

Girl Be Heard and AntiquityNOW present Generations: Voices of Women From Antiquity to Modern Day

In association with AntiquityNOW, Girl Be Heard will be presenting Generations on Wednesday, October 22 at 6:30 pm at the East 4th Street Theatre, 83 East 4th Street, New York, NY as part of their workshop series for the 2014-15 … Continue reading

Archaeological News on Tumblr

King Tutankhamun did not die in chariot crash, virtual autopsy reveals

A ‘virtual autopsy’ of King Tutankhamun has revealed that he is unlikely to have died in a chariot...

ISAW News Blog

NOTICE: October 30th Lecture is Full

Due to the overwhelming interest in our exhibition lecture series, we have reached capacity for the October 30th lecture presented by Paul Stanwick at 6pm.  To be added to the waiting list, please send all rsvp's to or call 212.992.7818.

If you are attending, please plan to arrive at least fifteen minutes prior to the scheduled start time to ensure a seat. At 5:55pm all unclaimed seats will be assigned to visitors on the waiting list.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

A collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts recovered from London

After a year of legal and diplomatic negotiations, Egypt is to receive Tuesday a collection of 15...

Open Access Archaeology

Theme for 2014 International Open Access Week to be "Generation Open" - Open Access Week

Theme for 2014 International Open Access Week to be "Generation Open" - Open Access Week:


International Open Access Week is this week, October 20-26. Its theme is called “Generation Open”:

…The theme will highlight the importance of students and early career researchers as advocates for change in the short-term, through institutional and governmental policy, and as the future of the Academy upon whom the ultimate success of the Open Access movement depends. The theme will also explore how changes in scholarly publishing affect scholars and researchers at different stages of their careers.

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Helicopters and Spaceships in Ancient Hieroglyphics?

OK, admit it, when you look at this picture, it does remind a modern person of helicopters and spaceships, right?


So is there a logical explanation for this – one that doesn’t involve ancient aliens?

There most certainly is, and I’m grateful to Michael Heiser for drawing attention to it. Click through to the MDW-NTR blog to see what it is. Fascinating!

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Greco-Roman museum in Alexandria to undergo restoration

The Greco-Roman museum in Alexandria, which has been hidden beneath iron scaffolding and green...

ArcheoNet BE

We noemen hen Vikingen

Op donderdag 23 oktober organiseert het Gallo-Romeins Museum in Tongeren de lezing ‘We noemen hen Vikingen: in het voetspoor van handelaars, plunderaars en kunstenaars uit het Noorden.’ Naar aanleiding van de tentoonstelling ‘Vikingen!’ maakt Annemarieke Willemsen je wegwijs in de fascinerende wereld van de Noormannen. Bij de Vikingen stellen we ons schepen met drakenkoppen voor, vol stoere mannen met hoorns op hun helmen. En ze drinken bloed uit schedels… Maar wat klopt daar nu eigenlijk van?

De mensen die wij Vikingen noemen, kwamen uit Scandinavië en waren goede zeevaarders, met heel snelle schepen en een soort kompas. Het waren geslepen zakenmannen en handelaars en ze maakten als eersten de oversteek naar Amerika. Tegelijkertijd plunderden ze steden als Aken, Parijs en Istanbul. Vikingen versierden hun schepen en zichzelf met prachtige patronen in de vorm van dieren en elementen uit de oudnoordse mythologie. Maar eigenlijk waren Vikingen geen echt volk. Viking kon je wórden, door overzee te gaan, je dapper te gedragen en met buit beladen terug naar huis te keren.

De lezing kadert in de reeks ‘Spraakwater’ van het Gallo-Romeins Museum.

Praktisch: de lezing vindt plaats om 20u in het Gallo-Romeins Museum (Kielenstraat 15, 3700 Tongeren). Inkom: 5 euro (gratis voor leden NKV en KLGOG).

Roberto Lérida (Aragón Romano)

Ciclo de conferencias del CaixaForum de Zaragoza: SPQR. La sociedad romana.El senado y el pueblo de Roma

A partir del Lunes 27 de Octubre comienza en el CaixaForum de Zaragoza el ciclo de cinco conferencias SPQR. La sociedad romana. El senado y el pueblo de Roma. El precio por asistir a cada una de ellas es de 4€ (2€ si se es cliente de La Caixa). Os pasamos la información:
Lunes, 27 de Octubre: Emperadores, senadores y caballeross. 
Descripción: "La sociedad romana incluía a hombres libres, libertos y esclavos. Solo los primeros podían ser considerades ciudadanos de Roma (cives) y de entre todos ellos, únicamente 600, los más ricos, integraban el Senado romano bajo el mandato anual de dos cónsules. Patricios y plebeyos, optimates y populares fueron las dos grandes clases sociales de la República en perpetuo conflicto por el poder. Eran obligaciones de un senador asistir a las sesiones del Senado y atender a los clientes que buscaban su protección como patrón. Los caballeros surgieron como clase social al pasar Roma a dominar las provincias, eran los hombres de negocios, organizados en sociedades de publicanos recaudadores de impuestos, propietarios de minas y grandes comerciantes. Por encima de todos ellos, Augusto y sus asesores rompieron la tradición republicana para imponer un nuevo orden político, el principado, que fue impuesto como sistema de gobierno durante cinco siglos. El emperador era dominus et deus, señor y dios viviente a la vez. Una fórmula muy útil para mantenerse en el poder y traspasarlo, pero eso no resultó siempre fácil".
Lunes, 3 de Noviembre: Cives romanis. 
Descripción: "En realidad el imperio de Roma funcionaba solo. Una extensísima red de ciudades bien comunicadas por mar, los ríos navegables y las magníficas vías romanas permitían la explotación de las riquezas agrícolas y minerales de los territorios circundantes. Al mismo tiempo, el comercio internacional convertía el mundo romano en una gran economía global donde todo podía ser comprado y vendido. En cada una de las ciudades romanas, colonias y municipios, una élite social compuesta por las familias más ricas, a imitación del Senado de Roma, controlaban el poder pero invertían también buena parte de sus fortunas en las mejoras urbanas. Los ciudadanos tenían que votar cada año en elecciones municipales para elegir a dos alcaldes y dos concejales de urbanismo, de modo que todos participaban de alguna forma del gobierno de la res publica, los asuntos públicos de la comunidad".
Lunes, 10 de Noviembre: Artis et artificess. 
Descripción: "Para lograr que todos los ciudadanos del Imperio se sintieran miembros de una misma comunidad cívica y política fuera cual fuera su origen, desde Italia hasta Bretaña, Galia, Hispania o África, de las fronteras del Rin y del Danubio a los Balcanes, Grecia, Asia Menor, Siria o Egipto, todas las ciudades del Imperio eran pequeñas Romas en miniatura con murallas y puertas, templos y plazas porticadas, termas públicas, acueductos, fuentes públicas y letrinas, mercados, casas de ricos con patios y jardines o bloques de casas en altura. Escultores, artesanos de la piedra, estucadores, pintores y broncistas reprodujeron una y otra vez un mismo paisaje urbano perfectamente definido y lo decoraron con estatuas y pinturas de dioses, emperadores y notables urbanos. En las ciudades y casas de los romanos el arte lo era todo".
Lunes, 17 de Noviembre: Ludi et spectaculas. 
Descripción: "Al mirar los días y meses de un calendario romano da la sensación de que el año era para los romanos una fiesta continua. Los ludi, días festivos para la celebración de las fiestas comunes, se alargaban de forma sucesiva a lo largo del año romano: Ludi Megalenses, Ludi Cerealis, Ludi Apollinares, Ludi Romani, Ludi Plebei... Cada uno de estos ludi duraba varios días e incluía, además de procesiones y sacrificios, carreras de carros celebradas en los circos, espectáculos escénicos y también de mimo y danza en los teatros, combates de gladiadores y cacerías de fieras en los anfiteatros. ¿Un año entero de fiestas? Quizá no tanto. Si sumamos hoy nuestros días festivos de fin de semana y nuestro mes de vacaciones la cifra de días resultante a lo largo del año se acerca bastante a la vivida en la sociedad romana. Para los días de fiesta seguimos siendo romanos".
Lunes, 24 de Noviembre: Quién fue quién en la Zaragoza romanas. 
La descripción facilitada está equivocada.

Adam C. McCollum (hmmlorientalia)

Old Georgian phrases and sentences 39 (Mirian & religion in Georgia)

Ⴜ(ႫႨႣႠ)Ⴢ ႫႤႴႤ ႫႨႰႨႠႬႤ | წ(მიდა)ჲ მეფე მირიანი. King Mirian, from the Samtavisi Cathedral. Source.

Ⴜ(ႫႨႣႠ)Ⴢ ႫႤႴႤ ႫႨႰႨႠႬႤ | წ(მიდა)ჲ მეფე მირიანი. King Mirian, from the Samtavisi Cathedral. Source.

For today’s Georgian reading, here are a few lines from the K’art’lis c’xovreba, with Robert Thomson’s translation (Rewriting Caucasian History).

ed. 65.7-9 (Th. 77)

და იყოს შვილი ჩემი ორსავე სჯულსა ზედა: მამათა ჩუენთა ცეცხლის-მსახურებასა და თქუენთა კერპთასა, რამეთუ პირველვე ამას ზედა მოეცა ფიცი.

“My son [Mirian] will observe both religions, the fire-worship of our fathers and the worship of your idols”, because he had previously given his oath for this.

  • იყოს aor. conj. 3sg ყოფა to be
  • სჯული law, religion
  • ცეცხლის-მსახურებაჲ fire-worship
  • კერპჲ idol
  • მო-ე-ც-ა aor 3sg მოცემა to give
  • ფიცი oath, vow

ed. 65.15-17 (Th. 77)

და აღიზარდა მირიან მსახურებასა მას შინა შჳდთა მათ კერპთასა და ცეცხლისასა.

Mirian grew up in the worship of the seven idols and of fire.

ხოლო შეიყუარნა ქართველნი, და დაივიწყა ენა სპარსული და ისწავა ენა ქართული.

He loved the Georgians, forgot the Persian tongue,  and learned the Georgian language.

  • აღ-ი-ზარდ-ა aor 3sg აღზრდა to be reared, grow up
  • მსახურებაჲ worship (cf. above in ცეცხლის-მსახურებაჲ)
  • შე-ი-ყუარ-ნ-ა aor 3sg N შეყუარება to love
  • და-ი-ვიწყ-ა დავიწყება to forget
  • სპარსული Persian
  • ი-სწავ-ა aor 3sg სწავება to learn

The seven gods are:

  1. Armazi (არმაზი)
  2. Gac’i (გაცი)
  3. Gaim (გაიმ)
  4. Ainina (აინინა)
  5. Danina (დანინა)
  6. Zadeni (ზადენი)
  7. The seventh in view here may be Aphrodite, an idol of whom is mentioned as having been brought to Georgia by Sep’elia, wife of the king Rev, and set up at the entrance to Mc’xet’a (ed. 58.2, Thomson, p. 69).

In the Life of Nino, we also find mention of Armazi, Gac’i, and Gaim (cf. Lang, Lives and Legends of the Georgian Saints, pp. 23-24). Further on early religion in Georgia, for which the textual data are much later, see especially Michael Tseretheli (1935), “The Asianic (Asia Minor) Elements in National Georgian Paganism,” Georgica 1: 28-66; and later, the indices under the names of the gods in Cyril Toumanoff, Studies in Christian Caucasian History and Stephen H. Rapp, Jr., Studies in Medieval Georgian Historiography: Early Texts and Eurasian Contexts (CSCO 601), esp. p. 277-279, where our passage above is also cited.

Roberto Lérida (Aragón Romano)

El yacimiento íbero-romano de Tiro de Cañón en Alcañiz es más grande de lo que se esperaba

Diario de Teruel publica la sorpresa de que otro de los yacimientos ibero-romanos de Alcañiz, en este caso, el de Tiro de Cañón es más grande de lo que se pensaba, obligando a modificar la instalación de una empresa sobre él, según el artículo de Maribel Sánchez Timoneda "Patrimonio ordena el modificado del proyecto de Arasfalto en el yacimiento de Tiro de Cañón, en Alcañiz", con bajotítulo "La empresa tendrá que presentar una plan de actividad que no afecte al yacimiento. La empresa Arasfalto tendrá que presentar a la dirección general de Patrimonio del Gobierno de Aragón un modificado del proyecto que en su día fue autorizado para la construcción de una planta de hormigón y asfalto en la partida Tiro de Cañón de Alcañiz". Os pasamos la información con foto de dicho rotativo:
"La empresa Arasfalto tendrá que presentar a la dirección general de Patrimonio del Gobierno de Aragón un modificado del proyecto que en su día fue autorizado para la construcción de una planta de hormigón y asfalto en la partida Tiro de Cañón de Alcañiz. Las catas arqueológicas efectuadas a finales del año pasado evidenciaron que el yacimiento Tiro de Cañón, situado junto al lugar en el que la empresa iba a levantar su planta de hormigón, era mucho mayor de lo esperado.
Arasfalto contrató a la empresa de arqueología Qcalcina para la realización de catas en la finca destinada a albergar la planta, puesto que esta se encuentra al lado del yacimiento ibero romano. Las catas dieron resultados positivos, por lo que la dirección general de Patrimonio instó a iniciar una excavación para comprobar qué tipo de restos se hallaban bajo tierra. En estos trabajos surgieron estructuras de piedra muy similares a los habitáculos que la Escuela Taller de Alcañiz documentó en el yacimiento de El Palao, uno de los más importantes del Bajo Aragón. Muros, aterrazamientos, habitaciones con pavimentos de yeso y cubetas, estancias con hogares y otras estructuras fueron apareciendo a medida que los arqueólogos trabajaban en la zona. Algunos arqueólogos creen que se trataría de un barrio asociado al yacimiento.
Después de que la empresa de arqueología presentó el informe en enero del año pasado, el departamento de Patrimonio no se ha pronunciado sobre qué hacer hasta este mes de octubre, cuando ha comunicado a la empresa propietaria del terreno que tendrá que modificar el proyecto de construcción de la planta de hormigón con el fin de que esta actividad productiva no cause daños en el yacimiento ibero romano, que, como tal, está ya considerado Bien Inventariado por la Ley de Patrimonio de Aragón. Según fuentes del Gobierno de Aragón, la empresa deberá modificar el proyecto y asegurar que el yacimiento queda protegido y conservado y que la actividad que se realice no afecte las estructuras halladas. El modificado se remitirá a?Patrimonio, que habrá de dar el visto bueno para que pueda reanudarse la actividad.
Fue una sorpresa
Desde la empresa de arqueología que efectuó los trabajos de excavación explicaron que las excavaciones depararon una gran sorpresa en diciembre del año pasado, cuando comenzó a retirarse la tierra. "Se pensaba que solamente había una área de estructuras en la cumbre, pero con la intervención se vio que el yacimiento era mucho mayor de lo que se pensaba, porque se prolongaba ladera abajo hasta llegar a unos campos de labor", según explicó Javier Ibáñez, codirector de la actuación.
La empresa Qcalcina, según comentó Ibáñez, realizará un estudio del yacimiento Tiro de Cañón a partir de los materiales que aparecieron en el transcurso de las excavaciones.
Estructuras que podrían estar destinadas a almacenamiento
Según la Carta Arqueológica de Alcañiz que figura en el Plan General de Ordenación Urbana (PGOU), el yacimiento de Tiro de Cañón data de la época de la Primera Edad del Hierro, de los periodos Ibérico pleno y tardío, esto es, a los siglos II y I antes de Cristo. Tiro de Cañón fue excavado por primera vez en los años 60 del siglo XX por el profesor Antonio Beltrán. De aquel trabajo se hallaron restos de una calle y varias casas.
Las excavaciones realizadas el año pasado por la empresa Qcalcina sacaron a la luz una serie de estructuras que, al igual que ocurre en el yacimiento de El Palao (ambos poblamientos son coetáneos), se cree pudieron servir como estancias de almacenamiento de algún producto agrícola, posiblemente aceite o vino. Según los especialistas, este tipo de estructuras de piedra con suelos de yeso podrían estar relacionadas con algún tipo de producción agrícola de la época. Este fenómeno no sólo se ha documentado en Alcañiz, sino también en la localidad de Castellote. Las estructuras de Tiro de Cañón son idénticas, afirman los arqueólogos, a las encontradas también en Alcañiz, en El Palao. Los investigadores creen, a tenor de las dimensiones de los habitáculos hallados en las últimas excavaciones, que la sociedad ibera de la época (siglos II y I antes de Cristo) realizaba grandes producciones de productos agrícolas, los almacenaban y después distribuían".

Archaeological News on Tumblr

6,000-Year-Old Temple with Possible Sacrificial Altars Discovered

A 6,000-year-old temple holding humanlike figurines and sacrificed animal remains has been...

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

That’s a Fact

Climate Change Denial Cartoon

From Joe Heller via Open Parachute. I don’t think the scientist does a good job of conveying scientific knowledge. It is rarely “just the facts.” We sometimes choose to speak that way, but when we do, it is often unhelpful, because denialists regularly think that they are looking at the facts, too. And so one needs to emphasize that merely insisting one knows or that one doesn’t believe does not make one right, and the collective judgments made about the facts, the data, by qualified experts, get us closer to the truth than anyone has ever managed to working just on their own. Even radical changes to our thinking consistently result from those who have not only unique but persuasive insights, which they have achieved while standing on the shoulders of those who went before them.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

McGregor Squeeze Collection Digitization

McGregor Squeeze Collection Digitization
The McGregor Squeeze Collection consists of over 1000 epigraphic squeezes of Greek inscriptions currently held by the Department of Classical, Near Eastern, and Religious Studies (CNERS) [University of British Columbia].  An epigraphic squeeze is a filter paper impression of an inscription, which provides a precise copy of the incised letters on the original; this makes them a valuable tool for research when students and scholars cannot access the original materials stored in museums.
The McGregor Squeeze Collection was donated by Dr. Malcolm McGregor, a former professor and department chair in the CNERS Department.  These squeezes mainly represent inscriptions from Athens and the surrounding area of Attica from the 5th century BCE, as well as some inscriptions from Nemea in the same time period.  The most notable squeezes held by the department represent the Athenian Tribute Lists, which were the main focus of Dr. McGregor’s work for many years.  The originals of most of the squeezes in the McGregor Squeeze Collection are held in the Epigraphic Museum in Athens, Greece.  The collection also includes epigraphic charts, research tools which are drawings of reconstructions of the Athenian Tribute Lists based on the stone fragments.

The digitization of the McGregor Squeeze Collection is currently being carried out by Digital Initiatives together with From Stone to Screen, a CNERS graduate student-led initiative to digitize the department’s material collections, and funded by a grant from UBC’s Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund.  The process of digitizing these hundreds of squeezes is on-going, so new images and information are added regularly.  You can read more about the ongoing status of the project on its blog:

Robert Consoli (Squinches)

The Erotes of Philostratos

Introduction: the 'Erotes' of Philostratus 
and its interpretation by Fra Bartolomeo

Robert Consoli
with contributions by
K. Bender

[This is the first of a series of posts which will examine the representation of Cupids and 
Erotoi in Western Art.  My friend, K. Bender, and I will be alternate contributors.
We begin this series  with the representation in the pictorial arts of 
Imagines I.6 (The Erotes) of Philostratus the Elder.]

“ἀλλ᾿ εἴδη ζωγραφίας ἀπαγγέλλομεν ὁμιλίας
αὐτὰ τοῖς νέοις ξυντιθέντες, ἀφ᾿ ὧν ἑρμηνεύσουσί 
τε καὶ τοῦ δοκίμου ἐπιμελήσονται.”

“we propose to describe examples of paintings
in the form of addresses which we have composed 
for the young, that by this means they may learn to 
interpret paintings and to appreciate what is esteemed 
in them.”

Philostratus the Elder, Imagines, I, 295 K., 11-14,   [1]

The camerino d’alabastro was the studiolo or private study of Alfonso I d’Este of Ferrara [2]. In this study, as was the custom of wealthy and cultured gentlemen such as Alfonso, the Duke placed paintings of the very best artists that he could commission. In 1515 he commissioned Fra Bartolomeo to create a painting based on section I,6, (The Erotes or Cupids) of the Imagines of Philostratus.

One of the pleasantest of the many happy books to come down to us from antiquity is the Imagines [3] of Philostratus.  It was written by two different men. Philostratus the Elder [4] lived from about 170 to 250 AD and he produced the first Imagines; a description of 65 different paintings which he saw in a private gallery.  Philostratus the Younger, the grandson of the former, wrote a second Imagines in imitation of his grandfather. It was produced in the second half of the third century (we do not know exactly when); it survives only in part [5].

The elder Philostratus had occasion to compose his Imagines during a stay in the seaside villa of a friend in Naples. In this villa there were many beautiful panel paintings and as he examined them he noticed that a ten year old boy, the son of his host, was observing him as he moved from one painting to the next. Finally the boy asked Philostratus to interpret them for him and Philostratus had the idea of creating a discourse devoted solely to these paintings. We mustn’t imagine from his statements that Philostratus was preparing a formal examination of antique painting. As a Sophist his primary concern was to produce striking examples of verbal artistry. It is this that gives the Imagines their lively vividness. This emphasis on the verbal art may, however, detract from their usefulness as accurate descriptions of second century painting. He has little interest in the technical aspects of painting tout court and mentions but one painter by name. On the other hand the Imagines are consistent with the themes of actually existing paintings, particularly from Campania. Although we cannot necessarily believe in the literal existence of the paintings he describes, Philostratus’ very detail allows the scholar of art history to use them as part of his data set. The translator of the Loeb Classical Library edition, Arthur Fairbanks, tells us to keep two things in mind. First, we must not forget that Philostratus primary interest was in literary art but, second, ‘there is little or nothing to indicate any inconsistency between the paintings existing in his day and the paintings he describes’ [6]

A case in point is that part of the Imagines (I.6) which is called ‘Erotes’. This description allows Philostratus to display both his sophistic verbal elaboration as well as his gift for detailed, almost hallucinatory, description. In the ‘Erotes’ Philostratus asks us to imagine a vast field in which troops of Erotoi (Cupids) are playing; in particular they are picking apples. They are flying up to the tops of the trees and gathering their golden fruit in baskets while their cloaks and quivers lie on the ground. In mythology the erotoi are the children of the Nymphs who are the devotees of Aphrodite. More than just beautiful apple pickers, the erotoi have lessons for us. In the foreground Philostratus uses the cupids to present an allegory of the difference between friendship and love. Behold, he says, two pairs of Cupids. The first pair are tossing apples to each other. This, he tells us, symbolizes two partners who form a lasting friendship. As they throw the apples towards each other they intensify and consolidate their friendship.A second pair is, at first sight, more savage. This pair is using bows and arrows to wound each other in the breast. Far from shrinking from the arrows the pair involved make themselves more prominent; intending to receive the blows and not retreat from them. This is an allegory which represents a pair who are already in love and are attempting to strengthen that love by re-inflicting Love’s wound and making it deeper.

Before his death in 1516 Fra Bartolomeo was only able to complete a preliminary sketch. Now what has Fra Bartolomeo made out of these suggestions? His preliminary drawing is preserved in the Uffizi [7] and it is a dramatic departure from the scene in the Imagines. Here is Bartolomeo’s sketch:

Sketch for a painting of the Imagines I.6 of Philostratus the Elder
 by Fra Bartolomeo 

In this sketch, unlike the Imagines, Aphrodite is explicitly depicted and placed in the center. There is no sign of her grotto. She stands with her weight on her right leg and with her head turned towards her left. She is boxed in by four nymphs and she seems to be acknowledging their worship; specifically that of the nymph at the lower right who is handing her a mirror.  This five-sided relation is emphasized by the pentagon in the next figure.  In the next figure I have redrawn the principal lines in the sketch to emphasize Bartolomeo’s ideas. Aphrodite is at A, two of the nymphs are at B and the other two at C (one nymph cradles a cupid, the other nymph is above her right shoulder). The pentagon formed by these five figures is supported by a roiling mass of cupids (the erotes) who are engaged in several different activities. They are both flying and picking apples from the trees at the right (D) and engaged in various wrestling matches (E, F, H). The figure at G may be plausibly interpreted as one of Philostratus’ archers but, if so, I do not see his intended target. It’s better, probably, to interpret his left arm as part of the compositional sweep that leads up to Aphrodite in the center. 

Five-sided relation of Aphrodite to Nymphs emphasized by pentagon.  
Letters explained in the text.

Fra Bartolomeo has, therefore, made a number of significant changes to Philostratus’ imagined scene.  Aphrodite is now the subject of the scene as opposed to a mere mention of her grotto; the grotto has disappeared. The nymphs are emphasized. The pair of archers and the pair throwing apples at each other are gone. The whole activity of apple picking is deemphasized and pushed to the edge of the composition. The cupids are now nothing more than a mass of circular shapes supporting the central act of Aphrodite worship. Bartolomeo’s conceptual changes show that the ideas of Philostratus were only a starting point for Renaissance artists and they felt that they could freely improvise on his themes.

In our next post we will examine what Titian made out of this same theme.

The Warburg Digital Photographic Collection - a work in progress - offers more than 1700 images of erotes [8].

Among them an engraving cut ca 1607-1613 and published on p.41 in the translation by Blaise de Vigenère, edition of 1629, Paris, 'Les images ou tableaux de platte peinture des deux Philostrates, sophistes grecs, et les Statues de Callistrate', depicting the erotes (Les Amours) chasing the hare and offering apples to Venus in her grotto.


[1]  [Fairbanks 1931] 4.

[2] It is reproduced online here (requires QuickTime).

[3] The text is known from a 13th century manuscript, the Laurentianus, LXVIX (30). Also known from the manuscriptParisiensis (greek) 1696. See further details in [1].

[4] Also the author of the Life of Apollonius of Tyana.

[5] Book II with its first section entitled 'Singers or Aphrodite hymned by maidens' in translation, will be the subject of a forthcoming post: Philostratos' Eikones: Book II.1 'Aphrodite elephantine' illustrated

[6] [Fairbanks 1931] xxvii

[7] Ga­bi­netto Di­se­gni e Stampe de­gli Uf­fizi, inv. n. 1269 E.

[8] The Warburg Institute, University of London, houses a Photographic Collection and Library. Its Iconographic Database contains digitised images from this Collection and Library. See post of February 20, 2012,  'Photo-Archives, Old and New'


[Fairbanks 1931]  Arthur Fairbanks, editor and translator, Philostratus the Elder, Philostratus the Younger, Callistratus.  Loeb Classical Library, vol. 256,  Harvard University Press. 1931.
A bilingual edition is available at

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Mammalian bones provide clues to early human activity

Archaeologist Carly Monks will excavate caves near Leeman, in WA’s Mid West, to find signs...

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology publications accessible on-line

Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology publications accessible on-line
The Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology produces quality books and periodicals that record the results of archaeological excavation and conservation projects carried out by the Centre’s expeditions — mainly in Egypt and Sudan, but also in Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus, Kuwait and Iran. All submitted publications are subjected to preliminary qualifying evaluation by members of the Editorial Board and the International Advisory Board, and to double-blind reviewing procedures.
Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean: volumes 1–19 at PAM Journal; issues starting with volume 17 at C.E.E.O.L.
Studia Palmyreńskie: volume 11 at journal's website.
Seventy Years of Polish Archaeology in Egypt: the book can be found on our Additional Materials page.
An array of plates, booklets and folders from exhibitions etc. can also be found among the Additional Materials.

Byzantine News

Byzantine local complex discovered in Israel

Israel's Antiquities Authority announced a recent discovery of a compound near Beit Shemeish dating from the Byzantine era.

The complex consists of olive presses, mosaics, and wine presses.

Irene Zilberbod and Tehila Libman, excavation directors for the Antiquities Authority said:

It is true we did not find a church at the site or an inscription or any other unequivocal evidence of religious worship. Nevertheless, the impressive construction, the dating to the Byzantine period, the magnificent mosaic floors, window and roof tile artifacts, as well as the agricultural-industrial installations inside the dwelling compound are all known to us from numerous other contemporary monasteries.
Click here for the full report 

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean

 [First posted in AWOL 1 September 2010. Most recently updated 20 October 2014]

Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean. Reports
ISSN: 1234-5415
Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean. Reports, appears annually, in English, presenting the full extent of archaeological, geophysical, restoration and study work carried out by expeditions from the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology, University of Warsaw. The PCMA is present in the Near East and northeastern Africa (Egypt, Sudan, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Iran and Kuwait, formerly also in Iraq). Projects cover all periods from prehistory and protohistory through the Islamic age, emphasizing in particular broadly understood Greco-Roman culture and Early Christianity in the southern and eastern parts of the Mediterranean.

Compitum - publications

C. Codoñer et P. F. Alberto (éd.), Wisigothica. After M. C. Díaz y Díaz


Carmen Codoñer et Paulo Farmhouse Alberto (éd.), Wisigothica. After M. C. Díaz y Díaz, Florence, 2014.

Éditeur : SISMEL - Edizioni del Galluzzo
Collection : mediEVI, 3
XXXIV-763 pages
ISBN : 978-88-8450-543-9
68 €

1. VISIGOTHIC AND MOZARABIC TEXTUAL PRODUCTION C. Codoñer, La sententia y las Sententiae de Isidoro de Sevilla - M. A. Andrés Sanz, Las versiones del salterio latino en las obras de Isidoro de Sevilla - J. Carracedo, De gramáticas y gramáticos en la Hispania visigótica - J.-Y. Guillaumin, Isidore de Séville, l'arithmétique et la géométrie - P. F. Alberto, Poetry in seventh-century Visigothic Spain - F. Stella, Confessio beati Isidori. Edizione dal Paris B.N. lat. 8039, fol. 24v - L. A. García Moreno, Historiografía andalusí e historiografía hispanolatina - E. Vázquez Buján, Isidoro de Sevilla y el antiguo comentario latino a los Aforismos hipocráticos: una revisión - A. Ferraces Rodríguez, Fuentes intermedias y latín vulgar: nuevas perspectivas para el estudio del léxico técnico en las Etimologías de Isidoro de Sevilla - G. Martínez Díez, Piezas extravagantes del códice conciliar emilianense - I. Velázquez, Epigrafía en la Hispania de época visigoda: nuevas perspectivas, revisiones críticas y estudios - M. M. Alves Díaz - C. Gaspar, A população de Mérida e de Mértola nas fontes epigráficas - M. Pérez González, El latín de las inscripciones mozárabes
2. CIRCULATION OF TEXTS V. von Büren, Le De natura rerum de Winithar - J. Elfassi, Les Synonyma d'Isidore de Seville dans le Moyen Âge hispanique - R. Furtado, In how many ways can a text be written? The textual tradition of Isidore's Histories - C. Cardelle de Hartmann, Uso y recepción de las Etymologiae de Isidoro - F. Gasti, Il corpo umano: estratti isidoriani nell'enciclopedia di Rabano Mauro - A. do Espírito Santo, Cassiano na Hispânia suevo-visigótica: as formas de transmissão textual, hipóteses e sugestões a partir da análise interna do texto - A. N. Pena, De orientis partibus in Hispaniam. A recepção de Efrém Sírio - J. Vezin, Le plus ancien acte en ecriture wisigothique des archives de Cluny: un privilège de Sanche le Grand, roi de Navarre, en faveur de San Salvador de Oña - A. Nascimento, Códices antigos de Lorvão: um manuscrito perdido, mas referenciado
3. TEXTUAL AND CULTURAL RECEPTION R. Collins, Ambrosio de Morales, Bishop Pelayo of Oviedo and the lost manuscripts of Visigothic Spain - B. Taylor, Reading Visigothic authors in the Renaissance - A. M. S. Tarrío, Del antigoticismo en la península ibérica: los godos en la cultura portuguesa - APPENDIX M. Domínguez, Bibliografía de M. C. Díaz y Díaz - INDEXES. Index of Manuscripts - General Index.


Source : SISMEL - Edizioni del Galluzzo

Archaeological Institute of America blogs

Joint NEAIG/ASOR Workshop: Politics and Archaeology in the Middle East. New Paradigms of Cooperation

In the face of political instability in the Near East, this workshop aims to generate an international dialogue on cultural heritage.

In the face of political instability in the Near East, this workshop aims to generate an international dialogue on cultural heritage. Awareness is fundamental—we can’t just be outraged by the destruction perpetrated by ISIS and other groups, we must articulate responses and initiatives. Political dynamics affect attitudes toward cultural heritage as well as the ways in which remains of ancient cultures play into notions of national identity. Read more »

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

A Different Mantra

Crystal St. Marie Lewis blogged about a mantra that is associated with Joel Osteen, suggesting that the following is a better alternative:

This is my Bible.
I am a witness to what it says, and a student of why it says what it says.
I can do as much research as I wish on the origins and intended uses of these texts.

Today, I understand that my biases impact my perception of what God’s Word is, versus what these words are,
However, I humbly and boldly confess:
My mind is alert and my heart is receptive, as I seek a message that will shatter my biases.

We will never be the same, because we seek a story that will make us all whole.
Others have used these texts irresponsibly in the past, but we will never make that mistake.
Never, never, never.
We will never be the same.
In Jesus name. Amen.

She also shared this insightful quote from a recent article by Reza Aslan:

I think the principle fallacy of not just to the so-called New Atheists, but I think of a lot of critics of religion, is that they believe that people derive their values, their morals, from their religion. That, as every scholar of religion in the world will tell you, is false.

People don’t derive their values from their religion — they bring their values to their religion. Which is why religions like Judaism, Hinduism, Christianity, [and] Islam, are experienced in such profound, wide diversity. Two individuals can look at the exact same text and come away with radically different interpretations. Those interpretations have nothing to do with the text, which is, after all, just words on a page, and everything to do with the cultural, nationalistic, ethnic, political prejudices and preconceived notions that the individual brings to the text. That is the most basic, logical idea that you could possibly imagine, and yet for some reason, it seems to get lost in the incredibly simplistic rhetoric around religion and the lived experience of religion.

…And to me, there’s a shocking inability to understand what, as I say, a child would understand, which is that religions are neither peaceful nor violent, neither pluralistic nor misogynistic — people are peaceful, violent, pluralistic, or misogynistic, and you bring to your religion what you yourself already believe.


Liz Gloyn (Classically Inclined)

New edition of Cloelia out now!

You may remember that I have been acting as co-editor for the 2014 edition of Cloelia, the annual newsletter of the Women’s Classical Caucus. I’m delighted to announce that the 2014 edition is now out – click here for the official blog post and to download a PDF of the final product!

I have to say that I’m absolutely delighted with how the edition has turned out. There’s been a lot of behind-the-scenes work to get the volume into shape, and a lot of to-ing and fro-ing of documents between me and Alison, Cloelia‘s fearless editor, over the last few weeks to get it into this format, and it’s good to see the hard work pay off. More generally, I’m very proud of the collection of articles that the issue pulls together on a variety of topics concerning feminist pedagogy, particularly language pedagogy. There’s some great stuff in there, as well as some interesting insights from the survey we ran earlier in the year, and I hope that other teachers find the articles interesting and inspirational as well. It’s been great fun to pull together, and with any luck it will be of use and interest to many of its readers.

BiblePlaces Blog

Egypt Roundup

The Suez National Museum opened in Egypt last week with more than 2,500 antiquities on display.

Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities announced that a restoration project for Meidum will begin immediately in order to improve the site for tourists.

The smallest of the three Giza pyramids will open next month to tourists after a two-year renovation project.

The Hanging Church is again open after 16 years of renovation.

The Sesostris Canal that linked the Nile River to the Red Sea never existed.

A giant sphinx has been discovered in the sand dunes of California. This plaster figure was built for Cecil B. DeMille’s 1923 movie “The Ten Commandments.”

And a recent study shows that Hollywood does not portray archaeologists fairly.

HT: Explorator, Agade

Meidum pyramid from below, tb010705037

Pyramid of Meidum
Photo from Egypt volume of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands

Pierre-Yves Beaurepaire et al. (CITERE: Circulations, territoires et réseaux en Europe de l’âge classique aux Lumières)

‘French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe’ (FBTEE) database project

Dirigé par Simon Burrows, le projet de base de données et de cartographie du commerce du livre français dans l’Europe des Lumières a fait l’objet de vifs échanges notamment avec Robert Darnton. Alors que deux ouvrages de Robert Darnton viennent de paraître chez Gallimard (L’Affaire des Quatorze, Poésie, police et réseaux de communication à Paris au XVIIIe siècle, Collection NRF Essais, Gallimard Paris, 2014 et  De la censure. Essai d’histoire comparée, trad. de l’anglais (États-Unis) par Jean-François Sené, Collection NRF Essais, Gallimard Paris, 2014), il peut être intéressant de revenir sur les enjeux de l’exploitation des archives de la Société Typographique de Neuchâtel en parcourant le site du FBTEE. La navigation (comme le téléchargement) dans la base de données est possible et son apprentissage facilité par des tutoriels.

Capture d’écran 2014-10-20 à 14.47.03



Archaeological News on Tumblr

Bottle used to ward off evil spells during 18th century witch hunts found by archaeologists

A 15-centimetre tall green glass vessel could date from the witch hunts of the 18th century when...

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

Fractured Land Author to Speak at the University of North Dakota

On Thursday, October 30th, Lisa Peters the author of Fractured Lands will speak in the East Asia Room of the Mighty Chester Fritz Library.  The book has received a positive review from the Minneapolis Star Tribune and I’ve offered my thoughts on it here.


While making a poster for the book, I took a few minutes to think about the font used on the cover. I think it’s a version of Cochin, but it’s clearly a transitional serif font. I suspect the use of this font for book covers is designed to evoke the cover of Larry Potter books which used a version of Cochin to evoke the fantastic and anachronistic world of the young wizard (or whatever he is). As someone who wrote a fairly long dissertation and endless articles under the oppressive gaze of Times New Roman, I’m sort of over transitional serif fonts. I can vaguely grasp the point of it on the cover. I suppose it is designed to evoke tensions between her father’s fascination with North Dakota oil and her own desire to move forward into a greener, more environmentally friendly world.  

Ironically, the book is set in a modern serif font, Escrow, made famous by the Wall Street Journal. I thought that was a nice touch, considering the topic of the book! I might have dumped the Larry Potteresque title and run an old style serif font like Garamond throughout. I like the intimacy of the Classical/Old Style fonts and I think they’d be fitting for a memoire. 

Font situation aside, her talk should be good fun. I’m donating some of my time from North Dakota Humanities Council affairs to organizing this talk, so it’s sponsored by the NDHC.

Here’s the link to the live stream on the day of the talk.


Martin Rundkvist (Aardvarchaeology)

New Popular Book On The Viking Period

Anders Winroth (born in 1965) is a Swedish historian who received his PhD from Columbia in 1996 and now holds an endowed professorship in history at Yale. He has written several books on the Viking Period for lay readers, the latest one of which I’ve been given to review.

The main contents of The Age of the Vikings is organised into eight chapters on:

  • Raiding and warfare

  • Emigration and overseas settlement
  • Ships in reality and mythology
  • Trade
  • The development of political leadership
  • Home life in Scandinavia and the roles of women
  • Religion
  • Arts and letters

All eight are well written and interesting (though the final arts chapter consists of brief poorly linked essays, repeats points already made and gives the impression of padding). Throughout, Winborg stresses the importance to period society of the military retinue and the redistribution of plunder. If a person wants to approach the Viking Period for the first time or get a refresher on where scholarship is standing right now, then I am happy to recommend this fine book.

Myself, I was intrigued to learn that the infamous, messy and impractical “blood eagle” murder method may just be the fruit of High Medieval writers misunderstanding one of the countless references in Viking Period poetry to carrion birds munching on the slain (p. 37). There is to my knowledge no osteological evidence for it. Also interesting to me, I can’t recall reading about the Spanish Moor Al-Tartushi’s report on life in Hedeby before (p. 197). But that may just be because I’m not an historian.

Then again, the Viking Period is far more of an archaeological period than a historical one if you look at the shelf metres occupied by the source material. And historian Winroth slips a lot when he uses the archaeological record. He thanks three eminent historians for commenting on the manuscript (p. 253). I think he should have included an archaeologist or two. Though I have written three academic books that deal largely with the Viking Period, I would never attempt a general synthesis of the period without involving historians. I will end this brief review with an errata list that I hope will be useful if a second edition appears one day.

Winroth, A. 2014. The Age of the Vikings. Princeton University Press. 304 pp. ISBN 978-0-691-14985-1.


3. Gold foil figures belong to the Vendel Period, not the subsequent Viking Period.

7. “9.5 square meters” : this would be a pretty cramped mead hall.

24. “OnämNsdotter” → Onämsdotter

26. The modern English word “Hell” comes down from Old Norse Hel, the name of both the Norse land of the dead and it’s ruling goddess. It has nothing to do with being Christian.

29, caption. All Viking Period spears had “sharpened points”, so the ones used at the Battle of Maldon were not unusual in this respect.

33, caption. Swords have grips, not handles.

39. The problem of whether berserks and wulfheodenas existed cannot be approached exclusively from the textual sources, as Winroth does. We also have to look at period imagery such as the embossed-foil scenes on Vendel Period helmets and the Lewis chessmen, biting their shields.

44. Styrstad is east of Norrköping, not west.

46. Of course the two Röriks in Holland and Russia had never heard of Rörik in Styrstad. He wasn’t born yet, but would live in the 11th century as shown by the date of his rune stone.

51. Winroth thinks Jordanes made up the Scandinavian origin myth of the Goths. This is a controversial opinion, since almost all the many Germanic gentes had similar origin myths. I don’t think the myths are true, but I think they are authentic 6th century beliefs.

89. “Many runestones also have images of ships, but only one * also mentions the ship in its text.” Insert “of these” at asterisk. Several runestones mention ships but have no ship imagery.

111. Birka and Sorte Muld are irrelevant in the context of 11th century rune stones.

113. The claws of furry animals decompose as easily as their hair and skin, and therefore rarely survive in the archaeological record. Their phalange bones, however, are common, and these are what Winroth seems to be referring to here.

114. “glass pearls” → glass beads (Swedicism)

135. Archaeologists have hardly found any gold or silver arm rings in graves. They were apparently recast or disposed of in hoards.

140. This Roman Period tableware is irrelevant to the Viking Period.

149. Cremation produces shrunken and cracked white bones, not ashes.

150. “trelleborgs also contained cemeteries” : The cemeteries of the trelleborgs were outside the fortifications.

168. Whatever the perforated pottery was used for, it certainly wasn’t to “sieve the milk”. Viking Period milkmaids didn’t drop more straw into their buckets than modern ones.

171. The longhouse dominated agricultural Scandinavia for 5,000 years, not hundreds.

171. An Iron Age longhouse has three aisles, not “three naves”.

173. Again: the longhouse dominated agricultural Scandinavia for 5,000 years, not hundreds.

173. The development of the great hall building preceded the Viking Period by several centuries: it happened in the Migration Period.

173. Pole barns are common, not unusual.

175. Single non-village farms occur in populous farming districts too, not just in isolated locations.

Plate 4. The stone ship in the image dates from the Late Bronze Age, as can be seen from the fact that its constituent standing stones touch instead of being spaced out like the ribs of a Viking ship.

Plate 10. The animal-head posts from Oseberg are depicted on the tapestry in the same burial and have something to do with sledges, not furniture.

193. The Uppåkra drinking cup with the embossed foil decoration is not a “pitcher”.

193. Like the development of the hall building, the move of sacrifices away from lakes and indoors happened in the Migration Period, not the Viking Period.

215. “Runes were used for two millennia” : From AD 150 to 1900, that is, 1.75 millennia.

217. “Proto-Germanic” (three times) : the earliest runic inscription are in Proto-Norse, a language that is attested in writing unlike its theoretical parent language Proto-Germanic.

217. Another major reason why inscriptions in the Younger Futhark are so much easier to read than those in the Elder Futkark is that the later inscriptions use word-spacing characters.

220. Dróttkvætt: the name of this verse metre means “metre of lords”, not “meter suitable for a lord’s band of retainers”.

236, caption. The tale of Sigurd Fafnir’s bane is not a “myth” in the cosmographical sense that scholars of religion ascribe to the word.

289. Telling the reader that the spears thrown at Maldon had “sharpened points” is redundant: it’s comparable to saying that the warriors involved used “swords with blades”.

Peter Tompa (Cultural Property Observer)

Viking Hoard

A significant Viking era treasure was recently found in Scotland and reported under its Treasure Trove law.  More evidence-- if any is needed-- that systems that encourage the public to report their finds with the prospect of compensation are much preferable to those which don't.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Mummy remains refute antiquity of ankylosing spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis is a systemic disease that causes inflammation in the spinal joints and was...

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

LOST Rewatch: Raised by Another

This episode begins with Claire’s eye. She is no longer pregnant, and hears a baby crying in the jungle. She follows the sound, and meets John Locke, whose eyes are one black stone and one white one. He tells her that he was her responsibility, but she gave him away. Eventually she finds a crib, and under the blankets there is blood. Claire turns out to have been sleepwalking and having a nightmare.

raisedbyanother01In a flashback, Claire goes to a psychic, Richard Malkin. He knows about her baby. He suddenly acts scared and gives her her money back, saying he can’t do this reading. Later she goes back to him, and he knows about Thomas leaving. He says he stopped the reading last time because he something blurry, and blurry is bad. The psychic says that danger surrounds the baby if it isn’t raised by her, surrounded by her spirit of goodness. There is no happy life for the child if another raises the baby. It needs her protection. Claire proceeds to seek to give the baby up for adoption, but when she has to sign the papers, no pen will work, and she leaves, and goes to hear what offer the psychic had (which he had previously mentioned). He gives her $6,000 to go to Los Angeles to give the baby to people there. Charlie suggests that, if he had the gift, maybe he knew that this would lead to her raising the baby herself.

Hurley decides to take a census, after Claire wakes up screaming in the night, saying someone attacked her and tried to hurt her baby with a needle. Ethan Rom is one of the people Hurley speaks to, saying that you would think that everyone would know one another by now in their situation. Eventually he learns that there is a manifest with the list of who was on the flight. And he discovers that there is one person he interviewed whose name isn’t on there, who is among them but who wasn’t on the flight. Around the same time Sayid returns to the camp saying that he found the French woman, and that they are not alone on the island.

The introduction of the “Others” leads to fantastic storytelling in the seasons that follow. And in light of later seasons, would it be safe to say that it was more a case of Claire being manipulated to get on the plane, rather than anything actually focused on her baby? One of the threads that little gets done with is the “specialness” of children like Claire’s baby or Walt. But perhaps this was just more of the various sides in the conflict over the island looking for allies, or merely to understand, or a potential replacement?





ASOR Blog (American Schools of Oriental Research)

Philistine Pottery in the Core and Periphery

Production Centers, Stylistic Groups and Individual Artists

7-Linda-Meiberg-blogBy: Linda Meiberg, University of Pennsylvania
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow

The … Read more

Archaeological News on Tumblr

In Mexico's National Museum of Anthropology, codex exhibit rethinks Moctezuma's death

MEXICO CITY (AFP).- Mexico’s largest exhibit of Mesoamerican manuscripts features a codex...

ArcheoNet BE

Sint-Lievens-Houtem gaat ondergronds

Op zondag 26 oktober organiseert Heemkunde Houtem een aperitieflezing over het archeologisch onderzoek in Sint-Lievens-Houtem. Archeoloog Bart Cherretté (SOLVA) zal er vertellen over de recente opgravingen in de gemeente. Vorig jaar onderzochten de SOLVA-archeologen er het tracé van een nieuwe riolering. Het onderzoek sloot aan bij een proefsleuvenonderzoek uit 2008, waarbij onder meer de funderingen van het voormalige schepenhuisje aan het licht kwamen. De lezing vindt plaats om 10u in de parochiezaal van Vlierzele. Meer informatie op

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Un percorso digitale per scoprire l’oro sulle sculture degli Uffizi

putto-ala-dorataE' stato presentato in occasione dell’International Archaeology Day promosso dall’American Institute of Archaeology di Chicago lo scorso 18 ottobre 2014, il progetto "Gold Unveiled" iniziativa del Museo degli Uffizi di Firenze per la valorizzazione di alcune antiche sculture in marmo. Alcune delle  sculture che oggi sono conservati presso la Galleria degli Uffizi presentavano in passato delle parti dorate: "la Venere dei Medici della Tribuna aveva i capelli d’oro, così come le ali degli amorini del Rilievo dei troni, oppure come l’egida della Minerva che si ammira transitando nell’anticamera della Direzione della Galleria o come gli spallacci del busto di Adriano nel primo corridoio del museo".

Dorothy King (PhDiva)

Marcel Camille of Waitrose

Cycles on pavements, doesn't care about small children or dogs. BTW doesn't understand the Highway Code - cyclists with driving licences get points on their licences.


Jim Davila (

A Cross logion on Hebrew

HARVARD MAGAZINE publishes an interesting inquiry from an alumnus:
Thomas Burrows hopes, after a half-century of searching, that someone can provide him with the source of the following assertion, delivered by Professor Frank Moore Cross during an elementary Hebrew course: “It was a saying of the ancient rabbis that you may as well learn Hebrew now because you will need it in the world to come.”
I was around Cross quite a bit for five years in the 1980s and I never heard him mention this particular saying. I do know that there is a Jewish tradition or saying that Hebrew is the language of heaven, but I don't have a specific reference. It does seem to be implied in the Talmud in b. Shabbat 12a, which advises making intercession for a sick person in Hebrew, because angels don't know Aramaic.

Paola Arosio and Diego Meozzi (Stone Pages' Archaeonews)

New settlement found in Arizona desert

In the northeast corner of Arizona (USA) is an area known as the Arizona Petrified Forest National Park. The forest in question is actually over 200 million years old and...

Tracing our ancestors at the bottom of the sea

A specialist group of European researchers are studying the remains of prehistoric human settlements which are now submerged beneath our coastal seas. Some of these drowned sites are tens of...

Trafficking Culture

Neil Brodie and Donna Yates speaking at University of Manchester on 25 Oct

Neil Brodie will be presenting and Donna Yates will serve as a discussant at “To publish or not to publish? A multidisciplinary approach to the politics, ethics and economics of ancient artefacts“, The John Rylands Seminar in Papyrology at the University of Manchester. Neil will be giving a paper entitled “The role of academics”.

The conference will take place on 25 October 2014 in the Christie Room, The John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester.

Due to growing interest, please confirm attendance via email due to space limitations:

Paola Arosio and Diego Meozzi (Stone Pages' Archaeonews)

Prehistoric artifacts discovered in Poland

At the highest point of an elevation consisting of sands and gravels deposited long ago by a moving glacier, archaeologists stumbled upon fragments of pottery cups and bowls belonging to...

Current Epigraphy

Prof. Sencer Şahin passed away

Prof. Sencer Şahin (, who was one of the prominent epigraphers and the founder of the Dept. of  Ancient Languages and Cultures at Akdeniz University (Antalya),  passed away on 16th October, at the age of 75, in the hospital of Akdeniz University, where he was treated for three weeks against respiratory insufficiency.

Condolences to his wife Prof. Eda Akyürek-Şahin (, relatives and the colleaques (

Trafficking Culture

Donna Yates speaking at Universities of Reading and Essex this week

Donna Yates will be presenting two public seminars this week.

On Wednesday, 22 October she will be at the University of Reading’s Archaeology Seminar Series presenting “Organized Crime, White Collar Crime, and, Crimes of the Powerful: Criminological Approaches to the Illicit Trade in Antiquities”. This will be at 4pm in the Sorby Room, Wager Building.

On Thursday, 23 October she will be at the University of Essex’s School of Philosophy and Art History Seminar Series presenting “Trafficking Culture: the transnational illicit trade in antiquities from source to market”. This will be at 5pm in room 6.106.


Jim Davila (

Baal sanctuary?

EXCAVATION: Ancient Cult Complex Discovered in Israel (Owen Jarus, Livescience).
A massive cult complex, dating back about 3,300 years, has been discovered at the site of Tel Burna in Israel.

While archaeologists have not fully excavated the cult complex, they can tell it was quite large, as the courtyard alone was 52 by 52 feet (16 by 16 meters). Inside the complex, researchers discovered three connected cups, fragments of facemasks, massive jars that are almost as big as a person and burnt animal bones that may indicate sacrificial rituals.

The archaeologists said they aren't sure who was worshipped at the complex, though Baal, the Canaanite storm god, is a possibility. "The letters of Ugarit [an ancient site in modern-day Syria] suggest that of the Canaanite pantheon, Baal, the Canaanite storm god, would have been the most likely candidate," Itzhaq Shai, a professor at Ariel University who is directing a research project at Tel Burna, told Live Science in an email.

The goddess Anat is also in the running. This is an exciting discovery and I hope it does turn out to be a major sanctuary. But I'll believe it's a Baal sanctuary when they find an inscription that says "House of Baal" or the like. Or better yet, another copy of the Ugaritic Baal epic.

Bejewelled watchers

JACK COLLINS: Addendum - to his excellent review of the Noah movie, noted here. So there's precedent after all for the idea of watchers made of stone.

More on Noah here and links.

Gathercole on the Gospels

BRITISH NEW TESTAMENT CONFERENCE 2014 PLENARY LECTURE: Simon Gathercole on the canonical and non-canonical Gospels. Summarized by Steve Walton. I was there too and I thought it was an impressive lecture.

The Egyptiana Emporium

Book Review: Egyptomania by Bob Brier


When I was asked to review this book, I was immediately excited. My own Egyptomania is what started me on my Egyptological path. From a young age, I collected articles, videos, magazines, photos, and fiction books about ancient Egypt. I’d drive my mother crazy asking her to buy me my ancient Egypt magazine so that I could add the weekly offering of hole-punched mini-articles to my ring binder.

The minute that I opened this book, I was greeted by Bob Brier’s account of his Egyptomania and, while his was on a far grander scale than my own, I enjoyed reminiscing about my own teenage collecting habits as he reminisced about bidding in auctions and trawling through antiques fairs and flea markets for anything remotely Egyptian themed.

I was fascinated to learn just how many items have been inspired by ancient Egypt through history – tea sets, cigarettes, pocketknives and even talcum powder have all been treated to an Egyptomaniacal makeover!

IMG_0145.JPGThe 1963 epic ‘Cleopatra’ is a prime example of Egyptomania (Source: Wikimedia Commons).

Brier recounts tales of the events that started the worldwide fascination with all things Egyptian, from the Romans’ obsession with obelisks, to Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign and Howard Carter’s discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb.

There is something for everyone in this book: adventure, Hollywood glamour, and astounding engineering feats. I particularly enjoyed reading about how ‘Cleopatra’s Needle’ came to be standing on the bank of the River Thames in London – I didn’t realise the sheer determination, courage, and sadness that surrounds this iconic landmark!

There is far more to Egyptomania than meets the eye, and Brier’s entertaining read will leave anyone with even a remote interest in ancient Egypt with a desire to clear their shelves for some Egyptian themed memorabilia.

Right, I’m off to hunt eBay for bits of Egyptian themed Wedgwood…
IMG_0007.JPGThe iconic Egyptian tea set was launched by Wedgwood to commemorate Napoleon’s defeat at the Battle of the Nile (Source: Brier 2013, Colour Plate 2).

You can buy ‘Egyptomania’ here.

Bryn Mawr Classical Review

2014.10.33: Interdisziplinäre Dokumentations- und Visualisierungsmethoden. Corpus vasorum antiquorum. Österreich, Beiheft 1

Review of Elisabeth Trinkl, Interdisziplinäre Dokumentations- und Visualisierungsmethoden. Corpus vasorum antiquorum. Österreich, Beiheft 1. Wien: 2013. Pp. 212. €69.00. ISBN 9783700171454.

2014.10.32: The Ancient Near East: History, Society and Economy. (Translated by Soraia Tabatabai; first published 1988)

Review of Mario Liverani, The Ancient Near East: History, Society and Economy. (Translated by Soraia Tabatabai; first published 1988). London; New York: 2014. Pp. xxiv, 619. $59.95 (pb). ISBN 9780415679060.

2014.10.31: Aeschylus at Gela: An Integrated Approach. Hellenica, 47

Review of Letizia Poli Palladini, Aeschylus at Gela: An Integrated Approach. Hellenica, 47. Alessandria: 2013. Pp. xiv, 380. €35.00 (pb). ISBN 9788862744829.

2014.10.30: Cicero's Use of Judicial Theater

Review of Jon Hall, Cicero's Use of Judicial Theater. Ann Arbor: 2014. Pp. xii, 190. $30.00 (pb). ISBN 9780472052202.

Adrian Murdoch (Bread and Circuses)

Cicero and Yo Mama

I have spent the last week on a Cicero marathon - reading many of the works I have always intended to but never quite got round to. A genuine pleasure, but a distinct highlight was reading Plutarch's Life of Cicero,...

Dorothy King (PhDiva)

Another Monday Moaning

Because we can all do with a smile on a Monday morning ...

And remember the first five days of the week are the hardest - after that it gets easier.

Dienekes' Anthropology Blog

Ancestry Composition preprint

This is one of the main ancestry tools of 23andMe so it is nice to see its methodology described in detail.


Ancestry Composition: A Novel, Efficient Pipeline for Ancestry Deconvolution

Eric Y Durand et al.

Ancestry deconvolution, the task of identifying the ancestral origin of chromosomal segments in admixed individuals, has important implications, from mapping disease genes to identifying candidate loci under natural selection. To date, however, most existing methods for ancestry deconvolution are typically limited to two or three ancestral populations, and cannot resolve contributions from populations related at a sub-continental scale. We describe Ancestry Composition, a modular three-stage pipeline that efficiently and accurately identifies the ancestral origin of chromosomal segments in admixed individuals. It assumes the genotype data have been phased. In the first stage, a support vector machine classifier assigns tentative ancestry labels to short local phased genomic regions. In the second stage, an autoregressive pair hidden Markov model simultaneously corrects phasing errors and produces reconciled local ancestry estimates and confidence scores based on the tentative ancestry labels. In the third stage, confidence estimates are recalibrated using isotonic regression. We compiled a reference panel of almost 10,000 individuals of homogeneous ancestry, derived from a combination of several publicly available datasets and over 8,000 individuals reporting four grandparents with the same country-of-origin from the member database of the personal genetics company, 23andMe, Inc., and excluding outliers identified through principal components analysis (PCA). In cross-validation experiments, Ancestry Composition achieves high precision and recall for labeling chromosomal segments across over 25 different populations worldwide.


Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Biologia e Archeobiologia: dalla Conoscenza alla Conservazione Preventiva

icpal-restauro-libroIl Convegno "Biologia e Archeobiologia: dalla Conoscenza alla Conservazione Preventiva" si terrà a Palermo dal 19 al 21 marzo 2015. E' rivolto a ricercatori, studiosi, restauratori e tutti coloro che operano nel settore della conservazione, fruizione e restauro dei Beni Culturali, ha lo scopo di instaurare e consolidare i rapporti scientifici e tecnologici fra diverse figure professionali, al fine di definire procedure interdisciplinari nel pieno rispetto dei moderni criteri della manutenzione e restauro conservativo.

Arte è Scienza, Prima Rassegna Nazionale di Archeometria


arte-e-scienzaL'Associazione Italiana di Archeometria (AIAr) organizza la prima Rassegna nazionale di Archeometria Arte è Scienza che vuole essere un’occasione per riflettere sul rapporto vitale tra i beni culturali e le tecniche scientifiche nell’ambito dello studio di siti e reperti archeologici, nella ricostruzione dell’ambiente storico, nella diagnostica delle opere d’arte, nella conservazione del nostro patrimonio artistico e culturale.

Aerial Photographic Archive for Archaeology in the Middle East

Flight 20141019 - The Via Nova Traiana in Central Jordan

The great Roman highway ran from Syria down the length of the Emperor Trajan’s new province of Arabia to Aila (Aqaba) on the Red Sea. Nineteenth century western travellers and explorers ‘east of Jordan’ regularly reported following it for mile after mile and noting many of the hundreds of milestones still to be seen. In the twentieth century it has suffered badly with great stretches disappearing beneath modern roads or ploughed away by farmers and developers; milestones have been smashed or bulldozed aside. Happily there are still places one can see stretches surviving, usually in the more emote parts of modern Jordan.
Bulldozing damage to Rujm el-Faridiyyeh. © APAAME_20141019_DLK-0180
Our flight yesterday (Sunday) included Rujm el-Faridiyyeh, a Roman road-station on the Via Nova just south of the Wadi el-Hasa. It was the subject of a striking RAF aerial photograph of 1937 and was drawn in the course of Burton MacDonald’s Wadi el-Hasa Survey (1988) 30 years ago (Kennedy and Riley, Rome’s Desert Frontier, 1990: 86-9). Sadly we found that even on this fairly isolated stretch of the plateau, a bulldozer has (again) been at work – for no apparent reason as there is no development at that point.
Milestation along the VNT. © APAAME_20141019_DLK-0203.
On the other hand, the road appeared almost intact and showing far more strikingly as a classic Roman road than even the old RAF photo had suggested. Our experience in Jordan over the course of several attempts since we began in 1997, is that Roman roads are often quite difficult to re-discover from the air unless well-preserved. Not so this time. From the air we could clearly trace the road running for at least 5 kilometres (about 3 Roman miles) and with intermittent stretches thereafter. As MacDonald could describe from his ground visit in the 1980s, you can still see the side kerbs and the central some of the substructure (which is what survives). Particularly interesting was the cluster of milestones at one Milestation, some still standing after some 1800 years.
VNT and Tower. © APAAME_20141019_DLK-0189.
There is a need to re-visit on the ground this superb stretch of road which is coming under increased threat from agriculture and some building nearby. Even more important is to trace it beyond the remains of the bridge across the stream of the Wadi el-Hasa and up the steep slope to the northern plateau. Hints of the line reported over a century ago are still visible from the air. More striking are the collapsed towers in its vicinity and – best of all, an apparently newly discovered fort. As it lies on a promontory overlong the Roman road it may be Nabataean and/ or Roman.

Aina Fort 1. © APAAME_20141019_DDB-0137.
- David Kennedy

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Milano partecipa alla Fondazione per le tecnologie innovative per i beni culturali


its-cantieri-arteIl Consiglio comunale di Milano ha approvato all’unanimità la delibera sulla progettazione di nuovi percorsi di istruzione tecnica superiore tramite la costituzione della Fondazione “Istituto tecnico superiore per le tecnologie innovative per i beni e le attività culturali – cantieri dell’arte” alla quale il Comune partecipa come socio fondatore. 

Laura Gibbs (Bestiaria Latina Blog)

Latin Proverbs and Fables Round-Up: October 20

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

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

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


TINY MOTTOES: Today's tiny motto is: Nil desperandum (English: Nothing is hopeless).

3-WORD PROVERBS: Today's 3-word verb-less proverb is Musica donum dei (English: Music is a gift of God).

AUDIO PROVERBS: Today's audio Latin proverb is Multae manus onus levant (English: Many hands lighten the load). To read a brief essay about this proverb and to listen to the audio, visit the Latin Via Proverbs blog.

PUBLILIUS SYRUS: Today's proverb from Publilius Syrus is: Sero in periclis est consilium quaerere (English: It is too late to seek advice in the midst of dangers).

ERASMUS' ANIMALS: Today's animal proverb from Erasmus is Midas auriculas asini (English: Midas has the ears of a donkey; from Adagia 1.3.67 - a folktale that is found now in many countries: Ears of Midas).

BREVISSIMA: The distich poster for today is Fac Bene Dum Vivis. Click here for a full-sized view.

And here are today's proverbial LOLcats:


MILLE FABULAE: The fable from the Mille Fabulae et Una widget is Simia et Vulpes, Iter Facientes, a story about a boastful monkey and a witty fox.

FABULAE FACILES: The fable from the Fabulae Faciles widget is Delphinus et Pisciculus, a story about a fish a not very nice dolphin... this is no Flipper! (This fable has a vocabulary list.)

delphinus et smaris

GreekLOLz - and Latin and English, too. Below is one of my GreekLOLz; for the individual Greek, Latin and English versions of the graphic, see the blog post: Ἄλλοι μὲν σπείρουσι, ἄλλοι δ᾽ ἀμήσονται. Alii serunt, alii metent. There are those who sow, others who will reap.

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

Le de la BSA ? Hautement recommandé …

Trois ans après la création du compte de la Bibliothèque des sciences de l’Antiquité, celui-ci vient de se voir décerner une médaille d’or, récompensant une veille active en Antiquité.

L’intérêt de

page-scoop.itLa veille et la restitution d’une veille sont (ou plutôt : devraient être) le quotidien des bibliothèques. La BSA a choisi les réseaux sociaux pour diffuser de l’information, en particulier via Twitter et

Pour rappel1, est une plateforme en ligne de curation de contenus qui permet de faire de la veille et/ou de partager celle-ci avec d’autres utilisateurs. Le souhait de rendre visible notre veille sur l’Antiquité et l’archéologie nous a conduit à créer le de la BSA en décembre 2011 pour reprendre le contenu du compte Twitter de la Bibliothèque (@bsaLille3). En trois ans, ce sont plus de 2500 informations liées à l’Antiquité et l’archéologie − issues principalement de médias − qui ont ainsi été archivées.

La Meritoc[u]racy

goldDepuis 2013, distribue des médailles aux comptes qu’il héberge en fonction de la qualité de sa veille2. En septembre 2013, le compte de la BSA est devenu médaille d’argent. Le 6 octobre 2014 le de la BSA s’est vu décerner (avec emphase) la médaille d’or :

« Your topic is incredibly highly-recommended in the History Interest. Congrats ! »

« You are a giant among curators. Congratulations on leveling Bibliothèque des sciences de l’Antiquité up to Gold ! »

Au-delà de la satisfaction d’être reconnu comme un site de veille pertinent, notre compte apparaît en tête du sujet « History », ce qui lui assure une visibilité supplémentaire.

Notes du texte

  1. Christophe Hugot, « Nouveau sur le web : le de la BSA », Insula [En ligne], mis en ligne le 21 décembre 2011. URL :
  2. « The Newest Version of : Welcome to the Meritoc[u]racy », Le Blog de [En ligne], mis en ligne le 2 octobre 2013. URL :

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Libya Rapidly Turning into Failed State

"Everybody sang the values of the revolution,
but no-one ever sat down and discussed what these values were

Salah Sohbi MP

The leaders of the vast country that holds Africa's biggest oil reserves can't get on with the job of ruling the country (Tim Whewel, 'Libya's government holed up in a 1970s hotel', BBC News, 16 October 2014): 
Three years after Western military intervention helped topple Col Muammar Gaddafi, many believe Libya is rapidly turning into a failed state. There are two rival governments, and the parliament elected in June has been forced to flee from hostile militias - to a grey concrete 1970s hotel near the Egyptian border [...]  in a remote port 1,000km (620 miles) from the capital, Tripoli - fighting a lonely battle, they believe, against the forces of militant Islamism. Tobruk, a town of about 120,000 people on the far-eastern edge of Libya, is now one of the last toeholds of the internationally-recognised authorities. Militias attacked Tripoli in July, forcing the newly-elected parliament to flee.[...] Their parliament and government are the only ones recognised as legitimate by the UN, but within Libya they control none of the three key cities:
·    In Tripoli, the old parliament - the General National Congress - has continued to sit. It's even appointed its own rival government.
·    Benghazi, the second city and headquarters of the 2011 Revolution, is largely in the hands of Islamist fighters, some with links to al-Qaeda. There are daily assassinations of officials, journalists and social activists.
·    Misrata, the third city and main port, is also loyal to the Tripoli authorities. Its militias keep them in power.
Meanwhile Derna, the next town along the coast from Tobruk, has declared itself an Islamic caliphate. It's a no-go zone for any government official.
It's all a far cry from the triumph of the revolution three years ago, when Gaddafi was eventually overthrown after a Western-led bombing campaign to protect the revolutionaries. [...] The strategic black hole that's opening up on the southern shores of the Mediterranean is unlikely to be filled with a working state any time soon. 
It was only three years ago (October 20th 2011) that Muammar Gaddafi was killed by Libyan rebel forces.

Heritage Preservationists and Democracy

A measure of the degree that artefact collectors across the sea are unconcerned about the effects of the no-questions-asked market for antiquities may be had from the text one of them has produced. Take a look at what John Hooker, 'Soft core terrorists and bottom-feeders' (Past Times and Present Tensions Thursday, 16 October 2014) writes. He considers it some kind of revelation that - as opposed to the narrow object-centric vie of the collector - those involved in the broader discussion of the damaging looting of archaeological sites as a source of collectable items are concerned with site preservation. He alleges that neither the preservationists "or their unthinking followers" (sic) are concerned with "the preservation of objects":
This means nothing to any of the[m] [...]  Always, it is the destruction of sites that is mostly criticized.
("Always/mostly"?) Yep, the collector has got it at last. The artefacts are important, but the sites they came from are more so. This is because they obviously provide far more information than the decontextualised objects alone. In the same way as those that admire toilet seats made of rare tropical hardwoods ("but just look at the pattern of those growth rings") would probably be puzzled by the fact that anyone would want to be concerned with the preservation of forests - the forests they came from through illegal and destructive logging. They'd no doubt argue analogously to the collectors, why can the conservationists not be happy the rare woods have been "saved' to be admired in the consumer's home?

Actually, I'd stand by the position that what is "unthinking" here is the person which puts the personal interests of a few in having trophy items to brag about (see Mr Hooker's own discussion of items in his own personal 'connoisseur' collection throughout his blog as a prime example of that) above attempts to effect better preservation of a vanishing and finite resource. Labelling those concerned about conservation as merely "unthinking" and easily led is simply insulting. It is those collectors who refuse to think through the consequences of their actions (and in particular  the no-questions-asked market which Mr Hooker is not averse to patronising) who are far more deserving of such a label.

But when it comes to labels, Mr Hooker goes further. In fact rather too far. Right at the bottom of his post, Hooker himself suggests that "we": "really should be doing much more to lessen our dependency on fossil fuels for political as well as environmental reasons", but then incongruously then has a go at those concerned about doing something about collection-driven exploitation of the historical environment. He does so using a very dubious name-calling approach (though one typical for the antiquity-collecting milieu):  
They are at it again. As soon as there is any armed-conflict, revolution, or terrorist activity anywhere in the world, the nationalist "cultural-property" terrorists and bottom-feeders, smelling flowers and hearing bird-song are all too eager to jump on the same band-wagon. "Illicit Trade Funds Terrorists" says the New York Times headline. The hard core terrorists kill and destroy property, while the soft core terrorists ride on their backs. They are working in unison. The real purpose of terrorism is to create dissent, hatred against certain groups or just general fear among the population. [...] This round revolves around ISIS whose iconoclasm seems somewhat at odds with the claims that they are profiting by removing artifacts from the danger zone into western collections where they will be preserved.
Can you imagine anything more moronic than collectors like these? First of all, let us note the slanted definition of the (already poorly-defined) concept of "terrorism" utilised by Mr Hooker to make the accusation. As a label the word "terrorism" is not very effective as an analytical tool. Hooker seems to apply it in the broad brush schematic manner of thinking prevalent in the North American continent. Without going into detail, I think anyway that unqualified and used alone, it is not an effective way to analyse what has been happening in Iraq and Syria.

That aside (for the moment maybe), I agree that there is some coarse (and US -sponsored) anti-ISIL propaganda going on, with selective reporting and alarmist highlighting of certain events at the expense of others (and I am among those questioning the degree they are involved in the looting which it is clear reached catastrophe scale before the group existed). That however does not for a moment make everyone (indeed, anyone) involved in awakening public awareness about heritage issues a "soft core terrorist". What tosh.

I presume Hooker means us to understand that those he labels as  "soft-core (nationalist "cultural-property" [his scare quotes]) terrorists and bottom-feeders" have as their purpose to "create dissent, hatred against certain groups or just general fear among the population". This definition falls flat when we consider that the tools of these alleged "terrorists' are words. Just words. Well, yes, words are used to create debate (and dissent from the fluffy bunny propaganda picture promoted by the supporters of collecting). Yes, let rhetoric and reasoned argument combat rhetoric and whatever arguments the collectors and artefact hunters apply.  But that is not "terrorism" Mr Hooker, it is the normal (but sometimes messy) public debate which underlies democracy. Don't complain about the everyday democratic process when it affects you and call it "terrorism". That just totally debases the term and renders it even more meaningless than it already is. I would say the purpose of the preservationists among us is to create concern (rather than "fear") among the population, and if the latter  come to "hate" no-questions-asking collectors and unreflexive and unconcerned artefact hunters as a result, well, that's their look-out.  But that is public opinion, not "terrorism". Neither is it "inciting hate" to point out that there are many cases and observations that may be made which suggest that many, perhaps most, collectors are far from the ideals which their own propaganda represents them as upholding and representing. It is not "inciting hate" to point out that the pro-collecting propaganda machine is presenting a totally false picture.

Collectors can organize themselves to fight those who raise concerns. They do so by forming groups (such as DIG, NCMD, ACCG, PNG, IAPN, ANA, ACDAEA) or they can carry out the fight as best they can as individuals (for example Tompa, Howland, Stout, Baines, Warre and all the rest of the anti-archaeological hate bloggers). The problem is that, instead of reasoned argument and presentation of a coherent and verifiable alternative view, most of these groups and individuals attempt to fight their corner using smear tactics and unverifiable claims cocooning a core of vehement denial of the existence of any issues at all worth discussion. I do not see why they do not get on with the job of producing the reasoned arguments based on case studies and observable facts which support their own positions. The demands of democratic decision making about the heritage require nothing else from them. Simply ignoring the issues and concerns and trying to discourage discussion by name calling is not going to make the problem go away.

Vignette: Trophy hardwood toilet seats or forests? Your choice.

UPDATE 20th Oct. 2014
It will be observed that true to form, John Hooker responds to this post merely by name calling and derision ("If Paul Barford did not exist we would have to invent him" - whatever that is supposed to mean). If Mr Hooker is afraid that what he calls "jargon" (a North American misuse of the term) then let him present his arguments in language which is as objective and neutral as he considers mine is loaded. "Nationalist "cultural-property" terrorists and bottom-feeders, smelling flowers and hearing bird-song are all too eager to jump on the same band-wagon" is self-evidently not that language.

Noel Tan (The Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog)

Buy Wrath of the Phantom Army and help support Khmer heritage

While it sounds like the name of a Star Wars prequel, Wrath of the Phantom Army is a comic book produced by Heritage Watch carrying a message of how looting destroys Cambodia’s past and future. The comic book is for sale now on iTunes – and the proceeds will go towards reprinting Khmer versions for distribution in Cambodia.

Wrath of the Phantom Army

Wrath of the Phantom Army

It’s a good cause, for the price of a cup of coffee. Purchase the comic book here on iTunes.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

The connection between ISIL, Looting and the Antiquities Trade (1)

Church in Qusayr, Homs province
Another text on the connection between ISIL and the antiquities trade: Justine Drennan, 'The Black-Market Battleground ('Degrading and destroying ISIS could take place in the halls of Sotheby's, not the Pentagon'), Foreign Policy October 17, 2014).
How the self-proclaimed Islamic State militant group approaches each site depends on a range of factors, including the area's land ownership system and the payoff of plundering the site, says Michael Danti, one of the archaeologists leading a U.S. government-funded effort to document the destruction and looting of the cultural heritage of Iraq and Syria. At a time when the Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL, and other groups are killing, enslaving, and displacing thousands of people across Syria and Iraq, what happens to ancient artifacts may seem like a sideshow. But according to Danti, who is also a professor at Boston University, ISIS's profits from looting are second only to the revenue the group derives from illicit oil sales. So understanding the Islamic State's approach to the fate of ancient artifacts actually could be key to stopping its advance. 
Danti is the leader of an American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) project that in August received U.S. State Department funding to document cultural heritage threats in Syria (and the project has expanded into Iraq). He is quoted as saying: "What we have from the satellite imagery is that there is industrial-scale looting all over Syria" but he admits that it is often difficult to definitively determine who is responsible for an instance of looting.
Both the Syrian government and rebel groups have taken part, as have locals in both Syria and Iraq whose livelihoods have been disrupted by the conflict. Satellite images and informants on the ground often can't keep up with the pace of looting and of the exchange of territory between various groups.
Nonetheless, he is quoted as saying that the scale of the Islamic State's destruction, looting, and profits from antiquities trafficking is "unprecedented". He is supported by Amr Al-Azm, an archaeologist at Shawnee State University in Ohio who is also leading efforts to document looting in the region.
At first, the Islamic State simply asked anyone who chose to loot areas it controlled for khums, a tax on the spoils of war paid in Islamic tradition to the government. But by this summer, Al-Azm said, ISIS started taking a more deliberate approach, actively employing contractors to do the excavation. These contractors take some of the profits, and the rest goes to the Islamic State. "It's part of a growing escalation," he said. It's [...] the second-most common form of employment the group offers in the war-torn areas it controls, Danti said, citing local sources whose identities he couldn't reveal because he fears for their safety. "The most recent reports I'm getting is that ISIS is actually engaging itself: They're hiring their own people, they're using a lot of earth-moving equipment - bulldozers, etc," Al-Azm said. "So what I can tell you is they're making enough to make it worth their while".
There is a new slant on the story here.
At the same time, ISIS is apparently plundering strategically, Danti said. In this, it has probably learned from al Qaeda's experience in Iraq's Anbar province around 2006, when local Sunni tribal leaders became fed up with al Qaeda's rapaciousness and turned against the group, he said. Islamic State leaders "don't want to be seen as disenfranchising or upsetting powerful Sunni tribal leaders who are frequently the large landowners," and they try to base their division of the spoils on Islamic law.[...] The looting itself usually happens in a matter of days. Much of the digging is probably done by local people who are "just trying to feed their families," Danti said.
Another interesting feature is that the journalist discussed with Prof Danti which artefacts are destroyed and which sold. 
The group is more likely to destroy Shiite, Yazidi, and Sufi artifacts and sell pre-Islamic ones, but overall, "They're probably selling most of it," he said.
I am not sure how one differentiates "Shiite" artefacts from "Sunni" ones, I suspect some misquoting here. Casana and Panahipour (2014) found that there was differential looting, diggers tending to concentrate on more saleable items from Hellenistic and Roman/Late Roman deposits (coin trade?) rather than earlier material. They suggest metal detector use may influence the choice of sites. The article ends with a few words about those in Syria and Iraq who are opposed to the destruction: 
ASOR project are trying to make it easier and safer for people within Syria and Iraq to report looting. Andy Vaughan, ASOR's executive director, said the project is developing a web app through which people can file incident reports. But before the app goes live, it needs more work to ensure that it can't be hacked, endangering the people notifying authorities. It's likely that for a long time, obtaining and sharing this information will continue to be a very risky business. "The real heroes of the story are those people on the ground," Al-Azm said. 

Noel Tan (The Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog)

Seminar: Revisiting the Bujang Valley

Readers may be interested in this seminar on the Bujang Valley at the National University of Singapore.

Bujang Valley Museum

Revisiting the Bujang Valley: An Entrepôt Complex at the Heart of the Maritime Silk Route
Dr Stephen Murphy
Date: 29 October 2014
Time: 3 pm
Venue: National University of Singapre. Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, Block AS1, #03-04, 11 Arts Link, Singapore 117570

In the early 1830s and 1840s a British colonial official by the name of Colonel James Low uncovered evidence for an early Indic influenced civilisation in a river system known as the Bujang Valley on the west coast of the Thai-Malay peninsula, in what is today the Malaysian state of Kedah. However, it wasn’t until just before World War Two that excavations took place, conducted by H. G. Quaritch Wales and his wife Dorothy. Their discoveries and subsequent publications led to the first real attempts to explain the origins and extent of this civilisation and its place within the larger South and Southeast Asian world. The finds and artefacts discovered during their expedition were sent to the Raffles Museum Singapore. With the independence of Singapore in 1965, the material stayed within the museum and to this day remains part of Singapore’s national collection. In the intervening years between Quaritch Wales’s excavations and the present day, considerably more research has taken place both within the Bujang Valley region and across Southeast Asia as a whole. This talk will re-evaluate this material in the light of new scholarship and discoveries as well as the current prevailing paradigms of interactions between South and Southeast Asia. It presents an updated reading of this material while also taking a look at the Bujang Valley from a more regional perspective to further understand its place within the development of the maritime silk route.

photo by:

New ISEAA Social Media Initiative – Current Research alerts on Twitter

Ever wonder who is in the field in Southeast Asia? What MA, PhD, or laboratory projects are in the works? Or, what new publications have been released?


ISEAA is starting a Twitter feed on just these topics. The feed is organized by Cyler Conrad (, a graduate student at the University of New Mexico. Please let him know what you are up to! The feed (here will be cross-posted on the ISEAA Facebook page, so you do not have to follow or use Twitter to see the tweets. We will use the hashtag ‪#‎ISEAAtweets and initially will aim to have a tweet every 2 weeks or so.

See our first tweet here (!

If you are interested in participating, please send a submission (with or without a photograph), and approximately 140 characters of text to Cyler.

Stephen Chrisomalis (Glossographia)

Review: Saxe, Cultural development of mathematical ideas

Saxe, Geoffrey B. 2012. Cultural development of mathematical ideas.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 393 pp.

Reviewed by Summar Saad (Wayne State University)

In Cultural Development of Mathematical Ideas, Geoffrey B. Saxe takes an ambitious approach in exploring the cultural and cognitive origins of mathematical thought. Using an extensive number of experiments oriented towards the particular practices of the Oksapmin of Papua New Guinea, Saxe demonstrates that individual action in relation to collective activities such as economic exchange and schooling is the “locus of both the reproduction and the alteration of cultural phenomena, whether collective practices of daily life or cultural forms of representation” (p.191). His conceptual framework, which follows Sperber and Hirschfeld’s critique of the conceptualization of culture as fixed and bounded entities rather than a “property that representations, practices, and artifacts possess to the extent that they are caused by population-wide distribution processes (p.17),” seeks to illustrate the heterogeneity and permeability of cultural and cognitive processes through activity using synchronic and diachronic perspectives.

In Part I, Saxe begins by framing the scope of his study using relevant scholarly work on the area of cognition and mathematical thought, and details his time in the field in 1978, 1980, and 2001. His approach interrogates three genetic processes: 1) microgenesis, the transformation of the body-part form into a vehicle to represent values numerically, 2) sociogenesis, which involves the microgenetic activities of multiple individuals at multiple sites that, collectively, constitute a process in which representational forms and functions are reproduced and altered in a community over time, and 3) ontogenesis, which involves the shifts in form-function relations in activity over the course of an individual’s development (p.29). Using a number of helpful figures, Saxe also unravels the specifics of the Oksapmin body-counting system where one begins counting with the thumb on one hand of the body and continues across to the opposite side ending at the little finger. Familiarity with this system is important for his investigation into how this system changes through time. By this point, the readers are ready to enter the field, where Saxe attempts to tease out the historical and social processes at play in the way the Oksapmin respond to mathematical challenges in collective activities under shifting conditions.

In Part II, Saxe traces the history of Papua New Guinea from a pre-contact period where people traded commodities including a shell currency (bonang) and through the sustained contact of the Oksapmin communities with Western societies, which led to the proliferation of trade stores that supported cash as the universal medium for exchange. Focusing on the activity of economic exchange, Saxe asserts that “with increasing participation in the money economy associated with Oksapmin cohorts, we find a shift from external correspondences that serve numerical functions to internal correspondences that serve arithmetical functions” (p.95). Saxe then shifts his focus from knowledge of Oksapmin body-part counting and Tok Pisin representational forms to look at the semiotic forms people use to represent the objects of economic exchange. What he discovers is that over time, as people began using the body system to quantify currency, reciprocally the currency system became incorporated into the structure of the body-counting system. Ultimately Saxe demonstrates that cognitive processes exhibit uniformity and variation in a single period as well as unity and discontinuity over historical time.

In Part III, Saxe reviews the transformation of schooling in Oksapmin beginning in the early 1960s and following the introduction of “Western schooling,” Bible school, and community schooling. Rather than conceptualizing schooling as a direct cause of cognitive development, Saxe focuses on the dynamics of the reproduction and alteration of the forms of numerical representation and the functions they serve as students and teachers participate in collective practices of classroom life (p. 194). He establishes the ways in which Oksapmin children reproduce the body form as they solve arithmetical problems in the same way that they produce variants in the body form, “inadvertently altering the use of the system to serve new functions (p.236).” With recent educational reforms, he notes a shift in the teaching of mathematics using only English to using Tok Pisin and Oksapmin as well. Saxe observes that with this shift came others including the use of stones in classroom computations as well as a developing facility with Hindu-Arabic-based algorithms.

In Part IV, Saxe brings the discussion full circle and returns to the implications of his findings with regards to his conceptual framework. In his analysis, he points to three key properties that emerge in form-function relations: conventionality, hybridity, and instrumentality. Using parallels from evolutionary biology, he also takes up the question of how form-function relations develop and why. Though not an anthropologist, Saxe deserves great credit for his ethnographic treatment of this serious cognitive question. Saxe successfully presents an alternative methodological approach to our understandings of culture and cognition that does not treat them as independent but rather as an interplay of the two. His work offers great insight into cognition and culture as processes rooted in a multiplicity of contexts and activities. Although this book covers a lot of ground, and is sometimes very abstract, the organization and flow of the content is seamless and easy to follow. Saxe also takes great care to account for any threats to validity, and while each of the eighteen individual studies he conducts are not without their flaws; the overall picture shines clearly at the end: culture and cognition are processes interwoven and linked through activity.

Filed under: Anthropology, Guest post, Reviews

Noel Tan (The Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog)

Stories from last week’s underwater archaeology conference in Vietnam

A couple of news stories arising from the underwater archaeology symposium in Quang Ngai city last week; one is about the symposium, while the other is about an associated exhibition at the Quang Ngai Museum featuring finds salvaged from the waters in the area.

The article about the conference quotes Prof Staniforth as saying that Vietnam needs a younger generation of underwater archaeologists to be trained, but I think the journalist missed the bigger point that he was trying to make. Prof. Staniforth also stressed that governments needed to be more committed in underwater archaeologists, in both the training, as well as in the legislative and enforcement frameworks for protecting underwater heritage. It is interesting to note that a number of the shipwreck finds from Vietnam are in the hands of private collectors now, being sold in markets like Singapore.

Underwater archaeology symposium in Quang Ngai City. Saigon: Vietnam Net 20141017

Underwater archaeology symposium in Quang Ngai City. Saigon: Vietnam Net 20141017

VN needs young underwater archaeologists
Vietnam Net, 17 October 2014

Quang Ngai boasts potential for underwater cultural heritage sites
Saigon Giai Phong, 17 October 2014

“Human resources play a key role in underwater archaeological science; a new science to Viet Nam,” Staniforth said. “A proactive boost in studies and research devoted to underwater heritages in Viet Nam is needed. Viet Nam should create job opportunities for young researchers in underwater archaeology studies”

Seafaring activities have occurred along Viet Nam’s 3,000km coastline for more than 2,000 years, he said.
“Viet Nam, centrally located in Southeast Asia, was part of the ‘Maritime ceramic route’ that saw centuries of trade between China and the west via the East Sea,” Staniforth said. “At this stage, very little is known about how many shipwrecks or other maritime and underwater cultural heritage sites might exist in Vietnamese waters as there has been very little underwater archaeology survey work done, but it has been suggested that thousands of sites could be located.”

This year’s symposium, Viet Nam’s first time as host, brought together 170 researchers and archaeologists from 17 countries and territories.

Full stories here and here.

Modernisation of Myanmar spells bad news for traditional ceramics

Something for you ceramicists – a feature about how traditional ceramics makers in Myanmar are struggling against the influx of plastic and metal vessels from the opening of the economy.

Source: Fox News 20140916

Source: Fox News 20140916

Myanmar’s once-thriving clay pot industry struggles amid rapid changes, modernization
Fox News, 16 September 2014

For generations, the Myanmar town of Twante has been known for its thriving pottery industry. Even today, residents can be seen sitting on wooden stools beneath the thatched roofs of their homes, placing lumps of soft clay onto wheels and shaping it with the gentle press of their fingertips into pots for cooking, storing water, preserving fish or flowers.

But the opening up of this once-isolated Southeast Asian of 50 million in 2011, when ruling generals handed over power to a nominally civilian government, has affected traditional ways. Modernization and the reluctance of the younger generation to learn the art of pottery, compounded by the cost of transporting the bulky and fragile products, have turned it into an unstable, dying industry.

Full story here.

Philippine national commission release report on Bohol structures damaged by quake

The National Historical Commission of the Philippines launched a report on the damage to historic buildings caused by last year’s earthquake in Bohol.

Source: Rappler 20141015

Source: Rappler 20141015

One year after: Pre-restoration almost done for Bohol, Cebu churches
Rappler, 15 October 2014

Whatever happened to the historic churches, houses and landmarks damaged by the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that hit Bohol and Cebu exactly a year ago?

Most of the iconic structures assigned to the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), at least, are 60 to 80% into the pre-restoration stage.

In a report given exclusively to Rappler, the NHCP detailed the status of all 26 historic structures put under its wing. Ten of these structures are in Bohol while 16 are in Cebu.

At least 15 of the structures have completed 5 or 6 out of the 9 steps in the pre-restoration stage.

Full story here.

Optimism over Bagan World Heritage listing

Unesco officials working with Myanmar to list Bagan as a World Heritage Site are confident that Bagan will be added to the register within a few years. The article also does address some of the issues that will complicate the listing.

Recent Unesco meeting at the Bagan Museum. Source: The Irrawaddy 20141013

Recent Unesco meeting at the Bagan Museum. Source: The Irrawaddy 20141013

Bagan on Course for World Heritage Listing: Unesco Expert
The Irrawaddy, 13 October 2014

The temple complex of Bagan in central Burma will become a Unesco World Heritage Site within the next few years, a Unesco expert said on Sunday, adding that Culture Ministry officials and international experts had taken the first steps toward drawing up a World Heritage nomination and a protection plan for Bagan.

“I think everyone has agreed to move ahead with the process,” said Kai Weise, a World Heritage expert working on the nomination, when asked whether Bagan would become a World Heritage Site.

“This is an opportunity to find solutions, and Bagan is of outstanding universal value. So it’s a question of going through a process. As a site you can say it should be on the World Heritage List,” he said.

Full story here.

Mike Anderson's Ancient History Blog

The Antonine Wall - Guest Post

Completed in the year 128 C.E., Hadrian’s Wall was one of the most famous civil engineering projects undertaken by the Roman Empire. The wall ran a distance of 73 miles (117.5 kilometers), crossing the English countryside from the waters of Solway Forth to the mouth of the River Tyne. It took the effort of three Roman legions working over the course of six years to complete, and required a garrison of more than 10,000 men to guard its length. Built by the Emperor Hadrian, many people believe this wall represents the limit of Roman expansion as well as the northernmost reach of the Empire.

The truth of the matter is that the mortar was hardly dry on Hadrian’s wall when plans began for another wall across the southern portion of what is now Scotland. Construction of this new wall began four years after Hadrian’s death. Though shorter than its famous cousin, the new wall would take twice as long to build and run along a stretch of countryside a 100 miles north of Hadrian’s Wall.

When Hadrian died in 128 C.E., a new emperor ascended to the title of Caesar. His name was Imperator Caesar Titus Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus Augustus Pontifex Maximus, or as he is better known, Antonius Pius. Though one of the four great emperors of the empire’s golden age, he was remembered as being quietly competent, ruling from Rome, focused on the promotion of the arts and sciences, and introducing significant reforms to the Roman legal system rather than leading armies of invasion as his predecessors had done. His timing was fortunate because he was able to avoid the armed conflict that would come later.

During the first year of his reign, Antoninus appointed Quintus Lollius Urbicus to be the governor of Britannia. This was not the sort of political appointee one would expect if the Emperor was looking to maintain a quiet northern border. Lollius Urbicus had been one of the men who had put down the Jewish revolt led by Simon bar Kokhba in 132-136 C.E. The revolt had been suppressed with a violence and ferocity that was shocking even by Roman standards.

Lollius got to work immediately and between 138 and 140 C.E. strengthened the fortifications behind Hadrian’s Wall for use as launching points for an invasion. Once his army was trained, he launched a two year long campaign to conquer the Votadani, Selgovae, Damnonii, and the Novantae tribes living in the Scottish lowlands. On the heels of his victory he began the construction of a new wall.
This one stretched across a distance only a little more than half the length of Hadrian’s Wall, requiring fewer troops to garrison its defenses and freeing men to keep order among the conquered tribes to the south. This wall would be of a simpler construction, using a berm made of sod overlooking a deep cut ditch. Fortresses would be spaced every two miles for the garrisoning of troops, and a military road would run alongside the berm. To help improve the defensive capabilities of this smaller, less durable wall, a number of forts and outposts were built to the north of the wall, to act as an early warning system for the garrisons stationed at the Antonine Wall.

Started in 142 C.E, the new wall would not be finished until 154 C.E. The Caledonian tribe, immediately to the north, proved to be a constant thorn in the side of those constructing the wall, and their recalcitrance would not be ended by its completion. The garrisons in the forts to its north, as well as those manning the wall, would be under constant pressure from this adversarial tribe.

After the death of Antoninus in 161 C.E. his successors (Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus) ordered the abandonment of the Antonine Wall. The Roman legions fell back to Hadrian’s Wall, leaving the previously conquered tribes to act as a buffer against the Caledonians. Though additional forays in 197 would lead to a brief reoccupation of the wall, Hadrian’s Wall would remain as the northern border of the Roman Empire until sometime around the turn of the 5th century.

James Hinton is a life time learner and U.S. Army veteran. He has a fascination with history for both the lessons it can teach and the high drama its stories can produce. 

Noel Tan (The Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog)

Bayon vandalism: Tourist admits to breaking statue

Following on from last week’s story about a Dutch (but New Zealand resident) tourist who destroyed a Buddha statue in the Bayon. The tourist has since admitted to the New Zealand media that she did indeed destroy the statue, on account of voices in her head. It is not known if she will be prosecuted.

Tourist Admits Breaking Bayon Buddha, Blames Voice in Her Head
The Cambodia Daily, 15 October 2014

‘Voices’ told NZ tourist to sit on Buddha’s lap
Phnom Penh Post, 15 October 2014

Vandalism Suspected at Famed Bayon Temple of Angkor Wat
VOA Cambodia, 14 October 2014

“Possessed” Woman vandalizes Angkor Wat heritage site
NL Times, 14 October 2014

‘I did push over Buddha’
Otago Daily Times, 14 October 2014

Kiwi admits smashing Buddha statue in Cambodian temple
New Zealand Herald, 14 October 2014

Smashed Buddha statue fake – NZ woman
3 News, 14 October 2014

Kiwi says smashed Buddha statue at Angkor Wat was a fake
One News, 14 October 2014

From the Cambodia Daily:

A tourist wanted by Cambodian authorities for breaking a statue of the Buddha inside Bayon temple at the Angkor Archaeological Park last week has admitted to the crime, telling New Zealand media that she destroyed the effigy because it “didn’t belong” in the temple complex.

Willemijn Vermaat, 40, a Dutch national who is a permanent resident of New Zealand, said she broke the statue when she heard a voice telling her that the temple dedicated to Buddha in fact belonged to a goddess named Inana.

“When I got in there I got a very strange feeling that something was talking to me, but it was like it was my own thoughts,” she told after returning to Wellington on Monday. “It was telling me I had to clean up the temple because there was too much rubbish, from the monks and other people.”

Ms. Vermaat, who reportedly has a doctorate in linguistics, told the news website that she hid in the jungle while Apsara Authority officials searched for her in the temple after visiting hours ended.

Full story here.

Treasure trove of coins found in Ha Tinh province

Some 22kg of Chinese and Vietnamese coins were found buried in a garden in Vietnam’s Ha Tinh province.

Coins discovered in Ha Tinh Province, Thanh Nien News 20141011

Coins discovered in Ha Tinh Province, Thanh Nien News 20141011

Vietnamese, Chinese ancient coins dug up in Ha Tinh
Thanh Nien News, 11 October 2014

About 22kg of Vietnamese and Chinese ancient metal coins, some dated back to the 11th century, were found buried in a garden in Ha Tinh Province.

The garden’s owner, Dang Van Sinh, said he saw some strangers, who may be thieves, digging in the garden late on Oct. 4.

The busted thieves ran away, leaving the coins, which were kept in five terra-cotta jars, one of which was broken. The vases had been buried two meters underground, Sinh said.

Full story here.

17th century anchor recovered from Hue waters

While the headline on the page is about a Boddhisattva statue that changes colour with the light, of greater interest is the recovery of a large anchor in the waters of Hue, dating to around the 17th century.

Huge wooden anchor found in Hue
Vietnam Net, 13 October 2014

A giant wooden anchor has been found in the Thuan An Sea off the central city of Hue.

After pulling the eight metre-long anchor out of the water, fisherman Nguyen Hao sold it to his neighbour, Nguyen Van Chinh, who then contacted the Hue Monuments Conservation Centre to find out if they knew more.

The anchor may have belonged to a ship passing through the area between 1600 and 1885, said Ho Tan Phan, a researcher with the conservation centre.

Full story here.

Wooden bridge of Kanchanaburi reopens

The second longest wood bridge in the world, Saphan Mon in Thailand’s Kanchanaburi province, reopens last weekend after repairs, having been damaged by the flood season. The longest wooden bridge is also located in Southeast Asia: The U Bein Bridge in Myanmar.

Saphan Mon, Bangkok Post 20141012

Saphan Mon, Bangkok Post 20141012

Locals add finishing touch to Mon bridge
Bangkok Post, 12 October 2014

Thousands join celebration on reopening of ‘Saphan Mon’ wooden bridge
National News Bureau of Thailand, 18 October 2014

Mr. Wanchai Osukonthip, Governor of Kanchanaburi this morning joined more than 3,000 people comprising local administrative officers, soldiers of the 9th Infantry Division, provincial people and visitors at a merit making ceremony to mark the reopening of the Auttamanusorn Wooden Bridge, better known as Saphan Mon, in Sangkhla Buri District.

The bridge was badly damaged by floods and run-off in July 2013, after which repair works was carried out mostly with the help of soldiers from the 9th Infantry Division and locals of Mon descent in the district.

At the celebration, participants gave alms to monks on the wooden bridge. They also took part in a bicycle ride and mini-marathon from one side to the other side of the bridge.

The Auttamanusorn Bridge, or Sapan Mon, is the longest wooden bridge in Thailand with 850 meters in length. It is also the world’s second longest wooden bridge after Myanmar’s U-Bein Bridge. Due to its length, the bridge becomes a popular tourist destination of Kanchanaburi.

Full story here.

October 19, 2014

Byzantine News

Archaeologists uncover synagogue mosaic of first non-biblical scene

American archaeologists have recently found what they believe to be the first non-biblical scene in a synagogue mosaic.
The report mentions three mosaics with very different iconographic models found in the 5th c. synagogue at Huqoq, in Israel’s Lower Galilee. In particular, what struck the researchers was the image of an elephant, an animal which can be rarely found in the Hebrew Bible but it was generally associated with Alexander the Great.

Click here to read the full report

Calenda: Histoire grecque

Normes et gouvernement de l'Antiquité à nos jours

Les journées d’études pluri-disciplinaires placeront le champ d’observation sur les vecteurs variés de diffusion de normes de comportement,même s’ils ne se donnent pas obligatoirement pour normatifs. Les communications articuleront l’étude de ces vecteurs avec les modes deréception par les individus et avec leur capacité à se les approprier. Lesaspects épistémologiques sur les modalités de connaissance de la réceptionet de l’appropriation seront également une dimension explorée. On postule qu’ilest possible de lire les normes contenues dans les sources documentairesautrement que comme discipline imposée, proposée, suggérée, mais commetechnique de construction de soi.

Laboratoire Orient et Méditerranée

ROGNONI Cristina

Thèmes de recherche
Diplomatique byzantine
Histoire, langue et culture de l'Italie méridionale byzantine et post-byzantine
Politique et culture byzantine en Méditerranée (VIIe-XIVe siècle)



Thibaut Castelli (Spartokos a Lu)

Visitez virtuellement le site de Tanaïs

Tanaïs est un établissement du Royaume du Bosphore situé à l’embouchure du Don, près de la mer d’Azov. Crée à l’époque hellénistique il est détruit au IIIe s. après J.-C.

Le site du musée présente quelques objets provenant des fouilles, mais il propose également une visite virtuelle du site, avec différents panoramas à 360°.

La visite


Michael E. Smith (Publishing Archaeology)

Open Access Week

This coming week is "Open Access Week". Check out the central website, called Open access week. The promise and importance of open access was one of the main reasons I started this blog in 2007. Over the years I think I have grown cynical about the lack of progress in open access on most fronts, but I remain committed to the concept. I was asked by librarian Anali Perry to respond to several questions about open access; my responses (and several others) will be posted on the library website this week. Here are my replies:

What is your experience with open access publishing?

I write about open access publishing in my blog, “Publishing Archaeology” (see URL below) and I speak out within my scholarly community (archaeology) through papers and workshops at conferences, publishing in newsletters, and such. I have posted papers in online open access “journals” (non-peer reviewed). I post most of my papers, somewhat inconsistently between my personal ASU website,, and the Selected Works site. I like to try out new scholarly programs and sites to see if they are useful for promoting open access and the values and benefits of OA. turned out to be a great site, but Researchgate turned out to be not at all useful, but with many annoying traits, so I unsubscribed. Selected Works has a very attractive interface, but seems less widely used the and slightly more difficult to use. I have a deep personal and professional commitment to open access (that is one reason I started my publishing blog in 2007), although I have become somewhat cynical over the lack of progress, and even signs of retrenchment or anti-progress, in the past few years.

Do you believe that open access to scholarly research is important? Why or why not?

If scholarly research is important, then open access is important. One does research in order to build knowledge that is communicated to others: colleagues and the public. Open access contributes in a strong way to the basic and fundamental goals of research and publication. Much of my research is funded by U.S. taxpayers, and they have a right to know what I have done with the funds, and to see my results. Traditional publishing in journals used to serve the goals of research/publishing very well, but today with the Internet we can promote the goals and values of research far more widely, and traditional journal publishing only serves a limited sector of our potential audience. Furthermore, commercial journals now serve to limit access to published papers by refusing to engage in open access (without a big fee).

I do research and fieldwork in Mexico. As such I work as a guest of the Mexican government and the Mexican nation. Most of the journals I publish in, however, are not available to my Mexican colleagues or the Mexican public. They are locked behind a pay wall, and people in Mexico (and most of the rest of the world) simply cannot afford the fees required to get access. When and Selected Works provide access statistics, my Spanish-language papers often have a higher download rate than my English-language papers. I interpret this as a function of the lack of availability of journal articles around the world. Most of my U.S. colleagues can get access to online journals through a university website, but that is not true in Mexico. Posting my papers online is the only way around this obstacle, yet that very simple and basic example of scholarly activity—making my own papers available online—is being turned into a crime.

What do you see as the biggest barrier to open access publishing options for scholars?

Let me list three barriers to open access publishing. First,the commercial publishers who lock up published papers behind a paywall are perhaps the largest barrier to open access. Modern academic research is the only realm where one works with compensation from the public and from one’s own time and resources, then gives the results for free to a large corporation, who then make profits from one’s work while preventing others from seeing it. Does this sound right? Not to me.

The second barrier to open access is apathy and ignorance by researchers. Most researchers just want to get on with their research without being bothered by setting up websites, posting papers, or dealing with the ethical and professional issues of open access.

The third barrier is universities that fail to recognize the substantial gains they could make if they embraced open access. Few universities have an institutional repository where all papers published by faculty (and students) are archived. While journals have the legal right to suppress the public posting of article pdfs, authors have the right to send pdf reprints to colleagues. The “reprint button” is a way around the barrier, by automating send sending of reprints while maintaining the lack of open posting of pdfs. How would universities (such as ASU) benefit from embracing open access, setting up a repository, and promoting other open access ideas and procedures?

First, research carried out at the university would become better known. Citations will increase (this has been shown quantitatively) and overall familiarity with university research will increase. This promotes science and scholarship and its availability to colleagues and the public. Faculty will benefit from this. Second, by boosting the research profile, it will increase the prestige of the university and its faculty. More people will see more of the activity taking place at the university. One of the basic missions of universities—creating new knowledge through research, will thus be promoted more explicitly and more intensively. Third, people outside the university will become more familiar with what the university is doing, and the university can thus have a greater impact on such people in the local region. Fourth,the global reach and engagement of the university will be improved with open access, as constituents around the world getter better access to the research findings of faculty and students. Fifth, the public display of research that is at the cutting edge of individual disciplines, and research that breaks new ground by synthesizing multiple disciplines, will benefit by finding a wider audience, which encourages communication and synergies.

In the case of ASU, these benefits of open access (and this is just a quick off-the-cuff list; there are surely more) fit with many of the principles of the New American University ( I continue to be surprised at the lack of action on open access at this university.

What advice or recommendations about open access publishing (or scholarly publishing in general) would you give to early career researchers?

My first piece of advice would be that conducting research and publishing is more important than worrying about open access. I know of at least one colleague who put so much time into an OA project that they failed to produce sufficient scholarship to get tenure (and they were denied tenure). Everyone is grateful for this person’s professional contributions, but that person, and probably the discipline generally, would probably be better off if they had spent more time getting their own scholarship in order. That said, one rarely has to make a stark choice between basic scholarship and OA activities. I would advise early career researchers to make their publications available in one or more repositories or websites. Publish in OA journals, agitate within professional societies for OA policies and practices. Young scholars are generally highly media savvy, and they should explore the growing number of options for scholarship and scholarly communication, including OA and OA-related activities.


My blog, Publishing Archaeology:  (
An online, open access, paper:  Smith, Michael E.  (2011)  Why Anthropology is too Narrow an Intellectual Context for Archaeology. Anthropologies3: (online).

My personal website:
My site on Academia. Edu:

Open Access Archaeology

Open Access Archaeology Digest #576

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

Kushite buildings at Kawa

Roman Antiquities in Carinthia

Tilurium - archaeological research in 2004

Learn more about Open Access and Archaeology at:

Ancient Peoples

Partial relief of Female Musicians 18th Dynasty, New Kingdom,...

Partial relief of Female Musicians

18th Dynasty, New Kingdom, Amarna Period

c.1353-1336 BC

The varied hand positions give an illusion of movement to this troup of female musicians. The second woman from the right is not playing a stringed instrument and it is possible that she is a singer. However, she appears to hold a long slim object in her right hand. Depictions of musical ensembles from Dynasty 18 frequently include a musician playing a pair of slender pipes, and it is possible that this woman is a pipe player.

(Source: The Metropolitan Museum)

ArcheoNet BE

Oproep: wie zet onze monumenten weer op de kaart?

Onze website, waarop we foto’s verzamelen van beschermd erfgoed in Vlaanderen en Brussel, telt intussen bijna 15.000 foto’s. Helaas is de applicatie waarmee we de foto’s per gemeente of thema op een kaartje plaatsten, al enige tijd niet meer beschikbaar. Momenteel zijn we dan ook op zoek naar een eenvoudige (en automatische) manier om de foto’s, die gehost worden op Flickr, opnieuw op de kaart te zetten. Heb jij een gouden tip? Laat het ons dan zeker weten via!

Archaeology Briefs


The two female statues guarding the massive burial complex in Amphipolis, in Greece's northeastern Macedonia region, can now be seen in all their glory from head to toe.Pictures released by Greece's Culture Ministry on Sunday show the 7.45-foot-tall statues standing on a marble pedestal with high-soled red and yellow shoes.

Carved in high relief of Thassos marble, the imposing twin statues, known as Caryatids, stand between two marble pillars supporting a beam. They were "buried" in the ground, sandwiched between two walls, one sealing the statues off and the other closing another chamber. Wearing a long chiton -- a sleeveless garment from the Archaic period -- and earrings, the statues feature long, thick hair covering their shoulders. While the face of one Caryatid survives almost intact, the other is missing, but archaeologists have found some fragments of the face, as well as some pieces of their missing hands.

The sculptures appear to slightly lift their chitons with the corresponding hand. As for the figures's alternated raised arms, the archaeologists have interpreted them as a sign to symbolically prevent anyone attempting to enter the grave.
The distance between the two pedestals on which the Caryatids stand is 5.5ft, which is the same as the door opening at the tomb's entrance. This is guarded by two headless, wingless sphinxes.

The excavation has so far uncovered three chambers in the tomb. Earlier today, the secretary of the Ministry of Culture Lina Mendoni said there might be a fourth chamber in the mysterious burial.
More photos at:


Children as young as ten created the greatest treasures of the Bronze Age, exhausting their eyesight with microscopic gold studs and ultra-fine craftwork, new research suggests. Ornate jewellery and intricately decorated daggers, known today as the Stonehenge treasure, were unearthed in 1808 from a burial mound known as Bush Barrow near the iconic monument. The burial contained the skeleton of a clan leader who lived almost 4,000 years ago. He was laid to rest in regal splendor with the objects that showed his power and authority. On his chest was a gold lozenge that fastened his cloak and would have glinted in the sun, while a bronze dagger adorned with an intricate design hung from his belt.

Now on permanent display at the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes, 15 miles north of the megalithic stone circle, the Stonehenge treasure was re-examined as part of a BBC documentary. On this occasion, experts considered for the first time the human cost of Bronze Age micro gold-working. The ultra-fine craftwork was produced nearly 4,000 years ago — more than 1,000 years before the invention of any form of magnifying glass — and entailed extremely tiny components such as microscopic gold pins and gold wires. “Only children and teenagers, and those adults who had become myopic naturally or due to the nature of their work as children, would have been able to create and manufacture such tiny objects,” Ronald Rabbetts, one of the Britain’s leading authorities on the optics of the human eye, said.

The handle of the Bush Barrow dagger was originally decorated with 140,000 tiny studs, each thinner than a human hair. They were set into the wood at a density of over 1,000 per square centimeter to create a zig-zag pattern. “The size of the studs clearly shows they are too small for adults to have made and set into the dagger handle,” David Dawson, director of the Wiltshire Museum, told Discovery News. He estimated the entire operation to produce the dagger’s intricate decoration, from wire manufacture and stud-making to hole-making and stud positioning, would have taken at least 2,500 hours to complete and would have left the workers almost blind. Today only fragments of the original wooden dagger handle survive.

“The Bush Barrow dagger is far and away the most intricate, but the numbers suggest that the daggers were made in Brittany — where there are also sources of gold. Metal ingots were traded across the English Channel, but the dagger may have been a gift from one chieftain to another,” Dawson said. Within five years, the child workers’ eyes would have deteriorated, rendering the child very short-sighted. By the age of 20, many of them were likely almost blind, seeing anything more than 3 feet away as just a blur.


Hand painted art in an Indonesian cave dates to at least 39,900 years ago, making it among the oldest such images in the world, archaeologists have recently reported in a study that rewrites the history of art.

The discovery on the island of Sulawesi vastly expands the geography of the first cave artists, who were long thought to have appeared in prehistoric Europe around that time. Reported in the journal Nature, the cave art includes stencils of hands and a painting of a babirusa, or "pig-deer," which may be the world's oldest figurative art. "Overwhelmingly depicted in Europe and Sulawesi were large, and often dangerous, mammal species that possibly played major roles in the belief systems of these people," says archaeologist and study leader Maxime Aubert of Griffith University in Queensland, Australia.

The finds from the Maros cave sites on Sulawesi raise the possibility that such art predates the exodus of modern humans from Africa 60,000 or more years ago. "I predict that even older examples of cave art will be discovered on Sulawesi, and in mainland Asia, and ultimately in our African homeland," says human origins expert Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London, who was not on the study team.

Since the 1950s, scholars have reported hundreds of hand stencils and images of animals in caves on Sulawesi, which were assumed prehistoric but thought to be no more than 12,000 years old, dating to a hunter-gatherer migration to the island. In the new study, the researchers investigated mineral layers less than 0.4 inches (10 millimeters) thick covering images in seven caves, and in some cases sandwiching them. Trace amounts of radioactive uranium in these mineral layers reveal when water carried the minerals over the cave wall. Finding the ages of these deposits narrows down the time when the images were painted. The age discovered for the oldest hand stencil in the cave—39,900 years old—is therefore merely the minimum age of the minerals coating the image, meaning the art could be thousands of years older.

A red disk painted in Spain's El Castillo cave is at least 40,800 years old according to the same dating method, making it the oldest known cave art, and a hand stencil there is 37,300 years old. The Sulawesi cave paintings rival these finds in age and appear to belong to a tradition that persisted there as recently as 17,000 years ago. "We've been shown here that our views have been too 'Euro-centric' about the origins of cave painting," says archaeologist Alistair Pike of the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom. "Absolutely this changes our views, and is going to make us ask a lot of questions about the causes rather than the origins of cave art."

The newly discovered cave painting suggests that art may have been universal among early modern people, including those who left Africa and traveled across southern Arabia to Indonesia and Australia within the past 50,000 years.Cave art may have left Africa with early modern humans, the study authors suggest, or possibly it sprang up independently among different groups. The earliest examples of other kinds of art are even older, such as decorative perforated shell beads and pigments that date to more than 75,000 years ago.

Ancient Peoples

Globular jar of King Merneferre Aya 13th Dynasty, Middle...

Globular jar of King Merneferre Aya

13th Dynasty, Middle Kingdom


(Source: The Metropolitan Museum)

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Longest poem of classical-era unearthed in western Turkey

Excavations around the Hecatomnus Mausoleum in the western province of Muğla’s Milas district have...

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: Arys: Antigüedad, Religiones y Sociedades

[First posted in AWOL 2 October 2011. Updates 19 Octoberr 2013]

ARYS: Antigüedad, Religiones y Sociedades

ARYS es una revista de periodicidad anual desde 2010 en la que los artículos recibidos serán sometidos a una evaluación por parte de revisores externos mediante el sistema conocido como de pares ciegos.

 El Consejo de Redacción no modificará las opiniones vertidas por los autores ni se hace responsable de las opiniones emitidas por ellos o por los revisores externos. El Consejo de Redacción de ARYS considerará la publicación de trabajos de investigación, originales e inéditos, siempre que demuestren un nivel de calidad contrastado y se ocupen de aspectos religiosos y sociales, dedicados al estudio de la Antigüedad. Se atenderá a la novedad del tema, al tratamiento diferente más profundo de problemas ya identificados en la historiografía, a la aportación y valoración de datos novedosos respecto a una cuestión historiográfica determinada, o a la aplicación de nuevas o mejoradas metodologías.

Del mismo modo, ARYS publicará reseñas científicas de libros recientes cuya temática esté comprendida en el período de la Antigüedad, y preferente pero no necesariamente relacionada con aspectos sociales y religiosos.

ARYS acepta artículos redactados en español, inglés, francés, italiano, alemán y portugués.

En los años impares, la revista ARYS publicará un número monográfico con artículos cuya temática deberá estar relacionada con el título del congreso de la Asociación ARYS celebrado el año par inmediatamente anterior. El título del monográfico se anunciará con la suficiente antelación. 
Three year moving wall for open access


SCADS: Seleucid Coins Addenda System

SCADS: Seleucid Coins Addenda System: Addenda to Seleucid Coins Parts 1 and 2 
In 2002 and 2008 the American Numismatic Society and Classical Numismatic Group published the two parts of Seleucid Coins: A Comprehensive Catalogue, by Arthur Houghton, Catharine Lorber, and Oliver Hoover. The first part, by Houghton and Lorber, presented and interpreted all the  numismatic material for Seleucus I to Antiochus III known up to 2002. The second part, by Houghton, Lorber, and Hoover, did the same for the Seleucid kings from Seleucus IV to  Antiochus XIII. In total, more than 2,491 primary coin types were published in these volumes.
No sooner had these important books come out in print than new types and varieties began to appear at the rate of almost 100 a year. This rapid growth of material made necessary the development of a system that could keep up with the coins. The Seleucid Coins Addenda System (SCADS) is intended to provide online access to the new material that has appeared since 2008. As there is no indication that the flow of previously unrecorded types and varieties will stop anytime soon, it is expected that the SCADS database will continue to grow over time. Interested parties will be instantly notified of new additions to the database through alerts on Facebook, Twitter, and direct email subscription.

The coins in the SCADS database are categorized by ruler, making it easy for users to find all new entries for a particular king with a single click. Extensive tagging of entry content allows for full searchability. Thus, for example, a user interested in all new material depicting Apollo  would simply enter “Apollo” as the search criterion and SCADS would provide all the relevant entries. If a user was interested only in Apollo on issues of bronze denomination C, “denomination C” could be added to narrow down the search. The coins in the database have all been given a unique catalogue number (SCADS1, SCADS2, SCADS3, etc.) for ease of reference, but these only reflect the order of entry and are not tied to the numbering system used in the Seleucid Coins volumes.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Skeleton of arthritis-suffering neolithic woman at centre of archaeological crowdfunding bid

The “special” skeleton of a hardworking lady who lived in neolithic Wales 5,500 years...

The Archaeology News Network

Classical era poem unearthed in western Turkey

Excavations around the Hecatomnus Mausoleum in the western province of Mugla’s Milas district have unearthed a written stela that dates back over two millennia. The stela is an extraordinary finding that offers a treasure trove of data  to historians and philologists [Credit: Hurriyet]The stela is an extraordinary finding that offers very important data to historians and philologists, according to academics. The stela, which is...

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James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Unlocking the Gospels

Unlocking Matthew

There is no way to “unlock” the Gospel of Matthew. It does not have hidden secrets. It is a text, and it has no underneath, and so no hidden depths. It is all surface. There isn’t some sort of skin that you can peel back and see something more profound underneath. What you see depends on your focus. Because of this, I see myself as a sort of tour guide or park ranger–I can point out to you the path of the river through the mountains or the minutiae of the components of small patch of soil, but anything I point out was already there just waiting to be seen by any one with eyes to see. If you come away with some aha! moments, it won’t be because you had been given a way to see what had been hidden but because you saw what had been before you all the time, but you hadn’t noticed it. We don’t discover hidden mysteries. We’re not gnostics. We just read texts. Sometimes they are amazing, but all the amazing is there for anyone to see. It’s about paying attention, not unlocking anything. Nothing was ever locked in the first place.

- Judy Stack-Nelson

The quote is from what Judy Stack-Nelson shared in a Facebook comment, about something she told students in one of her classes. The same point can obviously be extended beyond the Gospel of Matthew.

BiblePlaces Blog

Weekend Roundup, Part 2

The BIBLE+ORIENT Museum at the University of Fribourg reopens on Monday in a new location.

Jodi Magness is lecturing on Tuesday at Queens College on “Samson in Stone:  New Discoveries in the Ancient Village and Synagogue at Huqoq in Israel’s Galilee.”

Wayne Stiles’s publisher has selected a cover for his new book.

Accordance Bible Software has a big sale this week on Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentaries of the Old and New Testaments. Only $199 for all 9 volumes until Monday.

Biblical Archaeology Society has 21 free ebooks now available.

“Egypt’s Sunken Secrets” will be on display in Paris, Berlin, and London in the coming year.

Now online: the ETS Annual Meeting Program, the ASOR Academic Schedule, and the SBL Annual Meeting Preliminary Program Book. I’ll be in the exhibit hall (booth #411) at SBL if you’d like to say hi.

HT: G. M. Grena, Charles Savelle, Joseph Lauer, Agade

The Archaeology News Network

"As a Briton, I hang my head in shame. We must return the Parthenon marbles" says journalist

Almost every day I take a walk around the Acropolis. “Around” is the operative word, because the Greeks have gone to great lengths to unite their Athenian antiquities with a pedestrian path. The marbles once adorned the Parthenon in Athens  [Credit: Peter Walton/Getty Images]At the centre of this classical treasure trove stands the craggy outcrop known as the Sacred Rock. As you ascend the walkway, it is what crowns its summit...

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

Tom Matrullo (Classics in Sarasota)

Heracles still at work

The BBC brings us yet another Heracles. A show in which the images allegorize the achievements of the Russian strongman.

He grapples with the hydra of Western sanctions:

Here, Putin is destroying the coarse "oligarch beasts":

Here he's riding a Crimean ox that's broken away to return to mother Russia:

The participating artists preferred to remain anonymous. More here: The 12 Labours of... Putin.

[Added]: Happy Birthday Mr. Putin

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Russia’s ancient history grew on trees

VELIKY NOVGOROD, RUSSIA — The note, from father to son, was the sort of routine shopping list that...

Martin Rundkvist (Aardvarchaeology)

Ownit Deploys Wifi Routers With Security Hole Across Sweden

My whole housing development recently changed Internet Service Providers. We now have optical fibre from Ownit, offering hundreds of megabits per second. It works just fine. But there’s a security issue and Ownit aren’t taking it seriously.

All over Sweden, Ownit are deploying wifi routers that work out of the box. If you want to change any settings on your router (such as the name of the access point or the wifi password), you’ll find a URL in the manual which brings up a set of admin menus. Same URL on all their routers. All over Sweden.

Actually, Ownit holds the password to the “admin” account and won’t tell you what it is. But if asked, they will happily tell you that there’s a “user” account with a lot of the same capabilities, and give you its extremely easily guessed preset password. Which is the same on all their routers. All over Sweden. In order to change the “user” account’s password you have to take independent action on that point, tell the new password to user support and ask them to change it for you.

Some users may want to run an unprotected wifi access point. Almost all users will want to give their wifi password to friends and family members, even to casual acquaintances. In either case, most people will believe that all they’re opening up there is the link from people’s laptops and smartphones out onto the net. But unless special care has been taken by a semi-knowledgeable owner, they are also in effect giving the same people access to the router’s (limited) admin menus.

Let’s say your teenage son Jack gives the family wifi password to his girlfriend Jill so she can watch YouTube on her smartphone. Three months later, Jill dumps Jack because of what he did with Zuleika behind the crafts building. Jill then walks past your house one day, stops outside the fence, sets the name of your wifi access point to “Jack.Has.A.Tiny.Penis” and changes the wifi password. All computers in your house are now off the internet. And in order to do something about this, the family’s tech person will need a certain amount of knowhow and an IP cable. Note that the people most likely to end up in this situation are the ones with little knowhow who would’t even recognise an IP cable.

Someone might say, “That’s why people need to change their wifi passwords often!” Well, Ownit’s customers aren’t given the admin login info for their routers unless they ask for it. The easily guessed admin login info they need to change their wifi passwords. The login info that heartbroken and disgruntled Jill already has, for all intents and purposes, since it’s the same on every Ownit router across the country.

Summing up: Ownit gives new customers unique wifi passwords. But they also need to start giving them unique passwords for the “user” account on their routers.

Doug's Archaeology: Investigating the Profession and Research

Around the Archaeology Blog-o-sphere Digest #7

Here is my weekly list of blog posts from Archaeology blogs/ blogs that focus on Archaeology. I have added a couple of more blogs to the list so some more new reading.


I am highlighting some of the other archeo-blogs out there by collecting all their posts from the previous week . Hopefully, you find some of the posts interesting and/or find a new blog to follow.


I took these posts from my now updated list of archaeology blogs (415+ and counting). There are a few blogs that should be in this list that are missing — hoping to fix that. Here are this weeks posts–
Words Escape Me.
Who Knew? International Archaeology Day, And I Wasn’t Invited!
The Heritage Alliance welcomes DCMS Announcement on the new English Heritage Model
Colchester Young Archaeologists’ Club: October meeting
Battle of Hastings: 14th October 1066
the Trust’s Council of Management: October meeting
5 steps for converting a minivan into the perfect archaeology vehicle
How can I help you further your career in cultural resource management archaeology
More news stories from the Sulawesi rock art
Fort Tanjong Katong, 10 years on
New Zealand tourist wanted for Bayon vandalism
In Vietnam for the Underwater Archaeology conference
Jerusalem – The Temple Mount
Jerusalem – The Temple Mount – A Carta guide book
Bones – Season 10, Episode 4 (Review)
Atlatl Battle
design and antiquarians – 4
Quote of the Day
What will the UK do about the Parthenon Sculptures UNESCO mediation request
Kathy Lette’s views on the Parthenon Marbles
#243 Great Basin Anthropological Conference
#244 Refocusing
The Landscape of the Chacoan World Is Being Lost to Hydraulic Fracturing
Enough with that word!
Audio News from Archaeologica, 5 October – 11 October 2014
A important workshop: “Emergency Measures for Archaeological Sites and Museum Collections in Times of Crisis” will be presented at the Annual Meeting.
A workshop that we recommend: “Thinking Outside the Box: Alternative Careers in Academia”
Flight 20141013 – Flying South
Flight 20141015 – The Longest Day?
Culture crime news 6 October–12 October 2014
Discovering Identity: Weavers and Figurine Makers?
Slavery in the Ancient Near East: Weaving Factories
Women and Weaving in the Ancient Near East
Episode 5 : Anarchism And Archaeology
A short Journey through Pressure Flaking (Dedicated to M.D.)
Of course they like beer. . . .
Back from the field
And speaking of vampires. . . .
Friday humor
Ancient cancer?
Hallucinogenic Plants May Be Key to Decoding Ancient Southwestern Paintings, Expert Says
You Dug It Up, Now What? Conservation, Public Outreach, and Research of Archaeological Collections
A Celebration of World Archaeology for International Archaeology Day
Careworn objects seen at the Ribble Steam Railway
Landscape archaeology and me – a basic talk
Autumn Equinox 2014
Guides to Anglesey
3D Excavation Snapshot – St Piran’s Oratory in March 2014
That was input. Serious amounts of it.
Online stuff for your reading pleasure.
Autumn has come.
Sprang, more of it.
Even more sprang.
What Were The Dark Ages? – Ardi – Ur, Iran
Bone Quiz: Revisiting Germany
Guest Post: The Rise of BAJR Part III by David Connolly
Casting Clovis Artifacts
Area B Featured in LiveScience!
On to prehistory: the Ancient Places of Cyprus
Indo-Pacific Beads
Colorblindness and Beads
Taking the Plunge
Mutisalah Celtic Fusion Bracelet
CAA Mexico
Site Biographies
October Pieces Of My Mind #1
Iron Age Celtic chariot fittings found in hillfort dig
Interpreting Archaeological Finds.
Amphipolis mosaic is abduction of Persephone
Generously retweet from fellow researchers and aficionados of ancient Greece and watch what happens!
Ceremonial Entrance to the Palace of Knossos, Late Minoan II (ca 1450 BCE) & Megaron of the Palace of Pylos (ca. 1300 BCE)
The Poverty Point World Heritage Site, a Louisiana First
A Lummi Reef Net Model
Reburial at Hagwilget: A Video
ASBC Victoria Public Talk: Tue. Oct. 21 – Darcy Matthews on Funerary Petroforms at Rocky Point
Crowd Flow at the Colosseum
Can Modern Pedestrians Learn from Pompeiian Crosswalks?
Ashes Underfoot: Human Remains and Public Memorialization
Yucca Fiber Skirt
Simpler Times
Another way to create an elliptical 1/2 (or 1/4) plan
A little more about creating an elliptical plan
Mrs. Coucer Green and Other Great Old Photos
On the Long Road
Honest Trade
Screwbrake Mechanism
Open Access Archaeology Digest #570
Open Access Archaeology Digest #571
Open Access Archaeology Digest #572
Open Access Archaeology Digest #573
Open Access Archaeology Digest #574
Open Access Archaeology Digest #575
Semi-functional alcohologist
Old Routes through Ross-shire: Luib, near Achnasheen, to Scardroy in Strathconon
Old routes through Ross-shire: Luib, near Achnasheen, to Scardroy in Strathconon
Let’s trust the viewer’s intelligence
Reburying Richard
The benefits of blogging
Pitfalls for new professional archaeology bloggers
Elkington’s Track, Burley Moor, West Yorkshire
Mapping with Pole Aerial Photography (PAP)
Fracking Made Personal
Reflections on the Bakken Tourist Itinerary
The Final Figure for Pyla-Koutsopetria Survey Volume
Memory and Place in Grand Forks
Friday Varia and Quick Hits
Kathleen Rollins: Discovering Ancient Explorers
Mary Travels with Kaye George
The Dumfriesshire Viking hoard: “an approachable stance towards engaging with detectorists”
Oxford Classics Endorses the Sappho Papyrus
The Bubon Caracalla at Fordham
Looting In Syria
Bettany Hughes on the Sappho Papyrus
Cultural Heritage Ethics: Between Theory and Practice
What happens when you frack with the past . . .
On Human Pair Bonding and Machine (specifically a Mercedes G-Wagen)
Archaeology finally hits the late night circuit thanks to my friend and colleague Bill Reitze at Petrified Forest
Occupy the Past! Wait, no never mind, don’t.
Zahi Hawass and the theory of deterrence
You really don’t want to be a bird in Hierapolis
Book Review — The Red Book of Primrose House
Old Photos of Irish Archaeological Sites from the British Royal Collection
A quick recap
Call for Contributions—Alaska Journal of Anthropology Recent Research Notes 2014
Winter course 2015
Neanderthals may have used projectile spears
Speaking with the Dead Exhibition: Chester Cathedral 20th-26th October 2014
Bewcastle Cross
Loose Canons?: Talley Abbey Explored
Paxton’s Tower
Embodying Llywelyn ap Gruffydd Fychan: Llandovery Castle Recreated
Looking Out: Angle’s War Memorial
The Sword Cycle
Has Nick Clegg become the latest supporter of a “short tunnel” at Stonehenge?
Another standing stone, same old story
A Prehistoric A-Z: The Coldrum Stones
The game’s up. English Heritage and the National Trust now support major damage at Stonehenge!
Today’s post
Review: Ingold, Lines: a brief history
BIU Newsplug about the Ackerman Fellows
More info on the Aramaean Workshop in Leipzig, next week
Fame and Fortune! Ackerman Fellowships in the Jewish Voice
The Future of War in the Middle East and the Future of Archaeology
Roman mosaics from the National Archaeological Museum of Spain, Madrid
Negotiating Mining Agreements—Yinjibarndi vs. Fortescue Metals Group
International Archaeology Day! Lowe Mill, 1-4 pm — AIA Talk! 7 pm Wilson Hall Theatre
Medieval Master Chef in Istanbul (Dan Stansbie)
Late Dorset Biface and Cover
On Vacation
Atrani, Italy
Call for papers: CAA 2015 session “Formal approaches to visibility analysis in ancient architectural spaces and cultural landscapes”
“The whole is more than the sum of its parts”- Geospatial data integration, visualisation and analysis at the Roman site of Ammaia (Marvão, Portugal)
What Careers Need History?
NEWS: ‘Egypt’s Sunken Secrets’ exhibition to tour three European capitals
It’s the Audience Stupid: why academics suck at writing
Crowdsourcing Archaeology: An Interview with MicroPasts
In Conversation with Martin Cuthbert, Community Archaeologist
Why was this 13-year-old girl buried face down?
Resuscitating Rescue Archaeology
Five Reasons Why Our Ancestors Got Tattoos
Return to Dos Mangas pt. 1: Community
[Doodle] Blue Bin Day
A new Viking hoard from Scotland
Slipping Through the Crevices at Mound Bottom
I did report the allegation that Kurdish nationalists had burned the Ziya Gökalp Museum. But I did not accept it.
October News in Computational Archaeology
Happy Archaeology Day!
Decoloniality & The Digital: Confronting Techno-Seduction in the Digital Humanities
The Digital Bridge from History to Business
5 Trowel Blazers who have influenced my career
Apparitions and Archaeology: A Haunted Campus Tour
CAP and Punk Archaeology
It’s a Small World After All
New Morbid Terminology: Overburden
Birthday Bones
Specimen of the Week: Week 157 (an exciting rediscovery?)
Mystery Blob Sponge: It crawls! It creeps! It eats you alive!
Does a museum studies degree help you get a job in museums?
No poo in the sewers, please…
Unearthing South London: A place in the country
The story of London Tweed
Sherlock style: Q+A with artist Kasia Wozniak
Hidden London – Guess The Building
Sherlock Holmes launch party
1978: science & the great kite craze
AA79 is nearly ready to go to the printers…
AA – Online First!
What’s New with Ezra-Nehemiah
The 1954 Hague Convention at 60
The Current State of Ugaritic studies
The Dutch and the Ancient Near East
The Early Bronze Age I Site and Necropolis of Jebel al-Mutawwaq, Jordan
Lumpy Bumpy Pudding
Moanhenge 2: Goodbye Tarmac, Hello Obama
Arte-Factual: Tomb Raider 3: Apsaras, the Celestial Dancers of Hindu Myth
The Parthenon Marbles in the Louvre
Archäologische Kriegsverluste im Gaza-Streifen
Programmtip: Das geplünderte Erbe
HNR workshop Bochum
Call for papers CAA2015 in Siena
Some archaeological field observations from Groot Genhout (Limburg, the Netherlands).
Mummy coffin and OSU History of Art study
Papyri Bononienses
Open Access Journal: The Biblical Annals
Open Access Journal: TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism
New Open Access Book: Israel and the Assyrians Deuteronomy the Succession Treaty of Esarhaddon and the Nature of Subversion, by C. L. Crouch
Les inscriptions grecques de Thespies Online
Open Access Journal: Antiguo Oriente: Cuadernos del Centro de Estudios de Historia del Antiguo Oriente
Open Access MARC record set for online Metropolitan Museum of Art publications
Open Access Journal: Revue d’Histoire des Textes (RHT)
Open Access Journal: Exemplaria Classica
Open Access Journal: Spicae: Cahiers de l’Atelier Vincent de Beauvais
A Bibliography of Semitic Linguistics (1940-2012) By Gregorio del Olmo Lete
Open Access Journal: Oxford Faculty of Classics Newsletter
Open Access Publications of the Center for Hellenic Studies
Amanuensis V1.4.2: Amanuensis is a search tool for the juristic sources of Latin Antiquity
Open Access Journal: Studia Hermetica Journal
Open Access Journal: Bulletin de l’Association Pro Aventico
Publications de l’École française de Rome at OpenEdition Books
Open Access Journal: EPEKEINA. International Journal of Ontology. History and Critics
That is not a stegosaurus
Useful tip on how to sharpen a 3D still in Photoshop!
Shefford 2014 Higher Education Field Academy (HEFA)

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Archaeologists find Roman artefacts during Lincoln Bomber Command dig

Excavations at the new Bomber Command Centre on the outskirts of Lincoln have revealed artefacts...

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

LOST Rewatch: Solitary

In this episode, Sawyer makes reference to Jack trying to “buy his way into heaven” by trying to patch Sawyer up, after the attempt to torture information out of him had resulted in a knife fight in which he was injured badly.

LOSTBeachWireSayid set out in the last episode to explore the island. In this one he finds a rope running from the beach and traces it back towards its source, but sets off a tripwire and is caught in a trap. When evening comes we hear him reciting the Islamic statement of faith. Someone (we later learn it is Danielle Rousseau, the French woman whose voice is on the repeating distress call) is asking “Where is Alex?” in an impressive array of languages. We later learn that Alex was her child.

We also have the first introduction of Ethan.

Hurley builds a golf course, because he realizes that “just surviving isn’t gonna cut it.”

Danielle mentions hearing others whispering in the jungle, but not seeing them. The question of her sanity is raised. The Black Rock is mentioned. And so is the sickness that led Danielle to kill the other members of her scientific team, including Robert whom she loved. And yet when Sayid mentions the monster, Danielle says there is no such thing.

Sayid tells Danielle the words that Nadia wrote on the back of the photo: “You’ll find me in the next life if not in this one.” The episode ends with the first time we hear the famous whispers.

When we eventually see the scene when Danielle kills Robert, it matches what was hinted at here quite precisely. So once again I am impressed by the continuity.



Archaeological News on Tumblr

Scientists prove ship's dog on the doomed Mary Rose was male

She was a scrappy sea mongrel who went down with her ship. Now nearly 500 years after Hatch the...

ArcheoNet BE

KBIN zoekt archeobotanicus

Het Koninklijk Belgisch Instituut voor Natuurwetenschappen (KBIN) is op zoek naar een archeobotanicus (m/v). Hij/zij zal het onderzoek in het domein van de archeobotanie op het KBIN coördineren, met als doel dit tot een internationaal topniveau uit te bouwen. Daartoe zal hij/zij initiatieven nemen om transdisciplinaire wetenschappelijke onderzoeksprogramma’s te ontwikkelen op nationaal en internationaal niveau. Kandidaten hebben een diploma van doctor in een relevant domein en de nodige ervaring. Download de volledige vacature voor meer informatie.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

The connection between ISIL and the antiquities trade (2)

Justine Drennan ('The Black-Market Battleground, Foreign Policy October 17, 2014) discusses the contribution of the trade in looted antiquities to ISIL funding (see post above). The actual amounts of money being made from selling antiquities is essentially impossible to estimate. The journalist - noting that Al-Azm and Danti were very hesitant to give any estimates - suggests (though not stating a source) that "looting appears, though, to be not only the second-most profitable source of ISIS income" adding that [non-specified] "others have reported that the group's earnings from antiquities are surely worth millions, helping make the Islamic State the world's richest terror group" (except they are not - here - "terrorists").  As for the distribution networks, Drennan writes:
The Islamic State profits nearly immediately, selling the goods to middlemen who then smuggle them into neighboring countries such as Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon. But fencing the antiquities takes much longer, and that means that once they leave Syria and Iraq it becomes more difficult to determine their fate. Some middlemen belong to organized crime syndicates that smuggle a range of things -- electronics, people, antiquities -- and have done so since long before the rise of the Islamic State. That traffic, along with the illegal arms flowing in the opposite direction, is a large part of why control of border locales such as Kobani is so strategically important, Danti said.  [...] "The material is gradually, incrementally laundered in the world-antiquities market, and it becomes very difficult to establish when, where, who, what, why at that point in time," Danti said.
Drennan points out that it is obviously "easier for the international community to intervene once artifacts leave ISIS-controlled areas". She suggests that "concerned observers can try to raise awareness and exert moral pressure on collectors not to buy likely trafficked items". Oh yes, I guess she's not talked much with those collectors and dealers... She mentions attempts to get the UN to ban sales of Syrian artefacts as an extension of the existing one on Iraqi ones. Rick St. Hilaire is also extensively quoted, suggesting that "at least some recently looted items [from Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey] are making their way to the United States" piggybacking  on an increased licit trade.  

Archaeological News on Tumblr

New facility brings high-tech tools to study artifacts at Penn's Museum of Archaeology

The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology is opening new laboratories this weekend that...

Geoff Carter (Theoretical Structural Archaeology)

Parish Notices; Help Nigel Hetherington of Past Preservers do the EH Wall Hike

On  19 of September Nigel Hetherington of Past Preservers, will be returning to his ancestral homelands and taking part in the English Heritage's Hadrian's Wall Hike to raise funds for much needed conservation along the famous route. Please Donate today to support Nigel and English Heritage, and share with your friends and colleagues. All of your donations and efforts are greatly appreciated, please Tweet your support to @Pastpreservers and @EnglishHeritage using the #HadriansHike hashtag and please spread the word! 
Things are not easy for wor UNESCO World Heritage Site [1], and recently,  some significant wheels have fallen off.  
You can sign up today to join Nigel (and provide moral support!) and walk 30 miles of the 'best of the wall’ from Lanercost Priory to Chester’s Roman Fort. The hike, sponsored by Craghoppers, will give participants special access to the expert English Heritage team.
.....And I have offered my own time for free as a guide or talker for the amusement of walkers as they pass by my ancestral homeland near the end of their Journey.
 Hadrian’s Wall looking South showing the Wall and Ditch; the space between is the Berm where the 3 lines of postholes marking the earlier Timber Wall are found.  [NB. The berm is not for structural stability [doh!], or for Cippi, which were branches and logs with branches attached buried in a ditch].[2] 

Hadrian's Wall very important to our region, and Past preservers contribution to public understanding through the media is a significant to all in the heritage industry - so Join or support Nigel- Please Donate today.

More about this and Nigel's excellent Past Preservers team here and Here 

The Vallum passing Down Hill, not a defensive feature or a boundary ditch, but quite clearly a 20’ wide construction trench, with the spoil placed in parallel revetted heaps about 30’ to either side, which was intended to be a road; it was left unfinished following the disruption of Wall construction by warfare.

Notes and Further Reading;
[1]Wor -  "Our" in Geodie
[2] Caius Julius Caesar "De Bello Gallico" and Other Commentaries English translation by W. A. MacDevitt, introduction by Thomas De Quincey (1915)  [LXXIII] 

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Al-Ahram Apologises for Mistake

Of interest to anyone who has tried to use Egyptian journalism to follow the situation with the cultural heritage in that country in recent months. Al-Ahram daily, Egypt’s oldest and biggest newspaper, has issued an apology and an explanation for having earlier misquoted, quoted out of context and selectively quoted a New York Times story on Egypt by its correspondent, David Kirkpatrick (the affair is not without its comedic aspects, see: 'Misstated Excerpt of Times Article Offers Fresh Take on President Sisi of Egypt', New York Times Oct 15, 2014) .
 In its statement Al-Ahram regretted that such a grave error would occur at a time when the current editorial management of the newspaper and the organisation as a whole is bent on restoring its credibility and asserting the traditions of proper and ethical journalism based on the highest standards of the profession. It also noted that these efforts are being made at a time when bad practice and low ethical and professional standards are rampant in Egyptian journalism as a whole, which makes reform an uphill battle.  [...]  Sadly, apologies for mistakes have been lacking in Egyptian journalism for a great many years. In issuing this apology Al-Ahram not only corrects a mistake, but also hopes to set an example in restoring the traditions of editorial responsibility to Egyptian journalism in general.

Rep. William Keating and Antiquities Trafficking

There is an interesting comment in the article by Justine Drennan ('The Black-Market Battleground'), Foreign Policy October 17, 2014) about ISIL and the antiquities trade which is a pleasure to note. After a mention of attempts to get the UN to ban sales of Syrian artefacts as an extension of the exiusting one on Iraqi ones, she then notes concern from US lawmakers (who we hear more often of being on the side of the collectors and local dealers) that current efforts aren't enough to protect Syrian heritage:
Rep. William Keating, a Massachusetts Democrat and the ranking member on the Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called evidence of Syrian and Iraqi antiquities increasingly showing up in the United States a "disconcerting development" and said it "implies not only an uptick in the illicit trade of these items, but links the destruction, plundering, and looting of cultural heritage sites to potential buyers in the United States who may be funding terrorist activities in the Middle East." Keating is working on proposals to strengthen cooperation between government bodies to combat antiquities trafficking. 

Jim Davila (

Some Brill books

The Divine Courtroom in Comparative Perspective

Edited by Ari Mermelstein and Shalom E. Holtz, Yeshiva University

Contributors to The Divine Courtroom in Comparative Perspective treat one of the most pervasive religious metaphors, that of the divine courtroom, in both its historical and thematic senses. In order to shed light on the various manifestations of the divine courtroom, this volume consists of essays by scholars of the ancient Near East, Hebrew Bible, Second Temple Judaism, early Christianity, Talmud, Islam, medieval Judaism, and classical Greek literature. Contributions to the volume primarily center upon three related facets of the divine courtroom: the role of the divine courtroom in the earthly legal system; the divine courtroom as the site of historical justice; and the divine courtroom as the venue in which God is called to answer for his own unjust acts.

Eating in Isaiah
Approaching the Role of Food and Drink in Isaiah's Structure and Message

Andrew T. Abernethy, Wheaton College

In Eating in Isaiah Andrew Abernethy employs a sequential-synchronic approach to explore the role of eating in the structure and message of the book of Isaiah. By focusing on 'scaffolding' chapters (Isaiah 1; 36–37; 55; 65-66), avenues open for exploring how eating operates within the major sections of Isaiah and how the motif enhances the book's coherence. Furthermore, occurrences of eating in Isaiah create networks of association that grant perspective on significant topics in the book's message, such as Zion, YHWH’s kingship, and YHWH's servants. Amidst growing scholarly interest in food and drink within biblical literature, Eating in Isaiah demonstrates how eating can operate at a literary level within a prophetic book.

The Lawsuit Motif in John’s Gospel from New Perspectives
Jesus Christ, Crucified Criminal and Emperor of the World

Per Jarle Bekken, University of Nordland, Bodø

The study sheds fresh light on aspects of the lawsuit motif in John from the background of Diaspora-Jewish and Greco-Roman data and perspectives. – John’s narrative of the attempts on Jesus for such crimes as breaking the Sabbath, blasphemy, and seduction are illuminated from Philo’s perspectives on vigilante execution. – Furthermore, John’s narrative of the official Jewish and Roman forensic procedures against Jesus can also be situated within the framework of the Greco-Roman administration exemplified by the legal papyri from the Roman Egypt. – Philo’s expectation of an eschatological emperor, who shall rule over many nations, provides a cultural context for the way John’s gospel re-inscribed Jesus as the true “Emperor” of all the nations.

Mary Beard (A Don's Life)

What we get wrong about Lord Elgin


I have long said that the rights and wrongs of the Elgin Marbles debate are more complicated than we often make them seem, and that the argument would be much more productive if we managed to see some of the complexity.

Now that Amal Clooney has taken up the case, all the old over-simplifications are crawling out again. Personally I hold no brief for Lord Elgin (I have remained uncomfortably "on the fence" on the whole issue for many a year). And it is important to admit that there is an awful lot we dont know about him and his motives (to be honest, it is completely uncertain whether he was looking to save a precious antiquity or looking for some nice decoration for his stately pile, or some combination of the two).

But there are some aspects to the story as it is now told that are simply WRONG.

For a start, the idea that Elgin went up to something like the "pristine" Acropolis we now see and gave orders for the finest sculptures from the finest temple to be removed and parcelled off to Britain is far from the truth. In the early years of the nineteenth century the Acropolis was an Ottoman garrison base with a rather squalid village attached. The antiquities were all encroached upon by shacks, houses, offices and stores, and there is no doubt that some of the ancient marble was being reused for various garrison purposes. How endangered the sculptures were is hard to say, but Elgin was not taking anything from what we would think of as an archaeological site (with or without permission -- the extent of his "firman" is not entirely clear, and anyway we dont have the Ottoman original, only an Italian translation, accurate or not).

Second, it is not the case that the British government -- avid plunderers to a man --  eagerly snapped them up when Elgin offered to flog them (by 1816 being close to bankrupt thanks to his Marbles). There was a long discussion and inquiry by a Select Committe of the House of Commons, which went through many of the issues we now discuss, including Elgin's title to the sculpture. Of course, they may have reached the wrong conclusion, but there is no doubt that they discussed the whole issue in minute detail (you can read the verbatim proceedings here).

Third, the Marbles were not a symbol of "Greek nationhood" when Elgin took them. Whether we think what he did was right or wrong, he was not doing the equivalent of walking into the Tower of London and pinching the Crown Jewels. The Marbles became a national symbol in a sense in their loss, and with some help from the later, classically focussed, monarchy of Greece. That is not to say that everyone approved of what Elgin did at the time. Byron famously penned verses attacking Elgin (though he still was happy enough to hitch a lift on one of the boats carrying the Marbles away from Athens). And Edward Daniel Clarke is supposed to have wept when he saw the Parthenon sculptures being taken down (though his finer feelings did not prevent him removing a famous sculpture from Eleusis and taking it back to Cambridge, to the howls of protest of the local Eleusis residents).

None of these factors are clinching either way (they don't push me off the fence). But we do have to understand the early nineteenth-century background properly if we are to judge Elgin's actions properly or fairly.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

The "Loot to Save" Argument Again

"The interests of preserving these monuments
to human genius and scholarly study are served otherwise
Bruce Leimsidor 

In the context of the discussion in the New York Times of Zainab Bahrani's brief text about looting and its possible connections with armed conflict, Professor Bruce Leimsidor Università Ca' Foscari Venezia, Dipartimento di Filosofia e Beni Culturali, in Venice, Italy considers that the way to "save antiquities" (objects) is to "allow their sale, and convincing the warring parties that they are valuable". Archaeological artefacts ("great works of art" - sic) "belong to humanity, not just to a country or an ethnic group".
Sure, it's preferable that they can be seen and enjoyed where they were originally made, but that advantage is not worth putting them in grave danger. Especially given the role of Islamic extremists in Syria, who may very well consider many of Syria's treasures as idolatrous, better that they be sold on the international art market, where some may wind up in museums, than meet the fate of the Buddhas of Bamiyan.
First of all, most of the things dug up by looters on archaeological sites are utilitarian items such as pots, vessels, clay tablets, metal ornaments to something else, coins and other such everyday minutiae, not "great works of art". Secondly I am not at all clear how the "saving them from being smashed by the ignorant brown-skinned guys" applies to looting. This does not apply to archaeological objects which are buried and so therefore invisible to iconoclasts and anyone else until they are dug up and hoiked out of the archaeological sites which they are an integral part of. They are dug up because somebody will buy some of them, not in order to smash them all.

The writer (much admired by collector and coiney John Hooker - "softcore terrorists and other bottom-feeders") apparently dismisses the idea that preserving the integrity of archaeological sites as a source of knowledge has any merit:
this is nonsense. The Greek, Roman, and Egyptian antiquities in the museums of Paris, London, Berlin, and New York are hardly without historical interest. [...] Art historians understand enough about style and techniques of production to be able to date and place an object pretty exactly. Moreover, archival photos and drawings exist showing many later looted objects in their original place.
The latter is an utter fallacy in the case of those buried deep in sites like Archar (Ratiaria), Bulgaria, Wanborough, Surrey, Icklingham, Suffolk, Apamea, Syria and Dura Europos until dug out by artefact hunters. Prof. Leimsidor  suggests that by hoiking out artefacts buried in sites like this:
these monuments (sic), which belong to all of humanity, would have been lost if left in place because of war, or even more frequently, simply gross neglect or religious fanaticism. Even if monuments (sic) are sold to private collectors, there is still a better chance that they will be preserved, and even, in time, appear for all of us to see in museums. [...] They are not only better preserved, but also more easily studied when removed from the Syrian desert, the jungles of Cambodia, or the mountains of Tibet
Studied by whom? Syrian, Cambodian and Chinese archaeologists and cultural heritage professionals? What about the Italian archaeological heritage, objects looted from Etruscan cemeteries hoiked out and smuggled to US museums where they can be "more easily studied and better preserved' than the Italians can mange if they are left in the ground?  I think Prof. Leimsidor really has not understood the essence of the discussion over looting when he writes that the real reason for "bemoaning the removal of art objects from their original location" is that leaving them buried deep below the ground in their archaeological context in some way "serves the interests of the tourism industry and nationalism, which has been a major cause of war in the first place". So Prof. Leimsidor would have us believe that digging artefacts up and allowing their sale, "convincing the warring parties that they are valuable" and can be sold to raise funds for their activities, is a way to prevent military conflict? I really do not follow the logic of this argument in the context of the current discussion.

Végh Zsuzsanna and Simon Zsolt (Agyagtábla, papirusz)

JMC 24 (2014)

A figyelemreméltó tartalom (magyar szerzőkkel!):

András Bácskay, Réka Esztári, Krisztián Simkó 
Some remarks on Sa-gig I and its commentaries

J. Cale Johnson
Towards a reconstruction of SUALU IV: Can we localize K 2386+ in the therapeutic corpus?

Marten Stol
Masturbation in Babylonia

Wilfred G.E. Watson, Nicolas Wyatt
KTU 1.124 Revisited: A Second Opinion

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

"Ministry prevents sale of Egyptian antiquities in London"

Chutzpah. The Egyptian propaganda machine swings into action. The face-save purchase by the Metrpolitan Museum of objects excavated in 1913-14 by the British School of Archaeology in Egypt from Tomb 124 at Harageh, the Fayum, near Lahun is being represented back home as an achievement of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities (Mada Masr, 'Ministry prevents sale of Egyptian antiquities in London' Sunday, October 12, 2014)
"The Ministry of Antiquities prevented the sale of 36 Egyptian relics at Bonhams, a privately owned British auction house in London. Minister Mamdouh al-Damaty confirmed on Sunday that the antiquities are ancient Egyptian....".

"Detectorists" Viewing Figures

Accounts of viewing figures for the first episode of the true-to-life sitcom "Detectorists", vary, one source suggests it was  650,000 viewers (which would be a viewing percentage of 4%) while other sources suggest slightly more (783 000). This is interesting compared with estimates for 10-16 thousand active artefact hunters in the UK.

Heritage Lottery Fund Supports Collection Driven Exploitation of Archaeological Resource?

The Heritage Lottery Fund says ( "We give grants to sustain and transform our heritage in the UK £375million to invest each year" and this picture says it all. Pre-pubescent youth among those encouraged to dig up and collect archaeological and historical finds. This is NOT "sustaining our heritage", but it is "transforming" it into something else. The "ciollecting culture" is irreversibly damaging British archaeology. 

Archaeologists Involved in Syria Looting?

David Kohn ('ISIS’s Looting Campaign' The New Yorker October 14, 2014) discusses the artefact hunting which has been feeding the no-questions-asked antiquities trade. In Syria, it appears (Al-Azm quoted here)
 that the organization [ISIS] often brings in contractors who use bulldozers to dig up sites as efficiently as possible. According to Daniels [Brian Daniels the director of research at the Penn Cultural Heritage Center, at the University of Pennsylvania Museum - PMB], much of the work in Syria is being done by Iraqi groups who have experience digging up sites in their own country. He suspects that archaeologists may be involved; judging from the photos, the excavations, as destructive as they are, have a professional, organized qualityISIS is not the only group involved in this grab. Daniels has seen items from sites controlled by the Assad regime for sale on the black market in Turkey. And he said that many tribal emirs, who are often given local authority by ISIS, also take part in looting. “I think everybody’s got their fingers in this thing,” he said. 
Well, well. This is where all that talk of "partnership"  with artefact hunters and "an acceptable stance" on collecting gets us. Perhaps the idea is that by joining in with the digging in Syria, the archaeologists can (PAS-like) "record" some of the finds before they go onto the market. This is the postulate of the antiquities dealers [see here - points by Tompa and Wetterstrom] put into action, the extension of the PAS-archaeological-artefact-hunter-partnership to other countries.

I am sorry to say if Dr Daniels reckons that what we see on the photos looks "professional and organized", I am glad I've never worked on any of his excavations. It seems to me that the diggers who are making the holes we see in the satellite photos (particularly at Dura Europos) are adept at locating the tops of walls and avoiding digging through them (a skill which not only professional archaeologists have, but locals temporarily employed on excavations also can pick up). I think this is crucial evidence that the photos do indeed show collection driven exploitation (looting- looking for artefacts) rather than reflecting, as one US dealer in denial put it to me, "some other agenda".

Vignette: A real rogue archaeologist - Johnny Thunder

The New Yorker Writes on ISIL Looting in Syria

Brian Daniels, the director of research at the Penn Cultural Heritage Center, at the University of Pennsylvania Museum, "and others" are quoted in the New Yorker saying:
that ISIS, which controls large parts of both countries, appears to be doing much—although not all—of the digging. Hanson points to three Syrian sites, Apamea, Dura-Europos, and Raqqa, as places that have been particularly hard hit. Archaeological looting is common throughout the world, from Native American sites in the Southwest to jungle palaces in Cambodia, but the pillage in Iraq and Syria is singular in its invasiveness. “They just break the places open,” the Syrian archaeologist Amr Al-Azm, a professor at Shawnee State University, in Ohio, who lived and worked in Syria for many years, told me.

In Iraq, looting has been a serious problem for parts of the past decade. During a particularly violent period roughly between 2003 and 2006, organized looters took advantage of the chaos to pilfer many sites, especially ones in southern Iraq. But, according to Hanson, who is cataloguing the looting in both countries, most of the earlier activity was hand-digging rather than the bulldozing she’s seen from ISIS. In much of Iraq and Syria, gathering information about these enterprises is difficult and dangerous. As with other lucrative illegal enterprises, those involved don’t take interference lightly.
Flippant comments on a distant and lobbyist's disreputable and irresponsible blog financed by two antiquities dealers' associations which reduce the issues to a series of brainless ad hominems (like "Paul Barford, for instance, could meet ISIS rebels (sic) face-to-face") really do nothing to assuage doubts that antiquities dealers are even the slightest bit worried about any of this. They suggest it's nothing to do with them. The rest of us however feel it is very much to do with them and their dismissive and taunting approach simply casts the whole industry further into disrepute. Still, it is good that the US media are paying a lot of attention to this, bringing the matter of the no-questions-asked market in antiquities and its effects further into the public domain.
Once the artifacts are out of the ground, they’re sold by [...] dealers. Daniels said that many of the looted items, which include gold and silver coins, mosaics, figurines, jewelry, cylinder seals, and tablets, end up for sale in towns near the Turkish-Syrian border. Because the market is largely hidden, it’s not clear how much ISIS and other groups are making. Over all, the market for Near East antiquities is very hot. The high end is astronomical: in 2007, a five-thousand-year-old Mesopotamian lion sculpture, three inches tall and made from limestone, was auctioned in New York for fifty-seven million dollars. Obviously, most pieces are worth much less than that, but finding a dozen or two cylinder seals—a relatively common find that can sell for a few hundred to a few thousand dollars each, depending on condition and craftsmanship—can make a few weeks of digging quite profitable.
Daniels said that it appears that ISIS has ramped up its looting over the past few weeks: in areas that aren’t being targeted by air strikes, the group has started more excavations and are taking more control over the work, and the profits. Daniels admits that right now, there’s not much that he, or his allies in Iraq and Syria, can do to stop the looting.
While we are obviously unable to affect what is happening on the ground within the occupied areas, we can act in the surrounding areas to make it more difficult to profit from the sale of this illicit material. Of course that is precisely what the lobbyists for the antiquities dealers association want to prevent happening. They want to carry on "business as usual" regardless of whether they are helping or hindering this or that militant or criminal group, and they clearly resent others from expressing their opinion on that: "Paul Barford, for instance, could meet ISIS rebels face-to-face" .

David Kohn, 'ISIS’s Looting Campaign' The New Yorker October 14, 2014

Lady Lard Keeps Mum: Looks after the Kids While Hubby Goes off Gallivanting around Metal Detecting

Mrs Gretchen Lardbelly the wife of the metal detectorist of the same name apparently gets her kicks out of reading this blog seeking grammatical errors; in the "Trip to Normandy Detecting" thread on a metal detecting forum near you she claims (Tue Oct 14, 2014 11:27 pm) to have found as many as seven in one post. Bully for her. Mr Lardbelly says "she do this fer a living".

Lordy, Lordy, Lady Lard, if you want to comment on this blog, why restrict yourself to sharing your thoughts on it with a self centred metal detectorist who cannot even spot grammatical errors for himself? Is conversation so sparse at Chez Lardies? Why not share your pearls of ever-so-grammatically-correct wisdom with all of my readers? Jjust click on the 'post a comment' link and let the word know how very wrong you think I am about metal detecting, metal detectorists and syntax. Be my guest Lady Lardy. Your thoughts on flippancy concerning artefact hunting in France? [UPDATE your thoughts on your husband hanging around on a forum which keeps hiding the disreputable stuff being discussed the moment somebody puts it into context?]

This is quite typical of metal detectorists (and I guess sometimes their families). There are serious issues to be discussed about the exploitation of the archaeological record, yet all we get from the other side in the debate are dismissive half-brain flippancies like this. I raised the question of the nature of this permit reportedly issued to the British visitor by the French authorities, note that this question (and that of its transferability) is being studiously avoided by the bloke who's trying to fill his guest-house off-season. Yet that is the key issue here, whether the proposed trip involves illegal activity. Note the forum where this is being discussed has a policy on this - let Mr 'Rocher' post a scan of his permit on the detecting forum where he's trying to persuade others to join him so they can see its wording and scope.

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

Vignette: by  "she do this for a living", Mr Lardbelly presumably means his spouse is a professional proof reader or copy editor. A very noble and necessary profession.

UPDATE 15th Nov 2014:
Oh, look the secretive beasties have hidden the "Trip to Normandy Detecting" thread.  OK, now it is a challenge, Mr "Rocher" please show the permit to prove this is legal. Hiding the whole thread mentioning it when the point is raised obviously can very easily be taken to suggest that everyone involved knows they were discussing committing an illegal act in a foreign land on the UK and European Metal Detecting Forum.

Archaeological Site Damage in the Cycle of War and Peace: A Syrian Case Study

Emma Cunliffe, 'Archaeological Site Damage in the Cycle of War and Peace: A Syrian Case Study',  Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage Studies (open access at JSTOR)
This article compares the damage sustained to sites in Syria during 50 years of peace with that recorded during the recent conflict. A methodology is presented to analyze peacetime site damage using remote assessment of sites on sequential satellite imagery and site damage during conflict from media sources, together with samples of the results achieved. The findings are compared to begin to draw out similarities and differences in how site damage occurs in war and peace, what factors affect it, and some of the key challenges sites now face.
Vignette: Protect the heritage, STOP looting and bulldozers.

Talking of "an Acceptable Stance"

David Gill ('The Dumfriesshire Viking hoard: "an approachable stance towards engaging with detectorists") takes issue with a recent pro-collecting fluff piece by Suzie "cuddle a detectorist" Thomas. Thomas writes the typical airhead spin-stuff  so beloved of the camp-followers of the Portable Antiquities Scheme. Gill succinctly put it into context. Thomas witters:
The Treasure Trove Unit in Scotland, and the Portable Antiquities Scheme in England and Wales take an approachable stance towards engaging with detectorists.
What makes it "acceptable" to some is that it removes the need for anyone else to do any thinking about it. Dr Thomas, enthralled by metal detecting, apparently sees the "collecting culture" of Britain as some warped form of "community archaeology". While she's now ensconced in Helsinki, far from Bonkers Britain, until last year she was based in the amorphous Glasgow Trafficking Culture project where she'd have had good opportunity to both observe how "acceptable" the Scottish "approach" is and ponder on its broader context. If she did that, the conclusions she came to are all the more surprising.
In the 2013-4 annual report (Appendix 4)  there is mention of  825 objects found by 265 finders (at least 22 of which were not artefact hunters) . Yet Stuart Campbell ('Metal detecting, collecting and portable antiquities: Scottish and British perspectives' Internet Archaeology 33[1]) estimates that "there are around 500 active metal-detector users in Scotland". So last year 257 artefact hunters active in Scotland reported nothing to the TTU, and of those that did, each reported just 3.4 finds each. If they were finding things at the same rate as the HA artefact erosion counter suggests is happening south of the border that is instead of 15000 finds a year. By how much would one have to adjust the HA estimate downwards to make the shortfall an acceptable one (in a country where almost everything is to be reported is compulsory on all law-abiding detectorists?)

Is this really all that "acceptable"? To whom and on what grounds? Personally, I think that sounds like a load of old nonsense. Though, I'd be happy for  any Scottish heritage professional to come here and explain where I am wrong.

Vignette: Artefact hunters welcome to fill their pockets with the archaeological heritage?

Focus on UK Metal Detecting: The English are Coming for Your Stuff

"ww11 is of massive interest
to me and the opportunity to get out
in Normandy would be an amazing opportunity
Andi_dawson Tue Oct 14, 2014 5:56 pm

Over on a UK metal detecting forum near you, arrangements are being made by second-home owner Le Rocher * for a "Trip to Normandy Detecting" some time in November this year and another one in the first quarter of 2015(thread started Tue Oct 14, 2014 9:50 am)
I muted (sic) last year a possible trip to Normandy to detect on my permissions. Currently i have permission to dig on over 1000 hectares of pasture and ploughed land. [...] I've had some great finds over there and not all military either. There seems to be some great stuff that is coming out of the ground there right now too
Interesting, we have heard much about UK metal detectorists plundering French sites and here's a trip of such actually in the course of being organized in full public view. Metal detectorist "Littleboot" writes: its amazing how many people think Normandy and just think WW2. I have a list of some of the knights who were with William the Corn Curer. They are all named after the towns and villages in Normandy because that's where they came from. Tiny villages some of them ...and fortune favoured the brave and these men were granted huge swathes of England (the bastards. lol) . Lots of very old churches (pre 1066) and medieval manoirs just lived in as farmhouses. Criss crossed with countless roman roads and ancient trackways. And largely undetected. Largely undetected I suppose because most of the French ("the bastards") probably abide by the law. Let us hope our friends from HAPPAH are waiting for these numpties with the police when they get in their cars and try to return home with their haul. On what grounds was "La Rocher" given a search permit by the local prefecture? I hope HAPPAH look into that too.

* Former Restaurant de la Mines, "In a small village 7km from Flers", Department: Ome, Region: Basse-Normandy.

Vignette: STOP pilfering British detectorists bringing the country into disrepute

Iraq and Syria: Artefact Hunter Accuses

Over on the anti-intellectual blog of collector and coiney John Hooker, a British would-be heritage commentator and metal detector owner affirms outright:
archaeologists are indeed, heavily involved in the illicit acquisition of artifacts (sic) clandestinely hoiked from heritage sites in Syria and Iraq.
Unlike his native Britain, standing up for the heritage in the regions he discusses involves very real risks, and the people that do deserve our highest respect. It is not only from this point of view that this comment is highly provocative. Its author does not present any evidence to support his affirmation. Certainly you do not need a degree - or even to have finished school - to be an artefact hunter or antiquities collector. The tells and abandoned cities of antiquity of Syria and Iraq are pretty difficult to miss, and easy for artefact hunters to "research" (locate).

This comment is more a reflection of a hatred of archaeologists among some anti-establishment British artefact hunters than any real desire (or ability) of anyone "passinitly intrested in th' 'istry" to take part in the heritage debate and discussions about how the effect better preservation of archaeological sites. 

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

Blogging Pompeii


Museum of Ancient Paintings, Portici

We stumbled across this painting and thought we would share it with you all.

The Portici museum must have been a sight to see, if all those paintings were on display as shown.

That is assuming you could get a "permesso" to enter.

The painting is titled:
Museum of Ancient Paintings, Palais of Portici Naples. 
It is a painting by Thomas Rowlandson c 1800.
The Victoria and Albert Museum describe it as:
A satirical watercolour showing a woman with three young men looking at wall frescoes.
Two older men stand behind the group.
Rowlandson shows a woman admiring a display of risqué Roman fresco paintings while the men surrounding her all look lecherously at her. 
The crux of the satire is whether their visit is a cultural or erotic pastime.

Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Museum inventory number DYCE.799.

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Doctor Who: Flatline

The title of this episode may remind one of “flatland,” that famous illustration of dimensions, and so it should. In “Flatline,” the Doctor and Clara encounter beings from a universe of two dimensions, who have been causing the disappearance of people on a particular housing estate in Bristol. The lack of police interest is highlighted, and in the process Doctor Who offers comment on the inequalities that exist in Britain as in the rest of the English-speaking world, not to mention further afield.

But however clever the idea of having 2-dimensional monsters, and however poignant the social commentary, I think most viewers will agree that the premise of the episode allows the show to do something even more interesting.

Doctor Who flatlineIt gives Clara the chance to be the Doctor.

With the Doctor unable to get out of his TARDIS, because its exterior has shrunk (due to energy drained by the 2D entities), Clara keeps in radio contact with him but has to take the lead – and decides to take on the Doctor’s title and approach.

This leads her at one point to as “What would the Doctor do?” And she realizes that it is not a different question from “What will/should I do?” And the solution she comes up with – using the enemy’s power against them – is quite genius, and indeed the sort of solution the Doctor might offer.

A number of points of morality are addressed. Clara notices the need to take charge, to lie in order to give people hope, and other things that make the Doctor a morally ambiguous character. The Doctor says that “In a universe as big and as bizarre as this one, we can’t be too quick to judge.” But having given the entities a chance to communicate, he treats them as what he feels they have shown themselves to be: monsters.

The Doctor is impressed with Clara’s performance – but also doesn’t like what it has shown him of himself. And so in the end he says, “You were an exceptional Doctor, Clara. Goodness had nothing to do with it.”

The episode ends with Missy, intriguingly calling Clara “my Clara” and saying that she had chosen well, and then laughing. Presumably we will find that it was Missy who had first given Clara the Doctor’s number. But why? One suggestion is that Missy is collecting witnesses for a trial. If so, then that will offer an interesting echo of “Trial of a Timelord.” The writers of the Colin Baker era tried to take Doctor Who in a darker direction, too. But the BBC didn’t like it. And so if there are indeed parallels, it will be interesting to see what the reaction to them is this time around.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Syria, Who is Digging Up What Where?

It has become quite fashionable in the past few months to scrutinise the satellite coverage of Syria for evidence of damage to archaeological sites (see here). In the article by David Kohn ('ISIS’s Looting Campaign' The New Yorker October 14, 2014) he writes that satellite-photo-studying University of Pennsylvania archaeologist Katharyn Hanson has discovered:
"As fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) overrun the region, they have been digging up many archaeological sites and looting whatever they find [...][she] points to three Syrian sites, Apamea, Dura-Europos, and Raqqa, as places that have been particularly hard hit".
Apamea Dr Hansen, did you really say that? Apamea (As Suqaylabiyah, Hama Governorate), is outside the area shown on nearly all maps in the media depicting the area under ISIL control or even supporting ISIL. Something like 108 km beyond the area of ISIL control. Here's a BBC map from a couple of months ago as an example.

After BBC ('AP' Apamea, Raqqa and Dura to east)
The area is currently under government control. The Google earth overlays show that on 20th July 2011 the site was relatively intact, but by 4th April 2012 the site had been devastated by a dense cluster of looting holes. The later photos from the area on Google Earth do not seem to show a marked increase in the hole-digging, most of the damage which we know about from these photos took place in the window between the end of July 2011 and the end of March 2012, in other words, right at the beginning of the civil war . In this period, the area was not in the hands of ISIS - indeed ISIL itself did not exist until its formation from various other militant groups on 8th April 2013. So whichever militant group was in control of the area one year earlier, the looting here was nothing to do with ISIL. [UPDATE Casana and Panahipour 2014, 131 state that their research shows that the looting took place in a six week period between September 27th and November 4th 2012 when the site was occupied by Assad forces]

Dura Europos is a more clearcut example. The area came under rebel (FSA) control in late 2012 (the border town of Tel Abyad fell to FSA in September 2012 the border crossings with Iraq two months later). There are photos on the US Department of State site showing that on 28 June 2012 Dura Europos was relatively intact, the most prominent features were unfilled archaeologists' trenches. The photo of 28th September 2012 on Google Earth shows the same. At the moment there is a lack of clarity when the looting actually began. Eighteen months after those photos, by 02 April 2014 the whole site had been exhaustively plundered. Certainly the site is in the middle of the ISIL-held zone, though the precise chronology of the beginning of the looting is unclear - certainly it seems to be ongoing when the photo was taken. Several teams seem to be at work. One can however search the whole photo in vain for any signs of the use of mechanical equipment (excavators or bulldozers) which should be betrayed by the disposition of the spoil heaps. There is nothing here to suggest this has happened. 

One clue as to the possible timing of at least some of this looting comes from a video of nearby Mari, dated to November 2012 (so before the creation of ISIL)  which shows some of the damage and looting visible on the satellite photos published this year by the US Department of State. Yet photos on the same website show the site was relatively intact still 0n 07 September 2012. This gives a relatively narrow window when that looting took place and again it would be related to when the area was in the hands of the FSA and not ISIL. Is there any objective reason (eg cloud cover) why the US Department of State did not publish photos more closely-spaced in time which would allow this to be brought out more easily?

Raqqa (Ar-Raqqa) is also right in the middle of current ISIL activity. I do not have access to the satellite photos which Hanson may have been using. Neither is it clear to what site(s) she is referring. There are a number of tells up the Balkh river for example near the city, but very little evidence on Google Earth at least that there has been recent looting. In the environs of Ar Raqqa itself there are two tells, Tuttal (Tel Be'ida) and Tell Zeidan to the east of Raqqa. Of the former the latest photos (13th Feb 2013) show pitting of two kinds. One is horrible eroded unfilled archaeological trenches (who left the site in that state?) and there is an extensive pitted area to the west. The same pitting is however visible in fuzzy photos of 2004. At Tell Zeidan the photos are rather fuzzy and poorly-lit and while more unfilled excavation trenches are visible on the latest (28th Sept 2012) there is nothing there which screams "looting". 

It is quite disturbing that once again, in connection with military action by US allies, claims are being made about damage to cultural sites and cultural property by ISIL - yet when you start to look at the details behind the glib claims, they are rather sparse. Apamea cannot have been looted by "ISIL", neither geographically nor chronologically. It looks more like activity in some way connected with the FSA overunning the area temporarily. As for the rest, who is actually behind this looting at Dura is difficult to say, again is it the FSA which should be blamed for at least part of it? Certainly this would seem to be the case with Mari, just down the road. I personally have not seen the evidence of looting in the ISIL heartland at Raqqa (though would be happy to see the evidence presented online).