Maia Atlantis: Ancient World Blogs

Tom Elliott (

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July 04, 2015

Peter Tompa (Cultural Property Observer)

Tabloid Journalism Alert: An Archaeologist Patrols the Market

The Guardian Newspaper reports on what an UCL archaeologist saw when he walked around antiquities stores in London.  And what did he find?  Well, the same kinds of small antiquities from the Middle East that have been sold there for generations.

Yet, now in some academic circles they are called "blood antiquities."  This, of course, provides the perfect excuse for the usual suspects to declaim on the supposed evils of the antiquities trade and try to justify a major change in our great Anglo-American legal traditions that presumes innocence rather than guilt-- something to think about on this Independence Day.

There is even an image of that that infamous coin struck in Apamea millenia ago.   Though the Guardian quoted archaeo-blogger Sam Hardy, it evidently did not bother to check Hardy's blog that raised serious questions about whether the coin is as advertised out of a war zone.

More tabloid journalism at its worst.

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Jubilee Capitalism


PZ Myers shared the cartoon above. It struck me as reflecting on it that there is an interesting convergence between the radical egalitarian meritocracy talked about in the comic, and the vision of the Jubilee law in the Bible. The Jubilee law required that once a generation, land would revert to its original owner. The possibility of accumulating wealth infinitely and indefinitely was eliminated, and the recuperation of land meant that the children or grandchildren those who had fallen into poverty had another chance to start with a clean slate.

It is just as noteworthy that conservative voices in our time do not call for the application of Biblical economic models such as the Jubilee law, any more than they desire to really have an economy which genuinely reflects the conviction that no one should have what they did not earn, and that if people start on a level playing field of genuinely equal opportunity, then their success or failure will be what they deserve.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Glasgow Scholar: "No Proof ISIL Sells in UK"

Dr Donna Yates reckons:
Seriously, y’all, no matter what a salacious Guardian headline says, linking antiquities on the UK market to IS at the moment is impossible.

well, I reckon that if these dealers have licit stuff from the area that they bought after ascertaining that they were not, they'd say so. The fact they don't can be interpreted two ways, either the stuff is, or they don't give a tinkers whether it is or is not - which is tantamount to the same thing. Let's have a responsible antiquities trade seen to be being responsible (I do not think 'salacious' is the word Dr Yates meant to use).

Vignette: Salacious guardian

Martin Rundkvist (Aardvarchaeology)

Second Week of 2015 Excavations at Stensö Castle

Balancing available labour and a pre-decided excavation agenda against each other is not easy, particularly when you’re doing investigative peek-hole fieldwork on a site whose depth and complexity of stratification you don’t know much about. At Stensö we had two of three trenches and all five test pits backfilled in time for Wednesday lunch’s on-site hot dog barbecue. Ethan Aines, Terese Liberg and three students stayed on to finish trench F, while myself, Mats Eriksson and six students moved to our new base at Landsjö Manor.

Trenches D and E and the test pits produced no big news after my last report. Trench F inside the tower yielded a neat midden of bones and abundant large potsherds just below the stairwell. Ethan suggests that there may have been a few wooden steps here, providing a convenient spot under them to sweep trash. I’m itching to get the pottery cleaned, classified and dated. In fact, I’m itching to learn Medieval pottery in more detail. We also got a funny domed sheet copper lid that looks like it might belong to a pitcher or beer stein. It was partly encased in stalagmite, so we can’t see all of it yet.

Domed sheet copper lid, inside view, Stensö Castle

Domed sheet copper lid, inside view, Stensö Castle

I think I’ve finally figured out where the west reach of Stensö’s perimeter wall is, and why we found it in trench A but not in trenches B or E. Now that I’ve seen it I don’t know how I missed it. There’s a low but very wide strip of rubble all around the NW, W and SW sides of the southern tower, clearly separate from the tower and at such a distance (5-10 m) that the rubble can’t have originated with the tower itself. In parts this rubble strip has quite a high and steep outer face. I’m pretty sure this is the robbed-out remains of the perimeter wall. I’ve planned it now but I didn’t have the foresight to apply for a permit to section it.

On Thursday the Trench F Five worked two hours’ overtime backfilling while getting fried by the sun inside the roofless tower. They must have been exhausted. I told them by phone to hit the pizza place afterwards, have a sleep-in and get their stuff packed up in a leisurely good time. When they arrived at Landsjö on Friday afternoon they were in good shape. By this time we had also been joined again by our excellent friend from the Kimstad Historical Society, Curt Andersson. On Monday I expect another friend to join, so there will be fifteen of us.

We need another boat! Because that’s how Landsjö Castle on its semi-landlocked islet is most conveniently reached. We’re digging three trenches at Landsjö: trench F inside the NW tower, trench G across the assumed line of the missing SE reach of perimeter wall (I have a new-found appreciation for why Victorian antiquarians always had their workmen follow walls around), and trench H on the odd rubble mound separated from the castle by a dry moat. Superficially it shows a quarry pit and the remains of a big badger sett, but I reckon there’s probably a gate tower under there as well.

Misty summer evening lit by the full moon at our lodgings at Smedstorp

Misty summer evening lit by the full moon at our lodgings at Smedstorp

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Ancient 'mummy' unearthed from 'lost medieval civilisation' near Arctic, claim scientists

The expected but as yet unopened human remains are wrapped in birch bark and it is likely that this...

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

Some notes on the commentary on the psalms by Asterius the Sophist

This morning a Greek text of the remains of Asterius the Sophist’s Commentary on the Psalms came into my hands.[1]  The editor’s preface is quite interesting on this obscure writer, and I thought that I would transcribe a few remarks from it.

But who was this fellow?  Asterius was a pupil of Lucian of Antioch, but during the Great Persecution, led by Maximinus Daia, Lucian was martyred, and Asterius agreed to sacrifice to the pagan gods.  He was never ordained, in consequence, but after the Council of Nicaea, he seems to have come to support the Arian party.[2]  In consequence he wrote a booklet, the Syntagmation, promoting Arian ideas and circulated it industriously.[3]  He also wrote a now-lost refutation of Marcellus of Ancyra, who defended the Nicene definition ineptly, plus some commentaries, of which only material on the Psalms has been recovered.   He died around 341 AD.

Jerome thought him important enough to be listed in his De viris illustribus as follows:

He wrote during the reign of Constantius commentaries on the Epistle to the Romans, on the Gospels and on the Psalms and also many other works which are diligently read by those of his party

In Letter 112:20 Jerome adds that Asterius of the Sophist was one of the writers known to him who had written a commentary on all of the psalms.

Marcel Richard discovered that there are considerable remains of this commentary in the catena of type VI on Psalms 1-50.  This catena was composed in Palestine in the 6th century, and the selections from Asterius cover various verses of Ps. 1, 4-7, 10, 14-20, 34, 36 and 38.

In addition, in many of the manuscripts which transmit to us the homilies of John Chrysostom on the psalms, there is also a collection – in whole or in part – of 31 homilies on the psalms which are clearly not by Chrysostom.  Excerpts from some of these homilies also appear in the catena type VI, and are there labelled as being by Asterius the Arian.  There seems no pressing reason to reject the identification made by the catenist to seven of these homilies.  The homilies show no sign of Arian ideas, and doubtless belong to the ante-Nicene phase of Asterius’ life.  Other homilies in the same collection fit less well with Asterius, but Richard thought it best to edit the whole collection, plus the catena fragments, and let others decide which homilies were authentic.  In his edition, which follows the order of the manuscripts, homilies 4 and 5 (on Ps.4), homily 6 (on Ps.5), homily 12 (on Ps. 6), homily 13 (on Ps. 7), homily 19 (on Ps. 10), and homily 29 (on Ps.18) are definitely authentic.  Richard suggested that homily 10 may be by Origen; while homily 22 perhaps from an Apollinarist writer, while he notes that 26 actually attacks Arius and Eunomius; but his co-worker made a case that all the homilies are Asterian, and the attack is merely an ancient interpolation.

A number of the homilies are plainly intended for delivery as panegyrics on the eight days of Easter.  These are homilies 8, 9, 11, 14-16, 22, 30, and 31.

Asterius was an orator, and his style is “very exuberant”.  Richard suggests that, among the uncounted mass of pseudo-Chrysostomica, there are probably further examples of his style, perhaps in material on Romans, or on the Gospels.

The manuscripts of the collection mentioned by Richard are as follows:

A = Athos Magna Laura Θ 210, 17th century (Richard thinks 14-15), paper.  Complete, but missing homilies 1-2 and first part of 3.  The only witness to homilies 30 and 31, and the last few folios of 31 are lost because of damage to the manuscript.  The ms. has suffered from damp at the top, affecting the first 3 lines of the text.  The text contained in it is of good quality.

B = Paris suppl. gr. 266, f. 93-155v, 17-18th century.  The Greek text is followed by a Latin version of homilies 4-18, and 20:7-23:5.  Referred to by Montfaucon as “my manuscript, copied at the Escorial”.  It seems to be a copy of a manuscript with Latin material, made by a certain Fr Gabriel of St Jerome, which itself was copied from ms. Scorialensis I.Δ.11 (previously II.K.13), destroyed in the fire of 1671.  The Escorial ms. contained homilies of Chrysostom, and homilies 1-29 of this collection, and was “very ancient” according to surviving descriptions.

This Fr. Gabriel belonged to the monastery of the Escorial.  He intended to publish an edition of unpublished works of Chrysostom preserved in the mss of the Escorial, and submitted his work to the printer Cotelier.  The submitted text was in two parts; the first containing 23 homilies on the psalms, while the other contained the remaining 4 homilies, plus a commentary on Daniel.  However Cotelier was interested only in the second part, which he had purchased by Colbert, and published in 1661.  The manuscript of Fr Gabriel’s second part passed into the Bibliotheque Nationale, where it is today Ms. Paris gr. 659.  None of this material is related to our collection.

The manuscript of the first part contained 23 of the 27 homilies from Scorialensis I.Δ.11.  The Escorial ms. in fact contained still more homilies; but Fr Gabriel was naturally interested only in material which was unpublished.  Consequently he omitted the authentic homilies of Chrysostom on Ps.4-12, and also the Asterian homilies 1-3 and 25-27, because these 6 homilies were translated into Latin and printed in that form by G. Hervet, in 1549, and so were frequently reprinted with other translations of Chrysostom.

The manuscript of Fr. Gabriel’s edition ended up in Rome, where Montfaucon saw it, and made a copy.  Richard was unable to locate Fr. Gabriel’s manuscript in Rome, but Montfaucon’s copy was found at the BNF by R.P.A. Wenger, and Richard inspected it the very next morning!  The ms. is unbound, and has lost folios from the front.  But the text in it is important.

P = Paris gr. 654, a luxury manuscript from the second half of the 10th century.  It contains the end of homily 1 and homilies 2-18.  A couple of folios were lost from the front before the 13th century. The current first folio is a 13th century leaf, a palimpsest, which contains the whole of homily 1, but copied from another manuscript.  This leaf is labelled Q.

V = Vatican gr. 524, 11th century.  It only contains homilies 12-22, 25, 26-27, and 28.

C = Caesenatensis Malatestianus Plut. D XXVIII, 2.  Copied by a monk named Leo who finished on 4 September 1027.  Parchment.  Homilies 1-3, 25-27.

The 5 other manuscripts listed by Richard only contain selected homilies.  Interestingly, some of these come via copies of a manuscript once annotated by Photius.  There are also 4 mss which are only copies of other manuscripts, and 1 which is a copy of the text in Savile’s edition.  Richard also discusses the catena fragments.

The early editions naturally reflect the manuscripts.  I will only give selected details here, but Richard details the lot.

G. Hervet, D. Ioannis Chrysostomi vere aureae in psalmos homiliae…, Venice, 1549, prints a Latin translation of homilies 1-3 and 25-27, made from Ms. Vat. Ottob. 95, itself a copy of C.  This was reprinted at Anvers in 1552 and 1582, and then in all the general Latin editions Chrysostom from that of Venice, 1549, until that of Anvers in 1614.

Henry Savile’s 1612 edition of Chrysostom also included the first Greek edition of homilies 3 and 5 (in vol. 8, 1, and vol. 7, 431).  These he based on various late copies.

Homilies 6-13 were first printed with a Latin translation by J.B. Cotelier in Ecclesiae Graecae Monumenta, vol. 2, Paris, 1681, p.1-81.

Montfaucon’s edition of Chrysostom includes 3, 5 and 25, based on preceding editions, somewhat corrected.

The Patrologia Graeca reprinted Cotelier as vol. 40, col. 389-477, and Montfaucon in vol. 55, col. 35-39 (hom. 3), 539-544 (hom. 5), and 549-558 (hom. 25).

There was then no interest until Richard and Skard started work in 1949.  Richard also lists editions of the catena fragments, and a mess they are too.

My own interest in all this is concerned with homily 21, and its mention of Matt.27:25.  Sadly it looks as if it is neither Asterian, nor published other than by Richard in Greek (without a translation of any sort!)

  1. [1] Asterii Sophistae.  Commentariorum in Psalmos quae supersunt. Accedunt aliquot homiliae anonymae. Ed. Marcel Richard. In: Symbolae Osloenses fasc. suppl. 16, Oslo: Brogger, 1956. P.3-245.
  2. [2] Indications to this effect may be found in Philostorgius, HE, book 2, 15; and book 4, 4; so Richard, p.iii.
  3. [3] Athanasius, De synodis 18, and De decret. 8.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Archaeologists uncover new finds at historic Jamestown

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Hidden history revealed in Ermenek

Best known for coal, the ground beneath the southern Anatolian district of Ermenek is continuing to...

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Turkey Blamed for Syrian Antiquities Drain

Moscow's "Sputnik" is reporting "Turkey Not Cooperating With Syria on Returning Smuggled Artefacts" which will no doubt please the lobbyists for the international cabal of antiquity dealers who do not want to see items repatriated to Syria while there is a civil war going on.
Ankara [has] refused to cooperate with Damascus on returning of ancient artifacts smuggled by the Islamic State (IS) militant group from Syria through Turkey, the head of Syria's Directorate-General for Antiquities and Museums (DGAM) told Sputnik on Friday. According to Maamun Abdel Karim, statues, paintings, artifacts and ancient mosaics stolen from Syria have repeatedly been found on sale on the open market in the Turkish city of Gaziantep since the way for stolen in northern Syria ancient values lies through uncontrolled border with Turkey.
The official called on the international community to help Syria in returning the objects that had already been smuggled to Europe, North America and the Gulf states. So far the dealers are resisting, basically by pretending the problem does not exist, and if it does, it is not their fault ("It wasn't me miss"), and if forced to go dangerously close to admitting it is, to trot out a Two Wrongs argument ("but Bazza does it too miss, but you don't tell him off").

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Happy Independence Day!

For this 4th of July, I thought I would repost something I wrote on this occasion in 2008:

It is the 4th of July, and in the United States, we often find people mixing Christianity and nationalism in ways that are at best ironic, and at times downright contradictory. The 4th of July is thus an appropriate day for reflection on Christianity, nationalism, and what might have been different had the colonies in the New World not fought for their independence.

First, we should remember the ways that Jesus challenged the nationalism of his time. There has been some interesting discussion of Bible translation in the blogospherelately. If we’re going to translate so as to make the meaning intelligible to any reader in a language today, then we have to effectively translate the impact of the story or saying, and the shock it would have caused to its original hearers.

I wonder how many American Christians would value their Bibles as highly as they do now in theory, if they contained such dynamically equivalent translations, and said things like “Many will come from Iraq and Afghanistan and take their place in the kingdom of God, while many Americans will be cast out.” Ouch!

We also need to remember that today we celebrate our declaring our independence from a “Christian empire”, and our independence surely contributed to the weakening and downfall of that empire. With the wealth and potential for expansion that ended up in the hands of the United States rather than Britain, presumably England’s empire would have remained powerful for much longer. Its holdings also included the Middle East, and so all those lines that the British drew when they withdrew, creating nation-states that separated people who wanted to be together and lumped together people who wanted to be separate, would perhaps not be there even today.

Where would the Baptists and others who valued religious freedom have fled to?

Without this loss of prominence and dominance, would the Church of England have become such a broad tradition with such a progressive outlook in at least some quarters, ordaining women and eventually even homosexuals?

If the “United States” had remained part of this “Christian empire”, then rather than celebrating our independence today, there might be many groups, including Christian groups, hoping and praying and perhaps even fighting for their independence from us.

Think about it… and remember, if we don’t use our independence wisely, Alan Baxter, John Cleese and/or the Queen might still revoke it

Have a happy 4th of July!

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

From my diary

I am still collecting references to Matthew 27:25 in the fathers, and still encountering interesting and unusual texts that are unfamiliar to me.  The major chunk of material still in my hands is a bunch of references in the commentaries of St Jerome, and a library visit is going to be necessary to finish them up.

Another project of mine has sprung back into life this week.  I’ve wanted to do something about Methodius of Olympus for a while.  I was resigned to paying for translations from Russian; but I was never very happy about that.  Rather to my surprise, a kindly colleague has found for me a gentleman who knows Old Slavonic!

Today I have agreed with him to translate into English some of the works of Methodius of Olympus, found only in that language.  Thankfully there are a couple of manuscripts online, and he is able to work from these.  For the text itself has never been published.  The text is rather corrupt, apparently, but probably as a result of some earlier accident.

The sample of the first page of one of them arrived today, and looks excellent.  Unless there are any mishaps, I am confident that we’ll get at least one work of Methodius online from this.

Working with anyone that you haven’t worked with before always involves a settling-in period.  He doesn’t know my quirks, copious as they are, and I don’t know his.  But it usually works out OK with goodwill on both sides.

Mind you, I still cherish the memory of one chap who withdrew in a fit of political correctness almost before we started.  I had explained to him that I’d want to see a sample page of translation without obligation, because of a bad experience in the past with some Lebanese translators.  They’d produced gibberish, which I felt obliged to pay for, but was unusable.   This apparently was a major solecism.  He informed me that I shouldn’t have said that they were Lebanese – he didn’t say why – and he threw all his toys out of the cot, refused to proceed, and never corresponded with me again.  That the project was of benefit to the world was of less importance than ideology, I fear.

I tend to look for a couple of things in every translation that I’m involved with.

Firstly, the result must always mean something in English.  There should never be any doubt, in my opinion, what the translator thought the author was saying, and that something should be in the translation.  This principle protects one against producing gibberish, which is always a risk when a translation becomes too literal.  I feel that one should never shy away from paraphrasing when the alternative is unintelligible, but always include a footnote.  The footnote preserves us both from the carping reviewer, of course.

Secondly, I think we ought to remember that, in these days of the internet, material in English may be read by those for whom it is a second language, or indeed only barely so.  There’s several billion people out there, who might potentially wish to read what the author had to say.  Let them do so!  But we can effectually stop this, if we use obscure or archaic language.  In particular the “language of Zion” is a chancy business: in some ways, it can be a universal language.  In other times, it can be a complete barrier.

The influence of the Authorised Version of the Bible lives on.  Most of us at some time have struggled with some translation of a patristic author, and found ourselves mentally retranslating each sentence out of stilted wording into the English we would actually use, simply so that we can work out what is being said.

I’m not intending to commission any other projects at the moment, as my industry is in the doldrums right now.  But I still have various Greek and Latin texts that I want to do.  There are still more texts about Nicholas of Myra to attack.  I’d like to get a work against the Jews by Maximinus the Arian into English.  But for now, let’s concentrate on Methodius.

Dorothy King (PhDiva)

Benedict Arnold Plaque, London

It's become a family tradition to take visiting relatives to the Benedict Arnold plaque, and snap a photo of them in front of it ...

62 Gloucester Place, London W1U 8HW  - map

I want to know more ... -»

Jim Davila (

Review of Zellentin, The Qur’an’s Legal Culture

MARGINALIA REVIEW OF BOOKS: The Ancient Origins of Qur’anic Laws – By Emran El-Badawi.
Are the origins of the Qur’an’s laws and rituals traceable to a single ancient community of Jewish-Christians? Although long debated, this controversial yet hugely important question receives the expert analysis of Holger Zellentin, The Qur’an’s Legal Culture: The Didascalia Apostolorum as a Point of Departure.
The review concludes:
The Qur’an’s Legal Culture is an elegant and exciting read on an otherwise dense and highly complex subject. Zellentin ties in qur’anic laws with Jewish customs and Christian texts. In doing so, he allows the reader to understand the Qur’an in textual rather than political terms, and to locate the text at the very center rather than the periphery of western civilization.

Antiquity Now

AntiquityNOW Wishes You a Happy and Safe Fourth of July!

Planning on enjoying fireworks? Read our blog post, “The History of Fireworks: Celebrating Life’s Moments in Color, Light and Sound,” to learn more about the history of fireworks! Or, if you have kids or students, check out our annotated Kids’ Blog, “Boom! … Continue reading

Jim Davila (

Have the Essenes been marginalized?

On Jesus, the Essenes, and the Anxiety of Influence

By Simon J. Joseph
California Lutheran University
June 2015
A brief and evidently programmatic essay. Regarding this:
Although the work of The Enoch Seminar challenges and expands the definition of the “Essenic/Enochic” movement, it seems that today, with few notable exceptions, the “Essenes” continue to be marginalized in biblical scholarship – often demoted from being a powerful socio-political force within first-century Judaism to being the isolated, misanthropic, and ultra-legalistic recluses of “the Qumran community” or the literary-ideological fantasies of Josephus, Philo, and Pliny.
I am always pleased to see the Enoch Seminar getting good press, but I would like to see Professor Joseph's characterization of current Qumran scholarship, as well as his arguments for the positive case he assumes about the Essenes, argued in greater detail. It would have been helpful also if he had named some names and specific works. But presumably he does this in some of his own published work, which he highlights in the first paragraph of the essay.

Nordic PhD trip to Rome

LIV INGEBORG LIED: NNJCI excursion to Rome. A travel seminar on "Judaism and Christianity in Rome in the first millennium" for PhD students, organized by the Nordic PhD network NNJCI in October. Looks like fun.

Review of McKenzie et al., The Nabataean Temple at Khirbet et-Tannur, Jordan, vol. 1

Judith S. McKenzie et al. , The Nabataean Temple at Khirbet et-Tannur, Jordan. Volume 1: Architecture and Religion. Volume 2: Cultic Offerings, Vessels, and Other Specialist Reports. Final Report on Nelson Glueck's 1937 Excavation. Annual of the American Schools of Oriental Research, 67-68. Boston: American Schools of Oriental Research, in collaboration with Manar al-Athar, University of Oxford, 2013. Pp. xxvii, 340; xx, 329 . ISBN 9780897570350; 9780897570367. $89.95; $89.95.

Reviewed by Laïla Nehmé, CNRS–UMR8167, Paris (

These two volumes form the long-awaited publication of the excavations undertaken at Khirbet et-Tannur, in southern Jordan, in 1937 by Nelson Glueck, then the director of the American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem, supported by a team of archaeologists, architects, draftsmen and photographers. These excavations were never fully published because of the delay imposed by World War II and due to Glueck’s busy career, particularly, from 1947 onwards, as president of the Cincinnati Hebrew Union College.

Cross-file under Nabatean (Nabataean) Watch.

Per Lineam Valli

96. How much did Hadrian’s Wall weigh?

This is a fairly meaningless question, except as an indication of how much material the Roman army would have had to acquire, move, and assemble. Assuming a volume of 10m³ for a metre of curtain wall (including parapet and consisting of dressed sandstone facing, rubble core, and lime mortar), and a mass of 20 tonnes for the requisite amount of stone and mortar, the curtain wall alone would have weighed in the order of 2.4 million tonnes over its 119km. With turrets, milecastles, and forts added in, this would probably come closer to 3 million tonnes.

Further reading: Hill 2006

Jim Davila (

July 4th, 2015

HAPPY AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY to all those celebrating!

Tangentially related: Hebrew word of the week: Artsot ha-brit (The United States) (Yona Sabar).

Dorothy King (PhDiva)

Happy 4th of July!

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Antiquities Dealers' Lobbying

From correspondence: 
"They are not paying him for accuracy,  just overall disruptive effect".
Guess the context of this discussion of a timewaster. 

Friday retrospect: Four Years of Aggro for Asking "Where Are these Artefacts Now?"

Veteran metal detectorist Dick Stout expresses his 'anger' on Peter Tompa's blog that, four years ago, I asked a question about a photo from the end of the 1970s early 1980s which I found on his blog. The photo shows coin folders full of artefacts, a heap of loose artefacts on the living room floor. Since he objects to my using it here, even for legitmate comment, review and criticism, I'll just use an artist's impression. The original is here.

A metal detectorist and his private cache of historical artefacts heaped loose on the floor.

The question is a simple one, what happens to these heaps of loose artefacts when a collector passes away or loses interest in them? Mr Stout was so "insulted" by this question that he has conducted a vendetta against me and my blog and associates for the past four years, with hardly a week going by without some insulting post or other.  The question however remains. What are the net gains and losses to the finite historical record represented by this heap of artefacts with very little evidence that they can be associated with any findspot? Multiply that by ten thousand detectorists in a region and draw your own conclusions why there is concern about the effects of this hobby. Here is the original post that the over-sensitive (methinks) Mr Stout claims he found so "insulting". Maybe when the metal detectorist  grows up he'll take another look and begin to reflect on the implications himself:

Monday, 16 January 2012

Focus on Metal Detecting: Where are these Artefacts Now?

Recently posted on the Stout Standards anti-preservationist metal detecting blog of US metal detectorist Dick Stout there is a photo of somewhat dated living room decor and heaps of metal detected artefacts from the "late 70's, early 80's". It shows US metal detectorist Archie Ray "with a few of his finds". The photo was captioned "Back then you had to have a photo like that taken. We all did". It shows Mr Ray crouching on the floor in front of several piles of corroded metal artefacts, to the left are some projectiles dug up on some historic battlefield no doubt, right across the foreground is a row of shallow display cases and folders of coin sheets, on the right of the photo  is another row of display cases chock-full of artefacts. That single photograph shows several thousand artefacts dug up by Mr Ray in the course of the (first part of) his detecting 'career'. One wonders just what the point was of digging that many artefacts out of the historic record, what that collector did with them all except heap them as trophies on his living room carpet?

So if every metal detectorist in the late 1970s and 1980s had a comparable collection, and tens of thousands of metal detectorists since then have each been accumulating collections of similar sized for the last three decades, then it may be imagined the scale and rate at which the historical record is being eroded wherever this damaging hobby is practised. As the older generation of artefact hunters pass away, where do all those finds end up? On ebay, in museums, or in a skip? Oddly enough I cannot see the big pile of notebooks or index cards or whatever Mr Ray would have needed to document the findspot of all those artefacts. Perhaps they are behind the photographer. The historical resource is a finite resource, the more and more past and current generations of self-centres collectors take away, the less there is left for future generations to enjoy.

Laura Gibbs (Bestiaria Latina Blog)

Special Edition: July 4

For today's special edition, I decided to select some Latin sayings about liberty, along with some cats who know the value of being free, not slaves.

Libertas optima rerum.
Freedom is the best thing.

Sine iustitia nulla libertas.
Without justice there is no freedom.

Fac sapias et liber eris.
Get wise and you will be free.

In libertate labor.
In freedom, there is work.

Nemo nisi sapiens liber est.
No one, unless he is wise, is free.

Vigilia pretium libertatis.
Vigilance is the price of freedom.

Nemo liber est qui corpori servit.
No one is free who is a slave to the body.

O nomen dulce libertatis!
O sweet name of liberty!

Ubi libertas, ibi patria.
Where I am free, there is my homeland.

Quam dulcis libertas!
How sweet freedom is!

In libris libertas.
In books there is freedom.

Nolite fieri servi hominum.
Become not servants of men.

July 03, 2015

Ancient Art

The Temple of Bacchus at Baalbek, Lebanon, ca. 150 AD. This...

The Temple of Bacchus at Baalbek, Lebanon, ca. 150 AD. This stunning Roman temple, still very well preserved, is actually larger than the Parthenon of Athens.

Photos courtesy of Varun Shiv Kapur.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Monuments of Syria أوابد سورية: A Window on Syria's Past by Ross Burns

[First posted in AWOL 14 October 2012, updated 3 July 2015]
Monuments of Syria أوابد سورية: A Window on Syria's Past by Ross Burns
This website was initiated in mid-2011, shortly after Syria entered into one of the most tragic and agonising series of events in its long history. I wanted to find some way of keeping alive the memory of Syria’s extraordinarily diverse past while it remained largely closed to visitors due to the violence that has prevailed in much of the country. It remains to be seen what will emerge from these events but I hope that the memories outsiders have of its extraordinary people and their respect for and appreciation of their past, will strengthen as a result of this terrible experience.

And see also:

Monuments of Syria Photostream 
This Flickr site brings together a large number of photographs of archaeological sites in both Syria and Southeast Turkey. The site gives a sample of the archive of 70,000 photos taken over the last 40 years which [the author] hopes to make available to a wider audience. In case of further inquiries, a mailbox is available either through Flickr or here.

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Hundreds of Answers and Eighty-One Questions

Kevin DeYoung posted 40 questions on the Gospel Coalition website, aimed at Christians who support marriage equality. They are all the sort of thing you would expect from a conservative Christian website like The Gospel Coalition – and thus are things which most Christians who’ve thought about this issue will have already considered. A lot of people have responded. Here is a round-up of the ones I am aware of:

Susan Cottrell

Buzz Dixon

Kimberly Knight

Ben Irwin

R. L. Stollar

Aaron Porteous

Theology is Poetry

John Shore addressed some questions to DeYoung. Many of them are excellent:

What Bible verses led you to override your own innate moral sense?

Why do you think it’s okay to quote from the Bible without any reference to the context of that quote? (asked several times)

Do you think there’s anything unhealthy about the amount of time and energy you spend thinking and worrying about the “sexual sins” of others?

Each is a response to one of DeYoung’s questions – and so see DeYoung’s questions in bold here with Shore’s corresponding questions:

Do you think close family members should be allowed to get married? Do you think you should be a guest on The Jerry Springer Show?

Should marriage be limited to only two people? Should you replace Jerry on The Jerry Springer Show?

Does equality entail that anyone wanting to be married should be able to have any meaningful relationship defined as marriage? Do you think it’s acceptable to foster the persecution of an innocent sub-population by posing inflammatory and irrelevant questions as if those questions were thoughtful, legitimate, and pertinent?

Shore’s questions range from the serious to the sarcastic, but he adds some additional serious commentary, including the following:

DeYoung’s core premise informing every one of his questions is the same: Any Christian who affirms LGBT equality is sinning against God and destined for hell.

And this is exactly why DeYoung’s faux-humble questions are so loathsome: He’s flat-out (if ever-so-subtly) bullying Christians who have changed their minds, or are considering changing their minds, on the issue homosexuality. He knows his audience; he knows who reads The Gospel Coalition, where he blogs. He knows that many of his readers are right now questioning the idea that homosexuality is a sin. And he knows how emotionally vulnerable that kind of questioning can make people who were raised amidst the same brand of toxic Christianity that he makes his living selling.

Matthew Vines likewise responded with 40 questions of his own, highlighting how it is often presumed that only those whose viewpoint is not traditional need to defend their stance. Alise at Knitting Soul only had one question – but with some commentary that is worth quoting:

But here’s the question I’ve been afraid to ask of the people who claim to speak for God for a long time.

When are you going to listen to the answers to your questions?

It takes a lot of arrogance to ask people who have been marginalized for much of history to prove that they don’t deserve that marginalization.

It takes a lot of arrogance to require people in loving, consensual relationships to prove that they aren’t like people who prey on the weak and abused.

It takes a lot of arrogance to assume that people who have waited centuries to enjoy the same protections under the law need to “slow down and think about the flag (they’re) flying.”

It takes a lot of arrogance to ask people who live every day with fear of losing their jobs, losing their families, losing their churches to promise that they won’t be mad at people who support laws and practices that encourage those things.

It takes a lot of arrogance to set yourself up as a martyr when your words have caused parents to turn their children out on the street, when your words have driven people to suicide.

My friends don’t have to answer your questions. I don’t have to answer your questions. They’ve been answered, over and over and over again.

If you don’t want to listen to why we’re waving the flag, that’s your business. But until you’re willing to answer why you won’t listen, I’m done answering your questions.

With all that, I’m not sure that there is any point in writing my own answers – especially since I don’t share the assumption of the Gospel Coalition that “verses” and “passages” are the definitive way that matters ought to get settled.

Have I missed any other blog posts or articles which answer the questions?




Andrew West (Babelstone)

Ode to the Tangut Tripitaka : Part 1

Acknowledgements This two-part post is based on a presentation I gave for the Tangut workshop at Cambridge University in September 2014. I would like to express my gratitude to Imre Galambos for organizing the event, and for the helpful comments and suggestions made by Imre, Nathan Hill, Guillaume Jacques and the other participants that enabled me to develop the talk into its current form. I

Kristina Killgrove (Powered by Osteons)

Roman Bioarchaeology Carnival LXXIII

There was a lot going on in the month of June, but with surprisingly few pictures, so here is a quick summary:

New Finds
The grave in Ethiopia where the woman dubbed
‘Sleeping Beauty’ was discovered.
Photograph: Graeme Laidlaw

  • 11 June - "Sarcophagus found in sand pit," in Turkey, via Hurriyet Daily News. Seems to date to the 2nd-3rd century AD and includes two people, a male and a female. (Of course the report claims they're spouses.)
  • 22 June - "Ancient Greeks were afraid of zombies," via Discovery News. A 5th-3rd c BC site in Sicily has two odd tombs out of about 3,000. I don't know the context at all, but the description of the tombs (with heavy things placed on the bodies) doesn't seem all that exciting. But there's a "revenant" article I keep meaning to read and write about... 
  • June - "Osmanskata Mogila Tumulus." Publication of a very brief abstract of finds from 2010 of six cremation pyres from the 3rd-4th centuries AD in Bulgaria. via FASTI Online.

Other Interesting Stuff

  • 17 June - "Did ebola strike ancient Athens?" via LiveScience.  I wrote a tl;dr "No" post on this, though I will admit I did no research.  When a new harebrained theory doesn't even bother to mention an ancient DNA study claiming it was typhoid fever, I'm probably going to dismiss the new theory. (Also, I emailed the article author, whose answer for excluding the DNA study was "I couldn't cite everything."  Mm hm.)

Archaeological News on Tumblr

ISIL Takfiris destroy iconic statue outside Palmyra museum

Members of the ISIL Takfiri militant group have destroyed a renowned statue of a lion outside the...

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Numismatology or "numismatics"?

sorting, sorting...
David Welsh, an engineer turned coin dealer, reckons he is by that dint a "professional numismatist". He presumes imperiously to demand that  others provide him and his guffawing collecting mates with their "curriculum vitae or resume [...] regarding his education, professional experience, political philosophy and motives". This they say is "essential" for ethical use of social media. When I questioned this notion, he protests: " Mr. Barford confuses "academically qualified" with "professional". On the other hand, is not demanding to know details of somebody's "education" in the case of an archaeologist really is tantamount to determining whether they are academically qualified to do the job? He then switches the question to how one "makes a living", whereby proving one is "professional" to the satisfaction of Mr Welsh, means providing a financial statement of earnings from various activities, which seems to me to be going much too far. What is the matter with these people? 

Anyway, just what do we mean by "numismatist/numismatics"? The context of this rather pointless exchange  - which he initiated - between me and a US shopkeeper is the (weak, IMO) "justification" offered for the Black Hat Militants of the collecting world opposing the implementation by the US of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property in the case of dugup ancient coins. That is presented primarily in terms of the suggestion (never documented) that to prevent illicitly exported coins entering the US would hit the ability of hundreds of amateur numismatists to use them as a source of evidence in their study of the past. A catchy slogan, maybe, but what is behind it?

The problem is that there seem to be two meanings to the word numismatics, which leads to imprecision in formulation of what it is we are discussing. To me, if we are to treat "numismatics" as a discipline which leads to understanding the past, it has to be treated as a discipline with a methodology which allows that and any interpretations based on it to be interrogated in the normal manner. And that is how I know it at first hand, from my own university studies (a course and seminar series as well as other reading and teaching and practice) and later collaboration professionally with numismatists in the Academy here in Poland.

The problem is that elsewhere, and in the US particularly (but not exclusively) mere coin collecting is also called "numismatics". Dealer Dave Welsh wants coin selling to also be called "numismatics". I suppose a parallel would be stamp collecting which its practitioners call "philately". But just using a catalogue to put rectangles of paper with colourful pictures of butterflies (or round pieces of metal with blurred pictures of Roman emperors) in order in an album/coin folder or tray is not really any kind of "study" and any "methodology" of this kind of ordering is the most primitive. This is why I have many times requested that these "heap-of-loose-coins-on-a-table-numismatists" who want to claim privileges from the US State Department and the indulge of the rest of us stakeholders, demonstrate the nature of this form of 'study of the past' by detailing (or even outlining) the methodology of their discipline - apparently to the great annoyance of those who consider themselves such "numismatists", but have no answer to even such a basic question.

Let's have a look at some of the claims made for coin collecting as such a form of study and a few other easily accessible definitions:
"import restrictions will certainly impact the American public’s ability to study and preserve historical coins" (here too).

"import restrictions may destroy the traditional freedom Americans have always enjoyed in being able to import and collect historical coins, damaging the study and appreciation of these fascinating coins [...] collecting helps preserve the past and encourages the appreciation of other cultures".

 "Jared Clark wrote [...] These restrictions will negatively impact my studies as a student",

 Witschonke: "Historically, there was often a close cooperation among dealers, collectors, and scholars who wished to study ancient coins to advance numismatic knowledge" (making clear that dealers are not themselves scholars who advance numismatic knowledge, they are just suppliers).

Tompa: "Such a sea change in coin collecting would be devastating not only for most collectors and dealers, but to numismatics itself. Access to coins is essential for numismatics to thrive" (again the notion that a discipline "numismatics' exists independedntly of mere collecting and commerce).

ACCG: "a few dedicated archaeologist-numismatists do care about coins and have used them to make important contributions to the study of numismatics," (numismatics as a discipline)

“the longstanding interests of collectors in the preservation, study, display and enjoyment of cultural artifacts against an ‘archaeology over all’ perspective.”

Susan Headley, "Numismatics is the scientific analysis and study of money and the uses to which people have put money throughout history".

ANS: "Numismatics is the study of coins and money, of coins and coin-like objects. The value of coins as historical evidence was understood even in antiquity, but the systematic development of the study of coins as a proper discipline, with a methodology of its own, began only in the late eighteenth century with the work of Joseph Hilarius Eckhel, an Austrian priest whose Doctrina Numorum Veterum (Vienna, 1793-1799)

Numismatology[...] " n. 1. The science which treats of coins and medals, in their relation to history; numismatics".

Coiney Favourite Wikipedia: "Die Numismatik [...] ist die wissenschaftliche Beschäftigung mit Geld und seiner Geschichte [...] eine hochspezialisierte historische und archäologische Teildisziplin".

Wikipedia: "eine eigentliche Fundmünzennumismatik herausgebildet, die heute den dynamischsten und methodisch innovativsten Teil des Fachs bildet",

Wisconsin GOP: "WHEREAS, we believe along with Ronald Reagan, “that coin collecting has educational and cultural value, promotes greater understanding of our history and heritage, and is enjoyed by millions of Americans,”  [...] we oppose the claims of those who say: [...] (c) only foreign states and their favored academics should have the right to preserve, protect and study the past" (in other words they promote US public participation in this study).
So, what is it to be? Only the most crass philistines among the Black Hat guys of the coin dealing world would deny that the removal of ancient coins from their context and throwing away the information about that context ('oops I lost all the papers/) destroys the ability to use them as a source of information by those disciplines in which that context is paramount (archaeology, contextual numismatics/ Fundmünzennumismatik). Is 'heap-of-coin-on-a-table' numismatics always the socially useful (in some way) methodological means to study material evidence to obtain a picture of the past, or is it just the collection of a lot of loose pretty objects like so many stamps depicting butterflies as the inspiration of the emotions and imagination? If it is the former, then obviously we discuss it (and the numismatic trade) in different terms than the latter.

Mr Welsh provides his definition of the discipline:
A professional numismatist is one who is qualified by knowledge and experience to earn his living in the field of numismatics, either by dealing in coins or by writing about them.
That I guess is the same as saying that a professional electronic engineer is the guy in a radio shack shop who can correctly sort a pile of C23E-5W and C23E-12W connectors that have come to him mixed and put them in the correct drawers. Selling electronic components is not the same as the intellectual process of designing them and creating their technical specifications. A coinshop owner is not the same as a Professor Suchodolski, Kiersnowski, Gumowski, Burche, Reece or any others. It is presumptuous of Welsh to claim equivalence.

Who's Pulling the Journalists' Strings?

I spent several hours today sorting out what should have been a simple story. The first breaking news reports suggested that ISIL militants were just smashing some Palmyran busts for the hell of it - probably as propaganda suggesting they were steadfastly keeping to the paths of Koranic righteousness. Then the element appeared that this was "outside Palmyra Museum", and mentions were made of the Al-Alat lion being smashed a few days earlier. Most accounts in the media had the same erroneous information on this, accompanied by a quote from Maamoun Abdelkarim, Syrian antiquities minister. They were invariably also linked to comments from UNESCO's Bokova. Then one mentioned that "also on Thursday" ISIL had stopped a smuggler and tried him and destroyed his contraband. I began to have doubts about what the photos previously said to be taken in Palmyra showed. Then an additional version appeared when this was a failed 'monuments man' story (and a "baying crowd"). All the time though that lion was in it. I am beginning to suspect that behind all of these stories was a single badly-prepared press brief and that journalists had to improvise and that's why we get a whole range of different versions. What actually happened (or whether anything happened at all) will perhaps become clear later. At least one of the statues shown was [I think] a fake, which suggests rather that this involved smuggling rather than an artefact-rescuer. Who was behind this story appearing in the forms it did? Why were the faces blurred out?

Vignette: Manipulation of the press

What the International Antiquities Trade Does not Want You to Know....

“The industry runs on trust,” says Hardy. “By not
keeping any records, dealers make it easier for buyers
to convince themselves there is no evidence of any wrongdoing.”
That, in turn, makes it harder to enforce laws
 relating to the trade in stolen antiquities.
Here's an interesting piece of the sort of journalism we need more of. Actually going to some London dealers. Look what they found. When Mark Altaweel agreed to hunt for ‘blood antiquities’ in London dealerships, he was expecting more of a challenge. But as the archaeologist discovered, relics from the ruins of Palmyra and Nimrud are now on display in British shops – and so far no-one has worked out how to stop it. Mark Altaweel is surprised at how easy it is. A few hours into a hunt around London, the near-east specialist from the UCL Institute of Archaeology has uncovered objects that, he says, are “very likely to be coming from conflict regions” in Iraq and Syria. The items – pieces of early glass; a tiny statue; some fragments of bone inlay – range from the second to fourth centuries BC. Altaweel says they are so distinctive that they could only have come from a particular part of the region: the part now controlled by the so-called Islamic State. That we were able to find such items openly sold in London “tells you the scale – we’re just seeing the tail end of it,” he says. [...] 
Interestingly that eBay coin appears again, with a subtly changed caption. Could it be that the Guardian is actually goading that dealer (we all know who you are) to take THEM to court? That would be a very informative case. Go on Mr Bierman, go for it!

Rachel Shabi, ' Looted in Syria – and sold in London: the British antiques shops dealing in artefacts smuggled by Isis', the Guardian Friday 3 July 2015.

Archaeology Magazine

Kamikaze ShipwreckMATSURRA, JAPAN—The Asahi Shimbun reports that underwater archaeologists surveying the waters off the island of Takashima have located the remains a second shipwreck that was part of one of the two 13th-century Mongol invasions that were destroyed by the “divine wind” (Kamikaze) typhoons. Artifacts from the second invasion, in 1281, have been found around Takashima Island, and a vessel from that fleet was discovered in 2011. The recently discovered ship is estimated to have been 65 feet long and around 20 feet wide and was carrying 13th-century Chinese ceramics, as well as ironware that positively identified it as a ship belonging to one of the two doomed Mongol fleets. “We have successfully confirmed the two ships from the Mongolian invasion, and further research on them is expected to lead to the discovery of even more sunken Mongolian ships,” said University of the Ryukyus archaeologist Yoshifumi Ikeda. To read more about some of the most important underwater discoveries made by archaeologists, go to "History's 10 Greatest Wrecks."

Peter Tompa (Cultural Property Observer)

Archaeo-Blogger Acknowledges Assad Regime Involvement

In a long post, archaeo-blogger Sam Hardy has examined the involvement of the Assad regime in looting at Palmyra before the site fell into ISIS' hands.  He deserves kudos for doing so now given the unexplained relucatance of the archaeological lobby to criticize the Assad regime in the past.   Still, as always, caution is warranted given the untrustworthy nature of most media sources in the region upon which Hardy has relied for this and other blog posts he has made in the past.

Archaeology Magazine

Bobkitten Burial NecklaceSPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS—In the 1980s, archaeologists excavating a Hopewell Culture (ca. 100 B.C.–A.D. 400) burial mound 50 miles north of St. Louis found the remains of 22 adults buried in a ring around an infant. They also discovered the skeleton of a small animal, which they assumed was a puppy, buried with a necklace made of marine shells and bear teeth. The Hopewell people were known to bury dogs in village sites, so the discovery did not strike the team as unusual. But more recently, Max Planck Institute zooarchaeologist Angela Perri, a specialist in canine burials, examined the remains and made a startling discovery. "As soon as I saw the skull, I knew it was definitely not a puppy,” Perri told Science. “It was a cat of some kind.” She determined the remains belonged to a bobcat that was no more than seven months old when it died and found no marks on the bones that would suggest it had been sacrificed. “It shocked me to my toes,” says the Illinois State Archaeological Survey's Kenneth Farnsworth. “I’ve never seen anything like it in almost 70 excavated mounds. Somebody important must have convinced other members of the society that it must be done. I’d give anything to know why.” To read more about this period, go to "Who Were the Hopewell?"

Archaeological News on Tumblr

13th century Mongolian ship Kublai Khan sent to invade Japan found

Archaeologists have discovered the wreck of a Mongolian ship that was part of a fleet dispatched by...

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

No Adam, No Christ?

I was asked a question on Facebook, and thought I would share the answer I gave. Here’s the question:

I was hoping for a little clarification on how one might reconcile a non literal first Adam with Paul’s gospel. 

In Paul’s mind Christ is the “second Adam,” having succeeded where the “first Adam” failed. According to Paul, it is precisely because of the failure of the first that the second was required.

Can anyone point me in the right direction to help me resolve these complex theological challenges?

Here is what I wrote in response:

This is a great question. What I would note is that, if Adam in Genesis 2-3 is simply a symbolic depiction of what is typical of humanity in general, then the comparison still works just fine: Jesus succeeded where human beings in general failed, not just where one failed.
The contrast seems to me to be between two ways of being human, and just as being in Christ is not about being descended from Jesus, there is no obvious reason why being descended from Adam is crucial to the comparison.
I would also note that Paul plays fast and loose with the details in Genesis in order to make the contrast he does. If he were a literalist, he would have said “just as through two human beings sin entered the world…” The story as read literally is about a man and a woman who eat what they are not supposed to. Clearly Paul’s aim is not to stick to the details of Genesis as literal fact not to be tampered with, but to say something about Jesus.

See also a couple of older posts of mine on this topic - why Jesus and Paul were not literalists, and Genesis 2 is not literal (the Bible tells me so) - as well as one by Pete Enns.

Origen on Adam

Adam C. McCollum (hmmlorientalia)

Rabbula Gospels online!

I learned earlier this week from a tweet by Matthew Crawford (@mattrcrawford) that the Rabbula Gospels are freely available to view online in fairly high-quality images. This sixth-century manuscript (Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Plut. 1.56) is famous especially for its artwork at the beginning of the codex before, surrounding, and following the Eusebian canon tables, including both figures from biblical history and animals: prophets, Mary, Jesus, scenes from the Gospels (Judas is hanging from a tree on f. 12r), the evangelists, birds, deer, rabbits, &c. Beginning on f. 13r, the folios are strictly pictures, the canon tables having been completed. These paintings are very pleasing, but lovers of Syriac script have plenty to feast on, too. The main text itself is written in large Estrangela, with the colophon (f. 291v-292v) also in Estrangela but mostly of a much smaller size. Small notes about particular lections are often in small Serto. The manuscript also has several notes in Syriac, Arabic, and Garšūnī in various hands (see articles by Borbone and Mengozzi in the bibliography below). From f. 15v to f. 19r is an index lectionum in East Syriac script. The Gospel text itself begins on f. 20r with Mt 1:23 (that is, the very beginning of the Gospel is missing).

The images are found here. (The viewer is identical to the one that uses.)

Rabbula Gospels, f. 231r, from the story of Jesus' turning the water into wine, Jn 2.

Rabbula Gospels, f. 231r, from the story of Jesus’ turning the water into wine, Jn 2.

Rabbula Gospels, f. 5r. The servants filling the jugs with the water that will become wine.

Rabbula Gospels, f. 5r. The servants filling the jugs with the water that will become wine.

For those interested in studying this important manuscript beyond examining these now accessible images, here are a few resources:

Bernabò, Massimò, ed. Il Tetravangelo di Rabbula: Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Plut. 1.56. L’illustrazione del Nuovo Testamento nella Siria del VI secolo. Folia picta 1. Rome, 2008. A review here.

Bernabò, Massimò, “Miniature e decorazione,” pp. 79-112 in Il Tetravangelo di Rabbula.

Bernabò, Massimò, “The Miniatures in the Rabbula Gospels: Postscripta to a Recent Book,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 68 (2014): 343-358. Available here.

Borbone, Pier Giorgio, “Codicologia, paleografia, aspetti storici,” pp. 23-58 in Il Tetravangelo di Rabbula. Available here.

Borbone, Pier Giorgio, “Il Codice di Rabbula e i suoi compagni. Su alcuni manoscritti siriaci della Biblioteca medicea laurenziana (Mss. Pluteo 1.12; Pluteo 1.40; Pluteo 1.58),” Egitto e Vicino Oriente 32 (2009): 245-253. Available here.

Borbone, Pier Giorgio, “L’itinéraire du “Codex de Rabbula” selon ses notes marginales,” pp. 169-180 in F. Briquel-Chatonnet and M. Debié, eds., Sur les pas des Araméens chrétiens. Mélanges offerts à Alain Desreumaux. Paris, 2010. Available here.

Botte, Bernard, “Note sur l’Évangéliaire de Rabbula,” Revue des sciences religieuses 36 (1962): 13-26.

Cecchelli, Carlo, Giuseppe Furlani, and Mario Salmi, eds. The Rabbula Gospels: Facsimile Edition of the Miniatures of the Syriac Manuscript Plut. I, 56 in the Medicaean-Laurentian Library. Monumenta occidentis 1. Olten and Lausanne, 1959.

Leroy, Jules, “L’auteur des miniatures du manuscrit syriaque de Florence, Plut. I, 56, Codex Rabulensis,” Comptes-rendus des séances de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, Paris 98 (1954): 278-283.

Leroy, Jules, Les manuscrits syriaques à peintures, conservés dans les bibliothèques d’Europe et d’Orient. Contribution à l’étude de l’iconographie des églises de langue syriaque. Paris, 1964.

Macchiarella, Gianclaudio, “Ricerche sulla miniatura siriaca del VI sec. 1. Il codice. c.d. di Rabula,” Commentari NS 22 (1971): 107-123.

Mango, Marlia Mundell, “Where Was Beth Zagba?,” Harvard Ukrainian Studies 7 (1983): 405-430.

Mango, Marlia Mundell, “The Rabbula Gospels and Other Manuscripts Produced in the Late Antique Levant,” pp. 113-126 in Il Tetravangelo di Rabbula.

Mengozzi, Alessandro, “Le annotazioni in lingua araba sul codice di Rabbula,” pp. 59-66 in Il Tetravangelo di Rabbula.

Mengozzi, Alessandro, “The History of Garshuni as a Writing System: Evidence from the Rabbula Codex,” pp. 297-304 in F. M. Fales & G. F. Grassi, eds., CAMSEMUD 2007. Proceedings of the 13th Italian Meeting of Afro-Asiatic Linguistics, held in Udine, May 21st-24th, 2007. Padua, 2010.Available here.

Paykova, Aza Vladimirovna, “Четвероевангелие Раввулы (VI в.) как источник по истории раннехристианского искусства,” (The Rabbula Gospels (6th cent.) as a Source for the History of Early Christian Art) Палестинский сборник 29 [92] (1987): 118-127.

Rouwhorst, Gerard A.M., “The Liturgical Background of the Crucifixion and Resurrection Scene of the Syriac Gospel Codex of Rabbula: An Example of the Relatedness between Liturgy and Iconography,” pp. 225-238 in Steven Hawkes-Teeples, Bert Groen, and Stefanos Alexopoulos, eds., Studies on the Liturgies of the Christian East: Selected Papers of the Third International Congress of the Society of Oriental Liturgy Volos, May 26-30, 2010. Eastern Christian Studies 18. Leuven / Paris / Walpole, MA, 2013.

Sörries, Reiner, Christlich-antike Buchmalerei im Überblick. Wiesbaden, 1993.

van Rompay, Lucas, “‘Une faucille volante': la représentation du prophète Zacharie dans le codex de Rabbula et la tradition syriaque,” pp. 343-354 in Kristoffel Demoen and Jeannine Vereecken, eds., La spiritualité de l’univers byzantin dans le verbe et l’image. Hommages offerts à Edmond Voordeckers à l’occasion de son éméritat. Instrumenta Patristica 30. Steenbrugis and Turnhout, 1997.

Wright, David H., “The Date and Arrangement of the Illustrations in the Rabbula Gospels,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 27 (1973): 199-208.

Peter Konieczny and Sandra Sadowski (History of the Ancient World)

30 Greek Ideas that Changed the World

30 Greek Ideas that Changed the World

Created by The Power of Music Art

Greeks have greatly influenced and contributed to culture, arts, exploration, literature, philosophy, politics, architecture, music, mathematics, science and technology, business, cuisine, and sports, both historically and contemporarily.

Greek culture has evolved over thousands of years, with its beginning in the Mycenaean civilization, continuing through the Classical period, the Roman and Eastern Roman periods and was profoundly affected by Christianity, which it in turn influenced and shaped. The Greeks of the Classical era also made several notable contributions to science and helped lay the foundations of several western scientific traditions, like philosophy, historiography and mathematics.

Here are the 30 ideas:

1. Democracy
2. Medicine
3. History
4. Philosophy
5. Theater
6. Geometry
7. Discoveries in Modern Science
8. Epic and Lyric Poetry
9. Logic
10. Forms of Art and Architecure
11. Rhetoric
12. Olympic Games
13. The Hippocratic Oath
14. Syllogism
15. Marathon
16. Cartography
17. Coin Money
18. Thermometer
19. Early form of the calendar
20. Anchor
21. Central Heating
22. Levers
23. Crane
24. Fundamental Steam Engine
25. Water mill
26. Pizza
27. Wheelbarrow
28. Catapult
29. Feta
30. Alarm Clock

30 Greek Ideas that Changed the World

The post 30 Greek Ideas that Changed the World appeared first on History of the Ancient World.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Confusion over new photos of ISIL Destroying Palmyra statues

Here's an interesting one [Louisa Loveluck, 'Islamic State takes sledge hammer to 'irreplaceable' ancient Palmyra ruins', Telegraph 02 Jul 2015 (mirrored here anonymously: 'IS destroys statues outside Syria's Palmyra museum')] :
Also on Thursday, the group released photos showing its members in Aleppo destroying several statues from Palmyra that were being smuggled through the northern province. "An IS checkpoint in Wilyat (region of) Aleppo arrested a person transporting several statues from Palmyra," the group said in an online statement. "The guilty party was taken to an Islamic court in the town of Minbej, where it was decided that the trafficker would be punished and the statues destroyed".
Now, if ISIL is behind the smuggling of antiquities out of Syria, the only reason why they'd stop and punish this trafficker was if he was trying to avoid paying the organization protection money. Or is there another explanation? The byline to Loveluck's article says "isil militants have released images showing a civilian being forced to destroy priceless artefacts from the Roman city of Palmyra " but then the caption says the photo shows " ISIS militants use heavy duty sledgehammers to destroy the historic statues in front of a large crowd, Palmyra".  In fact what does the photo of the blokes with the sledge hammer show? Were the photos taken in Palmyra, Manbidz (Minbej) or Aleppo?

 Is this Palmyra, Aleppo or Manbidz? Who is this man in blue stripey shirt? (note
the brown leather jacket behind). Right,  the same guy unblurred on another shot

Another man in brown leather jacket carrying the
pieces, note the bearded man in the background.
A completely different story emerges from a Mail article: Tom Wyke, 'Activists caught smuggling Palmyra statues to safety are lashed - then forced to destroy priceless antiquities in front of a baying crowd', MailOnline, 2 July 2015
An activist had been attempting to smuggle the statues out of Palmyra only for the statues to be uncovered when he was caught by the militant group. As punishment for his crime, pictures show the activist being publicly flogged after being forced to use a hammer to destroy the statues he had been trying to save from ISIS. [...] After carrying out the humiliating destruction of the statues, the activist was publicly flogged [...] According to the ISIS statement which accompanied the pictures, the historical statues are described as 'contraband'. It claims that activists had been trying to smuggle out the statues, fearing their destruction at the hands of ISIS. [...] According to the captions, the statues were cleared for destruction after being passed through an Islamic Court. The shocking photos go on to show the activist being force to help an ISIS militant smash the seven statues into pieces.[...]

"With his bulging black suicide vest strapped tightly to his waist,
an ISIS militant reads out the crime"(Mail).
See the bearded guy on the right.
 The article contains three closeups of the six statues shown on the carpet in other photos. Looking at one of them, one wonders what in fact has been destroyed here:

A fake, I think
Unfortunately, when you see the general photo of the six, this one (on the right) stands out in colour and sharpness from the other five, but that does not mean that the other five are authentic.

Smuggler or activist? It seems a bit strange to me that the route the "activist" chose to take the busts to "safety" was northeast, up towards the Turkish border, rather than the southwest to the government held regions where, presumably the others evacuated objects from Palmyra are. It is interesting to speculate in whose interests it is to represent the individuals involved as "activists getting  flogged' rather than "smugglers caught and intimidated".

With reference to the Mail coverage, it should be pointed out that the photos do not show a "baying" crowd as the article discusses them, the crowd (all of them men or small boys) watches on rather solemnly - so the Mail  seems to have got that wrong too.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Ancient granaries found in Denizli

Structures from 1,900 years ago have been unearthed during archaeological excavations in the ancient...

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Moveglass: gli occhiali per visitare Viterbo in realtà aumentata

Move Glass sono i nuovi occhiali in realtà aumentata che presto permetteranno a chiunque di visitare la città di Viterbo in maniera innovativa.

Blogging Pompeii

Out now: Oebalus 9

Oebalus. Studi sulla Campania nell'Antichita, vol. 9, 2015 (ISBN: 9788866870876), € 75,00


ELIODORO SAVINO, Caligola e il ponte di barche tra Baia e Puteoli: una reinterpretazione

PORFIRIO MONDA, Una nuova antefissa arcaica da Fratte

MARIO NOTOMISTA, Breve nota sulle trasformazioni architettoniche della Villa di Diomede a Pompei

HEIKKI SOLIN E PAOLA CARUSO, Dai nomi alle aree sepolcrali. Memorie beneventane da epigrafi note ed inedite

ALFREDO DE LUCA, Proposta di identificazione per il cosiddetto busto di Livia da Stabiae

MARIA AMODIO, Materiali per lo studio delle catacombe napoletane di S. Severo alla Sanità

CARLO DE SIMONE, Varia etrusca. 1) Ancora la ‘mozione’. 2) Sul pertinentivo. 3) Il gentilizio latino-etrusco Vederna

GIUSEPPE CAMODECA, Iscrizioni latine inedite di Nola e Abella

ANTONIA SERRITELLA, Caselle in Pittari: un sito lucano nell’entroterra del golfo di Policastro

HELGA DI GIUSEPPE, Pasti per una divinità presso il trivio della Porta Mugonia a Roma

UMBERTO SOLDOVIERI, Una nuova dedica all’imperatore Caro da Cosilinum (rilettura di I.It., III, 1, 221)

Recensioni, M. Amodio, Le sepolture a Neapolis dall’età imperiale al tardo- antico. Scelte insediative, tipologie sepolcrali e usi funerari tra III e VI secolo (ARMANDO CRISTILLI)

Kristina Killgrove (Forbes)

What Cloudsdale And Pegasi In 'My Little Pony' Teach Kids About Classical Greece And Rome

What exactly is My Little Pony teaching your kids about the ancient Greeks and Romans?


Notes on Rhodian inscriptions

Buck, no. 100 (= DGE 272: Anne Jeffery's notes), set up by one of two bearers of the name Idameneus (both 6th c. BCE Rhodians).

DGE 274 (Anne Jeffery's notes): an amphora of one (the only) Kosmias with a delivery directive.

An aryballos of one Astyochidas (Anne Jeffery's notes).

A kulixs of one Philto [LPGN I s.v. 3] (= CEG 460 (!): Anne Jeffery's notes).

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Online Course: Superpowers of the Ancient World: the Near East

Superpowers of the Ancient World: the Near East 
Experience the world’s first international age, 3,500 years ago in the ancient Near East, with this free online course.
Over four weeks, this free online course explores four ancient Near-Eastern cultures and how they interacted with each other 3,500 years ago.

Tracking the Egyptian, Mitannian and Hittite superpowers

Travel, diplomacy, trade and warfare feature, as we track the ancient Egyptian, Mitannian and Hittite superpowers. We will see how they came into contact with each other in their efforts to extend their influence into the ever-contested Syria-Palestine lands.
We will examine objects from the University of Liverpool’s Garstang Museum of Archaeology - one of the most important collections of artefacts in the UK - enabling you to learn not only about the history of this period, but also how experts use artefacts to reconstruct the past.

Using the present to illuminate the past

The archaeological evidence that we will consult is often disparate and fragmentary, so in order to understand it better, we will look into current approaches to international relations and discuss modern parallels with an expert from our Department of Politics.

Accessing ancient landscapes

Our experts will familiarise you with the ancient Near-Eastern landscapes and introduce you to key objects that featured in diplomacy and warfare at this time in the distant past.
You will also consider the bigger picture, as empires prospered and floundered in the struggle to become the main superpower of the ancient Near East.


This course is for anyone interested in archaeology and ancient history. Previous study in archaeology is not necessary, as this course serves as an introduction to the study of the history of the ancient Near East.

Thibaut Castelli (Spartokos a Lu)

Notes de numismatique et de toreutique du Musée archéologique d’Odessa

Brujako, I.V. (2014) : Записки отдела нумизматики и торевтики Одесского археологического музея. Вып. II /  Zapiski otdela numizmatiki i torevtiki Odesskogo arheologicheskogo muzeja. Vyp. II, Odessa, [Notes de numismatique et de toreutique du Musée archéologique d’Odessa. Vol. II]

Ce recueil d’articles regroupe pour moitié des contributions sur la numismatique et la toreutique antiques concernant le nord de la mer Noire.

Le sommaire :

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Syria - Palmyra: The Mother of All Blog Posts

I thought some of my blog posts were long, but.... Sam Hardy has outdone me for length this time! The mega-post 'Palmyra: looting under the rebels, the Assad regime and the Islamic State?' went up today. It's a cracker, a must-read. That is except for antiquities trade lobbyists whose attention span will obviously not be up to it, and will probably stop at the bit, if I know them, where he says "But, for one reason or another, more and more false information is entering the public record; and it is being used more and more actively".

Sam has obviously put in a lot of hard work on critically comparing the various available sources and finding material that many of us passed over. He points out the problem of a routine uncritical churning out of near-duplicate texts by journalists which seems to be "an increasingly pervasive problem in reporting of illicit trade and political violence in Syria and Iraq". He uses the term "churnalism" for this problem that has plagued any attempt to try and work out what is happening in the middle East. Texts on Palmyra are a very indicative example of the process.

Sam approaches in a very systematic and objective manner the problem of looting under the (US-supported) FSA and then what happened when the Syrian military gained control of the site.
Illicit extraction of cultural assets may not have been (visibly) intensive (though that may be because the construction of the tombs covered the evidence from satellite view), but it was extensive, after the Free Syrian Army had been driven out, yet before the Islamic State had taken over.
Quite clearly the Syrian military was in some way involved in looting this site in 2012 onwards. The city fell to ISIL on May 21st. Sam adduces evidence to show that the Palmyra museum in fact had not been effectively evacuated before 17th May, even though local officials were stating that it had. There was a last-minute evacuation of statues by the Syrian authorities which Hardy suggests was a
grand act of propaganda, ironically to make the regime appear civilised, a cultured alternative to the barbaric Islamic State. That, and the wider media campaign about protecting cultural property by a regime that has militarised archaeological sites and is barrel-bombing historic cities, demonstrate that information about trafficking and policing, too, will be an instrument of propaganda.
Which is going to make our work harder. Sam then goes on to the Thursday "Flogging propaganda" of ISIL, citing my texts on the material.
Could looters have stolen this material from the museum or one of the antiquities service’s safe houses, when the Islamic State certainly has control of the museum and probably has control of the safe houses? [...] Could the Islamic State have uncovered the unevacuated objects and destroyed a few (and scapegoated someone) for show, but preserved a lot for sale?
This would make sense if they are planning to flog off the rest to raise cash. By putting out widely-discussed material about "How ISIL is stopping smuggling artefacts to foreign markets" which will no doubt very soon be picked up gratefully by the lobbyists, the group could be hoping we lower our guard. That's what the dealers want too.

Scapegoating, or an outright fraud? How realistic
is this flogging scene? Note position of victim's hands, the
effete way the whip is held and at what distance from the
victim. Now look at the faces of the crowd.

Société Internationale des Amis de Cicéron (Tulliana News)

SIAC Newsletter 86 (14/2015)


Les noms des membres de la SIAC sont en gras. – I nomi dei membri della SIAC sono in grassetto. – Names of SIAC members are written with bold characters.


Spinelli, Emidio, Sesto Empirico: contro il corpo, contro l’anima. L’uomo non può essere criterio, “Syzetesis”, 2, 1, 2015. LINK


XIV Congreso de Estudios Clásicos, 13-18/07/2015, Barcelona. Invitado especial: Carlos Lévy. LINK

– International conference Horace and Seneca. Interactions, Intertexts, Interpretations, Heidelberg, 27-29 July 2015. Francesca Romana Berno (Roma, Sapienza), Nurses’ Wishes, Philosophical “otium”, and Fat Pigs: Seneca Epist. 60,1 and Horace Epist. 1,4; Barbara Del Giovane (Firenze), “Dressing” Philosophy with “sal niger”. A re-consideration of Horace’s role in Seneca’s approach to diatribic tradition. LINK



– Dreßler, Jan, Zivilisation, Recht und Gewalt in Ciceros Pro Sestio, “Gymnasium”, 122, 2, 2015, 109-132. LINK

– Dyck, Andrew R., rev. of Celia E. Schultz, A Commentary on Cicero, De divinatione I, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 2014, “Bryn Mawr Classical Review”, 2015.06.05. LINK

– Gorostidi Pi, Diana, Rescatando a Baiter: A propósito de la origo de Marco Celio Rufo (Cic. Cael. 5), “Anuari de Filologia. Antiqua et Mediaeualia”, 4, 2014, 45-54. LINK

– Kapust, Daniel J., Rethinking Rousseau’s Tyranny of Orators: Cicero’s On Duties and the Beauty of True Glory, in James Farr and David Lay Williams (eds.), The General Will: The Evolution of a Concept, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2015, 175-196. LINK

– Kontonasios, Panagiotes, Cicero’s Brutus: A History of Rhetoric or a History of Politics?, “ETC: A Review of General Semantics”, 71, 3, 2014. LINK

– López Barja de Quiroga, Pedro, rec. di F. Fontanella, Politica e diritto naturale nel De legibus di Cicerone, “Athenaeum”, 103, 1, 2015, 273-275. LINK


– Spettacolo teatrale Le Filippiche. Cicerone oratore, interpretato e diretto da Piero Nuti, a cura di Pierpaolo Fornaro da M.T. Cicerone, 10 luglio 2015, Bene Vagienna (CN). LINK

– XXVIth International Colloquium Studienkreis ‘Geschichte der Sprachwissenschaft’ (SgdS), Reflexions on Language and Linguistic Theories: Concepts and Controversies from Antiquity to Present Times, Berlin, 16-18 July 2015. Thorsten Fögen (Durham University, UK & Humboldt-Universität Berlin), Cicero und Sueton zur Herausbildung der römischen Rhetorik. LINK

[Last updated on July 3rd, 2015.]

Filed under: Newsletter

Blogging Pompeii

News: Pompei. Comitato UNESCO soddisfatto dei progressi

From ECampania:
Pompei. Comitato UNESCO soddisfatto dei progressi
Osanna:”Positivo il riconoscimento del lavoro svolto”

di Giuseppe Scarica

Rispetto alla continuità concessa al Grande Progetto Pompei intervengono il Soprintendente Massimo Osanna e il Generale Giovanni Nistri, direttore del progetto.

“Il positivo riconoscimento dell’Unesco per le attività condotte nel sito archeologico di Pompei è prova che il costante impegno che la Direzione Generale e la Soprintendenza hanno messo in campo per il sito attraverso il Grande Progetto, sta dando risultati che ci vengono riconosciuti e che sono in assoluto tangibili – dichiara il Soprintendente Massimo Osanna -. Basta farsi una passeggiata negli scavi per rendersi conto che ormai Pompei è un grande cantiere, che vede in corso d’opera attività di restauro e messa in sicurezza. Tra questi ultimi in particolare è previsto un grande intervento sui fronti di scavo per la mitigazione del rischio idrogeologico in aree in gran parte ancora non scavate, fondamentale a contrastare e arginare le situazioni di crollo e la sicurezza generale di Pompei. E ancora mi preme mettere in evidenza le numerose attività di valorizzazione: dalla grande Mostra “Pompei e l’Europa”, alla ricca stagione di eventi serali con spettacoli al Teatro grande e passeggiate notturne, alla realizzazione dei percorsi per disabili appena avviata, all’ampliamento dell’offerta turistica con l’apertura di nuove Domus, alla progettazione e a breve alla realizzazione della segnaletica di servizi e della nuova identità visiva. E inoltre il progetto di valorizzazione del Laboratorio di Ricerche Applicate della Soprintendenza, che conserva reperti unici organici ritrovati nel sito e che sarà adeguatamente riorganizzato e reso visitabile al pubblico.
Read the full article here.


ArcheoNet BE

Inventaris archeologische zones gelanceerd

Vandaag lanceerde het agentschap Onroerend Erfgoed de inventaris van archeologische zones. In deze inventaris worden zones opgenomen waarvan op basis van waarnemingen en wetenschappelijke argumenten aangenomen kan worden dat ze hoogstwaarschijnlijk archeologische waarde hebben. In eerste instantie werden 58 historische stadskernen opgenomen in de inventaris.

Meer informatie vind je op

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

The Right Thing To Do

Christians should support same-sex marriage - Chuck Queen quote

Christians should support same-sex marriage regardless of what one personally believes about marriage because treating same-sex couples with dignity and respecting their rights to have equal protection under the law is the right thing to do.

- Chuck Queen

The quote comes from an article in Baptist News on “Why Christians can and should support the Supreme Court decision on marriage equality.”

Jim Davila (

More destruction of Palmyra's antiquities? Plus Hatra news.

PALMYRA WATCH: Disturbing stories about a "smuggler" who was caught trying to make off with some Palmyrene statues. He was sentenced to whipping and the statues were destroyed. It is unclear whether they were ancient artifacts or replicas.

Islamic State militants hammer Roman-era statues to pieces. Images show militants publicly destroying ancient effigies in Syrian city of Palmyra as punishment for attempted smuggling (AFP).

A specific case: Effigy of Zenobia, ancient queen, among statues destroyed by IS (Times of Israel). More on Queen Zenobia here and links.

Also, Maamoun Abdelkarim, the Syrian antiquities director, appears to have confirmed a story I noted at the end of May: IS destroys iconic lion statue at Syria’s Palmyra museum. Irreplaceable Lion of al-Lat was 2,000 years old; brutal terror group also smashes other artifacts from Palmyra (AFP).

Related: UNESCO Head Warns Against 'Culture Cleansing' of Jihadists. UNESCO chief Irina Bokova calls for a campaign against ISIS "culture cleansing" (Arutz Sheva).
"I think the growing awareness that hard power will not be enough to defeat violent extremism is gaining ground. We need also soft power," Bokova said on Wednesday.

"Culture should be part of our response to violent extremism," she added.
I don't know what that means, but I hope it does some good. In any case, kudos to her for speaking out. And some related good news on Hatra: The Iraqi site of Hatra added to the List of World Heritage in Danger (UNESCO World Heritage Centre).

Background on Palmyra and ISIS's takeover of it, as well as their sustained assault on the past in the Middle East, is here and links. See also here and links. And more on Hatra is here and links.

ANE languages quiz

ASOR BLOG: Can you identify these Near Eastern languages? I got a perfect score, including the bonus question. But any other result would have been embarrassing.

More on Sacred Imaginations

ARAMAIC AND SYRIAC WATCH: Reimagining sacred music (Alison Hird, RFI).
As Christians come under attack in some parts of the Arab world, British musicians Sam Mills and Susheela Raman have pulled off an ambitious and important musical project Sacred Imaginations: new and ancient music from the near east. The performance is a reminder of how much religion owes to music and sends out a strong message of artistic unity beyond religious dogma.
This article has some new details about the program, plus this good news:
After three concerts in London, Paris and Berlin, [guitarist Sam] Mills says some of the music that's been created will now be recorded. “It's too strong for us to let go of it now."
Background here.

Blogging Pompeii

News: Pompei. Domeniche gratuite a fasce orarie

From ECampania:
Pompei. Domeniche gratuite a fasce orarie
Regolamentato il flusso di visitatori per tutelare la sicurezza del sito
Read the full article here.


News: Un museo del cibo negli Scavi di Pompei. E spunta un bando da 20 milioni per la sicurezza

From Metropolis Web:

Un museo del cibo negli Scavi di Pompei. E spunta un bando da 20 milioni per la sicurezza 
''Entro il 2016, un nuovo Museo del cibo nell'area archeologica di Pompei''. Lo annuncia il soprintendente speciale di Pompei, Ercolano e Stabia Massimo Osanna, oggi a margine della presentazione della mostra ''Nutrire l'Impero. Storie di alimentazione da Roma e Pompei'', in programma al Museo dell'Ara Pacis di Roma fino al 15 novembre con anche alcuni reperti mai esposti in arrivo dal sito. ''L'idea - racconta Osanna - è quella di raccogliere il complesso dei preziosi reperti organici ritrovati a Pompei. Non si tratta solo di cibo, ma anche, ad esempio, di reperti lignei che stiamo restaurando da Moregine, appartenenti ai preziosi paraventi che venivano utilizzati nei triclini. 
Read the full article here.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Real Numismatists, Tell it Like it is

In a February 7th update to his post postulating that it is in some way unethical for social media to be used by people who do not first present their 'qualifications' to do so in the form of a curriculum vitae or resume (which rather seems to undermine the concept of social media), Dealer Dave reckons that what I say about the nature of the discipline of numismatics is in some way controversial:
I can only observe that a great many real numismatists will regard these remarks as an almost incredible intersection of arrogance and ignorance.

Mr Welsh claims that he is the professional numismatist and I am the ignorant one. That however is after admitting he'd not done any formal learning of the subject (but unlike him, I attended a full course of seminars by Reece in London and one by Suchodolski in Warsaw as part of my course), he's not attended any academic conferences on the subject (I have been to quite a few) and not having written all that much (while I was on the editorial team of a numismatic publication for a number of years here).  I rather think Welsh is stepping out onto thin ice accusing me of knowing nothing of the subject of what real numismatics is and should be.

Anyway, if I am wrong in going public with my ideas, I am sure there are lots of academically-primed  shopkeepers who will be only too glad to discuss it and then show me wrong, no? I look forward to at last seeing a presentation of the methodology of  heap-of-loose-coins-on-a-table and how all those no-questions-asked coin SELLERS are contributing to our "knowledge of the past" in an academically meaningful way. With bibliography.

Blogging Pompeii

News: Scavi di Pompei, domani sentenza per l’Antiquarium

The following article is from Lo Strillone. It will be great if the Antiquarium could be put back into use!
Scavi di Pompei, domani sentenza per l’Antiquarium

Nei prossimi giorni, inoltre, un bando da 20 milioni di euro per la sicurezza del fronte di scavo
“Domani il Consiglio di Stato si pronuncerà sulla sentenza per l'Antiquarium di Pompei. La Soprintendenza dovrebbe così rientrare in possesso dell'edificio e di uno spazio espositivo fondamentale per l'area archeologica”. A dirlo, il soprintendente speciale Massimo Osanna, oggi a margine della presentazione della mostra ‘Nutrire l'Impero. Storie di alimentazione da Roma e Pompei’, in programma al Museo dell'Ara Pacis di Roma fino al 15 novembre.

Scavi di Pompei, domani sentenza per l’Antiquarium

Blogging Pompeii

Exhibition: Nutrire l'Impero.

From Gambero Rosso:
Nutrire l'Impero. Cosa mangiavano gli antichi Romani? La mostra dell'Ara Pacis di Roma tra plastici e cibo carbonizzato  
La mostra in scena fino al 15 novembre indaga la storia dell'alimentazione ai tempi dell'impero, muovendosi tra Roma e Pompei e tracciando le coordinate della prima globalizzazione dei consumi nella storia della civiltà.
Read the full article here.

News: Torre A., sos Scavi. Alla Villa di Poppea mancano pure gli opuscoli.

From Lo Strillone:

Torre A., sos Scavi. Alla Villa di Poppea mancano pure gli opuscoli. La Pro Loco denuncia: “Volevamo stamparli gratis, la Soprintendenza non ci autorizza”

Fax inviato ad aprile, ma Osanna non risponde. E’ anche così che la burocrazia ‘frena’ Oplonti

- See more at:

Torre A., sos Scavi. Alla Villa di Poppea mancano pure gli opuscoli. La Pro Loco denuncia: “Volevamo stamparli gratis, la Soprintendenza non ci autorizza”

Fax inviato ad aprile, ma Osanna non risponde. E’ anche così che la burocrazia ‘frena’ Oplonti

- See more at:

Torre A., sos Scavi. Alla Villa di Poppea mancano pure gli opuscoli. La Pro Loco denuncia: “Volevamo stamparli gratis, la Soprintendenza non ci autorizza”

Fax inviato ad aprile, ma Osanna non risponde. E’ anche così che la burocrazia ‘frena’ Oplonti

- See more at:
Torre A., sos Scavi. Alla Villa di Poppea mancano pure gli opuscoli. La Pro Loco denuncia: “Volevamo stamparli gratis, la Soprintendenza non ci autorizza”

Fax inviato ad aprile, ma Osanna non risponde. E’ anche così che la burocrazia ‘frena’ Oplonti

Torre Annunziata “Questa Pro Loco, con sede in via Sepolcri, intende realizzare una guida/mappa della villa A, con testi e immagini degli ambienti. La guida sarà redatta in italiano e in inglese e distribuita in modo gratuito ai turisti. Se ne chiede l’autorizzazione alla produzione, restando in attesa di riscontro”. Così scriveva, alla Soprintendenza Speciale Beni Archeologici per Pompei, Ercolano e Stabia, il presidente della ‘Pro Loco Oplonti Marina del Sole’ Ciro Maresca. Era l’8 aprile 2015, quasi tre mesi fa, e dal Soprintendente Massimo Osanna, ancora oggi, nessuna risposta. 
Read the full article here.

Torre Annunziata “Questa Pro Loco, con sede in via Sepolcri, intende realizzare una guida/mappa della villa A, con testi e immagini degli ambienti. La guida sarà redatta in italiano e in inglese e distribuita in modo gratuito ai turisti. Se ne chiede l’autorizzazione alla produzione, restando in attesa di riscontro”. Così scriveva, alla Soprintendenza Speciale Beni Archeologici per Pompei, Ercolano e Stabia, il presidente della ‘Pro Loco Oplonti Marina del Sole’ Ciro Maresca. Era l’8 aprile 2015, quasi tre mesi fa, e dal Soprintendente Massimo Osanna, ancora oggi, nessuna risposta. - See more at:
Torre Annunziata “Questa Pro Loco, con sede in via Sepolcri, intende realizzare una guida/mappa della villa A, con testi e immagini degli ambienti. La guida sarà redatta in italiano e in inglese e distribuita in modo gratuito ai turisti. Se ne chiede l’autorizzazione alla produzione, restando in attesa di riscontro”. Così scriveva, alla Soprintendenza Speciale Beni Archeologici per Pompei, Ercolano e Stabia, il presidente della ‘Pro Loco Oplonti Marina del Sole’ Ciro Maresca. Era l’8 aprile 2015, quasi tre mesi fa, e dal Soprintendente Massimo Osanna, ancora oggi, nessuna risposta. - See more at:

News: Mare e storia. Scopri i gioielli di Baia

Mare e storia. Scopri i gioielli di Baia
Campania. Alla scoperta della gemma archeologica a sud di Pozzuoli, una delle prime grande attrazioni turistiche di sempre, costruita com'era per affascinare e spaventare gli stessi Romani. Tra scogliere, templi e statue antiche, una destinazione a pochi passi dalla metropoli, eppure sorprendentemente slow
Quando, settant'anni fa, Amedeo Maiuri cominciò a bucherellare la collina soprastante l'abitato di Bacoli e il porto di Baia, i boati degli antichi ambienti termali, liberati da secoli di vapori, rimbombavano in tutto il golfo di Pozzuoli. Assai prima delle pale e dei picconi del grande archeologo qui, nella penisola flegrea appena a nord di Napoli, erano arrivate le penne di Boccaccio, Petrarca, Goethe, Dumas e dei viaggiatori del Grand Tour a raccontar meraviglie dei tesori flegrei fino ad allora conosciuti ed esplorati: la Piscina Mirabile, cisterna di rifornimento per la flotta romana di Capo Miseno, possente come una basilica pagana; le cupole delle grandi terme, sfuggite all'interramento e svettanti come templi; il labirinto enigmatico dei cunicoli sotterranei delle Cento Camerelle. Perfino Leopold Mozart - lo documenta una lettera alla moglie datata 16 giugno 1770 - li aveva visitati assieme ad un Wolfgang Amadeus allora quattordicenne. 
Read the full article here

Jim Davila (

Tunisia's tourism under threat

PUNIC WATCH: Tunisia's growing tourist trade could suffer with terror attacks (Bart Jansen, USA Today). Most recently, the ghastly attack on tourists on a Tunisian beach. This is a good time to be reminded of the ancient treasures in Tunisia:
It is home to Carthage, a military and trade rival to ancient Rome, which ultimately salted its fields in punishment. Amid the series of Punic wars, Hannibal's army memorably rode elephants across the Alps to challenge Rome with battles up and down the

A statue underground, outside the Saint Louis Cathedral. (Photo: Sarah Lynch)
Roman ruins at Carthage include an amphitheater, remains of houses, columns and the Antonine Baths, a World Heritage Site of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Another Punic remnant is the city of Kerkouane, once a thriving metropolis known for its dyes and figurines, according to the country's tourism office. Artifacts at this other World Heritage Site include flasks, bones, jewelry and the sarcophagus of a female identified as the goddess Asarte.
Background on the situation in Tunisia is here and links.

Conference on the Psalms of Solomon

I am pleased to announced the second international meeting on the Psalms of Salomon.

the meeting will be held at the Centre Sevres, Paris, from 7th to 9th of July, 2015.

organizer: Patrick Pouchelle (

The program will be as follows:

Tuesday, July 7 3 pm to 5.30 pm

Mikael Winninge – (Umeå universitet, Sweden) “Critical Issues when Commenting on the Psalms of Solomon: Diachronic and Synchronic Reflections”

Rodney Werline – (Barton College, USA) “Applying Social Memory Theory to the Psalms of Solomon”

Angela Kim Harkins – (Marie Curie International Incoming Fellow, European Commission, University of Birmingham, UK) “The Instrumental Role of Emotion in the Reading and the Affective Reenactment of PsSol 8”

Wednesday, July 8, 10 am to noon

Eberhard Bons – (Université de Strasbourg, France) “PsSol 16:10 and its biblical and Hellenistic backgrounds”

Jan Joosten – (Oxford University, UK) “The textual basis of scriptural references in the Psalms of Solomon”

4 pm to 6 pm

Shani Tzoref – (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany, Israel Antiquities Authority, Israel), “The use of Scripture in the Psalms of Solomon”

Johanna Erzberger – (Institut catholique de Paris, France) “Changing contexts: PsSal 11 in the PsSal and its parallel in Bar 4:5-5:9”

Thursday, July 9, 10am to 12.15 am

G. Anthony Keddie – (The University of Texas at Austin, USA) “Poverty and Exploitation in the Psalms of Solomon and the Literature of Their Time”

Patrick Pouchelle – (Centre Sèvres, France) “The Psalms of Solomon and the Testament of Moses: may the latter shed light on the context of the former?”

Kenneth Atkinson – (University of Northern Iowa, USA) “Understanding the History, Theology, and Community of the Psalms of Solomon in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls”

2 pm to 3 pm


With all best wishes

Patrick Pouchelle

Centre Sevres

The Book of Tobit

OLD TESTAMENT APOCRYPHA WATCH: VALERIE SCHULTZ: Lesser-known Book of Tobit still delivers a powerful message. A Catholic Bakersfield columnist notices the Book of Tobit.
The book of Tobit is worth reading for the adventure, as well as for the incarnational foreshadowing of God moving among us and guiding us in our lives. It can also make a claim to fame in popular culture in that the book of Tobit contains the only scriptural reference to the angel Raphael by name. Raphael is now considered a patron of travelers and healers because of his holy intercession in Tobit’s saga.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

ANS Identifies ISIL Book

While the "seller-numismatists" exhibited zero intellectual curiosity and refused to co-operate, Ute Wartenberg Kagan  ('ISIS, Numismatics, and Conflict Antiquities' ANS blog 2nd July, posted by Matthew Wittmann) has managed to identify the book spotted amongst an ISIL fighter's possessions. The photo showed the volume open at the article of Maurice Sartre, ”La Syrie sous la domination achéménide” published in the 1989 volume  Archéologie et Histoire de la Syrie II , edited by Winfried Orthmann and Jean-Marie Dentzer. The author says:
how this very scholarly book on archaeology of Syria ends up in the hands of ISIS fighters is an interesting question. I, for one, have never underestimated the often erudite knowledge people who are involved in looting ancient sites in the Mediterranean. For people interested in a general overview of coins from Syria, this book is indeed helpful. [...]  So this is an extremely unlikely find—a scholarly, not exactly inexpensive, and heavy—book on the archaeology of Syria in the hands of ISIS fighters. If anyone doubts the multifaceted connections between looted antiquities and war in Syria, this discovery has to make one wonder.

Bryn Mawr Classical Review

2015.07.05: Two Oxen Ahead: Pre-Mechanized Farming in the Mediterranean

Review of Paul Halstead, Two Oxen Ahead: Pre-Mechanized Farming in the Mediterranean. Malden, MA; Oxford; Chichester: 2014. Pp. xi, 372. $99.95. ISBN 9781405192835.

2015.07.04: Gymnasiarchika: recueil et analyse des inscriptions de l'époque hellénistique en l'honneur des gymnasiarques. De l'archéologie à l'histoire, 64

Review of Olivier Curty, Gymnasiarchika: recueil et analyse des inscriptions de l'époque hellénistique en l'honneur des gymnasiarques. De l'archéologie à l'histoire, 64. Paris: 2015. Pp. xiv, 386. €59.00 (pb). ISBN 9782701803616.

2015.07.03: The Chora of Metaponto 3: Archaeological Field Survey - Bradano to Basento (4 vols.)

Review of Joseph Coleman Carter, Alberto Prieto, The Chora of Metaponto 3: Archaeological Field Survey - Bradano to Basento (4 vols.). Austin: 2011. Pp. 1,648. $200.00. ISBN 9780292726789.

2015.07.02: Fish & Ships: Production and Commerce of 'salsamenta' during Antiquity. Production et commerce des 'salsamenta' durant l'Antiquité. Actes de l'atelier doctoral, Rome 18-22 juin 2012

Review of Emmanuel Botte, Victoria Leitch, Fish & Ships: Production and Commerce of 'salsamenta' during Antiquity. Production et commerce des 'salsamenta' durant l'Antiquité. Actes de l'atelier doctoral, Rome 18-22 juin 2012​. Arles; Aix-en-Provence: 2014. Pp. 239. €39.00 (pb). ISBN 9782877725798.

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

All'Università di Bologna una Summer school in Modellazione 3D per i Beni Culturali

La modellazione 3D si è affermata come strumento efficace per la visualizzazione e la comunicazione dei risultati di una ricerca, la validazione o la confutazione di ipotesi di lavoro anche nell’ambito degli studi sul patrimonio culturale.

Per Lineam Valli

95. How much would it cost to build Hadrian’s Wall now?

Collingwood Bruce was the first to play the game of guessing the cost of building a present-day Wall. He came up with a total of £1,079,446 for curtain wall, ditch, and Vallum, allowing for the use of dressed stone. At present-day values, that would be between £80m (US$130m) and £770m (US$1.25bn), depending upon the method used to calculate inflation. A later estimate, this time for a concrete wall, was obtained from Laings by Hunter Davies (£80m in 1974, which would be between £620m (US$1.01bn) and £990m (US$1.61bn)).

Further reading: Bruce 1853; Davies 1974

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

L’Iliade et l’Odyssée de Soledad Bravi, d’après Homère

Les éditions « Rue de Sèvres » viennent de publier l’adaptation dessinée de l’Iliade et de l’Odyssée par Soledad Bravi. Une version décalée à lire pour (re)découvrir Homère.

« Hélène suit Pâris à Troie. Son mari Ménélas, roi Grec, aime moyen. La guerre de Troie dure dix ans. » [résumé de l’Iliade par Soledad Bravi]

bravi-01Ce n’est pas la première fois que Soledad Bravi s’intéresse aux épopées homériques. On lui doit déjà quelques albums cartonnés pour les tout-petits (de 2 à 5 ans) parus dans la collection « Loulou & Cie » à l’École des loisirs, parfois réalisés sur un scénario de la Lilloise Nathalie Laurent : Le cheval de Troie (d’après triphiodore) ; Le Cyclope ; Éole, Circé et les Sirènes ; La ruse d’Ulysse. Le blog Insula avait consacré un billet à cette série en 2012, soulignant que ces petits volumes possédaient « un véritable souffle épique qui emporte l’imaginaire, tout en gardant une distance salvatrice ».

Cette fois, avec L’Iliade et l’Odyssée d’après Homère, Soledad Bravi s’adresse aux plus grands, mais le livre devrait également ravir les plus jeunes (ou vice-versa). L’ouvrage est issu des dessins publiés dans le magazine Elle durant les étés 2013 et 2014.

bravi-02La lecture du récit homérique revu par Soledad Bravi est rapide comme le vent. On peut saluer la concision de l’auteure : les 27.000 vers qui composent l’Iliade et l’Odyssée sont exprimés ici par 338 dessins, qui sont presque des miniatures (170 dessins pour narrer l’Iliade, 168 pour l’Odyssée). Dans cette vaste épopée, Soledad Bravi a évidemment fait des choix, ignorant maints épisodes, s’attachant à relater les histoires et les personnages les plus emblématiques.

Les dessins ont un trait minimal, constitués d’ingénieux raccourcis (l’assemblée des rois résumée à des couronnes). Quant aux textes, c’est peu dire qu’ils s’éloignent (avec bonheur) des épithètes homériques. Ainsi, Hélène devient une « bombasse » qui tombe « grave in love devant le beau Pâris ». Et quand les Troyens font entrer le cheval de bois dans leur cité, pour leur plus grand malheur, ils crient des « On a gagné, les doigts dans le nez », avant que les Grecs ne les tuent et puissent chanter à tue-tête des « On est les champions » crâneurs.

Avec son Iliade et Odyssée, Soledad Bravi réussit à être impertinente sans être irrévérencieuse, elle qui avoue avoir découvert Homère très jeune, comme d’autres aujourd’hui, sans doute, grâce à elle.

bravi-03Page 1 de l’Iliade et l’Odyssée d’après Homère, de Soledad Bravi Rue de Sèvres 2015

Références du livre

Soledad Bravi
L’Iliade et l’Odyssée d’après Homère
Rue de Sèvres, 2015
96 pages, 15,2×21,5 cm, ISBN 978-2-36981-225-8

Crédits et remerciements

Nous remercions les éditions Rue de Sèvres de nous avoir aimablement autorisé à reproduire les illustrations présentes dans ce billet.

All Mesopotamia

mirekulous: Tablet Inscribed in Akkadian with a Fragment of the...


Tablet Inscribed in Akkadian with a Fragment of the Babylonian Flood Story of Epic of Athrasis
Mesopotamia, First Dynasty of Babylon, reign of King Ammi-saduqa (ca. 1646–1626 B.C.); clay

The precious fragment is the earliest known Akkadian version of the familiar Noaj motif. The epic begins witht the creation of man when “great indeed was the drudgery of God.” So the godscreated man but soon tired of him and decided to destroy all of mankind. The god Enki(Ea) tells Atrahasis of the impending flood and instructs him to build an ark. With over 1,200 lines, the story filled three tablets. The Morgan fragment, from the second tablet, or chapter, preserves a unique colophon, stating the work’s title—"When Gods Were Men"—as well as the name of the scribe and the place and date upon which he copied it.

(The god) Enki made his voice heard…
Dismantle the house, build a boat
Reject possessions, and save living things.
The boat that you build…
Make upper and lower decks.
The tackle must be very strong,
The bitumen strong, to give it strength
I will make rain fall on you here.
The Flood roared like a bull,
Like a wild ass screaming the winds
The darkness was total, there was no sun…
For seven days and seven nights
The torrent, storm and flood came on…

Samuel Hardy (Conflict Antiquities)

Palmyra: looting under the rebels, the Assad regime and the Islamic State?

As I’ve worked and reworked this, I’ve found (and removed) half-finished sentences from previous edits, and I’m posting it now because of the latest developments, but if I rediscover forgotten information, I will add it. It is too long to read, and it is a bit rat-a-tat-tat (in jumping from section to section), but you […]

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Palmyra Busts: The Lack-Logic Lobbyist Interpretation

'ISIS Sledgehammers Palmyrene Busts' alarms a lack-logic pro-market activist, labelling it "poor stewardship" and claiming that "the destruction of portable statuary of the sort that ISIS is supposedly selling undercuts the claim that ISIS' professed iconoclasm is just a cover for looting". No, of course it does not because if the reason is these men had been arrested because they were smugglers trying to get objects on the foreign markets without ISIS authorization, the conclusion is quite the opposite. This would emphasise how strongly the trade in antiquities from the region is associated with the group and its fundraising activities, and the blurring of the faces of the three men suggests that having exercised discipline (warning what will happen if ISIL does not get its cut) it is intended that these smugglers will continue to work with their foreign contacts and put money in the pockets of ISIL.

Palmyra Busts go Under the Hammer

Al-lat lion
Readers will remember that a month ago ISIL released this information to the world's media: ISIS 'will not destroy' Palmyra ruins, only statues. A few weeks ago they demolished the 1,900-year-old Lion of Al-Lat statue  dedicated to an ancient goddess (John Hall, 'ISIS 'destroys' famous lion god statue in captured Syrian city of Palmyra... just days after promising locals they would not obliterate ancient monuments' Daily Mail 28th May 2015 [with distortion of information about the prison demolition represented as an attack on the ruins]).  The limestone statue was discovered in 1977 by a Polish archeological mission at the temple of Al-Lat, a pre-Islamic Arabian goddess, and dated back to the 1st century BC. [UPDATE What I do not understand is that several ostensibly reputable newspapers are reporting  that the lion was destroyed just a few days ago, while there were clear reports that the destruction had happened at the end of May, just a week after the taking of the town. This discrepancy is hard to explain].

Now photos are appearing online which show some Palmyrene busts being theatrically smashed apparently in a public square in the town while onlookers observe impassively: Avi Lewis, 'Islamic State destroys historical statues in Palmyra' (Times of Israel, July 2, 2015): "The Islamic State has begun defacing and destroying ancient historical artefacts in the city of Palmyra, according to unverified reports on social media. In the images, operatives armed with sledgehammers can be seen shattering a row of stone sculptures". In another photo six (the same ?) pieces can be lying on a carpeted floor (perhaps a museum office). Sadly these do not look like plaster casts, but two at least do not seem high quality pieces. Most of the pieces in the city's museum were evacuated by antiquities staff before IS arrived, though the group has blown up several historic Muslim graves in recent weeks.

It is interesting to note that in some of the photos, the face of two of the men involved (one taking a piece of stonework from a truck, the other wielding a hammer) have been blurred out. Who did this and why when others have their face shown in plain view? Could it be that ISIL do not want outsiders who've met these guys in another context being recognized? For example, antiquities dealers? I imagine the sight of these six busts left back in Syria being pulverised has foreign dealers and collectors reaching for their chequebooks to 'save' the ones that they will be very soon be being offered by shady gentlemen with a furtive look.

UPDATE 2nd July 2015, 20:55 PM
As more details emerge, I am less sure what these photos actually show (leading to a comma removed in the heading), watch this space. Sam Hardy is also working on this evening too. It is worth noting that the blurred out faces in the photos affect the two men taking stones from a truck (their truck?) and the third in the stone-smashing scenes seems to be the same man who is shown in another photo which surfaced later being flogged.

July 02, 2015

Ancient Art

Buddhist votive stele. Chinese, 550-75 AD (Northern Qi dynasty),...

Buddhist votive stele. Chinese, 550-75 AD (Northern Qi dynasty), made of grey limestone. 

Buddhists in China adopted the traditional Chinese practice of using rectangular stone slabs for commemorative purposes. Such stones were erected by donors at sites important to the Buddhist church, particularly temples. This stele includes a narrative scene in its main zone. The story is of the Buddha in a previous incarnation, as a king. In order to test the king’s piety, an ascetic demanded his head. The king acquiesced but, afraid that he would show fear, he tied his hair to a tree to steady himself; this act is depicted on the stele. In most versions of the story, the life of the king is spared, his selflessness proven. 

Above the narrative scene is the Buddha of the Future, Maitreya, seated with legs hanging downward; below is the historical Buddha Sakyamuni, who preaches while seated with legs crossed. The other side of the stele shows a debate between Manjusri, the Bodhisattva of Wisdom, and Vimalakirti, a layman. That a layman could debate a bodhisattva appealed to educated Chinese, and this story was thus frequently represented as a means of propagating the faith. (Yale)

Courtesy of the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, USA. Via their online collections1929.45.

Peter Tompa (Cultural Property Observer)

ISIS Sledgehammers Palmyrene Busts

It is being reported that ISIS has confiscated Palmyrene statuary from locals who were then forced to smash the statues before being flogged.  This report suggests the locals were activists trying to save them.  Other reports suggest those arrested may have instead been looters acting without ISIS authorization.  Whatever the truth, the destruction of portable statuary of the sort that ISIS is supposedly selling undercuts the claim that ISIS' professed iconoclasm is just a cover for looting.  Perhaps, instead they actually believe what they say, which, of course, does not bode well for this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

American Philological Association

Doctoral Scholarship at Berlin Graduate School of Ancient Studies

The Graduate School Scholarship Program (GSSP) of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) offers one doctoral scholarship to research and complete a doctorate in the “Ancient Languages and Texts” program at the Berlin Graduate School of Ancient Studies (BerGSAS). We welcome applications from highly qualified graduates from the fields of Greek and Latin philology, Jewish and Hebrew studies, history, theology, religious studies and philosophy.

Candidates must hold a Master's degree, or equivalent degree, in one of the aforementioned subjects or be very close to completion. The scholarship is available from October 2016 for three or four years (subject to a satisfactory annual progress review).  The call is open only to applicants who are not German citizens and who have not resided in Germany continuously for longer than 12 months as of the application deadline.

Details of the scholarship and instructions for submitting applications can be found at this web site.  Applications are due by October 1, 2015.

The Berlin Prize Call for Applications 2016-2017

The American Academy in Berlin invites applications for its residential fellowships for the academic year 2016/2017. The deadline is Wednesday, September 30, 2015 (12 noon EST or 6 pm CET). Applications may be submitted online or mailed to the Berlin office. The Academy welcomes applications from emerging and established scholars, writers, and professionals who wish to engage in independent study in Berlin. Approximately 20 Berlin Prizes are conferred annually. Past recipients have included historians, economists, poets and novelists, journalists, legal scholars, anthropologists, musicologists, and public policy experts, among others.
Fellowships are typically awarded for an academic semester or, on occasion, for an entire academic year. Bosch Fellowships in Public Policy may be awarded for shorter stays of six to eight weeks. Benefits include round-trip airfare, partial board, a $5,000 monthly stipend, and accommodations at the Academy’s lakeside Hans Arnhold Center in the Berlin-Wannsee district.

CFP: The Modern Prometheus; or, Frankenstein

This conference will take place April 8-9, 2016, at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY.  In July of 1816, that famous European 'year without a summer,' a young British woman vacationing with friends—including Lord Byron, Polidori, and Percy Shelley—wrote a 'ghost story' that would go on to become one of the most important and influential novels of our time. The young woman was Mary Shelley, and the novel of course is Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. To celebrate the bicentennial of the ghost story challenge that conceived that "hideous progeny," scholars, students, and other readers are invited to a conference on The Modern Prometheus; or, Frankenstein, 8-9 April 2016 at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, USA.

Call for Monographs: Book Series on East‐West Cultural Encounters in Literature & Cultural Studies

This Series seeks scholarly works  on  intercultural encounters in literature,  particularly  East‐West precolonial, colonial, or postcolonial contacts that expose, problematize, or re‐create the sense of locality, historicity, and subjectivity. The Series especially welcomes monographs written in English or other languages translated into English. Conference volumes or edited volumes by multiple authors will not be considered at this time. Volumes of essays with a thematic focus written by a single author, however, are welcome. We also encourage the submission of revised doctoral dissertations which employ innovative concepts related to our topics. Suggested topics include but are not limited to the following:

National Humanities Center Residential Fellowships for 2016-17

The National Humanities Center invites applications for academic-year or one-semester residencies. Fellowship applicants must have a PhD or equivalent scholarly credentials. Mid-career as well as senior scholars from all areas of the humanities are welcome; emerging scholars with a strong record of peer-reviewed work are also encouraged to apply. Located in the progressive Triangle region of North Carolina, the Center affords access to the rich cultural and intellectual communities supported by the area’s research institutes and universities. Fellows have private studies; the library service delivers all research materials. Scholars from all parts of the globe are eligible; travel expenses in addition to a stipend are provided. The deadline for applications is October 15, 2015. For more information, follow this link:


CFP: Kings and Queens 5: Dynastic Loyalties

This conference will take place on April 8-9, 2016, at Clemson University in Greenville, SC.  It seeks to connect scholars whose research focuses on monarchy, whether investigating specific rulers, specific dynasties, dynastic transitions, or political theories of royal governance and allegiance.  In particular, we are interested in the theme of “Dynastic Loyalty” and we invite papers from all academic disciplines from diverse chronological eras and geographic regions.

Potential topics for papers or sessions may include, but are not limited to:

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Amazing Grace (RIP Chris Squire)

Click here to view the embedded video.

A tribute to Chris Squire, the bassist of Yes, a founding member and the only persistent member throughout the band’s history, who passed away recently. The video begins with the song Whitefish and then transitions at the end into Jon Anderson singing Amazing Grace. It seems like such a fitting tribute.

The solo Whitefish is one that Squire often performed on tour, and it appears on the album 9012 Live, which I owned as a teenager.

Archaeology Magazine

 Angkor Wat ResidencePHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA—A team led by University of Sydney archaeologist Alison Carter is excavating the site of an ordinary house at Ankor Wat. Until now, researchers have concentrated their efforts on the more spectacular remains of the capital of the Khmer Empire, which flourished between the ninth and fifteenth centuries A.D. “We’ve spent a lot of time focusing on the temples and inscriptions and the elite members of the society, but there’s still so much that can be learned about the regular people who were contributing to the Angkorian empire," Carter told the Phnom Penh Post "I hope that this project can spark some interest in those regular people.” So far, the team has unearthed a number of ceramics related to cooking. They hope to find evidence that will give scholars a clearer picture of diet and agricultural practices of the time. To read more about work at Angkor, go to "Remapping the Khmer Empire." 

American Philological Association

Addressing Matters in Context: The Art of Persuasion across Genres and Times

This meeting will take place at the University of Cyprus, 27-29 August 2015.

Most people think of persuasion in antiquity only in the context of the law-court, where two litigants present their arguments in an attempt to persuade the judges. In reality, however, persuasion was employed in antiquity across many genres and this very generic flexibility makes the forms of persuasion an inherently interesting subject for inquiry for scholars of ancient literature. Since antiquity the art of rhetorical persuasion has also been employed in public speaking. Rhetoric is central to political processes and outcomes: it gives the speakers the power to influence their audience to achieve their political aims. Although what we know today as the art of public speaking has undergone continuous change since the days of Pericles, Demosthenes, Cicero, and Quintilian, nevertheless, it has been suggested that Greco-Roman rhetoric has influenced how contemporary politics is articulated.

CFP: Second Interdisciplinary Symposium on the Hellenic Heritage of Southern Italy

This conference will take place in Syracuse, Sicily on May 30-June 2, 2016.  It will have a special emphasis on Politics and Performance in Western Greece. 

The cultural and intellectual legacy of Western Greece—the coastal areas of Southern Italy and Sicily settled by Hellenes in the 8th and 7th centuries BCE—is often overlooked in academic studies.  Yet evidence suggests that poets, playwrights, philosophers, and other maverick intellectuals found fertile ground here for the growth of their ideas and the harvesting of their work.  The goal of the Fonte Aretusa organization is to revive the inspirational link between the new and old worlds of Greece and to explore its intellectual wealth from a variety of disciplinary perspectives including archaeology, art history, classical literature, history, and philosophy.

CFP: Images: Signs and Phenomena of Time

This is a trans- and interdisciplinary conference at the University of Hamburg, 12–14 November 2015.  The capacity to distinguish between past, present, and future plays an important role in the formation of (self-)consciousness. Time is an essential criterion to order the flow of contingent events and experiences and to build up coherence and meaning. In turn, the narratives emerging from such temporal ordering are crucial for the development of identities. However, theoretical concepts of time in philosophy, physics, biology, sociology, or cultural studies are numerous and often opposing. It only remains obvious that humans have the ability to make some sort of experience of time.

AIA Fieldnotes

GAO Annual Conference

Event Type (you may select more than one): 
Start Date: 
Saturday, March 12, 2016 to Sunday, March 13, 2016

Graduate Archaeology at Oxford is welcoming submissions for papers to be presented at the annual conference in Oxford. The conference will focus on the multidimensional ways in which humans have interacted with their natural environment in prehistoric and historic times. Read more »


Julia Binnberg
Call for Papers: 
CFP Deadline: 
November 27, 2015

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

New Online from the IFAO: Kurzbibliographie zu den übersetzten Tempeltexten der griechisch-römischen Zeit, 6e éd.

Kurzbibliographie zu den übersetzten Tempeltexten der griechisch-römischen Zeit, 6e éd.
Christian Leitz
 Ce livre fait suite à l’ouvrage de Jean-Claude Grenier : Temples ptolémaïques et romains. Répertoire bibliographique (index des citations 1955-1974, incluant l’index des citations de 1939 à 1954 réunies par N. Sauneron), BiEtud 75, Le Caire, 1979. Afin d’offrir au chercheur un outil d’actualité, il sera dorénavant disponible sur le serveur de l’Ifao ( et régulièrement mis à jour sous la responsabilité de Christian Leitz.
IF1112, ISBN 978-2-7247-0667-3
Collection: BiEtud 165
1 vol., 264 p., gratuit - free of charge
• Lire en ligne

American Philological Association

CFP: XI Symposium Platonicum: Plato’s Phaedo

The International Plato Society is pleased to announce the XI Symposium Platonicum: Plato's Phaedo, to be held July 4-8, 2016 at the University of Brasilia (Federal District, Brazil). Every three years this event brings together leading scholars working on Plato and Platonism from all over the world. For the first time, this conference will take place in the South. Confirmed Keynote speakers are Monique Dixsaut, David Sedley and Alberto Bernabé.

The online system will accept submissions until September 2, 2015.  For any further information please visit

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

American Philological Association

CFP: Plotinus and the Moving Image: Neoplatonism and Film Theory

The “Philosophy in Film” series published by Brill is currently accepting paper submissions concerning the Neoplatonic philosophy in film studies. Can Neoplatonic philosophy be used for film studies? Given the often-stated parallels between Plotinus’ and Bergson’s philosophies, it is surprising that Neoplatonism has provided relatively little input on philosophy of film. Curtis Hancock writes that the effects of Bergsonism are evident in pragmatism, psychology, and theology and that the decedents of Bergson have created a vestige of Neoplatonism that perdures into the late twentieth century. This vestige must also exist in film studies. Today, with the newly emerging observative “Cinema of Contemplation,” this Neoplatonic vestige is worth exploring. Read more here:!plotinus-and-film/c17gb  

Deadline for abstracts submission is Sept. 30, 2015. Abstracts should be sent to and

American Philological Association

CFP: Religious Convergence in the Ancient Mediterranean


The Whitaker Foundation and Society for Ancient Medisterranean Religions is sponsoring this conference to be held on June 23-26, 2016, at the Villa Whitaker in Palermo, Sicily.

Historical and cultural studies over the last two decades have embraced a range of models and foci for exploring distinct communities at points of cultural and geographic convergence, including network models, complexity studies, colonial encounters, middle ground, frontiers, ethnicity studies, center–periphery, empire theory, and the articulation of “alien” identity within a complex urban setting. Geographic and cultural points of convergence offer exceptional insight not only into ritual studies and the exploration of ritual as mediating and adaptive space, but also for identity construction and the connectivity that enables economic and political advantage. This international conference brings together scholars in religion, archaeology, philology, and history to explore case studies and theoretical models of converging religions.

III International Congress of Greek Philosophy in Portugal

The Sociedade Ibérica de Filosofia Grega is seeking abstracts for the III International Congress of Greek Philosophy on April 20-22, 2016.

This event will take place in the Faculty of Letters of The University of Lisbon in collaboration with The University’s Department of Philosophy, The Group of History in Philosophy of the Centre of Philosophy, and The Project of the Annotated Translation of the Complete Works of Aristotle. Themes of proposed abstracts should concern ancient philosophy of one of one of the following topics: Pre-Socratic thought; Plato; Aristotle; Hellenistic Philosophy; and Neo-Platonism; or projection, influence and receptions of ancient philosophy. Presentations should be no more than 20 minutes and can be delivered in any Iberian language or French, Italian, English, or German. 

Abstracts of approximately 500 words should be sent to by November 30, 2015. More information is available at

Archaeology Magazine

villa roman villa costa concordia giglio italy tuscany150701GIANUTTRI, ITALY—An impressive ancient Roman villa that has been closed to the public for more than a decade has reopened for visitors, according to Discovery News. The so-called “Villa Domitia,” named after the family of the Domitii Ahenobarbi who likely owned it, the sprawling seaside property located on a tiny island in Tuscany near the island of Giglio, the location of the Costa Concordia shipwreck three and a half years ago. Because there was no fresh water or raw materials on the island, according to Paola Rendini, the archaeological superintendent of Tuscany, it was a “huge task” for the Romans to bring the luxuries of a sprawling seaside villa to this harsh location. To read about the re-opening of one of Pompeii’s most famous houses, go to “House of the Chaste Lovers.”

Indian-Statue-RecoveredNEW YORK CITY—The Wall Street Journal reports that a looted sacred Indian statue has been recovered by federal customs agents. The two-foot-tall bronze statue depicts the Tamil poet and saint Manikkavichavakar and dates to the 11th century. It's thought that the statue was taken from a village temple in southeastern India about a decade ago. It was voluntarily surrendered to officials by a collector who purchased it from a dealer who allegedly smuggled it into the U.S. and sold it using a false ownership history. The federal government intends to repatriate the object to India, along with a number of other artifacts the dealer is said to have illegally brought into the country. To read more about threats to medieval heritage in India, go to "Letter from India: Heritage at Risk." 

Wellington Historical FindsWELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND—Construction work in downtown Wellington has revealed four 19th-century wells containing artifacts, including several porcelain dolls heads and a china elephant depicted with a small girl riding it. Several schools existed in the area beginning around 1850. “These school buildings could explain the collection of little china dolls’ heads that were found,” said Clough and Associates archaeologist Sarah Phear said in a Wellington City Council press release. “Though we think the larger head might once have been attached to the top of a tea cosy and others are likely to have been from ornaments or figurines, so they could also have been discarded items from people’s homes.” Other artifacts recovered from the wells included a glass inkwell and an early bottle of ginger beer. To read more about historical archaeology in the Pacific, go to "Letter From the Marshall Islands."

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Islamic State looting Syrian, Iraqi sites on industrial scale

Islamic State militants are looting ancient sites across Iraq and Syria on an industrial scale and...

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

US Visitors Ignorant about Slavery in their Country's Past

Slave ships
For more than six years, Margaret Biser gave educational tours and presentations at an historical site in the South of the USA which included an old house and a nearby plantation (I used to lead tours at a plantation. You won’t believe the questions I got about slavery. by Margaret Biser June 29, 2015 ).

Blogging Pompeii

Conference in Pompeii and Naples - July 1, 2, 3 2015

Talks in Pompeii and Naples connected with the joint MANN-POMPEII exhibition "Pompei e l'Europa. 1748-1943" The first two days were in the auditorium of Pompeii. The last day will be in Naples. For the progam click here

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Ancient bobcat buried like a human being

About 2000 years ago in what is today western Illinois, a group of Native Americans buried something...

Archaeology of Portus: Exploring the Lost Harbour of Ancient Rome

Summary of week three in Italian

Grandi Magazzini Di Settimio SeveroGrandi Magazzini Di Settimio Severo

On the Italian version of this blog Eleonora has now added a summary of the week three topics.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

‘Golden’ ending: How one man discovered his war hero grandfather’s long lost grave

Clay Bonnyman Evans was 5,000 miles from home, deep in a pit on the Pacific island of Betio, when he...

ArcheoNet BE

Fysisch antropologe Marit Van Cant genomineerd voor prijs wetenschapscommunicatie

De KVAB en de Jonge Academie reiken jaarlijks onderscheidingen uit aan wetenschappers die erin slagen hun onderzoek en kennis naar het brede publiek te vertalen. Dit jaar is ook fysisch antropologe Marit Van Cant genomineerd, meer bepaald “voor het coördineren van de reiniging van historisch menselijk botmateriaal door vrijwilligers en het participatief en wetenschappelijk geïnformeerd betrekken van het publiek bij het archeologisch onderzoek.” Meer achtergrond hierover vind je in het artikel ‘Eten, werken en sterven. Botten uit Deinze’, dat verscheen in Ex situ.

Tot 15 september kan je op stemmen voor je persoonlijke favoriet.

Archaeological Institute of America blogs

A Baltic Cruise

AIA President Andrew Moore recently led an AIA Tour through the Baltic, a cruise that interspersed tours of world-renowned museums with trips to towns like Roskilde and Sigtuna for a unique look at the architecture of the Middle Ages.

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Progressive Christians of Indiana

I had someone ask me if there was an organization of progressive and liberal Christians in Indiana. There didn’t seem to be. And so I have set up a Facebook page, “Progressive Christians of Indiana.”

If you are in that category, please do like the page on Facebook!

Hopefully it will prove to be a useful place for people to connect with one another.


This Christian Serves Everyone

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: Osnabrücker Online-Beiträge zu den Altertumswissenschaften

 [First posted in AWOL  5 November 2009, Updated 2 Julyr 2015]

Osnabrücker Online-Beiträge zu den Altertumswissenschaften 
Die Osnabrücker Online-Beiträge zu den Altertumswissenschaften stellen ein neues Instrument dar, kleinere Beiträge aus dem großen Spektrum der Altertumswissenschaften sowie auch deren Rezeptionsgeschichte schnell und ohne großen formalen Aufwand zu publizieren. Sie wollen dazu beitragen, daß die in anderen Wissenschaftszweigen und im Ausland längst übliche elektronische Form der Publikation auch in der deutschen Geschichtswissenschaft und Archäologie Verbreitung findet, zumal sie Veröffentlichungen möglich macht, die bisher leider oft aus Kosten- und Sachzwängen unterbleiben mußten. Die ersten der hier aufgenommenen Beiträge stehen noch - naheliegenderweise - in einem direkten Zusammenhang mit den Ausgrabungen in Kalkriese, doch soll sich dies schon bald ändern. Vor allem Studierende und jüngere Wissenschaftler aus dem gesamten Bereich der Altertumswissenschaften sind daher aufgerufen, Beiträge in unserer Reihe zu publizieren.

Formal ist lediglich darauf zu achten, daß die eingesandten Beiträge keine Formatierungen enthalten (besondere Formatierungswünsche sind in einem Ausdruck kenntlich zu machen). Dem Text kann eine Literaturliste folgen. Wo es sinnvoll erscheint, sollten dem Text mit Bildunterschriften und Herkunftsnachweis versehene Abbildungen in einem gängigen Grafikformat (gif, jpg, tif) beigegeben werden.

Inhaltsverzeichnis der Osnabrücker Online - Beiträge zu den Altertumswissenschaften

American Philological Association

President's Letter: Travel Awards and Placement Fees

Dear Colleagues,

I begin with a big thank you to the membership. In my last message on annual giving I mentioned that the Board of Directors wanted to make annual meeting travel awards more robust for our colleagues who are most vulnerable, and I asked you to consider this when contributing to the Society.

The response was most gratifying! Members designated close to $5,000 for student travel awards this year, more than three times last year’s $1,500. In response, the Finance Committee has approved the granting of 20 awards at $250 each for the San Francisco meeting, a substantial increase from the 10 awards at $150 each for the New Orleans meeting. I am very grateful to you all for this response.

There is more good news. I am happy to report that the Finance Committee has approved the elimination of registration fees for all candidates who are SCS members in the Placement Service for 2015-2016. That will be one less expense that candidates have to bear as they seek positions.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Artefacts Unearthed In Central City Of Da Nang, Vietnam

DA NANG (Vietnam), July 2  – More than 4,500 items including ceramics, stone axes, coins,...

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

UNESCO e UNITAR-UNOSAT insieme per proteggere il patrimonio culturale con le ultime tecnologie geospaziali

UNESCO e UNITAR (United Nations Institute for Training and Research) hanno firmato un accordo per proteggere i siti del patrimonio culturale e naturale con le più recenti tecnologie geospaziali. Tale accordo è stato firmato in occasione della riunione annuale del Comitato del Patrimonio Mondiale a Bonn, in Germania, e verrà rilasciato tramite l'Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT) dell'UNITAR.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

The Controversial Past

The past in areas like East Central Europe is never straightforward or unequivocal in its interpretatuion. "Goodbye Lenin: controversial 'history laws' divide Ukraine” -  report by  Tom Parfitt from Lviv, Kiev and Zaporizhia.

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

If The Princess Bride Were Remade Today

Comments Section Princess Bride

The image is from Jeff Carter. I try to make this blog an exception to the classic blunder mentioned in the updated movie dialogue. The image is funny because we can all relate to it. And so it is also sad. Serious, profound, deep discussion has taken place on the internet, and continues to do so. We may not be able to have all online discussion be great, or even tolerable - OK, we might not even be able to ensure that participants in all online conversations are recognizable as humans who learned manners of some sort when they were children. But as long as we ensure that there are some places where commenting and discussing are not a classic blunder, where trolls are kept at bay and thoughtful posts are appreciated, hopefully that will be enough.

How do you think commenting is on this blog? What could I/we do better? What have you found to be keys to having comments discussions online that are just like in-person human conversation, and nothing worthy of mention in The Princess Bride?

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

"Setting the Standard", but gone

John Winter reports that the '" forum has disappeared. I guess with the PAS on the way out, pretending to be "setting any standards" could really be seen as a bit of a waste of time. It seems metal detectorists too thick to self-censor do not like people censoring their posts "because you never know who might be reading this". Gotta keep up the appearance of standards, eh?

Archaeological News on Tumblr

The Fall and Rise and Fall of Pompeii

The famous archaeological treasure is falling into scandalous decline, even as its sister city...

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Corso sulla modellazione e animazione 3D

NEMECH (New Media for Cultural Heritage) è un nuovo Centro di Competenza sui beni culturali istituito da Regione Toscana e attivato dal MICC dell'Università di Firenze dedicato allo sviluppo di progetti di ricerca e soluzioni innovative nell'ambito delle tecnologie digitali applicate ai beni culturali. 

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Archaeologists call on feds to protect Chaco Canyon area

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Tucked away among northwestern New Mexico’s sandstone cliffs and...

Végh Zsuzsanna and Simon Zsolt (Agyagtábla, papirusz)

Doktori ösztöndíj (asszíriológia)

PhD position in Assyriology

1.0 fte (full-time), 4 years
Specialization in Neo-Babylonian
Faculty of Humanities, VU Amsterdam
Vacancy number: 15177
Application deadline: 16 July 2015

The research project “Paying for All the Kings’ Horses and All the King’s Men: A Fiscal History of the Achaemenid Empire”, funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), conducted under the leadership of Kristin Kleber is seeking to fill a PhD position in September 2015. The project aims to investigate taxation and administration in the Achaemenid Empire. Currently one PhD candidate (Mark Tamerus) works on the Elamite texts from Persepolis. The prospective PhD candidate will share the work on Babylonian archives with K. Kleber and an additional post-doctoral scholar who is to join the project from 2016 on for two years (a job advertisement will follow in due time). 

Job description
The PhD candidate will independently read and analyze published (often only in cuneiform) and unpublished texts from Neo-Babylonian private archives and write a dissertation on taxation (types, basis for taxation), administration and the spending of tax money in Babylonia during the Persian period. He or she will collect all quantitative information but will also work qualitatively by conducting an analysis of the underlying administrative structures. The candidate will get the chance to travel to collections of cuneiform tablets to make collations and possibly transliterations of new texts. 
The candidate will furthermore present a work-in-progress paper on a meeting of the Neo-Babylonian Network Initiative and a scientific paper at the project’s international workshop in 2018. The latter will be published in conference proceedings. 

According to the new PhD regulations of VU University all PhD candidates are required to take 30 ECTS of education during the four-year position. Some of these study points can be acquired through regular courses in Akkadian, project-meetings, presentations at the Neo-Babylonian Network workshop and a course in reading and copying original cuneiform tablets. The candidate may be asked to teach one course per year during his/her second and third year or to contribute in knowledge transfer to a general public (e.g. by giving a presentation for a wider audience or writing and posting information for a general public on the project’s website which is currently under construction). 

The prospective PhD candidate: 
• has an MA in Assyriology (or a comparable Ancient Studies degree with a specialization on the Ancient Near East) at hand by 31 August 2015; 
• has acquired knowledge on Neo-Babylonian archival studies during his/her previous education; 
• is able to place texts and data into their historical context; 
• is able to write a dissertation and papers in good scholarly English; 
• has evident communicative and organisational skills. 
Familiarity with Neo-Babylonian texts is essential for this position. Applicants are requested to mention courses they took or papers they wrote on Neo-Babylonian topics during their BA and MA-education. It will be appreciated if the BA-thesis, a larger term paper or the MA-thesis on a Neo-Babylonian topic is submitted along with the letter of application (max. two pages), a transcript (list of courses and grades), and a CV. 

Other relevant details
PhD candidates at Dutch Universities are employees and receive the full benefits that the institution offers its personnel. The initial employment contract will have the duration of one year. After a positive evaluation the contract will be prolonged for three years. The contract will end on 31 August 2019. 

The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel in education. It ranges from € 2125 gross per month in the first year up to € 2717 in the fourth (salary scale 85). The project is seeking to fill the vacancy as of 1 September 2015. 

Information and application
For additional information you can contact Dr. K. Kleber via e-mail. 
Applicants are requested to write a letter in which they describe their abilities and their motivation, accompanied by their curriculum vitae, a transcript (list of courses and grades), and a written sample on a Neo-Babylonian topic. Applications should be sent attached to an e-mail to k.kleber at until 16 July 2015. The letter of application can be addressed to: 

Dr. K. Kleber 
VU University Amsterdam 
Faculty of Humanities 
De Boelelaan 1105 
1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Any other correspondence in response to this advertisement will not be dealt with.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: The Journal of the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages

The Journal of the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages
The Journal of the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages, published annually by the Council, is dedicated to the issues and concerns related to the teaching and learning of Less Commonly Taught Languages. The Journal primarily seeks to address the interests of language teachers, administrators, and re-searchers. Articles that describe innovative and successful teaching methods that are relevant to the concerns or problems of the profession, or that report educational research or experimentation in Less Commonly Taught Languages are welcome. Papers presented at the Council’s annual conference will be considered for publication, but additional manuscripts from members of the profession are also welcome.
Recent Editions
Past Editions
See the full List of Open Access Journals in Ancient Studies

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Chornancap priestess origin to be discovered

The Chornancap priestess has long been a mystery for archaeologists and historians of Peruvian...


Further helpful Boeotians

In an inscription from Athens, we meet one Peilestrotidas (cf. Agora XVII 500), who illustrates (1) the labial treatment of a labiovelar even before front vowels (cf. τῆλε, etc.), (2) -ρο- not -ρα- as the reflex of a syllabic r, and (3) the spelling <ει> for an original long e vowel. Cf. *Τηλεστρατίδης (-ίδᾱς).

We know that he is a Boeotian, despite only appearing at Athens, because his name is followed by an ethnic, Θειβῆος, whose spelling (as with Πει-) is consistent with Boeotian pronunciation (cf. the spelling Θηβαῖος outside Boeotia; Boeotian has κή for καί).

Note, by contrast, the use of the suffix -ίδᾱς, not -ιος, as a deriverative of a (father's) name.

A comparable case of the labial treatment of a labiovelar is illustrated by Θιόφειστος in IG 3172 (c) 90-91 and 92. Cf. Θεόθεστος from Hellenistic Rhodes.

His father's name is given in the genitive: Θιοδώρω (contra Buck, 168a. The context mentions Εὐξενίδας Φιλώνδαο, a neat example of the genitive of the father's name (in -ᾱο as in Homer), itself an -ώνδᾱς formation (see Buck, 168a), typical of Boeotian (Buck, 164.8: also in Thessalian, Phocian, Megarian, and Euboean).

Jim Davila (

Review of Schniedewind, A Social History of Hebrew

MARGINALIA REVIEW OF BOOKS: Present and Future of the Hebrew Past – By Aaron Koller.
In some cases, the search for relevance produces work that is overwrought and unfounded, but in others, new life is breathed into old texts through the application of novel methodologies and approaches. William Schniedewind’s A Social History of Hebrew: Its Origins through the Rabbinic Period is an excellent example of the latter. Drawing on sociolinguistics, in addition to historical linguistics and other tools of “old-fashioned philology,” Schniedewind sets out to write a social history of a dead language. He does not aim to describe the grammar of the language in full or to trace features of the morphology or syntax through the centuries. Instead, he wants to use language as a key to unlocking an ancient society.
I once heard Frank Moore Cross tell the apocryphal anecdote at the beginning of this review. Many years ago I presented an SBL paper that dealt with some of these questions: DIALECTOLOGY IN BIBLICAL HEBREW: A NORTH ISRAELITE DIALECT? SYNCHRONIC AND DIACHRONIC CONSIDERATIONS.

Dicken on Herod

Composite “Herod” in Luke-Acts

The name “Herod” appears for three different Herodian rulers in Luke-Acts. The essay explores unique features of the Lukan depiction of two of these Herodian rulers at Luke 1:5 and Acts 12:1-23 in relation to the description of the rulers found in other ancient sources. Drawing upon these unique features and applying a text-oriented, narrative-critical interpretive strategy to Luke-Acts, this essay will explain the recurrence of this name in Luke-Acts as the amalgamation of three historical individuals into a composite character.

See also: Herod as a Composite Character in Luke-Acts. WUNT II. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2014.

By Frank Dicken
Assistant Professor of New Testament
Lincoln Christian University
June 2015
I noted the book here when it came out.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Workers find centuries-old artifacts under Seattle bridge

SEATTLE – There’s buried treasure beneath Seattle streets – especially if...

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

What If You’re Wrong?

Faith without doubt isn’t faith

Multiple posts came to my attention recently, all of which seek to respond to the conservative assumption that it is liberals who need to worry about being wrong in accepting gays and lesbians, as well as more generally.

Cindy Brandt writes,

To be honest, I am not certain this is the correct stance to take. Long ago, I repented of an idolatry to certainty. I gave up the need to be sure of anything, because I saw how I had wielded my certainty as a tool to harm others, and I still carry shame from the unrelenting posture I held towards people who deserved better from me. But I think I have grown closer to understanding what it means to live by faith, a life led not by certainty but by the Spirit who gently compels me, not by compulsory doctrinal laws but through persuasive convictions.

Matthew Paul Turner writes, “Faith without doubt isn’t faith; it’s cultural certainty, little more than a lifeless creed you can shout at the top of your lungs behind pulpits, write in all caps in online comment sections, and whisper under your breath like a curse whenever challenged.”

Micky Dewitt writes,

The bottom line is that I could be dead wrong on whether or not homosexual sex acts (the Bible really doesn’t address same-sex marriage specifically, only sexual acts between partners of the same gender) are acceptable within the covenant relationship among two people. Same-sex marriage could be missing the mark. But I can assure you that my heart is to follow the example of Jesus. He demonstrated inclusivity. He loved and felt compassion for those deemed “unclean” and created avenues for them to come into a right relationship with God.

If I am wrong, than what am I guilty of? I have made my best attempts to remove barriers to the cross and I trust that God will sort out any confusion as He relates to each one of us. When I worship on Sunday with my gay brothers and sisters, I trust that they are there because they love Jesus and want to follow Him. Who can argue with that? We all have sin in our lives and we all have unknown sin in our lives-perhaps sin that is even encouraged for us to remain in due to misinterpretation of scriptures (the prosperity gospel is one example). Are we all in trouble because we unknowingly and even at times defensively remain in our sin? And is it our place to determine what “trouble” a person might be in (i.e. hell-bound)? Be careful to not kick Jesus out of the judgement seat.

What if you are wrong? You chose to make the gospel exclusive. You chose to put barriers in place, keeping people from seeing the attractive aroma of Christ’s love for them. You chose politics to become the means by which you further the Kingdom-which is antithetical to the calling of Jesus. And you chose to remove avenues for which you might build relationships with those who don’t know Jesus. I can’t find one example of Jesus doing this in the New Testament. In fact, if you read all about the Eunuchs, you will find an impressive example of how Jesus opened the gates of the Kingdom to a group of people who were historically not welcome (See Deuteronomy 23:1, Isaiah 56:4, Matthew 19:12, and Acts 8:26-40).

And Ben Irwin asks,

Many of our convictions are inherited rather than intentionally cultivated. We arrive at them by default, more or less.

How much time have you spent considering the arguments for and against same-sex marriage? I don’t mean, How much time have you spent defending your particular point of view? or How much time have you spent reading those you already agree with to validate what you already believe?

That’s confirmation bias, not discernment.

What I mean is, How much time have you spent studying, reflecting, discerning, questioning—perhaps even praying about your convictions? How much time have you spent testing your assumptions? How open are you to the possibility you might be wrong?

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Gli Archivi Alinari a portata di mano con una nuova App

Grazi alla collaborazione tra Alinari e il Google Cultural Institute è nata una nuova App mobile mediante la quale è possibile esplorare i celebri archivi fotografici su dispositivi mobile.

Jim Davila (

On the Oxyrhynchus papyri

POPULAR ARCHAEOLOGY: From the Sands of Egypt. A longish survey article by Michael Gordon. It was published in 2011, but Popular Archaeology has just released it from its subscription-only archive. For many past posts on the Oxyrhynchus papyri, see here and links, and also perhaps here.

An ancient mikveh under the floor

THE PERILS OF DIY: Ancient Ritual Bath Found Under Unsuspecting Family's Floorboards (Elizabeth Goldbaum, LiveScience).
A family recently discovered a large 2,000-year-old ritual bath underneath the floorboards of their Jerusalem home during a routine living room renovation, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced today (July 1).

Two other articles about the discovery, both with lots of photos, are at the Daily Mail and Ynet News.

Blogging Pompeii

Herculaneum glass

A new volume has just been published on ancient glass:

Il vetro in Italia Centrale dall'antichità al contemporaneo, Atti delle XVII Giornate Nazionali di Studio (Massa Martana e Perugia, 11-12 maggio 2013), a cura di Luciana Mandruzzato, Teresa Medici, Marina Uboldi.

Two of the contributions are on Herculaneum:
- Guidobaldi, M.P., Camardo, D., Esposito, A. & Notomista, M. La presenza di vetri alle finestre di edifici pubblici e privati nell’antica Ercolano
-  Camardo, D. & Esposito, A. (2015) I reperti in vetro dallo scavo della fossa settica dell’Insula Orientalis II di Ercolano

If anyone is interested in getting hold of a copy, please let me know (hcp[at]

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

Curated versus Automated Revisits

There’s a good bit of buzz lately about Apple Music’s “curated” playlists, and TIDAL, my preference for a music streaming service, offers a range of curated music playlists as well. In general, the term curation, like crafted, artisanal, or any of the other tech-media, marketing buzzwords has come to mean that a human, rather than an algorithm has produced a collection. As many, many have observed, the term curation is annoying and overused.

But I still want to use for a little bit in reference to our work on the Western Argolid Regional Project. This morning, I took some time out of the field to start to analyze some of our finds and field data. We plan to revisit a few units before the season concludes and to collect some more material. Our hope is that these targeted revisits will help us both to refine our survey methods by offering some points to calibrate our sampling strategy, they’ll help us produce more robust assemblages of types of pottery that might only appear in very small quantities using our typical collection approach, and revisits will allow us to document archaeological features a bit more intensively than we would have time and resources to do over the course of intensive survey.


We target sites for revisit in three ways. First, our field teams can tick a check box and provide a brief explanation for why a particular unit is worth revisiting. Our ceramicists, Scott Gallimore and Sarah James, can also identify units as being interesting, important, or confusing and consequently worth revisiting. Finally, we can analyze data through our GIS and databases that target units with certain characteristics (such as low visibility with either high densities or diverse assemblages). Our revisit lists generated by team leader and ceramicists are not fortified by statistics, but generated through careful observations and total situational awareness. These units represent the slow archaeology approach to landscape and artifact analysis.

So far, it has been heartening to recognize that the lists of revisit units curated by our team leaders and ceramicists are remarkably consistent with the units generated from my analysis of our various databases. In fact, combining the curated list of unit with list of units generated through our analysis of GIS tend to complement each other by expanding the potential target units for revisit. As we nuance the criteria for revisit a bit over the next week, I’m sure that we’ll discover some counterintuitive units that will serve as tests of our archaeological instincts. For now, though, we’ll proceed into the final week of the season with just a bit of confidence that our experiences in the field and at the pottery tables reflects the complexity of our study area.

Jim Davila (

The Star of Bethlehem?

I RATHER DOUBT IT: ‘Star of Bethlehem’ shines again? (Stuart Winer, Times of Israel). The sub-heading says what we do know: "Jupiter and Venus line up for celestial conjunction in eye-catching heavenly display."
In Jerusalem, the two planets could clearly been seen hanging in the western sky and appeared as a double star although in reality the plants are hundreds of millions of kilometers apart.

According to Christian tradition, a bright star appeared in the sky signaling the birth of Jesus to the Three Wise Men and then leading them to his location in Bethlehem.

While there are several theories as to what might have inspired the legend, astronomers noted that in 3-2 BCE there was a similar conjunction of Jupiter and Venus to the one that shone down this week.
The current conjunction has been lining up for some time and I noted it last week, with a photo at sunset (fourth one down) as seen from northern Italy. Back in St. Andrews, I also went out late on the evening of the 30th, when the conjunction was at its closest. Luckily, the sky was clear, and I could see Venus with Jupiter just above it. It seems that at no point were the two planets overlapping such that they could be confused with a single, extraordinarily bright star.

That is not to say that it could not have happened 2000 years ago and led the Magi west. That remains a possibility, one of the several that I review in this post, where I also give my own view of the matter. Other past posts on the Star of Bethlehem are linked to there, and two more recent ones are here and here.

Aurélien Berra (Philologie à venir)

DH EHESS : reprise du séminaire en 2015-2016

Après une année de jachère, le séminaire Digital Humanities de l’EHESS reprendra cette année. Six séances sont prévues, de décembre à mai, en partenariat avec d’autres séminaires consacrés aux humanités numériques. Le thème général sera la textualité numérique. Une annonce détaillée sera publiée dès que possible.

Au plaisir de vous retrouver !


Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Al via il restauro del dipinto murale di Mario Sironi alla Sapienza

Durerà un anno e mezzo, a partire da luglio 2015, il restauro del grande dipinto murale di Mario Sironi “L’Italia fra le Arti e le Scienze”, realizzato nel 1935 in occasione dell’inaugurazione della Città Universitaria.


Number plates

For some time, on my way to work, I used to see a (non-personalised) number plate that happened to end 'LXX'. I assume that this was not the owner's choice.

This one caught my attention two days ago. One wonders whether there is a companion vehicle with the plate 'agris'. A landrover, maybe.

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Soluzioni tecnologiche per illuminare Spinosaurus e Tiepolo, protagonisti dell’apertura del ristrutturato Palazzo Dugnani a Milano

Sembrerebbe proprio una “strana coppia”, nonostante le “contaminazioni” oggi tanto di moda, visto che lo Spinosaurus egyptiacus - scoperto cento anni fa dal paleontologo tedesco Ernst Stromer nel deserto occidentale dell’Egitto - è il più grande dinosauro semi-acquatico predatore risalente a 95 milioni di anni fa, mentre Giambattista Tiepolo - nato nella Città dei Dogi nel 1696 e morto a Madrid nel 1770 - è considerato uno dei maggiori pittori del Settecento veneziano.

Blogging Pompeii

RIP Herman Geertman

It saddens me greatly to hear of the death this week of Herman Geertman. I have many memories of him at Pompeii, of his great knowledge of the site and his kindness to other scholars. Pompeii was enriched by his presence. He will be missed.
Prof. dr. Herman Geertman (1935-2015)
Herman Geertman died Tuesday June 30th. He was Professor of Classical and Mediterranean Archaeology at Leiden University (1979-2000), director of the Dutch Institute at Rome (1997-2002) and director of the RUSPA (Richerche Urbanistiche Su Pompei Antica) project (1985-present). He was also a member of the Scientific Committee of the Herculaneum Conservation Project.
Herman has written many publications and has contributed to BABesch 59 (1984), Munus non ingratum (1989), BABesch 68 (1993), Le project de Vitruve. Objet, destinataires et réception du “De architectura” (1994), Vitruviuscongres (1997), Unpeeling Pompeii (1998), Pompei, scienza e società (2001), Hic Fecit Basilicam (2004) and The World of Pompeii (2007). 
Herman leaves behind his wife, two sons & their wives and three grandchildren. He will be sorely missed.

Pompéi, Pistrina Recherches sur les boulangeries de l’Italie romaine – campagne 2014

Pompéi, Pistrina Recherches sur les boulangeries de l’Italie romaine – campagne 2014
Recherches sur les boulangeries de l’Italie romaine – campagne 2014
Nicolas Monteix, Sanna Aho, Audrey Delvigne-Rorko et Arnaud Watel
École française de Rome, Centre Jean Bérard (USR 3133 CNRS/EFR), Ministère des Affaires étrangères et du développement international (Paris), Soprintendenza speciale per i beni archeologici di Pompei, Ercolano e Stabia, Groupe de recherches en Histoire (EA 3831 Université de Rouen), Eveha International.
Download a PDF of the report here.

After Pompeii – where does the study of the Roman city go in the 21st century? CALL FOR PAPERS EAUH Conference 2016 Helsinki

After Pompeii – where does the study of the  Roman city go in the 21st century?  CALL FOR  PAPERS EAUH Conference 2016 Helsinki

The study of urban space in Pompeii has been pursued within Archaeology for more than 20 years – some outside this discipline have looked with envy as the study of space has moved forward.  After two decades, it is part of the accepted practice of how the site is studied.  However, there is a need for some critique – has all the measurement of every variation of its fabric: ramps to park carts, wheel-ruts to determine traffic-flow, space syntax applications and so on actually produced a better understanding of space and society?

The use of theory is still an area that is contested. A UK national overview of research in Classics concluded that: ‘In studies of phenomena such as urbanism, the use of space, public and domestic, and the Roman economy, the borderlines between archaeology and history are being tested. The development of new theoretical lines of enquiry, used with caution, offers benefits, although some were uncertain as to the applicability of theory to evidence; the use of theory is still a work in progress.’

This session wishes to look back with a critical glance-over-the-shoulder at how the study of space developed in Pompeii, but then seeks to move forward and look to the future of how the Roman city should be studied in this century to address the following themes for discussion:-

1)The application of new theoretical lines of enquiry and their benefits; 2)The use of evidence and the use of theory; 3)Measuring the urban environment and the relationship of these measurements to social phenomena; 4)Haptic or sensory approaches to space; 5)What does the study of Pompeii to date provide for the wider study of urban history?

The papers will form a session within the European Association of Urban Historians Conference 2016 in Helsinki.  All offers of papers need to be submitted within the framework of the conference as set out by the organisers below:-

CALL FOR PAPERS – EAUH 2016 / Deadline: October 31, 2015

We are pleased to announce you that the Call for Papers for the 13th International Conference on Urban History “Reinterpreting Cities” is now open. The conference will take place from 24th to 27th August 2016 in Helsinki.

The deadline for paper proposals is October 31, 2015. To submit a paper proposal, scholars will need to create a user account on the conference management system

Paola Arosio and Diego Meozzi (Stone Pages' Archaeonews)

Excavation begins at England's Marden Henge

Archaeologists are embarking on a three-year series of excavations in the Vale of Pewsey, between the prehistoric monuments of Stonehenge and Avebury - a little explored archaeological region of international...

Was this the first recorded murder?

In a remote part of Northern Spain, at an archaeological site known as Sima de los Huesos (literal translation - Pit of Bones), a team of researchers have found what...

The Heroic Age

Invitation: Paris 2016 and the BAA

British Archaeological Association ( conference in Paris. 
It will take place from 16-20 July 2016 at various monuments and in the lovely INHA. Please mark your calendars. 
BAA Paris 2016 will be fantastic opportunity to share our research and enjoy the city together!
I write in the hope that you have already heard about this call for papers but I am emailing to ensure that you know the details (and the imminent deadline). Also, would you please spread the word to other Paris-loving colleagues, students, and friends?
Submitted abstracts should be about 500-1000 words for a paper of 20-30 minutes on any topic related to material culture and 'The Powers that shaped the City [Paris].' The chronological scope of this conference will stretch from Late Antiquity until the Renaissance.
The deadline is VERY soon (1 July) so please do send your proposals ASAP to the convenors, Lindy Grant ( and Meredith Cohen (

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

The Essence of Numismatics

Student Conference programme
Q "At which numismatic conferences have you delivered papers?"
A "None. Numismatic conventions normally do not include presentation of formal papers. [...]  This question, I will add, reveals much regarding Mr. Barford's ignorance of numismatics.
I rather feel it shows more that thise self-styled "professional numismatist" from the US has never been to a proper conference at which real professional numismatists present the results of their research. We have them pretty frequently here in the Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, and in Cracow, Poznan, Wrocław etc etc... our numismatists hold a lot of such conferences.

UPDATE 2nd July 2015
Mr Welsh, in defence of his notion that a self-taught shopkeeper is somehow a "professional numismatist"  complains:
"There are very few academically oriented numismatic conferences held in the USA [...] . It would of course be very desirable to have more such conferences.
Yes, if this is true, it would eventually bring North American numismatics up to the same level as its European antecedent. He blames it of course on "the archaeologists" but I do not see why an alleged 50000 ancient coin collectors cannot organize themselves to put on an academic conference somewhere.

I think the problem is the definition of the words used, the confused shopkeeper plaintively enquires:
How many of those who attend or present papers at [these] conference[s] derive their livings primarily from their involvement in numismatics?
Actually if they are working in institutions, museums, education, research etc. as numismatists, I'd say they all do. They are professionally engaged in the methodological study of numismatic evidence. But they do not then sell the physical subject of their research. 

He has a wife you know

peashooter85: How did the ancients excavate a tunnel from both...


How did the ancients excavate a tunnel from both ends and somehow meet in the middle?

On the Greek Island of Samos in the 6th century BC, the people decided it would be a worthy investment to build an aqueduct to supply water to their city.  The problem was that the nearest spring was located behind a large mountain.  Thus the people of Samos would have to tunnel an aqueduct through the mountain.  The engineer Eupalinos was hired to oversee the project.  Tunneling only amounted to a few feet a day, and the people of Samos wanted the aqueduct finished as soon as possible in case the Persians should ever lay siege to their city.   Thus Eupalinos suggested that another team tunnel from the opposite end.  Of course this poses a problem, how do you excavate a tunnel from both ends and somehow meet in the middle?

Video from “What the Ancients Did For Us”.

All Mesopotamia

ancientart: Stone panel from the North-West Palace of...


Stone panel from the North-West Palace of Ashurnasirpal, Nimrud (ancient Kalhu), northern Iraq Neo-Assyrian, 883-859 BC, “The escape of enemies across a river.”

Courtesy & currently located at the British Museum, London. Photo taken by Charles Tilford.