Maia Atlantis: Ancient World Blogs

Tom Elliott (

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

April 18, 2014

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Backfiles: The Jewish Quarterly Review (Open Access Backfiles)

The Jewish Quarterly Review (Open Access Backfiles)
ISSN: 00216682
E-ISSN: 15530604
Established in 1889, the Jewish Quarterly Review (JQR) is the oldest English-language journal in the fields of Jewish studies. Edited at the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, the journal aims to publish the finest work in all areas of Jewish studies. In addition to original articles by senior as well as junior scholars, JQR regularly features review essays and book forums, short notes, and lists of relevant dissertations. Preserving the attention to textual detail so characteristic of the journal in the past, JQR attempts now to reach a wider and more diverse audience.
  • 1922 (New Series Vol. 13)
    • No. 2, Oct., 1922, pp. 117-243 Free Content
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    1922 (New Series Vol. 12)
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    1921 (New Series Vol. 12)
    • No. 2, Oct., 1921, pp. 123-256 Free Content
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    1921 (New Series Vol. 11)
    • No. 4, Apr., 1921, pp. 409-558+i-iv Free Content
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    1920 (New Series Vol. 11)
    • No. 2, Oct., 1920, pp. 127-276 Free Content
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    1920 (New Series Vol. 10)
    • No. 4, Apr., 1920, pp. 377-534 Free Content
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    1919 (New Series Vol. 10)
    • No. 2/3, Oct., 1919 - Jan., 1920, pp. 159-376 Free Content
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    1919 (New Series Vol. 9)
    • No. 3/4, Jan. - Apr., 1919, pp. 259-501 Free Content
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    • No. 1/2, Jul. - Oct., 1918, pp. i-iv+1-258 Free Content
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    • No. 4, Apr., 1918, pp. 385-510+i-iv Free Content
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    1912 (New Series Vol. 2)
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    1911 (New Series Vol. 2)
    • No. 2, Oct., 1911, pp. 159-295 Free Content
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    1911 (New Series Vol. 1)
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    1910 (New Series Vol. 1)
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    1906 (Vol. 18)
    • No. 4, Jul., 1906, pp. 587-782 Free Content
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    1904 (Vol. 17)
    • No. 1, Oct., 1904, pp. i-viii+1-192 Free Content
    1904 (Vol. 16)
    • No. 4, Jul., 1904, pp. 603-777 Free Content
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    • No. 2, Jan., 1904, pp. 209-424 Free Content
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    • No. 1, Oct., 1903, pp. i-viii+1-208 Free Content
    1903 (Vol. 15)
    • No. 4, Jul., 1903, pp. 559-728 Free Content
    • No. 3, Apr., 1903, pp. 337-558 Free Content
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    1902 (Vol. 15)
    • No. 1, Oct., 1902, pp. i-viii+1-166 Free Content
    1902 (Vol. 14)
    • No. 4, Jul., 1902, pp. 653-796 Free Content
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    1901 (Vol. 14)
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    1901 (Vol. 13)
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    1900 (Vol. 13)
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    1900 (Vol. 12)
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    1899 (Vol. 12)
    • No. 1, Oct., 1899, pp. i-x+1-176 Free Content
    1899 (Vol. 11)
    • No. 4, Jul., 1899, pp. 533-699 Free Content
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    1898 (Vol. 11)
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    1898 (Vol. 10)
    • No. 4, Jul., 1898, pp. 565-738 Free Content
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    1897 (Vol. 10)
    • No. 1, Oct., 1897, pp. i-x+1-196 Free Content
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    • No. 4, Jul., 1897, pp. 543-758 Free Content
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    1896 (Vol. 9)
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    1895 (Vol. 8)
    • No. 1, Oct., 1895, pp. i-viii+1-188 Free Content
    1895 (Vol. 7)
    • No. 4, Jul., 1895, pp. 581-777 Free Content
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    1894 (Vol. 7)
    • No. 1, Oct., 1894, pp. i-vii+1-172 Free Content
    1894 (Vol. 6)
    • No. 4, Jul., 1894, pp. 597-756 Free Content
    • No. 3, Apr., 1894, pp. 405-596 Free Content
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    1893 (Vol. 6)
    • No. 1, Oct., 1893, pp. i-vii+1-224 Free Content
    1893 (Vol. 5)
    • No. 4, Jul., 1893, pp. 517-716 Free Content
    • No. 3, Apr., 1893, pp. 353-516 Free Content
    • No. 2, Jan., 1893, pp. 177-352 Free Content
    1892 (Vol. 5)
    • No. 1, Oct., 1892, pp. i-viii+1-176 Free Content
    1892 (Vol. 4)
    • No. 4, Jul., 1892, pp. 513-704 Free Content
    • No. 3, Apr., 1892, pp. 345-512 Free Content
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    1891 (Vol. 4)
    • No. 1, Oct., 1891, pp. 1-164 Free Content
    1891 (Vol. 3)
    • No. 4, Jul., 1891, pp. 587-790 Free Content
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    1890 (Vol. 3)
    • No. 1, Oct., 1890, pp. 1-158 Free Content
    1890 (Vol. 2)
    • No. 4, Jul., 1890, pp. 369-539 Free Content
    • No. 3, Apr., 1890, pp. 205-368 Free Content
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    1889 (Vol. 2)
    • No. 1, Oct., 1889, pp. 1-108 Free Content
    1889 (Vol. 1)
    • No. 4, Jul., 1889, pp. 289-444 Free Content
    • No. 3, Apr., 1889, pp. 185-288 Free Content
    • No. 2, Jan., 1889, pp. 89-184 Free Content
    1888 (Vol. 1)
    • No. 1, Oct., 1888, pp. 1-88 Free Content

And see also:
AWOL's full list of journals in JSTOR with substantial representation of the Ancient World

Open Access Backfiles: Classical Philology (Open Access Backfiles)

Classical Philology (Open Access Backfiles)
ISSN: 0009837X
E-ISSN: 1546072X
Classical Philology is a University-owned journal that is sponsored by the University of Chicago’s Department of Classics. The Department of Classics retains editorial control and appoints editors. The Chair of the Department has recommended the appointment of Mark Payne to replace Elizabeth Asmis as editor of Classical Philology. Both the Department and the Press are fully confident in Payne’s ability to lead the journal, as he has already exhibited this competence by serving as acting editor during Asmis’s leave 2009-10.

Classical Philology has been an internationally respected journal for the study of the life, languages, and thought of the Ancient Greek and Roman world since 1906. The journal covers a broad range of topics from a variety of interpretative points of view.
  • 1922 (Vol. 17)
    • No. 4, Oct., 1922, pp. 283-388 Free Content
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    1919 (Vol. 14)
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    • No. 4, Oct., 1912, pp. 397-528 Free Content
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    1911 (Vol. 6)
    • No. 4, Oct., 1911, pp. 385-518 Free Content
    • No. 3, Jul., 1911, pp. 257-384 Free Content
    • No. 2, Apr., 1911, pp. 129-256 Free Content
    • No. 1, Jan., 1911, pp. i-viii+1-128 Free Content
    1910 (Vol. 5)
    • No. 4, Oct., 1910, pp. 405-538 Free Content
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    • No. 1, Jan., 1910, pp. i-viii+1-128 Free Content
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    1909 (Vol. 4)
    • No. 4, Oct., 1909, pp. 345-472 Free Content
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    • No. 1, Jan., 1909, pp. i-viii+1-112 Free Content
    1908 (Vol. 3)
    • No. 4, Oct., 1908, pp. 369-474 Free Content
    • No. 3, Jul., 1908, pp. 225-368 Free Content
    • No. 2, Apr., 1908, pp. 129-224 Free Content
    • No. 1, Jan., 1908, pp. i-viii+1-128 Free Content
    1907 (Vol. 2)
    • No. 4, Oct., 1907, pp. 369-506 Free Content
    • No. 3, Jul., 1907, pp. 241-368 Free Content
    • No. 2, Apr., 1907, pp. 129-240 Free Content
    • No. 1, Jan., 1907, pp. i-viii+1-128 Free Content
    1906 (Vol. 1)
    • No. 4, Oct., 1906, pp. 313-444 Free Content
    • No. 3, Jul., 1906, pp. 201-312 Free Content
    • No. 2, Apr., 1906, pp. 97-200 Free Content
    • No. 1, Jan., 1906, pp. i-viii+1-96 Free Content

And see also:
AWOL's full list of journals in JSTOR with substantial representation of the Ancient World

Samuel Hardy (Conflict Antiquities)

Unknown gunmen attacked Chersonesos dig team, rejected Ukrainian excavation licence

Unrelenting bad news: ‘in Sevastopol, near Fiolenta [Bay], unknown persons shot at archaeologists, [who were] leading official excavations [В Севастополе в районе Фиолента неизвестные обстреляли археологов, ведущих официальные раскопки]‘. No-one was injured in the incident, which lasted half an hour(?), but the police investigation will not be able to reach a reassuring conclusion. As always, […]

Open Access Archaeology

Open Access Archaeology Digest #392

Open Access (free to read) Archaeology articles:

A Review of Techniques for the Graphical Display of Geophysical Data

Re-Excavation of the Chambered Cairn of Quoyness, Sanday, on behalf of the Ministry of Works, 1951-2 Notes by WELLS, L H and ZEUNER, F E

The Boundary between Scotland and England in the Portolan Charts.

Learn more about Open Access and Archaeology at:

Ancient Art

Palygorskite skull; information relating to its excavation is...

Palygorskite skull; information relating to its excavation is not known.

Courtesy of & currently located at the National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico. Photo taken by Travis S.

Ancient Peoples

Limestone double statue of Mahu  This pair is made for the...

Limestone double statue of Mahu 

This pair is made for the burial chamber and is meant as a house in which the deceased’s soul could inhabit if it wanted. The owners are shown in their best outfit and wigs. This style is typical of the 18th dynasty; the young faces, the dubble wigs and the style of the dresses. 

Egyptian, New Kingdom, 18th dynasty, after 1450 BC. 

Source: British Museum

Archaeology Magazine

Sections of the Great Wall of China Unearthed

BEIJING, CHINA—The Global Post reports that three sections of the Great Wall thought to have been constructed during the Qin Dynasty (221 B.C. to 206 B.C.) have been discovered in northwest China. The stone wall had been placed in a valley of the Yellow River in order to prevent foreign invaders from crossing the river when it was frozen.  

Physical Impact of the Trail of Tears and the Civil War Analyzed

RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA—Environmental stressors brought on by the Trail of Tears and the Civil War led to significant changes in the shape of skulls of members of the eastern and western bands of the Cherokee people, according to researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of Tennessee. They analyzed data collected in the late nineteenth century by anthropologist Franz Boas, who measured the length and breadth of skulls from many Native American tribes. “When times are tough, people have less access to adequate nutrition and are at greater risk of disease. This study demonstrates the impact that those difficult times had on the physical growth of the Cherokee people,” Ann Ross of North Carolina State told

ASOR Blog (American Schools of Oriental Research)

Archaeology Weekly Roundup! 4/18/14

If you missed anything from the ASOR facebook or twitter pages this week, don’t worry. We’ve rounded up some of this week’s archaeology news into one convenient post. If we missed any major archaeological stories from this week, feel free to let us know in the comment section!


All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this blog or found by following any link on this blog. ASOR will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information. ASOR will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. The opinions expressed by Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of ASOR or any employee thereof.

Archaeology Magazine

Famous Civil War Gunboat May Have Been Found

GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA—Bruce Terrell of the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries’ Maritime Heritage Program announced that the Planter, a ship commandeered in Charleston Harbor by a 23-year-old enslaved man named Robert Smalls, may have been found buried in ten feet of silt with scanning sonar and a magnetometer. Smalls and other African-American crewmembers took control of the transport steamer, picked up Smalls’ wife and children, and headed to the Union blockade in 1862. He surrendered the vessel, which was transformed into a Union gunboat with Smalls as its captain. The Planter eventually sank off Cape Romain in 1876. “We have probed down. We know there’s wood there and we know there’s metal there, but we don’t know absolutely whether it is or is not the Planter,” Gordon Watts of Tidewater Atlantic Research Inc. told Greenville Online. Smalls went on to serve five terms in Congress. The site will be monitored and protected. 

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Revolutionary War tunnel preserved, explored in Ninety Six

NINETY SIX, SC - Historians and firefighters are working to preserve a siege tunnel that dates back to the Revolutionary War in the South Carolina town of Ninety Six.

FOX Carolina was with crews Wednesday to take a look inside the tunnel located at the Ninety Six National Historic Site, which is the only one of its kind left in the county.

In 1781 Patriots built the tunnel with the plan to burrow underneath the British-controlled Star Fort and plant explosives.

And now in 2014, Greenwood firefighter Russel Cline climbed through the tunnel with specialized breathing equipment and support from above ground to take a look at the tunnel dug more than 200 years ago. Read more.

Clues found about Civil War ship commandeered by slave on S.C. coast

GREENVILLE — The remains of a ship that was commandeered in Charleston harbor by an enslaved black man during the Civil War and used as an escape vehicle may have been discovered off the South Carolina coast, according to a historian with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Officials are not releasing details, but NOAA plans to issue a report and unveil historical markers on May 12, the 152nd anniversary of the little-known episode.

They said they don’t want to announce the location because it’s in an environmentally sensitive area.

But “we can say we’re pretty sure we know where it is,” said Bruce Terrell, senior historian and archeologist for the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries’ Maritime Heritage Program and lead author of the report. Read more.

Archaeology Magazine

Revolutionary War Tunnel Preserved in South Carolina

NINETY SIX, SOUTH CAROLINA—Firefighters wearing breathing equipment are assisting a team from the University of South Florida with the exploration of a siege tunnel dating to the Revolutionary War. The tunnel was dug by Americans in 1781 during the siege of Ninety Six in order to place explosives underneath the loyalist-controlled Star Fort, but they were turned back and the explosion never occurred. The unfinished tunnel will be mapped and photographed in order to create 3-D models. “We can capture whole landscapes in hours, minutes as opposed to traditional archaeology that would be out here for weeks and months,” project leader Lorie Collins told WNEM. The tunnel will be stabilized and preserved, but will be closed to visitors.

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

A time to hold and a time to give – when to pass on old books

Today I made a decision to do something necessary, yet it was a wrench.  I decided to give away my copy of the 1608 Commelin edition of Tertullian’s works.

I bought it over the internet, years ago.  In those days we had no PDFs online.  The only way to get hold of the detailed apparatus, found in early editions, of the works of Tertullian was to venture onto the market and buy copies.

Indeed most Tertullian scholars have little collections of early editions; the 1539 of Rhenanus, the 1545 Paris edition, the 1550 of Gelenius – if they could find one – and the 1583 Pamelius edition, high-point of the counter-reformation scholarship.

My Commelin is a reprint of the Pamelius.  It is still bound in the original ornate white leather binding, a bit battered after the centuries but perfectly sound.  The book itself has clearly seen little use.

I got it from a German book dealer.  It arrived in a big yellow Deutsche Post box – for it is a folio volume, and some two inches thick.  And in that box it has remained; for, like most people, I live in a little house and I have no bookshelves suitable for folio-sized volumes.  There seemed no point in taking it out, merely to expose it to dust.

Also it would need to rest on its side.  I knew better than to stand it on end, thereby placing the whole weight of this heavy volume on its ancient stitching.  Where to put it?

This has been the question for many years.  I have seldom opened it.  Once it sat in a cupboard, inside its box.  For the last couple of years, or maybe more — how quickly the years pass these days, without my being aware of them – it has sat, big and obtrusive, atop a set of bookshelves that I constructed myself in younger days.

No more.  Today I decided that it was time for us to part.  I can’t sell it.  I don’t know the rare books market, and I don’t live near any dealers.  I could post it, and get it back, and do all that; but I do not care to, and I should certainly be taken advantage of.

Instead I have agreed with a fellow Tertullian scholar to donate it to him.  He will treasure it, I am sure.  Tomorrow I shall take it to the post office and send it on its way.

It has long been my policy not to keep a book unless I believe that I will read it again, or, in the case of reference books, have use of it in future.  This is particularly essential for novels, for which most of us have a tyrannous appetite.  Unless you have some similar policy, you will quickly find your book cases, and then your house, filled with books which you have no appetite to read.  I have a pile in the corner of one room, to which I assign books that I believe I will not read again; and, if after a suitable period, a book is still there then I dispose of it.  I took two bags full of books to a charity shop yesterday, in fact.

It is harder to know what to do with scholarly books that we no longer need.  Some have donated their books to libraries; yet I know too much about libraries and their practices to suppose that any such donation would be more than temporary.

Let us accept the fact that one day they must go on, and let us donate them freely to our fellow workers.  They will value them; and we need not grieve at their departure, knowing that they go to serve another as they have served us.

For one day all of our books will pass into the hands of others.  Rough hands will pull at our shelves and throw our treasures into boxes, most of which will perhaps end up in some second-hand shop.  The little paperbacks we bought at college, once fresh and bright as we ourselves then were, now foxed and yellowed, and which have accompanied us through life, and are almost friends to us, will end up in some second-hand shop.  If they are lucky they will pass into the hands of one whom we might have been pleased to call friend.

Sic transit gloria.  For the world and all that is in it are always passing away.

But the Christian has hopes of more than this from life!  He can thank God for Good Friday.  And so can all of us, if we sign up with them.

NOTE: Annoyingly WordPress deleted a large section of this post when I posted it.  I will try to recover it from memory.

Ancient Peoples

Marble head of Sokrates  32.3cm high Roman copy of Greek...

Marble head of Sokrates 

32.3cm high

Roman copy of Greek original from 380 -360 BC. 

Source: British Museum

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

The Burial of Jesus

Most readers of my blog will know that I wrote a book a few years ago, available as an ebook, on the relationship between history and faith in connection with the events that are on the minds of Christians around the world today through Sunday in particular. The book is The Burial of Jesus: What Does History Have to Do with Faith?. It asks what it means to take the tools of historical study – and their limitations – seriously from the perspective of Christian faith. Since it costs a mere $2.99, I hope you won’t mind if I direct you there for my thoughts about Good Friday, Easter, and what happened in between the two.

Wise and Foolish Questions

Commenter Hydroxonium mentioned the first quotation. In looking for it, I found the second one as well. Both seemed worth sharing.

ArcheoNet BE

Cultureel erfgoed onder vuur

In het kader van de tentoonstelling ‘Ravage’, die momenteel loopt in M – Museum Leuven, gaat Nederlands archeoloog en erfgoeddeskundige Joris Kila op donderdag 24 april in gesprek met Rudi Vranckx over zijn pogingen om oorlogsschade aan kunst en cultuur op te meten of te voorkomen. Van de beeldenstorm in Mali, waar jihadistische moslimrebellen eeuwenoude symbolen en culturele eigendommen vernietigden, tot één van de grootste kunstroven aller tijden tijdens de revolutie in Libië: de gestolen schat van Benghazi. Deelname is gratis; reservatie verplicht. Meer info op

Ancient Peoples

Relief of Antelopes Egyptian ca. 1352-1336 B.C.E. The scene...

Relief of Antelopes


ca. 1352-1336 B.C.E.

The scene to which this block once belonged probably showed a desert hunting party. The hunters, Akhenaten and his entourage, would have appeared in chariots bearing down on their helpless prey. Their approach has not gone unnoticed: the ears of the two bubalis antelopes perk up at the sound of danger. The back of a third antelope may be seen in the lower right corner. Such isolated blocks provide a hint of the complex decorative schemes that once existed in the palace at el Amarna.

Source: Brooklyn Museum

David Connolly, Maggie Struckmeier, and Felicity Donohoe (Past Horizons: Adventures in Archaeology)

A taste of Bronze Age Brew

Egtved Girl Beer. Image: The Danish National MuseumA modern interpretation of Denmark's oldest known beer is now on sale at the Danish National Museum and is based on the residue analysis of a fermented drink from the Bronze Age

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

The Seeker After Truth

IO9 shared this quote from Ibn al-Haytham’s book Doubts Concerning Ptolemy:

The seeker after truth is not one who studies the writings of the ancients and, following his natural disposition, puts his trust in them, but rather the one who suspects his faith in them and questions what he gathers from them, the one who submits to argument and demonstration and not the sayings of human beings whose nature is fraught with all kinds of imperfection and deficiency. Thus the duty of the man who investigates the writings of scientists, if learning the truth is his goal, is to make himself an enemy of all that he reads, and, applying his mind to the core and margins of of its content, attack it from every side. he should also suspect himself as he performs his critical examination of it, so that he may avoid falling into either prejudice or leniency.

It seemed to me to deserve to be turned into a meme image.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Wikimedia Commons: Media contributed by the Brooklyn Museum

In early April 2014 the Brooklyn Museum removed all its images from flickr. They now appear in Wikimedia Commons. Shelly Bernstein, Vice Director for Digital Engagement & Technology at the Brooklyn Museum, explains.

Wikimedia Commons: Media contributed by the Brooklyn Museum


This category has the following 3 subcategories, out of 3 total.

And see AWOL's list of Institutional flickr Photostreams

The original posting 10 November 2013] was as follows:

The Brooklyn Museum flickr Photostream
The mission of the Brooklyn Museum is to act as a bridge between the rich artistic heritage of world cultures, as embodied in its collections, and the unique experience of each visitor. Dedicated to the primacy of the visitor experience, committed to excellence in every aspect of its collections and programs, and drawing on both new and traditional tools of communication, interpretation, and presentation, the Museum aims to serve its diverse public as a dynamic, innovative, and welcoming center for learning through the visual arts. 
Join our Flickr group 
Check us out at: TwitterFacebookYouTube 
Go behind the scenes at our blog
For specific information regarding our copyright policy, including Creative Commons, please see our website for further detail: 
Photography is allowed in the Museum so long as the images are taken using existing light only (no flash) and are for personal, non-commercial use. Photography is often restricted in special exhibition galleries; please consult with the Visitor Center upon arrival.

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Easter Cake

That’s one way of depicting the resurrection. Via Christian Funny Pictures.

CHS Fellowships Research Bulletin

Abstract–Hellenistic Information in China

The eastern conquest of Alexander the Great not only created a new Hellenistic world and civilization but also established the foundation of later Silk Road from China to the Mediterranean. It was through this net of routes covering almost all the former Hellenistic world that the Hellenistic legacy was spread into China by various mediums. The information mainly was embodied in the early Chinese documents and the historical relics extant in Buddhist temples and grottos in China and the museums both in China and abroad. more

Abstract–Reclining with Callinus and Tyrtaeus: Martial Elegy in the Symposion

That martial elegy, like all shorter elegy, belonged to (some form of) the symposion has become a matter of scholarly orthodoxy since Ewen Bowie formulated his powerful arguments to this effect almost thirty years ago. More recently, Elizabeth Irwin has offered a thorough analysis of the social function of martial elegy in the symposion within a historicist framework. What remains to be explained fully is precisely how these poems ‘worked’ as poetry in a sympotic context. This paper aims to begin to provide such an explanation; it does so by building on Irwin’s interpretation of the poems as epic role-play and comparing the poetic strategies of Callinus fr. 1 and Tyrtaeus fr. 10 to some rhetorical strategies characteristic of the symposion more generally, particularly as instanced by the iconography of sympotic pottery. more

Abstract–What Thumb’s Handbook Tells Us About the Development of Contemporary Greek”

Our project began as the first steps toward an updating of Albert Thumb’s classic work, Handbuch der neugriechischen Volkssprache, originally published in 1895 (second edition, 1910) in German and then translated into English by Samuel Angus and published in 1912 under the title Handbook of the modern Greek vernacular: grammar, texts, glossary.  In the project’s early stages, we discovered that the variety of Modern Greek which Thumb describes – late 19th century vernacular Greek, treated by Thumb as an emerging κοινή – showed greater affinities with varieties that in present-day Greek are found in regional dialects than with anything approximating the present-day demotic κοινή, roughly the standard language as spoken in the capital of Athens and its environs. In this presentation, we document some of the forms that led us to this assessment, with particular attention to neuter noun and mediopassive verb paradigms, and we discuss them against a backdrop […] more

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Easter Approaches

Marcus Borg, Kimberly Winston, and Jim Naughton all raised the question of whether Christians need to believe that Jesus rose bodily from the dead. Their conclusions are different, in interesting ways. What do readers of this blog think?

Of related interest, Mark Goodacre shared a video of an interview Karen King recently gave:

Click here to view the embedded video.

And Bart Ehrman responded to someone who seemed to have reviewed his latest book without reading it.


Archaeological News on Tumblr

Bigger than Pompeii: Archaeologists unearth ‘secret’ buildings in Roman port

ROME — A “secret” part of the ancient Roman port of Ostia Antica has been discovered, according to British archaeologists who unearthed it, making the site as a whole bigger than Pompeii.

The team has discovered a building twice the size of a football field, a boundary wall and large defensive towers under fields near Rome’s airport, making the area 35 per cent larger than previously thought.

Often overlooked by visitors heading for Pompeii, Ostia is the second best-preserved ancient Roman town, with streets, houses and an amphitheatre on the banks of the Tiber river. Read more.

Peter Tompa (Cultural Property Observer)

“Done Deal” or Not— Say NO to the Dictators and Oppose the Egyptian MOU

Press reports suggest that the State Department has already promised Egypt’s military government that it will impose import restrictions on its behalf.  Still, if one feels strongly about their continued ability to collect Egyptian artifacts and/or historical coins, CPO believes they should comment on the website.  Why? Because silence will only be spun as acquiesce by US and Egyptian cultural bureaucracies as well as the archaeological lobby with an ax to grind against collectors.

A.    The Law

The Cultural Property Implementation Act (“CPIA”) contains significant procedural and substantive constraints on the executive authority to impose import restrictions on cultural goods.  “Regular” restrictions may only be applied to archaeological artifacts of “cultural significance” “first discovered within” and “subject to the export control” of a specific UNESCO State Party.  They must be part of a “concerted international response” of other market nations, and can only be applied after less onerous “self-help” measures are tried.  They must also be consistent with the general interest of the international community in the interchange of cultural property among nations for scientific, cultural, and educational purposes.

“Emergency restrictions” are narrower.  They focus on material of particular importance, but no “concerted international response” is necessary.  The material must be a “newly discovered type” or from a site of “high cultural significance” that is in danger of “crisis proportions.” Alternatively, the object must be of a civilization, the record of which is in jeopardy of “crisis proportions,” and restrictions will reduce the danger of pillage.

The Cultural Property Advisory Committee (“CPAC”) is to provide the executive with useful advice about this process. The CPIA contemplates that CPAC is to recommend whether import restrictions are appropriate as a general matter and also specifically whether they should be placed on particular types of cultural goods.  

In the past, CPAC has recommended against import restrictions on coins.  Initially those recommendations were followed, but beginning with the renewal of Cypriot import restrictions in 2007, this has changed.  Now, there are restrictions on coins made in Cyprus, China, Italy, Greece and Bulgaria.
Import restrictions make it impossible for Americans to legally import collectors’ coins widely and legally available worldwide.   Foreign sellers are typically unwilling or unable to certify the coin in question (which can retail as little as $1) left a specific UNESCO State Party before restrictions were imposed as required by the CPIA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection rules.   Restrictions have drastically limited Americans’ abilities to purchase historical coins from abroad and have negatively impacted the cultural understanding and people to people contacts collecting fosters. 

B.     The Request

Egyptian artifacts have been actively and legally collected here and abroad since the early 19th c.  Egyptians also actively and legally collected objects from their past until a series of military governments cracked down on the practice.  Finally, in 1983, the Egyptian Government of Hosni Mubarak declared all such objects state property.  Most common and less valuable Egyptian artifacts, like coins and amulets have lost their provenance over time.  Even many more valuable pieces have lost any provenance information as well.  There simply was no reason to keep such information in most cases.  

There certainly has been looting in Egypt, as has been the case since ancient times.  However, there is a real question whether there is an “emergency” of “crisis proportions” and, if so, if any “emergency” is of Egypt’s own making.   During a recent public forum meant to publicize the need for import restrictions, Egyptologist Monica Hanna conceded that government officials were intimately involved in illicit antiquities trafficking, that much damage is due to urban encroachment onto archaeological sites, and that common people don’t respect their past because they believe it belongs to Egypt’s abusive military government and not them.  This, of course, is the real root of Egypt’s problems.  Since prior military governments made the trade in all antiquities illegal, artifacts have been either illegally traded or devalued so much that they are either destroyed or dumped in landfills.

Archaeological groups have been seriously lobbying for import restrictions on Egyptian cultural artifacts since at least 2011.   The Arab Spring Revolution, the fall Egyptian antiquities Pharaoh Zahi Hawass, an ongoing bribery investigation involving Hawass and National Geographic (which had joined the lobbying effort), and the rise and fall of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi derailed things for a time, but Egypt’s new military government has now pressed the issue, probably because it believes that a MOU with the United States that recognizes its control over Egypt’s past will give it much needed legitimacy.   Indeed, from the Generals’ perspective, what better timing than to link a MOU to orchestrated elections in late May that are expected to anoint Egyptian Army Chief Abdel Fattah el-Sissi,  President.  

The State Department certainly seems to have been treating the Egyptian Government’s request as requiring an immediate, positive response. Egypt apparently made its formal request in mid-March.  A New York Times Editorial, dated March 20, 2014, states that the US Government immediately agreed to this demand.   See “Egypt's Heritage Plundered Anew” (March 20, 2014) ("The United States — a leading buyers’ market for Egyptian antiquities — was quick to respond, with the State Department promising cooperation by relaxing standards that currently require customs officials to have precise information in hand about a stolen item before they can act.").   Egyptian press reports then placed Assistant Secretary of State Evan Ryan, the decision maker on any import restrictions, in Egypt to discuss the details in early April.   Dr. Hanna was then given a platform to make her case at the Wilson Center, a prestigious think tank associated with the U.S. Government’s Smithsonian Institution.  Two days later, on April 16, 2014, a CPAC hearing was announced for June 2, 2014, presumably to provide legal “cover” for this farce. 

Certainly, the public notice itself tells nothing of the basis for the request and even whether Egypt seeks “regular” or “emergency” restrictions.   All we know is the June 2, 2014 date for CPAC’s open session, that Egypt seeks an import ban on artifacts that date from pre-historic to Ottoman times, and that public comments are due no later than 11:59 PM (Eastern Standard Time) on May 14, 2014.  For more background, see

C.     What You Can Do

Admittedly, all the evidence points to the matter being already decided—no matter what the CPIA says, what the facts really are, and what American citizens or others interested in collecting Egyptian artifacts may think.  Still, to remain silent is to give the Egyptian generals, the cultural bureaucrats and archaeologists with an ax to grind against collectors exactly what they want-- the claim that any MOU is not controversial. So, to submit comments concerning the proposed MOU, go to the Federal rulemaking Portal and enter Docket No. DOS-2014-0008 and by all means speak your mind. 

What should you say?  Provide a brief, polite explanation about why the request should be denied or limited.  Indicate to CPAC how restrictions will negatively impact your business and/or the cultural understanding and people to people contacts collecting provides.   Coin collectors should add that it’s typically impossible to assume a particular coin was “first discovered within” and “subject to the export control” of Egypt and that Egyptian historical coins are very common and widely and freely available for sale elsewhere, particularly in Europe.  And, of course, feel free to mention any concerns you might have about government transparency, whether this is a real “emergency” of “crisis proportions,” and how the State Department has generally handled this request.   Finally, you don’t have to be an American citizen to comment—you just need to be concerned enough to spend twenty or so minutes to express your views on-line. 

ArcheoNet BE

FVA lanceert Forum Archeologieprijs

Het Forum Vlaamse Archeologie (FVA) lanceert dit jaar voor de eerste keer de ‘Forum Archeologieprijs’. Met deze prijs wil het FVA een persoon, vereniging, openbaar bestuur of onderneming bedanken die het voorbije jaar een waardevol initiatief heeft geleverd voor de archeologie in Vlaanderen, of op een positieve wijze met archeologie is omgegaan. De winnaar van dit jaar wordt bekend gemaakt op het Archeologisch Forum, dat op zaterdag 26 april in Gent plaatsvindt.

De laatste jaren was de berichtgeving rond archeologie niet onverdeeld positief. Niettegenstaande zijn er ook veel positieve bijdragen geleverd voor een goede archeologie in Vlaanderen en/of een groter maatschappelijk draagvlak.

Voor de allereerste editie van deze prijsuitreiking heeft het FVA zelf een winnaar gekozen. Vanaf volgend jaar kunnen er kandidaten worden voorgedragen en zal er een lijst met mogelijke winnaars op de website worden geplaatst.

Inschrijven voor het Archeologisch Forum kan nog tot en met 23 april via

Trafficking Culture

Tchorniye arkheologi (‘Black archaeologists’ or чёрные археологи)

Different terms and nicknames are used across the world to describe illegal diggers of archaeological sites, such as tombaroli (in Italy), nighthawks (in the British Isles), and huecheros (Belize and Guatemala). In parts of Eastern Europe including the Russian Federation, and other post-Soviet states such as Moldova (Musteață 2010), and the Baltic states (Monitoring Group 2005: 19; Ulst 2010), the term ‘black archaeologist’ is widely used in both the media and the academic literature, although by definition a ‘black archaeologist’ is not an archaeologist per se, and does not adhere to the ethical or scientific standards expected of professional, trained archaeologists. The term is commonly used in Russian publications to refer to looting at archaeological sites (e.g. Александрова 2006). The Baltic States Heritage Co-operation Monitoring Group described ‘black archaeology’ as ‘meaning illegal excavations on archaeological sites’ (Monitoring Group 2005: 7). ‘Black archaeologists’ often, but not always, use a metal detector as one of their tools for finding saleable material in the ground (Musteață in press, 2014).

Recently the differentiation between ‘black’ (illegal) and ‘white’ (legal) in this context was made explicit in a British news article about groups in Russia working to locate military human remains from the Second World War and arrange reburial. In the article, their work as ‘white diggers’ is contrasted with the work of ‘black diggers’ (‘tchorniye kopateli’ – чёрные копатели), ‘who search for medals, guns, coins or even gold teeth which they sell online or to specialist dealers. They are not interested in identifying the soldiers – they just leave the bones in the ground’ (Ash 2014).


Ash, Lucy (2014), ‘Digging for their lives: Russia’s volunteer body hunters’, (updated 13 January 2014) <>, accessed 10 February 2014.

Monitoring Group, for Cultural Heritage Co-operation in the Baltic Sea States (2005), ‘Cultural Heritage Co-operation in the Baltic Sea States, Report 4′, in Friedrich Lüth (ed.), Cultural Heritage Co-operation in the Baltic Sea States (4; Domhof: Landesamt für Denkmalpflege Mecklenburg-Vorpommen, Archäologisches Landesmuseum Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, and Council of the Baltic Sea States).

Musteață, Sergiu (2010), ‘Looting Antiquities in the Republic of Moldova’, in E. Sava, B. Govedarica, and B. Hänsel (eds.), Der Schwarzmeerraum vom Äneolitikum bis in die Frühheisenzeit (5000-500 v.Chr.), Band 2, Globale Entwicklung versus Lolageschichehen. Internationale Fachtagung von Humboldtianer im Humboldt-Kolleg in Chişinău, Moldavien (4. – 8. Oktober 2010) (Rahden/Westfalen: Verlag Marie Leidorf), 279–84.

— (in press, 2014), ‘Archaeological Heritage Crimes in Romania and Moldova: A Comparative view’, in Louise Grove and Suzie Thomas (eds.), Heritage Crime: Progress, Prospects and Prevention (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan).

Ulst, Ingrid (2010), ‘The Problems of “Black Archaeology” in Estonia’, Estonian Journal of Archaeology, 14 (2), 153–69.

Александрова, Мария А. (2006), ‘Актуальные правовые аспекты археологической деятельности ‘, Закон, 7, 124–33.

Port Royal

Once a strategically significant port and fort located close to Kingston in Jamaica, Port Royal was largely submerged following an earthquake, which left its underwater remains vulnerable to treasure hunting and commercial salvage.

Brief history

The site of Port Royal started initially as a sand spit, which the Tainos (the first inhabitants of Jamaica) used as a fishing camp, and was later used by Spanish ‘for cleaning, refitting and caulking of their sailing vessels’ (Jamaica National Heritage Trust 2011).

When a British invasion of Jamaica took place under the commands of Admiral Penn and General Venables in May 1655, a fort, initially known as Passage Fort or Fort Cromwell (after the Lord Protector of England, Oliver Cromwell) was constructed soon after (Hamilton 2000). Alongside the fort, a town named The Point or Point Cagway was established, and following the restoration of Charles II in England, the fort was renamed Fort Charles, and the settlement Port Royal (Hamilton 2000).

The settlement, which by 1692 had developed to become ‘arguably the largest and most affluent English town in the New World’ (Hamilton 2008: 259), was also notorious for piracy and buccaneering (Hamilton 2000).

On 7 June 1692, a cataclysmic earthquake struck, which along with a subsequent tidal wave killed around 2,000 people (Mayes 1972: 7–8). Over the following days, a further 3,000 perished from injuries and disease (Hamilton 2000). Structurally, the effects of the natural disaster were also profound for Port Royal, as the earthquake ‘caused about 60% of the town to literally slide into the sea’ (Mayes 1972: 7).

Attempts were made to rebuild sections of Port Royal, although it was destroyed when a fire swept through in 1703. Finally in 1722 a storm, a hurricane, and more earthquakes meant that ‘Port Royal as it once was disappeared for the last time’ (Hamilton 2000). However, the site was still used after this period for other purposes, for example as a British Naval Dockyard until 1905, and in the present survives as a ‘quiet fishing village’, albeit one with significant sites of historic and touristic interest (Jamaica National Heritage Trust 2011).

Port Royal has been described as a ‘catastrophic’ archaeological site; one of relatively very few (including Pompeii and Herculaneum) to have been created rapidly in the aftermath of a natural or other kind of disaster: ‘time is frozen, revealing a complete picture of life in the past as it once was’ (Hamilton 2005: 167).

Looting and Thefts

Almost immediately after the first earthquake in the sixteenth century, looters began targeting the submerged sections (Gray 2008: 247), many of whom were ‘wrackers’ (professional treasure hunters) from Bermuda (Mayes 1972: 8-9). Much of this ‘salvage and looting continued intermittently for years’ (Hamilton 2005: 167).

Robert Marx, who himself explored the underwater site and recovered numerous artefacts in the 1960s, also alleges that a major theft at the Port Royal Museum in 1971, in which many artefacts including some recovered by Marx and his team went missing, was not made public at the time and no prosecutions were made (2003: 278).

Excavations and treasure hunting

In 1859, the Falmouth Post ran an article by a British diver from the Royal Navy named Jeremiah D. Murphy, who had discovered sections of a fort underwater (Gray 2008: 247). Throughout the 20th Century, explorations of the site intermittently took place, and there were also warnings of the risk to underwater sites from ‘professional and amateur divers in search of the ubiquitous sunken galleons loaded with treasure, creating serious problems for the future of marine archaeology’ (Marx 2003: 96).

Explorations of Port Royal ranged from the alleged removal in 1954 of artefacts, including a doorway and stairs by an American couple named Mr and Mrs Alexi Dupont (Gray 2008: 247), through to the work of ‘noted inventor and treasure hunter Edwin Link… …at the invitation of the wife of the American Consul General in Jamaica’ in 1956 (Marx 2003: 89). In the 1960s, Norman Scott and then Robert Marx were employed by the Jamaican government to examine Port Royal, at a time that ‘underwater archaeology worldwide was still in its infancy’ (Gray 2008: 247). During this time, it was reportedly common to find artefacts from the submerged city, with local residents apparently regularly selling ‘interesting artifacts’ to tourists (Marx 2003: 93, sic.). From the 1970s onwards, ‘it became the consistent policy of the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) to only give permission for archaeological research… …to qualified archaeologists’ (Gray 2008: 247).

In 1968, British archaeologist Philip Mayes was employed by the Jamaican National Trust Commission, with supporting funding from the British Ministry of Overseas Development, to carry out further excavation, including on land (Marx 2003: 273, and see Mayes 1972). When Mayes left in 1971, work was continued by Richard Priddy, another British archaeologist (Marx 2003: 277).

However, the longest period of excavation at Port Royal took place from 1981 to 1990 under Donny Hamilton, an American archaeologist who carried out the work in conjunction with the Institute of Nautical Archaeology, Texas A&M University and the Jamaican National Heritage Trust (Hamilton 2008: 262). He returned in 1992 for a further dive (Hamilton 2005: 166). Researchers from Texas A&M University continued to be based at Port Royal in 2012, carrying out archival research (Davis 2012).

Measures to protect Port Royal and other underwater cultural heritage in Jamaica

In 1990, ‘faced with an increase in illegal poaching and applications for treasure-hunting activities’, the Jamaican government took the decision to adopt a policy of allowing ‘only professional archaeological excavations in the territorial waters of Jamaica’ (Gray 2008: 248). However, apparently influenced by ‘presumed renewed interest worldwide in treasure hunting and advances in technology to access underwater cultural heritage sites’, the policy was amended in 2000 to allow ‘commercial exploitation of the underwater cultural heritage within certain guidelines’ (Gray 2008: 249). This policy posed challenges to heritage professionals working in Jamaica, who were faced with ‘ethically and professionally’ opposing looting and ‘nonscientific recovery of material from archaeological sites’, while also trying to adhere to the government policy of licensing commercial salvage (Gray 2008: 251). Commercial treasure hunting has been suggested elsewhere as ‘the greatest threat’ to underwater cultural heritage:

‘Treasure hunters entice governments with promises of sure profits, but the overall result has been destruction of LAC [Latin America and Caribbean] heritage sites and no sign of financial reward for participating countries.’

(Leshikar-Denton and Luna Erreguerena 2008: 26)

Jamaica was involved in discussions and meetings of UNESCO to draft the 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage, but it was not able to ratify the convention, despite supporting it, until its own legislation had been sufficiently amended with regard to its policy towards commercial salvage (see Gray 2008: 251–255).

The vulnerability of the site to commercial exploitation, and the recognition that the site and associated artefacts should be preserved in situ ‘unless there is valid scientific or public reason to recover’ was recognised at the Caribbean Meeting on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage at Morgan’s Harbour Hotel in Port Royal in May 2011 (Thompson 2011). The meeting, which included representatives of the Jamaican government, resulted in UNESCO recommending that the Jamaican government take measures to protect the remains of Port Royal (Thompson 2011). On 9 August 2011, Jamaica deposited with the Director-General of UNESCO its instrument of ratification of the Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (UNESCO 2011).

In 2012, the site was identified as a potential World Heritage Site (Davis 2012, McFadden 2012), something which has been suggested intermittently in previous years as well (Hamilton 2008: 268). There are discussions to develop facilities for both tourists and local people to enjoy and learn more about the site, including the suggestion of a museum and an archaeological park (Thaffe 2012). However, the safeguarding of the remaining archaeological material continues to be central to any plans for tourism development with the government accepting ‘responsibility for seeing that the archaeological damage is mitigated as much as possible’, including involving an experienced archaeologist in any planning from the outset (Hamilton 2008: 268).


Davis, Nick (2012) ‘Jamaica’s “wickedest city” Port Royal banks on heritage’, BBC News, 25 June,, accessed 15 November 2012.

Gray, Dorrick (2008) ‘The Jamaican version: Public archaeology and the protection of underwater cultural heritage’, in Margaret Leshikar-Denton and Pilar Luna Erreguerena (eds.) Underwater and Maritime Archaeology in Latin America and the Caribbean (Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press), 245–257.

Hamilton, Donny (2000) ‘The Port Royal Project: History of Port Royal’, last updated 1 June 2001 (Texas A&M University),, accessed 5 October 2012.

Hamilton, Donny (2005) ‘Resurrecting “The Wickedest City in the World”: Port Royal, Jamaica, in George Bass (ed.) Beneath the seven seas: Adventures with the Institute of Nautical Archeology (London: Thames and Hudson), 164–171.

Hamilton, Donny (2008) ‘Port Royal, Jamaica: Archaeological past, present and future’, in Margaret Leshikar-Denton and Pilar Luna Erreguerena (eds.) Underwater and Maritime Archaeology in Latin America and the Caribbean (Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press), 259–269.

Jamaica National Heritage Trust (2011) ‘Port Royal’,, accessed 15 November 2012.

Leshikar-Denton, Margaret, and Luna Erreguerena, Pilar (2008) ‘The foundations of underwater and maritime archaeology in Latin America and the Caribbean’, in Margaret Leshikar-Denton and Pilar Luna Erreguerena (eds.) Underwater and Maritime Archaeology in Latin America and the Caribbean (Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press), 25–53.

Marx, Robert (2003) Port Royal: The sunken city (Southend-on-Sea: AquaPress).

Mayes, Philip (1972) Port Royal Jamaica: Excavations 1969-70 (Kingston: Jamaica National Trust Commission).

McFadden, David (2012) ‘Jamaica seeks heritage status for sunken Port Royal: “the wickedest city on earth”’,, 31 May,, accessed 15 November 2012.

Thaffe, Nedburn (2012) ‘Kingston without Port Royal wouldn’t really make much sense’, The Gleaner, 31 October,, accessed 15 November 2012.

Thompson, Kimone (2011) ‘Jamaica urged to take steps to protect Port Royal’, Jamaica Observer, 12 May,, accessed 15 November 2012.

UNESCO (2011) ‘Ratification by Jamaica of the Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (Paris, 2 November 2001)’, UNESCO, 22 August,, accessed 15 November 2012.

Javier Andreu (Oppida Imperii Romani)


Portada del número 41 de la colección de Monografías y Estudios de la Antigüedad Griega y Romana de Signifer Libros, JORDÁN, Á. A.: Concepto y uso del monumento epigráfico en la Hispania Romana durante el Principado, Madrid-Salamanca, 2014, 308 pp., 978-84-941137-7-2, recomendabilísimo (si estás interesado en adquirirlo, pincha aquí).

Quienes nos dedicamos a enseñar Epigrafía Latina -esa ciencia que, como dice el título de nuestro post, hace que, efectivamente, "hablen las piedras- y sería deseable que así fuera también entre quienes la estudian en las aulas universitarias o la emplean como fuente de información para conocer el mundo antiguo, estamos muy acostumbrados -aunque no haga tanto tiempo de su implantación en el lenguaje de la academia- a manejar tres conceptos a veces difíciles de distinguir pero que, en cualquier caso, definen muy bien -desde una óptica cultural- uno de los grandes "milagros" de Roma, el de ser capaz de -a través de unos complejos procesos de aculturación- convertir las inscripciones en "medios de masas" (en expresión del autor del volumen que aquí reseñamos, p. 16) y, por tanto, en un elemento esencial de la cultura escrita de la sociedad romana y, después, también de aquéllas que interactuaron con ella. Se trata de los conceptos de hábito epigráfico (epigraphic habit), la costumbre, la rutina de grabar inscripciones (MAC MULLEN, R.: "The epigraphic habit in the Roman Empire", American Journal of Philology, 103.3, 1982, pp. 233-246  o MEYER, E. A.: "Explaining the Epigraphic Habit in the Roman Empire: the Evidence of Epitaphs", Journal of Roman Studies, 80, 1990, pp. 74-96; de cultura epigráfica (epigraphic culture), el modo en que el hábito epigráfico tomó forma en función de una serie de condicionantes culturales y etnográficos variadísimos (éstos últimos extraordinariamente bien tratados en el volumen que nos ocupa: pp. 41-50) (WOOLF, G.: "Monumental Writing and the Expansion of Roman Society in the Early Empire", Journal of Roman Studies, 86, 1996, pp. 22-39, por ejemplo, además de este útil vídeo/entrevista a Géza Alföldy, que tanto trabajó sobre esta cuestión: pincha aquí); y, por último, el paisaje epigráfico (epigraphic landscape), el aspecto que las ciuitates y los territoria -y en general cualquier espacio susceptible de ser escenario para la instalación de una inscripción- adquirieron a propósito de la colocación de inscripciones y el modo cómo éstas y aquéllos interaccionaron durante la Antigüedad (por ejemplo, el coloquio COOLEY, A. (coord.): The Epigraphic Landscape of Roman Italy, Londres, 2000 o, a nuestro juicio uno de los trabajos más ilustrativos sobre la cuestión, el de CORBIER, M.: Donner à voir, donner à lire. Mémoire et communication dans la Rome ancienne, París, 2006). Los tres están completamente entrelazados -y son manejados, además, de un modo extraordinariamente solvente- en el volumen que aquí valoramos, una nueva entrega de una de las series editoriales -junto con Instrumenta, de la Universitat de Barcelona- a las que hay que estar siempre atentas, respecto del mundo antiguo, en el mercado editorial español. 

La complejidad de esos conceptos y el hecho de que, habitualmente, el polisémico fenómeno de las inscripciones haya sido estudiado de manera parcial -"míope", podría decirse- y sin atender suficientemente a lo que de "globalización cultural" supuso, convierte ya en un acierto -por su oportunidad y por su enfoque metodológico- el trabajo que reseñamos en esta aun naciente sección Volumina de Oppida Imperii Romani, un volumen extraordinariamente bien editado -como todos con los que nos obsequia esta colección puesta en marcha, con extraordinaria prolijidad, por el Prof. Dr. D. Sabino Perea- que trata de responder a la cuestión de "con qué finalidad emplearon los distintos grupos sociales las inscripciones y de qué forma se conformó el espacio epigráfico urbano" (p. 11) tratando de explicar por qué se grabó una inscripción en época antigua, con qué objetivo y con qué propósitos y, además, si esas motivaciones fueron comunes o no a los distintos grupos sociales que emplearon las lapidariae litterae (Petron. Sat. 58, 7) como vehículo de comunicación y, muchas veces, como medio de auto-representación social. Un propósito semejante -totalmente ambicioso- sólo podría abordarlo alguien capaz -desde que comenzó su formación en las aulas de la Universidad de Navarra y la ha madurado como miembro del Equipo Técnico de la revista Hispania Epigraphica y de su imprescindible versión online: pincha aquí- de moverse con éxito y soltura entre las evidencias -debidamente procesadas y organizadas a partir del método estadístico y analítico- que caracterizan fenómenos concretos del ya referido hábito epigráfico, en el caso del volumen que nos ocupa, del que se atestigua en los territorios de las antiguas provincias hispanas, territorios, además, absolutamente desiguales en su sustrato cultural, en la incidencia del fenómeno de la urbanización y, por tanto, atractivos como escenario para valoraciones comparativas, algunas extraordinariamente bien valoradas en las páginas que integran este trabajo (pp. 41-48, por ejemplo, ¡muy esclarecedoras respecto del diferente uso del monumento epigráfico en zonas de tradiciones culturales, étnicas y lingüísticas diversas!). Y es evidente que Ángel A. Jordán ha acreditado suficientemente, hasta la fecha, a través de un ya dilatado curriculum investigador (pincha aquí), su capacidad para escudriñar con acierto la documentación epigráfica y, sobre todo, su audacia para plantear explicaciones a cuestiones que, en ocasiones -y muchas afloran a lo largo de las páginas de este libro cuya lectura, como casi todo lo que este autor firma, no deja indiferente- se han respondido sin tener demasiado en cuenta lo que el ordenamiento de la evidencia documental permite suponer, un planteamiento éste que puede parecer positivista pero que el autor demuestra que es, esencialmente, útil (pp. 55 y ss., por ejemplo). De hecho, algunas de las últimas y brillantes publicaciones del todavía joven Ángel A. Jordán -accesibles desde su completo perfil en Academia- demuestran su extraordinario conocimiento del modo cómo se fue conformando, en diversas zonas de la Península Ibérica pero de modo especial en la Tarraconense y, más concretamente, en el conuentus de la colonia Caesar Augusta, la concepción epigráfica de la sociedad que pobló dichos espacios o de la manera cómo evolucionó el hábito epigráfico en dicho ámbito geográfico y, también, sobre qué condicionantes culturales e ideológicos lo hizo (véanse, por ejemplo, sus trabajos en Cuadernos de Arqueología de la Universidad de Navarra, 21, 2013, pp. 81-111, o el capítulo con el que contribuyó a Hispaniae. Las provincias hispanas en el mundo romano, Tarragona, 2009, pp. 125-138 en el que se manejan, además, conceptos sobre los que se vuelve, de nuevo, en el libro que aquí comentamos). Y esa acreditada capacidad de manejar una tremendamente ingente documentación epigráfica -alrededor de 25.000 inscripciones conservamos del pasado romano de la Península Ibérica- no es, sin duda, cuestión baladí pues el autor ha sido capaz de analizarla sin perder de vista cada uno de los tres niveles en que -a su juicio- debe ser comprendida una inscripción romana y, si se nos permite, cualquier documento antiguo y que el propio investigador -a propósito de la difusión del hábito epigráfico a partir de Augusto- describe de manera clarísima en el libro (p. 15): el del comitente -de hecho, la segunda parte del volumen analiza, en detalle, cuál fue el uso que hicieron de las inscripciones quienes fueron sus principales protagonistas y promotores, el emperador (pp. 51-110), los ordines senatorius y equester (pp. 111-164), el ordo decurionum local (pp. 165-226) y las clases que podríamos denominar dependientes (pp. 227-260), un tema éste último al que el autor había ya dedicado otros trabajos y en el que se desenvuelve con notable soltura-, el del monumento en sí y el del receptor y lector de la comunicación atendiendo al papel que la ciuitas supuso como "escenario" habitual del hábito de grabar inscripciones y sin perder de vista de qué modo la extensión del modelo municipal pudo condicionar ese ritmo de desarrollo y evolución de la citada costumbre (pp. 28-36).

Concepto y uso del monumento epigráfico en la Hispania Romana durante el Principado es un volumen sencillo en estructura pero que, nos parece, absolutamente complejo en la organización del material presentado, complejidad que garantiza, además, la utilidad del mismo (ya adelantamos que se convertirá, por su planteamiento, en un libro de consulta constante para quien trabaje con fuentes epigráficas). Un generosísimo elenco de tablas (véase, por ejemplo, las que inventarían las inscripciones de obras públicas promovidas por la elite local -pp. 215-218- o las que recogen a los beneficiarios de tituli honorarii -pp. 179-182-) ofrece abundante repertorio material sobre los distintos tipos de inscripciones -particularmente las cultuales, las monumentales y las honorarias-, tablas que pueden ser susceptibles de futuros estudios pues tienen la virtud de ofrecer, debidamente procesado, todo el material epigráfico disponible sobre la participación de los distintos estamentos sociales en la utilización de una u otra "concepción epigráfica", uno de los conceptos más atractivos de cuantos se presentan en las páginas que aquí valoramos. El trabajo se mueve en torno a varias ideas principales que, a nuestro juicio, resultan novedosas y están sobradamente cimentadas en el análisis de la documentación -cierto que, en ocasiones, algo caprichosa- que ha llegado hasta nosotros. Además -y ése es, a nuestro juicio, otro de los aciertos del trabajo- Ángel A. Jordán recapitula constantemente, al final de cada apartado, las conclusiones a las que llega contribuyendo, de ese modo, a resaltarlas y hacerlas más perceptibles evitando que el lector se pierda en una erudición documental ciertamente sobrecogedora y totalmente útil para el futuro. Así -en un capítulo segundo absolutamente soberbio (pp. 15-50) y que, nos parece, se convertirá en lectura obligatoria en las aulas y en los circuitos investigadores- el autor resume de qué modo, desde los tiempos de Augusto, las inscripciones se convirtieron en medio para exaltar los méritos y la memoria de quienes las promovieron o recibieron (Plin. Ep. 2, 7, 3-6), cómo la ciudad fue convirtiéndose en el espacio privilegiado para acoger ese tipo de monumentos y, sobre todo, en qué medida a partir de Vespasiano se fue operando -seguramente por la propia ideología imperial respecto del uso de los tituli, que el autor presenta de forma acertada (pp. 23-27) escudriñando, con acierto, también la evidencia de las fuentes literarias- un cambio en la concepción epigráfica que privilegiaría la dimensión cultual respecto de la honorífica del propio epígrafe. En este sentido, la caracterización que (pp. 38-39) se hace de los elementos que fueron atenuando el peso de la cultura epigráfica en la sociedad romana en general y en el medio urbano en particular en los siglos de la tan discutida Antigüedad Tardía (a partir del siglo III d. C.) nos parece otro de esos puntos en los que el libro de Á. A. Jordán -compañero de fatigas e ilusiones en Los Bañales de Uncastillo- alcanza cotas de validez pedagógica ciertamente meritorias. Tras esa esclarecedora y fundamental primera parte -engrosada, como anotábamos, por el segundo capítulo del libro (puedes, desde aquí, acceder al índice del volumen)- el autor se entretiene, de modo organizado, en caracterizar cuáles fueron las figuras sociales receptoras y promotoras de inscripciones conforme al orden que citamos más arriba. Así, respecto de la figura imperial, a partir del análisis de las más de 500 inscripciones que, en las Hispaniae, tienen al emperador como protagonista, Á. A. Jordán refrenda su visión de cómo la eclosión augústea y julio-claudio que llevó a los Principes a acaparar el espacio público (p. 67) experimentó a partir de época flavia -excepción hecha del paréntesis de Antonino Pío- una retracción bastante notable (pp. 80 y ss.) que, tal vez, resulte sorprendente al lector menos avezado en el uso y significado de la documentación epigráfica. En relación a los tituli promovidos o protagonizados por gentes pertenecientes a los primi ordines -senadores y caballeros- tal vez la percepción (pp. 135-145) de que solían emplear el medio epigráfico sin aludir expresamente a su pertenencia a dicha clase social resulte una de las luces más claras que el trabajo aporta de igual modo que respecto de la caracterización que se hace del uso del medio epigráfico por la elite local se subraye su frecuente contribución a la monumentalidad cívica (p. 215), su afán por demostrar lealtad al Princeps (pp. 195-201) y su gran afición a la recepción de honras públicas (pp. 205-2011).

En definitiva, a través de algo más de trescientas páginas aderezadas, además, con unos bien trabajados -y utilísimos- índices onomásticos y topográficos (pp. 291-398) y una bibliografía (pp. 269-290) que, desde luego, es útil para ponerse al día sobre Epigrafía Latina en general y Epigrafía Hispánica en particular, Ángel A. Jordán traza, en este libro, un adecuado panorama de cuál fue la evolución del hábito epigráfico en las provincias hispanas entre Augusto y los comienzos de la Antigüedad Tardía caracterizando de modo absolutamente brillante ese proceso y aportando, además, pruebas concluyentes de que, en adelante, en el estudio de conjuntos epigráficos cerrados, será necesario atender a la interrelación de los "elementos conceptuales, culturales y sociales" que intervinieron en el diseño de la cultura epigráfica romana, en su formación, su consolidación y su ulterior transformación en el ocaso del Principado. Sólo de ese modo -y este volumen arroja luces más que suficientes para hacer ese recorrido investigador posible- los historiadores seremos capaces de obtener una adecuada imagen de ese procedimiento y, sobre todo, de entender mejor, de obtener una "interpretación más veraz" (p. 267) de cada inscripción. La tarea por hacer resulta apasionante y este volumen nos da las pautas para entender mejor parte de nuestro legado documental más elocuente sobre la Antigüedad, las inscripciones, unos monumenta que, como dice una conocida inscripción romana (CIL VI, 1783), constituyen, para los historiadores, el único indicio para conocer las uirtutes de muchos de los casi-anónimos protagonistas de la Historia de Roma. El modo cómo las emplearon para homenajer al emperador de turno, rendir culto a la divinidad o exaltar sus cualidades o las de sus familiares nos resulta ahora mejor conocido gracias al hercúleo esfuerzo que se percibe detrás de este número 41 de las monografías de Signifer. ¡Un libro, sin duda, de referencia, los estudios epigráficos están, nuevamente, de enhorabuena!

Aurélien Berra (Philologie à venir)

DH EHESS : enseignement et humanités numériques

Dans la prochaine séance du séminaire Digital Humanities, il sera question de pédagogie numérique. Nos discussions se fonderont sur les contributions réunies dans l’ouvrage suivant : Brett D. Hirsch (éd.), Digital Humanities Pedagogy : Practices, Principles and Politics, Open Book Publishers, 2012 (libre accès en ligne).

Depuis les débuts de l’informatique – et à l’apparition de toute nouvelle technologie, même moins radicalement nouvelle –, les expérimentations des enseignants et des formateurs ont sans doute été permanentes, mais sont restées isolées. On a souvent estimé que les initiatives politiques et les réflexions des sciences de l’éducation n’étaient pas à la mesure des pratiques d’enseignement par les technologies numériques et de formation aux méthodes et aux outils numériques.

Dans ce domaine, comme dans bien d’autres, les humanités numériques ouvrent un espace de partage et de dialogue pour examiner des problèmes anciens auxquels l’omniprésence des réseaux et le besoin de nouvelles compétences donnent une évidente actualité. Si l’on a longtemps déploré que la pédagogie soit négligée dans les efforts collectifs de la communauté des digital humanities, une vague de publications, de journées d’étude, de sessions et d’ateliers de colloques, nationaux, européens ou internationaux, montre que ce n’est plus le cas.

En rendant compte de l’un des premiers recueils comblant cette lacune, Aurélien Berra et Pierre Mounier proposeront notamment de réfléchir aux questions suivantes :

  • quelles sont les relations entre la culture numérique générale que doivent posséder les citoyens de nos sociétés et les compétences qui permettront l’essor d’une culture savante numérique ?
  • quelles formes de pédagogie les humanités numériques peuvent-elles développer pour que les étudiants, les chercheurs et les ingénieurs puissent mutuellement comprendre, évaluer et critiquer leurs travaux ?
  • les cadres institutionnels existants suffisent-ils à cette redéfinition des apprentissages ?
  • que nous apprend la différence entre la situation française et les contextes essentiellement anglo-américains évoqués dans cet ouvrage ?

La séance aura lieu le mercredi 7 mai 2014, de 13 h à 15 h, à l’EHESS, 190 avenue de France, salle du conseil A (niveau −1).

Comme à l’accoutumée, cette séance est ouverte à tous. Il est recommandé d’annoncer votre présence par un courriel.


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

Rufinus’ account of the fall of the temple of Serapis in Alexandria

This evening I  happened across some files on my hard disk containing an English translation of the Ecclesiastical History of Rufinus.  The following account is given of the fall of the Serapeum in Alexandria:[1]

11.23. I suppose that everyone has heard of the temple of Serapis in Alexandria, and that many are also familiar with it. The site was elevated, not naturally but artificially, to a height of a hundred or more steps, its enormous rectangular premises extending in every direction.

All the rooms up to the floor on top were vaulted, and being furnished with ceiling lights and concealed inner chambers separate from one  another, were used for various services and secret functions.

On the upper level, furthermore, the outermost structures in the whole circumference provided space for halls and shrines and for lofty apartments which normally housed either the temple staff or those called hagneuontes, meaning those who keep themselves pure.

Behind these in turn were porticoes arranged in rectangles which ran around the whole circumference on the inside.

In the middle of the entire area rose the sanctuary with priceless columns, the exterior fashioned of marble, spacious and magnificent to behold.

In it there was a statue of Serapis so large that its right hand touched one wall and its left the other; this monster is said to have been made of every kind of metal and wood. The interior walls of the shrine were believed to have been covered with plates of gold overlaid with silver and then bronze, the last as a protection for the more precious metals.

There were also some things cunningly devised to excite the amazement and wonder of those who saw them.

There was a tiny window so orientated toward the direction of sunrise that on the day appointed for the statue of the sun to be carried in to greet Serapis, careful observation of the seasons had ensured that as the statue was entering, a ray of sunlight coming through this window would light up the mouth and lips of Serapis, so that to the people looking on it would seem as though the sun was greeting Serapis with a kiss.[2]

There was another like trick. Magnets, it is said, have the power to pull and draw iron to themselves. The image of the sun had been made by its artisan of the finest sort of iron with this in view: that a magnet, which, as we said, naturally attracts iron, and which was set in the ceiling panels, might by natural force draw the iron to itself when the statue was placed just so directly beneath it, the statue appearing to the people to rise and hang in the air. And lest it unexpectedly fall and betray the trick, the servants of the deception would say, ”The sun has arisen so that, bidding Serapis farewell, it may depart for its own place.”

There were many other things as well built on the site by those of old for the purpose of deception which it would take too long to detail.[3]

Now as we started to say, when the letter had been read our people were ready to overthrow the author of [the] error, but a rumor had been spread by the pagans that if a human hand touched the statue, the earth would split open on the spot and crumble into the abyss, while the sky would crash down at once.[4]

This gave the people pause for a moment, until one of the soldiers, armed with faith rather than weapons, seized a double-headed axe, drew himself up, and struck the old fraud on the jaw with all his might. A roar went up from both sides, but the sky did not fall, nor did the earth collapse. Thus with repeated strokes he felled the smoke-grimed deity of rotten wood, which upon being thrown down burned as easily as dry wood when it was kindled.

After this the head was wrenched from the neck, the bushel[5] having been taken down, and dragged off; then the feet and other members were chopped off with axes and dragged apart with ropes attached, and piece by piece, each in a different place, the decrepit dotard was burned to ashes before the eyes of the Alexandria which had worshiped him.

Last of all the torso which was left was put to the torch in the amphitheater, and that was the end of the vain superstition and ancient error of Serapis.

  1. [1] Book 11, ch. 23.  Tr. Philip R. Amidon, The Church History of Rufinus of Aquileia, Oxford, 1997. p.80-82.  I’m afraid some of the numeral references are corrupt in my copy.
  2. [2] The existence of the window is confirmed by Alexandrian coinage, and the same arrangement for sun and window is found in other Egyptian temples. The Egyptians thought of the sun as reviving the statues of gods by shining on them and thus recharging them with vital force. The image of the sun kissing Serapis is found on coins and lamps of the period; cf. Thelamon PC 183184, 195197.
  3. [3] The use of magnets in temple ceilings for the purpose Rufinus describes is well attested; cf. Claudian Magnes 22.39; Pliny Natural History 34.42 (a magnet in the ceiling of an Alexandrian temple); Ausonius Mosella 315317; Augustine City of God 21.6.; Thelamon PC 182, 184.
  4. [4] The Egyptians feared the world would collapse in chaos if the customary rites were not performed; cf. Thelamon PC 200, note 19 (papyrological evidence); Corpus Hermeticum, Asclepius 2:4; Ps. Iamblicus, De mysteriis 6.7; Epiphanius, Panarion 18.3.12.
  5. [5] Serapis was depicted with a modiusjug on his head.

Trafficking Culture

La Mina

A Moche funerary site in Northern Peru that was looted for spectacular gold objects during the same looting wave that hit following the discovery of the famous lord of Sipán tomb.

The site of La Mina, also known as Huaca de la Mina or Cerro de la Mina, is located in the Jequetepeque Valley of Peru’s north coast, about five kilometres from the sea. It is named after an abandoned gold mine which is known to have been used in the Inka period and perhaps before. It is one of the few sites in which the early Moche period has been excavated by archaeologists.

In mid-1988, objects from a rich Moche tomb began to appear on the art market. They were similar in style to the famous (and recently looted) objects from Sipán, but were different enough iconographically that experts doubted that they came from the same site. Rumours abounded that the pieces came from a site somewhere in the Jequetepeque Valley (Kirkpatrick, 1992: 183). Archaeologist Christopher Donnan and colleagues spent nearly a month searching for the site, both on the ground and via aerial photography, without locating it (Kirkpatrick 1992).

On 11 May 1989, archaeologist Walter Alva was contacted by an unnamed antiquities collector based in Trujillo (Kirkpatrick 1992). The collector told Alva that the fine objects on the market were from La Mina which, like Sipán, was not originally thought to have been used by the Moche. An unemployed farmer and known looter had located Moche material while digging at the site. The looter followed a tunnel that had been carved into the natural hillside and stumbled on a spectacularly rich Moche tomb (Kirkpatrick 1992). The looter told no one of his find, ‘withdrawing’ gold objects from the tomb whenever he needed the money. Because of the high quality of the objects and the time that elapsed between objects appearing for sale, the collector initially suspected that the objects were fakes manufactured by local dealers. However, upon discovering the identity of the original looter and questioning him, the collector was able to tie the pieces to La Mina. The collector feared that word had spread about the discovery, and that the La Mina tomb would be destroyed by swarms of looters before archaeologists could study it. He hoped for Alva, famous for his Sipán intervention, to protect the site (Kirkpatrick 1992). Upon reaching La Mina, Alva encountered several looters in the process of digging (Kirkpatrick 1992). By then the tomb, which was painted with murals of snakes and stingrays, had been completely emptied. A rescue excavation was launched.

According to Kirkpatrick (1992), the art market’s reception of the looted La Mina material was ’lukewarm’, at least compared to the response to comparable objects from Sipán. Although the quality of the La Mina material was spectacular, Kirkpatrick speculated that the poor publicity associated with Sipán had spoiled the market for new Moche material. Nevertheless, as later returns would attest, much looted La Mina material was illegally exported from Perú.

The coincidental connection of the looting of La Mina to the looting of Sipán became a factor in investigations into the John Bourne Collection. For years, Bourne maintained that certain Moche gold objects in his collection came from La Mina, not Sipán (Constable 2008). If true, these claims would have tied Bourne’s collection to the looting of La Mina, which is known to have occurred in 1988. The suggestion that objects in the Bourne Collection came from La Mina had the effect of exempting them from scrutiny where they were imported after the 1990 US emergency import restrictions on Sipán objects and before the 1997 US-Perú antiquities bilateral agreement[1]. That said, in 2011 a gold monkey head bead, formerly in the John Bourne Collection, was returned to Perú with the understanding that it came from Sipán and not La Mina.

Perhaps the most famous object from La Mina is a large golden headdress of a tentacled zoomorphic sea god. The headdress was most likely removed from La Mina during the initial 1988 looting of the site (Laville 2006). It was allegedly purchased, along with other La Mina items, by the collector Raul Apesteguía,  who sold it on to Costa Rican dealer/collector Leonardo Patterson (O’Brien 2006). Apesteguía was brutally murdered in his home on 26 January 1996: he was beaten to death and six boxes of pre-Conquest gold and ceramics were taken from his collection (O’Brien 2006). The police determined that he died at the hands of an antiquities trafficking mob with whom he was associated. An August 1996 raid at Lima’s international airport produced three objects taken during the Apesteguía murder, along with 445 other artefacts which were in the process of being shipped to French dealer Yves de Parceval (O’Brien 2006).

The sea god headdress, along with other Peruvian objects linked to Apesteguía, appeared in a 1997 catalogue[2] that accompanied an exhibition of Patterson’s collection at the Museo do Pobo Galego in Santiago de Compostela, Spain (O’Brien 2006). By 2006 the piece was in Belgium and on the market, fromwhere it was trafficked into the UK. It was recovered by London’s Metropolitan Police and returned to Perú in August 2006 (Laville 2006). According to the Guardian newspaper,  ‘a London solicitor’s firm had facilitated the return on behalf of their client after an intelligence-led investigation’ (Laville 2006). Reportedly, the piece was offered to an undercover agent who agreed to pay an unnamed collector £1 million for the object if the exchange was made in London (O’Brien 2006). Several reports state that a key player in this sting was the Dutch art dealer Michel van Rijn and, in turn, van Rijn has stated in interviews that Leonardo Patterson was the collector who was the target of the sting (for example, see Lucena 2006).

Based on the contents of the 1997 catalogue and at the urging of Walter Alva, a Peruvian court issued an arrest warrant for Patterson in 2004 (Associated Press 2008). As a result of that investigation, in 2008, the government of Spain officially returned 45 Peruvian cultural objects that had been seized in the 2007 raid of a warehouse owned by Patterson (Associated Press 2008). Twelve of these pieces are thought to have come from Sipán but many of the others, including gold masks, jewellery, and ceramics are thought to have come from La Mina (Associated Press 2008). Patterson claimed that all the objects were on loan from German millionaire Anton Roeckl (Associated Press 2008).

On 5 August 2009, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seized two ceramic artefacts on a Swiss Air flight from Zurich to JFK International Airport in New York. The objects appeared to be from La Mina or the nearby Moche site of Dos Cabezas, and were in the posession of Roeckl (ICE 2010). The ICE determined that the invoices Roeckl held were misleading insofar as they indicated that the objects had been purchased in Germany in the 1960s. The pieces were returned to Perú as part of a settlement with Roeckl (ICE 2010).


Associated Press (2008), ‘Spain returns looted Peruvian artifacts’, New York Daily News, 28 October.

Atwood, Roger (2004), Stealing History: Tomb Raiders, Smugglers, and the Looting of the Ancient World (New York: St. Martin’s Press).

Constable, Anne (2008), ‘Ancient artifacts returned to owner’, Santa Fe New Mexican, 30 May.

ICE (2010.), ‘Art collector settlement allows repatriation of 2 rare ceramic antiquities to Peru’, Website of the ICE, <>, accessed 1 May 2012.

Kirkpatrick, Sidney (1992), Lords of Sipán: A True Story of Pre-Inca Tombs, Archaeology, and Crime (New York: William Morrow and Company).

Laville, Sandra (2006), ‘Peruvian headdress recovered’, The Guardian, 17 August.

Lucena, Fernanco (2006), ‘Un cazador suelto en Londres’, El Comercio, 8 October, <>, accessed 9 August 2012.

O’Brien, Pablo (2006), ‘La estela de muerte , misterios y el asombroso rescate de tocado moche’, El Comercio, 19 August.

[1] Unless, of course, the pieces could be proved to have been property “stolen” from Perú: a historically difficult thing to prove to the degree required by US Courts.

[2] Prehispanic America: time and culture (2000 B.C.–1550 A.D.) (1997) by Mariano Cuestas Domingo also printed in Spanish as O espírito da América Prehispánica, 3.000 años de cultura.


La Amelia Stela 1

A classic Maya stela, cut into pieces for transport, which ended up in the collection of Sweden’s National Museum. It was returned to Guatemala in 1994.The Maya site of La Amelia was a small polity located in the Pasión River area of the Petén Department, Guatemala. Occupation was brief at La Amelia: the site dates entirely to the Late Classic period (approx. 600–800 AD) and it was the first polity in the region to be abandoned around 830AD  during the Classic Maya collapse. The site may have originally been called B’ahlam, or ‘Jaguar’, based on inscriptions found at the larger site of Dos Pilas (Guenter 2003: 21).

In 1937 a team from the Carnegie Institution headed by Ledyard Smith, H.D. Pollock, and Edwin M. Shook excavated at La Amelia (Graham 2010: 170). Among the monuments they recorded was Stela 1 (also called Panel 1) which was published in Sylvanus G. Moreley’s Inscriptions of Peten (1983). The stela depicts one of the last lords of Amelia, Lachan K’awill Ajaw B’ot, who was born on 25 June 760 AD and enthroned on 1 May 802 AD, as a ballplayer standing upon a jaguar (Escobedo n.d.).

Stela 1 was looted from La Amelia in 1965 (IDAEH 1994). Although the stela was found broken into two sections in 1937 (a diagonal break at the figure’s shins), the looters professionally cut the piece under the figure’s feet. This allowed them to transport the much smaller lower register, which depicts a jaguar. The upper pieces of the stela were left behind (IDAEH 1994). Sometime in the late 1960s, Shook revisited the site and found the lower portion of the stela to be missing (Graham 2010: 170).[1] Shook then had the remaining portions of the stela transported to the town of Sayaxché and later to Guatemala’s Instituto de Antropología e Historia for safe keeping (Graham 2010: 170).

According to a press release from the Instituto de Antropología e Historia (IDAEH 1994), after it was looted, the lower portion of the stela was smuggled to New York City where it was displayed in the gallery of the late Everett Rassiga. Rassiga was a dealer of Latin American antiquities who was associated with the transport of the Placeres Temple Facade and some Las Bocas-style figurines. The fragment was reportedly in Rassiga’s possession in 1969 when it was included among a list of looted Maya sculptures in Clemency Coggins’ seminal paper on illicit Pre-Columbian antiquities (Coggins 1969). Coggins reported that at some point the bottom portion was lent to an exhibition in Paris where it was temporarily reunited with its upper portion (Coggins 1969: 96). Archaeologist Merle Greene Robertson records that Rassiga did not suspect the fragment was stolen and offered it back to Guatemala if the country would reimburse him the $5,000 he paid for it; Guatemala refused (Robertson 1972: 149).

Sometime in the late 1960s or early 1970s the fragment was purchased by Ernest Ericson, a Swedish national involved in shipping, who later brought it to Sweden. After Ericson’s death, the stela fragment became the property of the Ericson Foundation which then donated it to the Swedish National Museum in Stockholm (catalogue number 2285). In 1984, archaeologist Ian Graham identified the fragment as having come from La Amelia (IDAEH 1994).

In 1991 the fragment was transferred from the National Museum to the Folkens Museum Etnografiska (People’s Museum of Ethnography) in Stockholm. In March 1994 archaeologist Karl-Herbert Mayer contacted the Folkens Museum Etnografiska, informing them that the stela had been looted, and inquiring about any plans for return. The museum immediately agreed to return the fragment and on 17 April 1994 the stela’s pieces were reunited in Guatemala. This return was hailed by Guatemala as a perfect example of voluntary cooperation in the preservation of Maya cultural patrimony and the return of looted material (IDAEH 1994).

Stela 1 is not the only monument known to have been stolen from La Amelia. Over 90 percent of the site has been looted (Foias 1997). In 1937 Shook and his team recorded six hieroglyphic blocks that once formed a monolithic stairway (a seventh was located in 1997). None of the original staircase blocks were at La Amelia by 1997 and they have all presumably been looted (Foias 1997).

Special thanks to Karl Herbert Mayer for providing us with information about the stela’s return.


Coggins, Clemency  C. (1969), ‘Illicit Traffic of Pre-Columbian Antiquities’, Art Journal 29(1): 94–114.

Escobedo, Héctor L. (n.d.), ‘Panel 1 de La Amelia’, Information panel. Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología de Guatemala.

Foias, Antonia E. (1997), La Amelia Archaeological Project, Final Report: 1997 Field Season. Unpublished report, Williams College.

Graham, Ian (2010), The Road to Ruin. (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press).

Guenter, Stanley Paul (2003), ‘The Inscriptions of Dos Pilas Associated with B’ajlaj Chan K’awiil’, Mesoweb. <Accessed on 2 October 2013).

IDAEH (1994), ‘La Estela I de Amelia’, Instituto de Antropología e Historia de Guatemala y Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología. Press release.

Morley, Sylvanus G. (1938), The Inscriptions of Peten. (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institute of Washington).

Robertson, Merle Greene (1972), ‘Monument Thievery in Mesoamerica’, American Antiquity 37(2): 147155.


[1] Graham states that it was the upper portion of the stela that was stolen in his memoir; however, it was the lower portion.

Xochipala-style Figurines

Formative period ‘Mezcala’ figurines from Mexico that are popular on the art market but have never been found in an archaeological excavation.The site of Xochipala (and the village that shares its name) is located in the municipality of Eduardo Neri in the Mexican state of Guerrero. The site dates from the Classic and Postclassic periods (from about 200 to 1400 AD), however on the art market, Xochipala is best known for Preclassic/Formative period (1500 BC to 200 AD) figurines and stone bowls, which are associated with the Mezcala culture.

Because of the linking of the site with this type of Preclassic figurine, the term ‘Xochipala-style’ is used on the antiquities market to describe any piece from this tradition irrespective of whether it actually came from Xochipala or if the piece dates to the Preclassic period. For example: ‘Xochipala does not represent one style or one moment in time. Rather, it is a series of sites of varying periods spanning, to be conservative, some 3,500 years’ (Griffin 1972: 303). In other words, the term is a catch-all that has been roughly associated with a certain conception of the Mezcala culture which originated in the antiquities trade, not among archaeologists.

The Mezcala: defined by looting

Among the pre-Conquest cultures of Mesoamerica, comparatively little is known about the makers of Xochipala figurines, the Mezcala culture (also called the Balsas culture), primarily due to the extensive and early looting of Mezcala archaeological sites. This especially holds true for Preclassic Mezcala sites: the site of Ahuinahuac is the only Preclassic Mezcala site to have been excavated archaeologically (López Austen & López Lújan 2001). Because of this, the features of looted artefacts that have appeared on the art market largely define the Mezcala.

Mezcala cultural sites were mined for antiquities even in pre-Conquest times. One of the largest collections of Mezcala artefacts uncovered by archaeological excavations comes from a dedicatory offering in the Great Temple at the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan, a building built perhaps 1000 or more years after the Mezcala artefacts were carved. The fifty-six masks and ninety-eight figurines (which were not Xochipala-style) recovered from the Great Temple were likely excavated and re-used by the Aztec (Core & Koontz 1962: 55).

Xochipala-style figurines

Xochipala-style figurines are rendered in a highly naturalistic style. They are modeled, not molded, and are solid, not hollow. The figurines that display clothing or garments appear to have been modeled in the nude and thin sheets of clay were later applied to form clothing ‘giving the feel of cloth over the body’ (Griffin 1972: 306). The pieces are often painted in blacks, whites, yellows and reds. Some Xochipala-style figurines are so realistic that they are said to have ‘portrait qualities’ (Griffin 1972: 305)

Because of the early and systematic looting of the region, the state of Guerrero ‘has yielded evidence of prehistoric art styles that have not been associated with identifiable societies’ (Paradis 1981: 196). Specifically, few if any cultural sites that have been excavated can be assigned to the Xochipala-style (Paradis 1981: 196). The site of Xochipala itself post-dates Xochipala-style figurines by several hundred years and no Xochipala-style figurine has been found within a controlled archaeological context.

Griffin (1972: 303) records that according to ‘hearsay’, Xochipala-style figurines were looted from the sites of El Zacatoso (five miles from Xochipala) and Las Mesas (two miles from Xochipala).

Collecting Xochipala-style figurines

In the 1890s, Scottish-born mineralogist and archaeologist William Niven collected a seated female figurine that he was told came from near the village of Xochipala. The figurine, which Niven bought in the city of Chilpancingo, was sold to Harvard’s Peabody museum in 1903 along with other items from Niven’s collection (Niven 1987: 217; Griffin 1972: 303). This would seem to be the first Xochipala-style figurine to be sold outside of Mexico.

Xochipala-style figurines became common on the art market in the 1970s and, thus, in international museums and in private collections. Over the past few decades the Princeton University Art Museum has acquired a number of unprovenienced Xochipala-style figurines, as well as other objects associated with the Xochipala style. These have been donated by: former curator Gillett G. Griffin in 1972 and 2003 (Princeton University 1973: 30; 2004: 139); Peter G. Wray in 1982 (Princeton University 1983: 68)[1]; Peter David Joralemon, formerly a curator at the Lowe Art Museum and now Director of Atlantic Art Partners, in 1983 (Princeton University 1984: 38), and Forrest D. Colburn, a Professor of Latin American Studies at the City University of New York, in 2003 (Princeton University 2004: 139). These donations are notable as two of the donors, Griffin and Joralemon, have produced some of the primary publications concerning Xochipala-style figurines, both describing and defining the style.


Coe, Michael D.  and Rex Koontz (1962) Mexico from the Olmecs to the Aztecs, (London: Thames & Hudson).

Griffin, Gillett G. (1972), ‘Xochipala: The earliest great art style in Mexico’, Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 116 (4): 301–309.

López Austen, Alfredo & Leonardo López Luján (2001) Mexico’s Indigenous Past, (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press).

Niven, William (1897) ‘Omitlán, A Prehistoric City in Mexico’, Journal of the American Geographical Society of New York, 29(2): 217–222.

Paradis, Louise Iseut (1981), ‘Guerrero and the Olmec’ In The Olmec and their Neighbors, Edited by: Stirling, Matthew Williams, Coe, Michael D., and Grove, David C., pp: 195–208, (Washington D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks).

Princeton University (1973), ‘Acquisitions’, Record of the Art Museum, 32 (1): 30.

––– (1983), ‘Acquisitions’, Record of the Art Museum, 42 (1): 68.

––– (1984), ‘Acquisitions’, Record of the Art Museum, 43 (1): 38.

––– (2004), ‘Acquisitions’, Record of the Art Museum, 63 (1): 139.

[1] Both the Rio Azul Mask and the Rio Azul Vase are thought to have passed through the hands of Peter G. Wray.

J Paul Getty Returns to Italy (2013)

The Getty Museum returned a looted terracotta head of Hades to Italy.

On January 10, 2013, the J. Paul Getty Museum announced it was returning to the Museo Archeologico in Aidone, Sicily, a Terracotta Head of Hades (85.AD.105) (J.P. Getty 2013). Dating from about 400–300 BC, the head had been purchased in 1985 from Maurice Tempelsman for $530,000 USD. Tempelsman had in turn bought the head from British dealer Robin Symes (Ng and Felch 2013). Research at the Getty established that the head had been looted from the Morgantina sanctuary of Demeter and Persephone in the 1970s. 


Getty (2013), ‘The J.Paul Getty Museum announces the return of a head of Hades from about 400–300 BC’, press release, 10 January (J.Paul Getty Trust)., accessed 15 January 2013.

Ng, David and Felch, Jason (2013), ‘Getty Museum to return Hades terracotta head to Sicily’, Los Angeles Times, 10 January.,0,2715069.story, accessed 15 January 2013.

Jim Davila (

De Troyer et al., In the Footsteps of Sherlock Holmes

In the Footsteps of Sherlock Holmes
Studies in the Biblical Text in Honour of Anneli Aejmelaeus

Contributions to Biblical Exegesis & Theology, 72

Editors: De Troyer K., Law T. M. , Liljeström M.

Year: 2014
ISBN: 978-90-429-3041-4
Price: Forthcoming

The book contains a preface by the Three (editors) and has five sections—all befitting the recipient of this Festschrift with her interest in Septuagint and Textual Criticism. The first part of the book, entitled The Septuagint. Origins and Translations contains articles on what a translator is and does (such as the contribution from Benjamin G. Wright and Joachim Schaper) or how LXXGenesis functions as the first translation of Scripture (Emanuel Tov) and contains numerous articles on idioms and accuracy (John A.L. Lee), on lexical variation (Arie van der Kooij) and on renderings of nouns (Bénédicte Lemmelijn), verbs (Anssi Voitila), tenses (Raimund Wirth), semi-prepositions (Raija Sollamo), particles (Michael N. van der Meer) or lexical expressions and themes such as the “end of times” (Staffan Olofsson) or ‘labouring women (Takamitsu Muraoka), etc. In the second part, entitled The Septuagint and the Versions. Textual Criticism and Text History, the books that are focused on are Samuel and Kings (with contributions by Jan Joosten, Philippe Hugo, Zipora Talshir, Siegfried Kreuzer, Andrés Piquer Otero, Pablo Torijano Morales, Juha Pakkala, Christian Seppanen) and Joshua (with contributions by Seppo Sipilä and Julio Trebolle Barrera). Then, there are also studies on textual issues and text history of Isaiah (Anna Kharanauli), Ezechiel (Johan Lust), Job (Claude Cox), Ecclesiastes (Peter J. Gentry) and Minor Prophets (Hans Ausloos). The third part of this volume is entitled The Septuagint in New Testament and Christian Use and contains two contributions on textual links between LXX and the New Testament (contributions by Tuukka Kauhanen and Georg A. Walser) and patristic texts (contributions by Reinhart Ceulemans and Katrin Hauspie,). A fourth part of the volume is devoted to The Septuagint in Jewish Tradition (with contributions on how the Tabernacle Account was received in Hellenistic Judaism by Alison Salvesen and ‘Seeking “the Septuagint” in a Scroll Dependent World by Robert A. Kraft). The final part of the volume is dedicated to The Hebrew Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls. It opens with an attempt by Martti Nissinen to answer the question: ‘Since when do Prophets Write?’ Then, there is the contribution by George J. Brooke who offers a variant on the issue of variant editions, albeit from the perspective of the scrolls. Eugene Ulrich explores the fine balance between intentional variants and isolated insertions in 4QSama and the MT. Sarianna Metso offers an article on the Leviticus traditions at Qumran and Jutta Jokiranta offers a reflection on ‘the stranger’ in the Hebrew Bible and the Dead Sea. The contribution by Hanne von Weissenberg forms a nice inclusion with the opening contribution by Benjamin G. Wright as it too focuses on Authority.
Congratulations to Professor Aejmelaeus. And on Facebook, T. Michael Law adds, "Notice this volume's number in its series." He says that the volume should be out by the end of this week.

Compitum - publications

Giornale Italiano di Filologia. International Studies of Ancient Sources and their Contexts

Giornale Italiano di Filologia. International Studies of Ancient Sources and their Contexts, 2014.

Éditeur : Brepols

Table des matières:

FEDERICO CONDELLO Il cane e il fiume: interpretazione di Thgn. 347s. (con un excursus sulla ‘figura d'identificazione')

LUIGI FERRERI Questione teognidea. Questioni di lirica e di oralità

EVA ANAGNOSTOU-LAOUTIDES – DAVID KONSTAN Apollonius Rhodius, Cyzicus and the Near East

CLAUDIA FACCHINI TOSI Neologismi di nomina agentis in –trix

SONIA FRANCISETTI BROLIN Gli Epigoni di Accio: il fr. XIII (v. 302) Ribbeck

GIUSEPPE FLAMMINI La funzione didascalica di alcune strutture prefatorie del De rerum natura: le risorse del poeta – magister

DISKIN CLAY Some Verse Epistles of Catullus

GIUSEPPE RAMIRES "In barba" a Virgilio: un problema di interpretazione e traduzione a Aen. 8, 659

FABRIZIO FERACO La fortuna di Plauto: l'esempio di Solino

ANNA MARANINI – FABIO MARRI Riscoperta di classici ed esegesi tra Sei e Settecento. Muratori e Gisbert Cuper su Paolino da Nola

FRANCESCO CABRAS I Foricoenia amorosi di Jan Kochanowski. Sulla diffusione di Ovidio in Polonia


EVA VALVO L'Altro nell'antichità tra ostilità e fascinazione

PATRIZIA LIVIABELLA FURIANI A proposito dell'intervento degli dèi in Erodoto

ROSA MARIA LUCIFORA Il vecchio e il serpente

DAVIDE LODESANI Ammiano geografo, le fonti, il testo, l'interpretazione

IDA G. MASTROROSA Girolamo e l'ascetismo muliebre tardoantico: a proposito di un recente studio sul monachesimo femminile


Source : Brepols

ArcheoNet BE

Opendeurdag Fort Oelegem op 27 april

Op zondag 27 april opent Fort Oelegem zijn deuren voor het publiek. Nieuwsgierigen kunnen onder begeleiding van een fortgids rondgaan in de gangen, zalen en torens van dit historisch erfgoed, gebouwd net voor het begin van de Eerste Wereldoorlog. Naast een stukje geschiedenis leren de bezoekers ook welke belangrijke rol het monument vandaag speelt in de bescherming van onze vleermuizen. De rondleidingen worden op vaste uren georganiseerd : om 10 uur, 11.30 uur, 14 uur en 15.30 uur.

Warme kledij, waterdichte schoenen en een zaklamp zijn aan te raden als je in het fort wandelt. Iedereen is welkom. Meer info via of via 0475/29 04 87.

Adres fort: Goorstraat 18, 2520 Oelegem.

Bryn Mawr Classical Review

2014.04.30: Sive deus sive dea: la presenza della religione nello sviluppo della società romana (edizione italiana a cura di Donatella Puliga)

Review of Katariina Mustakallio, Sive deus sive dea: la presenza della religione nello sviluppo della società romana (edizione italiana a cura di Donatella Puliga). Pisa: 2013. Pp. 196. €20.00 (pb). ISBN 9788846736611.

2014.04.29: The Oxford Handbook of Childhood and Education in the Classical World. Oxford handbooks

Review of Judith Evans Grubbs, Tim Parkin, The Oxford Handbook of Childhood and Education in the Classical World. Oxford handbooks. Oxford; New York: 2013. Pp. xxiii, 690. $150.00. ISBN 9780199781546.

2014.04.28: Animals in the Ancient World from A to Z. The ancient world from A to Z

Review of Kenneth F. Kitchell, Jr., Animals in the Ancient World from A to Z. The ancient world from A to Z. London; New York: 2014. Pp. xxv, 257. $115.00. ISBN 9780415392433.

2014.04.27: Marc Aurel: Philosophie und politische Macht zur Zeit der Zweiten Sophistik. Historia - Einzelschriften, Bd 225

Review of Claudia Horst, Marc Aurel: Philosophie und politische Macht zur Zeit der Zweiten Sophistik. Historia - Einzelschriften, Bd 225. Stuttgart: 2013. Pp. 232. €56.00. ISBN 9783515102803.

2014.04.26: Das Fayyûm in Hellenismus und Kaiserzeit: Fallstudien zu multikulturellem Leben in der Antike

Review of Carolin Arlt, Martin Andreas Stadler, Das Fayyûm in Hellenismus und Kaiserzeit: Fallstudien zu multikulturellem Leben in der Antike. Wiesbaden: 2013. Pp. vi, 226. €48.00 (pb). ISBN 9783447069250.

Javier Andreu (Oppida Imperii Romani)


Cubierta de DEL REY SCHNITZLER, Guía Arqueológica de la Península Ibérica. España. De las colonizaciones a la caída del Imperio Romano de Occidente, Madrid, 2013, 624 pp., ISSN: 978-84-941973-0-7 (si estás interesado en adquirirla, puedes hacerlo desde aquí)

Hace algunos meses, incorporamos a este blog una sección de recursos sobre Antigüedad -a la que colocamos la etiqueta de Instrumenta- y, más tarde, otra que, íntimamente relacionada con aquélla, daba cabida a publicaciones disponibles en red que considerábamos recomendables para el interesado en el mundo clásico y, en particular, en la Arqueología, la Epigrafía y la Historia Antigua de Roma. A ese segundo repertorio lo denominamos Digitalia Scripta. Sin embargo, en los últimos meses nos hemos dado cuenta que un blog académico como éste no puede resistirse a ofrecer, también, reseñas, revisiones y noticias de publicaciones que, aunque no estén en red, consideremos de interés (ya algo hemos hecho recientemente, por ejemplo, a propósito de algunos trabajos nuestros como Entre Vascones y Romanos: sobre las tierras de Navarra en la Antigüedad [Cuadernos de Arqueología de la Universidad de Navarra, 21, 2013] [Pamplona, 2013] como en su día hicimos con varios trabajos propios como Fundamentos de Epigrafía Latina [Madrid, 2009] o Los Vascones de las fuentes antiguas [Barcelona, 2009], entre otros). Por eso, con este nuevo post -primero del mes de Abril- inauguramos una nueva etiqueta, una nueva sección, para Oppida Imperii Romani. La llamaremos Volumina, que era el nombre que los romanos daban a los "libros" que es lo que, esencialmente, presentaremos aquí.

Y, como no podía ser de otro modo, comenzamos la sección -aunque hemos añadido la etiqueta correspondiente a algunos de los posts citados más arriba- a propósito de una publicación que ha visto la luz prácticamente en este recién estrenado 2014 (aunque lleva fecha de 2013) -que pronto presentaremos en la UNED de Tudela (pincha aquí)- y que, sin duda, resume perfectamente la filosofía esencial de este blog: ofrecer información y recursos sobre yacimientos arqueológicos urbanos de época romana (volvemos a traer aquí el post "inaugural" de Oppida Imperii Romani en el que hace ya ¡siete años! glosábamos la filosofía genuina de este espacio). Se trata de la Guía Arqueológica de la Península Ibérica: España. De las colonizaciones a la caída del Imperio Romano de Occidente, un original -y más que necesario- trabajo que, con más de 600 páginas- ha acometido alguien -Luis del Rey Schnitzler- que, aunque, efectivamente, es amateur en materia arqueológica, tiene una notable formación en cuestiones de gestión turística, empresarial y de patrimonio cultural que, sin duda, aportan una notable savia nueva a los estudios sobre Antigüedad. No se trata, por tanto, de una publicación especializada -y no debe juzgarse como tal, sin duda- sin embargo, el lector versado en la Antigüedad Peninsular se sorprenderá gratamente por la solvencia con la que son tratadas cuestiones complejas como la etnicidad de las provincias de la Comunidad Autónoma Vasca y de la Comunidad Foral de Navarra (pp. 464-488) o el trabajo minero romano sobre las explotaciones auríferas (pp. 386-400) -por citar dos en las que mucho se ha avanzado en los últimos años- y, sobre todo, por la notable actualización con la que son presentados enclaves arqueológicos del interés y la complejidad de -por citar sólo romanos, aunque una de las virtudes de la guía es que incluye otros que van desde el mundo fenicio hasta la tardoantigüedad- Augusta Emerita (pp. 321-335), Barcino (pp. 49-70), Gades (pp. 264-277) o Munigua (pp. 292 y 307). A nuestro juicio, ambos elementos constituyen dos extraordinarios avales de este volumen junto con el hecho de que -como el autor hace constar al final del mismo (pp. 595-597)- el trabajo ha implicado -como consejeros y revisores- a los responsables de muchos de los yacimientos arqueológicos que se tratan, la práctica totalidad de los cuales ha sido, además, visitado por el propio L. Del Rey algo que se convierte en otro indiscutible activo de esta publicación que, desde luego, debe formar parte de la biblioteca todos los uiatores -como los llamábamos en 2008 cuando abrimos este blog- interesados en posicionarse frente a la Historia a través del placer que supone recorrer un yacimiento arqueológico, espacios -y compartimos la definición que el autor da de ellos en la contraportada- "repletos de historia y de sensaciones". Con unas fotografías fabulosas y siempre sugerentes, el autor ha hecho un gran esfuerzo por adaptar la información al gran público ofreciendo, por ejemplo, un útil glosario en las páginas finales (pp. 601-6011) y un índice toponímico utilísimo (pp. 613-620) en el que el lector puede hacerse cargo de los enclaves que son atendidos en las páginas del trabajo y que te ofrecemos en enlace -como muestra- más abajo. Además, ya sólo eso y el esfuerzo que el autor -a través de la página que gestiona, sobre su libro, en la red social Facebook (pincha aquí)- hace por convertir el patrimonio arqueológico en recurso turístico y por dinamizarlo -ahora, también, con un proyecto semejante sobre los restos arqueológicos de Portugal (pincha aquí)- hacen que esta Guía Arqueológica de la Península Ibérica no deba faltar en la biblioteca de los amantes del mundo antiguo y, en particular, del patrimonio arqueológico.

La estructura de la guía es muy sencilla pero, a la vez, profundamente meditada y claramente funcional, esencialmente útil. El autor presenta -para cada yacimiento- todo el material que el viajero que quiera conocerlo puede necesitar para preparar su visita y para ejecutarla y lo hace, además, tratando de conseguir que cada enclave sirva de arranque o de eje para rutas arqueológicas de más calado que le pongan en contacto con la zona y, en particular, con su patrimonio arqueológico (puedes ver una demo de la p. 104 desde aquí, relativa, precisamente a Los Bañales). Las fichas -exhaustivamente trabajadas- ofrecen informaciones como la ubicación en coordenadas GPS de los puntos de interés, las características básicas del enclave y los lugares de contacto -con teléfonos o sites de internet- a los que acudir para solicitar más información y, además, una breve descripción -que incorpora la filiación cultural del lugar- acompañada de una muy bien seleccionada bibliografía. Una serie de signos que jalonan las fichas permiten al visitante conocer las dificultades de la ruta propuesta, qué recomendaciones resultan de interés para preparar y acometer la visita, qué material se puede o debe llevar al yacimiento, en definitiva, un caudal informativo básico para quien quiera planificar una visita con aprovechamiento. Además, como comentábamos más arriba, Luis Del Rey ha tratado de agrupar en rutas los enclaves presentados, rutas que, casi todas, tienen su justificación cultural en los tiempos antiguos: las tierras vacceas (pp. 527-537), los Vascones (pp. 477-488), Astures Transmontanos y Romanos (pp. 438-450), la Edetania (pp. 140-155)..., sin descuidar, en cualquier caso, otras que son presentadas en atención a rutas naturales y paisajísticas que, al margen de su interés histórico, lo tienen también a nivel natural, como el Prepirineo Central (pp. 94-104) o la Sierra y Campiña Hispalenses (pp. 291-308). Echa, si no, un vistazo al índice -accesible desde aquí- para hacerte cargo del número de esas rutas y, también, verificar hasta qué punto -también puedes verlo a través de este otro documento, correspondiente al Índice toponímico (pincha aquí)- es completa esta Guía Arqueológica de la Península Ibérica.

Es cierto que los más puristas considerarán -andamos sobrados de envidias en el gremio universitario en general y en el de la Antigüedad en particular- que este trabajo supone un "intrusismo" de alguien ajeno al mundo de la Arqueología en el trabajo sobre el patrimonio arqueológico y que, en algunas descripciones, carece de rigor o peca de simplificador. Allá ellos. No nos parece que sea así como debe juzgarse este trabajo. La Guía Arqueológica de la Península Ibérica es, esencialmente, un volumen de guía para el "arqueoturismo" pero nos parece que a quienes trabajamos en la docencia universitaria, también nos viene muy bien y, por tanto, resulta muy útil también para nuestros estudiantes pues les invita a conocer los rasgos básicos de las fuentes arqueológicas con que construimos la historia de nuestro pasado. Desde luego, faltaba en nuestro país -casi desde el CEÁN BERMÚDEZ, J. A.: Sumario de las Antigüedades Romanas que hay en España, Madrid, 1832, por cierto, ya online, o desde los "guiños" peninsulares del trabajo de GARCÍA Y BELLIDO, A.: Arte Romano, Madrid, 1955- un trabajo como éste, que -como "pequeña inmersión en la arqueología de la Península Ibérica"-son, de nuevo, palabras del autor- presentase -y, además, pensando en el gran público- el inmenso caudal documental que nos ofrece la Arqueología Peninsular. Desde luego, la Guía Arqueológica de la Península Ibérica no es un trabajo de investigación (existen en el mercado otras dos panorámicas aproximaciones a la Arqueología, en especial a la Clásica, peninsular como RODRÍGUEZ GUTIÉRREZ, O.: Hispania Arqueológica. Panorama de la cultura material de las provincias hispanorromanas, Sevilla, 2011 -imprescindible (pincha aquí para conocer el volumen y accede a una reseña sobre la misma desde aquí, publicada en la revista SPAL, 22, 2013) o como el clásico trabajo de TRILLMICH, W.: Hispania Antiqua. Denkmäler der Römezeit, Mainz, 1993 (pincha aquí)- pero sí un compendio desde el que iniciar esa investigación, desde el que reivindicar la necesaria vuelta a los escenarios históricos y con el que, sin duda, muchos jóvenes -estudiosos o profanos- se acercarán a reencontrarse con la Historia haciendo de ese mundo del pasado "un mundo antiguo lejano, pero aun próximo, mucho más de lo que se piensa" (p. 9).

Cuando quien escribe este blog era sólo un adolescente empezó a escribir un trabajo -en aquellos ordenadores PC Amstrad 1512 con los que, tantos, nos familiarizamos con la informática- que, pretenciosamente, tituló Ruinas Romanas en España y del que, tristemente, no guardé manuscrito alguno. Recuerdo que escudriñaba entonces los libros que había a mi alcance -enciclopedias, volúmenes de colecciones generales de Historia de España, guías turísticas...- y elaboraba sencillas fichas en las que iba glosando la información que leía en aquellos trabajos y que yo mismo trataba de comprobar cuando -con las limitaciones propias de la edad (tal vez no tendría más de 15 años)- me acercaba a visitar in situ aquellos enclaves arqueológicos. Han pasado muchos años de eso, pero, tal vez por ello -y por todo lo dicho hasta aquí-, siento una sana envidia por el trabajo de Luis del Rey pues permite colocar en la estantería de nuestras librerías -y, después, en nuestras mochilas de viajes- tantos y tantos espacios con los que se ha escrito -y se escribirá- la Historia Antigua de la Península Ibérica. Altamente recomendable e imprescindible, sin duda.

Samuel Hardy (Conflict Antiquities)

‘No newspaper published this’: organised antiquities crime in Cyprus

Solicitor Christiana O’Connell-Schizas has reported on an Antiquities Bust in Aphrodite’s City (Pafos in Cyprus). O’Connell-Schizas has been informed by someone within the Department of Antiquities (in the Greek Cypriot-controlled south) that ‘finding looted antiquities in Cypriot houses, particularly in more remote areas of the island, is very common’. That’s not all. She has been […]

N.S. Gill ( Classical/Ancient History)

Birth of the Roman Emperor Gratian

On This Day in Ancient History: In the year A.D. 359, the future Roman emperor Gratian was born. Gratian was the son of Emperor Valentinian I.

When Valentinian died, ...

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Végh Zsuzsanna and Simon Zsolt (Agyagtábla, papirusz)


A Netherlands Institute for Near East digitalizálja azon kiadványait, amelyeknek már minden példányát eladták. Több nagyon hasznos egyiptológiai témájú könyv is letölthetővé vált: innen lehet szemezgetni!

L’Association Française pour l’étude de l’âge du Fer (Le Blog de l'AFEAF)

UISPP Burgos 2014 : appel à communication

Une session intitulée “Objets mortuaires, objets de la vie : interprétation des découvertes dans des contextes funéraires”  est organisée par Rebecca Peake et Valérie Delattre dans le cadre de la commission “Ages des Métaux” au prochain congrès de l’UISPP à Burgos du 1er au 7 septembre 2014.

Si vous souhaitez présenter une communication, n’hésitez pas à les contacter pour plus d’informations.
tel : 0033 3 86 87 13 35
Toutes les communications du congrès seront adressées aux organisateurs de séances
et via notre web avant le 30 avril 2014 en indiquant les
données suivantes (en anglais) : titre, nom de l’auteur (ou responsable s’il s’agit d’une
équipe), e-mail, institution de référence, résumé et mots clé.
Les participants au congrès doivent indiquer avant le 31 mai 2014 dans quelles
sessions ils désirent inclure leurs communications et/ou posters.
A3e-Objets mortuaires, offrandes de la vie : interprétation des découvertes dans des
contextes funéraires
(Rebecca Peake & Valérie Delattre)
L’espace fermé et protégé des tombes peut contenir divers types de trousseaux, depuis des
objets métalliques et poterie jusqu’à des os humains, des semences et graines carbonisées,
etc., une série d’objets groupés pour représenter et honorer le défunt. Des bijoux, des armes,
des ornements, se trouvent sur le corps enterré et, dans les cas de crémation, ils sont
fragmentés et fondus avec les fragments des os brûlés. Les poteries peuvent être utilisées
parfois pour contenir les restes du défunt ou une multitude d’offrandes (ensemble de
céramiques avec des récipients similaires et décorations identiques).
De manière simultanée aux considérations typologiques et chronologiques d’objets
dans des contextes funéraires, comment peuvent-ils les archéologues interpréter ces objets en
termes de pratiques funéraires, depuis l’actuelle construction de la tombe jusqu’à la
perception de la mort et du défunt par la communauté?
All conference papers must be sent to session organizer and our web by 30 April 2014 with the following information (in English):
Title, author’s name (or responsible when a team), mail, reference institution, abstract and
Congress participants must tell us in which sessions they want to include their
communications and/or posters before May 31, 2014.
A3e-Objects of the dead, offerings from the living: interpreting finds in funerary
The closed and protected space of the tomb can contain various types grave goods, from metal
objects and potteries to animal bones, carbonized seeds and grains, etc, a very diverse set of
objects brought together to represent and honour the deceased. Jewellery, weapons, ornaments
are found on the buried body and in the case of cremations are found fragmented and melted
with the burnt bone fragments. The pottery, sometimes an actual pottery service containing
similar vessels with identical decors, can be used to contain the cremated remains of the
deceased or a multitude of offerings.
Concurrent to typological and chronological considerations of objects in funerary
contexts, how can we archaeologists, interpret these objects in terms of funerary practices,
from the actual construction of the tomb to the community’s perception of death and the dead?

Ancient Art

A quick look at: Germanicus, a prominent Roman general of the...

A quick look at: Germanicus, a prominent Roman general of the early Empire, and the grandson-in-law of Augustus Caesar.

"Germanicus, too, that he might be the better known, took his helmet off his head and begged his men to follow up the slaughter, as they wanted not prisoners, and the utter destruction of the nation would be the only conclusion of the war. And now, late in the day, he withdrew one of his legions from the field, to intrench a camp, while the rest till nightfall glutted themselves with the enemy’s blood. Our cavalry fought with indecisive success." -Tacitus, Annals (2.26), via The Internet Classics Archive.

Germanicus Julius Caesar (15 BC-AD 19), usually just referred to as Germanicus, was a member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty and the nephew and adopted son of Tiberius. He commanded 8 Roman legions on the Rhine frontier with distinction. He appears to have gained affection among the Roman people; Suetonius in Life of Caligula III describes his “…unexampled kindliness, and a remarkable desire and capacity for winning men’s regard and inspiring their affection." He died aged 33 on October 9 of AD 19, it was a suspected poisoning.

Great honours were granted to Germanicus after his death and he was elevated to a god-like status:

[…] Five voting centuries were to be named after him; a curule chair was to be kept in the temple of the new god, the temples were to be closed on the day that Germanicus’ ashes were interred and sacrifices were to be made on that day each year at his tomb.

[…] In public, all due honours were granted to Germanicus. The only oddity was that Tiberius and his mother did not attend the internment. Some bad feeling may have been read into this by Germanicus’ supporters, but this would seem to be an over-reaction.

-Richard Alston in Aspects of Roman History AD 14–117, page 28.

Sculpture courtesy of & currently located at the Louvre, France. Photo taken by Jastrow. The sculpture dates to circa 40 AD, Accession number: Ma 1238.

Laura Gibbs (Bestiaria Latina Blog)

Latin Proverbs and Fables Round-Up: April 18

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

HODIE (Roman Calendar): ante diem quartum decimum Kalendas Maias.

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


TINY MOTTOES: Today's tiny motto is: Paulatim (English: Little by little).

3-WORD PROVERBS: Today's 3-word verb-less proverb is Iustitia virtutum regina (English: Justice is the queen of the virtues)

AUDIO PROVERBS: Today's audio Latin proverb is Inter pygmaeos regnat nanus (English: Among the pygmies, the dwarf is king). To read a brief essay about this proverb and to listen to the audio, visit the Latin Via Proverbs blog.

PUBLILIUS SYRUS: Today's proverb from Publilius Syrus is: Deliberando discitur sapientia (English: By pondering, wisdom is learned).

ERASMUS' ANIMALS: Today's animal proverb from Erasmus is Caudae pilos equinae paulatim vellere (English: To pluck the hairs of a horse's tail - one by one; from Adagia 1.8.95, and compare the simple motto Paulatim above!).

BREVISSIMA: The distich poster for today is Vicini Tecta. Click here for a full-sized view.

And here are today's proverbial LOLcats:


MILLE FABULAE: The fable from the Mille Fabulae et Una widget is Ursae Catuli et Leaena, a story in which the lion rebukes the mother bear and her cubs.

FABULAE FACILES: The fable from the Fabulae Faciles widget is Puer et Paedagogus, a story about a very unhelpful teacher (this fable has a vocabulary list).

Puer et Paedagogus

Greek Bible Art - and Latin and English, too. Below is one of my Greek Bible Art graphics; for the individual Greek, Latin and English versions of the graphic, see the blog post: ἐκάλεσεν αὐτὸν κύριος ἐκ τοῦ βάτου. Dominus vocavit eum de medio rubi. God called unto him out of the midst of the bush.

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Was Jesus Hungarian?

I give the Jesus mythicists a lot of hassle. But theirs is nowhere near to being the most ludicrous claim about Jesus one can find on the web. All Mesopotamia pointed out an article which mentions a view found among Hungarian nationalists: the Hungarians are in fact Sumerians – just like Jesus!

I recently learned that there is a whole blog dedicated to debunking geocentrism. Do we need one to tackle the Sumerian Hungarian Jesus hypothesis too?


April 17, 2014

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

All in the family: the appointment of emperors designate in the second century AD

CommodusAll in the family: the appointment of emperors designate in the second century AD

Olivier Hekster

Policies in the Roman Empire: (Impact of Empire, 1) (pp. 35-49). Amsterdam: Gieben. (2001)


The monstrous vices of the son have cast a shade on the purity of the father’s virtues. It has been objected to Marcus, that he sacrificed the happiness of millions to a fond partiality for aworthless boy; and that he chose a successor in his own family, rather than in the republic.

Gibbon famously described the period of the so-called adoptive emperors as the happiest for the human race. He ascribed this bliss to a number of just rulers, whom he assumed had cometo power through a conscious system of adoption, with childless emperors being free tochoose anyone they deemed worthy as their successors. That perception keeps lingering on. Michael Rostovtzeff’s adoptive emperors were exempla of virtuousness, putting the welfare of the state over their paternal love: ‘In his family life the emperor had to disregard his love for his own children; he had to look for the best man among his peers and raise him to the throne by adoption’. Likewise, Pierre Grimal, argued that it was Marcus’ own emphasis on family and human warmth that led him to appoint his son Commodus as his successor, thus implying a positive choice, rather than an unavoidable act.

Click here to read this article from Policies in the Roman Empire

All Mesopotamia

A very interesting “theory” about Hungarians being...

A very interesting “theory” about Hungarians being Suemrian. Even Jesus was a Sumerian!

Read details here

Maarit-Johanna (History of the Ancient World)

Reclining Youth

Reclining YouthReclining Youth, Cinerary Urn, Early 4th century BC, Bronze; l of stand 69 cm, h of figure 42 cm

This item was found in Perugia in 1842. Inside, the hollow sculpture contained ashes and some small gold ornaments. This is a rare bronze example of an Etrurian cinerary urn in the form of a reclining youth. The stand is decorated with stylized waves, a symbol of the sea separating the world of the live from that of the dead. Assembled from six cast parts, the back and front of the vessel are both equally carefully finished. Generalized austere forms are combined with realistic details. The author of the statue seems to have been influenced by Greek art.

Source : The State Hermitage Museum

Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Ancient history, Cinerary Urn, Reclining Youth, The State Hermitage Museum

Calenda: Histoire grecque

Fabula agitur ! Pratiques théâtrales et artistiques, oralité et apprentissage des langues et cultures de l’Antiquité

Les spécialistes de didactique des langues se sont beaucoup intéressés, ces dernières années, à l'apport que pouvaient constituer les pratiques théâtrales et, plus généralement, artistiques, dans l’apprentissage des langues vivantes. Ce colloque se propose de se pencher sur un corpus spécifique délaissé par ces travaux, celui des pratiques artistiques utilisées dans l’apprentissage des langues anciennes, que ce soit en milieu scolaire, universitaire ou associatif, en France ou ailleurs.

Katábasis dans la tradition littéraire et religieuse de la Grèce ancienne

Les croyances sur l'au-delà sont universellement répandues, ainsi que l'idée de pouvoir se rendre aux enfers, grâce à un « voyage vers le bas » (katábasis). La première catabase connue remonte aux premiers textes grecs conservés (l'Odyssée d’Homère), et l’omniprésence du thème dans les mentalités anciennes est telle qu’elle rend impérieuse un approfondissement de la recherche. Au-delà de la définition superficielle, « une descente aux enfers », il faut comprendre que ce voyage met en action toutes les tensions entre vie et mort, entre humanité et divinité, entre ici-bas et au-delà. Si la catégorie générale de catabase est logique, elle est plurielle et cache tout un système de représentations de la mort et de l'au-delà, des possibilités de s'y rendre dès son vivant et d'en revenir, de ses chemins et des puissances divines qu’on y croise. La représentation du phénomène emprunte des voies très variées : narratives, plastiques, symboliques ou encore conceptuelles, sans oublier les relectures et les recouvrements sur un millénaire d’histoire. Le thème enfin est à la croisée de multiples chemins : religion grecque et histoire comparée des religions, philosophie ancienne, mythologie et littérature, philologie, histoire, archéologie, iconographie et anthropologie culturelle.

David Stuart (Maya Decipherment)

A Glyph for Yuyum, “Oriole,” in a Name at Bonampak

by David Stuart (The University of Texas at Austin) and Peter Stuart (Hampshire College)

Among the many people depicted in Room 1 of the Bonampak murals is an official named Aj K’an Yuyum (Figure 1). His portrait, near the back corner of the chamber, is somewhat damaged and effaced. He seems to be a high-ranking noble, and he stands close by three elaborately dressed dancers on the center of the room’s lower register. In front of him is a similarly dressed man who bears the title sajal, often used for political and military figures of high elite status.

The hieroglyphs of his name caption are well preserved, and the first two glyph blocks of his name clearly read AJ-K’AN-na 2yu-ma. The remaining glyphs of his caption are syllabic spellings but are more difficult to make out fully: AJ-2ch’a-ta? ?-ma-ni (see Miller and Brittenham 2013:Figure 145). Perhaps one or both give a title based on some unknown place name.

Figure 1. Aj K'an Yuyum and his name caption, from Room 1 of the Bonampak murals. (Watercolor copy by H. Hurst; Caption drawing by D. Stuart)

Figure 1. Aj K’an Yuyum and his name caption, from Room 1 of the Bonampak murals.  (Watercolor copy by  H. Hurst; Caption drawing by D. Stuart)

Beyond his role as a named spectator at Bonampak, little can be said about Aj K’an Yuyum and his position in the local royal court; no other references to him are known. Here we would like to concentrate on his personal name, especially the unusual word spelled with the doubled yu sign and the main-sign form of ma. This combination is very probably an ancient attestation of yuyum, a word found in historical and modern sources for “oriole.” The noble’s full name then be would be “Yellow Oriole,” conforming to a widespread pattern of personal names based on colors and animal terms.

Yuyum is a word for “oriole” in lowland Mayan languages, including in Yucatecan and Cholan. Its first known attestation is in Beltran’s 18th century list of Yucatec faunal names as “un ave parecida al oropendula,” referencing a species closely related to orioles (see Perez 1898). It appears in modern Yucatec as well as yúuyum,“oriole” (Bricker et. al. 1998:319). In Bruce’s vocabulary of Lacandon yuyum is simply attested as “cierto pajaro” (Bruce 1968). Importantly, we also find it cited in Aulie and Aulie’s dictionary of Ch’ol (1978: 214) as yujyum, “bolsero espalda amarilla (icterus chysater),” specifically referencing the Yellow-backed Oriole.

A number of oriole species are common in the Maya region. These include the well-known Baltimore Oriole (which winters there), the Hooded Oriole, the Altamira Oriole, the Spotted-breasted Oriole, the afore-mentioned Yellow-backed Oriole, and the Streaked-backed Oriole. Whether all of these species were ever considered under a single term is difficult to know, given the vagaries of faunal classification in Mayan languages. Besides yuyum, there appear to be a number of more isolated words for different types of orioles: kulub in Yucatec (Bolles 2001), tzap’in in Itzaj (Hofling 1997:633), and kupulik in Ch’orti’ (Wisdom 1940), for example. Yet the consistent gloss of yuyum and its cognates as “oriole” across both Yucatecan and Ch’olan makes for a reasonable case that the word may be old and widely diffused in the lowland region.

FIgure 2. Orioles in the Murals of San Bartolo, North Wall. (Watercolor copy by H. Hurst.)

Figure 2. Orioles in the Murals of San Bartolo, North Wall. (Watercolor copy by H. Hurst.)

The only known representation of orioles in Maya art comes from another famous Maya wall painting, the Preclassic murals of San Bartolo (Figure 2). In the murals from Structure sub-1-A, we see depicted on the north wall a representation of a hanging nest surrounded by three small birds. This hangs from a tree that grows atop a cosmic mountain of emergence, associated with concepts of “flower mountain” in Mesoamerican mythology (Taube, et al. 2005:15-16). The small, extremely cute birds that flutter around the nest are yellow in appearance, with black bordering their wings and tails. Due to their coloration, and the fact that they do not have black on their backs like most Central American orioles, these are most likely Yellow-backed Orioles (icterus chysater), which are known to reside in the Maya area, and especially in higher elevations. Significantly perhaps, this is the very species given as the meaning of yujyum in Aulie and Aulie’s Ch’ol vocabulary, as noted earlier.

A good amount of work remains to be done on the identification of various bird species and other fauna represented in Maya art. We hope this small observation on the written and painted appearance of orioles will prove a useful contribution in such research.

Sources Cited:

Aulie, Wilbur, and Evelyn W. de Aulie. 1978. Diccionario Ch’ol. Summer Institute of Linguistics, Mexico D.F.

Bolles, John. 2001. Combined Dictionary–Concordance of the Yucatecan Mayan Language. FAMSI. On-line resource available at

Bruce, Robert. 1968. Gramatica del Lacandon. Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia, Mexico D.F.

Hofling, Andrew. 1997. Itzá Maya – Spanish – English Dictionary, Diccionario Maya Itzaj – Español – Inglés. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.

Miller, Mary E., and Claudia Brittenham. 2013. The Spectacle of the Late Maya Court: Reflections on the Murals of Bonampak. The University of Texas Press, Austin.

Perez, Juan Pio. 1898. Coordinación alfabetica de las voces del idioma maya que se hallan en el arte y obras del padre fr. Pedro Beltran de Santa Rosa, con las equivalencias castellanas que en las mismas se hallan. Imprinta de la Ermita, Merida.

Taube, Karl, William Saturno, and David Stuart. 2005. The Murals of San Bartolo, El Peten, Guatemala. Part I: The North Wall. Ancient America 7. Boundary End Archaeological Research Center, Barnardsville, NC.

Samuel Hardy (Conflict Antiquities)

Russian separatists have demanded that Ukrainian Jews register themselves and their property

The Russian separatist administration of Donetsk, or elements within that administration, have ordered Jewish Ukrainians to register themselves, their families and all of their property and other assets. If they do not, the ‘perpetrators [виновные]‘ will be ‘stripped of their citizenship and forcibly deported/expelled from the republic [and subjected to] confiscation of property [лишены гражданства […]

Open Access Archaeology

Open Access Archaeology Digest #391

Open Access (free to read) articles on archaeology:

The Archaeology of Volcan Mountain, San Diego County: Results 1991-2002

Long Cist at Leuchars, Fife

Medieval Priests’ Houses in South-West England

Putney in the Dark Ages

Cross-Slabs recently discovered in the Isle of Man.

Learn more about Open Access and Archaeology at:

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

"P. Sapp Obbink"? Eh? Who owns this fragment?

Roberta Mazza, lecturer in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Manchester on her  Faces&Voices blog ('Papyri, private collectors and academics: why the wife of Jesus and Sappho matter
' April 17th 2014) gives the following information about the publication of the new Sappho fragment:
Dirk Obbink does not provide any detail on acquisition circumstances and documents in the final publication of what is now called in papyrological language ‘P. Sapp. Obbink’, just out (Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 189, 2014, 32-49)
It seems rather unfortunate that somebody (Dr Obbink himself?)  chose the scholar's name to define the papyrus. It rather suggests he himself is the owner. Is he? How come?

Dr Mazza's post is well-argued and well worth reading. Please give the points she raises some thoughts.

Spike in Ecuador Artefact Theft Indicates Growing Trade

    Authorities in Ecuador have reported an uptick in reports of stolen historical artifacts, in a sign the highly lucrative transnational crime of antiquities trafficking may be growing in size (Mimi Yagoub, 'Spike in Ecuador Artifacts Theft Reports Points to Growing Trade ' InSight Crime, Tuesday, 15 April 2014).  
    in some instances stolen artifacts are sold openly in auction houses in the United States and Europe, and the possibility of reclaiming them is made difficult by a lack of legislation in some countries stipulating that artifacts should be returned if proven stolen. This difficulty is increased by buyers who claim they did not know the piece was stolen and by a lack of witness testimony in many cases. [...] the main markets for South American antiquities are the United States, Switzerland, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, England, Japan and Saudi Arabia
    Though lobbyists for the antiquities trade are stubbornly struggling to deny this, UNESCO warns that stolen cultural property often falls into the hands of criminal networks linked to other illegal activities, such as money laundering.
    In the face of this challenge, some Latin American countries have made concerted efforts to combat the illegal trade, with Peru praised by UNESCO in March 2014 for its efforts. However, the diversification of criminal portfolios has made cultural property an alluring revenue stream to organized crime, and as noted by Ecuadorean authorities, its nature makes it hard to stop.
    Who'd defend buying antiques and antiquities handled by cultural criminals? What kind of people are these involved in the no-questions-asked trade?

    CHS Fellowships Research Bulletin

    Abstract–“Οὐ τὸ νικᾶν ἀλλὰ τὸ εὖ ἀγωνίζεσθαι” Playing to Win or to Show Off? Itinerant Artists Performing in Unconventional ἀγῶνες in Some Decrees from Delphi (Third to First Century BC)

    The epigraphic documentation of Hellenistic Delphi testifies to an extremely active involvement of the poeti vaganti in a dynamic and prolific cultural life. Aside the ἀγῶνες, the inscriptions attest to various kinds of individual performances, helping us to reconstruct at different levels the activity of performers of music and literature in the city. A group of decrees, which has interested the scholars because of their numerous distinctive features, suggests the activity of professionals who performed in occasions that are indicated with the verb ἀγωνίζομαι but do not seem to correspond to formal ἀγῶνες. After an in-depth analysis of the testimonies and their comparison with the terminology adopted for the various typologies of artistic exhibitions in Delphi, I propose to interpret the situations suggested by the decrees here considered as performative kermesses for high-leveled artists which only imply the idea of and not the actual engagement in the competition. These occasions […] more

    Ancient Peoples

    Cat with Kittens Egyptian ca. 644-30 B.C. The Egyptians...

    Cat with Kittens


    ca. 644-30 B.C.

    The Egyptians associated the female cat’s fertility and motherly care with several divinities. The base of the statuette of Cat with Kittens is inscribed with a request that Bastet grant life, directly linking the cat pictured here with the goddess Bastet. The kittens here point to the benevolent aspect of this feline divinity, while her pointed ears emphasize the feline’s attentive vigilance and ability to protect its young.

    Source: Brooklyn Museum

    Ancient Art

    Examples of dogs represented in ancient Mexican art. All of...

    Examples of dogs represented in ancient Mexican art.

    All of these artifacts date from 200 BCE to 500 CE. The first is from Nayarit, and the rest are from Colima. The dog in last photo is shown to be wearing a human mask.

    Courtesy of & currently located at the LACMA, via their online collections.

    Archaeology Magazine

    Copper Artifact Discovered in Britain at a Portal Dolmen

    Copper-Artifact-BritainANGLESEY, WALES—A copper artifact has been discovered at the ruins of a Neolithic tomb on the island of Anglesey by an international team of researchers. “The big question in archaeology at the moment is whether there was a Copper Age in Britain. Did copper come to Britain before bronze? This discovery helps to suggest that we did have a Copper Age,” George Nash of the University of Bristol explained to The Daily Post. Called Perthi Duon, the tomb is thought to have been built as a single-chambered tomb around 5,500 years ago, with a compacted-stone, kidney-shaped cairn surrounding the chamber. The tomb is known to have still been standing in the early eighteenth century, but plowing around the monument caused” a lot of disturbance,” Nash said.

    Turkish Police Recover Demeter Sculpture

    SIMAV, TURKEY—The body of a statue thought to represent the Greek goddess Demeter has been recovered from two men accused of conducting illegal excavations in western Turkey, according to Greek Reporter. The two men were taken into custody. The head of the statue and an altar were later recovered at another location by Turkish police. 

    Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

    ROMAQ: The Atlas Project of Roman Aqueducts

    ROMAQ: The Atlas Project of Roman Aqueducts
    Roman aqueducts are amongst the most impressive and interesting structures that have survived from the Ancient World. Although aqueduct bridges such as the Pont du Gard are best known, roman aqueducts are complex water supply line systems that are impressive feats of engineering even by today's standards. Some of the aqueducts are simple water channels, but many contain complex structures such as inverted siphons, tunnels, basins and drop shafts while the channels themselves can be up to 240 km in length. Over 1400 roman aqueducts have been described in the Mediterranean basin and the aim of this website is to present the available corpus of literature on the subject in a systematic way. Besides available literature on each aqueduct, we aim to present summarised data on each aqueduct. However, this is a project in development, and it will take time to add new data and publications, and to update content.

    Archaeology Magazine

    Ancient Corridor Unearthed at Roman Theater

    FLORENCE, ITALY—According to a report in ANSA, the painted walkways used by spectators to move from the outer circle of the theater to the orchestra pit have been uncovered at the Roman theater situated beneath the Palazzo Vecchio and Palazzo Gondi. Well shafts that provided water and waste disposal for the theater have also been found. Originally built to seat 7,000 people, the theater was expanded to accommodate as many as 15,000 in the first and second centuries A.D. 

    James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

    Christology around the Blogosphere

    Let me offer a round-up of the latest Bart Ehrman and Christology blogging. Ehrman shared the first and second parts of his interview with Dale Tuggy:

    Click here to view the embedded video.

    Click here to view the embedded video.

    Greg Carey writes:

    Most Christians, however, have no idea that Ehrman’s book represents a genuine conversation among informed scholars. This is unfortunate. Nothing Ehrman is saying would surprise a biblical scholar at even the most conservative theological school. This knowledge gap constitutes a failure of educational ministry in the churches. We Christians should be learning to engage legitimate public conversations about Jesus, about the Bible, and about our faith. And we should attend to spiritual development that equips us to enter those conversations with humility and love.When a book like Ehrman’s upsets laypeople, it’s a symptom of important work that needs to be done in the church.

    Daniel Kirk reviews Ehrman's book, with a second part and a third.

    Dale Tuggy also discusses a third way in a common Christological debate, and Mike Kok offered his thoughts on the latest “Christology smackdown.”

    Andrew Perriman critically engages the views of Chris Tilling and Simon Gathercole (as well as pointing out a review of the latter's earlier book). Ricky Carvel also mentioned one of Gathercole's claims.

    Craig Evans writes,

    At work in Ehrman’s books is an unrelenting attack directed against the fundamentalist understanding of the Bible. Ehrman is not attacking a straw man, for the object of his attacks does indeed exist. But his books address fundamentalist readings, not mainstream understandings of the Bible and the stories it tells.

    Dustin Smith continues his multi-part review of Ehrman's book. Derek Leman shared his first impressions.

    Mike Bird and Bart Ehrman both had articles on Faith Street. Bird also had things at BibleGateway, Christianity Today, and ABC.

    See also Dale Tuggy's post on Hurtado and the early worship of Jesus, and Jeff Carter on debates about whether Jesus was an apocalypticist.

    Of related interest, on the Gospel of Jesus' Wife fragment:

    Liv Ingeborg Lied commented on one particularly interesting aspect of the GJW discussions – the role of scholarly blogs in the process.

    Mark Goodacre hosted a response from Leo Depuydt on his blog, which the ETC blog also highlighted. Jim Davila finds the response problematic.

    Also, don't miss Robert Mazza's treatment of this in connection with the broader question of private collectors' artifacts and scholars' work, and Candida Moss' article in The Daily Beast.

    Finally, Conan O'Brien offered something that a papyrus fragment – rare video footage of Jesus' married life:

    Click here to view the embedded video.


    Archaeological News on Tumblr

    Ancient Puppy Paw Prints Found on Roman Tiles

    The paw prints and hoof prints of a few meddlesome animals have been preserved for posterity on ancient Roman tiles recently discovered by archeologists in England.

    "They are beautiful finds, as they represent a snapshot, a single moment in history," said Nick Daffern, a senior project manager with Wardell Armstrong Archaeology. "It is lovely to imagine some irate person chasing a dog or some other animal away from their freshly made tiles."

    The artifacts, which could be nearly 2,000 years old, were found in the Blackfriars area of Leicester, the English city where the long-lost bones of King Richard III were discovered under a parking lot in 2012. Read more.

    CHS Fellowships Research Bulletin

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

    Time holds a central and prominent place in Pindar’s Olympian 10. My paper focuses on a specific passage (49-55) which, as I argue, promotes an association between chronos and Cronos, thus advancing chronos as a primordial and dominant power. This suggestion has already been put forward by some scholars, but mainly as evidence to support a similar role assumed by chronos in other texts, such as the treatise by Pherecydes of Syros and the Derveni Papyrus. My intention here is to bolster this suggestion by examining in more depth the means by which the Cronos/Chronos conflation is forged, as well as by taking into consideration the overall treatment of the notion of time in Pindar’s oeuvre. more

    Abstract–Prevention or Cure? Tax Exemptions in a Warfare Context: Miletos and the Low Valley of the Meander (early 2nd C. BCE)

    In the early second century BCE, Miletos intended to increase its territorial control at the expense of its neighbors, Magnesia on the Meander (Milet I.3, 148) and Heraclea by Latmos (Milet I.3, 150). It resulted in two wars at least, ended by two peace treaties that we have kept. A third community was also involved, Pidasa, which was included in the Milesian territory on the occasion of a sympoliteia treaty (Milet I.3, 149). These three conventions show how a Greek city had to handle the consequences of a war, especially from an economic stance. The ancient Greek taxes used to be seen as a simple source of income. In these three agreements however, we see that they could be used also as an economic tool by the ancient cities, and this in two ways: either in a short-term reflection, in order to respond to a temporary crisis caused by war, […] more

    Abstract–The Tyrant’s Network: Appearances of Characters in the Letters of Phalaris

    The Letters of Phalaris belong to fictive epistolography: the corpus comprises 148 letters attributed to Phalaris, the Sicilian tyrant from the 6th century BC ; it is transmitted partially or totally in no fewer than 132 manuscripts from the 10th to the 18th century. These letters are surrounded by mystery: when where they written, by whom and for what purpose? Their date, authorship and composition are disputed. Furthermore, since the order of the letters is very different from one manuscript to the other, without any chronological or thematic organisation, one does not know how the corpus would have looked originally. To approach this complex material, this paper focuses on a limited inquiry: the occurrences of the characters’ names in the letters. The starting hypothesis is that tracing the names is an efficient way to detect the connections between the letters and, beyond, to see how narrative lines may develop. The absence of […] more

    Roberta Mazza (Faces & Voices)

    Papyri, private collectors and academics: why the wife of Jesus and Sappho matter

    Gospel of Jesus papyrus, recto. From Wikipedia

    Gospel of Jesus’s Wife papyrus, recto. From Wikipedia

    What do Sappho and the wife of Jesus have in common? Both figures are attested, directly or indirectly, in papyri in the hands of anonymous private owners who are reported to have asked two prominent scholars, Dirk Obbink (Oxford) and Karen King (Harvard), to study and publish them. Now, although issues of provenance may certainly arise for pieces in public collection, they become especially delicate in case of pieces from private collections. As I have noticed writing on the London Sappho in a post a couple of months ago, there are not shared, clear guidelines for deciding what to do in such cases, but there are national and international laws to be respected and there are also professional associations’ recommendations to be followed if you are a member. In practice, as I will try to explain, problems start as soon as you ask yourself what legal ownership of antiquities, papyri in this case, means and implies.

    How could papyrologists verify that a papyrus has been exported legally from Egypt and then legally purchased by a dealer or collector? This question has kept me busy since a while. The UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property of 14 November 1970 is the main guide and threshold to be taken into consideration. It is clear what the convention establishes in principle, but the single nations’ ways and timing of reception varied. Article 21 of the Convention explains that it “shall enter into force three months after the date of the deposit of the third instrument of ratification, acceptance or accession, but only with respect to those States which have deposited their respective instruments on or before that date. It shall enter into force with respect to any other State three months after the deposit of its instrument of ratification, acceptance or accession.” While some nations proceeded to ratification, acceptance or accession immediately, others did not. The United Kingdom, for instance, accepted the convention only on 1 August 2002. The United States of America accepted it on 2 September 1983, with important postils underlining rights of interventions (e.g. “the United States understands the provisions of the Convention to be neither self-executing nor retroactive”). In sum, although the Convention certainly is an ideal threshold since its promulgation, there have been different ways in which its principles have been applied in practice.

    And what about Egypt’s legislation? This regulated the ownership of antiquities well before the UNESCO convention and its enforcement: a law on the protection of antiquities was issued on 31 October 1951 (law no. 215, emended by laws no. 529 of 1953, no. 24 of 1965, and now superseded by law no. 117 of 1983, emended in 2003). This law set very clear rules forbidding private ownership of movable and immovable antiquities. It also established that whoever accidentally finds movable and immovable antiquities must declare them to the competent authorities (art. 9-11). To my mind this means, for instance, that according to the Egyptian law the finding, and following selling and export of the codex Tchachos (aka Mr Judas gospel), were illegal, since they started in the seventies of last century, i.e. twenty years after the promulgation and enforcement of law no. 215.

    I wonder then, should the past and present Egyptian legislation on the protection of antiquities have legal and ethical relevance when deciding about publishing papyri, or not? My personal answer is ‘yes’. Other views on this?

    A careful check on the original documents in the hands of the collector is clearly essential; I would not be able to recognize if a modern document is faithful and formally legal, therefore I will need the help of law experts. A colleague I have consulted suggests I may ask the owner to provide an official declaration (an affidavit) on provenance, but would you trust someone you meet for the first time and probably via email or the phone? Then a new problem will have to be solved in case of publication: does my word, the word of an academic, or that of a publisher or a journal’s editorial board suffice for the public to be assured that the provenance of a papyrus is legal? I remember a similar question was posed and never answered in the Oxford forum on the new Sappho poems. I trust my colleagues, but should our professional practices rely only on academic trust and our good behaviours? In other words, what kind of data should we provide in publications on the acquisition of such papyri?

    In the case of the London Sappho, Dirk Obbink does not provide any detail on acquisition circumstances and documents in the final publication of what is now called in papyrological language ‘P. Sapp. Obbink’, just out (Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 189, 2014, 32-49); the merging P. GC. inv. 105, from the Green Collection, is also published without details about its provenance and acquisition circumstances by Obbink, with Simon Burris and Jeffrey Fish (Baylor University), in the same issue of Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik (pp. 1-28). In sum, we are left with the short statement that the provenance is legal given in the Times Literary Supplement, and with the unforgettable details, freely available on line, on how the Green collection has been formed in these years (see my post Papyri, the Bible and the formation of the Green Collection, and Brice C. Jones’ old post on odd behaviors in the Green house). Maybe something more will be said in the forthcoming study on the restoration of the papyrus announced by Obbink (p. 32 footnote 2).

    In the case of the Jesus wife’s gospel fragment, Karen King provides the following information (Harvard Theological Review, 107/2, pp. 153-154 that I copy with footnotes):

    The current owner of the papyrus states that he acquired the papyrus in 1999. Upon request for information about provenance, the owner provided me with a photocopy of a contract for the sale of “6 Coptic papyrus fragments, one believed to be a Gospel” from Hans-Ulrich Laukamp, dated November 12, 1999, and signed by both parties. [footnote 105: The amount of the price paid was whited out on the copy I was sent.] A handwritten comment on the contract states: “Seller surrenders photocopies of correspondence in German. Papyri were acquired in 1963 by the seller in Potsdam (East Germany).” The current owner said that he received the six papyri in an envelope and himself conserved them between plates of plexiglass/lucite.

    The owner also sent me scanned copies of two photocopies. One is of an unsigned and undated handwritten note in German, stating the following:

    Professor Fecht believes that the small fragment, approximately 8 cm in size, is the sole example of a text in which Jesus uses direct speech with reference to having a wife. Fecht is of the opinion that this could be evidence for a possible marriage. [Footnote 106: “Professor Fecht glaubt, daß der kleine ca. 8 cm große Papyrus das einzige Beispiel für einen Text ist, in dem Jesus die direkte Rede in Bezug auf eine Ehefrau benutzt. Fecht meint, daß dies ein Beweis für eine mögliche Ehe sein könnte.” The named Professor Fecht might be Gerhard Fecht (1922–2006), professor of Egyptology at the Free University, Berlin.]

    If these two documents pertain to the GJW fragment currently on loan to Harvard University, they would indicate that it was in Germany in the early 1960s. [Footnote 107: The second document is a photocopy of a typed and signed letter addressed to H. U. Laukamp dated July 15, 1982, from Prof. Dr. Peter Munro (Freie Universität, Ägyptologisches Seminar, Berlin), stating that a colleague, Professor Fecht, has identified one of Mr. Laukamp’s papyri as having nine lines of writing, measuring approximately 110 by 80 mm, and containing text from the Gospel of John. Fecht is said to have suggested a probable date from the 2nd to 5th cents. c.e. Munro declines to give Laukamp an appraisal of its value but advises that this fragment be preserved between glass plates in order to protect it from further damage. The letter makes no mention of the GJW fragment. The collection of the GJW’s owner does contain a fragment of the Gospel of John fitting this description, which was subsequently received on loan by Harvard University for examination and publication (November 13, 2012).]

    In this case, there is a clear effort to give us as more information as possible. Nonetheless are we all satisfied with this level and kind of information? Are they enough to clear issues of provenance and acquisition?

    So far on legal provenance and publication of data related to the modern history of the papyri: are there any other, further questions to be considered? Indeed there are, and very important ones.

    You are going to inspect a papyrus and will have to decide if to study and publish it, or not: your decision will have consequences on the value of it. For the sake of clarity, let’s consider the specific case of the wife of Jesus fragment in the light of this panorama. We have seen that the price paid for this and the related batch of papyri in 1999 was prudentially whited out in the purchase documentation sent to professor King. Another interesting piece of information on the world of antiquity collectors and dealers is given in an article published in 2012, which I re-read for the occasion. Karen King recounted to the Smithsonian magazine the story of the first approaches from the collector. She was contacted first in 2010, but left the inquiry unanswered until when in 2011 a second email followed (A. Sabar, ‘The Inside Story of a Controversial New Text on Jesus’, The, 18 September 2012 available at

    In late June 2011, nearly a year after his first e-mail, the collector gave her a nudge. “My problem right now is this,” he wrote in an e-mail King shared with me, after stripping out any identifying details. (The collector has requested, and King granted him, anonymity.) “A European manuscript dealer has offered a considerable amount for this fragment. It’s almost too good to be true.” The collector didn’t want the fragment to disappear in a private archive or collection “if it really is what we think it is,” he wrote. “Before letting this happen, I would like to either donate it to a reputable manuscript collection or wait at least until it is published, before I sell it.”

    This collector loves his fragments, maybe he believes they increase his proximity to ancient culture (Lucian’s The Ignorant Book Collector is keeping coming back to my mind, it must be that I used it for teaching recently), but he is also well aware of their price – as you read above – and the money he may potentially make and spend in different ways, such as sending the kids to Harvard or Oxford, taking many holidays to the Maldives, buying a house in Tuscany, or maybe purchasing more papyri, in view of his great passion or in case he is a dealer himself. The value of this piece, and I believe also of the rest of the small collection deposited for study in Harvard, has certainly increased from 18 September 2012 (the day the Jesus’s wife fragment was presented in Rome at the International Congress of Coptic Studies) onwards. In short, this was a lucky strike for the owner, whatever his intentions were and are now. At present, it seems that he will leave the papyrus in Harvard for scholars’ consultation, but ownership, and possible future gains, will stay with him, unless he will establish to donate the papyrus to an institution, as he said was an option, or – why not? – to the country the fragment comes from. This reminds me that unless I have missed something, we are still waiting for the Tchachos codex to be moved to Egypt since almost a decade by now. But this is another story, one where a lot of money were involved: read Neil Brodie, ‘The lost, found, lost again and found again Gospel of Judas’, Culture Without Context (19) 2006, 17-27 if you wish to refresh your memory.

    It should be mentioned that not only the anonymous owner, but also other people had some benefits from the publication process, directly or indirectly, and in different measures and ways. I imagine the current issue of the Harvard Theological Review will sell more than usual; the production of documentaries (like that of the Smithsonian that you can watch in the French version on YouTube) and other media releases should have involved some money too; academics and other experts who took part to the research process had a return in terms of publicity, career, impact, and consequent visibility, for instance, for potential University donors or, in case of technical laboratories, for similar commissions. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with all this, but I wish to stress that although to publish a papyrus or any other ancient artefact legally owned by a private collector is certainly legal, it is not a neutral act: it has consequences on the price of an ancient object in private hands, and involves a number of professional and ethical questions that cannot be ignored, as I tried to show.

    Among these questions there is also that of the advancement of knowledge. It is clear that especially when presented with texts of such interest and importance, academics feel the peril to lose the occasion to bring relevant ancient sources to light causing detriment to research. There is some truth in this argument. Imagine Karen King or Dirk Obbink were not fully satisfied with the legal status of the papyri in question, or with the possibility to publish details on them: we would know nothing about these new texts (whatever the results on authenticity issues of the wife of Jesus papyrus will be, the source remains in any case important to the scholarly debate: think about the Secret Gospel of Mark). However, I cannot see how knowledge could overcome the laws in case of papyri of dubious provenance, or prevent us asking ourselves relevant ethical questions connected with the exercise of our profession. I would be really glad to read and discuss cogent counter arguments on these last points.







    Ancient Peoples

    Block Statue of Padimahes Egyptian ca. 680-650 B.C.E. The...

    Block Statue of Padimahes


    ca. 680-650 B.C.E.

    The upraised face in this statue depicts Padimahes observing a temple procession and reveals that the statue was meant to represent him in a temple after his death. His ba-soul could travel from the tomb and inhabit the statue, allowing him to share in the offerings made to the god in the temple. His ba would then return to the tomb.

    Source: Brooklyn Museum

    Archaeological News on Tumblr

    Greek Goddess Statue Found At Illegal Excavation in Turkey

    A statue, believed to be the ancient Greek goddess Demeter, has been unearthed at an illegal excavation in Simav, western Turkey. The statue, weighing in at 610kg and standing 2.8 meters tall, was discovered by two Turks, Ramazan C. And Ismail G, 26 and 62 years old respectively, who are alleged to have been conducting illegal excavations in the wider area where the statue was found. The two men were taken into custody by the Turkish police and sent to court.

    The head of the statue and the altar, missing during the raid, were later found in a house in the city centre.

    In Greek mythology, Demeter, one of Zeus’ sisters, so the story goes, was the goddess of agriculture, nature, abundance and seasons, and mother of Persephone, wife of Hades. (source)

    New Findings at Prehistoric Stone Tool Site in China

    Researchers may have found answers to some questions surrounding stone tool artifacts previously unearthed at the site of Fengshudao, located in the Bose Basin in the Guanxi province of southern China. The site is well known for yielding a lithic assemblage rich in Paleolithic bifacially worked stone artifacts, technically known as Acheulean handaxes, a stone tool most commonly associated with an early hominin (human ancestor) classified as Homo erectus.

    After initial discovery and analysis, these ‘Bose Basin handaxes’ came to the attention of the international scientific community because they were dated to about 803 ka (thousands of years), placing them in the Early to Middle Pleistocene period; and because their presence tested the validity of the Movius Line, a theoretical line drawn across northern India, first proposed by the American archaeologist Hallam L. Movius in 1948 to demonstrate a technological difference between the early prehistoric tool technologies of the east and west of the Old World. Read more.

    He has a wife you know

    fuckyeaarthistory: Snake Goddess from Knossosc. 1600 – 1550 BCE...


    Snake Goddess from Knossos
    c. 1600 – 1550 BCE (New Palace Period)
    Crete/Minoan Culture
    Heraklion Archaeological Museum, Crete

    The Snake Goddess is a Minoan goddess associated with the snake cult. The snake is both connected with welfare of the household and is a symbol of the underworld deity.  She is wearing a Minoan court costume consisting of a flowing skirt and open bodice.

    Faience is a term for earthenware covered with a solid glaze containing crushed quartz, which is the cause for the bluish tint and glassy surface. It was probably imported from Egypt in the Pre-Palace period.

    riley-the-redd: Tomb of the Infernal Four-Horses Chariot,...


    Tomb of the Infernal Four-Horses Chariot, Etruscan necropolis of Pianacce, 4th century BC. 

    Archaeological News on Tumblr

    Great Wall remains found in northwest China

    YINCHUAN - Archaeologists have discovered sections of the Great Wall in a valley of northwest China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, a former museum curator said on Tuesday.

    The 20-meter long wall was found in a valley of Nanchangtan Village, Zhongwei City. It is believed to be part of the Great Wall built during the Qin Dynasty (221 BC-206 BC), said Zhou Xinghua, former curator of the Museum of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.

    It consists of three sections, with one section constructed with stones. It is five meters long, three to four meters wide and six meters tall. The other two sections are 10 meters and five meters long respectively. Read more.

    He has a wife you know

    afacethatsunk1000ships: supervelma: Drake and Sisyphus - The...



    Drake and Sisyphus - The world’s first embroidered Greek mythology/rap mash-up… I mean, I would assume it’s the first. I don’t know… It probably is because there’s no way anyone else finds this stuff half as amusing as I do. #embroidery #art #etsy #drake #sisyphus #greek #mythology #degrassi

    Archaeological News on Tumblr

    Norman site may soon be lost to sea

    A call has gone out for an archaeological study to be carried out on an ancient Norman monument in Ballygarrett, which is about to be lost to the sea.

    The Glasscarraig Motte, where a Wooden Castle dating back to the late 1100s once stood, stands on the edge of a crumbling sea cliff at Glasscarraig Bay near Ballygarrett.

    Part of an adjoining Bailey, an enclosed courtyard, has already disappeared into the sea.

    The Motte and Bailey site was of incredible importance,’ said archaeologist Byron Jones. ‘It was one of the very first fortifications built by the Normans in Ireland. The site formed part of an invaluable defensive chain along the East Wexford coastline protecting vital economic Norman interests along it.’ Read more.

    Retired army general wants Egypt's St. Catherine's Monastery demolished

    A retired army general says he has filed a court case pushing for Egypt’s historic Saint Catherine’s Monastery to be demolished and its Greek monks deported on the grounds that they pose a threat to national security.

    In May 2012, Ahmed Ragai Attiya obtained 71 administrative orders regarding the demolition of the monastery’s multiple churches, monk cells, gardens and other places of interest on the grounds, which he claims were all built in 2006 and thus not historic, according to Ihab Ramzy, the monastery’s lawyer.

    However, in an interview with private channel ONTV on Thursday, Attiya said that he has now used the 71 orders to file an official demolition suit with Ismailiya’s Administrative Court against the monastery and 10 of the Egyptian authorities concerned, including the president, ministers of tourism and antiquities and the governor of South Sinai, where Saint Catherine’s is located. Read more.

    Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

    Newly open access from NINO

    C.H. van Zoest writes:
    NINO celebrates its 75 year anniversary in 2014. As a modest part of the celebrations, we are digitizing our sold-out publications to make them available as free pdf downloads on our website. Eight titles have been added just now:
    • H. Sancisi-Weerdenburg, A. Kuhrt (eds.) – Asia Minor and Egypt: Old Cultures in a New Empire. Proceedings of the Groningen 1988 Achaemenid History Workshop (Achaemenid History 6), 1991.
    • R.J. Demarée – The 3h ikr n R` stelae. On Ancestor Worship in Ancient Egypt (Eg. Uitg. 3), 1983.
    • D. van der Plas – L’hymne à la crue du Nil. Tome I: Traduction et commentaire; Tome II: Présentation du texte, texte synoptique, planches (Eg. Uitg. 4), 1986.
    • Compte rendu de la troisième Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale. Organisée à Leiden du 28 juin au 4 juillet 1952 par le Nederlandsch Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten (NINO 1), 1954.
    • J. Ryckmans – La persécution des Chrétiens himyarites au sixième siècle (PIHANS 1), 1956.
    • J. Doresse – Des hiéroglyphes à la Croix. Ce que le passé pharaonique a légué au Christianisme (PIHANS 7), 1960.
    • J. Zandee – The Terminology of Plotinus and of some Gnostic Writings, Mainly the Fourth Treatise of the Jung Codex (PIHANS 11), 1961.
    • B. van de Walle – L’humour dans la littérature et dans l’art de l’ancienne Égypte (SABMD 4), 1969.

    More titles will follow! All digitized NINO publications are found on this page:

    Information on our jubilee activities (mostly Dutch-language and Leiden-based):

    Via AWOL

    Adam C. McCollum (hmmlorientalia)

    Ethiopian mss online from Frankfurt

    My colleague, Ted Erho, has informed me of twenty-one Ethiopian manuscripts (or related to Ethiopia, at least) in Frankfurt that have been digitized and made available: Basic information about each item is in the main list, and on the page for each item, click on “Ausführliche Beschreibung” for the appropriate page(s) from the printed catalog. The manuscripts are readable online or downloadable as PDFs. Included are books mostly copied in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, even a couple written by the greatest early European éthiopisant, Hiob Ludolf (1624-1704). Hearty thanks to those in Frankfurt who made these items available: they are another reminder of how grateful we can be to have so many manuscripts at our fingertips nowadays, no matter where we are on the planet! So let’s get to work reading them!

    Ancient Peoples

    Gold heandband with gazelles and a stag  The Second Intermediate...

    Gold heandband with gazelles and a stag 

    The Second Intermediate period is a period when the Egyptian throne is ruled by foreigners. This piece is clearly not Egyptian in style and yet it was made in Egypt. 

    Egyptian, Second Intermediate Period, dynasty 15, 1648 - 1550 BC. 

    Probably from the Eastern Delta region. 

    Source: metropolitan Museum

    David Connolly, Maggie Struckmeier, and Felicity Donohoe (Past Horizons: Adventures in Archaeology)

    Community project focuses on Neolithic Whitehawk camp

    A reconstruction by Ian Dennis of the Whitehawk causewayed enclosure c. 3,600 cal BC (reproduced from Whittle, Healy and Bayliss 2011; fig. 1.3)The Whitehawk Camp partnership has recently received £99,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting community archaeology project based in Brighton

    BiblePlaces Blog

    Water System and Tunnel at Khirbet Balama (Ibleam)

    (Post by A.D. Riddle)

    The site of Khirbet Bal'ama (or Belameh) is identified with ancient Ibleam, mentioned in the account of Jehu's coup d'état (2 Kings 9:27) as well as in Thutmosis III's topographical list at Karnak. Khirbet Bal'ama is located on the southern outskirts of Jenin, in the West Bank. The ancient ruins occupy some 9 hectares (22 acres) on top of a 160-foot-high (50 m), natural limestone hill. A walled town existed in the Early Bronze, Middle Bronze, end of Late Bronze/early Iron I, and possibly Iron II Ages.

     Khirbet Bal'ama from east.

    The main spring was located at the northeast foot of the hill. Here, early explorers visited the entrance to a water system, though because of bats and debris/wash only a small part of a tunnel could be accessed. About the first 100 feet (30 m) of the tunnel were described in great detail by Gottlieb Schumacher in 1910, and it was excavated in 1973 on a small-scale by Z. Yeivin. The main excavation of the tunnel took place in 1996 and 1997 under the direction of Hamdan Taha. (Excavations were also conducted on top of the hill, but publication is still forthcoming.) The location of the tunnel is marked in green on this site plan.

    Site plan of Khirbet Bal'ama. (Taha and van der Kooij 2007: 15)

    What raised my interest in this were reports the last two years of the water system outside Al-Walaja, near Bethlehem. In three seasons, the excavators at Khirbet Bal'ama cleared a total of 380 feet (115 m) of tunnel, but since they did not reach a shaft-entrance at the top of the hill, they suspect a long section of tunnel remains to be explored. Of the tunnel sections which were excavated, archaeologists discovered three entrances to the tunnel, the lowest of which provides access to the cistern/spring of Bir es-Sinjil (or Sinjib). The photo below shows the lowest entrance. The stairs with metal handrails on the right lead up to the second entrance.

    Lowest tunnel entrance at the cistern/spring of Bir es-Sinjil.

    The tunnel was apparently constructed in the Iron Age, though this is based largely on inference rather than clear, direct evidence. It was secondarily used in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. The cistern/spring was in use all the way up to the modern period. Nearly all of the explored tunnel is rock-cut. The tunnel has a parabolic ceiling between 10 and 16 feet high (3-5 m), and there are 57 rock-cut steps and lamp niches in the walls. The plan below shows the three entrances, steps, and slope of the tunnel. The three excavated entrances are approximately equidistant from one another, with about 100 feet (30 m) of tunnel between them.

    Khirbet Bal'ama tunnel plan and section. (Taha and van der Kooij 2007: 18)

    I look forward to publication of the excavations conducted on top of hill, and hope for future work to be carried out on the tunnel and the site. The main publication of the tunnel was very difficult for me to locate in the U.S.:

    Taha, Hamdan and Gerrit van der Kooij.
    2007  The Water Tunnel System at Khirbet Bal'ama. Khirbet Bal'ama Archaeological Project Report of the 1996–2000 Excavations and Surveys, volume II. Ramallah: Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Department of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage.

    A perhaps more-accessible report can be found in:

    Taha, Hamdan.
    2000  “Excavation of the Water Tunnel at Khirbet Belameh, 1996-1997.” Pages 1587–1613 in Proceedings of the First International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, Rome, May 18th-23rd 1998. Ed. P. Matthiae and E. Enea, Alessandra. Rome: Università degli studi di Roma "La Sapienza," Dipartimento di scienze storiche, archeologiche e antropologiche dell'antichità.

    James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

    Easter War on Information Literacy

    It is always particularly disappointing when those who classify themselves as freethinkers and skeptics share nonsense. This image is making the rounds again in precisely those circles:

    Candida Moss has a great article on what is problematic both with such claims about Easter being borrowed/stolen in this way, and with the reverse, namely Christian claims that everything about Easter is unique, unprecedented, and unparalleled.

    The gullibility that allows one to fall for a meme like the one above without fact checking is characteristic of mythicism. Harry McCall posted (and since it wasn’t April 1st, I genuinely think he meant it to be taken seriously) that we have evidence of dinosaurs existing 66 million years ago, but no solid evidence of Jesus existing a mere two thousand years ago.

    Can he really think that that is a serious argument? How many specific people do we have hard evidence of from 2,000 years ago? How can he think that evidence for the existence of a category of organism is comparable to evidence for a single individual? Is he not aware of how many species must have existed even though we lack solid information for them? Is he not aware of how rarely we have solid evidence for anyone other than the wealthy upper echelons of the society of the ancient world? Is he not aware that simply setting aside texts as evidence ought to mean discounting inscriptions, which would deprive us of clear evidence about any single specific individual?

    Easter is a season when critical thinking and information literacy are frequently discarded, both by Christians who use illogical and unpersuasive arguments that they claim can prove the resurrection, and by opponents of Christianity who think that any anti-Christian claim ought to be given credence merely because it is saying something uncomplimentary about Christianity.

    I hope that those who consider accuracy important will use the opportunity of Easter to spread the good news that being part of a community – religious, areligious, or anti-religious – need not mean falling for tricks and deceptions.


    The Homer Multitext

    Oral Poetics and the Homer Multitext

    One of the central research questions that drives the Homer Multitext is this: “How do you make a critical edition of an oral tradition, like that of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey, that spanned a thousand years or more? What is the best way to represent the textual history of songs that were created in and for performance, but survive only in textual forms from later eras?” In our 2010 book, Iliad 10 and the Poetics of Ambush, Mary Ebbott and I attempted to demonstrate that a "multitextual"  approach to Homeric poetry is useful not only for understanding the transmission of the text of the epics, but also for better understanding the poetics of oral poetry. We could not have written that book, which is meant to be a sustained demonstration of the workings of oral poetry over the course of an entire book of the Iliad, without the data and tools of the Homer Multitext that were available to us at that time.

    As new ways of viewing and working with the surviving documents that transmit Homeric poetry become possible, Mary and I would like to continue to use them to enhance our understanding of the poetics of the Iliad and Odyssey. With that in mind, we have decided to revive a long neglected Oral Poetry blog, which we will maintain along with this one, and in close coordination with one another. The Oral Poetry blog will be devoted primarily to questions of poetics, while we will continue to make posts here about the manuscripts and papyri and what they tell about the system of oral poetry in which the Iliad and Odyssey were composed.

    To kick off this phase of the Oral Poetry blog, we are planning a series of posts about the poetics of Iliad 2. You can read my initial post about this work here. You can also read a much older post on this blog about the transmission of the Catalogue of Ships from Book 2 here. It is the special treatment and seemingly controversial place of the Catalogue in the surviving manuscripts and papyri that drives us to try to better understand the poetics of this fascinating record of names and places. 

    Noel Tan (The Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog)

    Palau Nangka: Treasures reportedly sighted

    The treasure hunt at Pulau Nangka takes an interesting turn as one of the companies commissioned to search for the relics reports finding some in a cave. However, the nature of these relics have not been divulged and it is not known if these finds will be systematically recorded.

    Hundreds of relics sighted inside cave
    The Star, 17 April 2014

    Hundreds of relics in Pulau Nangka have been sighted in a cave that is believed to have been used as a hideout for Sultan Mahmud when he fled from the Portuguese armada that invaded Malacca in 1511.

    One of the companies given a state government approval to survey and gather pictorial evidence of the treasures hidden in the little island, 17km from here, said they have sighted hundreds of relics inside the cave.

    Smart Partnership International (M) Sdn Bhd director Mohammad Fuad Khushairy Mohd Said revealed that his team used state-of-the-art scanning technology and geo-technical methods to sight the treasure.

    Full story here.

    Śailendra foundations found in central Java

    A post on the blog Impressions of Jogja talks about some recent archaeological work in the Semarang regency of central Java, on finds relating to the Śailendra period.

    New Evidence of a Śailendra Presence Found in Central Java
    Impressions of Jogja, 15 April 2014

    After a week of excavation, in Ngreco hamlet, Kesongo village, Tuntang District, Semarang Regency, possible evidence of a Śailendra presence in the area has been found by a team archaeologists comprising members of the National Research Center for Archaeology (Indonesian: Pusat Arkeologi Nasional), Gadjah Mada University’s Archaeological Center, Bandung Institute of Technology’s Geomorphology Department and the French Cultural Center in Jakarta.

    The discovery of a foundation adds to previous findings of a jaladwara—a water sewage system—along with pieces of bricks and artifacts. The foundation may be that of a since-demolished temple, and according to National Research Center for Archaeology team leader Indrajaya Agustijanto, exceeds 3.6 meters (11′ 9”) and was made of brick.

    Full story here.


    Evangelos Venizelos speaks out on Parthenon Marbles issue

    PASOK leader & Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos is no stranger to dealing with the Parthenon Sculptures issue. He has been quiet about it in public though, since he lost his position as Culture Minister after Nea Demokratia took power in the 2004 general election.

    Today though, he had the opportunity to speak to the European Parliament plenary in Strasbourg, about the return of looted cultural artefacts, where he mentioned both the case of the Parthenon Marbles, as well as the various more recent cases that have arisen in Cyprus since the 1974 Turkish occupation.

    PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos

    PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos

    Famagusta Gazette

    Greek FM refers to destruction of Cyprus’ cultural heritage in occupied north
    Thursday, 17 April, 2014

    Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos, speaking before the European Parliament plenary in Strasbourg on the return of cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of a member state, referred to the need to return the Parthenon marbles to Greece and the damage that Cyprus` cultural treasures have suffered since the 1974 Turkish invasion.

    He said that the new directive regarding the return of cultural objects is clearly improved compared to the one that existed since 1993 and it will be an important instrument in handling illegal trafficking of cultural artifacts, which is one of the widely used forms of organised crime.

    Venizelos said that by representing the Greek government, he is very well aware what it means for a country to be culturally severed and referred to the Parthenon marbles which were removed from the Parthenon at Athens and shipped to England by arrangement of Thomas Bruce, 7th Lord Elgin, who was British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire.

    The Greek minister said the Parthenon is a monument which has parts of it scattered. “Ministers are now attending working dinner at the Acropolis Museum where the marbles should have been exhibited”, he added.

    Venizelos also referred to the damage that the Republic of Cyprus has suffered after Turkey’s military invasion of 1974 which saw the destruction of archaeological and cultural sites in the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus.

    “All EU member states, be they members of UNESCO or not, are bound by international conventions”, he said, adding that it is very important to enhance cooperation with UNESCO and the Council of Europe which also has responsibilities. — (KYPE)

    The post Evangelos Venizelos speaks out on Parthenon Marbles issue appeared first on Elginism.

    Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

    How should things end?

    For the last five years, I’ve taught the undergraduate methods class in the history department at the University of North Dakota every semester (History 240). Next year, I go on sabbatical and when I come back, it’s my understanding that my services will no longer be required in this class. So this will be my last time teaching the course for the foreseeable future.

    I designed the course in 2009, and made it a combination historiography and historical research methods. The goal was to introduce students to the history of the discipline of history and to use that to situate how we approach historical research and writing today. In general, the course was successful, although I am not entirely sure that the methods introduced in the course were reinforced enough to be second nature for our students by the time they reached our capstone class. In fact, we’re introducing a class between History 240 and History 440 (our capstone) next year to reinforce many of the basic research skills introduced in history 240. As a result, the character of History 240 will have to change. More than that, I suspect that my own idiosyncratic approach to the course will not continue. That’s ok, though. I’ve had my time.

    The end of teaching this class did get me thinking about how to end a class. My usual approach at the end of the semester is to scribble down some notes about how the class went and what I might want to change. These notes and some quick and dirty statistical summary of student performance (based on grades) allowed to adjust the class the next semester by shifting the emphasis slightly, reinforce key points, and even eliminate assignments on which students performed irregularly.  

    This semester, however, there is no need to do that. I’m not teaching the class again, and if I do, it won’t be the same class. So as the semester winds down in this course, I find myself without a clear sense of purpose. I guess I never developed or even considered an endgame strategy.

    Thinking about my lack of endgame, got me to reflect on the various initiatives that begin with promise on university campuses, but seem to lack a formal endgame. This is particular significant at a place like UND where our administrators rotate through every 3-5 years and bring with them a new set of priorities, strategies, and vision. More than that, the economy, technology, and disciplinary boundaries appear to have entered a period of particular fluidity and dynamism that calls into question the value of any project or program that would continue 

    If faculty have the initiative and resources to invest in new programs or projects, then, then we must also understand the environment in which we work. Project, programs, and even classes need to have endgames which are more than just slipping quietly into sabbatical or watching interest in a program or project decline until it is quietly discontinued. Just as archaeological projects generally have plans to move from field work to publication, I wonder whether programs and projects on campus should have requirements for productive, reflective conclusions. These conclusions not only allow for the assessment (and if we know anything about the modern university, it’s that they love assessment) of the results of the program, the class, and the project over a set length of time, but also hold all parties accountable for the resources committed to the undertaking. Productive undertakings that succeed in their goals will have the opportunity to make a strong case of continued support – over another fixed duration with another set of clear goals; unproductive undertakings or ones that do not achieve their goals over a realistic span of time, will not get continued support freeing up resources for new, innovative programs.   

    This approach may seem overly mechanistic and run counter to an open-ended spirit of humanistic inquiry. But, spending the last few weeks thinking about the trajectory of a course has made me realize that a class’s endgame has to produce a more satisfying and productive results than my current situation. As I wrap up teaching History 240 – perhaps for the last time ever and certainly the last time in its current configuration – I’m struck by a feeling of pointlessness. Five years of teaching the class and I have no ability to reflect on what I accomplished over that duration in a synthetic or systematic way. 

    Archaeological News on Tumblr

    Crowd-sourcing Britain's Bronze Age

    A new joint project by the British Museum and the UCL Institute of Archaeology is seeking online contributions from members of the public to enhance a major British Bronze Age archive and artefact collection.

    The project team, co-led by Professor Andrew Bevan (UCL Institute of Archaeology) and Daniel Pett (British Museum), have photographed hoards of Bronze Age (ca. 2500 BC - 800 BC) metal objects and scanned thousands of paper records of further metal artefacts from British prehistory.

    They are now asking for public assistance in modelling, transcribing and locating these archaeological finds via a dedicated “crowd-sourcing” website: The website is powered by an open source Pybossa citizen science framework. Read more.

    James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

    The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Capitalism

    Talking about George Orwell's 1984, and the book within the book, is always interesting. But this semester the discussion took some turns that seem to me worth sharing.

    The book by Emmanuel Goldstein, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, is an intentional parody of Marx and Engels' Communist Manifesto. It represents a plan to bring about something less like what Marx and Engels idealistically envisaged, and more like what Communism ended up looking like in Eastern Europe.

    Orwell's analysis, albeit fictional, is thus nonetheless very serious. The notion that revolutions have consistently been led by the middle class rather than the lower, making appeals and promises to the masses that are never fulfilled, seems strikingly accurate. And it doesn't just apply to Communism.

    When we started asking whether our own socio-economic system aims to elevate the poor, or merely to keep the poor unrealistically hopeful of the possibility of elevation, it was hard not to be cynical.

    For instance, studying at university is crucial to achieving wealth in our society in most cases. The wealthy can afford education. The poor have a shot at a few scholarships, or can put themselves heavily in debt, undermining the extent to which the education they thus purchase will lead to wealth. And so is American the land of opportunity, or the land where opportunity is held out as an unrealistic promise to maintain the status quo, much as the lottery (both in the real world and in 1984) takes wealth from the masses while offering them the hope of wealth that most of them will never attain.

    Isn't our society in fact an oligarchy, with the American Dream held out unrealistically as a way to keep the poor engaged in a system that rarely actually benefits them, while the wealthy really control things? Doesn't being a leader not only in the business world but even in politics require that one already have access to wealth?

    Believe it or not, I wrote the above before I saw the Princeton study suggesting that the U.S. is an oligarchy.

    See also this video:

    Click here to view the embedded video.


    ArcheoNet BE

    Zeldzame muntschat gevonden in Utrecht

    Bij de opgravingen op het Domplein in Utrecht is een groot aantal vroegmiddeleeuwse gouden en zilveren munten gevonden. Nederland is daarmee een zeldzame muntschat rijker. Wat de vondst nog waardevoller maakt, is het feit dat meerdere munten direct te koppelen zijn aan een archeologisch spoor. De muntschat lijkt daarmee een sleutelrol te gaan spelen in de datering en de plaats van opeenvolgende kerken op het Domplein. Veel van de munten werden bij opgravingen in 1949 door de toenmalige archeologen over het hoofd gezien en met de grond teruggestort.

    Bij de huidige opgravingen werd de teruggeworpen vulling in lagen verwijderd en onderzocht met een metaaldetector. Daardoor konden duizenden metaalvondsten worden geborgen.

    Het overgrote deel van de muntschat bestaat uit tremisses van het pseudo-Madelinustype. Deze munten dateren uit het laatste kwart van de 7de eeuw. Het zijn imitaties van de goudstukken die in de beroemde handelsplaats Dorestad door muntmeester Madelinus zijn geslagen. Deze populaire munt werd door lokale machthebbers veelvuldig nagebootst, waarbij uiteindelijk een grote variatie in vorm en uitvoering ontstond. De muntschat bevat ook nog een aantal zilveren munten, de sceatta’s. Dit zijn kleinere, iets dikkere zilveren munten, die in verband worden gebracht met het vroegmiddeleeuwse handelsnetwerk langs de kusten van de Noordzee en grote Europese rivieren.

    De munten dateren uit een turbulente periode van de Nederlandse geschiedenis waarbij zowel Friezen als Franken geïnteresseerd waren in het strategisch gelegen Utrecht. De gouden en zilveren munten zijn getuigen van de periode dat de Friezen het in Utrecht voor het zeggen hadden. Mogelijk heeft een lokale Friese machthebber de munten ter plaatse laten slaan.

    De muntschat is vanaf morgen te bekijken in het Centraal Museum Utrecht.

    Bron en foto: Rijkdienst voor Cultureel Erfgoed

    Compitum - publications

    Uwe Walter (Hg.), Gesetzgebung und politische Kultur in der römischen Republik


    Uwe Walter (Hg.) (éd.), Gesetzgebung und politische Kultur in der römischen Republik, Heidelberg, 2014.

    Éditeur : Verlag Antike
    Collection : Studien zur Alten Geschichte, Bd. 20
    295 pages
    ISBN : 978-3-938032-74-9
    € 59,90 [D]

    In den produktiven althistorischen Forschungen zur politischen Kultur der römischen Republik wurde lange Zeit ein wichtiges Feld von Diskursen, Handlungen und Institutionen ein wenig vernachlässigt: die Rechtssetzung.

    Die Beiträge des hier vorgelegten Bandes erörtern gleichsam vom Rande her einige Aspekte, bei denen sich neue Perspektiven abzeichnen. Dazu gehören die Rolle der Juristen, das Verhältnis des Volksgesetzes (lex publica) zu anderen Regeln und Normen, die Gesetzgebung als Ausdrucksseite der politischen Kommunikation, die Frage nach dem Stellenwert von Gesetzen, wenn versucht wurde, Übelstände zu bekämpfen oder gar eine konsistente Politik zu implementieren, und nicht zuletzt die Erosion der politischen Ordnung im Verhältnis zur Gesetzgebung.


    Source :

    American School of Classical Studies in Athens: News

    The American School of Classical Studies at Athens in the News

    An article was posted in the Greek newspaper “To Vima” praising the Gennadius Library and in particular its Archives.

    David Connolly, Maggie Struckmeier, and Felicity Donohoe (Past Horizons: Adventures in Archaeology)

    Roman port of Ostia much larger than previously thought

    Roman warehouses at Ostia. Image: Wikimedia CommonsResearchers have discovered a new section of the boundary wall of the ancient Roman port of Ostia, proving the city was much larger than previously estimated

    Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

    An Analytical Onomasticon to the Metamorphoses of Ovid

    An Analytical Onomasticon to the Metamorphoses of Ovid
    The Analytical Onomasticon is a reference work to persons and places in the Metamorphoses of Ovid. It is intended to assist the study of a poem that has remained curiously intractable to the literary critical quest for its coherence. The problem has not been a want of schemes, but rather too many, or at least more than can be accounted for by any one reckoning. As Brooks Otis pointed out years ago, Ovid sports with the idea of continuity: at the same time, and often with the same device, both supporting and undermining it. The Onomasticon assumes no particular theory of how the poem is constructed, nor that it has a single construction. Yet it is based on the idea that Ovid's is a serious play, not meant to scatter our attention but to redirect it. This book is intended to assist that redirection by supplying several different means for commanding the most extensive and significant body of textual evidence for the interrelation of persons, hence the interconnection of stories: the words and phrases that refer to and so name them. The Onomasticon is not limited to the quest for continuity in change, but its explicit aim is to further understanding of the poem as a coherent or, more accurately, cohesible work of literature.

    1. Prototype (as of 10/02)
      1. Introduction [X]
      2. Indexes (with concordance to the Latin text & a narrative index]
        1. Persons [X]
        2. Nominals [X]
        3. Attributes [X]
        4. Verbs [X]

    2. Personification model (as of 7/03)
      1. W. McCarty, "Depth, markup and modelling", Text Technology 12.1 and CH Working Papers A.25 (2003) [X]
      2. Prototype model (downloads)
        1. Spreadsheet front-end (MS Excel) [X]
        2. Relational database (MS Access) [X]

    Faculty of Classics, Cambridge

    New light on Ancient Ostia

    A team, led by Professor Martin Millett (Cambridge) and Professor Simon Keay (Southampton), has discovered a new section of the boundary wall of the ancient Roman port of Ostia, proving the city was much larger than previously estimated.

    Pelagios: Enable Linked Ancient Geodata In Open Systems

    Latin Groove

    In our two previous posts we introduced Recogito, a tool we are developing in order to efficiently extract, annotate and verify geographic references in texts. The development of Recogito is still continuing at full steam, and the team (and Leif in particular ;-) is feeding our feature backlog with a steady flow of new ideas & requirements. But despite the fact that there’s still a slight ambience of a busy construction site around Recogito, we have not just been developing. We have also been using it heavily to annotate new documents.

    Prior to the start of Pelagios 3, we assembled a list of potential ancient sources to work on in each content work package. The sources we selected are specifically geographical works, i.e. documents where the authors give accounts of their world in their time. For some of the more extensive sources (such as Pliny’s Natural History), we restricted ourselves to only the specifically geographical chapters.

    At the moment, we are about halfway through our first content work package, dealing with the Latin tradition (3 months out of 6). It’s therefore a good time to share with you the progress we made so far. The first three documents – the Vicarello Beakers, the Bordeaux Itinerary and Pliny’s Natural History – we already introduced previously. We've since found our groove and the list has grown much longer. Here are some documents we are currently working on:

    Fig.1. The Bordeaux Itinerary (Part 1) in Recogito (» View Map)

    Pomponius Mela: De Chorographia (around 43 AD)

    Pomponius Mela lived during the government of Claudius and presumably died around the year 45 AD. His most famous work, cited by other great geographers such as Pliny the Elder, was De Chorographia. This work was composed of three volumes and was developed during the decade of the 40s. Each of his books is dedicated to an area of the known Roman world. In the first volume, Mela generally describes the world and its regions, the Mediterranean coasts of Africa and the Near East, starting from the Strait of Gibraltar. The second volume describes the coasts from the Near East to Hispania, where he talks about Greece, Italy and Gaul. Finally, the third volume describes the Atlantic territories, Britannia, and all remote territories, such as the German Limes, Arabia and India. » Map in Recogito

    Laterculus Veronensis (AD 304-324?)

    The Laterculus Veronensis is a listing of the various Roman provinces that existed during the governments of Diocletian and Constantine. Its chronology is therefore located between the years 284 and 337. The work is named due to the origin of the single manuscript that has been preserved in the Library of Verona. This source describes twelve dioceses gathering a total of over 100 provinces. » Map in Recogito

    Avenius: Ora Maritima (AD IV)

    Rufius Avienus Festus was an Etrurian poet, astronomer and geographer who lived in the 4th Century AD. He wrote several books and poems, the most prominent was Ora Maritima. This work is based on the Greek journey of Eutimenes of Massalia from the sixth century. Avienus used other sources such as the work of the first century BC Greek historian Ephorus. The use of this kind of ancient sources has introduced much confusion, making some places difficult to locate, and resulting in a mix of parts originating from very different times. » Map in Recogito

    Rutilius Namatianus: A Voyage Home to Gaul (AD 416)

    Rutilius Namatianus was born in southern Gaul, probably at the beginning of V century AD. He was a poet, but his only preserved work is the poem De reditu suo libri duo. It must have been written between 416 and 420 AD, and is composed in elegiac meter. Originally written in two volumes, the poem describes a trip down the coast from Rome to Gaul. Unfortunately, however, many parts (especially from the second volume) are lost, and the extant text stops at the port of Moon. » Map in Recogito

    Jordanes: Getica (AD VI)

    Jordanes lived during the sixth century AD and was of partially Gothic origin. It is believed that during his public career he was a notary and that he might further have had a religious career, coming to be a Bishop. Jordanes' fame comes from two major works, De regnorum ac Temporum successione, a world history from the creation to the 6th century, and De Origine et Rebu Getarum Gestis, better known as Getica. The latter one we have included in Pelagios 3 (restricting to the chapters with geographic descriptions). It is the only preserved source that explains the origin and characteristics of the Goths. » Map in Recogito

    Bede: The ecclesiastical history of our island and nation (AD 703)

    Bede, also referred as a Saint Bede, was born in England in the seventh century AD. He was a monk in the kingdom of Northumbria. Bede is known for his work Historia Ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, completed around the year 731 AD. This work consists of multiple volumes. It begins with the invasion of Caesar in 55 BC and ends with the fifth book, in the time of Bede himself. In Pelagios 3, we only have included the first chapters of this source, which are devoted to a geographical description of the British Isles. » Map in Recogito

    Ammianus Marcellinus: Roman History (before 391)

    This is a document we are currently starting to work on. Ammianus Marcellinus was a historian in the fourth century AD, probably born in Antioch. After developing his military career, he wrote one of the most famous stories of antiquity. His Res Gestae described the history of Rome from the government of Nerva in 96 to the Valeno’s death in 378. Unfortunately, the first thirteen books were lost, and the remaining eighteen contain missing parts. Only the last books survive, and are dedicated to the events between the years 353 and 378. Like in other cases, we only included those chapters where the geographic aspect was most prominent. » Map in Recogito

    In numbers, we have already progressed to a total of 20.164 annotations (as of today), with an overall verification rate of 37.3% (which means we've confirmed more than 7.500 place references so far). But there are more Latin sources on our list which we yet have to address over the next three months. And our Greek content work package is about to start as well. So lots of exciting work ahead of us.

    You can follow our progress live at!

    - Ada, Pau & Rainer

    From Bordeaux to Jerusalem and Back Again: Introducing Recogito (Pt. 1)

    Welcome back to another update from our Infrastructure Workpackage 2 - "Annotation Toolkit", affectionately known as IWP2. In our previous IWP2 post, we talked a little bit about the basics of annotating place references in early geospatial documents. We also presented a first sample dataset based on the Vicarello Beakers. What we did not talk about yet, however, is how we actually annotate our documents in the first place.

    The general plan behind the Pelagios annotation workflow is this:

    1. We use Named Entity Recognition (NER) to identify a first batch of place names automatically in our source texts. This step is also called "geo-parsing", and tells us which toponyms there are in our text, and where in the text they occur. We implemented NER using the open source Stanford NLP Toolkit, and presently restrict this step to English translations of our documents. In a later project phase, we intend to cross-match the data gathered from the English translations to the original language versions, which is likely more feasible within the lifetime of the project, than trying to attempt latin-language NER.
    2. NER gives us the toponyms. What it does not tell us anything about, however, is which places they represent, or where these places are located. Next, we therefore look up the toponyms in our gazetteer, and determine the most plausible match. This step is called "geo-resolution", and - like NER - is also fully automated.
    3. Naturally, neither geo-parsing nor geo-resolution work perfectly. Therefore, we need to manually verify the results of our automatic processes, correct erroneous NER or geo-resolution matches, and fill gaps where NER or geo-resolution have failed to produce a result at all. And this is where our new Tool Recogito comes in.

    Fig. 1: data from the Bordeaux Itinerary in Recogito (interactive version in Latin and English).

    The Itinerarium Burdigalense

    The first document we've tackled entirely in Recogito is the Itinerarium Burdigalense: the Itinerarium Burdigalense (or Bordeaux Itinerary) is a travel document that records a Pilgrim route between the cities of Bordeaux and Jerusalem. It is considered the oldest Christian pilgrimage document, dated in 333 AD - which is just 20 years after the Edict of Milan from 313, when the Emperor Constantine granted the religious liberty to Christians (and other religions). Formally, this document is very similar in some aspects to the Itinerarium Provinciarum Antonini Augusti: both of them are compiled as a list of places with the distances between them. Additionally, the Itinerarium Burdigalense also marked all the places as mutatio, mansio or civitas (change, halt or city) in a similar way as the Peutinger Table. The format of the document changes when the travel arrives to Judea, where it offers detailed descriptions of important places to Christian Pilgrims. So we can consider it an itinerarium in the tradition of Greek and Roman writing, except for its Christian emphasis. (We've compiled a detailed bibliography for the Itinerarium Burdigalense here. The text of an English translation can be found, for example, on this Website.)

    Annotating the Bordeaux Itinerary with Recogito

    Recogito presents the results of our automatic processing steps in two flavours: in a text-based user interface, which is primarily designed to inspect and correct what the geoparser has done; and in a map-based interface which is used to work with the results from the geo-resolution step. A screenshot of the latter is shown in Fig.2, and we will explore it in more detail below. The former interface (which benefits from a little pre-knowledge of the map-based interface) we will disucss in a separate blog post.

    Geo-Resolution Verification & Correction

    The map-based interface separates the screen into a table listing the toponyms, and a map that shows how they are mapped to places. The primary work area for us in this interface is the table: here, we can scroll through all the toponyms and quickly check the gazetteer IDs they were mapped to. As a matter of policy, we want to explicity keep track of which toponyms have been looked at by someone, and which haven't. To that end, each entry in the table can be 'signed off' as either a verified gazetteer match, an unknown place, or a false NER detection. (In addition, there is also a generic 'ignore' flag, for toponyms that may be correctly identified in a technical sense, but which we don't want to appear in the map for whatever reason.)

    Fig. 2: Recogito map-based geo-resolution correction interface.

    Double-clicking an entry in the table opens a window with details for the toponym (Fig.3): the window shows the previous automatic gazetteer match (if any), the latest manual correction, and a text snippet showing the toponym in context. A lists of suggestions for other potential gazetteer matches, along with a small search widget allows us to quickly re-assign the gazetteer match in case it is incorrect. The change history for each toponym is recorded so we know who has change what (and when), or whether there are places that may see substantially more edits than others in the long run. Furthermore, manual changes are recorded separately from the initial automatic results. This way we will be able to benchmark the performance of NER and automatic geo-resolution later on. Detailed figures for the Bordeaux Itinerary are not yet out - but our initial figures suggest that NER has caught about 2/3 of all toponyms; and that approx. 80% of NER results were correct detections. The automatic geo-resolution correctly resolved between 30%-40% of the toponyms.

    Fig. 3: toponym details.

    While Recogito is still under heavy construction, Pau is already deeply buried in the next document - which we will present in one of our next blogposts, together with an overview of the text-based interface.

    Peter Tompa (Cultural Property Observer)

    Nod, Nod, Wink, Wink?

    I guess Deborah Lehr's statement that the State Department "is open" to import restrictions "if Egypt's application passes through all the necessary legal processes" may sound better than the suggestion of the New York Times Editorial  Board that a MOU is already a "done deal," but is that  just a distinction without much of a difference?

    The State Department has failed to respond to heartfelt concerns raised by CPAC members about the transparency and lawfulness of the process.  Indeed, rather than addressing those concerns, State has instead now packed what is supposed to be an advisory committee representing different views with supporters of one interest group-- archaeologists-- that have traditionally been supportive of broad restrictions.  And it's not as if CPAC was anti-source country before anyway.  In fact, no source country has ever been turned down for a MOU, though sometimes CPAC has recommended fewer restrictions on particular types of cultural goods than those imposed (coins being the primary example) and placed additional conditions on agreements.

    So why bother with making one's views known to CPAC and State?  The State Department's processes for imposing import restrictions should be instructive to countries like Egypt.  They should not mirror the phony legal forms all too often found in such nations.  And silence of those concerned about the burdens MOUs place on legitimate collecting will unfortunately be taken as acquiescence by those running the show in the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and it its Cultural Heritage Center.

    Archaeology and Arts: Αρχαιολογία Online

    Goya and the Altamira Family

    The exhibition at the Met marks the first time the Altamira family portraits have been shown together as a group.

    The post Goya and the Altamira Family appeared first on Αρχαιολογία Online.

    Jim Davila (

    GJW: Depuydt replies to King

    MARK GOODACRE: Jesus' Wife Fragment Latest: Leo Depuydt responds to Karen King . Mark posts the response as a pdf file. I'm not a Coptologist, so I won't try to address the substantive issue. But I do have two observations. First, King's response addresses many of Depuydt's objections, whereas his reply only addresses one of her points. What about the others? Second, the tone of the two responses is very different. King writes objectively and respectfully. She accuses Depuydt of making a grammatical error. If she is wrong, she made a mistake, but she isn't rude about it. Depuydt's reply is very sarcastic and it tries too hard to sound hip and edgy, complete with emoticons. Now regular readers know that I am by no means above a little sarcasm if I think it's justified, but it isn't justified here. King is trying to advance the discussion. If she accused Depuydt incorrectly of making a mistake, this could be pointed out politely and respectfully.

    I am still quite skeptical that the Gospel of Jesus' Wife is an ancient artifact, but King has made a real effort to keep the tone high and the skeptics should do the same.

    Background here and links.

    Antiquity Now

    Easter, Resurrection and Chocolate Bunnies: Social Marketing Through the Ages

    Easter is one of the holiest of holidays for Christians.   And with Easter’s roots in antiquity, we can see why the symbolism of this holiday continues to give succor and hope to believers today. But Easter is also a holiday … Continue reading

    Jim Davila (

    Maaloula in ruins

    LOS ANGELES TIMES: Syria fighting leaves Maaloula, a historic Christian town, in ruins. Syrian forces have driven most rebels from Maaloula, home to ancient churches and monasteries now smashed and defaced after months of battles (Patrick J. McDonnell and Nabih Bulos). Excerpt:
    Maaloula never had the strategic value of other nearby areas, such as the city of Yabroud to the north, which was recaptured by the military in March. But it possesses vivid symbolic importance. The Christian enclave has long been a signature site for Syria's diverse assemblage of faiths and ethnicities.

    Assad's government has presented itself as a staunch defender of religious tolerance and minorities in the face of Islamic militants who make up some of the strongest rebel forces. Recapturing Maaloula helps reinforce that message.

    The town is acclaimed as one of the few places where a version of Aramaic, said to be the language of Jesus, is still spoken and taught. Its ancient churches and monasteries are iconic.

    Most of the 2,000 or so residents fled long ago. A group of 13 nuns abducted by Islamic rebels who overran the town last year has since been freed in a prisoner exchange.

    One of the first tasks facing officials will be to determine the damage inflicted on Maaloula's historic churches and other Christian sites. Statues of Jesus and Mary that once looked down from twin ridges have been destroyed — whether by the rebels or government shelling is not clear.

    St. Thecla monastery, from where the nuns were kidnapped last year, remains in a perilous zone. It was impossible on Tuesday to assess the damage. But crosses had been removed from the tops of St. Thecla and other churches, apparently by Islamic rebels. It seemed likely that the crosses and hillside statues will be easier to replace than other, more profound losses yet to be cataloged.

    Up the hill from St. Thecla, the ancient Church of Sts. Sergius and Bacchus lay in ruins. The sturdy brick structure still stands, but shells have crashed through the dome, and much of the interior has been reduced to wreckage.
    The record of the Syrian Government with regard to Maaloula has been at best mixed (e.g., here and here). But now is their chance to demonstrate their support of religious tolerance. Let them rebuild the city and restore it to its ancient inhabitants. And re-open that Aramaic Institute.

    Much more on Maaloula (Ma'aloula, Malula) here and links.

    Lod mosaic at Waddesdon Manor

    THE LOD MOSAIC IS COMING TO THE U.K.: Predators and Prey: A Roman Mosaic from Lod, Israel (PastHorizons). The article has lots of cool detail photos.

    From there the Lod Mosaic will go on display in St. Petersburg, then back to Israel to be housed in its new permanent museum home, the Shelby White and Leon Levy Lod Mosaic Archaeological Center.

    More on the Lod Mosaic and other, related ancient mosaics here with many links.

    Archaeology and Arts: Αρχαιολογία Online

    Heritage of Commemoration

    Events organized on the occasion International Day for Monuments and Sites in Cyprus.

    The post Heritage of Commemoration appeared first on Αρχαιολογία Online.

    American School of Classical Studies in Athens: Events

    Cities and Thrones and Powers: Rethinking the End of Mycenaean Civilization

    May 14, 2014 - 10:06 AM - Annual Meeting of the Canadian Institute in Greece Prof. David W.Rupp, Director, Prof. Dimitri Nakassis (University of Toronto)

    “Mapping the Via Appia Dutch research in Rome”

    May 12, 2014 - 10:13 AM - LECTURE Dr Stephan MOLS, Radboud University Nijmegen

    Settlement history of Byzantine Attica (4th-12th c.):A reconstruction based on old and new evidence

    May 08, 2014 - 9:49 AM - Dialogos lecture Dr Elli ΤΖΑVELLA, Postdoc Researcher, Leiden University

    “Shipsheds of the Ancient Mediterranean”

    April 28, 2014 - 9:46 AM - Book Launch presented by David Blackman, Kalliopi Baika and Jari Pakkanen

    Hoarding Metal in the Aegean and Cypriot Late Bronze Age

    April 30, 2014 - 9:41 AM - LECTURE Nicholas Blackwell, Ph.D., Assistant Director, American School of Classical Studies at Athens

    Dienekes' Anthropology Blog

    mtDNA history of Oceania (Duggan et al. 2014)

    AJHG doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2014.03.014

    Maternal History of Oceania from Complete mtDNA Genomes: Contrasting Ancient Diversity with Recent Homogenization Due to the Austronesian Expansion

    Ana T. Duggan et al.

    Archaeology, linguistics, and existing genetic studies indicate that Oceania was settled by two major waves of migration. The first migration took place approximately 40 thousand years ago and these migrants, Papuans, colonized much of Near Oceania. Approximately 3.5 thousand years ago, a second expansion of Austronesian-speakers arrived in Near Oceania and the descendants of these people spread to the far corners of the Pacific, colonizing Remote Oceania. To assess the female contribution of these two human expansions to modern populations and to investigate the potential impact of other migrations, we obtained 1,331 whole mitochondrial genome sequences from 34 populations spanning both Near and Remote Oceania. Our results quantify the magnitude of the Austronesian expansion and demonstrate the homogenizing effect of this expansion on almost all studied populations. With regards to Papuan influence, autochthonous haplogroups support the hypothesis of a long history in Near Oceania, with some lineages suggesting a time depth of 60 thousand years, and offer insight into historical interpopulation dynamics. Santa Cruz, a population located in Remote Oceania, is an anomaly with extreme frequencies of autochthonous haplogroups of Near Oceanian origin; simulations to investigate whether this might reflect a pre-Austronesian versus Austronesian settlement of the island failed to provide unequivocal support for either scenario.


    Ancient Art

    Flake with drawing of Osiris seated on his throne within a...

    Flake with drawing of Osiris seated on his throne within a shrine. Egyptian Ptolemaic Period, 305- 30 B.C.E.

    Even if he were not labeled by the hieroglyphs at the right (“Osiris, the great god”), this deity would be easy to identify. Osiris, lord of the underworld, is always shown as a mummy, often wearing the White Crown of Upper Egypt adorned with two feathers of Ma’at (cosmic harmony). Here the god holds his characteristic crook and flail and is seated in a shrine or under a canopy.

    Though the almond eye, long nose, and full lips suggest a New Kingdom date (Dynasties XVIII–XX, circa 1539–1070 B.C.), many other details indicate that the sketch was made in the Ptolemaic Period. The meticulous detail, manifest in the delineation of the ear, the eye, the plaited beard, the nostril, the thumbnails, and the feather pattern of the throne, is diagnostic for Egyptian drawing and relief of the fourth through first centuries B.C.

    Courtesy of & currently located at the Brooklyn Museum, USA. Via their online collections. Accession Number: 37.52E.

    Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

    These People Have no Shame, Really

    Heritage activist Monica Hanna has been labelled a "grifter" by John Hooker of the ACCG. These  Philistines are totally incapable of any kind of appreciation for what Ms Hanna has done for the heritage and it is shameful to watch how they
    attack her.

    UPDATE 17.04.14
    I see John Hooker now denies he is associated with the ACCG.  Wise move, they are a nasty group of dangerous loonies causing huge damage to collecting. That however does not make Hooker (of ACCG's Hooker Papers infamy) any the less a philistine for attacking Monica Hanna in this manner along with the rest of his petty blinkered-minded coiney mates. David Knell's riposte to Hooker's denial hits the spot exactly.


    James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

    Trusting Science

    OK, so I admit that this gif made me laugh:

    But with the recent eclipse, I am reminded of something nonsensical that I heard a preacher say once, it was around the time of a total solar eclipse, and the individual said that the eclipse was a supernatural event, because if it had been natural, it would have become dark and continued that way, without ever becoming light again,

    I am confidentbthat readers of this blog will recognize that assertion to be not merely unfounded but nonsensical.

    Science gives us information and explanatory frameworks that we can rely on. It is foolish to pretend otherwise. Science cannot answer all questions, but applied to subjects to which it is applicable, it tends to give answers which are as reliable as possible.


    All Mesopotamia

    Figurine plaque: bearded man playing a drum Period: ...

    Figurine plaque: bearded man playing a drum

    Period:  Neo-Babylonian Date:  ca. 7th–6th century B.C.[Metropolitan Museum of Art]

    BiblePlaces Blog

    Bible-Related Works at Oxford University Press Free This Week

    Oxford University Press: "To celebrate National Library Week (April 13th – 19th 2014) and all the hard work librarians do to support their patrons, OUP is freeing up our entire list of online products for one week only!"

    UPDATE (4/16): OUP is *not* making available most of the titles listed here. Therefore we have deleted the previous contents of this post. We’re sorry. (See comments below for a reply from OUP.)

    April 16, 2014

    Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

    The Beaters are Out, Noisily Scaring the Crowd

    " Silence [about the US-Egypt cultural property MOU] will only be spun as acquiesce by the US and Egyptian cultural bureaucracies as well as the powerful archaeological lobby".
    There is a danger of course that it would be taken as a sign that US dugup collectors were maturing to a more responsible attitude towards the purchase of freshly-surfaced artefacts, and there is nothing that scares the Black Hat Guys more... 

    Archaeology Magazine

    Third-Century Document Describes Fixed Wrestling Match

    ancient-wrestling-contract-papyrusOXFORD, ENGLAND—Dominic Rathbone of King’s College London has translated a third-century A.D. document from the collection of papyri discovered in the nineteenth century in Oxyrhynchus, Egypt. The document records the details of an agreement between the father of Nicantinous and the guarantors of Demetrius to fix an upcoming wrestling match between the two teenaged boys. Under the terms of the contract, Demetrius is to fall three times and yield to Nicantinous in return for 3,800 drachmas of silver of old coinage, a relatively small amount of money. However, Demetrius would owe Nicantinous a large sum if he backed out of the deal. “It doesn’t look as though they’ve actually gone as far as getting a scribe with legal knowledge to do this form them, which makes you wonder if it’s a bit of an empty thing. It’s not really likely that either side is going to [seek recourse] if the other defaults,” Rathbone told Live Science.

    ArcheoNet BE

    Museum De Kolonie in Lommel focust op Kempense prehistorie

    Na een herinrichting opent Museum de Kolonie in Lommel op paasmaandag 21 april om 14u opnieuw de deuren. Het museum, dat nu volledig gewijd is aan archeologie, vertelt het interessante verhaal van prehistorische jagers-verzamelaars en boeren aan de hand van authentieke Lommelse vondsten. Levensechte figuren van jagers-verzamelaars en filmpjes die prehistorische technieken tonen, voeren je duizenden jaren terug in de tijd. Maquettes en touchscreens met boeiende afbeeldingen verduidelijken het verhaal, dat geschikt is voor alle nieuwsgierige mensen, jong en oud.

    Als je op paasmaandag niet aanwezig kan zijn, dan kan je het museum gratis bezoeken van dinsdag 22 april tot en met vrijdag 25 april van 13.30u tot 17u en op zondag 27 april van 10u tot 18u.

    Meer info:

    Archaeology Magazine

    Ostia Much Bigger Than Previously Thought

    Ostia-Port-SurveySOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND—Ostia, a port of ancient Rome, extended beyond the Tiber River, which had been thought to form the northern edge of the city. Researchers from the University of Southampton and the University of Cambridge discovered a new section of the city’s boundary wall on the opposite side of the Tiber while conducting a geophysical survey of the region between Ostia and Portus, another Roman port. They say that the newly discovered area contained three huge warehouses. “Our research not only increases the known area of the ancient city, but it also shows that the Tiber bisected Ostia, rather than defining its northern side,” Simon Keay, director of the Portus Project, told The Telegraph

    Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

    European Parliament approves new provisions for the return of national treasures

    European Commission Press release, 'European Parliament approves new provisions for the return of national treasures ', Brussels, 16 April 2014

    In an effort to give better protection to objects that form part of the cultural heritage of the Member States and to contribute to the prevention and fight against illicit trafficking in cultural objects, the European Parliament has:
     voted in favour of a new directive to help EU countries organise the return of cultural objects that were unlawfully removed from their state and are currently located in another EU country. The new legislation aims at securing the recovery by an EU Member State of any cultural item identified as "national treasures of artistic, historic or archaeological value" which were illegally removed from its territory on or after 1 January 1993.

    The new Directive extends the scope of protection to all cultural objects classified as "national treasures possessing artistic, historic or archaeological value" (under Council Directive 93/7/EEC of 15 March 1993 on the return of cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of a Member State only a list of certain categories of national treasures or objects forming part of public collections or inventories of ecclesiastical institutions were qualified for return, e.g. archaeological objects of more than 100 years old).
    In the light of national reports submitted by Member States and evaluations prepared by the European Commission, it appears that Directive 93/7/EEC is barely used and is of limited effect. Therefore, the Commission adopted, on the 30 May 2013, a proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the return of cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of a Member State [COM (2013) 311 final]. The proposal, which recast Directive 93/7/EEC, as amended by Directives 96/100/EC and 2001/38/EC, aimed at enabling Member States to secure the return of any cultural object which is classified as a national treasure and has been unlawfully removed from their territory.
    The new Directive also extends "the deadline to initiating return proceedings from 1 to 3 years" (after the requesting EU country becomes aware of the location of the cultural object and the identity of its possessor or holder). This new regulation most importantly places the burden of proof on the possessor:
    if they seek compensation for the loss of the cultural object when it is returned to its original country. To obtain compensation, the possessor should prove that when they originally purchased the good, they exercised due care and attention in ascertaining its origin. Moreover, the new Directive provides for non-exhaustive criteria to facilitate a more uniform interpretation of the exercise of "due care and attention" by the possessor.
    If they cannot demonstrate this in accordance with these criteria, they lose the object and are not entitled to any compensation. Interestingly, this looks as if it will operate retrospectively. Once approved by the Council, EU countries will be obliged to integrate the Directive into national law within 18 months of the Directive's adoption.

    Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

    Heidelberger historische Bestände: Archäologische Literatur – digital

    Heidelberger historische Bestände: Archäologische Literatur – digital
    West Front des Parthenon
    Zu den Beständen des Sondersammelgebietes Archäologie der UB Heidelberg gehört auch ein umfangreicher und sehr bedeutender Bestand archäologischer Literatur des 16. bis frühen 20. Jahrhunderts, aus dem ausgewählte Werke vollständig digitalisiert und via Internet kostenfrei zugänglich gemacht werden. Seit dem 1. September 2009 wird das Angebot im Rahmen des DFG-Projekts „Rezeption der Antike im semantischen Netz: Buch, Bild und Objekt digital” systematisch ausgebaut. 

    RSS Neuerscheinungen (RSS 2.0)
    Überblick nach: AutorenLändern und OrtenThemen

    Open Access Archaeology

    Open Access Archaeology Digest #390

    Learn more about Archaeology, History, Anthropology, etc. Open Access (free to read) articles:

    Unscrambling the ‘Uplands’: Satellite Imagery and the Homs Basalts

    Recognising and Controlling for Cultivation-Induced Patterning in Surface Artefact Distributions

    Update to bibliography of Southeast Asian palynology

    A beaker cist at Upper Muirhall, Perth [Late Northern beaker]

    Learn more about Open Access and Archaeology at:

    Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

    Heidelberger historische Bestände: Ägyptologische Literatur – digital

    Heidelberger historische Bestände: Ägyptologische Literatur – digital
    Zu den Beständen des Sondersammelgebietes Ägyptologie der UB Heidelberg gehört auch ein umfangreicher und sehr bedeutender Bestand ägyptologischer Literatur des 16. bis frühen 20. Jahrhunderts, aus dem ausgewählte Werke vollständig digitalisiert und via Internet kostenfrei zugänglich gemacht werden.

    Seit dem 1. September 2009 wird das Angebot im Rahmen eines DFG-Projekts systematisch ausgebaut. Über das Themenportal „Rezeption der Antike im semantischen Netz: Buch, Bild und Objekt digital“ können die Heidelberger Titel gemeinsam mit weiteren digitalisierten Werken der Projektpartner recherchiert werden.
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    Archaeology Magazine

    Scurvy Was Common in Columbus’s Colony

    La-Isabela-Skeletons-ScurvySANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC—Scurvy, a disease caused by a severe vitamin C deficiency, may have contributed to the decline of La Isabela, the colony established by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. “There were lots of diseases, fevers, epidemics, we know from their writing. It seems no one was spared. But apparently scurvy played a big role,” archaeologist Vera Tiesler of Mexico’s Universidad Autonoma de Yucatán told National Geographic News. Of the 27 skeletons Tiesler and her colleagues examined, 20 of the Spaniards had striations on the outer lining of weight-bearing bones on both sides of the body. The colonists’ bones also showed signs of healing from scurvy before they were killed by other diseases.

    Tom Matrullo (Classics in Sarasota)

    Throne of troubled blood: the game of Thebes

    Jebb, whose translation of Antigone is used by the Perseus edition, has a note on the proclamation speech of Creon. It's the speech by which the new ruler imposes heavy penalties on anyone who would bury the body of Polyneices. (An aspect of that speech is discussed here.)

    Jebb finds a clear parallel between Creon's decree and that which Oedipus delivers after learning that the murderer of Laius must be found to lift the plague afflicting Thebes. "There is a general dramatic analogy," Jebb says, "between this speech and that of Oedipus in O. T. 216 - 275."
    In each case a Theban king addresses Theban elders, announcing a stern decree, adopted in reliance on his own wisdom, and promulgated with haughty consciousness of power; the elders receive the decree with a submissive deference under which we can perceive traces of misgiving; and as the drama proceeds, the elders become spectators of calamities occasioned by the decree.
    One can extend the parallel a bit further: For both kings, their proclamations set up a form of doom that ends up crashing down upon themselves. Oedipus believes he's speaking as a stranger to the murder of Laius when he says of the murderer:
    And I pray solemnly that the slayer, whoever he is, whether he alone is guilty or he has partners, may, in the horrible way he deserves, wear out his unblest life. And for myself I pray that if he should, [250] with my knowledge, become a resident of my house, I may suffer the same things which I have just called down on others. (Oedipus Tyrannus)
    In like manner, Creon says:
    if anyone who directs the entire city does not cling to the best and wisest plans, [180] but because of some fear keeps his lips locked, then, in my judgment, he is and has long been the most cowardly traitor. And if any man thinks a friend more important than his fatherland, that man, I say, is of no account. Zeus, god who sees all things always, be my witness— [185] I would not be silent if I saw ruin, instead of safety, marching upon the citizens. (Antigone)
    Built into the ironies of the Antigone is the troubling fact that before he became king, Creon learned from Teiresias that only the death of his son, Megareus (also called Menoeceus), would placate Ares and enable Thebes to withstand the seven Argive generals. That scene is fully played out in Euripides' Phoenissae, and is worth reading (as is that entire play in relation to the Antigone). In sum, immediately before the battle begins, Teiresias tells Creon of the one way to save Thebes: One of Creon's two sons must die to appease Ares. Haemon cannot, as he is engaged to marry Antigone, but Megareus -
    this tender youth, consecrated to his city, might by dying rescue his country . . . Phoenissae 947-8
    Creon immediately makes arrangements to save Megareus by spiriting him out of the city secretly:
    [970] But come, my son, before the whole city learns this, fly with all haste away from this land, regardless of these prophets' reckless warnings; for he will tell all this to our rulers and generals [going to the seven gates and the captains]; [975] now if we can forestall him, you are saved, but if you are too late, we are ruined and you will die.(Phoenissae)
    Megareus plays along with his father, but in fact does exactly as Teiresias prescribed. He kills himself to save Thebes.

    Creon appears not to know all this, both when it comes to uttering his decree (above) and when he reiterates it to Haemon:
    I will not make myself a liar to my city. I will kill her. So let her sing of Zeus who protects kindred blood [ξύναιμον]. If I am to foster my own kin to spurn order, [660] surely I will do the same for outsiders. For whoever shows his excellence in the case of his own household will be found righteous in his city as well. But if anyone oversteps [ὑπερβὰς] and does violence to the laws, or thinks to dictate to those in power, [665] such a one will never win praise from me. (Antigone)
    Uncannily, the very word he uses to mock the union of blood kinship, ξύναιμονis inscribed with the name of Haemon (Αἵμων). Furthermore, Creon is lying. He has overstepped. Sophocles used the same legend that Euripides later drew on for the Phoenissae, and makes sure we know it. It's found in how Creon is told of the suicide of Eurydice, the mother of Haemon and Megareus:
    By the altar, with a sharp-whetted sword, she struck until her eyes went slack and dark. Before that she bewailed the noble fate of Megareus who died earlier, and then the fate of this boy [Haemon], and also, with her last breath, [1305] she called down evil fortune upon you, the slayer of her sons. (Antigone 1301ff)
    Creon and his decree echo that of Oedipus, but with a difference. Oedipus could suspect he himself killed Laius, but at this moment had no certain knowledge of it. Creon could hardly forget he had tried to protect his son; Euripides has him say:
    I will never come to such misfortune as to devote my son to death for the city; [965] for all men love their children, and no one would give his own son to die. Let no man praise me, and kill my child at the same time. I myself, for I am in the prime of life, am ready to die to save my country. (Phoenissae 964 ff)
    Creon could never dream of sacrificing his child, yet even as he claims his kindred blood ties to Antigone are what legitimate his claim to Kingship, he assumes a power that has nothing yielding about it.
    in no way can we let a woman defeat us. It is better to fall from power, if it is fated, by a man's hand, [680] than that we be called weaker than women. (Antigone 678-80)
    κοὔτοι γυναικὸς οὐδαμῶς ἡσσητέα
    κρεῖσσον γάρεἴπερ δεῖπρὸς ἀνδρὸς ἐκπεσεῖν
    κοὐκ ἂν γυναικῶν ἥσσονες καλοίμεθ᾽ ἄν. 

    State power as pure command, law, is at odds with the tenderness of love, but this not just a complication between Creon and Antigone. It's trouble between the King Creon and father Creon. It's trouble within Creon, who is not all of a piece, and trouble within the polis. Trouble is in the torque of the conflict of blood and political power.

    Witnessing Creon's soulless rejection of Haemon, the chorus will sing of the strife born of radiant desire and the mighty primordial powers. They sit enthroned πάρεδροςside by side, and the game of thrones cannot trump the game of eros. Dancing they will sing:
    [791] You seize the minds of just men and drag them to injustice, to their ruin. You it is who have incited this strife of men whose flesh and blood are one [ξύναιμον]. [795] But victory belongs to radiant Desire glimpsed in the eyes of the sweet-bedded bride. Desire sits enthroned in power beside the mighty laws. [800] For in all this the god plays her irresistible game, Aphrodite. (Antigone)
    σὺ καὶ δικαίων ἀδίκους φρένας παρασπᾷς ἐπὶ λώβᾳ
    σὺ καὶ τόδε νεῖκος ἀνδρῶν ξύναιμον ἔχεις ταράξας
    νικᾷ δ᾽ ἐναργὴς βλεφάρων ἵμερος εὐλέκτρου νύμφας
    τῶν μεγάλων πάρεδρος ἐν ἀρχαῖς 
    800θεσμῶνἄμαχος γὰρ ἐμπαίζει θεὸςἈφροδίτα. 

    Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

    Rodopis: Associazione culturale

    Rodopis: Associazione culturale
    Rodopis è un’associazione culturale senza fini di lucro fondata nel 2010 da alcuni laureandi e dottorandi in Storia antica dell’Università di Bologna, con lo scopo di promuovere lo studio dei contenuti e dei metodi propri delle discipline dell’antichità, all’interno e all’esterno delle Università e nel tentativo di coinvolgere diversi interlocutori. L’azione principale è volta alla sensibilizzazione nei confronti di alcune tematiche proprie dell’antichità e alla divulgazione dei risultati più aggiornati della ricerca (quelli ancora in corso), creando un ponte tra Università e non addetti ai lavori. Allo stesso tempo si facilita l’incontro tra giovani antichisti per creare una comunità internazionale non competitiva che, grazie a una condivisione e a un confronto autentici relativamente a contenuti, modalità, metodi e approcci di ricerca esca da logiche accademiche spesso limitanti, dalla specializzazione estrema che rischia di far chiudere  i settori di studio su se stessi e dal localismo che inevitabilmente ne riduce gli orizzonti di sviluppo.

    Ancient Art

    romkids: The head of a pipe made by Canadian First Peoples. As...


    The head of a pipe made by Canadian First Peoples.

    As the smoke is blown from their mouth and then down the pipe, it would emerge from the head at the end, creating a fascinating effect!

    Ancient Peoples

    Faience hippopotamus  Hippopotami were feared by the Egyptians...

    Faience hippopotamus 

    Hippopotami were feared by the Egyptians because these animals are very destructive and dangerous. By making these statues the Egyptian hoped to controle those dangers and keep them at bay. The lotusflowers painted on the animals are symbols of fertility and the marshes where hippo’s mostly stayed. The goddess Taweret is a pregnant hippo and was worshipped by pregnant women to protect their unborn child. 

    Egyptian, Middle Kingdom, 12th dynasty, 1960 - 1878 BC. 

    Found in middle Egypt, Meir, Tomb of Senbi II

    Source: Metropolitan Museum

    Archaeology Magazine

    Model T Snowmobile Recovered From Expedition Site

    Model T Snowmobile In the FieldANAKTALAK BAY, LABRADOR—Archaeologist Jamie Brake of the Nunatsiavut Government is a member of the team recovering a 1926 Model T Ford snowmobile that was used by the Rawson-MacMillan subarctic expedition in 1927 and 1928. The snowmobile, created from a Model T truck, was discovered in 1995. “People recognized how special a thing this was back in those days, and also recognized how vulnerable the site—and the snowmobile in particular—were,” Brake told The Telegram. Restoration plans are in the works, now that the chassis and engine have been recovered. Brake notes that the snowmobile can be seen in photographs and in film footage from the Rawson-MacMillan expedition, when William Duncan Strong unearthed the remains of 22 people that were kept at Chicago’s Field Museum until 2011, when they were returned. 

    David Connolly, Maggie Struckmeier, and Felicity Donohoe (Past Horizons: Adventures in Archaeology)

    Historical data shows impact on Cherokee skull size

    TrailoftearsResearch shows that events from the Trail of Tears to the Civil War led to significant changes in the shape of skulls in the eastern and western bands of the Cherokee people

    Archaeology Magazine

    An Update on Florida’s Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys

    MARIANNA, FLORIDA—University of South Florida forensic archaeologist Erin Kimmerle continues to investigate the claims of abuse made by men who attended the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in the 1950s and 60s. The remains of 55 children have been exhumed from a cemetery on the grounds of the state-run boys’ reform school. The school did not keep a master list for the burial ground, so Kimmerle and her team are attempting to identify the remains so that they can be returned to the families. “It wasn’t something that was an option in the past when the deaths occurred,” she told BBC News. Kimmerle has not yet ruled out foul play in the deaths of any of the recovered individuals. The investigation has revealed that those who died in a fire had been locked in their rooms and were unable to escape. Others who died in a flu epidemic had been left without food or medicine. The researchers are searching for human remains on other parts of the campus with canine recovery teams.

    CHS Fellowships Research Bulletin

    Abstract–Leisure Rules in Archaic Greece: Legislation on Inebriation and Foul Play in Literary and Epigraphic Sources

    Archaic legislation reflects the effort of the Greek communities to regulate a wide spectrum of conflictive public issues. Rules for communal wine-drinking and athletic competition were also included in this legislative impulse, as revealed by two relatively recent epigraphic findings, an anti-inebriation law from Eleutherna (SEG XLI 739) and the earliest epigraphic testimony of Olympic rules (BullÉpigr 2000 349), which will be the focus of the present paper. They are representative of the historical context of change and crisis in which they were promulgated and contribute to complete the picture of Archaic society transmitted by contemporary literary evidence. more

    Archaeological News on Tumblr

    Severe Scurvy Struck Christopher Columbus's Crew


    Severe scurvy struck Columbus’s crew during his second voyage and after its end, forensic archaeologists suggest, likely leading to the collapse of the first European town established in the New World.

    In 1492, Christopher Columbus crossed the Atlantic, beginning Europe’s discovery of the New World. Two years later on his second voyage, he and 1,500 colonists founded La Isabela, located in the modern-day Dominican Republic.

    The first permanent European town in the Western Hemisphere, La Isabela was abandoned within four years amid sickness and deprivation.

    Historians have long blamed diseases such as smallpox, influenza, and malaria for the town’s demise. But a study of graveyard remains from the town site, reported online in the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, suggests that an ancient seafarer’s scourge—scurvy, a severe vitamin C deficiency—plagued Columbus’s first colony and worsened the illnesses behind their town’s collapse. Read more.

    Peter Tompa (Cultural Property Observer)

    CPAC Hearing Scheduled for Pre-Judged Egyptian MOU

    Egypt has scheduled an election for President on May 26-27 to formally replace its deposed Muslim Brotherhood President, Mohammed Morsi.  Although there will be others on the ballot, there is only one real candidate, former army chief, Abdel Fattah el-Sissi.  So, while Egyptians will go through the motions of electing their leader, the result has been predetermined.  El-Sissi will be Egypt's next President one way or the other.

    So, how fitting then that weeks after Egyptian authorities and the New York Times both suggested that the US had already agreed to ban imports of Egyptian artifacts and days after Egyptologist-Heritage Hero Monica Hanna finished promoting restrictions on American collectors at events staged in New York and Washington, D.C., the State Department's Bureau of Educational Affairs has announced that CPAC will meet to discuss a proposed MOU with Egypt.

    Given this history, does anyone seriously believe the upcoming CPAC meeting will in the end be anything more than an orchestrated farce not dissimilar to what's happening in Egypt itself?  Still, if one feels strongly about their continued ability to collect Egyptian artifacts, CPO believes they should comment on website.  Why? Because silence will only be spun as acquiesce by the US and Egyptian cultural bureaucracies as well as the powerful archaeological lobby.

    More later on how to comment, but the above link about the CPAC meeting should provide the basics.

    Ancient Peoples

    Red quartzite face of Senwosret III Senwosret III is known for...

    Red quartzite face of Senwosret III

    Senwosret III is known for his very individual portraits of an elderly man. He has heavy eyelids, deep lines in his face and his eyebrows are knit together. 

    Egyptian, Middle Kingdom, 12th dynasty, reign of Senwosret III, 1878 - 1840 BC. 

    Source: Metropolitan Museum