Maia Atlantis: Ancient World Blogs

http://planet.atlantides.org/maia

Tom Elliott (tom.elliott@nyu.edu)

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.

March 27, 2015

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: Minerva: The International Review of Anciet Art & Archaeology

 [First posted in AWOL 6 August 2012. Updated 27 March 2015]

Minerva: The International Review of Anciet Art & Archaeology
ISSN 0957-7718
http://minervamagazine.co.uk/images/content/homepage/cover33.jpg
Minerva is the leading international publication focusing on archaeology, the antiquities markets, and exhibitions. Enjoyed by academics and non-specialists alike, Minerva is published six times a year and features a broad range of articles, news, interviews, travel, book reviews and listings of upcoming events.

ASOR Blog (American Schools of Oriental Research)

Udhruh and Its Hinterland during the Nabataean and Roman Periods [VIDEO]

2014-AM-Blog-Banner1

At the 2014 ASOR Annual Meeting, Sarah Wenner presented her paper, “Udhruh and Its Hinterland during the Nabataean and Roman … Read more

The post Udhruh and Its Hinterland during the Nabataean and Roman Periods [VIDEO] appeared first on The ASOR Blog.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: Cahier des thèmes transversaux ArScAn

Cahier des thèmes transversaux ArScAn
http://www.mae.u-paris10.fr/arscan/squelettes/Images/logoMAE.jpg
L’organisation en huit thèmes transversaux constitue une des originalités scientifiques de l’UMR 7041 ArScAn. Élaborés collectivement, évolutifs, ces thèmes structurent un travail commun au-delà des frontières chronologiques ou géographiques propres aux programmes de recherche de chacune des équipes. Lieux de rencontre des membres de l’UMR, les thèmes sont ouverts à tous. Tout chercheur peut y trouver matière à réflexion, parce que ces thèmes couvrent des champs transversaux de l’archéologie, largement ouverts sur l’ensemble des sciences humaines. La richesse des réponses permet l’interaction des traditions de recherche et la dimension pluridisciplinaire des groupes de travail. Leur particularité réside dans la conduite du débat et de la confrontation d’idées sur les faits, ce qui met en évidence le caractère polysémique des questions traitées.
Dans cet esprit, des séminaires sont organisés à l’initiative de plusieurs thèmes traitant de champs communs, alors examinés sous des angles différents. Par ailleurs, plusieurs thèmes sont associés à des séminaires de DEA, alliant la volonté d’un partage de connaissances et le souci d’une formation de haut niveau des étudiants par la possibilité de participer directement aux raisonnements et à l’élaboration de données nouvelles. L’état d’avancement des travaux est publié annuellement dans Les Cahiers des thèmes transversaux déposés à la Bibliothèque de la Maison René Ginouvès et consultables sur Internet.
- 1 Thème Environnement, sociétés, espaces : les moyens d’action et les interactions des communautés humaines avec leur milieu naturel.
Responsables : Joëlle Burnouf (ArScAn - Archéologies environnementales) et Brigitte Boissavit-Camus (ArScAn-THEMAM)
- 2 Thème Technique, économie et société.
Responsables : Pierre Ouzoulias (ArScAn - Archéologies environnementales), Julien Zurbach (ENS) et Claudine Karlin (ArScAn - Ethnologie Préhistorique)
- 3 Thème Images, textes et sociétés : textes et images conçus pour véhiculer un message.
Responsables : Luc Bachelot (ArScAn – HAROC) et Claude Pouzadoux (ArScAn - ESPRI)
- 4 Thème Identités culturelles : processus cognitifs et modes de représentation symbolique.
Responsables : Anne-Marie Guimier-Sorbets (ArScAn- Monde grec et Systèmes d’Information) et Corinne Debaine-Francfort (ArScAn - Asie Centrale)
- 5 Thème Cultes, rites et religions : les moyens d’action sur les forces surnaturelles.
Responsables : Frédérique Valentin (ArScAn - Ethnologie préhistorique), Katerina Chryssanthaki-Nagle (ArScAn - Monde grec : Archéologie et systèmes d’information), Yvette Morizot (ArScAn - Monde grec : Archéologie et systèmes d’information)
- 6 Thème Outils et méthodes de la recherche : les moyens d’action par et pour la recherche archéologique
Responsable : Virginie Laniepce-Fromageot (ArScAn - Monde grec : Archéologie et systèmes d’information)
- 7 Thème Bâti et habitat : processus de construction et dynamique de l’espace construit.
Responsables : Odile Lebrun (ArScAn - VEPMO) et Pierre-Marie Blanc (ArScAn - APOHR)
- 8 Thème Habitudes alimentaires : de l’acquisition à la consommation
Responsables : Hara Procopiou (ArScAn-Protohistoire égéenne) et Cécile Michel (ArScAn-HAROC)
La numérotation des thèmes correspond à l’ordre dans lequel ils ont été successivement mis en place.
 Dernière mise en ligne du Cahier des Thèmes Transversaux



American School of Classical Studies in Athens: Events

Ιταλική αρχιτεκτονική του μεσοπολέμου στην πόλη της Κω

April 23, 2015 - 2:00 PM - LECTURE Παπαευτυχίου Ιουλία, Δρ. Αρχιτέκτων ΕΜΠ

Ο Ιερός Ναός του Αγίου Μηνά Δρακοπουλάτων Κεφαλληνίας.

April 02, 2015 - 1:57 PM - LECTURE Θωμάς Γεράσιμος, Δρ. Πολιτικός Μηχανικός ΕΜΠ

Αρχαιότητα και μουσική

April 22, 2015 - 1:54 PM - LECTURE Aνάργυρος Δενιόζος, Συνθέτης-Μουσικολόγος

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

Friday Varia and Quick Hits

We’re in that delightful time between winter and spring when its still below freezing in the morning but warms over the course of the day. There are enough clouds in the sky to give us beautiful sunrises and sunsets, but not so many to keep the strengthening sun from providing that little extra warmth on our afternoon walks. It’s a lovely time of year. I only wish that it didn’t extend from early March to the middle of May here in North Dakotaland.

Before I start my usual list of quick hits and varia, I want to remind you to check out my buddy James Bradley Wells new book of poetry, The Kazantzakis Guide to Greece, which is available for pre-order here. It’s $12.40. Preorder it.

Also, check out our Call-for-Papers for the Bakken Goes Bust? Conference in October, and do listen to the most recent Caraheard podcast

IMG 3002


American School of Classical Studies in Athens: Events

Ποιος και πώς ορίζει την ιστορική μνήμη;

April 27, 2015 - 1:51 PM - Σειρά δημόσιων συζητήσεων και διαλέξεων Αντώνης Λιάκος, Χριστίνα Κουλούρη, Νίκος Μπελαβίλας

Siegeln im mykenischen Griechenland. Anatomie einer palatialen Praxis

April 08, 2015 - 1:47 PM - LECTURE Prof. Dr. Diamantis Panagiotopoulos (Heidelberg)

Colour and light: exploring visual phenomena in Minoan Neopalatial seals

April 27, 2015 - 1:45 PM - UPPER HOUSE SEMINAR Dr Erin McGowan (Oxford University & Richard Bradford McConnell Student, BSA)

Νέα στοιχεία για τα Προπύλαια

April 20, 2015 - 1:42 PM - UPPER HOUSE SEMINAR Dr Tasos Tanoulas

Sulla and the Sanctuaries of Greece and Asia Minor

April 02, 2015 - 1:29 PM - LECTURE Pierre Assenmaker

Agora, Garden, Monument:  Recent Transformations in Athenian Public Space

March 30, 2015 - 1:24 PM - LECTURE Petros Babasikas

AtomicTracings: Radioisotopes in Science and Medicine

April 03, 2015 - 1:20 PM - LECTURE Angela Creager,  Philip and Beulah Rollins Professor of History at Princeton University

Beyond Argolis. Survival of MH traditions into LBA in Central Greece

March 27, 2015 - 1:16 PM - AEGEAN LECTURES Peter Pavúk (Institute of Classical Archaeology, Charles University in Prague)

Archaeological News on Tumblr

In Syria, National Museum of Damascus races to save antiquities from looting, damage

DAMASCUS (AFP).- Workers at Syria’s National Museum of Damascus carefully wrap statues and...

American School of Classical Studies in Athens: Events

The Greek Hecatomb: Realities, Logistics and Landscape

March 30, 2015 - 1:12 PM - the Athens Greek Religion Seminar Sandrine Huber (Université de Lorraine, French and Swiss Schools at Athens)

Jim Davila (Paleojudaica.com)

Has Dig been reading The Treatise of the Vessels?

TELEVISION: TV’s ‘Dig’ unrolls a Dead Sea Scroll to unravel a conspiracy (Kimberly Winston, Religion News Service).
Key to the advancing of the already complicated “Dig” plot is something referred to as the “war tablet.” Supposedly written by the Essenes, the tablet is supposed to be stored at Jerusalem’s Israeli Museum and is said to contain a code that will reveal the hiding places of 12 precious stones.
That's "Israel Museum," as given correctly later in the article. And as Ms. Winston also says, the account of the Essene "war tablet" looks, at least initially, like a combination of the Qumran War Scroll and the Qumran Copper Scroll. But I think something more is going on. In 2013 I published a translation of a Hebrew text of uncertain date called The Treatise of the Vessels in Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: More Noncanonical Scriptures, volume 1, pp. 393-409. This text is a collection of entertaining legends about how and where the treasures of the First Temple were hidden by "Shimmur the Levite and his companions" before the Babylonians destroyed the Temple in 586/87 BCE. The Treatise says that the list of treasures was written down on a "tablet" (not a scroll), and one version adds "of bronze" (II 11). The Qumran Copper Scroll does not mention any specific collection of twelve precious stones, but The Treatise of the Vessels does:
(XII) And in addition twelve fine stones were transmitted by the hand of Heleq son of Shimmur the Levite, by his hand to preserve them and to return them to the tribes, those on which the names of the tribes were engraved, which used to shine over the heads of the tribes, increasingly outstanding and precious in their value, vying with one another. And no king or prophet or man knew in which place these were hidden, except Heleq son of Shimmur the Levite.
It looks to me as though the writers of Dig have read this and have incorporated it into their storyline. This should be fun to follow.

More on Dig is here and link. More on the Copper Scroll is here and links. My translation of The Treatise of the Vessels received some media attention early in 2014 when someone noticed that it claimed to tell the hiding place of the Ark of the Covenant. You can read about that and lots of additional background on the text here and links.

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Churches: Safe Spaces or Self-Destructing Temples?

Rachel Held Evans Safe Space

The above quote from Rachel Held Evans came to my attention soon after a New York Times article noted the misuse of “safe space” as an attempt to try to protect oneself in universities from uncomfortable ideas; and just before Andii Bowsher noted an article in the Telegraph about 38% of churchgoers keeping their liberal views on same-sex relations secret. Here’s an excerpt from what Bowsher wrote:

Now, what I find interesting is the implications about church life because 38% is a big proportion when we are considering something like feeling unable to express views. But when I think about it I can understand, I suspect, the dynamics. It’s probably a bit like what I hear some Muslims saying about expressing less conservative views in Mosque influenced communities. That they feel that the religious discourse space is owned by the conservatives and that they do not feel sufficiently empowered religiously to gainsay the official statements. Perhaps because they don’t have a sense that they may be more than a small minority allied with the sense that the tradition seems to favour the conservative interpretations and that those who hold those interpretations hold the influential positions by virtue of having been through the system and in position because they are entrusted with it.

safe-space-church-sign1I’ve also been inside systems where a particular line has been dominant and where it is difficult to speak a different perspective. Those who are already in positions of respect and trust by dismissing or even ridiculing, or perhaps even aggressing against ‘unsound’ opinions and maybe even people. This is a very strong signal to others in the community to discount or even take ostracisitive actions. This means that at the very least the ideas are discounted and quarantined and those holding them are dismissed or even ridiculed. All of which functions as a fairly effective social control.

The worrying thing, of course, is that it inoculates dominant perspective holders from considering issues that may actually be helpful for them in the longer term (whether or not they end up agreeing)…All of which makes me wonder about whether we can work, as churches, on better ways of disagreeing. It seems to me that derision, abuse, dismissal and ostracism of people who disagree is not loving our neighbour as ourselves. I can scarcely think it possible that any of us, finding ourselves wishing -even compelled- to express a minority viewpoint or disruptive idea would want to be on the receiving end of the disdain or outright abuse that Steve Chalke saw (and I saw directed at him on Twitter and Facebook). And the consequence of that observation is that if we wouldn’t want that ourselves, why do we think we have a right to pass it on to others?

More, we should ask ourselves how we would like to be treated given that we could be wrong: how should those who disagree correct us? Well, isn’t that the way we should offer to correct others? All of which says that churches should be communities where we disagree humanely, with a desire for the good of the other and with a teachable humility because we could ourselves have something to learn. The 38% who don’t feel able to say what they think are a testimony to us as churches that we still have a way to go on this.

There is a need for “safe spaces” for people who have genuinely been traumatized by acts of violence. But when it comes to ideas, what is needed is not “safe spaces” where people can avoid opposing viewpoints, but safe spaces where people can feel free to voice opposing views. It is not exposure to other opinions that makes a space unsafe, but the silencing of opinions.

Would that churches, perhaps driven by the teaching of the New Testament, could become safe spaces in that latter sense. Places where one can honestly say what one thinks and know that, while others may disagree, they will treat you as they themselves want to be treated.

I have been working through 1 Corinthians in my Sunday School class over recent weeks, and I was struck more than I had been previously by some of the things Paul says. When he talks about being the temple and destroying the temple of God, he is speaking about the community as a whole, and not about individuals. And so when he talks about different Christians workers, like himself or Apollos, possibly building with different kinds of materials, he is depicting them as building, and it is for God to judge their work.

But the Corinthian Christians who were siding with Paul or Apollos and dividing the church were tearing down the temple of God, and to them he issues the warning that whoever destroys God’s temple, God will destroy them (1 Corinthians 3:17).

Many Christians today seem to think that tearing a congregation – and one another – apart is the way to defend God’s truth.

Paul had a different view. He said that “My conscience is clear, but that does not make me right/innocent. It is the Lord who judges me” (1 Corinthians 4:4). Perhaps because he previously persecuted the church with a clear conscience, Paul is aware that one can be sure one is right, and yet later become convinced that one has been profoundly wrong.

What would it take for the church to spend less time memorizing verses that are then used as ammunition in fighting and arguing with others, and more time memorizing verses like these, which suggest that such fighting does more harm than any of the supposedly wrong doctrines that are fought over?

 

Jim Davila (Paleojudaica.com)

Another looting arrest in Israel

CAVE RAIDER: Man arrested for attempting to loot antiquities from northern underground cave. Extensive, irreversible damage caused to site carrying remains from Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman eras (Daniel K. Eisenbud Jerusalem Post).
According to spokeswoman Yoli Schwartz, the incident took place near Afula, in the Jezreel Valley, on Tuesday night when the suspect, in his 50s and from a nearby Arab village, was found by Border Police and IAA officers with digging tools at the ancient ruins site.

“The suspect dug deep underground from 2,000-year-old holes in an attempt to get to an area below the hole that probably served as a storage unit in ancient times to find remnants that could be sold on the black market,” Schwartz said on Thursday.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Earliest humans had diverse range of body types, just as we do today

One of the dominant theories of our evolution is that our genus, Homo, evolved from small-bodied...

Paola Arosio and Diego Meozzi (Stone Pages' Archaeonews)

Survey of a Neolithic henge in Northern Ireland

Archeologists are probing a Neolithic henge in the middle of Aghagallon which they believe dates back more than 4,500 years. The name of this small village in County Armagh (Northern...

Prehistoric rock art discovered in County Mayo

A rare sample of prehistoric rock art has been found on an ancient pilgrimage route to Croagh Patrick in Co Mayo (Ireland). The prehistoric engravings resemble that found in Lough...

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

A Cagliari un incontro sulle tecnologie di acquisizione ed elaborazione 3D per i beni culturali

Lunedì 30 marzo si terrà a Cagliari il "TADES Symposium 2", incontro sull'applicazione delle tecnologie di acquisizione ed elaborazione 3D per la preservazione e valorizzazione dei beni culturali. L'appuntamento è dalle ore 9:00 alle 12:00 al Museo Archeologico in Piazza Arsenale, 1. L'evento è organizzato dal gruppo Visual Computing del CRS4 con la collaborazione della Soprintendenza Archeologia della Sardegna.

Jim Davila (Paleojudaica.com)

R.I.P. His Holiness Khanania Dinkha IV, 1935-2015

SAD NEWS: Assyrian Patriarch Passes Away (AINA).
Chicago (AINA) -- The Patriarch of the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East, His Holiness Khanania Dinkha IV, died Thursday at 10:04 AM at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. The cause of death was a virus infection and pneumonia. The Bishop of India, Mar Aprim Mooken, will serve as acting patriarch until a new patriarch is elected.

[...]
Requiescat in pace.

Cross-file under Syriac Watch.

What was the afikoman originally?

ASKING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS (PASSOVER EDITION): Where does the afikoman come from? Surprisingly to modern Jews who assume it's a half-piece of matza, we do not know what the original intention was: interpretations range from roast pigeon to afterparties (Elon Gilad, Haaretz).
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the afikoman, a half-piece of matza that gets "stolen" and hidden during the Seder ceremony and then is found and ritually eaten for dessert, is that its origin is a dictate in the Mishnah, which explicitly states: "One should not have any afikoman after the Passover sacrifice" (Pesahim 10:8). So how did one rabbi's "don't" become everyone's "do"?

But actually there is no consensus on what was the afikoman actually was. Some think the original reference was to a dessert after the Passover meal, while others believe it refers to Grecian post-feast debauchery.

It seems that even the students of Rabbi Judah the Prince, who compiled the Mishnah in approximately 200 CE, didn’t know what he meant either, as the Talmud (500 CE) preserves the answers of three of his students to the question “What is an afikoman?

[...]
The Babylonian Talmud was redacted somewhat later than that, and there is no guarantee that its traditions about R. Judah's disciples, who lived centuries earlier, are accurate. But by the time of the Talmud's traditions it seems that that there was no longer a clear memory of the meaning of the word in the context of Passover. Read the whole article for the history of the development of the modern custom.

Reminder: with free registration you can read the full text of a limited number of Haaretz articles each month.

Tunisian museum reopens

NOT LETTING THE TERRORISTS WIN: Why Terrorists Attacked Tunisia’s Museum Extremists are afraid of the country’s democracy (Yassine Brahim, Wall Street Journal).
When violent minorities seek to undermine peaceful majorities, the best response is to not change course. That’s why in Paris, the Charlie Hebdo magazine defiantly published another edition soon after the attack on their offices, and thousands marched in solidarity with them. In Ottawa, after a soldier was killed at Canada’s national war memorial, other soldiers swiftly took his place on ceremonial duty. And in Boston, the first marathon after the bombing was one of the biggest ever.

In the same spirit, the Bardo museum that was attacked has re-opened its doors. This museum reflects the melting pot of civilizations that have influenced our nation, including the Greek, Punic, Roman and Islamic. One of the most popular exhibits is an ancient mosaic depicting Virgil with the muses History and Tragedy standing to either side of him. It is a fitting symbol. We can continue to make history, or succumb to tragedy. I know what choice Tunisians will make, but we will need continued support at this challenging time.
Background to the Tunisian attack and the other recent militiant-Islamist assaults on the past is here and links.

Roberta Mazza (Faces & Voices)

From Egypt to London: looting in Antinoupolis (el Sheikh ‘Abadah)

The glass tessera recovered from Bonhams

The glass inlay recovered from Bonhams

The last issue of the Italian academic journal Analecta Papyrologica publishes an interesting report on episodes of illegal excavations and looting in the area of Antinoupolis (“Latrones: furti e recuperi da Antinoupolis”, Analecta Papyrologica XXVI 2014 pp. 359-402). Rosario Pintaudi, director of a long-running archaeological mission on the site, and his collaborators document robberies and plundering, but also some recoveries of objects, in the area since the outbreak of the Arab Spring in 2011. Some papyri, inscriptions and other pieces were recovered locally, but the most significant event reported is the recovery of an early Roman glass inlay stolen from the excavation site and later found on sale in an auction catalogue. This little and beautiful piece traveled from Egypt to the showrooms of Bonhams in London, where the sale was stopped by the police, after the object sold for about £ 5,000.

There are two important points emerging form the article. First the searching of antiquities involves Egyptian local communities due to both the serious political and economic crisis, which makes life very hard for people, and the awareness that there is a flourishing and easily approachable market for these objects. It must be underlined that the core of the market is in Europe and elsewhere: as always the real money are made outside Egypt that remains a source, exploited country. Secondly, Pintaudi alerts the scholarly community on the sudden, recent appearance on the cultural scene of new big collections and a number of important, recently published papyri in the hands of anonymous collectors. Obviously there is no final proof that these two facts are directly linked to the situation in Egypt, but the Bonhams episode demonstrates that there is an absolute need for collectors and academics to be extremely careful when acquiring and publishing new texts and objects. As often happens, in the auction catalogue provenance was recorded as “English private collection, acquired in the late 1960s.” I wonder on the basis of which documents.

Bonhams catalogue entries for lot 64 and 65. The fish is remarkably similar to the glass tessera from Antinoupolis.

Bonhams catalogue entries for lot 64 and 65. The fish is remarkably similar to the glass inlay from Antinoupolis.


Antiquity Now

Strata: Portraits of Humanity, Episode 5, “Archaeology in 12 Minutes” and “Photographing the Invisible”

Episode 5 of the new documentary series Strata:  Portraits of Humanity, produced by AntiquityNOW’s partner, Archaeological Legacy Institute, is a two-part episode 1) illustrating the history of archaeology and 2) demonstrating one of the technologies used today to recover the … Continue reading

Bryn Mawr Classical Review

2015.03.49: Arianism: Roman Heresy and Barbarian Creed

Review of Guido M. Berndt, Roland Steinacher, Arianism: Roman Heresy and Barbarian Creed. Farnham; Burlington, VT: 2014. Pp. xviii, 381. $139.95. ISBN 9781409446590.

2015.03.48: Procope de Gaza. Discours et fragments. Collection des universities de France. Série grecque, 503

Review of Eugenio Amato, Pierre Maréchaux, Procope de Gaza. Discours et fragments. Collection des universities de France. Série grecque, 503. Paris: 2014. Pp. cix, 617. €145.00 (pb). ISBN 9782251005874.

2015.03.47: Le relazioni diplomatiche di Roma, Volume IV. Dalla 'liberazione della Grecia' alla pace infida con Antioco III (201–194 a. C.)

Review of Filippo Canali De Rossi, Le relazioni diplomatiche di Roma, Volume IV. Dalla 'liberazione della Grecia' alla pace infida con Antioco III (201–194 a. C.). Roma: 2014. Pp. ix, 197. €35.00 (pb). ISBN 9788866870715.

2015.03.46: Courage in the Democratic Polis: Ideology and Critique in Classical Athens

Review of Ryan K. Balot, Courage in the Democratic Polis: Ideology and Critique in Classical Athens. Oxford; New York: 2014. Pp. xiv, 408. $65.00. ISBN 9780199982158.

2015.03.45: Women in Mycenaean Greece: The Linear B Tablets from Pylos and Knossos

Review of Barbara A. Olsen, Women in Mycenaean Greece: The Linear B Tablets from Pylos and Knossos. New York; London: 2014. Pp. viii, 380. $130.00. ISBN 9780415725156.

2015.03.44: Ovid and the Metamorphoses of Modern Art from Botticelli to Picasso

Review of Paul Barolsky, Ovid and the Metamorphoses of Modern Art from Botticelli to Picasso. New Haven; London: 2014. Pp. xviii, 250. $45.00. ISBN 9780300196696.

He has a wife you know

fuelledbycaffeine:Think I’ve just found my next knitting...



fuelledbycaffeine:

Think I’ve just found my next knitting project.

archaicwonder:Sumerian Silver Lyre, from Ur, southern Iraq, c....





archaicwonder:

Sumerian Silver Lyre, from Ur, southern Iraq, c. 2600-2400 BC

This lyre was found in the ‘Great Death-Pit’, one of the graves in the Royal Cemetery at Ur. The burial in the Great Death-Pit was accompanied by seventy-four bodies - six men and sixty-eight women -laid down in rows on the floor of the pit. Three lyres were piled one on top of another. They were all made from wood which had decayed by the time they were excavated, but two of them, of which this is one, were entirely covered in sheet silver attached by small silver nails. The plaques down the front of the sounding box are made of shell. The silver cow’s head decorating the front has inlaid eyes of shell and lapis lazuli. The edges of the sound box have a narrow border of shell and lapis lazuli inlay.

When found, the lyre lay in the soil. The metal was very brittle and the uprights were squashed flat. First it was photographed, and then covered in wax and waxed cloth to hold it together for lifting. The silver on the top and back edge of the sounding box had been destroyed. Some of the silver preserved the impression of matting on which it must have originally lain. Eleven silver tubes acted as the tuning pegs.

Such instruments were probably important parts of rituals at court and temple. There are representations of lyre players and their instruments on cylinder seals, and on the Standard of Ur being played alongside a possible singer.

Colleen Morgan (Middle Savagery)

Eating Weeds in the Arab World

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Purslane salad, by Esto.

Portulaca oleracea. The first time I tried it, was, admittedly, in Turkey. It was probably relatively early in the season at Çatalhöyük, when the dig house cooks were only feeding 40-50 people instead of the 100+ ravening hoards. There were tomatoes, cucumber, and a slightly tangy, green succulent seasoned with olive oil and lemon juice. What was it? I had to know. Semizotu.

When I got back to California I tried to figure out what it was exactly–even in the vast foodie farmers markets the vendors had no idea what I was talking about. Semizotu? What? Finally I found it, slightly wilted, high and in the back of the stall, stashed near some dill and parsley. THIS! This is what I was looking for! What, dear vendor, what do you call this? Pig weed.

Wow, okay.

I managed to figure out that it was also called purslane, but still struggled to find any–the farmers generally brought me parsley when I asked for it. But then I started to notice it everywhere. I was like Steve Martin in The Jerk with the new phone books: purslane! It’s in the sidewalks! It is everywhere! It truly was a weed, beneath notice for most people. Sadly I did not go full urban forager–I’d seen a lot of mess on the mean streets (sidewalks) of the East Bay.

Purslane, CC by  Alyss.

Purslane, CC by Alyss.

It’s rare to find purslane at the veg shops in Yorkshire, so I decided to grow my own. I tracked down some seeds last summer and sowed a bed. I felt extremely self-satisfied when little green sprouts started coming up, sure that I would be feasting on a bountiful crop in a few months time. As the purslane got bigger, I noticed that it didn’t look the same as I remembered, more leafy, less stalky. Maybe a different variety? Time passed and I was in denial. It’d taste it–possibly still a bit tangy? No. It was spinach. THE WRONG SEEDS. Absolute charlatan UK seed vendors.

Fast-forward to now, I’m back in the Gulf, where I can still occasionally find purslane. I also find winged beans, long beans, purple cheera, and other vegetables to learn how to cook, so I am completely fulfilled in my non-standard vegetable desires and occupy myself making curries and stir fries to varied results. I have a great cheera recipe.

Anyway, I found purslane at the local food shop in Muscat and decided to make a salad for dinner. Continuing my quest for the name of the global weed, I asked the Omani vegetable-price-marker what purslane was called in Arabic. She was slightly mystified at my question–it was called buckley on the label, but she seemed to want to call it something else. She couldn’t remember.

She grabbed the bunch of purslane out of my hands and went off with it, returning with another woman. Together, they explained that they called it farfina. A lot of laughing and chat about where to find it and how to use it–there’s apparently a great recipe where you chop it up very fine, combine it with dried sardines, pepper, lemon, and then put it on top of rice. It’s on the top of the list for recipes to try in the immediate future. In all the excitement, the purslane got a bit crushed and I had to sort out the wilted leaves later that night.

So, in addition to being extremely high in omega-3, a traditional medicine, and cited by Pliny the Elder as an amulet against all evil, purslane, weed of many names, found all over the world, can also help you make friends.


Tom Matrullo (Classics in Sarasota)

Odysseus's "winning words" in the Philoctetes

When Odysseus arrives on Lemnos, he ascertains first that Philoctetes is still alive, and second that he is and has been totally isolated. Having anticipated as much, the wily emissary is already working on the ruse to bring back the man he abandoned on that spot nine and a half years earlier.

He tells Neoptolemus:
τὴν Φιλοκτήτου σε δεῖ 55ψυχὴν ὅπως δόλοισιν ἐκκλέψεις λέγων 
You must deceive the soul of Philoctetes by speaking craftily.
He fully acknowledges that this goes against all that the noble son of Achilles believes is honorable, yet insists:
ἀλλ᾽ αὐτὸ τοῦτο δεῖ σοφισθῆναικλοπεὺς ὅπως γενήσει τῶν ἀνικήτων ὅπλων
No, the thing for which we must devise a ruse is just this: how to become a thief of his unconquerable weapons.
If Philoctetes has that formidable bow, force is not a viable option. But Odysseus has Neoptolemus, and a blank canvas. He saw immediately that Philoctetes is cut off from access to what is happening in the world, and thus is susceptible to virtually any representation. The world's greatest liar is tasked with persuading the world's most informationally deprived man, who happens to hate his guts. The talespinner's entire focus is on the "ruse" - σοφισθῆναι - a word that runs the gamut from "the teaching of wisdom" to "use fraud:"

σοφίζω ,
A.make wise, instructLXX Ps.18(19).8; “τινὰ εἰς σωτηρίαν” 2 Ep.Ti.3.15.
2. Pass., become or be clever or skilled in a thing, c. gen. rei, ναυτιλίης σεσοφισμένος skilled in seamanship, Hes.Op.649; “Μοίσαι σεσοφισμέναι” Ibyc.Oxy.1790.23; so ἐντοῖς ὀνόμασι ςX.Cyn. 13.6: abs., to become or be wise, freq. in LXX, Ec.7.24(23), al.; “βέλτερος ἀλκήεντος ἔφυ σεσοφισμένος ἀνήρ” Ps.-Phoc.130.
3. Med., teach oneself, learnἐσοφίσατο ὅτι . . he became aware that . ., LXX 1 Ki.3.8.
II. Med. σοφίζομαι , with aor. Med. and pf. Pass. (v. infr.), practise an art, Thgn.19IG12.678; play subtle tricks, deal subtly, E.IA744, D.18.227, etc.; οὐδὲν σοφιζόμεσθα τοῖσιδαίμοσι we use no subtleties in dealing with the gods, E.Ba.200; to be scientific, speculate, “περὶ τὸ ὄνομα Pl.R.509d, cf. Plt.299b, Muson. Fr.3p.12H., etc.; σοφιζόμενος φάναι to say rationalistically, Pl.Phdr.229c; καίπερ οὕτω τούτου σεσοφισμένου though he has dealt thus craftily, D.29.28; σοφίσασθαι πρός τι to use fraud for an end, Plb.6.58.12; 

As the first scene closes, the question is not whether Neoptolemus will have to tell Odysseus's lie. The question facing Odysseus is what specific form of "speaking craftily" will get the job done.

* * * * *
Merchant 
There was a seer of noble birth, [605] a son of Priam, called Helenus, whom that man, out on a solitary night raid—that deceitful Odysseus, whose repute is all shame and dishonor—captured. Leading him back in bonds, he displayed him publicly to the Achaeans as his glorious prey. [610] Helenus then prophesied for them whatever matter they asked, and, pertaining to Troy, he foretold that they would never sack its towers, unless by winning words [πείσαντες λόγῳthey should bring Philoctetes here from the island where he now dwells. And, as soon as he heard the seer prophecy this, Laertes' son immediately promised that he would bring the man and show him to the Achaeans. He thought it most likely that he would get him willingly, but, if unwilling, then by force, and he added that, were he to fail in this, whoever wished it might sever his head. [620] 

The merchant is speaking according to Odysseus's script. In point of fact, the merchant is almost certainly Odysseus in disguise. Not only would that make sense, given the character's masterful ability to play any role, but it would enable Odysseus to give out precisely the information he wishes to further his ruse. Onstage it would play wonderfully as he denigrates himself. And, it's entirely in keeping with the wit and craft and fun of polutropos Odysseus. Only, why does he disclose precisely this information?

Now Philoctetes might be spurred to have Neoptolemus take him from the isle, fearing the coming of Odysseus. But at a certain point he will know that he's been tricked and that the lord of Ithaka has him -- how willingly will he go? Is there not a good chance the plot will backfire? Why does Odysseus tell the man he's trying to persuade "by winning words" that he, Odysseus, stands to lose his head if his attempt to capture Philoctetes fails? What stronger motivation could Philoctetes have to ruin the plan?

* * * * * 

A writer acquaintance recently shared an essay in which he describes a man he knew more than a half century ago in North Florida:
[He] was a complex man. He lived by a code that I find difficult to understand much less explain. He was loyal to a fault to his friends. He was honest and you could depend on him regardless of the circumstances. His word was his bond. He understood the nature of people. He was the most adept man I ever met at making quick assessment of a person’s character. He knew how to arrange people and events in a fashion that caused the result that he wanted to occur. He was like a Master of Chess except he applied those skills to politics.
Two things are given with the figure of Odysseus: First, he is theatrical in the most persuasive way - he can successfully simulate anyone (or outis - no one) - it's a trait he shares with his great grandfather Hermes. Second, like this Florida gentleman, he could read people -- he knows what makes them tick, and how to get them to tick to his beat.

Keen insight into the tumblers of human nature was a key component of the craft of the master rhetorician -- a trait shared with Athena. Sophocles brings in the full range of Odysseus because he's deeply interested in the power of rhetoric, of "winning words."

Small digression

It gets more interesting. Much of the tradition deriving from Plato and Aristotle addresses the same inquiry -- the power of rhetoric as wielded by sophists to seem to speak truth. In fact they either do not know the truth (as Socrates usually ferrets out) or it's irrelevant -- they brashly use the power of tropes and syntactical dexterity to their advantage. Sophists win arguments regardless of the truth -- their power lies in "speaking craftily."

With Sophocles, it's different, I think. YES, all the beguiling charms of rhetoric are fully seen in all their misleading beauty, BUT the comfortable edge, the clear frame dividing mere crafty speech from truth is not so easy to locate. Just as we saw above with σοφίζω -- instruction that makes one wise and fraudulent pretense can make strange bedfellows within one and the same word, and do. Crafty speech indeed.

This can be seen in the Merchant's tale of Helenus' stipulation that Philoctetes must be brought back to the war, and reintegrated into the Greek cause, with πείσαντες λόγῳ -- linguistic power that persuades, or in Jebb's inspired translation, "winning words." What we call truth is what we are persuaded of. Many times in the tragedies a character will intend, "such and such is true," but what he/she actually says is, "I am persuaded of x."

* * * * * 

Later in the play Odysseus will describe himself as one whose natural desire, in everything, is to win:
νικᾶν γε μέντοι πανταχοῦ χρῄζων ἔφυν  (1052)
Victory, however, is my inborn desire in every field
There is no question of losing; it's a matter of discovering what craft will do the job. After telling Neoptolemus he must lie to Philoctetes, the first thing he coaches him to say is that he's the son of Achilles. The truth, if it will serve, is the best lie.

But we still have to ask: why does Odysseus introduce through the Merchant's mouth (which is his own, literally or no) the imminent arrival of himself? Why inject himself into the fiction, given how anathema he is to Philoctetes? What's the strategy, the rhetorical advantage, of disclosing that he is on his way?

A lesser liar would have kept that to himself. Is he not making his task ever so much harder? We'll take this up in another post.

AMIR: Access to Mideast and Islamic Resources

Open Access Journal: Kurdish Studies: International peer-reviewed journal of Kurdish Studies

Kurdish Studies: International peer-reviewed journal of Kurdish Studies
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Kurdish Studies  journal is an interdisciplinary and peer-reviewed journal dedicated to publishing high quality research and scholarship. Kurdish Studies journal is initiated by the members of the Kurdish Studies Network (KSN) and supported by a large group of academics from different disciplines. The journal aligns itself with KSN's mission to revitalize and reorient research, scholarship and debates in the field of Kurdish Studies in a multidisciplinary fashion covering a wide range of topics including, but not limited to, economics, history, society, gender, minorities, politics, health, law, environment, language, media, culture, arts, and education.

2013

Vol 1, No 1 (2013)

Kurdish Studies, Volume 1, Issue # 1, October 2013


2014

Vol 2, No 1 (2014)

Kurdish Studies, Volume 2, Issue 1, May 2014
Open access to the articles in this issue are sponsored by Ahmed Foundation for Kurdish Studies (USA).

Vol 2, No 2 (2014): Kurdish Linguistics: Focus on Variation and Change Guest edited by Geoffrey Haig & Ergin Öpengin

Kurdish Studies, Volume 2, Issue 2, October 2014
Special issue:
Kurdish Linguistics: Focus on Variation and Change
Guest edited by Geoffrey Haig & Ergin Öpengin

Peter Tompa (Cultural Property Observer)

Assad Loyalist Support for HR 1493 Should Raise Serious Questions

Franklin Lamb, an unapologetic supporter of Hezbollah and the odious Assad regime, has written an op-ed supporting HR 1493, a bill that purports to offer protection for international cultural property due to political instability, armed conflict or natural and other disasters.  And no wonder.  While offering some improvements from its predecessor, HR 5703, that failed to pass last term, the new bill retains many of its defects.  Most notably, these include authorizing repatriation of such Syrian artifacts that may be seized by US Customs back to the same government whose military likely looted Apamea and Palmyra and most certainly has unmercifully bombed and shelled the old city of Aleppo and early Sunni religious sites into dust.   Hopefully, these and other serious problems that remain can be addressed as the legislative process unfolds.

AMIR: Access to Mideast and Islamic Resources

Open Access Journal: MELA Notes - The Journal of the Middle East Librarians Association

[Originally posted in AMIR 19 February 2011. Updated 26 March 2015]

MELA Notes The Journal of the Middle East Librarians Association
ISSN 0364-2410
It is the purpose of the Middle East Librarians' Association to facilitate communication among members through meetings and publications; to improve the quality of area librarianship through the development of standards for the profession and education of Middle East library specialists; to compile and disseminate information concerning Middle East libraries and collections and to represent the judgment of the members in matters affecting them; to encourage cooperation among members and Middle East libraries, especially in the acquisition of materials and the development of bibliographic control; to cooperate with other library and area organizations in projects of mutual concern and benefit; to promote research in and development of indexing and automated techniques as applied to Middle East materials.
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MELA Notes is also accessible in JSTOR

March 26, 2015

Robert Consoli (Squinches)

Draining of the Copais Basin - Part 2. The Polders



(I have placed a .kmz and .kml file of the places mentioned in this post on Google Drive, here.  To use just download these files and open them in Google Earth.)

I felt that it would be useful to my readers if I were to reproduce the conclusions of Kalcyk et al. (1989).  They produced a summary of the work that was performed in the 1980’s and they are particularly useful about the various polders and other features in the region of the northern Copais Basin, particularly the Bay of Topolia.

1. “In the North-Eastern bay the canal branching off towards the katavothresof Spitia, Binia, Palaiomylos could be identified and surveyed.  It was concluded from the topographical survey that the primary discharge of the major canal led towards the Spitia Katavothra.”[1]

Illustration 1.  Topolia Bay with channels to main sinkholes.


I show this in illustration 1.  Here the main channel in orange flows towards katavothra of Biniah; subsidiary branches lead to Spitia and to Palaiomylos.  Kalcyk and his team say that they were able to survey the channels to these katavothres.  On the map I see no definite marks leading to Palaiomylos and have indicated that my path to it is hypothetical.  There are definite visible marks leading to Biniah and to Spitia.  This was the heart of the drainage effort.  The Minyans apparently took advantage of every useful katavothra including the Grand Katavothra which received whatever remained of the Melas.

2. "During the course of our research we were able to map and interpret completely another dam which had previously been discovered by Kenny and Laufer.  It is much narrower than the dams along the big canal.  Its significance lies in its straight direction.  Its course is changed twice by nearly right-angled turn and this leads to the conclusion that it could hardly have served for hydraulic purposes.
...
Between this dam and the dam along the big canal a closed polder with a surface of 8 square km would have been created below the Tourloyannes hill." [2]

I show the context of their remarks in Illus. 2a and then the proposed structures filled in in illus. 2b.

Illustration 2a.  Context: North central edge of the Copais Basin.

Illustration 2b. Reconstruction of polder at Tourlogiannis Hill.
The polder described by Kalcyk is indicated in transparent white in illus. 2b.  The dam of which he speaks consists of the relatively straight black lines.  I have reconstructed these as best I could.  A circular feature is indicated by Kalcyk along the south bank of the Melas.  I was able to identify it in part.  The entire area enclosed primarily by the hills and the dams is, as I have reconstructed it, 8.47 square km.  Kalcyk's wording seems to indicate that he may have meant to exclude Tourlogiannis Hill itself; doing so lowers the estimate of the size of this polder, as I have reconstructed it, to 7.47 square km.

3. "Another closed polder, again of 8 square km. surface, could be identified to the North-East of Kastron.  It is limited by the Kapsorouti dam.  This dam leads towards the Palaiomylos katavothra as well as the great canal.  The Kapsorouti dam withholds the direct mountain runoff from the polder and directs it to the katavothres."[3]


Illustration 3.  Polder stretching from Kastro (lower left) to the Canal.


I find this passage ambiguous.  By 'Kapsorouti Dam' he intends, I believe, the dark line in illus. 3 which stretches from just north of Kastro and then to the east.[4]   It is difficult to believe that the currents from the Kapsorouti River and other local torrents require a construction like the Kapsorouti Dam.   Nor can I make sense out of the following passage: 'This dam leads towards the Palaiomylos katavothra as well as the great canal' and I think it were better expressed as 'This polder leads towards the Palaiomylos katavothra as well as the great canal'.  I have bounded my reconstruction by the Kapsorouti Dam, the northern edge of Topolia, the channel leading towards the Palaiomylos katavothra, and the great canal.  Termination on the west is notional; I chose to bound it by a hypothetical canal leading to Katavothra no. 3 (no local name that I can establish).  As reconstructed by me, this polder is 8.31 square km.

4. "Another polder dam ought to exist underneath an old stone dam which serves today as a road from Mytikas to Kastron and which runs into a shore formation.  All indications lead us to believe in its existence; this, however, can only be proved by an excavation."


Illustration 4.  The Polder of Gla



This polder surrounds the citadel of Gla itself.  The old road/dam to which Kalcyk refers is labeled 'Polder Dam' on illus. 4.  It would constitute the western boundary of the Polder of Gla.  Its northern boundary is the Minyan Canal and the western edge is the valley that leads up to Kokkino.  The area of this polder, as I have reconstructed it, is 8.47 square km.  There are a number of interesting features in this area as it was intensively investigated by Knauss' team as well as the AROURA study group, beginning in 2010.  There is an interesting diagram map of this area annotated by Knauss himself which can be found here and I encourage my readers to look at it.  The AROURA group conducted three field campaigns of ground surveys in this area between 2010 and 2012.[6]  I have indicated on illus. 4 where their study area centered.  Their reports can be found here along with many interesting photographs.  They have added immeasurably to our knowledge of the Mycenaean works in this area.  Posts such as this can only be a bare summary of what researchers are adding to our knowledge.

5. "More to the South, in the bay of Dhavlosis another polder exists reaching from Prophitis Elias hill to the rock of Kastraki (ancient Medeon) and thus creating polder land of about 2 square km."[7]


Illustration 5.  The Polder of Dhavlosis



I have reconstructed this polder as 2.72 square km. and it has a different shape on the east than it does on Kalcyk's map.  It's difficult for me to see how the polder could be significantly different from the way I have drawn it.



In the final illustration I show all the polders on the east side of Lake Copais and the Bay of Topolia which I've mentioned in this post so that the reader can see them in context.

Illus. 6.  The polders of eastern Lake Copais and the Bay of Topolis.


In my next post I would like to summarize what is known about the great Minyan canal.



Endnotes

[1] Kalcyk and Heinrich (1989) 61.
[2] Ibid. 62.  For the work of Kenny and Laufer see this AROURA summary.
[3] Kalcyk and Heinrich (1989) 62.
[4] Ibid., fig. 4.3, p. 63.
[5] Ibid. 62.
[6] AROURA stands for Archaeological Reconnaissance of Uninvestigated Remains of Agriculture.  It is an official collaboration between the University of Maryland at Baltimore and the 9th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities (IX EPCA) of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports.
[7] Kalcyk and Heinrich (1989) 62.

Bibliography


Kalcyk et al. (1989): Kalcyk, H. and B. Heinrich, "The Munich Kopais Project" in Boeotia Antiqua I, Papers on Recent Work in Boiotian Archaeology and History. J.M. Fossey, ed.  Amsterdam: Gieben, 1989, 55-71.

Zenobia: Empress of the East (Judith Weingarten)

ELEGY FOR HATRA (Part III: Goddesses and Putative Priestesses)

(Part I, click here; Part II, click here)

Three Goddesses and a guy-lion

Allat, the Arab goddess of war, is the central figure on this stone relief from Hatra (once covered with thin sheets of gold or silver). She is flanked by two smaller female figures, most probably her daughters al-Izza and Munat, with right hands raised up, palms forward, in the typical Hatrene manner indicating benediction or respectful prayer.  Although these deities are of Arab origin, Allat is shown with the attributes of the Greek goddess Athena: a gorgon head on her breastplate, armed with a spear, a helmet, and carrying a shield marked with her lunar symbol. The eyes and the costume are rendered in the local Parthian fashion.  

The fascinating thing about this relief is the combination of strong Parthian features and borrowed Greek traits -- the Greek input seen here, obviously, in dressing up Allat as Athena but also more subtly in the bend of her left leg and slight body tilt which breaks the typically stiff  Parthian pose.  Even so, their eyes (once inlaid with white seashells with bitumen-black dots for pupils) are set straight forward.

The goddesses are perched on a lion -- Allat's sacred animal par excellence -- pictured with an extravagant flame-like mane (it's always a male lion) and its tail wrapped, pussy-cat like, around its hind leg.  The association of Allat  with lions was noted by Lucian, a 2nd-century CE Syrian author, in his work on De Dea Syria ('The Gods of Syria', 41).  Lucian describes the temple at the sacred city of Hieropolis where the local goddess (Allat, often identified with a similar, earlier goddess, Atargatis) appears under the guise of Greek Hera: 

The sanctuary faces the sunrise….  In it are enthroned the cult statues, Hera [Allat/Atargatis] and the god, Zeus, who they call by a different name [Baal-Hadad]. Both are golden, both seated, though Hera [Allat/Atargatis] is borne on lions....  
We saw just such an enthroned Allat with her lions on the so-called Cerberus relief (pictured in Part II). 

The relief showing Allat standing with her daughters was found in one of the smaller shrines in Hatra (known as Shrine V) outside of the central Sacred Area, along with three more reliefs of Allat-as-Athena.  Inscriptions from the same sanctuary name the goddess as ˀšrbl and ˀšrbl btlh, 'Iššar-Bel' and 'Iššar-Bel the virgin', harking back to Ishtar,  the ancient Mesopotamian goddess of sex, love, and war, whose symbol, too, was a lion. Two of the inscriptions come from statue bases dedicated by women, one of whom was named as the priestess Martabu: 
In the month Adar of the year 546 (= March 235 CE). The statue of Martabu, priestess of Isharbel, [creator] of the Universe, which has erected for her [by] Bara, her son, son of Abdshalma son of Bara, the priest, and his brother has made the [garment?] for the life of themselves and for the life of their sons and for the life of whoever is dear to them. Shabaz, the sculptor.* 
 It's very likely that Shrine V was dedicated to Allat in the guise of Iššar-Bel the virgin, where she was visited primarily by priestesses and ordinary women. 

Three more goddesses.  Or are they mortals?

The three female figures on this relief look pretty glum (even by Hatrean standards).  I must admit that they are almost like clones, being of the same height and dressed exactly alike.  All wear bright red diadems in the form of high cylindrical crowns (poloi) over their black-coloured hair.  Long veils hang down their backs.  Each figure slightly lifts her skirt in a typical Hatrene female gesture.  One figure grasps a mirror (or tamburine or perhaps even a plate) in her right hand.  The others hold palm branches(?) with trailing ribbons. 

Are they goddesses, or mortal women?  Or, as I suspect, are they three priestesses engaged in a ritual act that is now entirely unintelligible to us?

Note the red marks on their cheeks.  

We have enough statues of male priests from Hatra to know that they can be identified by a circle incised on both cheeks -- a mark  never found on non-priestly dignitaries but only on statues of priests.  While it is impossible to tell from their statues if the circles are made by scarification, branding, or tattooing, Lucian (De Dea Syria, 59) does say that all devotees of the goddess at Hieropolis are tattooed on their necks or wrists.  In such cases, the tattoo would mark a person as belonging to the goddess.  Temple staff at Hatra may indeed have been considered as the chattel 'property' of a deity.  A kind of sacred servitude surely underlies a law posted at the city gates which threatened with death any female singer and wailing woman of Maren, Marten, and Bar-Maren who leaves the city.*

Not only do the three ladies have red marks on their cheeks but they are not wearing any jewellery other than (as I would argue) the diadem of the goddess they serve. The lines around their throats probably do not indicate multiple necklaces but rather are thin sashes that tied their gowns. 

To see what they are missing, check out the clunky gold jewellery worn by the three goddesses at the top of the post and the bling on this fragmentary figure (left, from Shrine I): a gilded polos topped by a long veil, golden girdle under her breasts, knock-out gold earrings and a heavy gold necklace that would make Cartier blush.  I doubt, too, that real goddesses actually carried their own ritual implements.  If they hold anything, it will be a symbol of authority, such as Athena's spear or this goddess' sceptre. 

Inside the holy shrine

For similar reasons, I suspect that the women depicted on this model shrine are also priestesses and not images of any goddesses themselves.  The altar is in the form of a temple, with four pillars at the corners and four identical female figures between the posts.  The women  wear short coats over their gowns, with open V-shaped neckline, and are girdled by double sashes just under the breasts.  Their hair is parted in the middle and combed back with the ends coiled up high on their heads.  Each figure holds fruit in her right hand and a well-filled cornucopia in her left.  It appears (though I can't swear to it) that they are bare-footed.  Statues of male priests are also usually identified by bare legs and feet.

It seems that no single trait is sufficient to distinguish Hatrene deities from mortals.  In fact, without inscriptions it is often difficult to tell representations of goddesses and mortals apart.

A seated woman (left; from Shrine VI) wears a plain crescent-shaped diadem on her head and a heavy but not ostentatious necklace.  Yet she is surely a goddess for she holds an orb in her left hand, symbolizing her power over the world and, in her right hand, a staff or sceptre now lost.  Perhaps sceptre and orb were borrowed from Roman divine and imperial regalia (but this is just a guess). 

This very goddess appeared earlier this month on the ISIS video recording the jihadist rampage through the Mosul Museum.  Her statue was seen being flipped off its stand and onto the floor, breaking off its head (Gates of Nineveh).  The good news is that the barbarians destroyed a plaster replica and that the original statue (pictured here) is still safe in Baghdad. 

Unlike this next goddess.

She had her head chopped off and stolen during the looting of the Baghdad Museum in 2003 -- while American troops stood by.  Alas, ISIS is not the only force responsible for the catastrophic destruction of Iraq's antiquities, though it is by far the deadliest.  My picture of the goddess (left) is a composite photograph with her head put back where it belongs:  since the almost life-size statue was too heavy to join the exodus of loot, it was left behind (the sad headless image may be accessed on the CAIS website).** 

Be that as it may, she was once a beautiful goddess, though we don't know her by name (Shrine VII).  Her gown has heavily patterned sleeves and is more elaborate than most worn by other deities.  She also wears a richer version of the same short garment with V-neckline and girdled under the breasts as the priestesses(?) on the model shrine above.  Her head is crowned by a short polos encircled by a laurel wreath and covered by a veil that drops down the back.  Heavy earrings ending in pointed cones hang from her ears.  Her open hands touch what looks like a wreath on her lap; her left hand also holds a palm branch which rests on her lower arm. 

Stuck on the Throne

The absolutely static enthroned figures may most truly 'personify' Hatrean art.  The rules of frontality are completely dominant and any sense of movement or activity entirely absent.  Such rules are never broken ... but they can be made to budge a bit. Standing figures sometimes put one foot forward which does express slight movement.  King Uthal rather timidly does this, and the high-ranking military officer advances a little more forthrightly (both illustrated in Part II).  One of the minor goddesses on the Allat relief at the top of this post lifts her right shoe onto the lion's mane, and all three ladies shift their weight by almost imperceptibly bending a knee -- a pose undoubtedly adopted (albeit hesitantly) along with Athena's own attributes from the Graeco-Roman sphere.


We'll look at this again as we examine the very last group of statues from Hatra -- those of mortal women who are not involved (or at least not overtly involved) in the religious sphere.

Queens, Princesses, Noblewomen ... in the next and last part of Elegy for Hatra.  

So, think with me about this picture (left).  Who is this woman seated on a chair?  She is made of a rough local limestone rather than the more precious 'Mosul marble' (in fact, a finer limestone) used by the better-off.  And she is bare-headed but marked by lunar imagery. 

Your thoughts are welcome as comments.  

Till next week, then.



* Thus, in contrast with cities such as Palmyra, there is evidence for a prominent female priestess at Hatra as well as female temple personnel.  Inscription: The Melammu Project.

**The head was listed by Interpol among the "Top 30 Missing Artifacts" stolen in 2003; and is one of ca. 8,000 objects still listed as missing

Sources 

Inscriptions from Temple V: The Melammu Project; Shinji Fukai, 'The Artifacts of Hatra and Parthian Art', East and West, 11, No. 2/3 (1960) 135-181; Lucinda Dirven, 'Aspects of Hatrene Religion', in (T. Kaizer, ed.) The Variety of Local Religious Life in the Near East in the Hellenistic and Roman Periods,Leiden 2008, 209-46; ead. "My Lord With His Dogs: Continuity and Change in the Cult of Nergal in Parthian Mesopotamia" in L. Greisiger, C. Rammelt & J. Tubach (eds.), Edessa in hellenistisch-romischer Zeit (Beirut 2009), 47-68; K. Jakubiak,in (L. Dirven, ed.) Hatra: Politics, Culture and Religion between Parthia and Rome, 2013, 91-106.


Illustrations

Top left: Limestone relief of Allat from Hatra Temple V.  1st c CE.  Iraq Museum #56774 Photograph: Virtual Museum of Iraq

Compitum - publications

F. Guillaumont, S. Roesch, La divination dans la Rome antique. Études lexicales

roesch.jpg

François Guillaumont, Sophie Roesch (dir.), La divination dans la Rome antique. Études lexicales, Paris, 2014.

Éditeur : L'Harmattan
Collection : Kubaba
150 pages
ISBN : 978- 2-343-04273-2
15,50€

Les Romains vivaient dans un monde peuplé de signes de la volonté des dieux. Savoir lire ces signes, par le biais de la divination, permettait aux hommes de s'assurer le succès de leurs entreprises. L'objet de ce recueil est de compléter par une approche lexicale les nombreuses publications déjà consacrées à ce domaine de la religion antique, afin de mieux définir les croyances et les pratiques divinatoires des Romains.
Les contributions recueillies ici portent aussi bien sur des lexèmes isolés que sur des champs lexicaux. Sont ainsi étudiés trois noms latins du signe : signum, « le présage » au sens large (S. Dorothée), miraculum, « l'événement prodigieux » (J. Champeaux), omen, « le présage », oral ou visuel (S. Roesch). F. Guillaumont consacre une étude au vocabulaire de l'inspiration divine chez Cicéron. B. Poulle aborde, parmi les pratiques divinatoires, les termes utilisés pour la nécromancie. Enfin, D. Briquel analyse les noms de plantes étrusques dont la liste fut transmise par Dioscoride et s'interroge sur leur éventuel rapport avec la science des haruspices.

Lire la suite...

Ancient Art

The Roman Arch of Septimius Severus. Located in one of the most...



The Roman Arch of Septimius Severus. Located in one of the most beautiful cities of the Roman Empire: Leptis Magna, Libya.

Photo courtesy of David Gunn.

Mary Beard (A Don's Life)

Marcia Furnilla

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I am responding here to a request for a bit more information about the statue of Marcia Furnilla. I mean the so-called "Marcia Furnilla" -- MF was the second wife of the emperor Titus but, although the hairdo makes this about the right date, there is no reason to suppose that this is her.

She comes from Rome, is housed in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen, and is currently in the Defining Beauty exhibition at the British Museum. I have talked to students about her for more than thirty years. I have to say that when I was young, I used to encourage them to be very sniffy about this. I would say... look this is some idiot patron/sculptor who just doesnt "get" what the basic issue about ancient beauty norms are.

But I was wrong I think.

Two things on this really.

First, the incongruity of the middle-aged head on the Venus body is far less incongruous in real life than it is in the stil pictures. When I was involved in the Royal Academy show of the Ny Carlsberg sculpture some 10 years ago, we brought her to London, and actually she is much less "odd" when you see her "in the flesh". It's a good case of the need to look at things in real life,

But that is not the biggest point. What the "Defining Beauty" exhibition shows is that sculptures like this are really pushing away at the normative ideas of Greek beauty, and that there are big questions ancient sculptors are raising about beauty. Whoever made this sculpture, he (I assume a he) is surely asking about the relationship between age and desire... he is not taking the piss out of elderly ladies, he is asking about what the relationship is between Venus young and Venus old. He is asking us to challenge our own view of classical beauty... can you put an old head on young shoulders?

What do you think?

 

 

 

Jona Lendering (New at LacusCurtius and Livius.Org)

Ancient histories, plural

 A Medieval Map with, from top to bottom, the Garden of Eden, Mesopotamia, Jerusalem, and the Mediterranean.

A Medieval Map with, from top to bottom, the Garden of Eden, Mesopotamia, Jerusalem, and the Mediterranean.

If you would have asked a Medieval scholar where history had begun, he would have said something like “Why? In the Garden of Eden of course. Somewhere in the East. After that, the ancients lived on the plain of Sinjar. There was some confusion of languages, so the various nations migrated to the other parts of the world. Take Abraham, who went from Ur to Harran to the land of Israël. The book of Genesis clearly says so.”

The author of Genesis was not the only one to believe that history started in what is now Iraq. The Assyrians, Babylonians, Elamites, Akkadians, and Sumerians believed it as well. At the dawn of history, shortly after the gods had created humankind, the Seven Sages had come from the sea, and had explained to the first humans how to cultivate the land, build cities, establish justice, serve the gods, rule as kings.

[Read more on the website of Ancient History Magazine]


Archaeology Magazine

Silver Coins Turn Up in Bulgarian Field

POPOVO, BULGARIA—A man plowing a field in northeastern Bulgaria discovered a pot containing about 90 silver coins dating from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. He did not realize at first that the vessel contained coins, but when he found them, he took the treasure to the police, who took the discovery to the Popovo Museum of History. According to Archaeology in Bulgaria, the Ottoman and European coins all have holes in them, suggesting that they may have been strung as a woman’s necklace. To read about a spectacular recent discovery in Bulgaria, see "Thracian Treasure Chest."

Ancient Peoples

Bronze ewer with elephant-headed spout.Vietnam, second to third...



Bronze ewer with elephant-headed spout.

Vietnam, second to third century (Chinese Han Occupation).

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Deserted field systems of the Atacama

High in the Atacama Desert, around 10,000 feet, anyone with a computer and Google Earth can look at...

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

75 more Greek manuscripts online at the British Library – the last batch

The final batch of Greek manuscripts has gone online at the British Library.  This means that pretty much all the mss are now online, except for a few fragments post-1600 bound in other collections; and a few (how many?) not digitised because doing so might damage them.

Something that I have not mentioned, but which I really appreciate about the British Library digitisations: the catalogue entry for each manuscript, and the indication of the start of each new work.  When you see what other sites sometimes do, you’ll be all the more grateful.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Add MS 41660, Works by Ephraem the Syrian. 11th-12th century.
  • Add MS 82951, Justin Martyr, Works. Created in Venice in 1541, probably at the request of Guillaume Pelicier.
  • Arundel MS 539, Eusebius of Caesarea, Church History. Decorated headpieces in red and black ink (ff 2r, 164r).  Complete with a  table of contents.
  • Arundel MS 542, Works of St John Chrysostom (some now attributed to Severian of Gabala). 10th century.
  • Arundel MS 543, St John Chrysostom, Homilies on Matthew. 11th century.
  • Burney MS 34, Catena – a medieval bible commentary – on the Octateuch (Rahlfs 424), and additional theological texts. Italy, N. E. (Veneto?), mid-16th century.
  • Burney MS 35, Theodoret of Cyrrhus, Interpretatio in Psalmos. Italy, Central. Written during Lent 1548.
  • Burney MS 46, Works of Athanasius of Alexandria, in two volumes, Burney MS 46/1 and Burney MS 46/2. 2nd half of the 11th century-1st half of the 12th century.
  • Burney MS 47, St John Chrysostom, In Joannem (homiliae 1-45). 11th century.
  • Burney MS 48, Commentaries of St John Chrysostom on the Pauline letters, followed by the Catholic Epistles (Gregory-Aland 643; Scrivener act 225; von Soden α 1402, X40), in two volumes, Burney MS 48/1 and Burney MS 48/2. 11th-12th century.
  • Burney MS 49, Homilies of St John Chrysostom on selected Pauline Epistles. Eastern Mediterranean (Corfu), 1430.
  • Burney MS 50, Apophthegmata Patrum (Collectio alphabetica), in two volumes, Burney MS 50/1 and Burney MS 50/2. Eastern Mediterranean (Crete) 1361-1362.
  • Burney MS 51, Two fragments of the works of St Gregory of Nazianzus, the first dating from the late 10th or 11th century, the second dating from the 14th century. Fragment I possibly from Constantinople.
  • Burney MS 52, Homilies and sermons of St Gregory of Nyssa. 12th-13th century.
  • Burney MS 53, Patristic miscellany, containing texts by Origen, Eustathius, Gregory of Nyssa, and the emperor Zeno. Italy, S. (Naples) or Central (Rome), c. 1580.
  • Burney MS 81, Heron of Alexandria, Pneumatica, with extensive Latin marginal annotations and many pen diagrams. Italy, mid-16th century.
  • Burney MS 94, Grammatical and medical treatises, including works by Manuel Moschopoulos, Thomas Magister, Rufus of Ephesus, and Oribasius of Pergamon. Italy, N. E. (Venice), 2nd half of the 15th century.
  • Burney MS 104. Commentary on and introduction to Ptolemy’s Tetrabiblos. Written in 1543, possibly in Paris.
  • Burney MS 105, Pappas of Alexandria, Synagoge, imperfect, including extracts from the Mechanica of Heron of Alexandria. Italy, 2nd half of the 16th century.
  • Burney MS 408, Palimpsest, the upper (14th-century) text being homilies of St John Chrysostom on Matthew and John, and the lower fragments of a 10th century Gospel lectionary (Gregory-Aland l 338).
  • Egerton MS 265, Collection of novellae and other legal texts by Emperors Leo VI the Wise, Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, Nicephorus II Phocas, Cosmas Magister and Eustathius Romaeus. 15th century.
  • Egerton MS 2474, Collection of various texts from Pseudo-Plutarch, Synesius of Cyrene, Amphilochius of Iconium, Gregory of Nazianzus, Nicetas David and John Zonaras, with interlinear glosses and marginal scholia. Italy?, 17th century.
  • Egerton MS 2610, Four Gospels (Gregory-Aland 700). 11th century.
  • Egerton MS 2626, Sozomen, Historia ecclesiastica (TLG 2048.001); Evagrius Scholasticus, Historia ecclesiastica (TLG 2733.001). Italy, Central (Rome), 1524.
  • Egerton MS 2783, Four Gospels, imperfect (Gregory-Aland 714). 12th-13th century.
  • Harley MS 5796, New Testament (Gregory-Aland 444; Scrivener evan. 444, Act. 153, Paul 240; von Soden δ 551). 1st half of the 15th century.
  • Royal MS 1 B II, Old Testament: Major and Minor Prophets of the Septuagint version (Rahlfs 22). 1st quarter of the 12th century. Headpieces, initials and titles in carmine ink.
  • Royal MS 2 A VI, Psalter (Rahlfs 175). 12th century. Illuminated headpieces at the start of Psalms 1 and 77 (ff 22r, 154r).
  • Royal MS 16 C XI, Galen, De diebus decretoriis libri III. Italy, 1st quarter of the 16th century.
  • Royal MS 16 C XII,Astronomical works, including John Philoponus on the construction of astrolabes. 1544-3rd quarter of the 16th century.
  • Royal MS 16 C XV,  Two works attributed to Gregory of Nyssa, with marginal notes by Isaac Casaubon and Patrick Young. 3rd quarter of the 16th century.
  • Royal MS 16 D I, Works by or attributed to St Gregory of Nyssa. 13th century.
  • Royal MS 16 D V, St Gregory of Nazianzus, Contra Julianum imperatorem 1-2 (Orationes 4-5). Italy, Central (Rome), 2nd half of the 16th century.
  • Royal MS 16 D VI, St Gregory of Nazianzus, Orationes 7, 8, 18, and 34, with the commentary of Elias of Crete. Italy, Central (Rome), 2nd half of the 16th century.
  • Royal MS 16 D VIII, Acts of the First Council of Nicaea, compiled by Gelasius of Cyzicus, followed by two works by Athanasius. Italy, 4th quarter of the 16th century.
  • Royal MS 16 D XI, St Gregory of Nyssa, selected works. Italy, N. (Venice or Trento), 2nd half of the 16th century.
  • Royal MS 16 D XVII, Clement of Alexandria, Paedagogus, Hymnus Christi servatoris, and an anonymous iambic hymn. 1st half of the 16th century.
  • Royal MS 16 D XVIII, Eustathius Macrembolites, Hysmene et Hysmenias; Achilles Tatius, Leucippe et Clitophon; and [Eustathius Antiochenus], Commentarius in hexaemeron. The works are from three separate manuscripts, bound together at some point after 1697. 1st half of the 16th century.

And that is just a selection!

The only thing to wish for is a PDF download for the books.  When you need to do serious work on a manuscript, you don’t want to have to peer through an online viewer.

Marvellous to have, all the same!

Archaeology Magazine

Another False Paternity Found in Richard III’s Family Tree

LEICESTER, ENGLAND—The remains of Richard III were reburied today in Leicester Cathedral. Last year, researchers from the University of Leicester discovered that the fallen king’s Y-chromosome did not match that of a group of living male relatives who descended from Henry Somerset, fifth Duke of Beaufort. That means there was at least one break in the Y-chromosome line, or a case of mistaken paternity, somewhere between Richard III’s great-great-grandfather Edward III and Henry Somerset, fifth Duke of Beaufort. Kevin Schürer and Turi King of the University of Leicester were approached by Patrice de Warren, who can trace his male line through Geoffrey, the Count of Anjou, a common ancestor of both Richard III and Henry Somerset who lived in the twelfth century. However, Patrice de Warren’s Y-chromosome does not match that of Richard III or the Somerset line, indicating another false paternity in the royal family tree. “It hasn’t helped us narrow down where the break is,” King told Live Science. For more on the initial discovery of the monarch's remains, see "The Rehabilitation of Richard III."

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Ethical Metal Detecting Association


There is a more succinct version of the principles of the 'Ethical Metal Detecting Association' which no doubt has been much discussed by the Portable Antiquities Scheme on their hidden forum in recent months, this was first published on 13th December 2010 and has now been republished in shorter form, 26 March 2015. The Association does not have many members at the moment, but this will no doubt change when PAS start doing some proper outreach to their partners on that elusive 'best practice'. Whenever that will be.

ArcheoNet BE

‘Chroniques de l’Archéologie wallonne’ online

Sinds kort zijn alle volumes van de ‘Chronique de l’Archeologie wallonne’ integraal online beschikbaar. In de reeks publiceert de Waalse overheid sinds 1993 resultaten van opgravingen en ander archeologisch onderzoek, en jaarlijkse en thematische bibliografieën. De digitale kronieken zijn te vinden op spw.wallonie.be.

Larry Rothfield (The Punching Bag)

Regional Conference Aims to Shut Down ISIS Funding from Antiquities Looting and Trafficking

This upcoming meeting may well be the most important conference of the many being held these days on the looting of archaeological sites in the Middle East. One hopes that it includes some pointed discussion of the use of emirates as conduits and destination countries for smuggled artifacts. 

Archaeology Magazine

How to Farm in the World’s Driest Desert

Atacama Desert FarmingALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO—Five hundred years ago, farmers abandoned their terraced fields and irrigation systems in Chile’s Atacama Desert. “These are systems that were developed about A.D. 1000 when people figured out how to divert water from springs which are recharged by snowmelt from the Andes,” Frances Hayashida of The University of New Mexico said in a press release. The population was conquered by the Incas in the 1400s. “We think they brought in workers to work in the mines. They put in an extensive road system to be able to move ore and personnel back and forth. But then they need to feed everybody, right?” Hayashida asked. An international team of scientists is mapping the fields and canals with drones. They want to know how much water the farmers had to work with, and if the farmers were able to feed the miners. They are also examining stone hoes and looking at plant remains to see if the varieties of maize, quinoa, and potatoes were different from the ones grown in the region today. Grinding stones at the site suggest that maize beer was produced, and perhaps consumed at Inca ritual feasts. “This is something you would normally do with your neighbors, if they were working for you. You provide food and drink. So they just took this practice and did it on an imperial scale.” To read in depth about how the Inca dealt with another conquered population, see "The Water Temple of Inca-Caranqui."

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Row over plans to use ancient Spanish amphitheatre as tennis court

In Mérida’s roman amphitheatre, built about 8BC, one cannot smoke or wear a rucksack larger than...

Archaeology Magazine

Gold Lock Rings Unearthed in North Wales

WREXHAM, WALES—ITV News reports that two gold lock rings dating to the late Bronze Age have been unearthed in northeast Wales. The rings may have been used as earrings or may have been worn to gather locks of hair. Similar rings have been found buried at Gaerwen, Anglesey, the Great Orme, Conwy, and Newport, Pembrokeshire. Most of these sites are on the coast, suggesting that trade occurred with other, distant communities in Wales and Ireland. “We think that these complete and prized objects of gold were carefully buried in isolated places as gifts to the gods, perhaps at the end of the lives of their owners,” said Adam Gwilt of the National Museum Wales.  To read about a similar discovery, see "Irish Gold." 

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Archaeologist Discovers Mysterious Ancient Maya Citadel

For three decades, archaeologist Anabel Ford has been exploring and studying the ancient Maya site...

Ancient gold artefacts uncovered in north Wales

The Late Bronze Age hoard of two ‘lock’ gold rings were discovered in the Community of...

Geoff Emberling (El Kurru: A Royal City of Ancient Kush)

Excavating a Pyramid (film clip)

(guest post by Jack Cheng, our draftsman, artist, and my friend and colleague for almost 20 years!)

In excavating the pyramid at El Kurru, we calculated that about 100 tons of fill had been deposited in just the last room (similar amounts were removed from the first two rooms in last season). Some of the fill would have been washed in from the desert, and some of it would have been rock collapse from the roof of the chamber. 


Digging it out was difficult, and so was removing the dirt from 8 meters below ground to the surface. The workmen organized themselves to move the dirt as efficiently as possible, as you can see in this video:

Ancient Peoples

Gold spiral This gold spiral has a double lion or griffin-headed...



Gold spiral 

This gold spiral has a double lion or griffin-headed terminal. It is relatively small considering the small details : 3.5 cm high and 1.7 cm wide ( 1 3/8 x 11/16 inch.) 

Greek, Cypriot culture, Classical Period, 4th century BC. 

Source: Metropolitan Museum 

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Tutankhmun's chair is safe and sound

Public outrage erupted today over rumors which emerged in the media reporting that further damage...

ArcheoNet BE

Abdijsite Herkenrode ontluikt op 29 maart

Na bijna vijftien jaar zijn de restauratie- en herbestemmingswerken op de abdijsite van Herkenrode in Hasselt volledig afgerond. De recente restauratie van de watermolen en de herbestemming van de paardenstallen vormen het eindpunt van de werken. Als kers op de taart creëerde Hans Op de Beeck een kunstwerk als nieuwe invulling voor het verdwenen historische en religieuze hart van de abdijsite. Op zondag 29 maart kan het grote publiek voor het eerst een kijkje nemen.

Half maart werden de laatste restauratiewerken op de abdijsite afgerond. De 17de-eeuwse paardenstallen werden omgetoverd tot het horecapunt van de site. Het publiek kan er genieten van dit stukje erfgoed en een hapje en drankje. Ook de watermolen van de abdij heeft een grondige opknapbeurt gekregen. De molen is nu een multifunctionele ruimte met uiteenlopende commerciële mogelijkheden.

Eerder al werden de hoevegebouwen, het poortgebouw en de tiendschuur volledig gerestaureerd. In de hoevegebouwen kwam er een Belevingscentrum en vond ook Uitgeverij Clavis onderdak. Het Poortgebouw en de Tiendschuur zijn intussen een vaste waarde voor privéfeesten en evenementen. Rond de gebouwen bevindt zich de drukbezochte Kruiden- en Inspiratietuin.

Centraal op de abdijsite ligt het hart van de vroegere abdij, de plek waar ooit de grote abdijkerk stond. Herita wilde de grootsheid en glorie van deze plek opnieuw tot leven wekken, en daarom creëerde kunstenaar Hans Op de Beeck er het kunstwerk ‘The Quiet View’. Toeschouwers kunnen via een gang de installatie binnenlopen en zullen er een vergezicht vinden, als een trompe l’oeil.

Op 29 maart zullen zowat alle gerestaureerde gebouwen te bezoeken zijn. Gidsen nemen je ook mee voor een rondleiding op de site. Ook het Belevingscentrum, de Kruiden- en Inspiratietuin en ‘The Quiet View’ zijn die dag gratis te bezoeken is.

He has a wife you know

Here today Bacon tomorrow: A Pig’s tombstone

Those more familiar with my blog may notice a pattern of the more bizarre and unusual topics or objects from antiquity appearing here. So this continues with a stele found in Edessa in Macedonia and dating to the Hellenistic period (though some point to a Roman date). The exact time this piece appeared is perhaps less important than the theme.

on the stele the pig features when alive (leading the way) and after (under the chariot or cart)

A pig.

More to the point a pig who died in a chariot/cart accident, there’s a fair bit of information about the pig in the inscription: most notably that the pig was a friend to everyone and that it was on its way from Dyrrhachium (Roman Epidamnos) when it met its end.

Here’s a translation of the inscription (courtesy of Wikipedia):

 A pig, friend to everybody

a young four-footed one

here I lay, having left

behind, the land of Dalmatia

,as an offered gift,

at Dyrrachion I walked

Apollonia yearning

and all the road I crossed

on foot alone steadily.

But by the force of a wheel

I have now lost the light

longing to see Emathia

and the Phallic chariot

Here now I lie, owing

nothing to death anymore

I’ve often featured stelai on my blog (for example the one of the Phoenician in the Piraeus) and also animals (see here on pets). Animals often featured on them, but rarely, if ever as the subject. It seems in this case Babe never made it to the City.

Adam C. McCollum (hmmlorientalia)

Trisagion in Turkish (Syriac script)

I have written before on the page from CCM 10 that has the Trisagion in various languages, all in Syriac script. Let’s take a look specifically at the Turkish part now:

CCM 10, f. 8r, trisagion in Turkish written with Syriac letters

CCM 10, f. 8r, trisagion in Turkish written with Syriac letters

The readings of this one are more obvious than the Georgian part we looked at before. Here is a possible transcription:

arı Taŋrı, arı güçlü, arı ölmez

rahmet bizüm ʾwsnʾ eyle!

Notes

arı pure, clean (a homonym means bee, wasp). For “holy” in Isa 6:3, Ali Bey has kuddûs, and the same seems to be the norm in related places (e.g. Rev 4:8), too, in Ali Bey’s version and later translations. (For Ottoman translations of the Bible, see here.)

Taŋrı God (< sky). Here spelled tgry. The ŋ in this word (mod. Tanrı) was written in Ottoman with the ڭ (where so marked) or with نڭ. For the earlier history of the word see G. Clauson, An Etymological Dictionary of Pre-Thirteenth-Century Turkish, pp. 523-524; Turkish and Mongolian Studies, pp. 9-10, 220, 223. It appears in other Turkic languages, too, such as Tatar тәңре. From a Turkic language the word came into Mongolian (sky, heaven, deity; in addition to the above references, cf. N. Poppe, Introduction to Mongolian Comparative Studies, p. 45). The word is listed, of course, in Kāšġarī’s famous work on Turkic languages; see vol. 3: 278-279 of edition available here (PDF); no other edition is available to me now, but for a Russian translation, see № 6418 in the Z.-A. Auezova’s 2005 work (Мах̣мӯд ал-Ка̄шг̣арӣ, Дӣва̄н Луг̣а̄т ат-Турк). (Clauson and others — such as K. Shiratori, Über die Sprache des Hiung-nu Stammes und der Tung-hu Stämme, pp. 3-4 — point to an early occurrence of the word in Chinese garb in the 漢書 Hàn Shū: the form is 撐犁, modern chēng lí < t’ʿäng liei < tʿäng liǝr. The passage is in the last part of the Hàn Shū, the biographies, chapter (94) 匈奴傳上, § 10, available here.) Whether or not there is a real connection, the Turkic word does immediately bring to mind Sumerian diĝir (which we might just as well spell diŋir).

güçlü strong, powerful, mighty. Note in the Syriac script that ç is indicated by a gāmal with an Arabic ǧīm beneath it.

ölmez immortal, undying (the root of ölmek to die + neg. suffix -mAz)

bizüm 1pl pron gen. We might expect the dative bize, but the phrase here (lit. do our mercy) is not altogether unclear; but see the note to the following word. Analogous phrases in Ottoman versions of the Bible do have the dative:

  • Ps 123:3 Ali Bey ʿināyet eyle bize
  • Ps 123:3 Turabi Effendi merhamet eyle bize
  • Lk 18:38 Ali Bey (with 1sg) baŋa merhamet eyle

ʾwsnʾ I’m not immediately sure how to take this word. Possibly a mistake for üstüne upon, a postposition with bizüm for object?

eyle impv of the auxiliary verb eylemek to do, make, here with rahmet: to have mercy, be merciful


AMIR: Access to Mideast and Islamic Resources

The Clarion Project: Challenging Extremism, Promoting Dialogue

The Clarion Project: Challenging Extremism, Promoting Dialogue
 The Clarion Project
Founded in 2006, Clarion Project (formerly Clarion Fund Inc) is an independently funded, non-profit organization dedicated to exposing the dangers of Islamic extremism while providing a platform for the voices of moderation and promoting grassroots activism. 

Clarion’s award-winning movies have been seen by over 50 million people. They grapple with issues such as religious persecution, human rights, women’s rights, the dangers of a nuclear Iran and what the concept of jihad means for the West. Our dynamic website, viewed by 1.1 million unique visitors in 2014, covers breaking news, provides expert analysis on relevant issues and acts as a platform for Muslim human rights activists. 

Clarion Project draws together Middle East experts, scholars, human rights activists and Muslims to promote tolerance and moderation and challenge extremism.

The Clarion Project archives scans of Dabiq: The Islamic State's (ISIS) Magazine

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

The “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” Is Now Law In Indiana: How Should We Respond?

The governor of Indiana Mike Pence has signed the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” and made it law in Indiana. While legal experts have argued that similar legislation in other states has yet to be used successfully to justify discrimination, many are still concerned.

My question at this stage is how progressive Christians and others concerned about social justice and equality should respond to the legislation, and perhaps protest it. For instance, if someone thinks that this legislation causes harm in ways that are against their religious beliefs, can they refuse to pay taxes that would fund the salary of a governor who would pass legislation like this?

The answer is “probably not,” just as it is unlikely that anyone could effectively use legislation like this to justify discrimination, since the case has already been made that the government has the right to protect people from discrimination even when the latter is purportedly justified by religion. The real problem with this legislation is that it puts the onus on the government to justify in each and every case that it has a justified reason for “burdening” the religious freedom not just of individuals, but of private corporations. And so, even if current laws ultimately protect victims of discrimination, the new legislation will probably at the very least lead to costly legal battles before those laws are upheld in a variety of specific cases.

Rabbi Sandy Sasso makes a comparison with the Nuremberg Laws in Nazi Germany, and writes the following:

Of course, you will have every right to sue the paramedic in court for damages seeing that he refused to treat you because of the pro-gay marriage logo on your tee-shirt. Or the Muslim headscarf on your head.

In court, however, said paramedic will be able now to invoke RFRA in his defense. And the burden of proving in a court of law a “compelling governmental interest” of the paramedic providing treatment will be on you, a burden likely to be substantial both in monetary and opportunity cost. You might have some luck crossing the Red Sea, as it were, in front of a sympathetic, rational-minded judge. Just don’t wind up dead first.

What do we do now? Any suggestions?

RFRAMoreThanCupcakes-855x1024

Infographic from Freedom Indiana.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Diccionario micénico: Índices Generales de la Lineal B

[First posted in AWOL 26 January 2012, updated 26 March 2015]

Diccionario micénico: Índices Generales de la Lineal B
http://bib.cervantesvirtual.com/portal/diccionariomicenico/graf/banner2.jpg

Presentación general de la Segunda Edición del Diccionario Micénico (DMic.2)

por Francisco Aura Jorro (director)

Introducción

La naturaleza provisional de una gran parte del trabajo realizado hasta ahora para la redacción de la segunda edición del Diccionario Micénico aconseja su difusión de una manera que permita tanto su uso inmediato por parte de los colegas interesados como la incorporación, rápida y fácil, de las sucesivas correcciones o actualizaciones que necesita ese material, en tanto no pueda alcanzar, por diferentes razones, una cierta estabilidad que permita su edición impresa.
Con carácter previo se han hecho circular entre varios colegas versiones anteriores de los materiales, pero siempre dentro de una difusión muy limitada. Dada la capacidad como herramienta de difusión de Internet, nos ha parecido al equipo redactor de esta segunda edición del DMic. que el medio más aconsejable para este propósito es abrir una página web en la que vayan apareciendo, a disposición de todos los interesados, los trabajos generados en la redacción de nuestro proyecto.


Archaeological Institute of America blogs

AIA Serves Up A Taste of Ancient History This April

Description: 
AIA is teaming up with Eliphant Tours and Phaidon publishers to create a delicious and authentic menu of ancient foods for the upcoming Saving Ancient Places Benefit Evening.

The AIA is teaming up with Elifant Archaeo-Culinary Tours and Phaidon to create a unique culinary experience at the upcoming AIA Saving Ancient Places Benefit Evening.  Join us on April 21st as our Chef Joe Jenkins at 360 in Tribeca creates one amazing dish after the other based on Roman recipes provided by our experts at Elifant Tours and carefully selected delicacies from the one-of-a-kind Phaidon Read more »

ARTL Weblog: Association for Latin Teaching

Joan Newey – a true stalwart of ARLT

Joan Newey 1924 – 2014

We were very sad to hear of the death on December 21 of Joan, a longstanding and valued friend of the ARLT for over 66 years. She was one of the last of that amazing band of teachers who did so much to promote the cause  of  classics in the second half of the 20th century.

Joan’s life had had links with the Association, directly or indirectly, from a young age.

Joan at Charterhouse, Centenery Summer School 2011

As a schoolgirl in Manchester she first heard, from her brother’s friends at Manchester Grammar School, of William Eagling , a respected member of staff there , eventually to become the last surviving pupil of the Perse School to have been taught by Dr Rouse, our founder. After her degree at UCL, she trained at the London Institute of Education where she and Charles Craddock, a fellow student, were much influenced by Francis Kinchin Smith’s infectious enthusiasm for the latest teaching methods , which brought both of them into contact with the ARLT.

By 1948 Joan was attending  Summer Schools , soon becoming Secretary and later Vice President and President , roles which she fulfilled conscientiously and with distinction. In the early 1950s comment was made in Latin Teaching  on her excellent demonstration lesson at a Weekend Course . To  have undertaken  such a successful demonstration before the august ( and critical!) Arelates  of that era indicates the high calibre of Joan’s  teaching  and her own  confidence.

Unexpected circumstances left the ARLT without a Director for Chichester in 1978. Although teaching full-time, Joan, typically gracious,  stepped in at the last moment and directed an excellent Summer School. She even enjoyed the banter from the floor — in Latin, of course –  from her old friend, Charles Craddock during her Oratio Valedictoria!

Joan was one of the earliest pioneers of the CLC – no mean feat after teaching Latin traditionally for over two decades. She taught the course so  vividly, however, that when Stage 12 was reached she would take a box of tissues into the lesson because her pupils were moved to tears by the poignant destruction of Pompeii. Throughout her retirement she remained eager to familiarise herself with the many innovations in education -A/S  exams , coursework, online  Latin inter alia.  When pleasing comments were made about her continuing presence at Summer Schools, she used to say, “ I come to encourage you young people”.  And how true that was.

Joan was  delighted to achieve her ambition – often  mentioned  by  her in preceding years –  to be well enough to attend the 2011 Summer School at Charterhouse where, at the Centenary Dinner, she delivered an eloquent and amusing speech , reminiscing on ARLT history.

Joan and Peter also managed to make the 2013 Summer School at Roehampton.  Three points  are memorable : Joan’s presence on the expedition to the British Museum to se the Pompeii exhibition ; her public expression of heartfelt thanks for the care given to them by course participants: the fact that she and Peter were among the last to leave the Entertainment!

Warmth, wit, kindness , a zest for life and interest in the concerns of other people  were among Joan’s characteristics.  A few examples illustrate one or more of these. In her first teaching post at  Bromley High School, Joan gave much help, including an introduction to the ARLT, to Margaret Drury, then a student teacher at the school, thus forging a lifelong friendship which Margaret greatly appreciated . Asked to introduce a guest speaker in the more formal days of 1985 when  one almost required the rhetorical skill of Cicero to do so, as I stood in front of the audience, within the sea of faces, I spotted Joan’s radiant smile of encouragement instantly dispelling any nervousness. After the funeral of Arthur Munday at which Joan had read  an Ode of Horace, Charles Peckett thanked her, adding, “Well done, Joan – and not a wrong quantity to be heard “.  “I should think not, “she quipped, “  after all the years  I’ve sat  at your feet. “

Joan’s funeral was very well  attended and included a good representation from the ARLT. One highlight was the reading by Roger Davies of  Horace : Odes 1.24.

Tribute must also be paid to Peter for his unfailing support in attending  numerous  Summer Schools with Joan , where his own erudition, wit and friendliness were hugely appreciated. We offer our sympathy to him and to Alison and James and their families.

Lynda Goss


Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: Mouseion: Journal of the Classical Association of Canada (formerly Classical Views/Echos du Monde Classique

[First posted in AWOL 5 November 2009. Updated 26 March  2015.  Mouseion is now part of Project Muse.  Most volumes remain open access at the links below courtesy of the Memorial University Digital Archives Initiative (DAI)]

Mouseion: Journal of the Classical Association of Canada (formerly Classical Views/Echos du Monde Classique ISSN 0012-935)
E-ISSN: 1913-5416
Print ISSN: 1496-9343
Journal of the Classical Association of Canada
Mouseion aims to be a distinctively comprehensive Canadian journal of Classical Studies, publishing articles and reviews in both French and English. One issue annually is normally devoted to archaeological topics, including field reports, finds analysis, and the history of art in antiquity. The other two issues welcome work in all areas of interest to scholars; this includes both traditional and innovative research in philology, history, philosophy, pedagogy, and reception studies, as well as original work in and translations into Greek and Latin.

Mouseion se présente comme un périodique canadien d'études classiques polyvalent, publiant des articles et comptes rendus en français et en anglais.
 
Un fascicule par année est normalement dédié à des sujets archéologiques, incluant des rapports préliminaires de fouilles, des études de matériel et des études d'histoire de l'art antique. Les deux autres fascicules présentent des études dans tous les domaines d'intérêt pour les chercheurs, ce qui inclut à la fois les recherches traditionnelles ou novatrices en philologie, en histoire, en philosophie et en pédagogie ou relatives à l'influence des études classiques en dehors du monde universitaire; Mouseion publie également des travaux originaux rédigés ou traduits en latin ou en grec ancien.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

King Richard III's re-interment carries pomp and grandeur of state funeral

It was not a funeral, the Dean of Leicester, David Monteith, reminded the congregation of his...

AIA Fieldnotes

Looking back to see forward: Long-term Perspectives on Coastal Change

Sponsoring Institution/Organization: 
Sponsored by Estuarine and Coastal Sciences Association, ExCel London
Event Type (you may select more than one): 
conference
Start Date: 
Sunday, September 6, 2015 - 12:00pm to Wednesday, September 9, 2015 - 4:30pm

This conference focuses on the global impact and change of estuaries and basins from thousands of years ago to the present: "This session welcomes studies of past environmental, cultural and/or ecological change, including records of C burial history, in any coastal or estuarine setting, especially those that link people and coasts, using historical, sedimentary and archaeological archives." Read more »

Location

Name: 
David Ryves
Telephone: 
Right Header: 
Call for Papers: 
no
Right Content: 

Peter Tompa (Cultural Property Observer)

Art Newspaper Calls for Selective Deaccession of Italian Museum Stores

Using materials recently repatriated from an old investigation by Switzerland as a jumping off point, Anna Somers Cocks, writing for the Art Newspaper, calls for selective deaccession of artifacts in Italy's immense museum stores.  And why not?  Italy is broke and should sell what it can't properly maintain, study and display for the benefit of its underfunded cultural establishment.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Gold masks shine light on lost Himalayan kingdom

BEIJING, March 26 (Xinhua) — Squatting by an ancient tomb at an altitude of 4,000 meters in...

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Analisi LIDAR e GPR aiutano a rivelare l'origine di Trieste e antiche fortificazioni romane

Un team interdisciplinare di scienziati coordinato dall' International Centre for Theroretical Physics di Trieste ed il Centro Fermi di Roma ha recentemente raggiunto importanti risultati in merito alle origini storiche di Trieste. 

AIA Fieldnotes

Social Dimensions of Food in the Prehistory of the Eastern Balkans and Neighboring Areas

Sponsoring Institution/Organization: 
Sponsored by Heidelberg Academy of Sciences
Event Type (you may select more than one): 
conference
Start Date: 
Thursday, April 30, 2015 - 9:00am to Saturday, May 2, 2015 - 9:00pm

This conference aims to analyze food and its social connotations in Balkan prehistory, from the Mesolithic to the Iron Age. Societies in the Eastern Balkans were repeatedlyexposed to new ways and ideas of food production and consumption, which they integrated into their lives and culture. "On the basis of a transdisciplinary perspective, we intend to shed new light on the various social dimensions of food in a synchronous as well as diachronic perspective."

For details regarding specific speakers and topics, please visit the event's website. Read more »

Location

Name: 
Dr. Maria Ivanova and Dr. Philipp W. Stockhammer
Telephone: 
Right Header: 
Call for Papers: 
no
Right Content: 

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Chinese archeologists find oldest remains of processed wheaten food in Xinjiang

URUMQI, March 26 (Xinhua) — Chinese archaeologists have found the oldest processed wheaten...

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Nuove opportunità di sviluppo per il Green Building Council Italia

Il Dipartimento di Architettura dell’Università di Ferrara ospita la presentazione delle nuove opportunità di sviluppo dell’Associazione Green Building Council Italia, da sempre impegnata nel favorire ed accelerare la diffusione di una cultura dell’edilizia sostenibile.

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

LOST: This Place Is Death

The episode begins where the previous one ended, with Sun sitting in her car, planning to kill Ben Linus. She gets a call and talks to her daughter. When she has Ben at gunpoint, Ben says that Jin is still alive and he can prove it.

In the past, we see Danielle’s team picking up the numbers broadcast. Jin will help them reach the radio tower. One of the team, Nadine, disappears, and then they hear the smoke monster. It appears, and throws Nadine’s dead body from the tree. Then it grabs another of them, pulling him unto a hole beneath the temple. They hold onto his arm but he is pulled in, leaving his arm behind. They go in after him. Jin persuades Danielle to stay behind. Then there is a flash, and then Jin is sometime in the future. The arm is still there, but it has been there for a while. He sees smoke in the distance. He folows it and finds two corpses, and then Danielle confronting Robert with a gun. He says he loves her and asks her to put the gun down. When she does, he fires at her, but the gun does not work. Then Danielle shoots him in the head.

There is another flash, and he ends up finding Sawyer and the rest of them. As Dan and Charlotte talk about whether Locke’s plan to stop the flashes will work, he talks about what makes empirical sense about the plan, but then adds that the part about bringing those who left back is “where we leave science behind.”

When the flashes happen closer together, Charlotte speaks Korean, and then warns Jin not to let em bring her back, because “this place is death.” When Sawyer asks what they will do if the Orchid station has not been built yet, Charlotte tells them to look for the well. They find the Orchid, but there is a flash and it disappears, but they find the well.

Charlotte tells Daniel that she grew up on the island, as part of the Dharma Initiative. She says she became an anthropologist to find the island again, because her mother would say that the place wasn’t real. She says that there was a crazy man who told her to leave the island and never return, or else she would die. She says she thinks that man was him. Charlotte dies.

Charlotte this place is death LOSTJin gives Locke his wedding ring, so that he can prove to Sun that Jin is dead, and not bring her back to the island. Locke descends into the well using the rope. But there is a flash, and he falls, breaking his leg. Christian Shepard appears to him, telling him that in the cabin he told Locke to move the island, and asks him when listening to Ben got him anything worthwhile. He tells her to find Eloise Hawking, that she will help him get his friends back to the island. He mentions Richard saying that he had to die. Christian says that that is why it is called sacrifice. He also says he can’t help John up. He tells him to give the wheel that is just beyond that room, and which has slipped off its axis, a little push. He tells him good luck, and adds, “Say hello to my son.”

Ben takes Sun and Jack to the church where Eloise is. Ben gives Sun the ring, saying that Locke gave it to him. She decides that she will go with him. Then Desmond shows up. The episode ends with Eloise saying “Let’s get started.”

We will later learn that Jacob’s brother can take the appearance of dead people and has been manipulating John Locke to die so that he can impersonate him as leader of Jacob’s people and get Ben to kill Jacob, something he has long wanted to do.

The words about there being a point at which science is left behind is interesting. Mysticism that contradicts science ought to be questioned. But is there a point at which it is appropriate to go beyond science without contradicting it?

locke this place is death

Martin Rundkvist (Aardvarchaeology)

My Bronze Age Book Is Out

Dear Reader, it is with great pleasure that I announce the PDF publication of my fifth monograph,* In the Landscape and Between Worlds. The paper version will appear in April or May. Here’s the back-cover blurb.

Bronze Age settlements and burials in the Swedish provinces around Lakes Mälaren and Hjälmaren yield few bronze objects and fewer of the era’s fine stone battle axes. Instead, these things were found by people working on wetland reclamation and stream dredging for about a century up to the Second World War. Then the finds stopped because of changed agricultural practices.

The objects themselves have received much study. Not so with the sites where they were deposited. This book reports on a wide-ranging landscape-archaeological survey of Bronze Age deposition sites, with the aim to seek general rules in the placement of sites. How did a person choose the appropriate site to deposit a socketed axe in 800 BC?

The author has investigated known sites on foot and from his desk, using a wide range of archive materials, maps and shoreline displacement data that have only recently come on-line. Over 140 sites are identified closely enough to allow characterisation of their Bronze Age landscape contexts. Numerous recurring traits emerge, forming a basic predictive or heuristic model. Bronze Age deposition sites, the author argues, are a site category that could profitably be placed on contract archaeology’s agenda during infrastructure projects. Archaeology should seek these sites, not wait for others to report on finding them.

Get the PDF for free from the Academia.edu or ScienceBlogs!

* Though I’ve written at least one book chapter, on 8th century brooches, that’s considerably longer than my third book.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Ancient Egypt: Museums offer glimpses of golden past

For the past several years, Nakhte-Bastet-Iru has been taking a rest.But the 2,800-year-old Egyptian...

Two million-year-old 'playground' discovered in northern China

At an eroded basin in Hebei province researchers have discovered what could be a “playground” of...

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

Poetry for Greece

My post today is about poetry. It is also an advertisement. It’s not, an advertisement for myself, which will probably come as a shock to many of you.

My old friend James Bradley Wells has prepared his second book of poetry, The Kazantzakis Guide to Greece. His first book of poems, Bicycle, appeared a few years ago and you can get it here. He also wrote a book on Pindar.

If you like Greece and like poetry, then you should pre-order a copy of his book

Jamesframe

So, I’m advertising James’s poetry book here for a few reasons. First, the book is about Greece and is due to appear on July 15th. While I complained that this publication date made it impossible for me to take the book to Greece and read it after a long day in the field, James assured me that the best time for reading this book is in the late summer as I reminisce (fondly at that point) about my times in Greece while sitting on my front porch ignoring the start of the semester.  

Some of the poems came from his time at the American School of Classical Studies when we had neighboring rooms in the annex. He introduced me to performance theory and Erving Goffman and Richard Bauman, and patiently (tried to) explain to me how their ideas could expand my reading of Pierre Bourdieu and Anthony Giddens. To this day, I have never felt smarter (and more humble) than when I was sitting at Kolonaki Square with James on a Sunday morning, drinking coffee, talking about our work.

I can clearly recall his excitement when he returned from Crete having seen Katzantzakis’s tomb in Heraklion. So while I’m just making my way through a generously-offer (ok, I begged) manuscript now, I can already hear certain rhythms in his poetry that remind me of my time in Athens over a decade ago, and the list of sites evokes will only be more meaningful to people who endured the famous American School Regular Program. The American School should certainly pre-order a copy and add it to their collection of work produced under their auspices.

Finally, the book is being published by a small, but award winning press in Georgetown, Kentucky: Finish Line Press. They are counting on a certain number of pre-orders before they’ll begin production. While this might horrify those of us used to working with larger commercial ventures or subsidized academic, university presses, these kinds of strategies are what small presses need to do to make ends meet. What I like about this system, though, is that it makes buying this book less of a straight commercial transaction (I want, so I buy) and more of a decision about whether one thinks this kind of thing should exist. 

Here is some of the poetry:

I do not have the tonguefeel for nomenclature.
Names of things are the second fork beside
a dinner plate. I never know just what

to say if checkerspots, coppers, elfins, azures,
metalmarks light upon salvia, lavender blossoms,
coneflower, or coreopsis. If cedar waxwing

or purple finch complains when I compete
with them and pick serviceberries, I do not know
the words to mark the surprise of its being the case

that these creatures heckle me so. Nomenclature clouds
me over, but the panorama of wing
possesses me. A skybound god’s same unsayable

hemline trailing down the aisle of time’s
cathedral, wing and horizon are the same.

~~~~~

Here’s some more, a ghazal (which is not the same as an antelope, but some form of poetry). For those who know something about poetry and the ghazal, in particular, check out the last line for some insider, poetry cleverness. This is what happens when someone who studies Pindar

Olympia in nimbostratus October chronicles the word naós.
Zeus Olympios, Phidias’ art, Jesus Pancrator, each Lord’s naós.

Gold leaf, ivory panels, glass sheets, jewels, and copper fixed
to wooden core, the skyscraping icon dwelt in god’s naós.

One of the ancient world’s seven wonders, Phidias sculpted
Lord Zeus’ icon in his unquitting workshop, this replica naós.

Libation vessels, golden censers, the table where the reverent
offered bread, Antiochus pillaged the Jewish Lord’s naós.

Assyrians handwove a woolen curtain dyed in Tyrian purple,
the Temple veil that Antiochus offered at Zeus’ naós.

Archaeologists discovered sculptor’s tools, terra cotta molds,
centuries after Christians repurposed Phidias’ replica naós.

I belong to Phidias inscribed on the bottom of a cup.
Lichened, pockmarked column drums, Greek is a language scarred by naós.

~~~~

So pre-order copies of his book for yourself (because it’s good), for other people (as a gift), and for the entire community. Doing what we can for small presses like this to thrive and for passionate work to see the light of day is good for everyone. Plus, the book only costs a penny less than $12.50.  


Noel Tan (The Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog)

Visit the Ban Don Thong Chai Archaeological Site

The newly-opened Ban Don Thong Chai Archaeological Site is an open air museum and situated relatively close to the famous Ban Chiang archaeological site.

Ban Don Thong Chai Archaeological Site. Source: Bangkok Post 20150326

Ban Don Thong Chai Archaeological Site. Source: Bangkok Post 20150326

Digging ancient history
Bangkok Post, 26 March 2015

At first glance, Wat Chai Mongkol in Sakon Nakhon looks like a typical Buddhist temple. But it houses a recently-discovered archaeological site dating back 1,800-4,500 years.

Called the “Ban Don Thong Chai Archaeological Site”, the museum has been open to the public since the beginning of the year. The site is about 19 rai with the entrance behind a prayer hall of Wat Chai Mongkol.

Visitors are initially greeted with a blueprint of the temple’s grounds with markings of the 40 pit sites. Brief information is included about the ancient people who lived in this area, outlining three major periods which can be segmented the same way as Ban Chiang.

Full story here.

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Tecnologie innovative per il recupero della Villa dei Misteri

Sono tecnologie avanzate quelle recentemente applicate al restauro della Villa dei Misteri di Pompei, in parte recentemente aperta al pubblico. Gli esperti dell’Unità Tecnica Protezione Sismica e del Laboratorio Prevenzione Rischi Naturali e Mitigazione Effetti di ENEA (Agenzia per le nuove tecnologie, l’energia e lo sviluppo economico sostenibile) stanno collaborando alle attività di indagine per il recupero strutturale di una parte della domus ancora chiusa al pubblico.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

'Defining Beauty: The Body in Ancient Greek Art' opens at the British Museum

LONDON.- This spring the British Museum will stage a major exhibition on the human body in ancient...

ArcheoNet BE

Workshop: Recent advances in Bioarchaeology

Op 4 en 5 juni organiseert het Center for Archaeological Sciences aan de KU Leuven een workshop over ‘Recent advances in Bioarchaeology’. Deze workshop zal focussen op de reconstructie van voedselproductie en voedselpatronen, aan de hand van de nieuwste technieken en methoden. Acht internationale specialisten zullen hun kennis delen over onder meer isotopenanalyse, parasitologie, paleogenetica en archeobotanie. Deelname aan de workshop is gratis, maar inschrijven is verplicht (voor 15 mei). Je vindt alle info op kuleuven.be.

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Workshop su prevenzione e valutazione del rischio negli archivi

Il 21 Aprile 2015 a Milano si terrà il secondo workshop CINEAS su Prevenzione e valutazione del rischio negli archivi organizzato in collaborazione con Prodoc.
Il workshop affronterà il tema della valutazione dei rischi e dei danni di archivi, biblioteche e opere d’arte. Dall’importanza della prevenzione alla gestione dell’emergenza, l’obiettivo è quello di fornire gli elementi per intervenire in modo appropriato in caso di sinistri e per valutare l’impatto dei danni sui beni culturali e sugli ambienti che li contengono. Il workshop si rivolge a periti assicurativi, broker, direttori di archivi, biblioteche e fondazioni pubbliche e private.

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

What is a Degree?

The discussions about my recent post on the topic of university education (which has since become a letter to the editor and posted online by The Collegian) reminded me about this topic that I had saved as a draft blog post to come back to later.

NBC and Hemant Mehta covered the attempt of a Bible college in Illinois to get the prestige that the label “degree” brings, but while bypassing the standards that accreditation seeks to ensure. I find that as despicable as when young-earth creationists cheapen the meaning of the word “museum” by trying to cash in on the authority of the word while abandoning everything that it stands for.

John Loftus suggested that accreditation should be withheld from some institutions that currently have it, such as Biola, which has a stance at odds with the conclusions of the biological sciences.

I would be in favor of denying accreditation to any school that requires one to sign in advance that one will not draw certain conclusions. If anti-science creationist views cannot survive in a context in which they are able to be examined and challenged, they should be allowed to wither and die. Not only will the meaning of words like “degree” and “university” benefit, but so too will Christianity.

On this, see Rachel Held Evans’ article for CNN, about being strong enough to be self-critical. And Christopher Skinner and Pete Enns drew attention to an article by Stephen L. Young that examines the rhetoric and other strategies used in inerrantist “scholarship.” Skinner writes, “At the end of the day, these “protective strategies” that Young identifies are a means to guarding the claims and status quo of inerrantist evangelicalism, and to a much greater degree, preserving the entire culture. The type of special pleading and question begging that are so obvious to those on the outside are missed by the inerrantist insiders because of a certain strategy that is rooted in the practice of impressing consumers with seemingly erudite claims.”

Of course, it should go without saying that what I am talking about is protecting the academic system that both develops consensuses and provides a mechanism for their being challenged in ways that are themselves held rigorously accountable. Without that, we will get people like John Stonestreet tying to appeal to past ideas about genetics in an attempt to justify their rejection of the indisputable wealth of evidence for biological evolution.

Of related interest, the New York Times recently discussed the issue of online degrees carrying the same weight as those delivered in the traditional manner.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

ASI miffed at damage to museum pieces

Irreversible damage to two of the finest pieces of Indian art at the Indian Museum, renowned for its...

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

II Conferenza Internazionale sulla Realtà Virtuale e Aumentata, proroga Call for Papers

E' stata prorogata la scadenza per la sottomissione di articoli e poster per la Seconda Conferenza Internazionale sulla Realtà Virtuale e Aumentata (SALENTO AVR 2015) dal titolo "Dove mondo virtuale e realtà si fondono" in programma a Lecce dal 31 Agosto al 3 settembre 2015. L'evento nasce con lo scopo di riunire una comunità di ricercatori del mondo universitario e delle aziende, computer scientist, ingegneri, fisici, per condividere punti di vista, conoscenze, esperienze e risultati scientifici e tecnici relativi alle soluzioni allo stato dell'arte e le tecnologie sulle applicazioni sulla realtà virtuale e aumentata per la medicina, i beni culturali, l'educazione, i settori industriali, così come la dimostrazione di prodotti avanzati e le tecnologie.

Blogging Pompeii

Pompeii Photos: Ancient Roman city remains unscathed by 'selfie' generation

From Science Daily:
Pompeii Photos: Ancient Roman city remains unscathed by 'selfie' generation
Photos tourists take of Pompeii are almost identical to those taken by our ancestors. After examining 19th and early 20th century lantern slides of Pompeii and modern day photos researchers discovered the shots taken around the site are remarkably similar.
Read more here.

Jim Davila (Paleojudaica.com)

Agade List archive

AWOL: Agade List Archive at the SBL. The posts in Jack Sasson's prolific Agade e-mail list are being collected and archived by the Society of Biblical Literature from now on. The archive will eventually include all postings back to 2010. Chuck Jones also notes that Agade posts going back to 2011 are available on Twitter.

More on the Temple Institute's altar

BREAKING ISRAEL NEWS: New Details Emerge on Rebuilt Altar of Jewish Holy Temple [PHOTOS] (Ahuva Balofsky). Some additions and corrections to the earlier announcement that the Temple Institute has built an altar it says is suitable for use in an actual Temple. Background, commmentary, and additional links here.

Peter Tompa (Cultural Property Observer)

Organizations Overwhelmingly Against Renewal of Italian MOU or Import Restrictions on Coins

CPO previously reported that 94% of the public comments on the regulations.gov website either oppose the MOU's extension or import restrictions on coins.  It also appears that comments of  organizations representing the interests of their members also follow that trend.

Trade Associations


Educational Organizations

Both the American Numismatic Association and Ancient Coins for Education expressed concerns about import restrictions on coins. 

Professional Organizations

The Association of Art Museum Directors took a nuanced approach to the MOU.  While supporting the renewal, AAMD requested changes to encourage Italy to live up to its part of the bargain.

Advocacy Groups

Two groups that advocate for the interests of dealers and collectors, the Association of Dealers and Collectors in Ancient and Ethnographic Art and the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild, also argued against renewing the MOU or extending restrictions on historical coins.

In contrast, only one advocacy group associated with the archaeological lobby, the Lawyers' Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation, supports the extension unequivocally.  

All in all, 7 organizations oppose the renewal or import restrictions on coins, 1 organization supports the renewal, but with significant qualifications and only 1 organization supports the renewal unequivocally. 

Jim Davila (Paleojudaica.com)

The Index of Bibliographic References to Talmudic Literature

H-JUDAIC: Internet Resource: Index of Bibliographic References to Talmudic Literature.
The Index is a comprehensive online research tool directing the user to discussions and interpretations of Talmudic passages found in both modern academic research and medieval Talmudic scholarship (Geonim and Rishonim). By clicking any Talmudic passage, the user will receive a list of specific books and page numbers within them discussing the selected passage.

Gnostic Countercultures

EXPLORING OUR MATRIX: Redeeming Gnosticism. James McGrath notes the "Gnostic Countercultures: Intrigue and Terror" conference at Rice University, which begins today. He also has links to various Gnosticism posts, including one from yours truly.

Antiquity Now

From Ancient Graffiti to Modern Street Art: Our Need for Self Expression Through Time

Update! This post was originally published on December 12, 2012. The post below explores humanity’s fascinating obsession with leaving our mark. Graffiti has been with us since before recorded history. It provides an incredible wealth of information about who we … Continue reading

Dorothy King (PhDiva)

Today In 121: Marcus Aurelius Born




If you enjoyed this video by Adrian Murdoch, check out his book on The Emperors of Rome; Kindle UK, Kindle US, etc

Samuel Hardy (Conflict Antiquities)

Iraqi antiquities ‘depend on the Iraqi people, and the Iraqi people need us more’ (Eleanor Robson)

I don’t normally do link posts, but Eleanor Robson has considered Modern War, Ancient Casualties in the Times Literary Supplement: Museums have been ransacked, libraries torched, universities turned into terrorist enclaves. The curators and librarians of Mosul, the conservators and researchers, the archaeologists and site guards, are in fear of their lives, if not dead […]

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Una Summer School sul 3D per l'Antropologia e l'Archeologia

L'Università di Bologna organizza dal 1 al 10 luglio 2015 presso il Dipartimento dei Beni Culturali a Ravenna una Summer School dedicata all'acquisizione e gestione dei dati 3D per l'Antropologia e l'Archeologia.

All Mesopotamia

massarrah: Old Babylonian School Tablet: Wisdom and Math This...





massarrah:

Old Babylonian School Tablet: Wisdom and Math

This clay tablet from Ur, which would have been small enough to fit comfortably into the hand of a young scribe, has the typical round shape of a school tablet. On the obverse (top photo) is recorded a Sumerian proverb, which may have been intended to teach moral lessons to the students as well as help them practice writing, and on the reverse (bottom photo) is a mathematical calculation. Scribes would have had a diverse education to prepare them to compose and copy texts from a variety of genres, including mathematics and wisdom literature. (Source)

Old Babylonian, c. 1900-1600 BCE.

British Museum. Photo from CDLI.

Adrian Murdoch (Bread and Circuses)

New Plan for the Antonine Wall

It is easy to become cynical about what appear to be numerous new plans for the Antonine Wall especially with the dreaded phrase "five year plan". There is an inevitability to the way that these projects fade away. But councils...

Kristina Killgrove (Powered by Osteons)

Twerking, limericks, and 3D printing: PbO at the 2015 AAPAs

This Saturday, from 9:15-10am, I'll be presenting (with my grad student, Andrea Acosta) a poster about teaching Human Osteology.  It's in a session called "Triumphs and Tribulations in Teaching," and it's sure to be a fun session and discussion (that part starts at 10:15).  I'm looking forward to visiting St. Louis for the first time, seeing lots of old friends, and making new ones.

Here's an image of the poster we're presenting (click to embiggen). If you're desperate for a PDF, just email me.  Hope to see you all there!


P.S. This likely means that I will have to put off blogging about the return of Bones until I get back.  Who decided to schedule the return during the AAPAs?  Sheez.

Peter Tompa (Cultural Property Observer)

Italian-American Expresses Concern About MOUs Impact on the Study and Appreciation of Italian Culture

Karen Antonelli, a dual citizen of the US and Italy, expressed these heartfelt concerns about the impact of the MOU on Italian Americans:

Dear Cultural Property Affairs [Advisory] Committee,

I am a dual citizen of the United States and of Italy living in San Francisco, California. I have a Ph.D. in Italian Literature from the University of California at Los Angeles as well as an M.B.A. from the University of Southern California. Although I lived most of my first twenty years in Italy (but born of American parents of Italian descent who were working for the U.S. government at the time), I have resided, full time, in the United States for more than forty years and treasure both my U.S. and my Italian heritage. I get tremendous satisfaction sharing my Italian heritage and culture with my fellow Americans and promote business relationships between Italy and the U.S. by teaching Italian language, literature and film classes as well as by performing professional translations for individuals and companies.

Unfortunately, the proposed extension (and perhaps expansion) of the present Memorandum of Understanding with Italy will do little to help, and a great deal to harm, the study and understanding of Italian heritage and culture, at the very least to the extent that it will restrict the import into the United States of abundant small objects like coins and other common artifacts. This is especially true as these objects were intended to, and did, travel great distances. These objects are useful not only in teaching the history of ancient Rome, its successor city-states and the modern Italian Republic, but in understanding so many aspects of its culture...societal relationships, religion, cultural tropes, trade and economics.

The proposed MOU only harms United States citizens...restricting the import of the coins and similar common artifacts here, while they continue to be bought and sold, and travel widely, throughout Europe and even in Asia.

As an Italian citizen, if I can purchase these objects in Italy as my heritage, why may I not bring them to the U.S. to share and teach?

Of course, I support the suppression of looting of archaeological sites (as I understand it, the purported reason for the ban on importation) but there are much better ways to do this than the extension of the MOU. Please do not renew it, or at least exempt from the extended MOU all common, abundant artifacts like coins. The goal of the Committee should be to preserve culture, not as an end in itself, but to promote the availability and awareness of culture to the citizens of the United States.

CPO (as an Italian-American himself) understands and agrees with these concerns.   MOUs such as this only cut-off access to common artifacts like historical coins that provide us with a tangible link to our own culture of birth.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

American Numismatic Society Publications Online

American Numismatic Society
540 American Numismatic Society publications are now available in the Hathi Trust Digital Library as full-text for free use by the public.
In a sweeping effort to make its older and out-of‐print publications available to the public as Open Access, The American Numismatic Society has partnered with HathiTrust (http://www.hathitrust.org/about). As a result of this partnership scans of nearly 550 ANS titles – including the American Journal of Numismatics, Numismatic Literature, Numismatic Notes and Monographs, and stand-­alone monographs have become fully readable and downloadable to anyone who wants them under a Creative Commons, non-­commercial, attribution, share-­alike license. This means that these ANS publications can be used for personal reading, research, and academic publication just so long as the ANS is cited as the source. Titles currently in the public domain – already have a home on HathiTrust. These volumes were OCR-scanned as part of the Google Books project.

HathiTrust, founded in 2008 by the member universities of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation and the University of California, is a large, collaborative repository of digital content from research libraries and publishers that includes content digitized by Google Books and Internet Archive and Microsoft. Millions of volumes are available via HathiTrust’s website (http://www.hathitrust.org). The entire repository can be full-text searched.


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March 25, 2015

Compitum - publications

Patrick Galliou et Jean-Michel Simon, Le castellum de Brest et la défense de la péninsule ...

castellum_brest.jpg

Patrick Galliou et Jean-Michel Simon, Le castellum de Brest et la défense de la péninsule armoricaine au cours de l'Antiquité tardive, Rennes, 2015.

Éditeur : Presses Universitaires de Rennes
Collection : Archéologie et Culture
224 pages
ISBN : 978-2-7535-3400-1
26,00 €

Cette étude du castellum de Brest offre une reconstitution plausible du tracé de la fortification et de ses élévations, et montre comment elle s'intégrait dans son environnement. L'ouvrage examine également sa fonction parmi les places-fortes côtières de Gaule et de Bretagne insulaire ainsi que le rôle des élites romanisées dans son évolution.

Source : site des PUR

Archaeological News on Tumblr

More Infidelity Uncovered in King Richard III's Family Tree

The remains of Richard III may be locked away in a coffin to be reburied this week, but the...

Ancient Art

The Buddhist ruins of Takht-i-Bahi, Pakistan.As a young kid, I...





The Buddhist ruins of Takht-i-Bahi, Pakistan.

As a young kid, I spent a few years living in Peshawar in Pakistan, near the Afghanistan border. I managed to find a few old family photos taken at Takht-i-Bahi from during this time, and thought that i’d share. 

Takht-i-Bahi (Throne of Origins) is the remains of a Buddhist monastic complex -the best preserved and most impressive of its kind in the country. It sits high upon a 152m hill, about 80km away from Peshawar, and covers an area of around 33ha. It is dated to approximately the 1st century BC, and was occupied successively until about the 7th century AD, when it fell into disuse and disrepair. Fortunately, due to the site’s location on the crest of a hill, Takht-i-Bahi escaped the invasions of the Huns (and the like), thus remains in relatively good condition.

The complex itself can be divided into 4 main groups. The first is the early monastic complex, which consists of an assembly hall, refectory, and an open court, surrounded by residential cells. Next is the so-called Court of Stupas (a stupa being a commemorative Buddhist monument usually containing sacred relics associated with the Buddha or saintly persons), which is adorned with a series of large niches to enshrine Buddhist statues. The temple complex contains similar niches, and has a main stupa in the middle of a courtyard. Finally, the tantric monastic complex has an open courtyard, which is next to a series of dark cells for meditation. On the basis of existing structures, it has been estimated that Takht-i-Bahi was once home to a monastic population of about 250-350 residents.

Photos taken by B. Kelly. When writing up this post UNESCO’s listing of the site was of use.

Geoff Emberling (El Kurru: A Royal City of Ancient Kush)

Digging the pyramid

(guest post by Jack Cheng, our draftsman, artist, and my friend and colleague for almost 20 years!)

In excavating the pyramid at El Kurru, we calculated that about 100 tons of fill had been deposited in just the last room (similar amounts were removed from the first two rooms in last season). Some of the fill would have been washed in from the desert, and some of it would have been rock collapse from the roof of the chamber. 


Digging it out was difficult, and so was removing the dirt from 8 meters below ground to the surface. The workmen organized themselves to move the dirt as efficiently as possible, as you can see in this video: https://youtu.be/4MhD3f9MPo4.

Our team

We’ve had a great team this season…
(Left to right, sort of: Geoff Emberling, Martin Makinson, Rikke Therkildsen (she's in the back), Nacho Forcadell, Jack Cheng (also in the back), Luis Martín Díaz, Kate Rose, Sebastian Anstis (in the back--he's not really that tall), Carrie Roberts, Suzanne Davis, Martin Uildriks, Sarah Duffy, Naomi Miller, Jacke Phillips, and Mahmoud Suliman (he's not really that grouchy)

It’s nice to be able to highlight some of their work.

One of our projects, directed by my colleague Rachael Dann at the University of Copenhagen, has focused on documenting the painted tombs of the 25th Dynasty at El Kurru. Sarah Duffy has done amazingly detailed photographic documentation in the tombs, both last season and this year. Here she is in the tomb of Tanutamani (photo by Jack Cheng):



She is photographing in part to made 3-dimensional models of the tombs themselves. You can see more of her work at El Kurru here: http://sarahmduffy.uk/2014/06/21/sudan/. Some of her other work doing cutting-edge photographic documentation and modelling of archaeological sites is also on her website: sarahmduffy.uk.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Who are the real "heroes"?


In his presentation 'The Portable Antiquities Scheme and Treasure Act: the Current Situation' given at the Museums Association March 2015 "Dig It: Museums and Archaeology" Conference Roger Bland trots out his usual stuff, but near the end responds to the widespread criticism of the involvement of the PAS in the hurried removal of the Lenborough Hoard from the ground . He justifies this saying:
"This was a rescue job and Ros, as our sole FLO at event with about a hundred metal detector users, did a heroic job in the circumstances and ensured that all the coins were recovered".
What a strange thing for the head of the Portable Antiquities Scheme to have said. I think he could not have been clearer for his audience if he'd used a synonym "with about a hundred potential thieving oiks". The FLO was rescuing the hoard from one or more of them coming back at night and stealing it, is what he is apparently saying here.

Meanwhile in tekkie la-la-land they are still having trouble (Bazza Thugwit 'Still a National Treasure') parting from their fond memories of an unscripted remark blurted out in January 2007 by a hapless Minister of Culture who called Treasure Hunters coming for their rewards the "unsung heroes of the British Heritage". So who is the heritage hero, the bloke with metal detector eager to hoik it all out, or the archeologists who beat them to it?

‘Overvalued’ Dark Age hoard comes to auction

 
This is going to happen more and more now as the museums all get their case fulls of glittering trophy artefacts. A group of Early Medieval coins - disclaimed Treasure (YORYM-BC3AB2) - is coming onto the market on March 25 and 26:

This opportunity to buy items from the [...] Hoard is so rare because coins of this nature are normally declared treasure under the 1996 act and go to museums. In this case, both the Yorkshire Museum in York and British Museum disclaimed the hoard - describing it as overvalued - and so the 65 coins and four ingots, found by two metal detectorists in a North Yorkshire field in 2012, went back to their finders. London numismatists Spink have catalogued the material in about 60 lots for their March 26 sale in London. [...] The hoard came to light in two separate batches - with several inches of soil between them - a week apart. One batch of coins is Viking in nature, dating to the 920s,
Since the coins are not going to a museum, the Spinks catalogue is going to be the only record of the hoard while it is still intact. It was disclaimed because the Yorkshire and British museums already possess a larger hoard from this era the Vale of York Hoard discovered in 2007 near Harrogate (617 coins, the two museums acquired it jointly in 2009). The museums felt that the hoard, valued at £80,000 by the Treasure Valuation Committee had been 'overvalued'. Neither museum revealed whether they would be bidding for any lots at the Spink sale.   It is interesting to note that Spink's, for reasons best known to themselves, have christened thius the "Eboracum (Ryedale) Hoard" while in the PAS records it features as "York Area Hoard". The condition of the coin on receipt was bad, the coins had been "harsly cleaned" by the finder and some were badly chipped.

Treasure Hunters will be watching this sale closely, they say the TVC undervalues their finds.  Not, of course, that any of them are "in it fer the munny".

Source: Tom Derbyshire, '
‘Overvalued’ Dark Age hoard comes to auction' Antique Trade Gazette 24 March.
Hat tip to Kyri

Geoff Emberling (El Kurru: A Royal City of Ancient Kush)

End-of-Season: The pyramid burial chamber

Between the hectic work at the end of the season and the terrible internet connection, I wasn’t able to post about our final results for the season. So in the next few days, I’ll write about where things stand and our plans for next season.

Our most dramatic result was in the burial chamber of the pyramid. After two years of work, and about 250 tons of sand removed by hand, we came down on a big granite slab, about 10 feet (3.3 meters) long that was aligned between the door and the “stele niche” in the back of the burial chamber. 

Granite slab when first cleaned (Jaffar Madani of El Kurru village at left)

Would this be the inscribed stele that would finally give us the name of the king who built the pyramid?

Well, we cleaned off the stone and it was pretty roughly finished. So we thought maybe on the other face…so we looked underneath, but the space was too confined for us to see.


Me and Mahmoud Suliman Bashir, my Sudanese friend and colleague
 (and the project's Inspector from the Department of Antiquities)
trying to see under the stele
So we got all our strongest guys and turned it so it was vertical. 



And that face was unfinished too! Here's what I thought about that:



When we excavated the rest of the room, the granite slab turned out to be resting right on an unfinished sandstone "coffin bench" that was originally intended to support the coffin of the king. But the rest of the room was completely empty, showing that the pyramid burial chamber was NEVER USED! 

Granite slab on top of the coffin bench, with the beginnings of the "stele niche" at the back wall
We had more indications that the pyramid was also unfinished above ground. Next post!

Archaeological News on Tumblr

National Geographic explorer to present program on use of technology in archaeology

PITTSBURG, Kan. — A National Geographic emerging explorer, research scientist and engineer will take...

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: Ephesia Grammata

[First posted in AWOL 9 August 2012, updated 25 March 2015]

Ephesia Grammata
ISSN: 1858-5896 [n.b. Worldcat and BNF use 1958-5896]
L'étude des magies anciennes est en plein essor. Or, à ce jour, aucune revue scientifique spécialisée digne de ce nom n'est disponible sur la question. Afin de combler ce vide, l'idée de créer une revue consacrée à ce thème d'étude apparaît comme une évidence. 


Ephesia Grammata se veut comme une revue électronique d'accès libre et gratuit La revue a pour vocation de publier des articles scientifiques qui s'inscrivent dans les orientations de recherche suivants : proposer une approche comparative de la magie à travers les civilisations anciennes, encourager une réflexion critique sur les théories qui existent à son sujet et diffuser de nouvelles approches ou de nouvelles découvertes. Ephesia Grammata tient à publier des articles en français et en langues étrangères. Transdisciplinaires, la revue serait également ouverte aux contributions de jeunes chercheurs ou d'étudiants. Les manuscrits seront examinés par un comité de rédaction composé d'enseignants-chercheurs et assisté dans sa tâche par un comité scientifique.

Afin de mener à bien ce projet, ces différents comités doivent refléter l'aspect transdisciplinaire et international que veut avoir la revue. C'est pourquoi nous serions fiers de vous avoir à nos côtés dans cette aventure qui débute. Si vous connaissez des personnes éventuellement intéressées, n'hésitez pas à leur faire parvenir cet avant-projet. Pour tout renseignement contacter : Michaël MARTIN (magika2000@hotmail.com). 
En vous remerciant par avance
Revues n°1 - 2007
EG_2007-01 : Michel Feugère, « Cultes domestiques en Languedoc préromain : magie ou religion ? »
EG_2007-02 : Claire Gaillet, « Une approche des tablettes magiques en Gaule romaine »
EG_2007-03 : Michaël Martin, « Monde aquatique et tablette de défixion »
EG_Varia-01 : Stéphane Hug, « L'ombre de la magie blanche sur le quotidien. Réflexions sur les pratiques relevant de la magie positive à l'époque moderne »
Revues n°1 bis - 2007
EG_2007-bis : Ana Maria Vàzquez Hoys, « Magia e inmortalidad en el mundo romano » (Attention : fichier volumineux, environ 15,7 Mo)
Revues n°2 - 2008
EG_2008-01 : Hélène Benichou-Safar, « Une stèle carthaginoise bien prolixe : une scène de magie punique »
EG_2008-02 : Geneviève Hoffmann, « Les pendus dans la Grèce antique »
EG_2008-03 : Francesca Ciurli, « La defixio de l'Hospitalet-du-Larzac: dati oggettivi e proposte di interpretazione »
EG_2008-04 : Aurore Petrilli, « Trouver et nommer Hécate »
EG_Varia-02 : Stéphane Hug, « Une médecine fossile : la survie des panseurs, gougneurs et rebouteurs bourbonnais (1880-1960). »
Revues n°3 - 2009
EG_2009-01 : Arnaud Fabre, « Les lieux et les légendes de la magie »
EG_2009-02 : Aurore Petrilli, « La figure du chien de la mythologie à la magie antique »
EG_2009-03 : Hugues Berton, « Etude sur les pierres à venin : Origine et provenance des séries dites de pierres à venin en Velay-Vivarais »
Revues n°4 - 2010
EG_2010-01 : Michaël Martin, « Une intaille magique inédite (Tithoès magicien ?) »
EG_2010-02 : Charlotte Favennec-Riou, « Hécate ou la magie d'un nom »
Revues n°5 - 2012
EG_2012-01 : Samira Nathalie Zoubiri, « Le corpus des defixiones nord-africaines : le cas des tablettes dites de Proclos et d’Harpocratiôn »
EG_2012-02 : Michaël Martin, « Les plombs magiques de la Gaule méridionale »
Revues n°6 - 2014
EG_2014-01 : Arnaud Fabre, « La magie de Médée (ou les origines de la magie chez les Anciens) »

Archaeology Magazine

Extinct Woolly Mammoth Genes Spliced Into Living Cells

CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS—Genes from frozen woolly mammoth remains have been copied and pasted into the genome of an Asian elephant by researchers led by George Church at Harvard University. They spliced the genes for the mammoths’ small ears, subcutaneous fat, and hair length and color into the DNA of elephant skin cells in tissue cultures. Popular Science reports that this is the first time that mammoth genes have been functional since the animals went extinct some 4,000 years ago. “Just making a DNA change isn’t that meaningful. We want to read out the phenotypes,” Church said. So will the team be able to get the mammoth genes to become specialized tissues that behave properly? Artificial wombs could eventually be developed to nurture an elephant/mammoth hybrid embryo, and then an elephant that could survive in colder climates. Perhaps one day the team could try to revive the mammoths by integrating larger amounts of mammoth DNA into the hybrids. To read in-depth about another project being conducted by George Church, see "Should We Clone Neanderthals?"

Ancient Peoples

Terracotta figurine sitting in a chair Most likely this is a...



Terracotta figurine sitting in a chair 

Most likely this is a deity sitting on a chair, or place of honor. It is 8.9 cm high (3 1/8 inch.) 

Mycenaean culture, Helladic Period, Late Helladic III, 13th century BC. 

Source: Metropolitan Museum 

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Study underscores complexity of geopolitics in the age of the Aztec empire

New findings from an international team of archaeological researchers highlight the complexity of...

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Update Your Calendars for October 1st, 2018

End of the World October 2018

A friend shared the above flyer on Facebook.Does anyone else remember 88 reasons Why The Rapture Will Be in 1988? People have been offering calculations like this since before the time of Jesus. Doesn’t the fact that all such calculations have been wrong suggest that it is not just the specific calculations, but the very act of calculating, that is the problem?

Dienekes' Anthropology Blog

Icelanders galore

A set of four papers in Nature Genetics today. All open access. Of interest from the Y-chromosome paper:
When this rate was applied to estimate the TMRCA between two Y chromosomes that encompass the oldest known patrilineal bifurcation between any humans (representing haplogroups A00 and A0, with 75 derived mutational differences in 180 kb of XDG sequence)19, we obtained a maximum-likelihood estimate21 of 239,000 years ago and a 95% CI of 188,000–296,000 years ago (174,000–321,000 years ago when incorporating the 95% CI of our mutation rate).
This seems similar to the 254kya estimated by Karmin et al.

Nature Genetics (2015) doi:10.1038/ng.3247

Large-scale whole-genome sequencing of the Icelandic population 

Daniel F Gudbjartsson et al.

Here we describe the insights gained from sequencing the whole genomes of 2,636 Icelanders to a median depth of 20×. We found 20 million SNPs and 1.5 million insertions-deletions (indels). We describe the density and frequency spectra of sequence variants in relation to their functional annotation, gene position, pathway and conservation score. We demonstrate an excess of homozygosity and rare protein-coding variants in Iceland. We imputed these variants into 104,220 individuals down to a minor allele frequency of 0.1% and found a recessive frameshift mutation in MYL4 that causes early-onset atrial fibrillation, several mutations in ABCB4 that increase risk of liver diseases and an intronic variant in GNAS associating with increased thyroid-stimulating hormone levels when maternally inherited. These data provide a study design that can be used to determine how variation in the sequence of the human genome gives rise to human diversity.

Link

Nature Genetics (2015) doi:10.1038/ng.3171

The Y-chromosome point mutation rate in humans

Agnar Helgason et al.

Mutations are the fundamental source of biological variation, and their rate is a crucial parameter for evolutionary and medical studies. Here we used whole-genome sequence data from 753 Icelandic males, grouped into 274 patrilines, to estimate the point mutation rate for 21.3 Mb of male-specific Y chromosome (MSY) sequence, on the basis of 1,365 meioses (47,123 years). The combined mutation rate for 15.2 Mb of X-degenerate (XDG), X-transposed (XTR) and ampliconic excluding palindromes (rAMP) sequence was 8.71 × 10−10 mutations per position per year (PPPY). We observed a lower rate (P = 0.04) of 7.37 × 10−10 PPPY for 6.1 Mb of sequence from palindromes (PAL), which was not statistically different from the rate of 7.2 × 10−10 PPPY for paternally transmitted autosomes1. We postulate that the difference between PAL and the other MSY regions may provide an indication of the rate at which nascent autosomal and PAL de novo mutations are repaired as a result of gene conversion.

Link

Nature Genetics (2015) doi:10.1038/ng.3246

Loss-of-function variants in ABCA7 confer risk of Alzheimer's disease

Stacy Steinberg et al.

We conducted a search for rare, functional variants altering susceptibility to Alzheimer's disease that exploited knowledge of common variants associated with the same disease. We found that loss-of-function variants in ABCA7 confer risk of Alzheimer's disease in Icelanders (odds ratio (OR) = 2.12, P = 2.2 × 10−13) and discovered that the association replicated in study groups from Europe and the United States (combined OR = 2.03, P = 6.8 × 10−15).

Link

Nature Genetics (2015) doi:10.1038/ng.3243

Identification of a large set of rare complete human knockouts 

Patrick Sulem et al.

Loss-of-function mutations cause many mendelian diseases. Here we aimed to create a catalog of autosomal genes that are completely knocked out in humans by rare loss-of-function mutations. We sequenced the whole genomes of 2,636 Icelanders and imputed the sequence variants identified in this set into 101,584 additional chip-genotyped and phased Icelanders. We found a total of 6,795 autosomal loss-of-function SNPs and indels in 4,924 genes. Of the genotyped Icelanders, 7.7% are homozygotes or compound heterozygotes for loss-of-function mutations with a minor allele frequency (MAF) below 2% in 1,171 genes (complete knockouts). Genes that are highly expressed in the brain are less often completely knocked out than other genes. Homozygous loss-of-function offspring of two heterozygous parents occurred less frequently than expected (deficit of 136 per 10,000 transmissions for variants with MAF less than 2%, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 10–261).

Link

Archaeology Magazine

Was the Aztec Empire Really All Powerful?

RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA—An analysis of obsidian artifacts with X-ray fluorescence has offered clues to geopolitics in central Mexico at the time of the Aztec Empire. Tlaxcallan, an independent city founded in the mid-thirteenth century, obtained its obsidian from a source called El Paredón. “Almost no one else was using El Paredón at the time, and it fell just outside the boundaries of the Aztec Empire. So, one question it raises is why the Aztecs—who were openly hostile to Tlaxcallan—didn’t intervene,” archaeologist John Millhauser said in a North Carolina State University press release. The Aztecs obtained most of their obsidian from a source to the north known as Pachuca, while only 14 percent of the obsidian from Tlaxcallan was from Pachuca. Millhauser suggests that such widely available obsidian may not have been worth fighting over. “The fact that they got so much obsidian so close to the Aztec Empire makes me question the scope of conflict at the time. Tlaxcallan was able to access a source of household and military goods from a source that required it to go right up to the border of enemy territory,” he said. To read in-depth about the Aztec world, see "Under Mexico City."

Slave Trade Recorded in American Genes

Genetic-Map-AmericasOXFORD, ENGLAND—The genetic fingerprints of the slave trade have been detected in the modern populations of North and South America by a team made up of researchers from Oxford University, University College London, and the Universita’ del Sacro Cuore of Rome. They analyzed more than 4,000 DNA samples from 64 different populations in Europe, Africa, and the Americas, and tracked the flow of genes from ‘donor’ African and European populations to ‘recipient’ populations in the Americas. “The majority of African Americans have ancestry similar to the Yoruba people in West Africa, confirming that most African slaves came from this region. In areas of the Americas historically under Spanish rule, populations also have ancestry related to what is now Senegal and Gambia. Records show that around a third of the slaves sent to Spanish America in the seventeenth century came from this region, and we can see the genetic evidence of this in modern Americans really clearly,” Cristian Capelli of Oxford University said in a press release. The study also found evidence of a previously unknown migration in the form of a genetic contribution from the Basques in the modern-day Maya in Mexico. People of the Caribbean islands are more similar to each other and distinct from other populations, probably reflecting a different migration pattern between the Caribbean and mainland America. To read an account of one group of African slaves' harrowing experience on an island in the Indian Ocean, see "Castaways."

4,200-Year-Old Case of Breast Cancer Found in Egypt

CAIRO, EGYPT—A team of Spanish researchers has found evidence of the world’s oldest-known case of breast cancer in the skeleton of a woman found in the necropolis of Qubbet el-Hawa. “The study of her remains shows the typical destructive damage provoked by the extension of a breast cancer as a metastasis,” Egyptian Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty said in a statement reported by Reuters. A team led by Alejandro Jiménez from the University of Jaen found the 4,200-year-old remains of the woman, who was a member of the elite in the town of Elephantine during the 6th Dynasty. Anthropologist Miguel Botella of the University of Granada and his team studied the deterioration of the skeleton and made the diagnosis. The woman would have been unable to carry out any kind of labor, and had been taken care of for a long time before her death. Last year, British researchers reported a case of metastatic cancer in a 3,000-year-old skeleton found in modern Sudan. To read about the search for the tomb of one of Egypt's greatest queens, see "Nefertiti, Great Royal Wife and Queen of Egypt."

Penn Museum Blog

Happy 159th Birthday Max Uhle (1856-1944): Father of Peruvian Archaeology

“In Americanist studies the first thing that had to be done was to introduce the idea of time, to get people to admit that the types could change over time.”

-Max Uhle, May 15, 1923

max-uhle

Max Uhle at Pachacamac, Peru, with view of niched walls P and Q, seen from the west. 1896.

Today, March 25th 2015, marks the 159th birthday of the German archaeologist, Max Uhle, who excavated in Peru for the Penn Museum from 1895 to 1898. Called the “Father of Peruvian Archaeology,” Uhle  is best known for introducing the chronological sequencing of differing strata to pre-Columbian and American archaeological research. His work in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Chile helped establish the framework for the chronological periods now recognized in Andean pre-history studies.
map-highland-peru

Max Uhle grew up in Dresden, Germany and studied linguistics as a doctoral student focusing on medieval Chinese grammar, an interest he never again explored. According to his biographer, John Howland Rowe, this period in his early career occurred at a high point for Peruvian research with the publication of Das Totenfeld von Acón in Peru (The Necropolis of Ancon in Peru), which inspired Uhle to pursue Andean archaeology.

After extensive work at museums in Dresden and Berlin, Uhle finally embarked on his first field expedition at the age of thirty-six, an overland trek by mule from Buenos Aires through northwestern Argentina and Bolivia. In the last decade of the 19th century, Uhle conducted ethnographic, linguistic and archaeological research projects throughout South America, sending his reports and findings back to the Berlin Museum. He was instrumental in mobilizing political and popular support to stop vandalism at the site of Tiwanaku, in northern Bolivia, and his attention to the preservation of prehistoric monuments extended throughout his career.  Beginning in 1895 the Penn Museum came to sponsor Uhle’s work in Peru, surveying and excavating around Lake Titicaca in Bolivia, and the sites of Ancon and Pachacamac in Peru.

18643

Caballitos or reed boats of the fishermen at Eten, Peru. Photograph by Max Uhle, 1896. Penn Museum Archives

Uhle’s observation that the artifacts he found had gradual changes (in design, style, materials)  in differing strata signaled that cultural changes were occurring over time. Put simply, that artifacts of similar style found in one layer (considered contemporaneous) were either older or earlier than the artifacts found in the strata above or below. His conclusion seems obvious to us today, but Uhle was actually helping to lay the foundations of modern Andean studies. This chronological sequencing allowed American archaeologists to construct a timeline of pre-Columbian Andean history.

Uhle’s year-long excavations in Peru at the sacred site of Pachacamac, some 25 miles south of Lima, yielded one of the Penn Museum’s largest collections of ceramics, lithics and well preserved organic remains including textiles, wood, basketry, shell, feathers, and other materials. The ancient site, a destination for Andean pilgrims to worship their central, creator deity, Pachacamac, contained temples, pyramids, palaces, plazas, and the oracle of Pachacamac. When the Inka empire moved into the area in the mid-to-late 15th century, they recreated Pachacamac as an administrative center, building a Temple of the Sun and various buildings to support the new imperial presence at the site.

Upon finishing his excavations, Uhle returned to Philadelphia to write up his results with the help of his translator and wife, Charlotte Dorothee Grosse, working together in their apartment on the 3400 block of Sansom Street. Shortly after his return, in 1900, the Uhle’s transferred to the University of California, where many of his papers and collections are held by the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum. In the early part of the 20th century, Uhle took on a number of positions in South America, including general director of the Museo de Historia Nacional in Peru, president of the the Sociedad Chilena de Historia y Geografía in Chile, and chair of Ecuadorian Archaeology at the Universidad Central in Quito, Ecuador. Uhle returned to Germany in 1933, where he continued to publish until his death at the age of eighty-eight in 1944.

Uhle’s 1903 volume on his Pachacamac excavations, published by the University of Pennsylvania, has been called the “finest single-site archaeological report in Americanist studies of its time” (Willey 1991: xii), and continues to be influential in the field. His incredibly detailed and accurate plans of the site were the basis for a 4D reconstruction and flyover by students in Prof. Clark Erickson and Prof. Norm Badler’s collaborative anthropology/digital media design course Visualizing the Past/Peopling the Past. In 2011, a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported two post-graduate fellows in a project to conserve, photograph, and rehouse 3,600 textile and ceramic objects from the Pachacamac collection (a process they documented in a series of blog posts).

Filmed in the 1950s, the archival footage below shows the site of Pachacamac obviously not by Uhle himself, but you can still get a sense of the site from this later footage.

A few of Max Uhle’s finds:

Animal, Andean, Peru. Museum Object Number: 29454

Animal, Andean, Peru. Museum Object Number: 29454

Mummy Mask, Andean, Peru. Museum Object Number: 26684

Mummy Mask, Andean, Peru. Museum Object Number: 26684

Border Textile, Andean, Peru. Museum Object Number: 29684

Border Textile, Andean, Peru. Museum Object Number: 29684

Figurine, Andean, Peru. Museum Object Number: 26960

Figurine, Andean, Peru. Museum Object Number: 26960

Further research published in Expedition Magazine on the Andean collections at the Penn Museum:
Rags and Tatters Among the Textiles of Peru” Ina Vanstan
Two Stone Figures from the Andes: Question: What Part?” Alfred Kidder, II
Ancient Peruvian Textile Arts: Patchwork and Tie-dye From Pachacamac” Ina Vanstan
The Mummies of Pachacamac: An Exceptional Legacy from Uhle’s 1896 Excavations” Stuart Fleming

Books:
Andean Ceramics: Technology, Organization, and Approaches, Izumi Shimada
Textiles from Beneath the Temple of Pachacamac, Peru: A Part of the Uhle Collection, Ina Van Stan

Special thanks to Anne Tiballi who contributed to this blog post.

Zenobia: Empress of the East (Judith Weingarten)

ELEGY FOR HATRA (PART II: THE STATUES)

(For Part I, click here)

The Image of King Uthal, the merciful, noble-minded servant of God, blessed by God

King Uthal
Thus reads an Aramaic inscription on the base of the statue of a king of Hatra (left).  Alas, mercy and noble-mindedness are in very short supply in today's Iraq.  King Uthal's monument was among those smashed in the Mosul Museum last week by the thugs of ISIL/Daesh.  All that really matters to those savages is the kick that comes from unlimited violence and the thrill of destruction.  

No atrocity too far in the name of God.

We know almost nothing about King Uthal other than that he was an early Arab king who ruled Hatra.  We don't  even know the dates of his reign.  Sooner or later, of course, with proper study of this and other royal statues, archaeologists would have been able to place him in the right time frame or at least the correct chronological order.  There are all sorts of clues in the statue itself -- the cut and rich embroidery of his clothes, its belt and buckle, the trim of his beard, the conical pearl-encrusted(?) headdress, the shape of his long sword and its pommel, and last but certainly not least, the form and formula of the Aramaic inscription written in the very particular Hatrene script.  Alas, this will never happen now.  His statue is lying on the ground, broken into pieces, as you can see in the video image below (his is on the right).*

Bye-bye King Uthal, whoever you may have been. 

Islamacist Porn


A few words, if I may, about sharing Islamacist propaganda videos.  The jihadists are playing with us when they produce these  films.  The images are meant to shock and enrage while making us feel completely powerless.  These pornographic videos are NOT documentations of acts of violence, they are THE violence.**
After the Mosul incident, it has become clear that ISIS operates like a reality show. The violence is choreographed and planned precisely for the video footage to be produced - a visual spectacle of violence to be shared by us in social media. By sharing these videos, we become ISIS's media outlets who disseminate and propagate their ideology.  We are both the audience and the media for these visual spectacles of destruction....***
Simply put, we are doing exactly what they want us to do by spreading their vile videos.  Thus, please stop sharing; instead, darken your screens for them.  Having said this, why in the name of heaven (you may ask) am I violating my own injunction by reproducing a scene from their rampage through the Mosul Museum?  Because it shows one of those perverts with a hand on his crotch, which really says it all.

And now to work.


Besides the remarkable architecture of Hatra -- which we wrote about in Part I of this post -- the finds from the city include about 300 statues and reliefs, all in a very characteristic local style.  With few exceptions, the statues are somewhat larger than life-size (ca. 1.90m / 6'3") and all were carved to be seen from the front since backs and sides were left only roughly worked.  About half of the sculptures represent gods and goddesses and thus have an overtly religious character.


Of course, the division between religious and secular is largely artificial, reflecting more the way we think than how the ancients did.  The king of Hatra will have held supreme religious authority in addition to his grip over all forms of social and political power.

King Sanatruq II (r ca 205-240/1)
For example, statues of a number of kings show them carrying small figures of deities (left).  Whether this pictures them in the act of dedicating a graven image, or indicates a king's particular closeness to the god-in-hand is not clear.  But it certainly stresses the king's active role in religion.  Some kings are known to have also served as the chief priest of Shamash, the great god of the city. Even without the proof of inscriptions, it's very likely that all kings held this office.

Given Hatra's architecture, one can hardly doubt its overwhelming importance as a religious centre: the huge walled Sacred Enclosure in the heart of the city takes up about one-fifth of the total area within the circle of its defensive walls (see Part I).  Inside this sacred area were the main temples -- a complex of enormous halls covered by barrel vaults (called the Great Iwans).  These were the homes of Hatra's most important deities: Maran ('Our Lord' = Shamash, the Sun-god), Marten ('Our Lady' = Allat) and Bar-Maran ('the Son of Our Lord' = Nergal?).  Another temple in the forecourt of the sacred area was dedicated to the goddess Allat (its entrance -- with the camel mother nursing her calf, and two royal figures on guard -- is pictured above).  Besides the great temples in the centre of the city, many gods and goddesses also received cult in 14 small shrines belonging to different tribal groups scattered about the domestic quarters of the city.  Eight of these shrines were dedicated to a god who looked like Greek Herakles (one of his statues in Part I, lowest left) but worshipped as the ancestral deity of the family or tribe and who was assimilated to Nergal, the Babylonian god of the Netherworld.  When he wasn't looking vaguely Greek, this is what Nergal looked like:


Lady Allat is seated on her throne, looking on with approval. The Hatran Netherworld, though, doesn't look like a place you'd want to visit.

Kings and Queens

About 120 statues of Hatrene kings, noblemen and noblewomen also survive(d) -- and these are the sculptures I'd like to focus on today if only because we can more readily engage with humans than with Nergal and his Cerberus-dogs of death.

What can these upper-crust statues tell us about the social and religious life of the city?

High-ranking military officer
It is striking that there isn't a huge variety in the statues.  Despite the obvious differences of details and gender, the sculptors did not greatly vary pose, costumes, or attributes of the individuals they portrayed. They paid little attention to individual facial features.  These are not portraits. We can't claim to know what any of the even highest-ranked royals really looked like.

Thanks to the inscriptions, however (on 42 statues and 22 bases now missing their statues), we do have some names and dates of local rulers, names of certain officials, and the names of deities.  The inscriptions, too, are quite standardized: about a third simply say "Image of ..." followed by a personal name, and another third also tell us who was responsible for erecting the statue --  family members, or friends, or devoted subjects of a royal figure. A few texts, like that on King Uthal's statue, add some pious thoughts.

Kings and Princes

King Sanatruq I (r ca 128-140)
Twenty-seven life-size statues can be certainly identified as those of kings.  Most come from within the central Sacred Area but some few were found at the city's gates, too. All kings are dressed in sumptuously embroidered long-sleeved tunics with ornate Parthian trousers and elaborately worked belts. Some kings (and only kings) wear diadems or high tiaras. When not carrying mini-statues of gods -- like Sanatruq II (above left) or eagles, the iconic bird of Shamash (below left), their majesties stand with the right hand raised, palm facing outward in a gesture of benediction or prayerful worship. Their left hands either hold a palm branch or rest on a long sword.  In the ancient Near East, worshippers attending sacrifices very often carried palm branches.  In fact, they still do in many Christian churches on Palm Sunday....

Princes

Princes (at least five statues) are dressed very like their fathers, in richly embroidered garments, but appear as beardless youths and have short curly hair.  The sons of King Sanatruq I (below) are shown with daggers hanging from their belts.  The better-preserved figure, of Crown Prince Abdsamiya, has his right hand raised and holds a palm branch in his left.  He is wearing an astonishingly rich tunic embroidered with the figure of a goddess holding a staff or standard on his upper body and a rather Greek-looking god below the hips -- perhaps, in a visual pun, it is Bar-Maran, "the Son of Our Lord", just as Abdsamiya is the son of the lord-king.

Princes Nayhara and Abdsamiya

His brother Nayhara's tunic is simpler (though still gorgeous) but note, too, subtle status differences in the accessories worn by the brothers: the crown prince wears a heavier, more ornate necklace and a bigger belt. I imagine that, every time Abdsamiya walked into a room, his younger brother looked pale by comparison.  

So, we are not surprised to learn that Abdsamiya ascended to the throne after his father's death.  Ruling from ca 180-205, he was the king who twice beat off assaults on the city by the Roman emperor Septimius Severus (in 193 and 197 CE), as recounted in Part I of this post.  In turn, his son Sanatruq II -- seen above, carrying the statuette of a god -- became king. He had the misfortune to fight against Ardashir, first king of the new Sasanian dynasty, who twice attacked Hatra -- in ca 230 and again ten years later.  The first time, Sanatruq II held the city safe.  The second time, it fell.  As a temple inscription reads: The Fortune of the king [is] with the gods.  Alas, his god could not help him.  He was the last king of Hatra.

King holding eagle adorned with jewellery
That was his fate in life.

His fate in the Mosul Museum was as dire.  Sanatruq's was one of the four king's statues destroyed by ISIL/Daesh in their ignorant and barbaric rampage.  Most of the 27 statues of Hatrene kings are for the moment safe in the Baghdad Museum but the losses in Mosul mean that 15% of the kings of Hatra -- along with the monuments of many of their subjects --  are gone.  Alas! 

And what about their Queens and Princesses?

That will be told in the next post.  This has become too long.

 (Part III: Goddesses and Putative Priestesses, click here)



* For the latest reports on damage to the statues in the Mosul Museum, follow Christopher Jones on his Gates of Nineveh blog (see Sources).

**According to Mosul Eye, the footage in the video published by ISIS last week was shot in July-August 2014 and NOT February 2015.  We must ask ourselves why ISIS chose this specific time to post the video.

*** Quoting Ömür Harmanşah, Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago (Facebook, 27 February 2015).

Sources: Christopher Jones, Gates of Nineveh blog, Assessing the Damage at the Mosul Museum, Part 2: the Sculptures from Hatra ; Lucinda Dirven, “Aspects of Hatrene Religion: A Note on the Statues of Kings and Nobles from Hatra,” in The Variety of Local Religious Life in the Near East in the Hellenistic and Roman Periods (Leiden, 2008), 209-246; ead. "My Lord With His Dogs: Continuity and Change in the Cult of Nergal in Parthian Mesopotamia" in L. Greisiger, C. Rammelt & J. Tubach (eds.), Edessa in hellenistisch-romischer Zeit (Beirut 2009), 47-68; ead. "Religious Frontiers in the Syrian-Mesopotamian Desert" in Frontiers in the Roman World (Leiden, 2011) 157-173 .


Illustrations

Top: Life-size statue of King Uthal, 2nd century CE.  Photo credit: © ARTEHISTORIA

Upper centre: Portal of temple of Allat, in Sacred Enclosure.  Photo credit:

Middle centre:  Relief of the Sun-god (Bar-Maran?).  Photo credit: Amir Kooshanzaman blog.

Top left: Life-size statue of King Sanatruq II. Early 3rd century CE. Photo credit: Iraqi Cultural Center, Washington DC.

Centre: Relief slab picturing the god Nergal with 'Cerberus' and enthroned Allat: Istanbul Archaeological Museum). Städte in der Wüste. Petra, Palmyra und Hatra (Stuttgart 1996) pl. 188. Photo via L. Dirven, "My Lord With His Dogs: Continuity and Change in the Cult of Nergal in Parthian Mesopotamia" (see Sources) Colour Pl. 1.

Second left: Life-size statue of a military officer , (IM 58084), Iraq Museum. Photo credit:ICONMuseum © Photo Scala, Florence.

Third left: Life-size statue of King Sanatruq I. 2nd century CE. Photo credit: © Scala Archives, Florence/ Art Resourse, NY.  Via CUNY Academic Commons.

Below centre: Life-size statues of the sons of King Sanatruq I. 2nd century CE.  Photo credit: Faces of Ancient Middle East (Part 17):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CU6WJpRcF4

Below left: Detail of life-size statue of an unidentified king carrying an eagle (insignia of Shamash).  Photo credit:  Col. Mary Prophit, United States Army, 2010.  Via Gates of Nineveh blog.

Ancient Peoples

Golden necklace, or chain 42.5 cm in diameter with heavy...



Golden necklace, or chain 

42.5 cm in diameter with heavy clasp 

Roman, Imperial period, 1st century AD. 

Source: Metropolitan Museum 

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Creative Titles Related to the Bible and Science Fiction

Frauke Uhlenbruch asked on Facebook for some suggestions for titles for an essay on the Bible and science fiction. Here are some of my suggestions:

Biblestar Galactica
The Scriptures of Distant Earth
Where No Interpreter of the Bible Has Gone Before
“Use the Bible, Luke!”
The Book of Fahrenheit 4:51
The Binding of Isaac (Asimov)
From the Book of Chronicles to the Martian Chronicles

Other commenters suggested these:

Brave New Bible
A Scripture Darkly
We can interpret it for you wholesale
The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Old/New Testament

And there’s also “It’s the Bible, Jim, but Not as We Know It.”

What are some others you can think of? I’m always looking out for clever titles that I can use in things that I write and courses I teach…

Geoff Carter (Theoretical Structural Archaeology)

Imaginary woods

Often, when we think about the past, we do so in our imaginations, using the pictures and impressions we have picked from our shared visual culture, we mix the real things we find into a fantasy world.  Envisioning the environment in terms of its familiar topography and plants does not present much of a problem, domestic animals are bits hazier, but most of the things that made up the fabric of life just don’t survive here in our damp climate.  However, even trees in the picture may not be clear, the focus of archaeology is on tools, seldom extending to a consideration of the materials and products that gave them utility and value.  How to discuss, visualise and define things that no longer exists except in the imagination is one central issues of presenting archaeology.


TSA uses “theoretical models” to express the ideas about buildings and structures deduced from the archaeology of their foundations; these are clearly still diagrams and not pictures. Those that tend toward pictorial representation tend to contain deliberate anachronisms; I wish to restrict the amount of information being exchanged, , express doubt, and subvert a believable reality to encourage understanding rather than belief.  TSA is an ongoing process of reverse engineering; there are other ways of approaching the roof SE end of Neolithic longhouses, which I would not want to prejudice without better data. This is part of doing and presenting the maths; with a model progress can be measured, rated, its fit examined and improved.  The same is true for the underlying components, the trees and timber, both have been well studied and can be modelled mathematically, [1]. The scale of some ancient trees, in terms of how tall they might get, is an interesting problem in the detailed modelling structures, which I may return to in a later post.
I have the same data as everybody else, but have found new ways of processing and thinking about it; invariably, progress comes from breaking down existing ideas and images, particularly the latter, since often, they are not helpful and certainly are not real.  New understandings of existing material are about breaking down one’s own ideas and preconceptions; getting people to change their own is a different matter.
Superficial similarities; barking up the wrong trees
There is an inherent conflict between the need to truthfully recreate from what was actually found, and the requirement, expectation, aspiration, or market for presenting a ‘believable reality’ to archaeology’s wider audience; more especially given the technology at our disposal.  While I am deeply suspicious of pictures of the past and their effect, I also think it important to find new ways of thinking about, and, yes, imagining the past.   These pictures of the past are what people appear to want, and might be seen as an end-product; an answer to the question - what was it like?
The hard truth is that archaeology very rarely has much to do with the routine fabric of life, surprisingly little of our culture ever involved digging holes in the ground.
Another recurrent theme is the use of other contemporary or recently documented historical cultures to fill the void in the archaeology of material culture, most notably in architecture. Nobody has seen an Iron Age building, yet we all have a picture of one in our mind; these images of the past, just like a religious painting, can tell us more about contemporary culture than it does about the imaginary object being depicted.  
There is also a point where the perceived need to remove cultural bias from our language, is at variance with the need to fully define a local tradition or technology.  At some level, which it is difficult to define, the use of terms like longhouse, roundhouse, as well as words like henge or circle, implies some relationship where none can exist, except in the most superficial descriptive sense.
Ethnographic parallels; so let’s nail this one from the start; when thinking about prehistoric material in NW Europe, it is not only that the big things like environment, particularly climate,  and culture that is entirely different from areas like Africa, it is also down to the little things like the lack of termites.  This and other trifling issues of geography is just one of reasons there is not generally a tradition of oak framed buildings in Africa.  
In NW Europe timber buildings and products represent a good long-term investment of resources, and formed the basis of a system of mixed farming in a variable temperate climate.  You could argue that the scale and nature of our buildings have reflected the use of oaks up to 50' or even 60', and it is to local trees that we should look for a sense of proportion for our ancient buildings.
While it is self-evident that vernacular architecture is a regional craft, representing one of the most obvious visual manifestations of a local culture, archaeologists find this hard to grasp in their imaginings about the past.  However, there is more to material culture than farm houses, and in the modern world it is easy to forget that wood was once the raw material for the fabrication for significant amounts of material culture.
As new materials have replaced wood, the woodland systems that produced the raw materials along with their craftsmen have also started to vanish from our countryside.  I would like to explore this very local relationship between trees and materials culture by looking at two trees with very different but complimentary contributions to make to our largely lost and unrecorded heritage.
Super woods
The mighty oak and its diminutive sidekick hazel are two of the most important building blocks of our traditional material culture,  only faint traces of which ever come to the attention of archaeologists. While other woods have specialised utility and products, [2],  almost an entire material culture can be fabricated from these two trees using simple tools. In a study of the ancient economy timber resources are easily overlooked; it is only when they run short, and this starts to impact on the archaeological culture, that this becomes apparent; domestic building in stone was only found in those areas without sufficient resources to use wood, such as Neolithic Orkneys.
As a general rule, trees are farmed, grown in woodland to provide the types of product required locally where and when they are needed [3]. There is plenty of evidence from waterlogged sites that this was the case, and the uniformity of postholes in prehistoric structures also bears this out. This is an important aspect of the Neolithic culture, for while the natural forests may be full of trees, finding ones of a suitable species and size, together with the problems of transporting them, makes growing your own the only practical solution.  This minimises the problem of extraction, although, once you cut the branches off, quite large timbers can be dragged or sledded by oxen or horses, and presumably people.  While a virtuous and ideal management cycle would be desirable, significant areas of the environment were deforested during the past; it is doubtful that the Roman Army had concern for woodland management, on the contrary destroying timber resources is a legitimate form of economic warfare.
In a fairly standard woodland system two types of tree such as oak and hazel are grown together, the taller oak trees are the main crop with the smaller shrubbier hazel grown the spaces between and below,[3].  The natural light competition drives the trees upwards, keeping them close and the presence of the smaller, but vigorous hazel also discourages side branches, filling any spaces between the oak standards.  As the trees mature over decades they are thinned with the smaller and substandard trees removed.  Both Oak and hazel can be coppiced to produce multiple stems on the same root system, and this is normal practice with the latter [above left, and right] . In complete contrast to modern monoculture systems, a well-managed traditional woodland, would contain a mix of species and ages with the aim of continuous production of a variety of products.  If your requirement is 7 years old hazel stems, you might have 7 blocks or groups of trees, each a year older in the cycle; it might be convenient to attend to the larger oak trees in an area on a similar rotation. What is neat about woodland management is that forward planning over decades can provide a just in the nick of time system; timber buildings wear out and need replacing on a regular basis, even if that might be measured in centuries, whereas some domestic wooden items might be replaced annually.    

Archaeology, as a study of human culture, is restricted to those artefacts that survive in the soil, which can result in a distinctly myopic view, and, as noted, beyond simple tillage, very little daily activity involves digging holes in the ground.  The differentiation of the past into stone, iron and bronze ages tends to obscure the continuity in the use of wood as the raw material for the fabrication of much of material culture.   Perhaps the significance of these changes in terms of woodworking tools, might only be judged in terms of their effects on the nature of their now invisible timber products. Thus, handsome though some stone tools are, they are probably not as interesting or significant as the products they created; Chippendale’s tools would not be as impressive as his chairs.[above].
In this post I have include links to videos which demonstrates the making of simple timber products; this is best way of illustrating how the properties of these woods suits them for the types products that they traditionally produced, and how a craftsman works with them; [as usual, there is a whole world of traditional woodworking videos to explore on line].
Superstructures
The long-term end product, the main crop of this woodland system was tall, preferably straight oak trees, the best of which were for structural use.  Everywhere we now use steel and concrete beams, or for that matter soft wood components, oak would be used, given the choice. Oak is relatively easy to work when freshly cut, but dries out over the years to become a very hard wood.  Most of what survives from the medieval period in terms of buildings and their contents is oak, reflecting its preferential use or survival, and why it was used.
There are few better structural timbers than English oak, importantly, larger logs can be simply split down the grain using wedges, providing squared beams for construction, boards for floors, and shingles for roofs.  Larger split panels can be used for doors, fittings, and decoration such as panelling.  Splitting Oak at Beamish Museum Here.
Traditional carpentry uses simple joints made by shaping the end of one of a piece into a tenon, then inserted into a corresponding mortise hole cut with a chisel; these are the important bits, how the rest of the component is finished is an issue of resources. Wooden pegs or tree-nails made of oak or similar are inserted into drilled holes help secure joints and hold components together, negating the need for metal fixings.
Making shingles here.
One simple form of roof known as a cruck, it involves splitting a bent tree [right] in half and using the two halfs to create a structure like an arch around which the roof is based; larger trunks can be split into several symmetrical pieces.  This is a type of roof that might be represented archaeologically by a pair of postholes, which is a sobering thought, and perhaps explains why the origin of this type of structure remains obscure.
Note the difference between carpentry tools used for putting together buildings, [below] which differ in scale, range, and refinement from those of a joiner, who might make the fixtures and fittings.
In contrast, hazel is a light and very flexible wood, which will produce multiple long stems when coppiced , their size depending on the period of time between cropping.  These can be used whole or spilt, often multiple times to produce increasingly flexible slivers of wood.     
It provides the wattle panels around which the daub was formed, for both external walls and internal partitions, [woven split oak is also known].  A traditional thatched roof was held together with hazel spars, runners, and pegs. If you are not sure about spars - making spars here.
Super timber
Inside the home, oak is tough durable and looks good, so it is used for furniture making, tables, seating, and storage like chests. It can be cleaved, carved, and turned into utensils, bowls, platters and other types of table wares. It can be shaped into staves for barrels, and be split into thin strips and woven to make containers like spale baskets of interwoven oak lathes or spelks; such containers were also known as slops, swills, and whiskets [4].  
For hazel, its principle utility is its flexibility, it can be woven into wickerwork containers and bent using heat or steam into hoops to strengthen other containers [5].   Almost everything that had to be stored or transported might use barrels or baskets.  
Hazel nuts, cobnut or filbert nuts, [depending on species], are an ancient staple of our diet, but preferably not the acorns produced by mature oak trees which were forage for pigs; their high tannin concentrations make them very bitter. However, this property of the wood might enhance certain products stored in oak, or contribute to food smoked with it.  The durability of the wood for use outside also comes from its high tannic acid content, and its bark, always available as a by-product, was used in tanning leather[6].  Oak posts with rails might be used for a fences and gates; it can be used to line wells, tanks, pits, and for pit props; hazel wickerwork can also be used to stabilise holes like cesspits made in soft ground.
Hazel rods had numerous uses; such as angling [7], making lobster pots, fish and eel traps, [8]they are ideal in horticulture for building frameworks and for plant support. Hurdles, wattle panels made from hazel were a cheap to produce, light, but effective way of creating temporary fences, pens and enclosures particularly for flocks of sheep. Another utility of hazel is that it can be split down into small but very flexible strips for binding [string].
Making Hurdles here.
Both species are common in hedgerows, in addition, large trees like oaks are excellent long term boundary markers and landmarks. Growing and planting such trees is simple, as they can be grown in baskets until suitably mature.  That our antecedents might have dug holes to plant trees is not always uppermost in archaeologists’ minds.
Since the Neolithic both oak and hazel have been used to build pathways, tracks, and later roads which have been preserved in waterlogged ground.   Oak is a good timber for bridges, wharfs and docks; it is ideal for military engineering like ramparts, gates and towers, while hazel wickerwork can produce battlements or mantlets. In transportation, wagons, carts and chariots might use oak in particular components like wheels for strength,[9] and hazel where lightness or flexibility is required. Similarly, oak was the favoured material for framed boats, either planked or skin covered like the currach, while hazel could be used in the construction of smaller craft like coracles,[10].
The ancient world was powered by wood, it provided the fuel for heating, cooking, and industrial processes, both hazel and oak are excellent for firewood; both make good charcoal an essential ingredient in the smelting and working of metals.  In mines fire was used to heat rock which was then cooled rapidly with water to crack it. Wooden wedges can be driven into cracks in rocks, which when soaked in water expand causing a crack to open.
As a footnote to the litany of utility, some of the extraordinary Roman correspondence found locally at Vindolanda was written on slivers of oak, providing an unexpected and colourful insight into an aspect of culture which until 1973 had only existed in theory.
While the contrasting properties of these two trees have served to illustrate the range of uses for wood, other common trees such as ash, willow, yew, box, and beech produced timbers with specific uses, whose utility would be equally worthy of detailed discussion.
The supernatural power of wood
As two of the most prominent and useful trees in the environment, both are woven into religion, superstition, folk law and medicine, with hazel being particularly associated with magic and oak with strength.  It is clear that in past both species were found in sacred groves, very specific places, perhaps remnants of the wild wood with ancient trees, and distinct from the more utilitarian woodlands where people worked. [11]
These mystical associations of trees and wooden objects are too extensive for detailed discussion, although I would like to cite one local example; heating hazel nuts to crack them was used as a form of divination on Halloween – also once known as 'Nut-crack night' in parts of Scotland and Northern England. [12]
Both hazel and oak make good sticks and staffs, but the latter is ideal for those types of stick used for hitting things, bog oak being ideal for a club.  If you like symbolism, consider the shepherds crooks, crosiers, batons, staffs, rods, wands and sceptres as expressions of power or authority; until the last century you could be judicially caned or birched.  Everywhere you look people in power and their servants had sticks and staffs of some kind
Hazel rods are used for dowsing, wands can symbolise wisdom, power, misdirection, and magic[13], which is difficult to reference and dangerously like New Archaeology, [14]; luckily, in classical Greco-Roman mythology, the god Hermes/Mercury has a special wand called a caduceus, so we are on safer ground.
One further use of hazel rods that might be easily overlooked was as tally sticks; until 1724, and even as late as 1826, information about the fiscal relationship between the state and the individual could be recorded by notches on a hazel rod that was split into 2 halves, each party keeping one half as an official receipt. It was  a simple, cheap, fool proof system for a preliterate age, and virtually invisible to archaeology.
It was the burning of these now redundant tally sticks in 1834 that caused the fire that destroyed the ancient Palace of Westminster.  [ above; Turner - The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons October 16 1834]. It was rebuilt in the gothic splendour we know today, although we tend to picture the stone exterior rather than the timber interior [right; pre- war]; which I suspect is quite common when envisioning famous buildings.  In succeeding where Guy Fawkes failed, the tally sticks demonstrated why so little of the wooden past remains, and why it has been replaced in other materials.
This fine oak chair was carved in 1297 by a craftsman known as Master Walter, it was an expensive piece which cost the king 100 shillings; it is known as the King Edwards Chair.  Although it has lost much of its original gilt and paint, got tarted up a bit in later years, it remains the Throne of England on which [almost] every monarch has had to sit at the coronation.  This remarkable piece of quasi-magical furniture, was also built to contain the Stone of Destiny previously used to sanctify Scottish kingship.  After over seven hundred years old, is still at the centre of the confirmation of power, which explains why it was not thrown away; luckily, it was made of oak. 
Would they have known?
Most of aspects of oak and hazel culture discussed have archaeological examples, but they are exceptionally rare, while soil, or dirt as my colleges might call it, is abundant.   What archaeologists find; postholes and stake holes, some pits, trenches, even graves to some extent, are holes in the ground, that have to do with the practical, utilitarian, or engineering use of timber.
The further we go back into the past the less reliable the historical record becomes, the details of material and social things have been lost, so we might get the impression of an technological ground zero from which the familiar aspects of life all  emerge  as “Roman” or “medieval”.  Clearly, it only from these periods that images of the past have any empirical basis, so it is largely imagination for the prehistorians.  
Try telling fellow archaeologists that Pre-Roman buildings had stairs, floors, even doors, [or worst of all windows], and you will get a very odd reaction; challenging peoples imaginary worlds is just that, a challenge. 
To return to another familiar line, a more fundamental hurdle in the path of understanding can be what we choose to call something, since this must exert a powerful primary call on the visual imagination.  In a recent post I explained why the “Turf Wall” section of Hadrian’s Wall was not made of turf but had been made from timber; in a nutshell it goes like this;
Turf is a mixture of organic and mineral materials; the characteristic “Turf Wall” deposit does not contain the range of mineral particle sizes typical of the local soil, only mostly very fine material, but with charcoal, the traces of fire moss, [Ceratodon purpureus], that grows on dead wood, and pollen samples that are dominated by trees; therefore it could not derive from turf; however, the evidence is consistent with it being the remains of a timber fortification; [QED, etc. here].
It is a very simple and basic observation, which despite having science and historical precedence behind it, is unlikely to convince anyone that something called the “Turf” Wall was made of wood; it is not just the pictures on people’s minds, but also the words we use to describe and name things that do the damage.
The extent to which thinking or more specifically, interpretation of the evidence and understanding is influenced by this imaginary world is difficult to measure.  Even the words like “Prehistoric” seems prejudicial, bending seamlessly into cave men and prehistoric monsters territory. Archaeology is in part a faith based study, with a largely imaginary shared visual culture depicting our past, which I have argued, may serve as block to the understanding of the evidence we find, particularly those ideas and images borrowed from other cultures far away.  
The distant past to some extent is a blank canvas onto which ideas can be projected, often by those seeking  legitimacy and authority in the present. Similarly, aspects of modern archaeology involve the study of what archaeologists don’t find, largely driven by the projection of ideas drawn from contemporary anthropology into the minds of our antecedents, but along with our learning, goes our own ignorance of traditional native culture material culture.  As a result, even relatively straightforward timber structures and products are seen as beyond the abilities of prehistoric peoples.
The truth in archaeology is often hidden in plain sight – the one place archaeologists may forget to look.


"The truth may be out there, but the lies are inside your head." 

Terry Pratchett 1948 - 2015

Picture Credits
Chippendale chair
Woodworking tools;
Author: Peter C. Welsh Release Date: November 12, 2008 [EBook #27238]
Figure 3.—1703: The tools of the joiner illustrated by Moxon
Figure 4.—1703: Only the principal tools used in carpentry are listed by Moxon
Citing Joseph Moxon, Mechanick Exercises ..., 3rd ed., London, 1703. Library of Congress.
Turner - The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons
Old [pre-war] Commons interior;


Sources and further reading
[2] Kay N.W. [ed]. 1946. The Practical carpenter and Joiner Illustrated. Odhams Press
Bramwell, M., [ed]. 1982. The international book of wood. London.
[3]  Rackham, O, 1986. The ancient woodland of England: the woods of south-east Essex.
Hanson, C.,O. 1934. Forestry for Woodmen. Oxord press
[4] Jenkins J G, 1978, Traditional country craftsmen, Routledge & Kegan Paul.  p 53
[5].Op. cit. pp30-32
[8] Arnold J, 1968. The Shell book of country crafts. Baker, London. 329-330
[9] Jenkins J G, 1978, Traditional country craftsmen, Routledge & Kegan Paul.  p 110.
[10] Arnold J, 1968. The Shell book of country crafts. Baker, London. 222
[11]. See; Porteous, A.,  1928, The Lore of the Forest, London, p 44
[Cosimo Classics Mythology and Folklore- 1996 – Random house
[12] Op. cit.262
[13] Op. cit.266
[14] Folk belief about Hazel and other trees discussed here;

ArcheoNet BE

Provincie Oost-Vlaanderen looft prijzen uit

OVLprijzen15Om het historisch onderzoek in en over Oost-Vlaanderen aan te moedigen, schrijft het provinciebestuur ook dit jaar weer Cultuurprijzen voor Historisch Onderzoek uit. Naast de prijs voor geschiedenis wordt in 2015 ook de driejaarlijkse prijs voor kunstgeschiedenis en archeologie uitgereikt. De laureaat van elke prijs wint een bedrag van 5.000 euro. Wetenschappelijk verantwoorde studies over een archeologisch, kunsthistorisch of geschiedkundig onderwerp komen in aanmerking voor de prijzen. Deadline voor de kandidaturen is 15 april. Je vindt alle informatie over de prijzen op www.oost-vlaanderen.be.

Corinthian Matters

Conference on Ancient Arcadia

About all I’ve had to do this semester with Corinthian Matters is post a series of conference proposals. Here’s one related to a conference on ancient Arcadia:

February 11th‒12th, 2016

International Symposion

Arkadien im Altertum – Geschichte und Kultur einer antiken Gebirgslandschaft

Ancient Arcadia ‒ History and Culture of a Mountainous Region

 

After five years of archaeological research conducted by the University of Graz and the EFA Korinthias in a joint project at Archaia Pheneos, the University of Graz (Center of Antiquity, Institute of Archaeology, Institute of Ancient History) will hold an international symposium dedicated to ancient Arcadia and its historical, demographical and cultural peculiarities.

 

At this symposium the following topics will be dealt with

· Arcadian poleis: historical and archaeological evidence

· Prehistoric Arcadia

· Arcadian art

· Cult and religion in ancient Arcadia

· The image of Arcadia in ancient texts and its later adoption

· Economy and traffic in the mountains of Arcadia

· Arcadia and its role in Greek history

· Roman Arcadia

· Language and written records of Arcadia

 

We would like to invite all colleagues working in the field of Archaeology, Ancient History, Classical Philology or Linguistics to participate in this meeting and to contribute by sending us papers. Seite: 3/3 ‒ 18. März 2015

 

Veranstaltungsort: Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz

Conference location: Universitätsplatz 3, A-8010 Graz

http://www.uni-graz.at/

 

Organisation: Dr. Michaela Zinko (Zentrum Antike)

 

Organizers: michaela.zinko@uni-graz.at

Mag. Hanne Maier (Institut für Archäologie)

hanne.maier@uni-graz.at

 

Veranstaltungssprache: Deutsch

Conference language: English

 

Tagungsgebühr: € 60,00

Conference fee: € 30,00 (für Studierende/for students)

 

Tagungskomitee / Conference committee:

Ao. Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Manfred Lehner (Institut für Archäologie)

Priv.-Doz. Mag. Dr. Elisabeth Trinkl (Institut für Archäologie)

Ao. Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Sabine Tausend (Institut für Alte Geschichte und Altertumskunde)

Ao. Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Klaus Tausend (Zentrum Antike)

Ass.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Michaela Zinko (Zentrum Antike)

 

Wir bitten Interessenten, das Thema des Vortrages in einem kurzen Konzept

(max. 200 Worte) entsprechend darzustellen und mit der Vortrags-

Anmeldung bis spätestens 29.05.2015 einzureichen.

Die endgültige Auswahl der Referate obliegt dem Tagungskomitee.

 

Please submit your registration form together with a short abstract (max. 200 words) of the title of your paper by May 29th, 2015 at the latest. The conference committee is responsible for the final selection of the submitted papers.

 


The Archaeology News Network

Van’s ancient city in danger of vanishing

A 5,000-year-old ancient city on the shores of Lake Van is in danger of vanishing because it has not been taken under protection. The ancient city, part of which is underground and part of which is submerged beneath  the lake Van, has all the traces of a city and settlement [Credit: AA]Bitlis Eren University academic Associated Professor Mehmet Demirtaş said the ancient city was registered by the Culture and Tourism Ministry in...

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Shawn Graham (Electric Archaeology)

HIST3907O ‘Digital History Research Methods’ or, Crafting Digital History

(I really need to work on my course titles.)

Registration is open! Join me next winter, online, to learn how to craft digital history. You can just follow along if you don’t want to pay tuition – all my materials will be openly available/copyable/remixable. If you need a university transfer credit, that (probably) can be arranged too. I especially welcome folks who do not consider themselves to be techy.

­­HIST 3907O  Crafting Digital History Winter 2015

Professor: Shawn Graham with guest appearances by Ian Milligan and probably others too!

Introduction: “We’ve spent millions digitizing the world’s historical resources. Let’s work together to figure out what they can teach us” – Adam Crymble

How do we find, analyze, and visualize the patterns in historical data? Is the internet a historical source? How do people talk about history online? Is Google changing our historical consciousness? What happens when people off-load their historical memory to Wikipedia? How do we regain control over our digital identity as historians? What does open access research mean for me?

Crafting Digital History explores these questions and more over the term through a series of hands-on exercises and individual project work. You do not need to be ‘techy’ to succeed in this course. I know that digital skills come in all shapes and sizes. What is far more important is that you are willing to try, and willing to say ‘I don’t know – help?’ I expect you to talk to each other in this class. Share your work. Collaborate. Help each other!

Digital history is a kind of public history. What’s more, the skills you will learn in this class will make you a better historian, a more critical consumer of online media, and more employable. If you want to do more with your computer than post on Facebook, this class is for you.

Class Format: We will be meeting face-to-face, virtually, once a week via a modified Google Hangout. These meet-ups are not obligatory, but you will get more out of the course if you do. They will help you stay on task. The class is divided into two-week modules that mirror the digital history workflow. There will be a menu of exercises to complete within each module (precisely which exercises will depend; in general terms, the exercises are pitched at different comfort levels, and so I will expect you to push yourself to do as many as possible). You can see an earlier iteration of the class materials here on github (note that the order of elements on a github page updates to put the most recent changes at the top; start with the ‘syllabus‘ folder! Note also that I will be revamping these materials in light of our experience this term, so that the fully online version is more polished.)

I anticipate being able to provide server space for you to set up your own digital platforms, blog, and digital identity. You will keep an online research notebook of your work, and a digital repository for your project. You will be expected to comment/learn/draw inspiration from the work of your peers, by leaving reflections in your own notebook. Your final project will be posted online (individual format and approach will be determined).

Aims and Goals: By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Identify and define the limitations of useful sources of historical data online
  2. Compare and employ appropriate tools to clean and manipulate this data with a critical eye to how the tools themselves are theory-laden
  3. Analyze data using various tools with an awareness of the tendency of tools to push towards various historiographic or epistemic perspectives (ie, the ‘procedural rhetorics’ of various tools)
  4. Visualize meaningful patterns in the data to write ‘good history’ across multiple platforms, with critical evaluation of the limitations
  5. Model best practices in open access data management as mandated by SSHRC and other research agencies
  6. Develop an online scholarly voice to contribute data and reflection to the wider digital history community

Assessment: online notebook; reflection pieces; final project. There will be no final examination in this course.

 Text: An online workbook will be provided. Readings will be via online materials, provided within the workbook. You might topic model them… You may wish – but you are in no way obliged – to obtain a copy of ‘The Historian’s Macroscope’ (http://www.amazon.ca/Exploring-Big-Historical-Data-Historians/dp/1783266376 please note that the price listed in Amazon is not correct; do not purchase until I can confirm the correct price). A draft version of the text is available for free at http://themacroscope.org

Questions? Please email me at: shawn dot graham at carleton dot ca or find me on twitter @electricarchaeo.


James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

The Bible and the Bechdel Test

The Bechdel Test is a way of highlighting the male-centeredness of modern television and film. The test is simple: ask how frequently two female characters talk about something other than male characters. It has been applied to Doctor Who, for instance, and I shared an infographic on the subject here.

Beth Birkholz, a Lutheran Pastor ,applied the Bechdel Test to the Bible, and was not impressed by the results. Ruth turns out to be one of a very few stories in the Bible that can just barely manage to pass.

Can you think of any others?

Ruth, Boaz, Twilight

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Van’s ancient city in danger of vanishing

A 5,000-year-old ancient city on the shores of Lake Van is in danger of vanishing because it has not...

The Archaeology News Network

Study underscores complexity of geopolitics in the age of the Aztec empire

New findings from an international team of archaeological researchers highlight the complexity of geopolitics in Aztec era Mesoamerica and illustrate how the relationships among ancient states extended beyond warfare and diplomacy to issues concerning trade and the flow of goods. A view to the west from the heights of Tlaxcallan. The active volcano, Popocatepetl,  is visible in the background [Credit: Lane Fargher]The work was...

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Peter Tompa (Cultural Property Observer)

They've Got it Backwards

Arturo Russo, a principal of Numismatica Ars Classica NAC AG, a numismatic firm and auctioneer with offices in Milan, Zurich and London, knows first hand about the frustrations of dealing with the Italian cultural bureaucracy.  As he states in his comments to CPAC:

As a quid pro quo for all prior MOUs, Italy promised to facilitate the issuance of export certificates for archaeological objects artifacts legitimately sold within Italy itself. 2001 MOU, Art. II, F; 2006 Extension, Art. II, F; 2011 Extension, Art. II, G.

This has not happened. In fact, since coins were added to the designated list for import restrictions in 2011, the Italian cultural bureaucracy has made it almost impossible for me to export coins from the country.

I used to be able to secure export licenses for collections of ancient coins so they could be sold at auction abroad. After restrictions were placed on Greek coins from Italy and Sicily, Etruscan coins from Italy, Early Roman Republican coins, and early Imperial Colonial and Provincial coins to 37 AD, I was told this would no longer be possible. When I enquired why, I was told that if such export licenses were granted, the Americans would not think that the Italian cultural bureaucracy was serious about protecting its cultural patrimony. It is important to state that these denials have been issued for coins with a legitimate provenance.

This is entirely backwards. The MOU purports to require Italy to make such objects legitimately sold within Italy available for legal export abroad, but instead the MOU is being used to justify precluding legal export of even common coins sold within Italy itself. Furthermore, Italian authorities deny export licenses even for very common coin types based on the argument that even a small variety is a good reason to decline an application. Please note that they also deny export licenses for coins of non-Italian origin with the premise that they would be difficult to acquire for Italian Institutions.

Another major problem is that most of the staff is not qualified to cast informed judgment on the rarity or importance of a coin, in fact they are archeologists and not numismatists. I must admit on several occasions I found myself informing them of the existence of the proper reference works required to establish the rarity of a coin type or even worse I had to draw their attention to the fact that several coins of that type were already in Italian Museums.

Unfortunately, since 2012 the attitude of the Italian officials towards export licenses for coins have changed dramatically. Italian collectors are still important buyers in auctions abroad, but in the eyes of Italian authorities every single coin of average rarity should remain on Italian soil. I find this position unfair and unreasonable especially considering that Italy has a gigantic numismatic heritage which is not published and more importantly very difficult to access for scholars and collectors.

In my experience, almost all European countries take a reasonable position by granting export licenses for most of the coins excluding only the exceedingly rare coin types.


More reason, if any were needed, to free the coins from foolish import restrictions or at least give them a "pass" and require US Customs to accept EU export permits or evidence no export permit is required for imports of "coins of Italian types" from the EU.  After all, Italy, as part of the EU, is also bound not only by the MOU, but EU law.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Archaeological dig could solve Somerset canal mystery

Archaeologists say they hope a dig on an abandoned canal in Somerset will help solve a 150 year-old...

Dorothy King (PhDiva)

Archaeology Beefcake

The Tumblr might have vanished, but someone on Twitter dug up this via the WaybackMachine ... ;-)



Archaeology Beefcake



DigiPal Blog

CfP: Research Approaches in Hebrew Bible Manuscript Studies. A Critical Overview Based on Evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls, Cairo Genizah and European Genizah

Call for Papers for PhD Students and Early Career Researchers 

EAJS Laboratory Workshop

Research Approaches in Hebrew Bible Manuscript Studies: A Critical Overview Based on Evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls, Cairo Genizah and European Genizah 

Monday 6th-Wednesday 8th June 2016, MSSH, Aix-en-Provence

This EAJS Laboratory workshop will focus on the material transmission of the Hebrew Bible from Antiquity to the Middle Ages. We will examine a range of research methods used in the three main fields of Hebrew Bible manuscript studies: Dead Sea Scroll, Cairo Genizah and European Genizot studies.

Although Dead Sea Scroll (DSS), Cairo Genizah (CG) and European Genizot (EG) manuscripts date from different eras and come from a diversity of geographical and cultural backgrounds, they all constitute the only primary sources we have for the study of the transmission of the Hebrew Bible. As such, they provide various fields of research with important information about their background.

Although DSS, CG and EG studies share a common concern with the transmission of the Hebrew Bible, their research approaches differ. Whereas studies on the DSS focus mainly on linguistics and literature, the study of Medieval Hebrew Bible manuscripts (CG and EG studies) concentrates on philology, palaeography and codicology. The online availability of digitised manuscripts, the development of databases and other new research tools are also having an increasing impact on research practices.

Bringing together PhD students, early career researchers and established scholars working on Hebrew Bible manuscripts, this transdisciplinary event will encourage participants to share their research methods and approaches, in order to foster and encourage future transdisciplinary research collaborations between them.

In order to provide a focus for discussion this workshop will address the following questions:

  1. What are the approaches to the study of Hebrew Bible manuscripts (e.g. language, palaeography)?
  2. What are the limits of these approaches (i.e. how much do they tell us)?
  3. How are these approaches applied in DSS, CG and EG studies (e.g. are palaeographical approaches the same in all three fields)?
  4. How can researchers in these three fields benefit from each others’ research practices?
  5. Can digital tools make Hebrew Bible studies more rigorous?
  6. What research tools are still needed to improve the study of the material transmission of the Hebrew Bible?

There will be three sessions, each focused on a specific field of research: Dead Sea Scrolls, the Cairo Genizah and the European Genizah. Each session will be introduced by a keynote lecture. Short presentations (10-15 min) by the participants will follow. All participants will be asked to send a first draft of their paper one month prior to the event in order to give the other participants time to prepare for an extended discussion.

To apply please send the following information to admin@eurojewishstudies.org by May 7, 2015.

  • A short (half-page) letter of motivation giving your reasons for wishing to participate in this event.
  • The title of a potential presentation and a short abstract.
  • A curriculum vitae, and the names of two referees, one of whom should be your academic supervisor.
  • EAJS membership details (note that all participants should be EAJS members at the time of the event).

PhD students and early career researchers will be notified of the outcome shortly after 21 May 2015.

The Organisers :

  • Élodie Attia-Kay (Centre Paul-Albert Février, Aix-Marseille University)
  • Samuel Blapp (University of Cambridge, FAMES)
  • Antony Perrot (EPHE-Sorbonne, IVth section, Paris)

Funded by the EAJS Programme in European Jewish Studies, the Stiftung “Erinnerung, Verantwortung, Zukunft” (Berlin) and the Centre Paul-Albert Février (Aix).

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

English translation of Shenoute’s “On those who have left the monastery” by Anthony Alcock

This afternoon brings another gem from Anthony Alcock: a translation from Coptic of Shenoute’s De eis qui e monasterio discesserunt, his attack on monks who have abandoned their monastery.  He explains:

The text translated here makes it clear that some of those who have left blamed Shenoute for his ill-treament, but others simply did not the strength to remain there.

Shenoute himself is a very famous figure in 4th century Egyptian monasticism, and his works have been edited recently (offline!) by Stephen Emmel.  He was notorious for using a stick to discipline his monks; and also using them as stormtroopers to demolish pagan temples.

Here is the text, with a learned introduction as ever:

It is very nice to have this material online in English.  Shenoute lived at a critical junction between the Roman and Byzantine world, and his works give a clear insight into the period of change.

 

Francesca Tronchin (Classical Archaeology News)

British Museum unveils long-lost bronze sculpture in ancient Greek art show

British Museum unveils long-lost bronze sculpture in ancient Greek art show:

archaeologicalnews:

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Among the surprises in the British Museum’s exhibition on Greek sculpture is an important early 20th century bronze copy which most archaeologists assumed had been destroyed during the Second World War. It is a reconstruction of the famous Doryphorus (spear-bearer), made in around 1920 by…