Maia Atlantis: Ancient World Blogs

Tom Elliott (

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July 29, 2015

Ancient Art

A young Roman lady’s comb -taken with her to the grave.This comb...

A young Roman lady’s comb -taken with her to the grave.

This comb is made of antler, and dated to the late 4th or early 5th century AD. It was found during excavations by Winchester Museums Service Archaeology Section in Hyde Street, Winchester, England in 1979.

This artefact is courtesy of & can be viewed at the City Museum, Venta Gallery, Winchester, England (WINCM:HYS79 S17). The following description is given:

This elaborately decorated comb was found in the grave of a young woman buried in Winchester’s northern Roman cemetery. The main body of the comb has ring-and-dot decoration, and the end plates, cut-out shapes with more ring-and-dot. Archaeologists believe that combs such as these were first made plain, and then decorated to order. Popular motifs were owls, dolphins and horses. With the eye of faith, it can be seen that this is a horse comb- the end plate decoration looks like opposing pairs of horses’ heads. The decoration on this comb is somehow more pleasing than the similar comb from Winchester’s eastern cemetery.

Late Roman graves in the northern cemetery often show signs of hasty or unceremonious burial in shallow graves and in odd body positions, without coffins. Quite a few people were buried face down and some were decapitated (possibly but not necessarily before death). This could be a sign of a low-status group within the population, but it is not reflected in their grave goods, which are often rather fine like this comb. It may be that these people succumbed to an epidemic of some kind or were killed in warfare or conflict and had to be buried rapidly, all at once.

Photo via the Hampshire Museums Flickr page.

American Philological Association

Tsakopoulos Hellenic Collection Library Research Fellowship Program

Thanks to generous continued funding from the Elios Charitable Foundation and additional funding from the Tsakopoulos Hellenic Foundation, the University Library at California State University, Sacramento is pleased to announce the continuation of the Library Research Fellowship Program to support the use of the Tsakopoulos Hellenic Collection by fellows for scholarly research in Hellenic studies while in residence in Sacramento. The Program provides a limited number of fellowships ranging from $1,000 to $4,000 to help offset transportation and living expenses incurred during the tenure of the awards and is open to external researchers anywhere in the world at the doctoral through senior scholar levels (including independent scholars) working in fields encompassed by the Collection’s strengths who reside outside a 150-mile radius of Sacramento. The term of fellowships can vary between two weeks and three months, depending on the nature of the research, and for the current cycle will be tenable from Oct. 1, 2015-June 30, 2016. The fellowship application deadline is August 24, 2015. No late applications will be considered.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Museums Journal: Roger Bland quits BM

The 'official' version:
Bland handed in his three months’ notice on 30 April, and will work his last day this week. He said his resignation was a direct result of the museum passing on a 6% cut to the PAS' £1m grant in April. Funding for the PAS is no longer ringfenced, and Bland said that he fears without adequate funding it could collapse: “It came very close to that at the beginning of the year and will be under great pressure after the November spending review.”
Rebecca Atkinson, 'Roger Bland quits BM over cuts to the PAS' Museums Journal 28.07.2015

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

UK Metal Detectorists and the Heritage Debate

Money 'out of a taxpayer'
Reminder, this was an academic seminar in March 2013, when the UK had a proper PAS. It seems metal detectorists cannot get over the fact that somebody talked about their hobby in less than glowing terms. Pathetic and puerile. Liam Nolan commented July 27, 2015 - 9:54 am on Heritage Seminar: Unsustainable damage to East Anglian heritage.
Who paid for [Mr] Barford to travel from Warsaw for this lecture? In a time of the ever shrinking public purse, I hope the money did not come out [sic] of the taxpayer, Liam

The British taxpayer, as stakeholder in the archaeological heritage, is fully entitled to have the fate of that heritage at the hands of an exploitive minority publicly debated. The event was attended also by metal detectorists who were able to express their views, though their presence was somewhat sullied by one disrespectful individual who used the opportunity to take illegal photographs and record the event without the proper permits. This "Photohawk" has not been condemned in the UK detecting community and any future such debate in which I take part will accordingly be blocked to metal detectorists. 

Just look at those comments under the blog post, all by metal detectorists (many by a single one posing as several sock puppets), and you can see why there is no point trying to include them in any serious discussion of heritage policy.  

Vignette: misericord (1480) in the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam

BiblePlaces Blog

Murex Map of Lebanon

(Post by A.D. Riddle)

The journal Hannon: Revue libanaise de géographie is published by the Lebanese University in Beirut. The cover of the journal depicts a map of Lebanon using the shape of a Murex mollusk shell—a pretty clever idea, I thought. The sea snail that calls these shells home was extracted by the Phoenicians to create a purple dye.

Cover graphic of Hannon journal compared to a map of Lebanon.

Murex shell from Sidon.

Three species of Murex at the British Museum.

Ferrell Jenkins has written several informative blog posts about the purple dye.

The Heroic Age

Violence and Politics: Ideologies, Identities, Representations

Τhe Postgraduate Association of the Faculty of History and Archaeology of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens is organizing a colloquium devoted to the memory of Professor Nikos Birgalias, entitled “Violence and Politics: Ideologies, Identities, Representations” to be held in Athens, 15-16 January. The conference will be under the auspices of the Faculty of History and Archaeology of the University of Athens.

The principal aim is to bring together a multi-disciplinary group of new researchers concerned with theories and practices of violence and its relations to politics from a historical perspective. The colloquium will focus mainly on the following topics:

Historiographic Approaches of Violence
Legitimate and Illegitimate Violence
Archaeology and Iconography of Violence
Violence and “Otherness”
Violence “from above” and Resistance
Revolts and Revolutions
Microhistory of Violence

We welcome original papers by holders of a Master’s degree, PhD candidates and early career researchers in History and Archaeology or in any related discipline.

The co-organizers invite 15-minute papers in Greek or in English. Participants are expected to make their own travel and accommodation arrangements and to cover their expenses.

Interested speakers should complete the application form (in English or Greek) and submit it to postgradsociety@gmail.comby 30 September 2015.

Please find a pdf version of the call for papers here and the application form here .

Archaeology Magazine

tile cat printGLOUCESTER, ENGLAND—A cat’s paw prints were spotted on a first-century Roman roof tile unearthed in Gloucester in 1969 by an archaeologist who had been looking through the thousands of tile fragments stored at the Gloucester City Museum. “When Romans made roof tiles they left the wet clay out to dry in the sun. Animals, and people, sometimes walked across the drying tiles and left their footprints behind,” a museum spokesperson told The Telegraph. “Dog paw prints, people’s boot prints, and even a piglet’s trotter print have all be found on tiles from Roman Gloucester, but cat prints are very rare,” added Lise Noakes, cabinet member for culture and leisure at Gloucester City Council. To read about some of those types of dog prints, and much more about the roles of ancient dogs, go to "More Than Man's Best Friend."

Iron Age AfricaROCHESTER, NEW YORK—Information gathered by archaeologist Thomas Huffman of Witwatersrand University has assisted geophysicist John Tarduno and astrophysicist Eric Blackman of the University of Rochester, and geologist Michael Watkeys of the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. They are studying the magnetic field record in southern Africa, and its relationship to the reversals of the Earth’s magnetic poles. During the Iron Age in southern Africa, (between 1000 and 1500 A.D.), agricultural communities ritually cleansed their villages by burning down huts and grain bins. The clay floors of the huts and grain bins reached temperatures hot enough to erase the magnetic information stored in the mineral magnetite, and create a new record of the magnetic field strength at the time of the fire. The scientists were able to use this information to understand the weakening of the magnetic field in the region. “It has long been thought reversals start at random locations, but our study suggests this may not be the case,” Tarduno said in a press release. To read about some of our earliest ancestors in Africa, go to "Toothsome Evidence."

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

From my diary

Today I decided to have a go at finishing off my posts on the references to Matthew 27:25 in patristic literature.  This has really dragged on, and I want it done.

At the moment I am working near Cambridge, in the UK, which means that it is possible for me to make use of the University Library.  So I decided to pay it a visit.  I left work at 3pm, fully aware of the terrible Cambridge traffic.

Among the items I sought was access to the 11 volume complete translation of Augustine’s sermons.  This was produced by New City Press, but is not held nearly as widely as it might.  I discovered that, although the University Library did not hold a copy, it was held by the Classics Faculty, based nearby.  (Indeed it was also held by the Divinity Faculty, but they close at 4pm during the vacation).

Anyway I toodled over there, along largely empty roads, and found that I could park on a meter in Sidgewick Road, more or less outside.  The library proved to be on the right immediately inside the main entrance, and a definite pleasure to use.  There was a whole section of Augustine, and cheap photocopying.  So I obtained the item I wanted, and went on to the UL.

The other items I sought were also patristic, so I found myself in South Wing 3, looking at the usual volumes, and cursing whoever decided to split the Sources Chretiennes volumes across two widely-separated bookshelves.  To my surprise, a stooped elderly gentleman seemed to be looking at the same parts of the library – something that has never happened to me.  After a brief struggle of memory, I recognised Allan Brent, although the recognition was not mutual.  Clearly he was swotting for his paper at the Oxford Patristic Conference, now only 10 days away.

Off to the photocopier room with the volumes, to discover that only two of the five photocopiers were in working order, and both occupied, even on this quiet afternoon.  The library profiteers pretty considerably on these, charging 15c USD a page – an incredible sum.  So you would have thought that they could be bothered to make sure that they work!  But I imagine that they are used only by visitors, and so not regarded as a priority; because university members could simply borrow the books, take them down the road, and scan them for nothing.

I was slightly frustrated to discover that the edition of Apponius in the Sources Chretiennes only covered the first 3 books of the work, while I needed a passage from book 12.  Oh well.

Another source I needed was Jerome’s homilies on Isaiah, of which Thomas Scheck has produced a translation in the Ancient Christian Writers series (no. 68) this very year.  But … the volume was an absurdity!  It was about as thick as three normal volumes in that series, and impossible to handle.  One can only suppose that the editors had a brainstorm.  Come on, chaps; why didn’t you divide it into three physical volumes?

A more serious problem was the index, which, I quickly discovered, only listed three references to Matthew 27:25, whereas my search of CETEDOC had reported five.  After much wrestling with the obscure CETEDOC reference, I found that this was correct, and that the index to the ACW volume was wrong.  I suppose that preparing indexes is a tedious task, usually delegated to someone junior.  In this case it did not work.

But the end result of all this was nearly a full house of photocopies of references, which will drift online in the next day or so.  And I finished by 4:30pm, and drove back to my hotel rejoicing!

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Handlist of British Library papyri acquired since 1956

Handlist of British Library papyri acquired since 1956
Details of newly-acquired papyri were historically recorded in the Catalogue of Additions published at periodic intervals over the years. The existing Catalogue of Additions series only includes papyri acquired before 1956. It had been intended to detail the later acquisitions in a future volume of the Catalogue of Additions, but as these are no longer published, the papyri (Papyrus 2923-3136, and Egerton Papyrus 37) have not been as widely known as they perhaps might be. In an effort to bring them to greater attention, we have compiled a short Register of Papyri Acquired since 1956, which can be downloaded as an Excel document. This gives details of British Library inventory number, details of publication where that is known, a Trismegistos number if extant, notes of any other papyri that originally formed part of the same document or book, source and date of acqusition, and a brief description of contents.

Only one item has been digitised, Papyrus 3053 (P. Oxy. 2470), but all these papyri would be included in any future digitisation project.

The bulk of the acquisitions are known to scholars, forming a large portion of the Hibeh Papyri (Papyrus 2943-3035), Volume 27 of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri (Papyrus 3036-3063), and many of the Michaelides papyri (Papyrus 3100-3132), though not all of the latter have been edited. In addition, other acquisitions, or items incorporated from “limbo” or transferred from other departments in the British Museum or British Library, are mostly fragmentary, but would certainly benefit from further study.

We are not aware of any current research being carried out on the items in this list, but always welcome details of editions, and offprints, where possible, which can be sent in the first instance to the Manuscripts and Maps Reference Team (
(via )

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

Augustine, Homily 229F and Matthew 27:25

I’ve made a bit of an effort today to finish off my series on references to Matthew 27:25 in patristic literature.  One of these references can be found in one of Augustine’s sermons, number 229F (which was one of those discovered by G. Morin in the 1930’s).

Today I was able to access the New City Press translation of all of Augustine’s sermons, in 11 very smart-looking volumes, and I thought that, as it is short, I’d just give this sermon complete.  Here it is.  I have omitted the footnotes, however.

    *    *    *    *

Date: after 418

We have believed in the resurrection of Christ, though we never saw it, on hearing the writings of those who didn’t believe, even when they saw.

1. Some people saw the resurrection of the Lord, others did not believe it when told about it; and they were chided by the Lord, now present among them, because they had not believed those who saw it and brought them the news. What a stupendous favor done to the nations, and to those born long afterward! What has God granted those who now fill the churches of Christ? The holy apostles had gone round with the Lord, heard the word of truth from his mouth, seen him raise the dead; and they didn’t believe that the Lord had risen. We though, born long afterward, have never seen his bodily presence, never heard a word from the mouth of his flesh, never observed with these eyes any miracle performed by him; and yet we have come to believe, on hearing what was written by those who at the time refused to believe. They didn’t believe a most recent event when news of it was brought them; they wrote something for us to read, we heard it, and we believe.

That the Lord Jesus, though, declined to appear to the Jews is because he did not judge them worthy to see the Lord Christ after the resurrection; he showed himself to his own people, not to strangers. And while his own people were preaching, strangers came to believe;4 and those who had been strangers became his own. I mean, many of those, as you can read in the Acts of the Apostles; many of those who crucified the Lord, who defiled themselves by shedding his blood; many of those who said, His blood be upon us and upon our children (Mt 27:25), later on came to believe the apostles bringing them the good news of the resurrection. His blood was indeed upon them, but it was to wash them, not to destroy them; well, upon some to destroy them, upon others to cleanse them; upon those to be destroyed, injustice; upon those to be cleansed, in mercy.

And now too, do all have faith? Just as at that time some of the Jews themselves believed, others did not, so too now with the nations; some have come to believe, others don’t believe. Not everyone has faith (2 Thes 3:2). Those who do have faith, though, believe by God’s grace; they mustn’t pride themselves on it. It’s a gift from God. Is the reason God chose us, do you suppose, that we were good? He didn’t choose good people, but people he wished to make good. We were all in the shadow of death, we were all being held, bundled together in the lump of sin coming from Adam. With the root infected, what sort of fruit could be born of the tree of the human race? But the one who would heal the infection came without infection, and the one who came to clean up sins came without sin.

How Jacob, in his wrestling with the angel, prefigured both the Jews who believed in Christ and those who rejected him.

2. Don’t concentrate on the Jews who are now chaff, that is, who derive from the threshing floor that was threshed then. I mean, if we were to think a bit, my brothers and sisters, from the Jews came the prophets, from the Jews the patriarchs, from the Jews the apostles, from the Jews the virgin Mary who gave birth to Christ, from the Jews later on came Paul as a believer, and so many thousands baptized on one day, from the Jews innumerable Churches of Christians. But all that grain is now stored in the granary; with the chaff the devil will be having his fun.

Believing Jews and unbelieving Jews. Where were they first condemned? In the first of them, in the father of all of them, Jacob himself, who was also called Israel. Jacob: “Supplanter” or “Heel”; Israel: “Seeing God.” When he returned from Mesopotamia with his children, an angel wrestled with him, representing Christ; and while he wrestled, though he surpassed him in strength, he still seemed to succumb to him, and Jacob to prevail. In the same sort of way the Lord Christ too succumbed to the Jews; they prevailed when they killed him.

He was overcome by superior strength; precisely when he was overcome, that was when he overcame for us. What’s that—when he was overcome was when he overcame for us? Because when he suffered, he shed the blood with which he redeemed us.

So then, that’s what’s written: Jacob prevailed over him. And yet Jacob himself, who was wrestling, acknowledged the mystery involved. A man, wrestling with an angel, prevailed over him; and when he said, Let me go, the one who had prevailed said, I am not letting you go, unless you bless me. O grand and splendid mystery! Overcome, he blesses, just as having suffered, he sets free; that is when the blessing was completed. What are you called? he said to him. He replied, Jacob. You shall not be called Jacob, he said, but you shall be called Israel (Gen 32:25-29). The imposition of such a great name is a great blessing. “Israel,” as I said, means “Seeing God”; one man’s name, everyone’s reward. Everyone’s; but provided they believe and are blessed, both Jews and Greeks. Greeks, you see, is what the apostle calls all nationalities, the reason being that the Greek language has such prestige among the nations. Glory, he says, and honor—they are the apostle’s words—glory and honor and peace to everyone doing good, to Jew first and Greek; wrath and indignation, trouble and distress on every soul doing evil, to Jews first and Greeks (Rom 2:10.9). Good for good Jews, bad for bad ones; good for good Gentiles, bad for bad ones.

If you have come to believe in Christ, recognize yourself as blessed; if you have denied Christ, recognize yourself as lame.

3. The Jews shouldn’t pat themselves on the back, and say, “There you are, Jacob all the same is our father; he prevailed over the angel and was blessed by the angel.”

We, though, reply, “People of Israel, look at yourself there. Israel isn’t what you are, it’s what you’re called, but aren’t; the name’s all wrong in you, the crime remains in you.”

But he says to me, “Look, my father is Jacob, my father is Israel. There’s the name; where’s the crime?”

“Read the story, discover yourself in it there. You see, it’s written there, And he touched Jacob on the breadth of his thigh, and it withered, and he began to limp (Gen 32:26). Jacob, one man, both blessed and lame. Blessed in whom, and lame in whom? If you have come to believe in Christ, recognize yourself as blessed. If you have denied Christ, recognize yourself as lame; it means, you see, that you are one of those about whom the prophet says, They have limped off from their paths (Ps 18:45).

Where were the holy women from, to whom the Lord first showed himself as he rose again? From the Jews, weren’t they? Where were the apostles from, who even if they didn’t believe the women when they first brought them the news, nonetheless heard Jesus himself later on, and acknowledged his rebuke, and adhered to his teaching? From the Jews, weren’t they? There’s Israel for you, blessed. But limping in many, blessed only in few; that, you see, is the breadth of the thigh—the majority of his race. It didn’t simply say, “He touched his thigh,” but the breadth of his thigh. Where you have the breadth of the thigh, you undoubtedly have the majority of the race. And what’s so surprising about that? I acknowledge the few grains, and I’m astonished at the heap of chaff? But I see what is due for the granary, and what for the flames. And now, let them listen; they’re still alive; let them correct their limping, let them come to the blessing.

Archaeology Magazine

Bulgaria rakia distillationSOFIA, BULGARIA—The Sofia News Agency reports that while excavating the medieval Lyutitsa fortress above the town of Ivaylovgrad, a team led by archaeologist Filip Petrunov discovered a fragment of a vessel used for the distillation of rakia, a traditional fruit brandy that is still enjoyed today. The fragment, which dates to the eleventh century, is the second vessel for the distillation of rakia to be found in the fortress, and the third one to have been found in Bulgaria. All three vessels date to the eleventh century. It has been argued that Bulgarians did not begin to produce rakia until the sixteenth century. To read about the art of wine-making in ancient France, go to "French Wine, Italian Vine."

Lithuania Great SynagogueJERUSALEM, ISRAEL—The Israel Antiquities Authority announced in a press release that significant remains of the Great Synagogue and Shulhof of Vilna have been mapped with ground-penetrating radar. The international research team was led by John Seligman of the Israel Antiquities Authority, Zenonas Baubonis of the Culture Heritage Conservation Authority of Lithuania, and Richard Freund of the University of Hartford. The Great Synagogue, built in the seventeenth century in the Renaissance-Baroque style, was the oldest monument of Jewish culture in Lithuania. The structure was eventually surrounded by 12 synagogues, the community council, kosher meat stalls, the Strashun library, and a ritual bath complex. Vilna’s Jewish community was destroyed by the Nazis during World War II, and the remains of the buildings were later demolished by the Soviets. A school was built on the site, but the new survey revealed sections of the Great Synagogue and traces of what may have been the miqva’ot, or ritual bath complex. Plans are being made to excavate the site next year. To read more about how archaeology has shed light on Napoleon's experience in the city of Vilnius, go to "Digging Napoleon's Dead."

The Heroic Age

Gendered Spaces

Kalamazoo 2016 #Kzoo2016

Gendered Spaces
Hortulus-sponsored session

Session organizer and presider: Melissa Ridley Elmes, co-editor of Hortulus

The concept of gendered spaces—areas in which particular genders and types of gender expression are considered welcome or appropriate while other gender types are unwelcome or inappropriate—is a key element in the study of human geography. Gendering spaces is one way in which social systems maintain the organization of gender, and can preserve and dictate the accepted norms of gendered behavior, as well as relationships and hierarchies between men and women. Studying gendered spaces—environments, landscapes, and other places that have been designated specifically for “men” or for “women,” as well as the “public-private” divide often defined with men in public and women in private spaces, for example—can provide us with important knowledge of the ways in which the spaces we inhabit reinforce our cultural positions from a gendered perspective; for instance, how such spaces serve to segregate or to unify, to reinforce or subvert traditional forms of masculinity and femininity. This understanding, in turn, can shed light on existing power structures and the conflicts and issues that arise between men and women in a given culture.

This session seeks to examine the subject of gendered spaces from a medieval vantage point, considering ways in which medieval society powerfully shaped and sought to control ideas of masculinity and femininity through the public and private spaces that were designated for men and women and how those spaces were used. We hope to attract an interdisciplinary panel of papers including studies from historians, art historians, and literary scholars that will extend our thinking about gender in the medieval period. The session shares a theme with our Fall, 2016 issue of Hortulus: The Online Graduate Journal of Medieval Studies, and we hope to be able to publish in that issue some of the papers delivered in this session. As our journal mission is to support the professionalization efforts of graduate students, the session is organized, presided over, and comprises papers given by current graduate students.

Abstracts, brief bio, and participant information form to Melissa Ridley Elmes ( by September 15, 2015.

ArcheoNet BE

Antwerpse Museumnacht op 1 augustus

Op zaterdag 1 augustus openen de Antwerpse musea voor de 11de keer ‘s nachts hun deuren. Naast de vaste collecties en tentoonstellingen zijn er tijdens de Museumnacht ook onder meer nachtelijke rondleidingen, een 19de-eeuwse fotoshoot, geluidsinterventies en een huwelijksfeest met dans. Op kan je alle activiteiten bekijken en je eigen programma samenstellen.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Pompei

Open Pompei
Open Pompei is a European Commission-funded project aimed at promoting a culture of transparency and open data in the archaeology profession. To achieve this goal, it takes the roads less travelled: a constant dialogue with social innovators, civic hackers, social enterprises, with a focus on the central node of Pompeii.
Progetto "Open Pompei" – finanziato a valere sul PON Governance e Assistenza Tecnica 2007-2013 – Obiettivo Operativo 1.4: Azioni "mirate" per il sostegno e lo sviluppo di capacità della Pubblica Amministrazione nell'attuazione di interventi della politica di coesione territoriale – CUP: G61I12000360006

The Acta Sanctorum Online

[First posted in AWOL 20 June 2012, updated 29 July 2015]

Roger Pearse in his excellent blog Thoughts on Antiquity, Patristics, putting things online, freedom of speech, information access, and more, has collected the open access manifestations of the Acta Sanctorum in: 

Volumes of the Acta Sanctorum online
    UPDATE: See also this site with links to the French Bibliotheque Nationale copies.


      Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

      Toward an Ottoman Archaeology

      I really enjoyed Benjamin Anderson’s recent article in the new and more frequent Journal of Field Archaeology. Anderson considers Ottoman attitudes toward antiquities and challenges the long-held view that Ottoman society did not have a coherent discourse or substantial interest in antiquities. 

      Any discussion of “Ottoman” society is tricky, of course, because the Ottomans only rarely promoted a single, national discourse as one might expect from contemporary European nation-states. As a result, Anderson turns his attention to evidence for a “local” archaeological discourse through a series of case studies that explore the removal of antiquities from Ottoman cities by European agents in collaboration with the Ottoman state. He described how the removal of the Incantadas in Thessaloniki and the Parthenon metopes from Athens both encountered determined local resistance. While the latter case study is relatively well known, the former was more dramatic. The Incantadas were part of a Roman period portico built into a Jewish home in Thessaloniki. The efforts of the French to dismantle and remove this structure to Paris met resistance both from the Jewish community as well as the Turks and the Greeks of the city. In both cases, the European agents attempting to remove the antiquities reported that the locals believed that the statues were prominent residents of the community who had been turned to stone. Anderson unpacks this story and suggests that they might represent both a sense of local pride in the communities’ past achievements and their sense of petrified helplessness in the face of the authority of the state. The strong reaction to the removal of these antiquities and the parallels between the two incidents hints that local residents of the Ottoman world developed identities that involved interpretation of local antiquities. 

      One thing that I did notice was missing from this article was any reflection on Christian traditions of archaeology which date to at least as early as St. Helena’s excavation of the True Cross and continued, at least in hagiographic texts, through the Ottoman and into the modern period. The discovery of lost icons, earlier religious buildings, and various relics through excavation reflects a consistent attitude toward antiquities as well as a view of excavation as reveling a lost part of the past. Considering the constant interaction between various religious groups, it would be interesting to know whether some Christian ideas about the relationship between the past and the present made inroads into larger considerations of archaeological identity. For example, was part of the mystery and power of ancient statues related to the concept of icons or relics which both represented past holy men and women and literally embodied their sacred status.   

      For some reason the Byzantine period continues to be overlooked in studies of the post-ancient reception of antiquities. Scholars are eager to identify continuities between the modern and early modern period without giving much consideration of the intervening processes that shaped mnemonic practices. I continue to think that the Byzantine period plays a key role in understanding how early modern and even modern Greeks (or Ottoman subjects) constructed a relationship with their archaeological past. 

      Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

      Open Access Journal: Archeomafie

       [First posted in AWOL 8 September 2011, updated (domain expired, but copies of the four existing volumes are on 29 July 2015]

      ISSN: 2036-4539
      "Archeomafie", Rivista dell’Osservatorio Internazionale Archeomafie - IRCECH. A cura di Tsao Cevoli, Anno I, n.1 (2009), ISSN: 2036-4539. “Archeomafie” è la prima rivista scientifica in Italia appositamente e interamente dedicata all’analisi del fenomeno del furto, dello scavo clandestino e del traffico illecito di reperti archeologici su scala nazionale ed internazionale nel presente e nel passato, bandisce un concorso di partecipazione per il III numero, che sarà pubblicato a inizi 2011, aperto a tutti i contributi scientifici sul tema, compresi articoli sulla legislazione in materia e studi che mirino ricostruire e chiarire la probabile provenienza di opere d’arte e reperti archeologici di “provenienza sconosciuta” presenti nel mercato antiquario o in possesso di case d’asta, collezioni e musei.
      Archeomafie, I, 2009
      Archeomafie, II, 2010
      Archeomafie, III, 2011
      Archeomafie, IV, 2012

      James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

      How To Grow A Church


      I was struck by the headline that a man had “grown a church” – entirely from trees – in four years. Apparently he had some high-tech help. But I soon thought that it would be interesting to compare what is involved in growing what many people call a “church” today – i.e. a building – with what growing a church really ought to mean, i.e. growth of a congregation.

      Often the aim of churches is to have lots of people convert and begin attending. But that involves either transplanting (= “sheep-stealing”) or planting seeds and waiting a very long time.

      But that isn’t what “growth” normally means. Shouldn’t the focus be on the actual growth – the development towards spiritual maturity, increasing in knowledge and understanding – of whoever attends?

      Perhaps the biggest issue is not that we have forgotten what “church” means, but that we have also forgotten what growth means.

      But back to the article for just a second. Would you attend the “Tree Church” mentioned in the article? Why or why not?

      Archaeological News on Tumblr

      Archaeologists have unearthed a 2 thousand years old mosaic

      Mosaic floor has been discovered by a Polish-Georgian archaeological expedition in a room of Roman...

      James Clackson et al. (Greek in Italy)

      From Neapolis to Calimera

      Last week was our second “Greek in Italy” project trip to the south of Italy. Like our last trip in September 2014, I’m sure that pictures and thoughts from this trip will keep bubbling up in my blog posts and articles for quite some time. But even though we’ve only just got back and I’ve not had time to go through all my notes and photos yet, I wanted to write a quick summary of what we did – partly to show off some great sites and museums which deserve more visitors, and partly to help remind myself later.

      We started out in Paestum, which boasts some of Italy’s most beautiful and well-preserved Greek temples, dating from the sixth and fifth centuries BC. Today it’s a popular tourist sight, and rightly so. The temples are (mostly) not reconstructed – their amazing state of preservation made them a key sight of the Grand Tour. There are even some Early Modern engravings showing the temples all overgrown and disused.


      There were plenty of inscriptions around the site to keep us busy, mostly in Latin. Inscriptions in Greek, Oscan and Latin have been discovered at Paestum, making it a very important site for research on ancient multilingualism in Campania and Lucania. We don’t know exactly which ancient region Paestum would have been in, since ancient authors aren’t always specific about borders: Paestum is in modern Campania, but is often considered to be part of ancient Lucania because of the use of Oscan in the Greek alphabet there.


      Next we traveled to Velia, also known in Greek as Elea, home of several famous pre-Socratic Greek philosophers, the Eleatics. One of the main attractions of the site for me was the view, which naturally made me feel very philosophical. We made sure to take some time to ponder whether change is impossible (as believed by Parmenides) and a couple of Zeno’s paradoxes on the way up the hill.


      Next we travelled to Roccagloriosa – a non-Greek site whose original Oscan name isn’t recorded in any ancient source. It’s near the later Roman colony of Buxentum, but distinct from it. Again, the views were brilliant – I think the whole team was in agreement that Basilicata (ancient Lucania) has some of the best landscapes in Italy. You can just about see the sea to the right-hand side of the picture below – I’d never realised that the sea would be visible from Roccagloriosa at all, despite having read about it for several years.


      Roccagloriosa is a fascinating site, and despite its relative obscurity two important Oscan inscriptions have been found there. The longer text is a fragment of a bronze law, one of the earliest legal texts in Italy. Nick and I have written an article on this text, so it was great to see it in person again.


      Excavators also found a piece of lead which bears both a commercial text in Greek (probably some kind of receipt) and a curse in Oscan. The photo below is a close-up in which you can just about see the small letters scratched on the lead.


      The next day, we returned to Paestum to visit the museum. This silver disc with an obscure inscription in the Achaean alphabet attracted our attention. Even though it’s very clear indeed, it’s still not well understood. We’re not even sure what a couple of the letters are supposed to be (any suggestions for the letter on the left which looks like a tau with two legs?).


      Of course we also had to visit Paestum’s fantastic tomb paintings. In general art history seems to prefer the paintings from the “Greek” era of the town, but we also have a fondness for the later “Lucanian” paintings. Most of these show gladiators stabbing each other, but there are also some evocative scenes of funerals and the afterlife, including a demon welcoming a woman’s soul into a boat to the underworld.



      We then travelled to Metaponto, where we found this great early example of the Achaean Greek alphabet. By the time we got to Metaponto it was 41 degrees, and even the Italians were wilting a little.


      Moving on to Puglia the next day, we travelled to Brindisi. Ancient Brundisium was at the very end of the Appian Way, the main road south from Rome. This is the column which marked the end of the ancient road. I’ve seen quite a bit of the Appian way this year in Rome and Capua, so it was great to feel like I’d finally completed that journey.


      Brindisi has an extensive epigraphic collection in its museum, which kept us busy looking at many interesting borrowings and contact effects between Greek and Latin. Brindisi also takes its strong Classical heritage pretty seriously, since many early Latin authors including Pacuvius, Ennius and Livius Andronicus were from Brundisium, Tarentum and the surrounding area. Though the Ennius quote they’ve displayed was perhaps not the most exciting one they could have found.


      On the Thursday, we went to the Grotta della Poesia in Roca, near Otranto, where we were shown around by Dott.ssa Mazzotta of the University of Salento. This was not only a beautiful beach resort, but also an incredible source of Messapic, Greek and Latin inscriptions, all hidden away in a huge cave. Before we arrived, we had no idea just how many inscriptions there were – but it turned out that the entire cave is covered in writing, which often overlaps and covers previous generations’ messages. We’d like to thank the British School at Rome for helping us set up this visit.




      Since we were in the area, we also swung by the town of Calimera (Greek for “good morning”), which is one of the few towns in Italy where Greek is still spoken, in the form of the dialect Griko. We were rewarded by several signs and posters written partly in Griko, which our resident Greek speaker had a go at translating for us.


      On our final day, we visited Canosa and Venosa on our way back to Naples. Canosa has a very interesting Daunian history, which we all know relatively little about, as well as some evidence of a Greek presense there. I was quite taken with this dice marked with the first six Greek letters instead of numbers or dots (note the digamma on the left hand side for the sixth letter).


      Venosa was a Roman colony, called Venusia, but the museum there also includes some Oscan and Latin material from the nearby town of Bantia. This block is part of a dedication to Jupiter, written in Oscan in the Latin alphabet.


      Before we flew back to the UK at the end of the week, we also went round the touristy but very fun Naples Underground tour, where we saw remains of Greek and Roman cisterns, and the flats and hotels built into the ancient theatre – highly recommended if you’re visiting Naples. We also visited the Roman street preserved underneath the Chiesa di San Lorenzo nearby.

      And so what did all that look like? Something like this:

      2015 trip map

      It’s been a very valuable trip for me – there’s nothing quite like putting the inscriptions and literature I’m working on in their context, and getting to see the landscapes and towns where this writing was produced. I feel very lucky to have taken not one but two trips to southern Italy with this project. Here’s one last photo of the team at the Grotta della Poesia, looking hot but pleased with our discoveries.


      Ben Blackwell (Dunelm Road)

      Making it on Amazon Rankings

      Reading Romans in ContextSo our Reading Romans in Context: Paul and Second Temple Judaism was officially released yesterday. A friend tweeted that it was on high on an Amazon ranking, even beating out N.T. Wright for something. When I first went looking I searched under “Amazon Hot New Releases”. Then I drilled down through various sub-options: “books,” “Christian books,” and then “Bible Studies” to get here. We were sitting at #16 at the beginning of the evening, and already dropped to #19 by last night. Glory is fleeting.

      Then I went and looked at the specific page for our book, my heart was elevated again. We were listed as #1 New Release in Paul’s Letters. That was cool and then I even noticed that we’re beating out an N.T. Wright book: Paul and His Recent Interpreters.

      So, I learned my lesson. I can be number 1 if I just draw the circle small enough. As I always tell my wife, she is my favorite wife. : )

      Archaeological News on Tumblr

      First glimpse inside the Siberian cave that holds the key to man's origins

      These exclusive pictures show the world famous Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains from which a...

      Canaanite rulers liked their wine jars: Vast collection found at Tel Kabri

      What may be the biggest concentration of storage jars in ancient Canaan has been uncovered at the...

      James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

      To be Christian is to be Self-Critical

      Thom Stark quote

      Thom Stark wrote the words below on Facebook, and it seemed not just worthwhile but important to share them with a wider audience.

      Some Americhristians really, really don’t like it when you point out that slavery and polygamy are endorsed by the Bible. Some Americhristians really, really don’t like it when you point out that America’s wealth was generated by slave-labor over hundreds of years. Some Americhristians really don’t like it when you hold up a mirror. Lots of hissing. Lots of scratching. Lots of turning away. Not a lot of Jesusy stuff though. How can you be a Christian and not be, first and foremost, self-critical? How can you be a Christian and not understand that the Golden Rule is a command for you to obey, not a Bill of Rights to protect you? How can you be a Christian and care more about your own special privileges than the basic human rights of the Other? How can you be a Christian and stand with the executioner against the executed? The answer is: you cannot. You are not a Christian. You are not a Christian. You are an American who wields a book that says “Love your enemies” as a weapon of social domination. You do not belong to Jesus, and he does not belong to you. Jesus does not live in your heart. Look closer. Closer. Do you see Jesus in there? Well, none of us do.

      Jim Davila (

      Review of Stratton et al. (eds.), Daughters of Hecate

      <img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

      Doug's Archaeology: Investigating the Profession and Research

      ArcheoFOSS: free/open source software and archaeological research, ten years later

      Another batch of videos from CAA– this time on a subject near and dear to my heart:

      In 2006, when the first “Italian workshop on free/open source software and open formats in the archaeological research process” took place at the University of Siena, the whole idea of “adopting” different software tools seemed largely irrelevant and out of scope, even from the point of view of archaeological computing. Today, open source is technically ubiquitous in the form of cloud computing and mobile platforms – and it may seem again pointless to defend its adoption or usage as “revolutionary” or transformative in any sense for archaeological practice. Yet, communities of archaeologists continue to gather and discuss the topic, create and share tools (admittedly, without any ground-breaking advance for the discipline), sustaining the adoption of FOSS in higher education, training and CRM.

      There have been several “open source” sessions at past CAA conferences, but it seems more appropriate to take a chance at discussing the merits, challenges and drawbacks that the FOSS movement in archaeology has brought to the wider discipline, altogether avoiding balkanisation in the form of “ghetto” show-case sessions. Therefore, we are proposing a session to encourage submissions tackling especially the actual impact of FOSS on archaeological practice, and looking beyond to the diffusion of software development tools (e.g. git) in digital archaeology, the need of nurturing a free software ecosystem for archaeology without losing focus on the actual aim – an ambiguity that is perhaps shared by the wider CAA audience – without limiting to software strictu sensu, it is clear that open hardware development and the “makers” movement have a valuable potential as ingredients of a DIY toolchain.

      #epicfail? Has Open Source in archaeology failed?

      Authors: Gabriele Gattiglia, Francesca Anichini

      Abstract: And then one day you find ten years have got behind you from the first ArcheoFOSS edition. The impact of Open Source in archaeology has been surprisingly (?) limited, it have not been part of any radical development in how we conduct archaeology, and in the last years has suffered a loss of appeal among researchers and archaeologists. The use of open source software should have overcome the limitations dictated by software currently used, leading the use of computer applications in archaeology to match with the goals, needs, and aspirations of archaeologists. Open Source has had the possibility to create computer application not simply derived from proprietary software, but applications create appositely by and for archaeologists. This path was too often neglected. Why? Two main reasons can be identified. The first can be viewed in theory ladennes. Open source was a computer science issue, the transposition to archaeology was not associated with a strong theoretical approach. Open Source was not able to propose new development, new forms of doing archaeology, that include new ways, and standards, of handling, processing and modeling information. This is related to the insufficient recognition that the intersection of computer application and archaeology provides new paradigms and/or research venues. Open Source in archaeology goes beyond the mere application of software, in fact, it represents an area where archaeologists can focus on discussion about the nature of archaeological data, their definition, representation and manipulation. ArcheoFOSS seems on the point of losing this battle, just when a new nourishment, in form of a more theoretical approach, is coming from the introduction of open access and open data instances. The second reason is connected to education and formation. There is an absence of a proper academic curriculum: Open Source skills can’t be relegate solely in post-graduate courses. On the contrary, it’s necessary to provide future archaeologists with a level of competency both in archaeology and computer science such as to enable them to move from one discipline to another with ease, and to generate novel insight. Only proper training can permit them to engage in the development of new IT tools consonant with archaeological interests, and to foster a deeper conceptual understanding of how applications work as a necessary step towards the creation of new ones. The full benefits of Open Source would only be possible if such preparation is in place for archaeologists to reap the benefits themselves. No one told us when to run, did we miss the starting gun?

      Building domain-agnostic databases using design patterns

      Authors: Ian Johnson

      Abstract: The conventional approach to designing SQL databases is tightly coupled to the specifics of the data to be recorded; tables typically reflect the entities modelled, the relationships between these entities and lookups for controlled values; the interface software is built to manage those structures. Consequently, this approach to managing data tends to generate problem-specific databases, which are tightly tied to a particular method of recording. The structure itself carries much of the semantic payload, which may also be embedded in locally programmed functions. While there are plenty of tools for streamlining development, from database wizards to UML and frameworks, this approach to database design is ultimately a programming approach with limited portability across projects. At the other end of the spectrum, spreadsheets have a very low entry barrier and can be very efficient for handling structurally simple and repeatable datasets, such as specialist analyses involving samples, quantification and graphical display. However, when turned towards heterogenous collections which should be modelled as separate entities and relationships, they have encouraged unspeakable crimes against data modelling! Such spreadsheet ‘databases’ may end up a spaghetti soup of multiple entities per table, rampant redundancy, uncontrolled coding, multiple values per cell, positional significance, and cells blown out with discursive text. They are often a response to the mismatch between the data modelling required and the expertise and/or technical resources available. In the mid 1990s, Jens Andressen and Torsten Madsen at Aarhus University developed an elegant model for their IDEA database system, which reduced the archaeological excavation landscape to just three main tables – deposits, finds and constructs – which could then be adapted to a wide range of different recording systems. A decade later I started designing Heurist ( based on an even simpler database construct of just two main tables – records and data values – which are agnostic on the nature of the entities recorded. The records table simply defines the record type and provides a foreign key value identifying the set of key-value pairs in the data values table which form an entity (as with IDEA, another 40 tables manage the coding and content of these tables). A further decade later, the FAIMS project ( is using an internal database with the same two main tables – entities and attributes – for their field data collection tablet app and synchronisation server. In this paper I will show how widely disparate archaeological data can be modeled in such a meta-database hosted on top of a conventional relational database manager (Access for IDEA, MySQL for Heurist, SQLite for FAIMS). The key to these systems is not to deal directly with the structure of the data, but to identify commonly occurring database design patterns and to implement generic procedures to handle them independent of context. In the paper I will formally define a set of design patterns appropriate to archaeological data, and assess the Heurist and FAIMS applications against this set of patterns. By doing this we can identify opportunities for further development.

      Archaeological science as community enterprise

      Authors: Néhémie Strupler

      Abstract If 10 years ago it seemed largely irrelevant and out of scope to adopt FOSS (Free and OpenSource Software), the setting dramatically changed. Nowadays to address methodological and
      theoretical issues in archaeology, FOSS are attractive and promise access to powerful toolboxes accompanied with lifelong sustainability. An unexpected or unintended outgrowth of the adoption of FOSS is the interaction with FOSS Communities and the philosophy of software development. Such communities “are a global melting pot of diverse professions and skills that contribute to the progression of the goals represented by the software” (Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, s.v. “Humanitarian-FOSS”). Thus, archaeologist adopting FOSS deals with free, informal and wider communities, so-called FOSS communities. Each software or a specific package develops a community maintaining the software, providing advices, case examples, advertising and developing new tools. Looking for help, new ideas, possibilities of new tasks, reading or collaborate in the development of FOSS give access for archaeologist to others, less formal, but scientific communities. Platforms like Wikipedia or Stack Overflow challenge scientific communication and the reward principle driven by the traditional academic. This paper addresses how FOSS and FOSS-communities provide a common language and goal through which foreign disciplines are revisited. It also takes this different perspectives to look how this framework could enrich and challenge science and more specifically archaeological research.

      pyArchInit- python for archaeology – Part II

      Authors Luca Mandolesi

      Abstract “PyArchInit- python for archaeology”, presented in 2013 at the CAA of Southampton had reached an important goal: the birth of a new users and developers community. PyArchInit is a plug-in for the open source software Qgis, developed by archaeologists for archaeologists. The plugin allows any archaeologist to works in a single environment, using alphanumerical sheets and specifics geo-tables through specific GUI. Everyday we develop new part of the project, building routines that emulate the way of thinking of the archaeologist, and make faster, easy and precise the job for the researcher. One important innovation about PyArchInit is the Time-Factor: through a sperimental script we build a specific index to manage the position of any geometry in the temporal dimension, independently by elevation. Also we had augmented the way of exporting data in PDF formats and the system of the interaction on Qgis canvas with the stratigraphy directly through the Harris Matrix or the through the Stratigraphics rapport.Also the development of statistics and geostatistcs about archaeological records continue. In fact has been improved the tool for spatial analysis with R softwere to make prediction map, graphics and statistics reports.Here we want to show all news of pyArchInit and to provide a tool for archaeological documentation and excavation management.

      To see more videos like these please go to the YouTube channel Recording Archaeology-

      Jim Davila (

      Review of Seland, Reading Philo

      <img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

      Antiquity Now

      Bon Appetit Wednesday! Celebrate National Lasagna Day With Eggplant Lasagna Rollups

      Today is National Lasagna Day and it is a holiday that begs to be celebrated in a big way. Of course, if you’re vegan or gluten-free, you’re probably running as fast as you can from the festivities. AntiquityNOW to the … Continue reading

      Thibaut Castelli (Spartokos a Lu)

      Les kourganes scythes de Zolotobalka du Ve-IVe s. av. n. è. dans la région de Kherson

      Polin, S. V. (214) : Скифский Золотобалковский курганный могильник V–IV вв. до н. э. на Херсонщине / Skifskij Zolotobalkovskij kurgannyj mogil’nik V–IV vv. do n. é. na Khersonshchine, Kiev [Les kourganes scythes de Zolotobalka du  Ve-IVe s. av. n. è. dans la région de Kherson]

      L’auteur est un spécialiste  de la présence scythe dans cette région.  Il publie les fouilles de 12 kourganes de la région découverts à Zolotobalka, près du Dniepr dans la région de Cherson. Ces 12 tumulus sont décrits avec leur inventaire funéraire et replacé dans le contexte des autres tombes scythes, mais aussi des échanges avec les Grecs.

      Livre en russe avec un résumé en allemand.

      Le sommaire : sommaire Polin


      Jim Davila (

      Schmidt (ed.), Contextualizing Israel's Sacred Writings

      <img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

      Are sources cited in the Hebrew Bible fabricated?

      <img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

      Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

      Tecniche fotogrammetrie per ricostruire antiche navi per il trasporto del marmo

      "Le rotte del marmo” è un progetto di ricerca archeologica portato avanti da alcuni ricercatori delle Università Ca’ Foscari e IUAV dedicato allo studio degli antichi viaggi marini di carichi di marmi durante l'età romana imperiale naufragati nei mari dell’Italia meridionale grazie all'impiego di tecnologie per la ricostruzione 3D di antiche navi romane oggi sommerse nelle acque del Mediterraneo. In particolare, è la fotogrammetria la tecnologia applicata per questo studio. 

      Dal 3D al GIS: nuova sessione del Laboratorio

      Si svolgerà dal 24 al 29 Agosto 2015 una nuova sessione del Laboratorio organizzato dall'Associazione Culturale Minerva dal titolo "Dal 3D al GIS - Laboratorio per l'archeologia. Nuovi metodi per rilevare, documentare e pubblicare il dato Archeologico". Il laboratorio è aperto agli studenti della Scuola di Lettere e Beni Culturali di Ravenna e per ogni persona interessata all’uso delle tecnologie digitali applicate alla documentazione, gestione e fruizione del Patrimonio Archeologico.

      Archeologia marina: prosegue il Progetto ITACA per l'applicazione di nuove tecnologie

      Si è appena conclusa una imponente campagna di studio sui siti archeologici di Metohi e Glaros, nel meraviglioso Golfo Pagasitikos, nella Grecia orientale.

      Jim Davila (

      Ashkelon 2015

      <img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

      Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

      The Real Threat to Collecting: Collectors' Attitudes

      Focusing on reactions to the proposed German regulations and the opposition of certain sectors of the antiquities trade to change:
      "in a world where public image is so vital, the blinkered, arrogant, hideously uninformed, rabidly anti-academic and recklessly intransigent attitudes of that lobby group pose as great, if not greater, a threat to the future of collecting than most of the "anticollecting ideologues" put together".
      David Knell, 'The subtle art of passing the buck: it's always someone else's fault' Ancient Heritage Saturday, 25 July 2015.

      Laura Gibbs (Bestiaria Latina Blog)

      Latin Proverbs and Fables Round-Up: July 29

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

      HODIE (Roman Calendar): ante diem quartum Kalendas Augustas.

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


      TINY PROVERBS: Today's tiny proverb is: Nocumentum documentum (English: An injury is a lesson).

      3-WORD MOTTOES: Today's 3-word verb-less motto is Paulatim, sed firmiter (English: Slowly but surely).

      ANIMAL PROVERBS: Today's animal proverb is Aliena capella distentius uber habet (English: The neighbor's goat has a fuller udder).

      POLYDORUS: Today's proverb from Polydorus is: Argento obediunt omnia (English: All things obey the coin).

      PROPER NAME PROVERBS: Today's proper name proverb from Erasmus is Pasetis semiobolus (English: The half-penny of Pases; from Adagia 2.7.31 - Pases was a famous magician who would pay for his purchases and would then use a conjuring trick so that the coins ended up back in his own pocket).

      GREEK PROVERBS: Today's proverb is Καρκῖνος ὀρθα βαδίζειν οὐ μεμάθηκεν (English: The crab never learned to walk straight).

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

      And here are today's proverbial LOLcats:

      Caelestia sequor.
      I pursue heavenly things.

      Qui quaerit, invenit.
      He who seeks, finds.


      FABULAE FACILES: The fable from the Fabulae Faciles widget is Tigris et Venatores, the sad story of the tiger and her cubs (this fable has a vocabulary list).

      MILLE FABULAE: The fable from the Mille Fabulae et Una widget is Lupus, Umbra Eius, et Leo, the story of self-important wolf.

      Lupus et Umbra Eius


      Latin Fables Read by Justin Slocum Bailey. Here is today's audio fable: Leo et Pastor, with links to the audio and to the blog post.

      leo et pastor

      Francesca Tronchin (Classical Archaeology News)

      Antiquities Found on Shipwreck That Carried Elgin Marbles



      Lord Elgin collected other Greek antiquities besides the sculptures taken from the Parthenon, finds a new survey at the site of the British ship Mentor, which sank off southern Greece more than 200 years ago carrying marbles from the Acropolis to London.

      During a two-week search that ended on July 12, Greek Culture Ministry divers explored the wreck of the Mentor, off the island of Kythera and found three ancient handles of Rhodian amphoras and a small stone vessel. The handles date to the 3rd century B.C. and belong to jars made in the island of Rhodes. Two are stamped.

      The findings confirm the theory that other antiquities besides the Partenon marbles were aboard the ship. Read more.

      Noel Tan (The Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog)

      India pivots eastwards to Southeast Asia

      A conference was held last week in New Delhi on the cultural links between India and Southeast Asia with the aim of establishing research links between India and Southeast Asia.

      India, Asean reconnect through ancient cultural linkages, 23 July 2015

      “Political security and economic cooperation must go hand in hand with the socio-cultural connection and people-to-people linkages,” he said.

      Citing examples, he said that excavations have found evidence of Indian links in the first century AD in Myanmar in the city of Beikthano, also known as City of Vishnu. Coins, statues of Hindu deities, and statues of the Buddha have been found.

      In central Thailand, evidence of Indian influence is found through Dvaravati form of representing the Buddha, in the 2nd century AD, which is derived from Indian Amaravati and Gupta styles, which were integrated with local art.

      In Cham, in southern Vietnam, there is evidence of extensive influence of Indian culture, through many ancient Shiva temples.

      Evidence has been found of extensive trade with the Southeast Asian countries from the Gupta dynasty in the 4th-6th century AD. Tamralipti, an ancient Indian city in the Bay of Bengal, was a busy centre of maritime trade, with ships travelling to the Malay peninsula, the Nicobar islands and to the Strait of Malacca.

      Trade with the Asean is an important aspect of India’s links with the region, and India is its fourth largest trading partner, he said.

      Full story here.

      Singapore archaeology needs a permanent home

      I think the headline of the article is misleading – after all, archaeologists always need funds and resources, but the key point of the story is that archaeology in Singapore needs to be supported as a government funded agency or a university department, and not through volunteer labour and short term contract jobs as is the case today. This is not only to research the substantial backlog of material that has been unearthed thus far, but also assist in future heritage impact assessments and archaeological surveys.

      As an Singaporean archaeologist (who is not working in Singapore) I can understand the pressures faced by my colleagues. Most archaeological work has been done by volunteers, who have done a great job in helping with excavations and sorting of material. However, other essential work such as the analysis of finds, organisation of collections and dissemination of research require more specialised expertise and resources, and such capacity is not available. This call for a professionalised archaeological unit is not new, but is as yet unresolved.

      Singapore archaeologists Lim Chen Sian and John Miksic. Source: Straits Times 20150727

      Singapore archaeologists Lim Chen Sian and John Miksic. Source: Straits Times 20150727

      Archaeologists in need of funds and resources
      The Straits Times, 27 July 2015

      Singapore’s two archaeologists, dogged for years by lack of interest in the field and scant resources, are hoping the Government will pump “several million dollars” into the discipline, to pay for more staff and activities over the next 50 years.

      Mr Lim Chen Sian, who led a recent Empress Place dig which yielded artefacts such as centuries-old Chinese imperial grade ceramics, is also creating a registry of archaeological sites so people can be alerted to their historical value before the wrecking balls descend.

      The authorities are also keen for archaeology to play a bigger role in piecing together Singapore’s past.

      Full story here.

      Shawn Graham (Electric Archaeology)

      Working out the kinks in a VisualSFM via Docker workflow

      Not these kinks.

      VSFM, for those who’ve tried it, is a right huge pain in the arse to install. Ryan Bauman has done us all a huge favour by dockerizing it. His explanation of this is here – and once you’ve figured out some of the kinks, this is much easier way of working with it.

      Ah yes, the kinks.

      First of all, before we go any further, why would you want to do this? Isn’t 123D Catch enough? It is certainly easier, I grant you that. And it does a pretty good job. But structure-from-motion applications each approach the job differently – Ryan does a comparison here on the same objects. Some of those applications are very expensive indeed. VSFM is free to use, and can be called from the command line, and with care and practice one can get very good results. (What really caught everyone’s eye on twitter the other day was Ryan’s workflow for generating 3d objects from found drone aerial footage. HOW COOL IS THAT.). So I set out to replicate it.

      First things first: you need to go to Docker and install it (here is a post wherein I futz with Docker to run Rstudio).

      Now, Ryan’s container (that we will use in a moment) also comes with the handy youtube-dl for grabbing youtube videos, and another package for manipulating and cutting stills out of that video.  What follows are my notes to myself (in which I sometimes copy-and-pasted from others’ posts, to remind me what I was trying to do) as I work through the first part of Ryan’s workflow – from downloading the video to generating the point cloud. The meshlab texturing stuff will be a follow-up post.

      1. Initialize and run boot2docker from the command line, creating a new Boot2Docker VM.

      $ boot2docker init

      This creates a new virtual machine. You only need to run this command once.

      Start the boot2docker VM.

      $ boot2docker start

      Set the environment variables in your shell do the following:

      $ eval "$(boot2docker shellinit)"

      Then this:

      $ docker run -i -t ryanfb/visualsfm /bin/bash

      first time, will take a long time to download everything you need. This is Ryan’s container – the next time you go to do this, it’ll spin up very quickly indeed (one of the advantages of Docker; it’s a virtual machine with just the bits you need!) Then:

      $ youtube-dl ''

      downloads a file from youtube called:
      The Red Church Dating to the late 5thearly 6th century-3v-wvbNiZGY.mp4

      let’s rename that:

      $ mv 'The Red Church  Dating to the late 5thearly 6th century-3v-wvbNiZGY.mp4' redchurch.mp4

      now let’s create a new directory for it:

      $ mkdir redchurch

      and move the mp4 file into it:

      $ mv redchurch.mp4 redchurch

      Ok, so now we split it into frames:

      $ avconv -i redchurch.mp4 -r 1/1 -qscale:v 1 redchurch_%08d.jpg

      (note that in the original post by Ryan, he was using ffmpeg; the docker container uses this alternative)

      And then we go up a level

      $ cd ..

      and run some vsfm on it:

      $ VisualSFM sfm+pairs+pmvs ~/redchurch redchurch.nvm @8

      This part took nearly three hours on my machine.

      ASIDE: now, I had to increase the available memory for VSFM to make it work; otherwise I was getting a ‘segmentation error’ at this step. To do this, first I found the .boot2docker folder by hitting control as I clicked on the finder, and then ‘go to’ /users/[user]/.boot2docker. I opened a new terminal there, and made a new file called ‘profile’ (no extension) with the following info

      #disk image size in MB
      DiskSize = 20000
      # VM memory size in MB
      Memory = 7168

      I made the file by typing vi profile at the terminal, then typed in the info; then escape to stop editing and :save profile to save the file and close it.

      Now to get stuff out (and this post was most helpful)

      we need to open another terminal window, start docker there, and ask Docker to give us the id of the container that is running, so we can cp (copy) files out of it:

      $ docker ps

      There will we a randomly generated ‘short name’ for your container; the short id will be the same as at the prompt in your terminal where the vsfm is running; eg in my case: root@031e72dfb1de:~#

      Then we need to get the full container id:

      $ docker inspect -f   '{{.Id}}'  SHORT_CONTAINER_ID-or-CONTAINER_NAME

      example (drawn from this post):

      $ docker ps
      d8e703d7e303   solidleon/ssh:latest      /usr/sbin/sshd -D                      cranky_pare
      $ docker inspect -f   '{{.Id}}' cranky_pare

      You will get a ridiculously long string. Copy & paste it somewhere handy. On my machine, it’s:

      Then, in your other terminal (the one NOT running vsfm, but has docker running in it), we do:

      $ docker cp &lt;containerid&gt;:path-to-file useful-location-on-your-machine

      In my case, the command looks like this:

      shawngraham$ docker cp 031e72dfb1de9b4e61704596a7378dd35b0bd282beb9dd2fa55805472e511246:root/redchurch.1.ply ~/shawngraham/dockerific/

      update: turns out you can use the short id, in this case, 031e72dfb1de:root etc and it’ll work just fine.

      (dockerific being the folder I made for this occasion)


      Tomorrow, I’ll write up the kinks in the meshlab part of this workflow. Thanks again to Ryan for a brilliant piece of work!


      update july 29

      ok, let’s make life a bit easier for ourselves, in terms of getting stuff into and out of the docker container. Let’s create a folder that we can use as a kind of in-out tray. I’ll create a folder on my file system, at /user/shawngraham/dockerific

      Then, when I am ready to run the container, we’ll mount that folder to the tmp folder in the container, like so:

      $ docker run -i -t -v /Users/shawngraham/dockerific/:/tmp/ ryanfb/visualsfm /bin/bash

      Now, anything we put in the tmp folder will turn up in dockerific, and vice versa. NB, things might get overwritten, so once something turns up in dockerific that I want to keep, I move it into another folder safe from the container. Anyway, when I want to get things out of the docker container, I can just CoPy <file> <to this location>

      cp output.ply ~/tmp/

      …and then grab it from the finder to move it somewhere safe.

      July 28, 2015

      Ancient Art

      Hand-stencil rock art from Gua Tewet, Borneo, thought to be over...

      Hand-stencil rock art from Gua Tewet, Borneo, thought to be over 10,000 years old.

      Photo courtesy of Luc-Henri Fage, via the Wiki Commons.

      The Heroic Age

      Manuscript Context for Early Anglo-Saxon, Caroline, and Germanic Verse

      Kalamazoo 2016 #Kzoo2016

      Manuscript Context for Early Anglo-Saxon, Caroline, and Germanic Verse
      While there are exemplary surveys of the early insular manuscript
      tradition by J.J.G. Alexander, Michelle Brown and Richard Gameson, for
      example, such works focus heavily on the illumination and codicology of
      sacred books and not on how vernacular production got started. This is
      even more evident in the paucity of secondary literature on how
      vernacular poetic texts first came to be inscribed (with the exception,
      perhaps, of work on Cædmon's Hymn), how they were distinguished from
      prose, and what continental exemplars they may well have used.

      Therefore, this session seeks papers considering the manuscript context
      and all associated matters of paleography and codicology for the
      earliest poetic texts recorded (pre-950) in Old English, Anglo-Latin,
      Caroline Latin, Old Saxon, and Old High German.

      How much influence does the layout of Caroline and Anglo-Latin poems
      have in determining the inscription of vernacular poems? Are vernacular
      poems initially derivative in their layout, or low-status, compared to
      their Latin cousins?

      As we know that manuscripts of early Germanic verse texts, in particular
      the Old Saxon Heliand, were available in England from the late
      ninth-century forward and that Anglo-Saxon scribes and scholars on the
      continent were likely to have seen such works in Caroline centres of
      learning, were they formative for later English books such as the Junius
      and Exeter codices of Old English poetry?

      What factors and exemplars determine the manuscript layout of verse
      texts in such instances as marginal and flyleaf recordings of poems that
      clearly appear secondary to the prose texts they complement?

      Papers are particularly welcome to investigate strategies of layout for
      unusual poems such as acrostics and incomplete poems, and the evolution
      of the use of punctuation to mark poems and aid in recitation. The
      session also solicits consideration of how modern printing affects - or
      rather, shapes - the reception of these early medieval verses.

      Last, the session in particular solicits reappraisals of Katherine
      O’Brien O’Keeffe’s landmark book, Visible Song: Transformational
      Literacy in Old English Verse, now past its 25th anniversary.

      Please contact by September 15th:

      Bruce Gilchrist
      Saint Lawrence College

      790, rue Nérée-Tremblay
      Québec, QC // Canada // G1V 4K2

      Revisiting the Viking era: Four particularly interesting excavated sites around Iceland

      Neil McMahon Revisits the Viking era

      Archaeological News on Tumblr

      Shipwreck's Golden Treasure Includes Very Rare Coin

      Treasure hunters off the Florida coast recently pulled up the haul of a lifetime: nearly $1 million...

      Adam C. McCollum (hmmlorientalia)

      Old Georgian phrases and sentences 61: Swallowing a camel

      Since we talked about camels here in the last post, here’s a simple verse from elsewhere for our next OGPS.

      Mt 23:24 Adishi

      წინამძღუარნო ბრმანო, რომელნი დასწურავთ კურნაქსა და აქლემსა შთანსთქამთ!

      • წინამძღუარი leader, guide
      • ბრმაჲ blind
      • და-ს-წურავ-თ pres 2pl O3 დაწურვა to press, sift
      • კურნაქი gnat, mosquito, etc.
      • შთა-ნ-ს-თქამ-თ pres 2pl O3 შთანთქმა/შთათქმა to swallow, gulp down

      For good measure, here’s the Greek and Armenian:

      ὁδηγοὶ τυφλοί, οἱ διϋλίζοντες τὸν κώνωπα, τὴν δὲ κάμηλον καταπίνοντες.

      Առաջնորդք կոյրք, որ զմժղուկս քամէ́ք, եւ զուղտս կլանէք։.

      • առաջնորդ, ի, -աց guide, director, leader
      • կույր, կուրաց blind
      • մժղուկ gnat, mosquito, etc.
      • քամեմ, -եցի to press, squeeze, sift
      • ուղտ, -ուց camel
      • կլանեմ, կլի to swallow, devour (NB aorist form!)

      James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

      Sacred Troubling Topics in Tanakh, New Testament, and Qur’an

      An interesting call for papers (via Religion CFP and ACLA):

      Sacred Troubling Topics in Tanakh, New Testament, and Qur’an.

      Organizer: Roberta Sabbath, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

      Contact the Seminar Organizers

      Abrahamic sacred texts continue to inspire a diversity of scholarship that seeks to transform the ancient into the contemporary, the remote into the immediate, and the distant into the visceral experience. This panel takes that process into the examination of troubling topics, often overlooked, yet found in the Tanakh, New Testament, and Qur’an. Building from foundational texts, other sacred works such as Talmud, Apocrypha, Patristics, and Hadith as well as philosophy and contemporary scholarship can be brought into play. Views from global perspectives are enthusiastically invited so as to better contribute to diversity and freshness of the dialogue. Some presenters may focus on one sacred text and the ancillary works; others may contextualize all three sacred texts. Although the goal is to present a spectrum of insights, the strategy is text-based and ruminations spring from textual pericope. Suggested troubling topics include but are not limited to the following: racism, domestic violence, suicide, sexuality, unbeliever, LGBTQ, misogyny, trickster, humor, fallible prophet, good vs./and evil, self-denial, spying, deception, change. This panel continues an exploratory tradition begun with Sacred Tropes: Tanakh, New Testament, and Qur’an as Literature and Culture (Brill 2009). Proposals are 250 words submitted via the website. Contact Roberta Sabbath at

      Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

      Bonkers Due Diligence Claims from Germany

      Antiquitäten-Handler "Geldschnappen und Lauf" (Hochstaplerstrasse 666 Munich) have a Middle Eastern statue in their stockroom. "All our goods are guaranteed authentic and of legal origins" the catalogue says. That sounds reassuring. Until you find out what the dealer says is "impossible to determine" in this case, they consist of the following:
      -  the name and the address of the consigner they bought it from,
      -  its provenance and recent collecting history
      - any records documenting the legal import and the export or even when it happened,
      - the dealer in any case has not the foggiest idea of the relevant cultural property law of Iraq,
      - has no idea whether or not the object is registered in publicly accessible lists and data bases,
      - has no signed declaration of the consigner or the vendor that he is authorized to dispose of the goods,
      - cannot provide the buyer with his entire documentation, for he has absolutely none.
      This is what German dealers are saying (to a man?) is "impossible" to provide for any object they have handled.

      My question is, in what way therefore can are any of these objects be claimed to be licit antiquities other than "because I say so"? Bonkers.

      The dealers apparently have zero idea how ridiculous they are beginning to sound. Or perhaps they have, look through the current list of signatories of the Sheep Petition and see how many dealer' names you can actual;ly recognize there. Is there a reason, do you think that they seem to be keeping away allowing the signatures to be added by the collectors they have egged on.   If anyone doubts what I say, let them supply as a comment here a long list of dealers' names from among the petition's signatories.

      I am gratified that my favourite German coin dealer's name is missing from the list. Let her keep it off, this is below her, and adding it would rather devalue all that she claimed about her own business  practices and I believed. What about the rest? What do they represent? 

      Archaeological News on Tumblr

      Puebloan archaeological site buried for safekeeping

      ST. GEORGE, Utah — The excavated site of an unusual ancestral Puebloan pit house was reburied last...

      Archaeology Briefs


      Assessing the Destruction at Hatra
      by Christopher Jones July 27, 2015 Culture, Education, Photos0 Comments
      Last month reports swept through the global media that ISIS had used bulldozers to level the ancient city of Hatra. ISIS has already destroyed a number of irreplaceable sculptures from Hatra in the Mosul Museum, lending immediate credibility to reports from Iraqi antiquities officials that ISIS fighters had destroyed Hatra itself as well.

      However, no videos or other confirmation surfaced for a month afterwards and there was no way to assess the extent of the damage. The story gradually faded from the media. Given the massive size of Hatra, and its location in the middle of the desert, in a region of no strategic significance, over fifty kilometers from inhabited areas, some grew skeptical that ISIS had mounted a major operation to demolish Hatra.

      On Saturday video surfaced on YouTube and other websites which showed ISIS fighters destroying sculptures at Hatra. The voice-overs from several ISIS fighters contained the standard spiel about shirk, idolatry, and Muhammad destroying the idols of the Kaaba. The video was quickly removed, but I took some screenshots that will suffice illustrate the items which have been destroyed while leaving out the majority propaganda elements.

      The good news is that the damage to Hatra is not as extensive was was first feared. The bad news is that more irreplaceable and unique Hatrene art has been damaged, threatening to further erase an already under-studied field.

      At the beginning of the video there is an aerial shot of the ruins of Hatra which seems to have been shot from a blimp or drone. A graphic then highlights the Great Iwans and the Temple of the Triad with a label which reads “idols and statues.”

      Archaeological News on Tumblr

      What is it?

      So what is this?The fossilized remains of a hatched dinosaur egg?Far be it from that, if you were to...

      Archaeology Magazine

      Israel Tel Kabri jarsHAIFA, ISRAEL—The latest excavations at the 4,000-year-old site of Tel Kabri in northern Israel have uncovered three more rooms with plastered floors containing storage jars, and there are more rooms in the palace complex to be excavated. The palace at Tel Kabri, which resembles Crete’s palace of Knossos, was inhabited continuously for more than 250 years and features banquet rooms and halls. Last season, Assaf Yasur-Landau of the University of Haifa and Eric H. Cline of The George Washington University discovered a room full of storage jars that had contained an aromatic red wine. “The goal of this season was to further understand the Canaanite palatial economy, by expanding the excavation beyond the area where the jars were found last season. We were hoping to find additional store rooms, thinking about the palace of Mari and the palaces in Crete from the same period—but to find ones that are actually filled with jars was unexpected. This kind of a find is a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn about Canaanite economy and rulership,” Yassur-Landau told Haaretz. To read more about this fascinating Bronze Age site, go to "Off the Grid-Tel Kabri." 

      Scotland Pictish fort2ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND—Carbon dating reveals that a Pictish fort on a sea stack known as Dunnicaer dates to the third or fourth century, making it the oldest-known Pictish fort. Archaeologists from the University of Aberdeen needed the assistance of mountaineers to reach the site for excavations conducted last April. Their efforts were rewarded with evidence of ramparts of timber and stone, floors, and a hearth. “The stone is not from the local area so it must have been quite a feat to get it, and the heavy oak timbers, up to such an inaccessible site,” archaeologist Gordon Noble said in a press release. “It is likely that the sea stack was greater in size than it is today as the fort appears to extend over a large area. Dunnicaer was likely to have been a high-status site for a structure of this scale and complexity to have been present as early as the third century,” he added. In fact, erosion may have eventually prompted the Picts to move along the coast to what is now Dunnottar Castle, first built in the early medieval period. To read more about the Picts and their writing systems, go to "It's All Pictish to Me."

      France Arago toothTAUTAVEL, FRANCE—The Guardian reports that a large adult tooth was discovered at Arago Cave in southwestern France. “A large adult tooth—we can’t say if it was from a male or female—was found during excavations of soil we know to be between 550,000 and 580,000 years old, because we used different dating methods. This is a major discovery because we have very few human fossils from this period in Europe,” paleoanthropologist Amélie Vialet told Agence France-Presse. The tooth is about 100,000 years older than Tautavel man, whose remains were unearthed at the site it 1971, and could represent the oldest human remains ever found in France. To read about the oldest art in France, go to "A Chauvet Primer."

      Archaeological News on Tumblr

      Antiquities Found on Shipwreck That Carried Elgin Marbles

      Lord Elgin collected other Greek antiquities besides the sculptures taken from the Parthenon, finds...

      Archaeology Magazine

      Jamestown burials identifiedWASHINGTON, D.C.—Archaeologists from Jamestown Rediscovery and Smithsonian forensic anthropologist Douglas Owsley and his team have identified the remains of four men buried in the chancel of the 1608 church at Jamestown as the Rev. Robert Hunt, Capt. Gabriel Archer, Sir Ferdinando Wainman, and Capt. William West with archaeological evidence, skeletal analyses, chemical testing, 3-D technology, and genealogical research. “Two of the men, Archer and Hunt, were with the first expedition, which established Jamestown in May 1607. And the other two, Wainman and West, arrived with Lord De La Warr and helped save the colony three years later,” James Horn, president of Jamestown Rediscovery, said in a press release. Hunt, an Anglican minister, is thought to have been buried simply, in the grave without a coffin. Archer died during the “starving time” at Jamestown and is thought to have been buried in a coffin with a captain’s leading staff. This burial also contained a small silver box that may have served as a Roman Catholic reliquary. Lead in the bones of the third burial suggests the deceased was affluent and had eaten from pewter and glazed wares. This man, thought to be Wainman, had been buried in an anthropomorphic wooden coffin. The last of the chancel burials is thought to belong to Capt. William West, who was killed in 1610 during a skirmish with the Powhatan. He was also buried in an anthropomorphic coffin. A micro-CT scan revealed the highly decayed remnants of a military sash, thought to have been made of silk and adorned with silver fringe and spangles. “The presence of the artifacts and the location of the graves in the church’s most sacred space, the chancel, both indicate the high status of the four men and their importance to the early history of the Jamestown venture,” said William Kelso, director of archaeology at Jamestown Rediscovery. To read about a discovery at Jamestown that made our Top 10 list, go to "1608 Church-Jamestown, Virginia."

      Blogging Pompeii

      OpenPompei and Open Data

      It seems that we have not mentioned the group OpenPompei on BloggingPompeii before. So since I recently penned a guest blog post for them, its seemed a good time to note their web presence. Recently, they held an interesting event called the SCRIPTORIUM at Pompeii, and I've heard that a second such event with an eye to foreign contributions might be in the works. If you believe in Open Data or believe that the world of Pompeian archaeology could believe in it just a little more, then OpenPompei might be group to help make that happen.

      Late last week, while still on site with the Porta Stabia team, it occurred to me that there might a unique opportunity to jump start any OA access at Pompeii because of the incredible volume of work being done for the Grande Progetto Pompei. That is, if one could insert the archaeological community into the process of data ingestion from the GPP, vast amounts of descriptive data might be made available rather than locked away. The practical people reading this will nudge me and know that I am dreaming. Yet idealism compels me to remember Margaret Mead, and to keep dreaming. 

      Archaeological News on Tumblr

      Identities of Mysterious Jamestown Settlers Revealed

      Four lost leaders of the first permanent English settlement in the Americas have been identified,...

      James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)



      There are so many things that might be said about this cartoon. It makes the point that things have become commonplace in our time which would have seemed miraculous a few hundred years ago, never mind several thousand. And it asks us to imagine how we might respond to someone who came claiming revealed truths which God had supposedly downloaded onto their tablet device (surely today’s equivalent of a stone tablet).

      Archaeological News on Tumblr

      Brazilian archaeologists find human presence dating back 4,000 years in Rio

      Some 500 artifacts made from stone and shells that experts consider vestiges of a human presence in...

      The Heroic Age

      Mapping the Medieval Countryside

      Mapping the Medieval Countryside is a digital edition of the medieval English inquisitions post mortem (IPMs), currently covering the period 1418-1447.

      IPMs recorded the lands held at their deaths by tenants of the crown, and are the single most important source for the study of landed society in medieval England. Describing the lands held by thousands of families, from nobles to peasants, they are a key source for the history of almost every parish in England and many in Wales.
      Please explore at:


      Naming practices: Suetonius, de Grammaticis 10

      [10] Ateius Philologus libertinus Athenis est natus.  
      Hunc Capito Ateius notas iuris consultus inter grammaticos rhetorem, inter rhetores grammaticum fuisse ait.
      De eodem Asinius Pollio in libro, quo Sallustii scripta reprehendit ut nimia priscorum verborum affectatione oblita, ita tradit: In eam rem adiutorium ei fecit maxime quidam Ateius Praetextatus nobilis grammaticus Latinus, declamantium deinde auditor atque praeceptor, ad summam Philologus ab semet nominatus.
      Ipse ad Laelium Hermam scripsit, se in Graecis litteris magnum processum habere et in Latinis nonnullum, audisse Antonium Gniphonem eiusque * Hermam, postea docuisse. Praecepisse autem multis et claris iuvenibus, in quis Appio quoque et Pulchro Claudiis fratribus, quorum etiam comes in provincia fuerit.
      Philologi appellationem assumpsisse videtur, quia sic ut Eratosthenes, qui primus hoc cognomen sibi vindicavit, multiplici variague doctrina censebatur.
      Quod sane ex commentariis eius apparet, quanquam paucissimi extent; de quorum tamen copia sic altera ad eundem Hermam epistola significat: Hylen nostram aliis memento commendare, quam omnis generis coegimus, uti scis, octingentos in libros. Coluit postea familiarissime C. Sallustium et eo defuncto Asinium Pollionem, quos historiam componere aggressos, alterum breviario rerum omnium Romanarum, ex quibus quas vellet eligeret, instruxit, alterum praeceptis de ratione scribendi.
      Quo magis miror Asinium credidisse, antiqua eum verba et figuras solitum esse colligere Sallustio; cum sibi sciat nihil aliud suadere quam ut noto civilique et proprio sermone utatur, vitetque maxime obscuritatem Sallustii et audaciam in translationibus.

      From Stone to Screen

      A Not-So-Persian Persian Bowl

      By Leah Saddy   In the UBC CNERS George Fuller Artifact Collection is a Persian Bowl which seems to defy the forms and artistic traditions of Islamic Art. Shallow and rounded, its colour scheme is a mixture of reddish to yellow-brown, white, and blue-green “splotches”. It conforms neither to the bright…

      Continue reading

      Kostis Kourelis (Buildings, Objects Situations)

      Papadiamantis Fireplace

      The fireplace is a central component in Greek vernacular architecture. The Deserted Greek Village project surveyed many fireplaces constructed in stone (left, from Aigition, Phokis) or plaster (Penteskouphi). Hearths are typically found on the second floor of a house, dedicated to human residence as distinguished from mixed usage (storage, livestock) on the first floor. This internal

      Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

      Holzhausen, der Verlag: Open Access Books

      Holzhausen, der Verlag: Open Access Books
      Open Access steht für freien und kostenlosen Zugang zu wissenschaftlichen Publikationen und Daten im Internet. Ziel ist es einen schnellen Zugriff auf wissenschaftliche Arbeiten, Publikationen und Daten zu schaffen, so dass Interessierte die Volltexte lesen, in ihnen suchen, auf sie verweisen und sie auch sonst auf jede denkbare legale Weise benutzen können, ohne finanzielle, gesetzliche oder technische Barrieren jenseits von denen, die mit dem Internet-Zugang selbst verbunden sind.

      Der Verlag Holzhausen bekennt sich zum Gedanken der Maximierung der Verbreitung wissenschaftlicher Information und unterstützt die Open-Access-Politik. Deshalb werden wissenschaftliche Verlagspublikationen möglichst auch digital publiziert und unter Berücksichtigung rechtlicher und wirtschaftlicher Möglichkeiten frei zugänglich gemacht.

      Palmyras Reichtum durch Weltweiten Handel | Archäologische Untersuchungen im Bereich der hellenistischen Stadt | Band 1 Architektur und ihre Ausstattung

      Palmyras Reichtum durch Weltweiten Handel | Archäologische Untersuchungen im Bereich der hellenistischen Stadt | Band 2 Kleinfunde

      ArcheoNet BE

      Terra Incognita online met volume 7 !

      Zonet verscheen een nieuwe editie van de reeks ‘Terra Incognita. Annual Review of Archaeological Master Research in Flanders (Belgium)’. Net zoals de twee vorige volumes is het zevende volume te vinden op de website Vijf archeologen van de Vrije Universiteit Brussel, de Universiteit Gent en de KU Leuven, die afstudeerden in het academiejaar 2010-2011, presenteren hier hun thesisonderzoek in de vorm van een beknopt, wetenschappelijk verantwoord artikel.

      De onderwerpen zijn opnieuw zeer uiteenlopend, gaande van funeraire archeologie in Minoïsch Kreta en vroegmiddeleeuws oostelijk België tot een studie van Romeins fibulae te Oudenburg, van handgevormd middeleeuws aardewerk in de provincie Antwerpen tot ijzertijdvondsten in natte contexten in noordwest Europa. Prof. Wim De Clercq (UGent) leidt het volume gepast in. Zijn voorwoord, alle artikels en een lijst van alle afgewerkte masterpapers uit het academiejaar 2010-2011 kunnen gratis en handig gedownload worden van de Terra Incognita website. De Terra Incognita redactie is aan een inhaalbeweging bezig om zo snel mogelijk de volgende volumes te publiceren. Terra Incognita 8 zal dit najaar online gepubliceerd worden. De redactie doet meteen nog een warme oproep voor auteurs voor de volumes 9 en 10 (afgestudeerden academiejaren 2012-2013 en 2013-2014).


      – Verborgen of simpelweg vergeten? Kinderen in de Minoïsche archeologie (Nathalja Calliauw)
      – Variatie in het grafritueel in de Merovingische periode in oostelijk België (Maurice Janssen)
      – Eisen grote machten grote offers? Een interregionale vergelijking van ijzertijdvondsten uit natte context in Noordwest-Europa (Tine Vandenhaute)
      – De Romeinse fibulae uit Oudenburg (Vince Van Thienen)
      – Vroegmiddeleeuws handgevormd aardewerk in de provincie Antwerpen (Peter Verstappen)

      Het volume telt 114 pagina’s en bestaat uit vijf artikels met achteraan een overzicht van alle thesisonderwerpen van het academiejaar 2010-2011. Later dit jaar zullen ook vorige volumes online ter beschikking worden gesteld en zal op de website een systeem worden toegevoegd waarmee vorige volumes ook in gedrukte versie kunnen worden besteld.

      Meer info:
      KU Leuven: Jonas Danckers
      UGent: Sadi Maréchal
      VUB: Laurence Van Goethem

      Tom Matrullo (Classics in Sarasota)

      Enter Manfred: Purgatorio 3

      biondo era e bello e di gentile aspetto ...

      Before we look at the role of Manfred in detail in Purgatorio 3, his entrance is worth noting.

      Dante and Virgil have just realized that the mountain seems unscalable, when they encounter a slow-moving group of souls:
      As sheep come issuing forth from out the fold
      By ones and twos and threes, and the others stand
      Timidly, holding down their eyes and nostrils, 
      And what the foremost does the others do,
      Huddling themselves against her, if she stop,
      Simple and quiet and the wherefore know not; 
      So moving to approach us thereupon
      I saw the leader of that fortunate flock,
      Modest in face and dignified in gait.  (Longfellow)
      Imagine now that one from this tame little flock comes forward, who turns out to be a combination of Mohammed Ali, John Kennedy, and Mick Jagger. That's basically the level of incongruity presented after this unhurried extended simile by the appearance of Manfred, the Ghibelline chieftain who challenged and was excommunicated by three Popes; who commanded Saracens, Greeks, Italians and Germans against the Papal forces, and, wagering all on one great battle at Beneventum, lost all.

      So a key element here is humor -- the canto slyly sets up a detailed image of the least contumacious-looking group imaginable, then springs its comedic trap: out walks the love child of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II. Smiling, Manfred will speak of his body's brutal disfigurement, death and spiteful exhumation on orders of the Pope. He is Dante's counter-image to the figure of Palinurus, Aeneas's unburied helmsman in Aeneid V and VI.

      The web of ironies in Manfred's story is rich, and we'll look at the interplay with the figure of Palinurus in another post. This first moment of surprise strikes the comedic note for what follows. It's the shock of the impossible made possible.

      Perseus Digital Library Updates

      Essays on Digital Classics and Digital Humanities

      Gregory Crane
      Professor of Classics and Winnick Family Chair of Technology and Entrepreneurship
      Tufts University

      Alexander von Humboldt Professor of Digital Humanities
      Open Access Officer
      University of Leipzig

      Comments to

      This link points a list and short summary of essays that I have written in 2014 and 2015 on Digital Classics and Digital Humanities. While most of these essays concentrate on Greco-Roman studies, I consider Digital Classics to include all Classical languages (and in practice I would include all historical languages, whether they are considered Classical or not) and the distinction between Greco-Roman and Classical Studies emerges as a periodic subtheme. The general theme of these essays is the challenge that professional students of Greco-Roman culture face in opening up their field so that it can serve the needs of our students and that it can participate in a global dialogue among civilizations.

      Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

      The Ancient World in Digizeitschriften

      [Originally posted 1/7/09, updated 28 July 2015]

      DigiZeitschriften is a research service. Students and researchers can access the core German research journals via subscribing institutions. Access is possible via libraries and academic institutions which have subscribed to DigiZeitschriften
      Antiquity related journals in DigiZeitschriften include [* = open access] :
      See All DigiZeitschriften titles
      See Open Access DigiZeitschriften titles

      If you'd like to have access to these and the rest of the Digizeitschriften collection, bring their contact information to the attention of your librarians.

      Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know Ontologies Ontologies
      This site describes the RDF ontologies used by Macmillan Science and Education for content publishing. We are sharing these in order to contribute to the wider linked data community and to provide a public reference for our data models.
      Model Extents Diagram
      Our aims at Macmillan Science and Education in embracing linked data technologies are:
      • To provide a superior content discovery experience for our audience and to facilitate emergent behaviours and interactions
      • To evolve a data model which is highly responsive to new and legacy business needs and can drive an in-flight publishing operation

      Francesca Tronchin (Classical Archaeology News)

      Cat paw print discovered on Gloucester Roman roof tile



      A paw print made by a cat in Roman times has been discovered on a 2,000 year old roof tile in Gloucester.

      It was dug up in Berkeley Street in 1969 but the footprint has only just been discovered.

      The print was found by an archaeologist at Gloucester City Museum who was examining thousands of fragments of Roman roof tile.

      The cat is thought to have snuck across the wet tiles which were drying in the sun in about AD100.

      The tile, a type called tegula, was used on the roof of a building in what became the Berkeley Street area of modern Gloucester, a spokesman said. Read more.

      Archaeological News on Tumblr

      Urartu Castle’s walls unearthed after 2,700 years

      After 2700 years the walls of Urartu Castle have been unearthed in the Ayanis neighborhood of the...

      ArcheoNet BE

      3de Metaaltijdendag: het programma

      Op vrijdag 16 oktober vindt in Amersfoort (NL) de derde Metaaltijdendag plaats, met als centraal thema ‘Van heinde en verre: contact- en uitwisselingsnetwerken in materiële en culturele zin’. Deze dag, een initiatief van de Stichting Metaaltijdenonderzoek Nederland, wil een platform bieden voor archeologen geïnteresseerd in de archeologie van de metaaltijden van Nederland. Deze week werd het definitieve programma van de dag bekendgemaakt. Je vindt het programma en alle praktische informatie op de website Inschrijven kan via dit formulier.

      Corinthian Matters

      Reading 1 Corinthians with Philosophically Educated Women (Barnes)

      The last issue of the Review of Biblical Literature includes a critical review of Nathan Barnes’ book, Reading 1 Corinthians with Philosophically Educated Women, Eugene, OR, 2014: Wipf and Stock Publishers. The book, which revises Barnes’ PhD dissertation on the subject (2012), explores how philosophically educated women in the young Corinthian church would have interacted with concepts such as family, marriage, and patronage. As the publisher page describes the work:

      “Women were involved in every popular philosophy in the first century, and the participation of women reaches back to the Greek origins of these schools. Philosophers often taught their daughters, wives, and other friends the basic tenets of their thinking. The Isthmian games and a tolerance for independent thinking made Corinth an attractive place for philosophers to engage in dialogue and debate, further facilitating the philosophical education of women. The activity of philosophically educated women directly informs our understanding of 1 Corinthians when Paul uses concepts that also appear in popular moral philosophy. This book explores how philosophically educated women would interact with three such concepts: marriage and family, patronage, and self-sufficiency.”

      With the reviewer, I am skeptical that there were many elite educated women among the first Christian communities in Corinth. Recent scholarship has significantly undermined the older view that elite and well-born individuals factored significantly in the Corinthian ekklesia by calling attention to the poor and their worlds defined by tremendous contrast and inequalities. So, Timothy Brookins concludes in his review of Barnes’ work, “Given that there probably were no “elites” in the Corinthian church, that many elites were not philosophically educated, and that the phenomenon of philosophically educated women was very rare as it was (Barnes’s catalog notwithstanding), it seems difficult to sustain the case, given the evidence provided, that Paul’s church really contained any elite, philosophically educated women.”  The debate over rich and poor in early Christian communities is not over, of course, but one must acknowledge that the scholarly pendulum has swung back to the poor.

      Still, as Brookin notes in his reviewReading 1 Corinthians with Philosophically Educated Women offers valuable insights into how individuals in these developing communities may have heard Paul’s message and instructions.  A couple of excerpts from the review:

      In this book Nathan Barnes asks how Paul’s interaction with the ideas of popular contemporary Hellenistic moral philosophy might have been heard by wealthy, “philosophically educated women” within the church at Corinth. We follow the text of 1 Corinthians through the lenses of two, (re)constructed, philosophically educated women—Sophia, a sympathetic listener; and Fortuna, an unsympathetic one—examining how each of these women might have responded to Paul’s discussions of patronage (esp. 1 Cor 1–4), marriage and family (esp. 1 Cor 7), and self-sufficiency (esp. 1 Cor 9)….

      Despite these criticisms, the book makes a valuable and much needed contribution to the field. It reminds us of the critical importance of understanding the value systems of the first century to interpretation of the New Testament and, through its unique approach, constrains us to listen to Paul’s interaction with those systems through the ears of “real” (i.e., hypothetically reconstructed) Corinthian church members. Barnes’s choice to follow two listeners separately rather than reading through a homogeneous audience-collectivity helps illustrate the point that not everyone in the ancient world thought in the same way (which those of us who “model” the ancient world can easily forget). At many points the exercise helps raise our awareness to issues that we do not always bear in mind (e.g., To what extent were Paul’s letters constrained by the responses he anticipated from the church’s wealthier patrons?). Attention to more “marginal” members of the ancient community, especially those who have been left to the sidelines in modern scholarship, represents a welcome contribution as well. In that regard, one hopes that this book represents one of many more studies to come.”

      Read the rest of the review here.

      Colleen Morgan (Middle Savagery)

      My Day of Archaeology: Meeting the US Ambassador

      Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 10.16.31 AM

      For the Day of Archaeology this year, I wrote up my experiences at the US Ambassador’s House talking about Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), including my archaeology photo in the “distractingly sexy” campaign:

      Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 10.35.24 AM

      For more, read the entry at the Day of Archaeology webpage.



      Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

      News from The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota

      I have this idea that people out there are wondering about The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota. Our first two books, Punk Archaeology (for free) and Visions of Substance (for free), were pretty successful, and we’d maybe be justified resting on our laurels. 

      But, we’re not. 

      I spent the last week or so writing a grant proposal that emphasized our cooperative model of production and distribution as an alternative to traditional academic publishing. We hope to get some support for a reboot of our neighborhood history series and perhaps a series of North Dakota Quarterly reprints

      More importantly, we have a few more books in the works, and we expect that at least two of them will appear in the next few months. 

      Next month, we will release Melissa Gjellstad’s and Danielle Skjelver’s translation of K. J. Skarstein’s War with the Sioux: Norwegians against Indians 1862-1863. This book documents the experience of Norwegian immigrants during the Dakota War and will feature an expanded introduction by Gjellstad, Richard Rothaus, and Dakota Goodhouse. The translation was supported by a grant from NORLA

      WwSCover2Front 01 01

      I just received some very early galley proofs for the book, and we’re almost there. 

      IMG 3606

      The interior of the book will need a bit more work, but the editing and layout is almost done. The font, while elegant, is too big, and after some deliberation, I think our readers would prefer the page numbers closer to the outside margins of the pages. 

      IMG 3607

      I also spent some time this weekend doing a preliminary editing run on a North Dakota Quarterly reprint that brings together contributions on World War I. I think it would be great to publish this collection on Veteran’s Day

      So stay tuned to this page over the next few weeks for the latest news on The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota! 

      James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

      Taste and See that Thorin is Good


      Rev. Dale Bronner posted the above picture on Facebook with the following comment:

      Train yourself to see Jesus in the ordinary things of life! He is there even when you cannot see, hear or feel Him! Oh taste and see that the Lord is good…!

      The internet quickly clued him in…

      Thorin comments

      First Obi-Wan Kenobi, now Thorin Oakenshield. Who will be mistaken for Jesus next, I wonder?


      Archaeological News on Tumblr

      560,000-year old adult tooth found in France

      PARIS, July 28 (Xinhua) – An adult tooth dating back 560,000 years, the oldest human remains...

      Katy Meyers (Bones Don't Lie)

      Grave Guns, Coffin Torpedos and Other Methods of Protecting Your Bones From Thieves

      Nosferatu, the first movie vampire! via FICG on flickr

      Nosferatu, the first movie vampire! via FICG on flickr

      Grave robbing isn’t always about stealing artifacts or grave goods, nor is it just a thing of the past. A couple weeks ago, police discovered that the crypt of F.W. Murnau was being used for occult ceremonies. Wax drippings confirmed that the crypt was being used by the living, and the cemetery caretaker confirmed that it had been broken into a number of times over the past few decades. Breaking and entering wasn’t the only crime- police soon discovered that the skull of F.W. Murnau, as well as a number of other skeletal elements, had been taken. Why F.W. Murnau? He was the legendary German artist who created “Nosferatu”, the first vampire film and horror movie that has set the template for many films today. The skull hasn’t been recovered, and no one knows exactly why these individuals selected Murnau as their target. This isn’t the only story of bones of the famous being taken as trophies, relics or memoirs. Bess Lovejoy’s Rest in Pieces contains dozens of stories of missing heads and other body parts taken from the famous dead, demonstrating that what happened to Murnau isn’t all that unusual (Check out the book here).

      What can you do to protect your mortal remains? How can you prevent your own skull from becoming part of an occult ceremony? Well, lucky for you I have a couple great solutions.

      1. Get a Grave Gun

      During the 16th through 19th centuries in Europe, grave robbing was a major issue as medical schools and doctors clamored for more corpses to practice dissection on. One of the responses of this was the creation of cemetery guns. These are a type of gun known as a set-gun, which is mounted to a fence and fires when a wire is tripped. It was an easy solution for keeping out wild animals or grave robbers. A gun was loaded and primed, planted securely in the desired area, a wire was run along the space where the intruder might enter, and when they tripped over the wire the gun would fire. These guns were often mounted to blocks of wood so that they could be easily placed anywhere in the cemetery. Mourners and visitors to the cemeteries were well aware of these guns and wires, which were often disabled during the day. However, clever cemetery watchmen would move the guns at dusk to varying locations so that potential grave robbers would know where they were placed. If you’d like to see what they looked like, check out this example at the The Museum of Mourning Art at Arlington Cemetery.

      2. Get a Coffin Torpedo

      Coffin Gun patent by Clover, via Chris Eger

      Coffin Gun patent by Clover, via Chris Eger

      If you don’t want to leave the protection of your body up to the cemetery, there are more personalized ways to protect your specific grave site. The coffin torpedo was developed by Philip K. Clover of Columbus, Ohio in 1878 to “prevent the unauthorized resurrection of dead bodies.” The device was like a shotgun that was placed on the inside of the coffin. If a grave robber lifted the lid, the torpedo would fire several lead balls at the intruder. A similar device was developed by Judge Thomas N. Howell of Circleville, Ohio (grave robbing must have been a real problem in Ohio during the 19th century) in 1881. This weapon is more like a land mine than a gun.  The weapon was buried on top of the coffin, with a metal plate protecting the body of the deceased. If the metal plate was disturbed, the device would be triggered and explode, injuring the intruder. The advertisement for the weapon stated: “sleep well sweet angel, let no fears of ghouls disturb thy rest, for above thy shrouded form lies a torpedo, ready to make minced meat of anyone who attempts to convey you to the pickling vat.”

      3. Buy a Mortsafe

      Maybe you want to protect your body without actually killing or maiming anyone in the process… you could always get a mortsafe. The mortsafe is a large iron grate that was placed over the grave to prevent thieves from digging up the coffin. The cage is partially buried within the grave and surrounds the entire coffin. After a suitable amount of time, allowing for decomposition, the mortsafe was removed. Another version lacks the grating and is made completely of iron plates. Most found are simple single coffin shaped grates. Although some of the mortsafes seen throughout Scotland are quite elaborate with the ability to hold multiple coffins. One model in Greyfriar’s Kirkyard holds three spaces for coffins, has a complex padlock system with interlocking bars, and can only be opened when two locks with different keys (often given to two separate church members) are released. The family could either purchase a mortsafe or they could rent them from the church or cemetery. While they were extremely effective in preventing disturbance of graves, they were a hassle to put in and remove. They were popular in the 19th century throughout Great Britain and Europe, and because they were a hassle to remove, many still remain in place! (For more on the Mortsafe, click here)

      Archaeological News on Tumblr

      Cat paw print discovered on Gloucester Roman roof tile

      A paw print made by a cat in Roman times has been discovered on a 2,000 year old roof tile in...

      Pictish fort south of Stonehaven 'is Scotland's oldest'

      A Pictish fort uncovered during an archaeological dig on the Aberdeenshire coast is believed to be...

      James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

      Doubt, Theology, and Mountain-Climbing


      Doubt, protest, and a quest Rees quote

      Peter Hess has published an essay in God and Nature magazine, in which he shares reflections on the task of theology which occurred to him as he climbed a mountain. Here’s a sample:

      There is no single right way to scale a mountain: on a team climbers are always in communication about route, equipment, pace, weather, and safety precautions. And just as truly, there is no one right way to believe as theists, or more specifically as Christians: theology is always a conversation among believers who have different backgrounds, talents, and life experiences. Just as we use doubt to double check every aspect of the climb, so we use doubt to double check our theological assertions. The trick in both theology and mountaineering is to assess when our doubt is a legitimate cautionary factor helping correct overly risky claiming or irresponsible theology, and when excessive doubt hinders our climbing or our articulation of belief.

      Click through to read more. Hess quotes more than once from Frank Rees’ book, Wrestling with Doubt: Theological Reflections on the Journey of Faith. That is the source of the quote at the top of the post.

      Jim Davila (

      Will carbon emissions interfere with radiocarbon dating?

      <img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

      Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

      Master of Sciences in Cultural Heritage Materials & Technologies (CultTech)

      E' ancora possibile candidarsi per l'edizione 2015 del Master of Sciences in Cultural Heritage Materials & Technologies (CultTech). Il master è organizzato dal Department of History, Archaeology and Cultural Resources Management, l'University of the Peloponnese in collaborazione con il National Center for Scientific Research Demokritos, il Navarino Environmental Observatory e con key lecturers da istituzioni accademiche dalla Grecia.

      Perseus Digital Library Updates

      “Privashing” vs. publishing — in search of an accurate term for a problematic academic tradition

      Gregory Crane
      Comments to

      [Draft as of July 28, 2015]

      Alexander von Humboldt Professor of Digital Humanities
      Leipzig University

      Professor of Classics
      Winnick Family Chair of Technology and Entrepreneurship
      Tufts University

      This is a short piece reflecting on the need to distinguish publication that actually maximizes the degree to which we make academic work public from the traditional practice of handing control over to commercial, often for-profit, companies that make money by restricting publication. Of course, publishing under an open license has no necessary relation to any particular editorial workflow — researchers can, of course, carry out peer review or any other mechanism they choose. Certainly professors have wide latitude in deciding what does and does not count in a field and we can reward editorial work if we so choose. (I don’t know many academic administrators or members of the public who feel that we don’t produce enough publication and that we could not divert some of that labor to editorial work.) The point is that publishing should (in my view) mean that we have chosen that instrument that will help us advance the intellectual life of society as broadly and as deeply as possible.

      I suggest, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, using the term “privashing”, instead of publishing for this traditional habit. Of course, it is an ugly term but that certainly suits the traditional practice in a digital age. The full (not very long) text is here.

      Jim Davila (

      Perqs for Torah study in the Talmud

      <img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

      Temple denial from an MK

      <img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

      Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

      A Matera la nuova sede della Scuola di Alta Formazione dell'Istituto Superiore per la Conservazione ed il Restauro

      Sarà Matera, la Capitale europea della Cultura 2019 ad ospitare la Scuola di Alta Formazione (SAF) dell'Istituto Superiore per la Conservazione ed il Restauro, grazie ad una sede distaccata della struttura romana, la prima al sud, che sarà allestita nel complesso di Santa Lucia Nova.

      Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

      The Future Shape of the PAS (2) The Answers to 20 Questions

      I have given the PAS answer to the first of my twenty questions in the post above. Here are the other nineteen questions and answers. I will comment on them in the post below.
      2) If the national scheme has now been subsumed by the education and outreach department of a museum, what changes does this impose on its scope, affordances and duties?
      There are no changes to these areas.

      3) What will happen when (as seems very likely now) some local partners decline to invest scarce local authority funds in participation in a BM LVA-run scheme in place of the prestigious national one of which they have hitherto been a part?
      The British Museum has active relationships with museums and other partners all across the UK. The details of this work can be found on the British Museum website at The PAS retains its national reach across England and Wales, and the local partners remain core to its delivery.
      4) Since the changes affect their own status, were the local partners consulted on the proposals to downgrade the PAS and in what form? What other bodies were consulted and which were not?
      There is no downgrade to PAS and the status of the British Museum’s relationship with our partners in the PAS has not changed. As PAS looks to the future, we continue to consult with local and national partners on future strategy.

      The Treasure Act and Heritage Policy
      5) Does the change in management of the PAS affect in any way the so-called Treasure Process? Will this affect the process whereby external museums are notified of objects going through the process? What about relationships between FLOs and Coroners? And the relationship between the TVC and the LVA? 
      There are no changes to these areas.

      6) Will the LVA-PAS be joining other organizations lobbying the government with the aim of broadening the scope of Treasure in response to cases like the Crosby Garrett helmet?
      The British Museum continues to work closely with the DCMS and others on the proposed review of the Treasure Act Code of Practice. As part of this process there will be a public consultation on any changes to the definition of Treasure and other aspects regarding the administration of Treasure.

      7) What input does the LVA envisage making in national heritage policy concerning, for example artefact hunting, and how?
      The British Museum continues to be advised by the Portable Antiquities Advisory Group (PAAG), which includes the main archaeological bodies, landowner and metal-detecting organisations. This group discusses portable antiquities issues, and helps inform national heritage policy. .

      Mitigation of Information Loss (Valetta Art 2 and 3)
      8) It is clear that many thousands of artefacts are found annually by members of the public which do not for various reasons get recorded by the PAS. In the case of artefact hunting – if UK policy is not to change - it is especially important that the deliberate and unsystematic taking of elements of the archaeological record for entertainment and profit is mitigated by as full a record as possible. What measures will the LVA be taking to ensure this aim is met to the degree required to mitigate a major portion of the knowledge lost through artefact hunting? 
      The PAS aims to record as many archaeological items found by the public as possible. Recording finds with the PAS is voluntary so we are dependent upon the goodwill of finders and the support of the metal-detecting organisations to that aim. Obviously some people do not wish to record their finds, which is frustrating, and a loss to the archaeological record. Through PASt Explorers we are hoping finders themselves, and other volunteers, will contribute to the recording effort.
      9) The whole purpose of the PAS was to create a framework for direct liaison between professional archaeologists and finders, during which an opportunity was created for education/outreach on all aspects of best practice, for example in artefact hunting. How will this now be achieved in a scheme staffed by volunteers without the background and experience of the former FLOs?
      The PAS is not staffed by volunteers. Its front-line remains (and will remain) the Finds Liaison Officers.

      10) Will higher level access to the database for research purposes from now on be assigned by the staff of the LVA or D and P?
      There will be no changes in this area. PAS staff will continue to do this.

      11) Will database entry be controlled by the staff or the LVA of D and P? What about data entry quality, who is now responsible for the progress of verification of the records which has been lagging behind in recent months?
      There will be no changes in this area. The Finds Advisers remain responsible for the quality of data, supported by PASt Explorers project officers for volunteer records.

      12) While volunteers can no doubt be ‘trained’ to deal with simple artefact types (coins, brooches and strapends for example) by comparing the object in the hand with pictures in a book or catalogue, matters are not so simple with artefacts (such as pottery fabrics or lithics) which require specialist knowledge and experience to process and adequately ‘preserve by record’. How is it proposed to deal with this issue if a proportion of the recording of many finds brought to the PAS is to be done by outside volunteers? Or will such artefacts brought to the LVA’s volunteer scheme be left unrecorded for want of suitable staff to deal with them? 
      All people entering data on the PAS database will be trained and supported by the Finds Advisers to ensure high data standards. PASt Explorers provides training for volunteers, and their progress will be monitored and supported by PAS staff, including FLOs and Finds Advisers. 

      13) When material is assigned to ‘Community recorders’ by LVA, are the same criteria of selection adopted as when it is being recorded by the FLOs or are there differences in the datasets being created by these groups, and how will that affect the use of the archive as a resource for research? 
      Volunteers’ work is co-ordinated by FLOs, and volunteers are assigned tasks agreed with staff. They do not work unsupported.

      14) When the information by the ‘Community recorders’ is incorporated into the database, will it be distinguishable in any way?
      Everyone working for PAS has a unique user account.

      15) Given the possibilities for ‘laundering’ of provenance offered by the PAS database, and several known cases of objects being reported to FLOs with false provenances (which hints there may be undiscovered cases lurking in the ‘data’) in what way does the LVA envisage closer vetting of findspot information offered by finders?
      Findspots are recorded on the basis of trust. If there is a breach of that trust then the British Museum will take appropriate action.

      16) Will turnaround time be shortened?
      The length of time taken to record finds depends on the find/s and the workload of the FLO, but how long an object will take to record is communicated with the finder. With volunteer support it is intended that more finds can be recorded and turnaround time shortened.

      Social Media and Audiences
      17) Are there any plans in the LVA for the creation of a public forum to allow active interaction between the many audiences of the PAS about the current developments? This would be a logical move, but instead you seem to have adopted a ‘top-down’ blog format. 
      The British Museum is advised by the PAAG as the forum for discussing UK portable antiquities issues; members of that group represent people who are very aware of the issues discussed elsewhere, not just online.

      18) Does the LVA have a policy of openness regarding use of social media such as Twitter and facebook by its staff to keep the audiences in touch with the day to day operation of the Scheme and flag up issues?
      The British Museum encourages FLOs to highlight their work via social media.

      Public Outreach
      19) From previous BM press releases about portable antiquities, the public has received a picture of archaeology which is predominantly merely about „digging up things about which stories can be told”. This object-centric view of the past common to collectors and dealers is damaging to the public perception of archaeology, its aims and methods. Can we hope that it is the aim of the LVA to break out of this and to present a more nuanced manner of outreach presenting a more holistic picture of archaeology, and if so, how? 
      The British Museum, through PAS and in many other ways, makes a significant contribution to archaeological knowledge, helping to inform academic research, archaeological fieldwork and also heritage protection.  The public fascination with important new finds is one way to engage people with broader issues and bring them to a more nuanced understanding.

      20) There is a paradox in that, though most countries in the rest of the world have legislation to prevent the digging up and collection of objects taken from the archaeological record for personal profit and entertainment, Britain has set up a Scheme which encourages such an activity. This is damaging to the efforts of foreign colleagues trying to fight the antiquities trade which is doing so much damage to the archaeological record in, for example, the Middle East. The British Museum has in recent months taken a more active role in condemning the destruction abroad (in Egypt and Syria for example), but what will the LVA do to explain to the British public the nature and reasons (and justification) for the existence of the paradox that what we condemn when done in Isin (Iraq) is praised when done in Islip (UK)? If archaeological bodies in Britain were to start another Stop Taking Our Past campaign against irresponsible artefact collecting, would the LVA support it?
      The British Museum believes that responsible metal-detecting provides a useful archaeological tool, helping to bring to light new sites and open up new avenues of research and knowledge. The PAS, with its partners, aims to ensure these finds add to the archaeological record for the benefit of all. With the same purpose, the British Museum’s work in Egypt and Iraq is to support experts and colleagues in those regions to safeguard and record sites and collections at risk for future research and enjoyment.
      I would like to thank the LVA staff for the answers to these questions which allow an insight into what is going on.

      Antiquity Now

      The Slavery Project Part 3: In the Eye of the Beholder

      As we discussed in Parts 1 and 2 of In the Eye of the Beholder, The Slavery Project (TSP) is an ongoing, interactive series of modules that incorporates lesson plans along select historical plot lines detailing slavery in a particular society during a … Continue reading

      Samuel Hardy (Conflict Antiquities)

      AKP-branded ‘plastic bullets’, ‘rubber bullets’ were planted election gimmicks

      On Sunday, as the struggles of left-wingers, liberals and Kurdish confederalists versus right-wingers, conservatives and Turkish nationalists in Turkey grew ever more intertwined with the conflict of secularists and Kurdish confederalists versus Islamists in Syria, Fahrettin @kurekli_batur (now @yurekli_batur) tweeted a photo of: ‘Plastic bullets that have been shot in Gazi [neighbourhood, Istanbul]. I took […]

      Jim Davila (

      Rabbi Akiva's wife

      <img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

      The Prime Minister and the Dead Sea Scroll

      <img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

      Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

      Nanotecnologie per i Beni Culturali: una sessione a NanoItaly 2015

      Dal 21 al 24 settembre 2015 presso il Chiostro rinascimentale del Sangallo alla Facoltà di Ingegneria Civile e Industriale della Sapienza Università di Roma si terrà il Convegno NanoItaly 2015 dedicato alle più recenti applicazioni di nanotecnologie con diverse sessioni tematiche in parallelo.

      Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

      The Antiquities Trade: The Virus of Denial

      For the first time I can remember ACCG dealer Wayne Sayles writes (here RE: New German Legislation) more pompously than ex-ACCG Dealer Dave (Welsh). Most of what he wrote can be ignored as the usual hot air, but let us just highlight another case of dealer weaselwording:
      "The ideological position that private collecting is inappropriate and anathema to the preservation of culture is both recent and (I believe) misguided. It's the most extreme form of Cultural Property Nationalism and the underlying basis for this new legislative attempt."
      No. What is at the basis of this regulation is that the continued failure of the antiquities trade to do anything to exclude illicit artefacts is leading to the destruction of archaeological sites by clandestine and illegal commercial exploitation. This has nothing to do with "cultural property nationalism" (a term Sayles barely understands anyway) and everything to do with sustainable use and preservation of a fragile and finite resource. Dealers like Sayles refusing to admit that, and constantly trying to misrepresent it to their audiences as something else is the root of the problem. This is why many feel that in order to stop the haemorrhage of illicit artefacts, legislation is the only option rather than waiting any longer for the atavistic antiquities trade to develop some effective good business practices that will lead to the same end. They obviously are not going to, are fighting against the notion that they have to, pretend like twelve-year olds that the whole problem is not their fault, everyone else is to blame but them. If they feel that the measures being taken to stop their businesscauseing any more damage is "repressive", then they can only blame their own passivity as a profession (I use the term loosely) since the writing of the UNESCO 1970 Convention. Forty five years they've been ignoring it. That's 45 years too many.

      The Egyptiana Emporium

      Tuesday Tomb – KV23


      View of the burial chamber of KV23 (Source: Theban Mapping Project).

      KV23 is the Theban tomb of Ay, the penultimate pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty. Ay rose to prominence under Akhenaten and was permitted to build himself a tomb at Amarna. By this stage, he had risen to the very high rank of ‘Overseer of all of the horses of his Majesty’. He rose again to become Chief Vizier under Tutankhamun and acted as his advisor along with the General Horemheb. When Tutankhamun died without an heir, Ay took advantage of the power vacuum and quickly assumed the throne.

      Scene from Tutankhamun’s tomb depicting Ay performing the Opening of the Mouth ceremony for Tutankhamun (Source: Wikipedia).

      There are many theories surrounding Ay’s involvement in Tutankhamun’s death. It is widely accepted that Horemheb intended to succeed Tutakhamun but Ay managed to seize the throne instead. Horemheb finally because king upon the death of Ay. A campaign of damnatio memoriae (damnation of memory) was carried out and the images and cartouches of Ay were defaced (below).

      Ay and his ka before Hathor (Source: Theban Mapping Project).

      It is not certain whether KV23 was originally intended for Ay. Some scholars believe that the tomb was originally intended for Amenhotep IV, Smenkhare, or Tutankhamun. Whoever it was intended for, it was the last tomb used in the Western Valley.

      The decoration in the tomb is unusual in the sense that only the burial chamber was decorated which appears to indicate a lack of time. The burial chamber is decorated with scenes from the Amduat and the Book of the Dead.

      Scene depicting the Four Sons of Horus as deified kings of Upper and Lower Egypt (Source: Theban Mapping Project).

      One scene shows the king fowling in the marshes (below). This is unusual as this type of scene was only used in the tombs of nobles and not in royal tombs of the New Kingdom. The scene has strong connotations of rebirth and fertility.

      Ay fowling with a throwstick in the marshes (Source: Theban Mapping Project).

      The red granite sarcophagus was found broken into fragments. This was almost certainly part of the campaign of damnatio memoriae. It was reconstructed and returned to the tomb in 1994 (facing the wrong way). Ay’s mummy has not yet been found.

      Bibliography and further reading:

      Theban Mapping Project – KV23: – including photographs, description and tomb plans.

      Tour Egypt – KV23, The Tomb of Ay in the Valley of the Kings: – including images and description.

      Osirisnet – Ay: – including images, description, tomb plans, and a virtual tour of the tomb.

      Reeves, N & Wilkinson, R.H. 1996. The Complete Valley of the Kings. Thames and Hudson: London.

      Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

      Rilasciati i contenuti multimediali del progetto “Ravenna: Cultura & Turismo”

      L'Associazione Culturale Minerva comunica di aver rilasciato i contenuti digitali e multimediali del progetto “Ravenna: Cultura & Turismo”. Il progetto è dedicato all'applicazione di nuove tecnologie per la promozione e condivisione di dati sul patrimonio storico - artistico della città di Ravenna. Si allega il comunicato diffuso dall'Associazione.

      Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

      German Draft Legislation: Where's the Scan?

      While US and German dealers, faced with the prospect of actually doing the due diligence they all claim to do if they sell dugup artefacts in the heart of Old Europe, are managing to get kneejerk reactions from a lot of unthinking Disneybred US coin collectors, not all are following the Pied Piper under the mountain. It seems that the British are showing more discretion.

      The mysterious group urging "Support the Responsible Hobby" originates in England and it will be a test of the extent of the influence of the Portable Antiquities Scheme there (with its emphasis on responsibly recording finds) how man (IF any) collectors sign up from the British Isles, otherwise the PAS will turn out to have been a massive waste of public money on doing public outreach which was wholly ineffectual when it comes to achieving best practice.

      A British collector joined the growing kneejerky discussion on Tim Haines' Yahoo Ancient Artifacts discussion list among a select few who are actually breaking away from the flock mentality of the rest, and makes a very important point:
      List members, The current German law of 2007  concerns  objects imported into Germany from another EU nation after 31 December 1992 or imported into Germany from any other UNESCO Convention signatory after 26 April 2007. So 1992 and 2007 are the current thresholds. Read through that law for other current conditions. I have absolutely no intention of signing any petition or commenting on this new draft proposal one way or the other until I see an actual copy of the draft proposal and know what it actually SAYS - rather than relying on a frantic campaign by a trade lobby and blindly accepting what THEY say it says. Show me the REAL ACTUAL draft proposal and I'll comment. Until then, it's all just hot air based on second-hand interpretations by groups with an agenda. As an historian, I insist on PRIMARY sources.  
      It will be noted that nobody in any of the trade associations opposing this draft of the proposed law in the case of dugup artefacts has a copy of the text and a scanner. Otherwise surely they'd have put a copy of the entire text on the internet for collectors (and dealers) to discuss. Why, for example has the ACCG, firmly opposed to the document (so one would has assume has obtained a copy) not done this for the benefit of its members? Ms Kampmann, have you got a scanner?

      Oh yes, there's one....
      Red house slippers and a scanner - so where's the text?


      Bryn Mawr Classical Review

      2015.07.31: Gesammelte Aufsätze zu Platon. Herausgegeben von Dagmar Mirbach. Beiträge zur Altertumskunde, Bd 321

      Review of Hans Krämer, Gesammelte Aufsätze zu Platon. Herausgegeben von Dagmar Mirbach. Beiträge zur Altertumskunde, Bd 321. Berlin; Boston: 2014. Pp. xiii, 592. €149.95. ISBN 9783110267181.

      2015.07.30: Menander: Samia (The Woman from Samos). Cambridge Greek and Latin classics

      Review of Alan H. Sommerstein, Menander: Samia (The Woman from Samos). Cambridge Greek and Latin classics. Cambridge; New York: 2013. Pp. xii, 367. $99.00. ISBN 9780521514286.

      2015.07.29: Il foro nell'atrio: immagini di architetture, scene di vita e di mercato nel fregio dai Praedia di Iulia Felix (Pompei, II, 4, 3). Bibliotheca Archaeologica, 31

      Review of Riccardo Olivito, Il foro nell'atrio: immagini di architetture, scene di vita e di mercato nel fregio dai Praedia di Iulia Felix (Pompei, II, 4, 3). Bibliotheca Archaeologica, 31. Bari: 2013. Pp. 292. €70.00 (pb). ISBN 9788872287019.

      Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

      German Collectors Guilty

      The petition "Für den Erhalt des privaten Sammelns" (sic) has now 3,723 supporters in Germany. This is the country where the media have been stressing that illicit artefacts from southern Europe and the Middle East may be responsible for financing organized crime and civil war. Nearly four thousand German collectors show they do not give a tinkers for any of that, they just want the continued ability to buy paperless antiquities and shut their eyes to where they come from. This is who collectors are.

      The site where the petition was organized has some interesting features which allow the information to be analysed from a number of points of view. Here is the graph of progress of the petition (I have a feeling that in the next few days we will see some more populist alarmist anti-due-diligence material from the dealers to chivvy collectors along), and the map of where these collectors are. The black spots are festering wounds on the face of Germany's image, but in fact highlight the main population centres. It would seem that in Germany coin collecting is primarily the preserve of urban dwellers rather than the population as a whole. Is there perhaps some kind of psychological reason for this?


      Egyptian Artefact Smuggling and Transnational Organized Crime

      Antiquities dealers buying ancient Egyptian artefacts without ascertaining that they are of legal origins are putting money into the pockets of participants of transnational organized crime warned Interpol: 'Egyptian authorities seize guns, drugs and stolen art in operation targeting illicit goods', 13th July 2015)
      A 60-day operation conducted across Egypt targeting illicit and fake goods has resulted in the seizure of genuine guns, drugs and stolen works of art. More than 233 weapons, including shot guns, machine guns and rifles, 30 kg of heroin, nearly five kg of opium and almost three kg of cocaine, in addition to 23 pieces of elephant ivory weighing 43 kg were among the illegal goods seized during Operation Monitor Eye. At Damietta port, inside a 40-feet container allegedly containing wooden furniture to be shipped to the US, Egyptian authorities discovered 135 porcelain and wooden artefacts from the Muhammad Ali Dynasty which had been stolen from museums and a warehouse belonging to the Ministry of Culture. The operation, supported by INTERPOL’s Trafficking in Illicit Goods and Counterfeiting unit, was run by the Ministry of the Interior and saw interventions at land, air and sea ports, markets, shops and warehouses across the country between 1 May and 30 June. [...] INTERPOL’s Executive Director of Police Services Tim Morris said the range of items seized clearly demonstrated the links between various types of crime, requiring a coordinated and cross-sector approach. “Criminals will take advantage of any and every opportunity open to them, whether this is through smuggling stolen works of art or guns or drugs, or trafficking in fake and illicit goods [...] which generate millions in profits for the organized crime networks behind them,” said Mr Morris.
      Operation Monitor Eye followed a three-day training course in April and demonstrates the increased efforts across North Africa and the Middle East to identify and dismantle the transnational organized criminal networks behind illicit markets. And still thousands of collectors refuse to help clean up the antiquities market.

      Vignette: Damietta

      Jackboot-fantasists in the Mall

      This is a threat to collectors
      everywhere:"Today Germany, tomorrow the world". 

      Nazis on Dave Welsh's mind
      Over on Moneta-L there is of course a lively discussion of Germany's proposed due diligence regulations. You know, that thing every coin dealer cheerfully tells you they 'did already' when they bought something for their stock. Now when it seems that to sell them to somebody in Germany, they'd have to prove that, it's a problem ("ooops-I-lost-all-the-papers-again"). This is what "Classical Coins" Dave Welsh has to say (RE: New German Legislation).   
      In my opinion it is vitally important not only to develop enough opposition to defeat this attempt to legislate "political correctness" but enough outrage to politically discredit the cultural fascism that has brazenly attempted it. These extremists are not only against collecting, they are against freedom, and against the right of intelligent individuals to make their own informed decisions. We have here an attempt to institutionalize, in the government of Germany and thereafter Europe, archaeology as an official cultural ideology -- and that is every bit as wrong and ill advised as it would be to institutionalize an official religion. It is a form of totalitarianism, and I believe that the world has had enough of that, particularly in Germany.
      Of course there is no question in a market where illicitly obtained material is in free circulation of due diligence being merely "political correctness" or "extremism". It is a matter of keeping tainted material off the market. Neither is the attempt to clean up the market any kind of "fascism" (comic-book cardboard cutout or otherwise) or assault on freedom any more than speed limits and red lights at road junctions are.

      As for the idiotic notion of "archaeology as a totalitarian state ideology", what we are talking about is collecting histories and export licences. What it is proposing as a ruling ideology is not "archaeology" but following the law and avoiding criminal activity.

      In the case of the suggestion that measures instituted to ensure the addition of illicit antiquities to a dealer's stock is "against the right of intelligent individuals to make their own informed decisions", it is amply demonstrated on every forum, discussion list and webpage on cultural property issues, that the coin collecting community (and that of the USA in particular) is not exactly overflowing with individuals even of average intellect and literacy skills. Funnily enough when it comes to following the law (driving a motor vehicle, selling weapons, age of consent for sex, taking other people's property, selling fireworks, employment etc) the German constitution does not enshrine a right "for intelligent individuals to make their own decisions", it is called there "breaking the law" and the German constitution (like most of those in Europe) is rather there to protect other innocent people from law breakers. 

      But here we at last see what I suspect is the problem. Dave Welsh thinks "due diligence is for others", other dealers. He obviously considers himself to be an "intelligent individual" who can "make his own informed decisions". Thus we have it him selling Parthian coins as of kosher provenance because he bought them from a Spanish dealer and he's never heard of any looted stuff comiung from Spain.* Now obviously standards of what is considered "intelligent" will vary across the world. What may be considered an "intelligent opinion" in a Jesuit school in California would be considered a sign of utter idiocy in a grammar school in England.  Anyone who's gone to the latter and mercifully avoided the former will see that Mr Welsh's idea of "individuals making their own decisions" is no longer the sort of basis on which the antiquities trade of the twenty-first century should be based. Instead of subjective decisions based on what is made available at any time by foreign middlemen, we need the institution of well-documented good business practice, just as when eggs and potatoes are sold in German supermarkets. This is not "totalitarianism" or "fascism" (sic), but good business practice and consumer protection.

      Vignette: Pennsylvania bill would require schools to post ‘In God We Trust’ motto

      PS pointing out the mechanism by which he introduced those coins onto the market is what dealer Dave Welsh deletes in quoting that fragment of my text on his blog, labelling it "turgid anticollecting verbiage omitted". Apparently, in the eyes of those over-sensitive individuals involved in it, anything which raises any issue at all about the manner in which the commerce in archaeological artefacts is carried out is by its very nature "anti-collecting" - even though in fact what I was talking about was about buying and selling by a dealer and not collecting at all. 

      Who Will "Support Responsible Antiquity Collecting"?

      This afternoon I was asked by somebody calling themselves "Ethical Collectors" sic to stop tarring all collectors with the same brush (which in fact, I do not think I do) and take a look at the petition he/she/they had started addressed to "UNESCO, UK government, US government, government of Federal Republic of Germany and others" and called "Support Responsible Antiquity Collecting". The  blurb is interesting:
      We, the undersigned, call on UNESCO and Governments to institute legal and other measures to clean up the international antiquities market, to eliminate the risk for collectors of buying anonymous artefacts resulting from criminal activity (looting, theft, smuggling, fraud) and to prevent collectors' money being put to nefarious purposes (financing organized crime, terrorism, militant activity etc).
      I am unsure how to treat this, there are absolutely no signatures on this petition, and I am unsure where else it is being promoted. The creators (the email originated in a server in the southwest of England) seem to want to create the impression that there is a groundswell of responsible collectors out there who are opposed to the philistine tactics of their fellows. The effort falls a bit flat though when they cannot get a single collector to sign up to it and given the numbers that are signing up in droves to aa rival petition to prevent due diligence being mandated in the German market and thus support the criminals. That rather puts the notion of "responsible collecting" into perspective.

      I am unclear whether the petition is open to signing by archaeologists and heritage professionals (such as the staff of the PAS) who "support responsible collecting", or whether the creators intended it to be signed only by ethical collectors (and are dealers eligible?). Anyway, one to watch, let us see what happens.

      Are there any ethical collectors out there anywhere in the English (or even German) speaking world that would like to declare themselves in favour of artefacts accompanied by documentation of proper due diligence? Or are they afraid to put their head up over the parapet?

      Mike Anderson's Ancient History Blog

      This Blog named one of 10 History Blogs to Follow

      Recently, The Ancient History Encyclopedia named us one of 10 history blogs to follow. See the following link:

      Christopher Heard (Higgaion)

      ThingLink Teacher Challenge, Week 3

      I’ve previously mentioned my recent experimentation with ThingLink and my participation in this summer’s ThingLink Teacher Challenge. I also happen to be vacationing at the same time, so I pretty much skipped the assignment for week 2. However, I did complete the assignment for week 3 just before dinner tonight.

      ThingLink Teacher Challenge, Week 1

      I recently stumbled across a tool called ThingLink. It basically allows you to tag images with interactive pushpins. ThingLink’s use of the word “tag” is a little nonstandard here, as “tag” usually implies “keyword.” Here the tags are text and links that appear in pop-ups, like oversized tooltips.

      Just at about the same time I learned of ThingLink’s existence, ThingLink launched its Teacher Summer Challenge for 2015, so I decided to give it a spin as a way to learn ThingLink. The specific task for Week 1 has been “design your digital self.” Follow the Summer Challenge link to read the full description. The result of Week 1 is supposed to be an annotated ThingLink image by which you introduce yourself to other Challenge participants (and the whole world, I guess). Here’s the result of my work.

      By way of brief review, I’ll just say that ThingLink is fun, but funky (and mean that in the sense of “funky smell,” not “Funky Kong” or “Funky Town”). The biggest headache is aligning the tag boxes on the image. I would really appreciate some alignment/grid/snap tools in future updates.

      Noel Tan (The Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog)

      China’s archaeology ship seeks buried sovereignty

      China’s archaeology research vessel, the Kaogu-01, comes with all the bells and whistles, but its deployment in the South China Sea is a source of concern to the maritime nations of Southeast Asia as it is being used to enforce China’s territorial claims far beyond its shores.

      Update: A reader pointed out that the link was missing. They are up now!

      Archaeology and the South China Sea
      The Diplomat, 20 July 2015

      In 2013, China enforced those claims on an unsuspecting French archaeologist and his team investigating the wreck of a Chinese junk off the Philippine coast. According to one report, a Chinese twin-prop plane flew overhead. Then a Chinese marine-surveillance vessel approached the Philippines-registered ship, issuing instructions in English to turn around and head back. While it is difficult to say where exactly this incident actually happened, it does go to show that China is both willing and able to use force to enforce its sovereignty claims over shipwrecks and other relics in disputed waters.

      China has also turned to the use of passive technology to protect its cultural relics. According to Yu Xingguang, Director of the State Oceanic Administrations Number 3 Research Facility, China has finished developing the technology for monitoring buoys, which employ acoustics technology to survey underwater wrecks and monitor their condition, while also simultaneously using China’s Automatic Identification System (AIS) to identify and monitor ships entering and exiting the area of wrecks in real time.

      Enforcing its sovereignty claims off the Philippines is one obvious way that China is using maritime archaeology to assert and protect its sovereignty. Another method apparently used is much more subtle. It involves the use of China’s new ship, Kaogu-01, in disputed areas to assert its control over them, as well as the gradual buildup of work stations and bases in the area, such as the one planned for Yongxing Island.

      Full story here.

      The ceramics museum just north of Bangkok

      The Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum in Bangkok University (which is not technically in Bangkok but north of it) is a great place to look at a spectacular ceramics collection.

      The Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum. Source: Bangkok Post, 20150716

      The Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum. Source: Bangkok Post, 20150716

      History of Asian ceramics
      Bangkok Post, 16 July 2015

      Our van entered the Rangsit campus of Bangkok University and stopped in front of a sign for the Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum. After walking down a slight slope, the museum is revealed to resemble a partially underground kiln. Founded in 2000 and opened to the public in 2005, the museum is home to over 16,000 ancient ceramics donated by university founder Surat Osathanugrah. About 2,000 of these items are on view at the current exhibition.

      After strolling past the model of a northern-style cross-draft kiln and showing our Muse Pass, we entered the museum that has just reopened after the post-flood renovations. The permanent exhibition highlights the development of Southeast Asian ceramics, especially those from major kiln sites in Thailand, as well as the history of Thai and other Southeast Asian trade ceramics based on evidence found at shipwreck sites in this region.

      The display of different ceramics on the sand caught our eyes. The first space reflects that pottery found at archaeological sites dating from 1380-1430 had been from all across Southeast Asia, including Thailand (Si Satchanalai, Sukhothai and San Kamphaeng kiln sites), Vietnam and China. At the time, the Chinese traded ceramics of celadon and brown-glazed wares, but there was no blue and white wares at all.

      The second space shows trade ceramics from Thailand, Vietnam, China and Myanmar, which date back to 1488-1505 and were commonly found on shipwrecks. The third space displays artefacts from a period of competition between Thai and Chinese ceramics from 1520-1560. Thai kilns in Sukhothai and Si Satchanalai produced large numbers of underglaze black ware, a competitor to the Chinese blue and white ware.

      Full story here.

      July 27, 2015

      Mary Harrsch (Roman Times)

      The House of the Tragic Poet: What's love got to do with it?

      A history resource article by Mary Harrsch © 2014

      Recently, I watched a fascinating lecture by Professor Steven Tuck of Miami University on the interpretation of imagery found in the House of the Tragic Poet in Pompeii in his course "Pompeii: Daily Life in an Ancient Roman City", recorded for The Great Courses.   He describes the scenes of mythical and literary events as sharing an overall theme of love with the exception of a panel depicting the sacrifice of Iphigenia in a vestibule of the peristyle adjacent to the triclinium.  He also explained that this jumble of images was possibly the target of Petronius, Nero's official "arbiter of taste". In his "Satyricon" written during this period, Petronius derided such, as he perceived it, tasteless displays proffered up by the nouveau riche.

      When Dr. Tuck described the images I found myself searching for more meaning in their inclusion in a family home, too, other than just ostentation. So I searched the web and stumbled across an article by Bettina Bergmann entitled "The Roman House As Memory Theater".  Bergmann expresses her opinion that, what on the surface may appear to some to be unrelated lavish literary and mythical depictions, may have actually been carefully chosen scenes to enable visitors to the house, as well as its residents, to relate contemporary events to the ancient epic past as a means to both appreciate and understand the culture they all shared.  I hope I understood her correctly.

      Remains of frescoes depicting mythological scenes in the triclinium
      (dining room) in the House of the Tragic Poet in Pompeii.  Image courtesy
      of Wikimedia Commons.
      She thinks the choice of decor served as memory tools, called the method of loci, or the "Roman Room" technique, to facilitate intelligent discourse as described by Cicero in his thesis on oratory, "De Oratore".  The method of loci, also known as the memory palace or mind palace technique, is a mnemonic device adopted by ancient Greek and Roman rhetoricians that relies on memorized spatial relationships to establish, order and recollect memorized content.

      Portrait bust of the famous Roman orator Cicero.
      Photographed at the Capitoline Museum by
      Mary Harrsch © 2005

      "In this technique the subject memorizes the layout of some building, or the arrangement of shops on a street, or any geographical entity which is composed of a number of discrete loci. When desiring to remember a set of items the subject literally 'walks' through these loci and commits an item to each one by forming an image between the item and any distinguishing feature of that locus. Retrieval of items is achieved by 'walking' through the loci, allowing the latter to activate the desired items. The efficacy of this technique has been well established (Ross and Lawrence 1968, Crovitz 1969, 1971, Briggs, Hawkins and Crovitz 1970, Lea 1975), as is the minimal interference seen with its use." - John O'Keefe and Lynn Nadel, The Hippocampus as a Cognitive Map

      Although I agree that the House of the Tragic Poet could have served wonderfully well as a "memory theater", I think each room's decor would not only provide a distinctive loci, but remind the visitor of an important aspect of human relationship either within the family or the society as a whole.  Dr. Tuck focused on an underlying theme of love and it is certainly an underlying thread in many of the images.   But depictions of power of those in authority over socially subordinate individuals and the consequences of defying authority is also present and in the strictly ordered society of late Republican and early Imperial Rome, this message to visiting clients would not be overlooked.

      As a client enters the atrium, to the right he would see a panel depicting Zeus and Hera on Mount Ida.

      Fresco depicting the wedding of Zeus and Hera in the atrium
      of the House of the Tragic Poet in Pompeii.  Image courtesy of
      Wikimedia Commons.
      "Zeus persuades his modest bride to lift her veil and reveal her face, which she turns suggestively to the viewer.  This canonical scheme, seen in a metope from Hera's 5th century BCE Temple at Selinus, celebrates that liminal passage in a woman's life from invisibility to exposure, virginity to marriage." - Bettina Bergmann, The Roman House as Memory Theater

      Bergmann refers to various interpretations of the Iliad for this example.  From a client's perspective, though, the marriage could represent a metaphorical one between the client and the patron.  Furthermore the lifting of the veil could represent the need for complete disclosure between the client and patron as a necessary foundation for trust.

      Next, the client would see a painting of Achilles sitting before his tent after he reluctantly releases his concubine, Briseis, to Patroclus, who leads her away to the tent of Agamemnon.  Briseis, too, turns her glance back toward the viewer as she holds up her veil to dry a tear.  To a client, this could remind him that sacrifices may have to be made but the patron has the right to expect this.

      Fresco depicting The Greek hero Achilles surrounding his captive
      prize Briseis to Patroclus who prepares to take her to King Agamemnon.
      Image from the House of the Tragic Poet courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
      The third panel depicts Helen, also unveiled, boarding a ship that will take her from her homeland to Troy where strife and heartache await.  Again a client is reminded of the degree of sacrifice and obedience to which a patron is entitled.

      Fresco depicting Helen boarding a ship
      for Troy in the atrium of the House of
      the Tragic Poet in Pompeii.  Image
      courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
      Once the client is called into the tablinum they find a scene of Alcestis hearing the news that her husband Admetus may be spared death if another dies in his place.  In the myth, the wife offers herself instead.  Obviously, a client-patron relationship in this period of Rome is to be taken very seriously and a client may need to be willing to throw himself under the chariot, so to speak, to save his patron.

      Fresco of Alcestis hearing the news that her husband Admetus
      will be spared if someone (her) dies in his place from the
      House of the Tragic Poet in Pompeii.  Image courtesy of
      Wikimedia Commons.
      The famous mosaic of  actors preparing to present a tragic satyr play stares up at the client from the floor.  The elderly choragos could again represent the patron who is instructing a flute player and two actors dressed in goatskin loincloths, representatives of the clients who are presenting themselves for their daily assignment.  I also think of this mosaic as reminding clients that they all have their parts to play (Even though Shakespeare was born many centuries later!)

      Mosaic depicting the choregos and tragic actors from the tablinum in the
      House of the Tragic Poet in Pompeii.  Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
      Of course all of my speculation is based on the viewpoint of a client visiting the patron which occurred every morning during the salutatio. But the underlying messages of respect for authority, obedience and sacrifice would apply even to the patron's visiting friends and peers since all would be considered in service to Rome. In her treatise, Bergmann offers all kinds of alternate suggestions based on image groupings from different angles that you may find interesting as well.

      One image that gave Dr. Tuck pause to explain its connections to all the others from a viewpoint of love as the predominant theme is the image depicting the sacrifice of Iphigenia that adorns a small space of the peristyle diagonally across from the lararium.  I think it is actually the ultimate expression of love in the entire house, though.  In a Roman world of patron and client relationships and the exercising the role of pater familias, who has the power of life and death even over family members, I think this image served to remind the patron each morning after he sacrificed to his ancestors and household gods and turned to enter the tablinum, not to allow the heady intoxication of power and ambition lead him to sacrifice the most important people in his life or there would be dire consequences (like there was for Agamemnon!) - serving the purpose very much like the slave who rides with the triumphator in the triumphal chariot whispering, "remember, thou art mortal".

      The sacrifice of Iphigenia found in a vestibule of the peristyle adjacent to
      the triclinium.  I think this image would have reminded the patron of the
      dire consequences of placing ambition above love for his familias.
      Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

      I highly recommend that you read Bettina Bergmann's paper as it is not only interesting but has beautiful illustrations of the various reconstructed spaces within the House of the Tragic Poet.  I also recommend Dr. Steven Tuck's lecture series "Pompeii: Daily Life in an Ancient Roman City" available through The Great Courses.

      The famous Cave Canem Mosaic at the entrance to the House of the Tragic
      Poet.  Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. 
      The House of the Tragic Poet wasn't the only one with a
      "Cave Canem" mosaic in the entryway.  Here's another
      one I found in Pompeii in 2005.  Photograph by
      Mary Harrsch © 2005
      One last note:  Dr. Tuck said Petronius made particular fun of the fact that the nouveau riche house in the Satyricon had a "Beware of Dog" mosaic at its entrance just like the House of the Tragic Poet. Petronius pointed out that it was totally ridiculous because all Roman houses have their door opened to the public during the day with, theoretically, all comers welcome.  I think the mosaic served as a subtle and very practical reminder to those who might be contemplating entering the home to do harm that, although the door is open, the house is guarded, whether literally or metaphorically - sort of the modern equivalent of posting a "Beware of Dog" sign even when you don't own one.  It makes perfect sense to me but, of course, I have never been designated as someone's arbiter of taste!

      David Gill (Looting Matters)

      Aboutaam on the seized sarcophagi

      Ali Aboutaam of Phoenix Ancient Art has commented on the lifting of sequestration of a Phoenician sarcophagus (Laure Lugon Zugravu, "Levée du séquestre pour le sarcophage phénicien", Le Temps July 22, 2015). Aboutaam is reported to have said that the Lebanon has now accepted that the sarcophagus had not been stolen.

      This was one of three sarcophagi seized in the Geneva Freeport in 2010.

      For earlier comments and video see here.

      | |
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      Petizione: Ischia, non vendete quel museo

      Pubblichiamo un appello dell’Associazione Bianchi Bandinelli

      di Ischia è stata sede del più antico insediamento fisso dei Greci che
      avevano raggiunto l’Italia meridionale. La splendida parabola della
      Magna Grecia inizia con questo originario scalo marittimo, chiamato
      Pithecusa. Nella località di San Montano, in comune di Lacco Ameno,
      dalla fine degli anni ’40 del XX secolo si sono svolti scavi
      archeologici, diretti da Giorgio Buchner, ischitano di nascita e di
      spirito, per quanto di ascendenza tedesca. Buchner ha studiato e
      pubblicato quanto contenevano più di settecento sepolture, deposte in
      fosse, di inumati e di incinerati, databili dalla metà dell’VIII a. C.
      all’età romana imperiale. Sono le più antiche di queste sepolture che ci
      documentano della vita sociale e produttiva dei Pithecusani di VIII e
      VII secolo a. C.: provenienti da varie regioni della Grecia propria e di
      quella dell’Est accoglievano fra loro mercanti ed artigiani fenici,
      oltre ad esperti falegnami di stirpe locale e donne dal basso Lazio alla
      Campania interna. Inoltre, sono documentati precisi rapporti con la
      Sardegna e la Spagna. A Pithecusa si svolgevano attività di riduzione
      del minerale ferroso proveniente dall’etrusca isola d’Elba così da poter
      poi scambiare in Grecia propria il metallo così ricavato.

      La documentazione archeologica scoperta e studiata da Giorgio Buchner
      non è limitata a questi sia pur importantissimi documenti della vita
      produttiva ed economica della arcaica società greca, ma aperta ad
      individui ed influssi culturali i più vari, di Pithecusa. Su una coppa
      in terracotta sono incisi versi, con cadenza epica, contemporanei alle
      più antiche parti dell’Iliade: si decanta il piacere di bere vino in
      questa coppa, perfetta come quella usata da Nestore, così che l’ebbrezza
      che ne deriva faciliti l’incontro con le dolcezze di Afrodite, la dea
      dalla bella cintura. Questa iscrizione è la più antica sicuramente in
      lingua greca ritrovata in Italia, e fa il paio con una seconda che ci
      restituisce la firma di un decoratore di vasi in attività nella stessa

      L’insieme dei reperti (ceramici, in bronzo, in argento dorato, in
      pasta vitrea) è, dalla fine degli anni ’90 del XX secolo, conservato ed
      esposto al pubblico nel museo archeologico istituito, d’intesa tra il
      Comune di Lacco Ameno e la Soprintendenza Archeologia della Campania,
      nella Villa Arbusto, proprietà del Comune stesso.

      È di questi giorni la notizia che quel Comune, privo di ogni risorsa
      finanziaria, avrebbe intenzione di porre in vendita Villa Arbusto, con
      la conseguenza di sfrattare i preziosi reperti che ne costituiscono il
      museo. Da parte degli uffici competenti del Ministero dei Beni e delle
      Attività Culturali e del Turismo nulla risulta sia stato posto in atto
      per scongiurare una sconfitta del genere sul piano della diffusione
      della cultura e della valorizzazione del patrimonio archeologico, tema
      tanto perseguito dal Ministro pro tempore.

      L’Associazione Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli, nel diffondere notizia di
      quanto si teme accada a danno del museo archeologico nel quale si
      conservano tanti preziosi documenti della nostra più antica storia,
      invita a sottoscrivere questo appello. L’Associazione Ranuccio Bianchi
      Bandinelli si rivolge a tutte le Autorità, statali, regionali e locali
      competenti, affinché le ventilate intenzioni del Comune di Lacco Ameno
      di porre in vendita Villa Arbusto, così di fatto sfrattando il museo
      archeologico in essa finora ospitato e visitato da migliaia e migliaia
      di turisti, non siano lasciate realizzarsi. In particolare
      l’Associazione richiama alla vigilanza il Ministero dei Beni e delle
      Attività Culturali e del Turismo al quale la Costituzione addossa
      l’onore, ma anche la responsabilità, della promozione della cultura e
      della tutela del patrimonio storico della Nazione.

      Per info:

      L'articolo Petizione: Ischia, non vendete quel museo sembra essere il primo su ArcheoBlog.

      Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

      Open Access Catalogue général des antiquités égyptiennes du Musée du Caire

      [First posted in AWOL 18 December 2013, updates 27 July 2015]

      Catalogue général des antiquités égyptiennes du Musée du Caire
      Michael Tilgner's and Ingeborg Waanders' (with additions by Alain Dautant) list of the known digital versions of the volumes of the Catalogue général des antiquités égyptiennes du Musée du Caire, compiled for the Egyptologists' Electronic Forum (EEF).
      Catalogue général des antiquités égyptiennes du Musée du Caire:
      -- CG 1-380: Ludwig Borchardt, Statuen und Statuetten von Königen
      und Privatleuten im Museum zu Kairo, Nr. 1-1294, Teil 1: Text und
      Tafeln zu Nr. 1-380, Berlin, 1911. - vol. 1 only [out of 5 vols.]:
      200 pp., 59 pls. - pdf-file (18 MB)
      URL (Giza Digital Library)
      -- CG 381-653: Ludwig Borchardt, Statuen und Statuetten von
      Königen und Privatleuten im Museum von Kairo, Nr. 1-1294,
      Teil 2: Text und Tafeln zu Nr. 381-653, Berlin, 1925. - vol. 2 only
      [out of 5 vols.] - 197 pp., pls. 60-120 - pdf-file (61 MB)
      URL (Giza Digital Library)
      -- CG 654-950: Ludwig Borchardt, Statuen und Statuetten von
      Königen und Privatleuten im Museum von Kairo, Nr. 1-1294, Teil 3:
      Text und Tafeln zu Nr. 654-950, Berlin, 1930. - vol. 3 only [out of
      5 vols.] - 168 pp., pls. 121-158 - pdf-file (57 MB)
      URL (Giza Digital Library)
      -- CG 951-1294: Ludwig Borchardt, Statuen und Statuetten von Königen
      und Privatleuten im Museum von Kairo, Nr. 1-1294, Teil 4: Text und
      Tafeln zu Nr. 951-1294, Berlin, 1934. - vol. 4 only [out of 5 vols.] -
      151 pp., pls. 159-174 - pdf-file (50.6 MB)
      URL (Giza Digital Library)
      -- CG 1-1294: Ludwig Borchardt, Statuen und Statuetten von Königen
      und Privatleuten im Museum von Kairo, Nr. 1-1294, Teil 5: Nachweise
      von Aksel Volten, Berlin, 1936. - vol. 5 only [out of 5 vols.] - 145 pp. -
      pdf-file (8.3 MB)
      URL (Giza Digital Library)
      -- CG 1295-1541: Borchardt, Ludwig: Denkmäler des Alten Reiches
      (ausser den Statuen) im Museum zu Kairo Nr. 1295-1808, Teil I: Text und
      Tafeln zu Nr. 1295-1541, Berlin, 1937. - vol. 1 only [out of 2 vols.] -
      244 pp., pls. 1-52 - pdf-file (71.5 MB) [PDF]
      URL (Giza Digital Library)
      -- CG 1542-1808: Borchardt, Ludwig: Denkmäler des Alten Reiches
      (ausser den Statuen) im Museum zu Kairo Nr. 1295-1808, Teil II: Text und
      Tafeln zu Nr. 1542-1808, Le Caire, 1964 - vol. 2 only [out of 2 vols.] -
      220 pp., pls. 53-116 - pdf-file (34.5 MB) [PDF]
      URL (Giza Digital Library)
      -- CG 1809-3425: not available
      -- CG 3426-3587: Fr. W. von Bissing, Metallgefässe, Vienne, 1901.
      XVII, 80 pp., 3 pls. - pdf-file (6.5 MB)
      -- CG 3588-3617: not available
      -- CG 3618-4000, 18001-18037, 18600, 18603: Fr. W. von
      Bissing, Fayencegefäße, Vienne, 1902. - XXXI, 114 pp., 1 pl. -
      pdf-file (3.9 MB) [PDF]
      -- CG 4001-4797: not available
      -- CG 4798-4976; 5034-5200: G. A. Reisner, Models of Ships
      and Boats, Le Caire, 1913. xxviii, 171 pp., 33 pls. - pdf-file (16 MB)
      -- CG 4977-5033: not available
      -- CG 5034-5200: see CG 4798-4976; 5034-5200 above.
      -- CG 5201-5217: not available
      -- CG 5218-6000, 12001-12527: G. A. Reisner, Amulets, Le Caire,
      1907. 198 pp., 25 pls. - pdf-file (12 MB)
      -- CG 6001-6029: Émile Chassinat, La seconde trouvaille de Deir
      el-Bahari (sarcophages). [Tome premier, premier fascicule],
      Le Caire, 1909 - 88 pp., 14 pls. - pdf-file (11.3 MB)
      -- CG 6029-6068: Andrzej Niwinski, La seconde trouvaille de
      Deir el-Bahari (sarcophages). Tome premier, deuxième fascicule,
      Le Caire, 1995 [1996] --
      not yet available
      -- CG 6069-6082: Andrzej Niwinski, The second find of
      Deir el-Bahari (Coffins) (1999) --
      not yet available
      -- CG 6082-7000: not available
      -- CG 7001-7394; 8742-9200: Josef Strzygowski, Koptische
      Kunst, Vienne, 1904. XXIV, 362 pp., 40 pls. - pdf-file (36 MB)
      -- CG 7395-8000: not available
      -- CG 8001-8741: W. E. Crum, Coptic Monuments, Le Caire,
      1902. 160 pp., 57 pls. - pdf-file (35.6 MB)
      URL (Heidelberg)
      -- CG 8742-9200: see CG 7001-7394; 8742-9200 above
      -- CG 9201-9304: Henri Munier, Manuscrits coptes, Le Caire,
      1916. vii, 213 pp., 21 pls. - pdf-file (14 MB)
      -- CG 9201-9400; 26001-26123; 33001-33037: J. G. Milne,
      Greek inscriptions, Oxford, 1905. xi, 153 pp., 11 pls. - pdf-file (11 MB)
      -- CG 9401-9449: Georges Daressy, Textes et dessins magiques,
      Le Caire, 1903. 62 pp., 13 pls. - pdf-file (6 MB)
      -- CG 9450-10000: not available
      -- CG 10001-10869: B. P. Grenfell, A. S. Hunt, Greek Papyri,
      Oxford, 1903. viii, 116 pp. - pdf-file (7.5 MB)
      -- CG 10870-11000: not available
      -- CG 11001-12000; 14001-14754: J. E. Quibell, Archaic
      objects, vol. 1, Le Caire, 1905. 327 pp. - pdf-file (19 MB)
      -- CG 11001-12000; 14001-14754: J. E. Quibell, Archaic
      objects, vol. 2, Le Caire, 1904. 66 pls. - pdf-file (5.8 MB)
      -- CG 12001-12527 see CG 5218-6000, 12001-12527 above
      -- CG 12528-14000: not available
      -- CG 14001-14754: see CG 11001-12000; 14001-14754 above.
      -- CG 14755-18000: not available
      -- CG 18001-18037: see CG 3618-4000, 18001-18037, 18600, 18603 above
      -- CG 18038-18065: not available
      -- CG 18065-18793: Fr. W. von Bissing, Steingefässe,
      Vienne, 1904. 173 pp., 9 pls. - pdf-file (12 MB)
      -- CG 18065-18793: Fr. W. von Bissing, Steingefässe.
      Einleitung und Indices, Vienne, 1907. XLVII, 80 pp., 4 pls. -
      pdf-file (4.4 MB)
      -- CG 18600, 18603: see CG 3618-4000, 18001-18037, 18600, 18603 above
      -- CG 18794-20000: not available
      -- CG 20001-20399: H. O. Lange und H. Schäfer, Grab-
      und Denksteine des Mittleren Reichs, Theil I: Text zu
      No. 20001-20399, Berlin, 1902. vii, 400 pp. - vol. 1 of 4 - pdf-file (23 MB)
      -- CG 20400-20780: H. O. Lange und H. Schäfer, Grab-
      und Denksteine des Mittleren Reichs, Theil II: Text zu No. 20400-
      20780, Berlin, 1908. 409 pp. - vol. 2 of 4 - pdf-file (24 MB)
      -- CG 20001-20780: H. O. Lange und H. Schäfer, Grab-
      und Denksteine des Mittleren Reichs, Teil III: Listen zu Nr. 20001-
      20780, Berlin, 1925. vi, 182 pp. - vol. 3 of 4 - pdf-file (9.1 MB)
      -- CG 20001-20780: H. O. Lange und H. Schäfer, Grab-
      und Denksteine des Mittleren Reichs, Theil IV: Tafeln, Berlin, 1902.
      vi, 22 pp., 99 pls. - vol. 4 of 4 - pdf-file (18 MB)
      -- CG 20781-23000: not available
      -- CG 23001-23256: Ahmed Bey Kamal, Tables d'offrandes,
      vol. I, Le Caire, 1909. IV, 211 pp. - pdf-file (12 MB)
      -- CG 23257-24000: not available
      -- CG 24001-24990: Georges Daressy, Fouilles de la Vallée des Rois
      (1898-1899). [fasc. I] --
      not yet available
      -- CG 24991-25000: not available
      -- CG 25001-25385: Georges Daressy, Ostraca --
      not yet available
      -- CG 25386-26000: not available
      -- CG 26001-26123: see CG 9201-9400; 26001-26123; 33001-33037 above
      -- CG 26124-26349, 32377-32394: C. C. Edgar, Greek Vases,
      Le Caire, 1911. VII, 92 pp., 28 pls. - pdf-file (8.7 MB)
      -- CG 26350 - 27424: not available
      -- CG 27425-27630: C. C. Edgar, Greek sculpture, Le Caire,
      1903. XVI, 83 pp., 32 pls. - pdf-file (11 MB)
      -- CG 27631-28086: not available
      -- CG 28087-28126: Pierre Lacau, Sarcophages antérieurs au
      Nouvel Empire, vol. 2, Le Caire, 1906. 207 pp. - pdf-file (12 MB)
      -- CG 28127-29300 not available
      -- CG 29301-29306 [CG 29301-29303 are missing]: Gaston
      Maspero, Sarcophages des époques persane et ptolémaïque,
      vol. I, Le Caire, 1914. pp. 113-315, pls. IX-XXVI - pdf-file (17 MB)
      -- CG 29306-29500: not available
      -- CG 29501-29733. 29751-29834: Claude Gaillard, Georges
      Daressy, La faune momifiée de l'antique Égypte, Le Caire, 1905.
      II, 159 pp., 66 pls. - pdf-file (21 MB)
      -- CG 29734-29750: not available
      -- CG 29751-29834: see CG 29501-29733. 29751-29834 above
      -- CG 29835-30600: not available
      -- CG 30601-31270, 50001-50022: Wilhelm Spiegelberg,
      Die demotischen Denkmäler. 30601-31270. 50001-50022,
      II: Die demotischen Papyrus. Text, Strassburg, 1908. X,
      380 pp. - pdf-file (22 MB)
      -- CG 31271-31670: Arthur E. P. Weigall, Weights and
      Balances, Le Caire, 1908. XVI, 69 pp., 9 pls. - pdf-file (6 MB)
      -- CG 31671-32000: not available
      -- CG 32001-32367: C. C. Edgar, Greek Moulds, Le Caire,
      1903. XVII, 89 pp., 33 pls.- pdf-file (11 MB)
      -- CG 32368-32376: not available
      -- CG 32377-32394: see CG 26124-26349, 32377-32394 above
      -- CG 32395-32400: not available
      -- CG 32401-32800: C. C. Edgar, Graeco-Egyptian Glass,
      Le Caire, 1905. V, 92 pp., 11 pls. - pdf-file (7.7 MB)
      -- CG 32801-33000: not available
      -- CG 33001-33037: see CG 9201-9400; 26001-26123; 33001-33037 above
      -- CG 33038-33100: not available
      -- CG 33101-33285: C. C. Edgar, Graeco-Egyptian Coffins,
      Masks and Portraits, Le Caire, 1905. XIX, 136 pp.,
      48 pls. - pdf-file (22 MB)
      -- CG 33286-33300: not available
      -- CG 33301-33506: M. C. C. Edgar, Sculptors' Studies and Unfinished
      Works, Le Caire, 1906. - XII, 91 pp., 43 pls. - pdf-file (20.5 MB)
      -- CG 33507-34000: not available
      -- CG 34001-34186: Pierre Lacau, Stèles du Nouvel Empire.
      nos. 34065[sic]-34186, Cairo, 1926. T. I, fasc. 2. 232 pp. LXXI pl. -
      pdf-file (67 MB)
      URL (CFEETK)
      -- CG 34187-36000: not available
      -- CG 36001-37521: Percy E. Newberry, Scarab-shaped Seals,
      London, 1907. VIII, 384 pp., 22 pls. [pp. 345-352 are missing;
      pp. 353-360 are repeated] - pdf-file (24 MB)
      -- CG 37522-38000: not available
      -- CG 38001-39384: Georges Daressy, Statues de divinités. T. I. and T. II --
      not yet available
      -- CG 39383-43226: not available
      -- CG 43227: G. Lefebvre, Papyrus de Ménandre --
      not yet available
      -- CG 43226-41000: not available
      -- CG 41001-41041: Alexandre Moret, Sarcophages de l'époque
      bubastide à l'époque saïte, vol. 1, Le Caire, 1913. xv, 160 pp.,
      40 pls. - pdf-file (14 MB)
      -- CG 41001-41041: Alexandre Moret, Sarcophages de l'époque
      bubastide à l'époque saïte, vol. 2, Le Caire, 1913. pp. 161-344,
      40 pls. - pdf-file (11 MB)
      -- CG 41042-41048: Henri Gauthier, Cercueils anthropoïdes des
      prêtres de Montou, vol. 1, Le Caire, 1913, viii, 160 pp., 40 pls.,
      -- CG 41048 [continued]-41072: Henri Gauthier, Cercueils
      anthropoïdes des prêtres de Montou, vol. 2, Le Caire, 1913,
      pp. 161-560 - pdf-file (23 MB)
      -- CG 41073-42000: not available
      -- CG 42001-42138: G. Legrain, Statues et statuettes de rois et
      de particuliers, Le Caire, 1906. I, 171 pp., 79 pls. - pdf-file (34.7 MB)
      URL (CFTEEK)
      -- CG 42139-42191: G. Legrain, Statues et statuettes de rois et
      de particuliers, Le Caire, 1909. II, 114 pp., 53 pls. - pdf-file (20.3 MB)
      URL (CFTEEK)
      -- CG 42192-42250: G. Legrain, Statues et statuettes de rois et
      de particuliers, Le Caire, 1914. III, 157 pp., 53 pls. - pdf-file (18.2 MB)
      URL (CFTEEK)
      -- CG 42001-42250: H. Gauthier, Statues et statuettes de rois et
      de particuliers, Le Caire, 1925. Indices des tomes I, II et III,
      42 pp. - pdf-file (1.4 MB)
      URL (CFTEEK)
      -- CG 42251-44000: not available
      -- CG 44001-44102: Georges Bénédite, Miroirs, Le Caire,
      1907. XXXV, 64 pp., 25 pls. - pdf-file (9.3 MB)
      -- CG 44103-44300: not available
      -- CG 44301-44638: Georges Bénédite, Objets de toilette, 1ère
      partie: Peignes, etc., Le Caire, 1911. - 80 pp., 25 pls.
      URL (Gallica)
      [Peignes, épingles de tête, étuis et pots à kohol, stylets à kohol]
      -- CG 44639-46000: not available
      -- CG 46001-46529: Howard Carter, Percy E. Newberry,
      The Tomb of Thoutmôsis IV, Westminster, 1904. vii,
      150 pp., 28 pls. - pdf-file (12 MB)
      -- CG 46530-48273: Percy E. Newberry, Funerary Statuettes and
      Model Sarcophagi. Fascicle 1, Le Caire, 1930. - 304 pp. - pdf-file
      (40.3 MB)
      -- CG 48274-48575: Percy E. Newberry, Funerary Statuettes and
      Model Sarcophagi. Fascicle 2, Le Caire, 1937. - pp. 305-405 -
      pdf-file (46.3 MB)
      -- CG 46530-48575: Percy E. Newberry, Funerary Statuettes
      and Model Sarcophagi. Fascicle 3. Indices et planches (1957) --
      not yet available
      -- CG 48576-50000: not available
      -- CG 50001-50022: see CG 30601-31270, 50001-50022 above
      -- CG 50023-51000: not available
      -- CG 51001-51191: J. E. Quibell, Tomb of Yuaa and Thuiu,
      Le Caire, 1908. VII, 80 pp., 1 frontispiece, 60 pls. - pdf-file (13 MB)
      -- CG 51192-52000: not available
      -- CG 52001-53855: Émile Vernier, Bijoux et orfèvreries, tome 1:
      Texte, tome 2: Index et planches, Le Caire, 1907-1927 - 519 pp.,
      113 pls. [published in 4 fascicles with text and plates combined]
      --- CG 52001-52151: [tome 1-2: Texte et planches], fascicule 1,
      Le Caire, 1907.
      --- CG 52152-52639: [tome 1-2: Texte et planches], fascicule 2,
      Le Caire, 1909.
      [both fascicules bound together] - pp. 1-200, pls. 1-37
      URL (Gallica)
      --- CG 52640-53171: [tome 1-2: Texte et planches], fascicule 3,
      Le Caire, 1925. - pp. 201-384, pls. 38-81
      URL (Gallica)
      --- CG 53172-53855: [tome 1: Texte], fascicule 4, Le Caire, 1927. -
      pp. 385-519
      URL (Gallica)
      --- CG 52001-53855: tome 2: Index et planches, [fascicule 4],
      Le Caire, 1927. - 47 pp., pls. 82-113
      URL (Gallica)
      -- CG 53856-58000: not available
      -- CG 58001-58036: Wladimir Golénischeff, Papyrus hiératiques.
      Premier fascicule, Le Caire, 1927 [all published]. - 268 pp., 39 pls. -
      pdf-file (806 MB [sic])
      URL (JScholarship)
      58001-58006: prayers to Osiris; 58007-58023: Books of Breathing;
      58024: BD 27 and religious text; 58025: BD 135 and religious text;
      58026: BD 182 and religious text; 58027-58029: ritual for the protection
      of the sleeping King; 58030: Amenophis ritual; 58031: Sokar ritual;
      58032: decree of Nes-khons for Amun; 58033: decree of Pinodjem for Amun;
      58034: decree of Amun for Osiris; 58035: decree of Month for a dead;
      58036: ritual of Opening of the Mouth
      -- CG 58037-61050: not available
      -- CG 61001-61044: Georges Daressy, Cercueils des cachettes royales (1909) --
      not yet available
      -- CG 61045-61050: not available
      -- CG 61051-61100: G. Elliot Smith, The Royal Mummies,
      Le Caire, 1912. VII, 118 pp., 1 frontispiece., 103 pls.
      URL (University of Chicago)
      -- CG 61101-67000: not available
      -- CG 67001-67124: Jean Maspero, Papyrus grecs
      d'époque byzantine, vol. 1, Le Caire, 1911. iv, 283 pp.,
      33 pls. - pdf-file (25 MB)
      -- CG 67125-67278: Jean Maspero, Papyrus grecs d'époque
      byzantine, vol. 2, Le Caire, 1913. 263 pp., 28 pls. - pdf-file (21 MB)
      -- CG 67279-67359: Jean Maspero, Papyrus grecs d'époque
      byzantine, vol. 3, Le Caire, 1916. xxxvi, 260 pp., 8 pls. - pdf-file (20 MB)
      -- CG 67360-70000: not available
      -- CG 70001-70050: Günther Roeder, Naos, Leipzig, 1914. VI,
      191 pp., 91 pls. - this vol. is split into two parts:
      text - pdf-file (13 MB): URL
      plates - pdf-file (13 MB): URL

      Compitum - publications

      W. Keulen, U. Egelhaaf-Gaiser, Apuleius Madaurensis Metamorphoses, Book XI


      William Keulen, Ulrike Egelhaaf-Gaiser (éd.), Apuleius Madaurensis Metamorphoses, Book XIText, Introduction and Commentary, Leiden, Boston, 2014.

      Éditeur : Brill
      Collection : Apuleius Madaurensis
      viii, 681 pages
      ISBN : 9789004269200


      Commentary written by W. Keulen, S. Tilg, L. Nicolini, L. Graverini, S. Harrison, S. Panayotakis and D. van Mal-Maeder. Appendices written by F. Drews, W.S. Smith and U. Egelhaaf-Gaiser.
      Final editors: W. Keulen and U. Egelhaaf-Gaiser

      After more than three decades since the publication of Gwyn Griffiths' 1975 commentary, which concentrated mainly on Egyptological aspects and represents an outdated, positivistic approach to the literary evidence on Isis, this new commentary presents a new and thorough assessment of Apuleius' Isis Book, elucidating and interpreting the narrative in its literary, religious, archaeological and cultural context. Reflecting the recent innovative approach to the interaction of literature and religion (Literarisierung von Religion) and the important developments in the research on the Second Sophistic (e.g. ‘Self-fashioning'; Cultural Identity), the volume offers a new, detailed interpretation of the Isis Book in the easy-to-use form of a fully-fledged commentary, including Latin Text and monographic Introduction.

      Lire la suite...

      Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

      Antiquities Smuggling is ....

      Coin dealer Scott Semans makes a rather amazing announcement on a forum connected with fake ancient coins (Re: Petition vs new German legislation restricting collecting of cultural artefacts incl coins Sun Jul 26, 2015 8:30 am PDT) .
      I signed the petition, citing the numerous core principles of western law which this would violate. As a practical matter for someone with customers all over the world, I am concerned about theft by postal, customs, and even private transport employees lately used by European postal systems. I hope that my usual declaration of "metal stampings" will not be too unclear to the dutiful German customs official who may now concerned with some small class of this product. Of course for the Roman Aes and old Chinese, metal castings is correct.
      Despite the coiney claptrap, the proposed regulation of the German art market does not in fact violate any "core principles of western law", but I am sure German lawmakers will give due attention to the American's exegesis of what he assumes they do not know. Posting something that to comply with customs regulations requires a declaration (ancient coins)  as "metal stampings" to avoid scrutiny is what the rest of us call "smuggling". It's like marking ancient statues as "garden furniture" and dismantled Egyptian sarcophagi as "potatoes". Shame on you.

      James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

      Memory and the Reception of Jesus in Early Christianity

      St. Mary’s University is planning a conference for June 2016 on “Memory and the Reception of Jesus in Early Christianity.” There are no further details at this point. The information was shared by John Daniels, who blogs at Cultural Jesus.

      It looks like it will overlap with the Enoch Seminar event focused on John’s Christology, scheduled for June 12-16, 2016. Otherwise I would definitely have been interested in attending.

      Penn Museum Blog

      The Great Parks of California

      caIn June, I had the amazing opportunity to participate on a Penn Alumni Travel tour to the northern California National Parks including Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia.  We saw and learned so much that, among other things, the trip altered my thoughts about guided tours. If you want real R&R, expert insight into nature, history, and the cultural aspects of what you are seeing, and to cover a lot of ground getting to amazing places, this kind of trip is for you.

      The group included two tour guides and 42 university alumni representing Penn, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Purdue, Columbia, Boston University, and the University of Texas. After our first happy hour we were all old friends, and it stayed that way for the full nine days! We started out in San Francisco, but beat feet to Sonoma Valley’s wine country where we toured the Kunde Family Winery, a five-generation vineyard. After sampling the Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and the Cabernet, we entered the underground wine caves and sipped from an unfinished barrel of red while listening to legends of the family business. Though my personal preferences tend toward gin, this visit definitely rekindled my interest in California wines. Just yesterday I found Kunde Estate wines in the Pennsylvania liquor store!

      From Sonoma we headed east into the Sierra Nevada, and eventually climbed 6,225 feet to Lake Tahoe, the highest and largest alpine lake in the United States. I’ve wanted to see Tahoe for a long time and, in fact, it is what inspired me to sign onto the trip. Although there in the wrong season, and without my skis, I was not disappointed. An incredible blue, Tahoe is 21 miles long and an impressive 1,600 feet deep, surrounded by snow covered peaks.


      Enjoying our time on Lake Tahoe. Photo by author.

      As a specialist in Native American material culture, it was my pleasure to fill the group in on the fact that while a vacation retreat and tourist destination for many, Lake Tahoe is also the spiritual center and place of origin of the Washoe Indian people, and remains as such today. Through my lectures, I introduced the weaving traditions of Washoe and northern California Indian tribes, some of the finest basketry in the world. In the late 1800s, weavers skillfully adapted their work to meet the demands of the burgeoning tourist industry in California. The American Craftsman Movement (1895-1920) celebrated handmade Indian weaving and encouraged a collecting obsession of Indian art across the country. This was also the Golden Age of Museums, and it is no surprise that the Penn Museum houses exceptional California baskets, of which I shared many examples. The tragic irony of saving Indian art while killing off Indian people was not lost on my audience. Later in the trip I introduced them to United States’ NAGPRA legislation and the repatriation movement with a special focus on issues important to California tribes today.

      Yosemite Museum

      A Mono Lake Paiute basket by Lucy Tellas at the Yosemite Museum. Photo by author.

      From Tahoe we traveled east over the Sierras and into Nevada’s Mono and Paiute Indian country, back into California, past Mono Lake (one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen), and entered Yosemite National Park from the east. We spent two days in Yosemite, taking in all of the sites along the Yosemite Valley floor (Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, the Ahwhannee Hotel named after the Chief of the tribe that inhabited the Valley), and had free time for hiking on our own or for group tours. My son took off on the 7-mile hike to Nevada Falls, and I spent the afternoon with Barbara Beroza, the Curator of the Yosemite Museum, looking behind the scenes at Washoe, Paiute, and Miwok Indian baskets, and with Phil Johnson, a Miwok/Paiute interpreter in the gallery. Phil showed me a clever and rarely collected woodpecker trap—a long and skinny twinned basket that is tied to a tree over a hole where the ubiquitous woodpeckers are nesting!

      Yosemite valley

      Yosemite Valley Photo by author.

      From Yosemite we spent two more gorgeous days in Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. Sequoia is less traveled and incredibly vast and wild. In addition to much welcomed snow and rain, we saw an abundance of woodpeckers and blue Steller’s Jays, and a total of seven black bears eating grass in open meadows.

      But the highlight of the trip was the magnificent Giant Sequoia trees, Sequoiadendron giganteum, the world’s largest living trees that are well protected and cared for in these parks. The General Sherman and General Grant trees standing 275 and 268 feet tall, respectively, were massive and incredibly impressive. While taking them in, I revisited John Muir’s writings and the early history and struggle to secure these incredible parks. I was continually awed by the grandeur of the woods and reminded of the difference a single person’s actions can make. And it was a pleasure to be traveling with so many like-minded enthusiasts of nature and of our National Parks.

      Sequoias at Yosemite

      Sequoias at Yosemite Photo by author.

      With reluctance, we descended west from the cool, quiet, and lush seclusion of Sequoia and across the northern edge of the Central Valley, aka “the salad bowl.” Impressively, this region grows a staggering one half of the produce in the United States! We passed mile after mile of thriving walnut, pistachio, almond, peach, pear, nectarine, plum, cherry, and date trees, acres of lettuce, miles of artichokes, and on and on. After a private tour and elegant dinner at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, we ended our trip at Carmel by the Sea with a tour of the still active Carmel Mission Church, established by Spanish Jesuits in 1793.

      The trip gave me the opportunity to experience some of the United States’ most incredible natural beauty, where some of the Penn Museum’s California collections were made and used, and the time to reflect on the importance of our mission to steward and share those collections broadly.

      Archaeology Magazine

      Robert gordon school 3ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND—More than 20 medieval skeletons were discovered in a shallow grave on the grounds of Robert Gordon College by a work crew installing cables. The site is thought to have been a burial from the Blackfriars Abbey, which was founded in 1230 and destroyed by Protestant reformers in 1560. “At the time the friars from both Blackfriars Abbey and Greyfriars were kicked out of the city and the abbeys left in ruins,” local historian Diane Morgan told The Scotsman. The skeletons are thought to date to the thirteenth century. “This find is very interesting and in the thirteenth century people could pay money to be buried on sanctified grounds,” she added. To read about another medieval mass grave, go to "A Parisian Plague."

      Civilization climate changeMIAMI, FLORIDA—Abrupt climate change may have affected some of the earliest civilizations in the Middle East and the Fertile Crescent, according to a study conducted by an international team of scientists led by researchers from the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. The team made a high-resolution image of a sediment core taken from Neor Lake in northwest Iran that recorded conditions and changes in climate over the past 13,000 years, and measured the physical properties of its layers. “The high-resolution nature of this record afforded us the rare opportunity to examine the influence of abrupt climate change on early human societies. We see that transitions in several major civilizations across this region, as evidenced by the available historical and archaeological records, coincided with episodes of high atmospheric dust; higher fluxes of dust are attributed to drier conditions across the region over the last 5,000 years,” Arash Sharifi of the University of Miami said in a press release. To read about a 5,000-year-old civilization in what is now Iran, go to "The World in Between."

      Viking wealth statusYORK, ENGLAND—Steve Ashby of the University of York thinks that Viking raiders of the eighth century were motivated by more than the acquisition of wealth. “The lure of the exotic, of the world beyond the horizon, was an important factor. Classic anthropology has shown that the mystique of the exotic is a powerful force, and something that leaders and people of influence often use to prop up their power base. It is not difficult to see how this would have worked in the Viking Age,” he said in a press release. Ashby argues that Anglo-Saxon, Frankish, and Celtic metal objects were not melted down because they served as reminders of successful raids and became symbols of status and power. And those who participated in raiding parties not only accumulated wealth, they built their reputations. “The lure of the raid was thus more than booty; it was about winning and preserving power through the enchantment of travel and the doing of deeds. This provides an important correction to models that focus on the need for portable wealth; the act of acquiring silver was as important as the silver itself,” Ashby explained. To read about a discovery presenting other novel ideas about the Vikings, go to "The Vikings in Ireland."  

      Guatemala stela hieroglyphsGUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA—Marcello A. Canuto of Tulane University and Tomás Barrientos of the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala announced at a press conference the discovery of a fifth-century stele at the Maya site of El Achiotal, located to the east of La Corona. “This stela portrays an early king during one of the more poorly understood periods of ancient Maya history,” Canuto said in a press release. Graduate student Luke Auld-Thomas found fragments of the stela in a shrine that had been built for it during a time of political upheaval in the central Maya area. The archaeologists, who are part of the La Corona Regional Archaeological Project in Guatemala, also uncovered two hieroglyphic panels in a corner room at La Corona’s palace. These texts, which tell of rituals of kingly accession, had been missed by looters. “The fact that the stela and these panels were preserved by the ancient Maya themselves long after they were first carved adds a new wrinkle to our interpretation of how much the ancient Maya valued and strove to preserve their own history,” Canuto said. To read about the excavation of another Maya site in Guatemala, go to "Tomb of the Vulture Lord."

      Jona Lendering (New at LacusCurtius and Livius.Org)

      Heroes 10: Giambattista Vico (sort of)



      Somewhere in his autobiography, Casanova mentions a meeting with a Hungarian officer who didn’t speak French. In the eighteenth century, this was most unusual, at least among the well-to-do travelers that were Casanova’s usual company. Fortunately, the Hungarian officer and Casanova both knew some Latin, so conversation was easy.

      No one, back then, would have denied that Latin was useful. It was also important: it was the language of international science and scholarship. Moreover, it was the language one had to learn to read law, because Roman legal traditions were still important. Writers and poets carefully read ancient texts so that they might emulate these examples. In Catholic countries, Latin was used in the church. If you wanted to read theology, you had to understand Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. Because of the importance of the old languages, every European city had a Latin school.

      [Read more on the blog of Ancient History Magazine.]

      The Heroic Age

      42nd Saint Louis Conference on Manuscript Studies, 16-17 October 2015

      42nd Saint Louis Conference on Manuscript Studies, 16-17 October 2015
      Vatican Film Library, Saint Louis University
      St. Louis, Missouri

      Organized annually since 1974 by the Knights of Columbus Vatican Film Library and its journal “Manuscripta,” this two-day conference features papers on a wide variety of topics in medieval and Renaissance manuscript studies — paleography, codicology, illumination, book production, texts and transmission, library history, and more.

      Guest Speaker:
      Stella Panayotova (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge) — “Manuscript Illumination: Art and Science”

      Conference Sessions:
      Representations of Representation
      Spanish Manuscripts
      Goings on at SIMS: New Projects, New Research
      Intriguing Calendars
      A Good Read: The Production of Vernacular Texts in Thirteenth- and Fourteenth-Century Italy and their Public
      Work in Progress -- Digital Humanities Projects in the Vatican Film Library and the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana
      Old Book, New Book: Refurbished Manuscripts in the Middle Ages

      Conference Program and Registration Information
      For further information, visit the conference webpage or contact or 314-977-3090.

      The Vatican Film Library is a research library for medieval and Renaissance manuscript studies that holds on microfilm about 40,000 manuscripts, principally from the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana. In addition to its annual conference, the library also publishes twice yearly Manuscripta: A Journal for Manuscript Research, the monograph series Manuscripta Publications in Manuscript Research, and offers fellowships for research in its collections. It is part of Special Collections in the Saint Louis University Libraries. Keep in touch with us through our blog, Special Collections Currents, or Twitter.

      The Egyptiana Emporium

      NEWS: American archaeologists discover inscribed stelae at ancient mining site


      (Source: Luxor Times).

      “Dr. Mamdouh El Damaty, Minister of Antiquities, announced today the discovery of three Middle Kingdom steles bear important inscriptions.
      The discovery is a result of the American-Egyptian expedition led by Dr. Kate Liszka and Bryan Kraemer in Wadi El-Hudi area. 

      Wadi El-Hudi is an area 35km southeast of Aswan that is made up of many archaeological sites, consisting of fortified settlements, amethyst mines, and rock inscriptions. Egyptians mined this region during the Middle Kingdom and the Roman period. The state of preservation of the settlement areas is astonishing; the distribution of artifacts on the surface allows for a reconstruction of the various activities that took place at Wadi el-Hudi over three-thousand years ago. 

      The area was first discovered in 1917 and has been intermittently studied by geologists and archaeologists since. In the 1940’s Ahmed Fakhry conducted a survey of the area, where he identified 14 archaeological sites and recorded over 100 inscriptions. Ahmed Fakhy identified the link to Pharaoh Mentuhotep IV of the 11th Dynasty. 
      In the 1990s the sites were also visited by Ian Shaw, Robert Jameson, Rosemarie Klemm and Dietrich Klemm as part of large studies of Egyptian mining operations. The Wadi el-Hudi Expedition was launched in May of 2014 to continue studying the area and to yield answers to questions of settlement planning, organization of state-sponsored projects, the mechanics of semiprecious stone mining, interactions between Nubians and Egyptians, literacy among a soldiering class, and much more. Since the beginning of their work, the expedition has identified new, unknown archaeological sites and a dozen more inscriptions that were previously unpublished.
      Dr. Mamdouh El Damaty said that the inscriptions on the steles suggest its link to a fortified settlement. Even though many of the inscriptions have faded with time by the expedition is using RTI technology (Reflectance Transformation Imagine) which helps to identify more of the less visible inscriptions.  
      Dr. Mahmoud Afifi, head of the Egyptian antiquities department, said “The area of Wadi El-Hudi contains a number of amethyst mines and many Egyptian expeditions were sent to bring stones from there at the time of the Middle Kingdom to use for jewellery.”

      “Two of the discovered steles mentioned the year 28th of Senusret I’s reign as well as information on the expeditions were sent to the site.” Dr. Afifi added.
      The expedition is sponsored by Princeton University” – via Luxor Times.

      Archaeological News on Tumblr

      ‘Queen Valentina Road’ reopens after six centuries in northern Turkey

      A 250-meter-long road built upon the order of a Greek emperor for his wife in the 1400s has been...

      James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

      First Mandaean on Pluto

      Jim Davila noticed before I did that Charles Häberl‘s social media campaign to get part of Pluto named after Krun – the Mandaean lord of the underworld – was successful. The designation of one of Pluto’s recently-revealed land features with the name Krun marks the first time that a celestial body has been given a Mandaean name by anyone other than the Mandaeans themselves.

      Although Wikipedia is not always reliable, on this matter it presumably is, given that the Krun page has been edited by Charles himself. And so click through for more information.


      Archaeological News on Tumblr

      Viking raiding wasn’t just about the booty

      The Viking hit-and-run raids on monastic communities such as Lindisfarne and Iona were the most...

      Kostis Kourelis (Buildings, Objects Situations)


      Last summer, I made a pilgrimage to a house that served as an epicenter of the Anglo-American avant-garde, the house of Eva Palmer and Angelos Sikelianos in Sikya, 25 km west of Ancient Corinth (see here). Last week, I've been having terrific web-conversations with Artemis Leontis and Natalia Vogeikoff-Brogan about this house. What I didn't know in last year's visit is that Kostas

      Francesca Tronchin (Classical Archaeology News)

      Minus Plato

      Minus Plato:

      Please check out this wonderful blog from my friend & former colleague Richard Fletcher, associate professor of Classics at the Ohio State University.

      Archaeological News on Tumblr

      Gruesome Find: 100 Bodies Stuffed into Ancient House

      The remains of 97 human bodies have been found stuffed into a small 5,000-year-old house in a...

      Corinthian Matters

      Wiley Blackwell Companion to Patristics (ed. Parry)

      What do Patristic studies have to do with Corinth? Quite a lot. One of the interesting bits of research I completed over the last several years was working through the Roman and late antique references to Corinth, Kenchreai, and the Isthmus in the TLG to study the changing patterns of discourse about the city and region. There are well over a thousand late references to Corinthian matters found in late antique and Byzantine commentaries, homilies, theological reflections, and practical spiritual treatises on the Corinthian correspondence. Most, of course, are reflections on St. Paul’s letters to the Corinthians: John Chrysostom’s homilies on both letters survive completely, and a good selection of other late antique sources have been translated in Gerald Bray’s Commentaries on Romans and 1-2 Corinthians, one volume of the Ancient Christian Texts series (IVP Academic).

      The patristic discourse about the city and region may not provide much detail about Corinth’s social and economic life but the patterns are nonetheless interesting. I have noted in The Isthmus of Corinth that the Christianization of the educated classes of the Mediterranean created a new discourse about Corinth and its sites. Men and women were thinking, talking, hearing, and writing about Corinth as much as (if not more than) they had in earlier periods but in fundamentally different ways.

      This new Wiley Blackwell Companion to Patristics should be relevant to understanding these late antique and Byzantine interpreters. Here are the details:

      Parry, Ken, ed. Wiley Blackwell Companion to Patristics. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, 2015.

      “This comprehensive volume brings together a team of distinguished scholars to create a wide-ranging introduction to patristic authors and their contributions to not only theology and spirituality, but to philosophy, ecclesiology, linguistics, hagiography, liturgics, homiletics, iconology, and other fields.

      • Challenges accepted definitions of patristics and the patristic period – in particular questioning the Western framework in which the field has traditionally been constructed
      • Includes the work of authors who wrote in languages other than Latin and Greek, including those within the Coptic, Armenian, Syriac, and Arabic Christian traditions
      • Examines the reception history of prominent as well as lesser-known figures, debating the role of each, and exploring why many have undergone periods of revived interest
      • Offers synthetic accounts of a number of topics central to patristic studies, including scripture, scholasticism, and the Reformation
      • Demonstrates the continuing role of these writings in enriching and inspiring our understanding of Christianity”


      Preface x

      Notes on Contributors xi

      Part I Introduction 1

      1 The Nature and Scope of Patristics 3
      Ken Parry

      Part II Collecting the Fathers 13

      2 Byzantine Florilegia 15
      Alexander Alexakis

      3 Modern Patrologies 51
      Angelo Di Berardino

      Part III Studies in Reception History I: Individual Fathers 69

      4 Irenaeus of Lyons 71
      Denis Minns

      5 Clement of Alexandria 84
      Piotr Ashwin ]Siejkowski

      6 Origen of Alexandria 98
      Mark Edwards

      7 Athanasius of Alexandria 111
      David M. Gwynn

      8 Ephrem of Nisibis 126
      Andrew Palmer

      9 John Chrysostom 141
      Wendy Mayer

      10 Augustine of Hippo 155
      Kazuhiko Demura

      11 Cyril of Alexandria 170
      Hans van Loon

      12 Shenoute of Atripe 184
      Janet Timbie

      13 Nestorius of Constantinople 197
      George Bevan

      14 Dionysius the Areopagite 211
      István Perczel

      15 Severus of Antioch 226
      Youhanna Nessim Youssef

      16 Gregory the Great 238
      Bronwen Neil

      17 Maximos the Confessor 250
      Andrew Louth

      18 John of Damascus 264
      Vassilis Adrahtas

      19 Gregory of Narek 278
      Abraham Terian

      20 Gregory Palamas 293
      Marcus Plested

      Part IV Studies in Reception History II: Collective Fathers 307

      21 The Cappadocian Fathers 309
      H. Ashley Hall

      22 The Desert Fathers and Mothers 326
      John Chryssavgis

      23 The Iconophile Fathers 338
      Vladimir Baranov

      Part V Studies in the Fathers 353

      24 Scripture and the Fathers 355
      Paul Blowers

      25 Hagiography of the Greek Fathers 370
      Stephanos Efthymiadis

      26 Liturgies and the Fathers 385
      Hugh Wybrew

      27 Fathers and the Church Councils 400
      Richard Price

      28 The Fathers and Scholasticism 414
      James R. Ginther

      29 The Fathers and the Reformation 428
      Irena Backus

      30 The Fathers in Arabic 442
      Alexander Treiger

      31 The Greek of the Fathers 456
      Klaas Bentein

      32 The Latin of the Fathers 471
      Carolinne White

      33 Reimagining Patristics: Critical Theory as a Lens 487
      Kim Haines ]Eitzen

      Index 497

      James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

      Paul Must Have Been Angry


      Paul wrote in ALL CAPS

      The idea for this joke came about in my Sunday school class yesterday. We have been studying 1 Corinthians, and found ourselves talking about what made Paul’s letters persuasive before they were scripture.

      For those who may not get the joke, our oldest manuscripts of the New Testament are written in all upper-case letters, not because of an escalating internet flame war that the Christians were involved in, but simply because that was how manuscripts were written then.

      There are all sorts of aspects of Paul’s communication that we are prone to misunderstand. Sometimes because we don’t know the cultural context, or the ways that letters were produced in that time. Sometimes because they have become part of a collection known as the Bible, which interferes with readers today treating them as what they originally were – letters from one human being to others.


      Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

      Commemoration in the Bakken

      Over the weekend, my colleague Richard Rothaus forwarded me a story about the dangers of working on oil rigs in the Bakken. Much of the article is a rather typical discussion of physical risks of working in the oil patch, the pressure on workers to cut corners, and the lack of adequate safety or corporate accountability. 

      The final photo in the article is a cross dedicated at the site of a well blow out that cost the life of an oil field worker. The cross was depicted in front of a sign marking the location of an oil well, and this nicely juxtaposes the most highly visible mark upon the Bakken landscape (the drill rig, oil well, et c.) and a less visible commemorative landscape.

      Of course, the cross commemorating the death of a worker in the oil patch runs counter to the dominant narrative of the progress and wealth brought to the region by the oil boom. It reinforces a theme of sacrifice that is not entirely absent from conversations about the risks that oil workers face on a global scale (and it is a topic that comes up regularly in social media discussions of oil patch life). The military-style garb common to some of the larger companies in the patch which features coveralls with American flags underscores a link between patriotic duty and work in the patch. Sacrifice is a persistent subtext associated with work in the oil industry because the risks are very real, but the way in which it is represented reflects a certain ambiguity. Appeals to patriotism suggest that risk is part of national duty, whereas roadside crosses hint at the more personal costs of working in an industry with notoriously shoddy safety standards. It’s hard not to read commemorations like the cross set by the side of the road as a critique of the industry and the foundation of a subversive landscape. 

      Over the next month or so, I plan to finish up the Tourist Guide to the Bakken Oil Patch and send it off on the journey to publication. At the end of the week, though, I plan to head out west to fill in a few gaps. The photo at the end of this article tipped me to being a bit more aware of commemorative markers across the patch. While I’ve endeavored to bring into my Guide sites that form an environmentalist landscape, mark the historical landscape of drilling in the region, and the unavoidable signs of the productive landscape, I’ve included no evidence for the human cost of oil in the region. As I explore the Bakken once more this week, I’ll be on the lookout for this small, but important sites that form an important counterpoint to the productive, industrial landscape of the Bakken.


      A Laconian hexameter and elegiac inscriptions

      CEG 373 (525 BCE) IG V, 1 919 (an elegiac couplet) is from Sellasia in Laconia.
      Note Διοσκο̄́ροισιν (nisi divisim?) with -οισι and-ν under epic influence.

      It seems that (-)κο̄́ρ- stands for Ionic κούρ-, as in epic (cf. too CEG 391 550-525 BCE Cephallonia and CEG 427 6th-c. BCE Cnidos). Theoc.15.120 shows κῶρος, which, in the absence of evidence for omega in this inscription, would be written with omicron, just as in Διοσκο̄́ροισιν here. Cf. the middle column of Buck 1955: § 51 (for Ionic and the 'Doric' of Argolis, Crete, Thera, Cos, Rhodes, and colonies in contrast to dialects that preserved post-consonantl digamma and those, like Attic, in which the vowel was not affected).

      SEG XLVI 400 (= Colvin, no. 34; see also SEG L 394 and LVII 353 on the division and identity of ΚΑΛΗ) was found as recently 1988.

      BiblePlaces Blog

      New Translation of the Amarna Letters, by Anson Rainey

      (Post by A.D. Riddle)

      Last December, the publisher Brill released The El-Amarna Correspondence: A New Edition of the Cuneiform Letters from the Site of El-Amarna based on Collations of all Extant Tablets, by Anson Rainey.

      When Anson Rainey passed away in February 2011, he had not yet completed this new edition of the Amarna Letters. Rainey undertook the massive effort of producing a new collation all tablets that contain correspondence from Tell el-Amarna (the exceptions being four tablets that since their discovery were lost or destroyed; two Hittite letters, and one Hurrian letter). A collation, in this context, means a copy of the text based upon close personal inspection of the physical inscription itself. Rainey describes in the Introduction how he began work on this project as early as 1971, although the main effort commenced in 1999. Since the tablets are currently held in several museums around the globe, this was no easy task. Below are a list of the museums. The first few museums hold dozens of Amarna Letters; the rest hold far less, in most cases only two or three tablets or even just a fragment of a tablet. The Amarna Letters are housed today in:
                          Vorderasiatisches Museum, Berlin
                          British Museum, London
                          The Egyptian Museum, Cairo
                          Louvre, Paris
                          Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
                          Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
                          Pushkin Museum, Moscow
                          Musees Royeaux d’Art et d’Histoire, Brussels
                          Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago
                          İstanbul Arkeoloji Müzeleri

      At the very end of last year, nearly four years after his passing, Rainey's magnum opus was brought to completion: a two-volume set entitled The El-Amarna Correspondence: A New Edition of the Cuneiform Letters from the Site of El-Amarna based on Collations of all Extant Tablets. Handbook of Oriental Studies Section 1: The Near and Middle East 110. Boston: Brill, 2015.

      (This is one of a few magna opera produced by Rainey in his lifetime—The Sacred Bridge could count as one [here, review here]; his four-volume grammar of the Amarna Letters, Canaanite in the Amarna Tablets, could count as another [vol. 1vol. 2vol. 3vol. 4]; an earlier publication of new Amarna Letters yet a third).

      As you can see in the photo below, volume 1 is the main volume. It contains a 50-page introduction (including an essay by Jana Mynářová on the discovery of the tablets), a transliteration and English translation of every one of the nearly 350 Amarna Letters, and an Akkadian Glossary. Volume 1 is just a hair thicker than a Rubik's Cube. Volume 2 is much slimmer and contains commentary for each letter:
      • the name of the sender and recipient
      • museum number of the tablet
      • previous publications of the text and translations
      • sometimes a brief paragraph about the disposition of the tablet or the historical situation of the tablet's contents
      • line-by-line discussion for readings of specific cuneiform signs and words based on Rainey's collation in comparison to earlier readings.

      The El-Amarna Correspondence by Anson Rainey will be the standard edition of the Amarna Letters for this generation, and anyone who uses this material in their research would benefit from consulting Rainey's work.

      As I was preparing this post, I was a little surprised by the quality of proofreading I encountered. I expected in an academic work of this type that greater care would be taken. And since they have given it a regal price tag (retail $293), I would assume the publisher could afford top proofreading talent. There were a handful of typographical mistakes in volume 1, but volume 2 contained quite a few typographical mistakes as well as factual errors. Between and within the volumes, there is confusion over EA 380-382 (their disposition, museum numbers, etc.). On another note, for volume 1, page numbers were not included on the first page of each letter, and since several letters are less than a single page in length, that means there are stretches of the volume without any page numbers at all. It would have been nice to have a page number printed on every page.

      Kristina Killgrove (Forbes)

      Christian Cemetery From Viking Age Iceland Reveals Strenuous Lives And Early Deaths

      Excavations at Keldudalur cemetery in Iceland reveal the bones of five generations of a farming family at the conversion from pagan to Christian faiths.

      Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

      Open Access Archaeological Reports: Tel Kabri

       [First posted in AWOL 10 August 2009. Updated 26 July 2015]

      Preliminary reports on the results of excavations at Tel Kabri in Israel have been published on line immediately following the end of each field season since 2005:

      In addition, during the field season, immediate reports on the progress of excavations are presented at the Dig Kabri blog (2009), Dig Kabri 2011, and Dig Tel Kabri 2013

      The news feeds from this and other excavation blogs are aggregated at Taygete Atlantis: Excavation Blogs, one of the components of Atlantides: Feed Aggregators for Ancient Studies.


      The names of plasters in LSJ

      A list of the relevant entries can be readily compiled. See a much earlier post about the (ludicrously exaggerated) range of meanings (or referents) that a noun can have.

      James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)


      I recently watched the movie Chappie. It poignantly conveys a point that I also sought to get across in my chapter on “Robots, Rights, and Religion” in Religion and Science Fiction: that what is most scary about artificial intelligences is that they will resemble us in all our shortcomings. But it also makes other crucial points – that children can receive love even from a family that is involved in crime, that children can transform the lives of their parents, and that children can achieve great things even in spite of the influences upon them in their formative years (or, in the case of Chappie, days).

      The movie is peppered with religious language, and I will survey some of it here. Hugh Jackman’s character Vincent, the first time he sees Chappie, asks “What in the name of the Lord?” He later refers to Chappie as “godless monster” more than once.

      A conversation about a book called The Black Sheep leads to discussion of the soul and afterlife – “the next place.”

      There is discussion of how Deon, Chappie’s maker, made him in a body that will die in a few days. Why would a benevolent creator make a creation that is destined to die?

      The file used to cause the CPUs of the robotic officers to malfunction is called Genesis.dat.

      Before the big heist, “Ninja” bows before a gun, making the sign of cross.

      Chappie says he hates Vincent, the man who killed his mommy (Yolandi). Teaches him a lesson, beating him up, then says “I forgive you bad man.”

      Deon says at one point, “We don’t know what consciousness is, so we can’t move it.” But Chappie uses the internet to figure out how to analyze his consciousness. Chappie tries to save his maker by transferring his consciousness to a new body, a police droid test dummy. It works, and Chappie says now he will live forever. Deon then finds a way to save Chappie, transferring his consciousness to the nearest police droid. We also learn that Chappie had made a back-up of his mommy’s consciousness. When she is buried, Chappie promises to make her a new body. Although the robot program is halted at Tetravaal, Chappie hacks in and creates a body for his “mommie,” saying now they are both black sheep.

      Have you seen Chappie? What did you make of its treatment of personhood, of crime prevention, and of religious themes? And do you think that the film is mainly about artificial intelligence, or is it even more a message about families, love, and upbringing that has a message for how human children need to be cared for, however much it may also apply to AIs in the future?


      Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

      Digital Think-in La voce digitale dei musei

      In programma per il 4 novembre 2015 al Museo MAXII di Roma DIGITAL THINK-IN è la prima edizione di un appuntamento annuale per tutte le istituzioni culturali italiane. Un’occasione di incontro e confronto sull’innovazione digitale e tecnologica nel settore culturale con le più significative esperienze nazionali e internazionali, un’opportunità per professionisti, geek e appassionati di combinare esperienze e visioni e progettare nuove opportunità e un nuovo futuro per i musei.

      Doug's Archaeology: Investigating the Profession and Research

      Linked Data: From interoperable to interoperating

      Today’s batch of videos come from CAA, the international conference, in Siena, Italy. I was privileged enough to be there and lucky that some session organisers and presenters agreed to let me film them. The first session up is about Linked Data:

      Linked Data and Semantic Web based approaches to data management have now become commonplace in the field of heritage. So commonplace in fact, that despite frequent mention in digital literature, and a growing familiarity with concepts such as URIs and RDF across the domain, it is starting to see fall off in Computer Science conferences and journals as many of the purely technical issues are seen to be ‘solved’. So is the revolution over? We propose that until the benefits of Linked Data are seen in real interconnections between independent systems it will not properly have begun. This session will discuss the socio-technical challenges required to build a concrete Semantic Web in the heritage sector. We particularly invite papers that offer practical approaches and experience relating to:

      Interface development and user support for ingestion, annotation and consumption
      Management, publication and sustainability of Linked Data resources
      Building cross and inter-domain Linked Data communities
      Processes for establishing usage conventions of specific terms, vocabularies and ontologies
      Alignment processes for overlapping vocabularies
      Engage non-technical users with adopting semantic technologies
      Licensing and acknowledgment in distributed systems (especially those across multiple legal jurisdictions)
      Incorporation within other software paradigms: TEI, GIS, plain text, imaging software, VR, etc.
      Access implications of integrating open and private content
      Mapping the Field – what components are now properly in place? What remains to be done?

      Papers should try to provide evidence of proposed approaches in use across multiple systems wherever possible. Purely theoretical papers and those dealing solely with a single data system are explicitly out of scope for this session.

      The Syrian Heritage Project in the IT infrastructure of the German Archaeological Institute

      Authors: Philipp Gerth, Sebastian Cuy

      Abstract: The ongoing armed conflict in Syria has led not only to a humanitarian disaster, but also threatened the rich cultural heritage of Syria. As an active involvement is not possible at the moment, the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) in cooperation with the Museum for Islamic Art Berlin and the German Foreign Office have started the Syrian Heritage Archive Project in November 2013. Its aim is to create an extensive systematic documentation system from the various available source that can be used to support preservation and reconstruction and also helps to prevent illegal trade. One major challenge posed in that project was integrating the various types of research data generated by archaeological, art historical and architectural history projects in order to create a comprehensive national registry of archaeological sites. In the past years the DAI was able to implement applications and web services for various domains and types of data relevant for archaeological studies. Not only did using these existing Systems in the Syrian Heritage Project ensure sustainability. The open application interfaces of the applications allowed us to aggregate the heterogeneous research data like excavation data, texts, archives, cadastral plans, historical maps, etc. and to present them in a unified user interface. Especially the DAI’s resources for managing geo data were of particular value for this enterprise. On the on hand the geoserver “iDAI.geo” makes various sets of spatial information accessible, while on the other hand the “iDAI.gazetteer” is used as a hub to connect the different resources within the DAI infrastructure and also acts as a gate to the Linked Data cloud by establishing links to existing resources like Pleiades, Pelagios and geonames. Thus users can not only view all data collected in the project but also to use the resulting application as a starting point for further research into other systems.

      Using CIDOC CRM for dynamically querying ArSol, a relational database, from the semantic web.

      Authors: Olivier Marlet, Stéphane Curet, Xavier Rodier, Béatrice Bouchou-Markhoff

      Abstract: MASA Consortium (Mémoire des archéologues et des sites archéologiques, from the Très Grande Infrastructure de Recherche Huma-Num ( aims to provide to the french community of archaeologists several tools to improve their data interoperability. In this context, we propose to open the ArSol database to the semantic web, using the CIDOC-CRM ontology and a tool that implements Ontology-Based Data Access (OBDA) principles. The ArSol (Archives du Sol: Soil Archives) system has been used by the “Archéologie et Territoires” Laboratory (CNRS – Tours University) since 1990 for processing archaeological data. It can be used for all stratigraphic excavations and has the dual purpose of data management and research. It was constructed, with proprietary software, as an open system that is flexible and above all not conditioned by the integration of predefined thesauri. The ArSol client-server system is designed to integrate data from different sites. ArSol is designed both as a recording and data management research tool for use during excavation, and as an exploratory data analysis system for post-excavation work. Firstly, we designed a set of mappings from a selection of ArSol fields to the CIDOC CRM ontology. This manual alignment has been reported in CAA 2014. It allows us to transpose the ArSol data in an RDF format fully compatible with the CIDOC-CRM. We present in this article a new step, which is to implement the software architecture to query ArSol from a SPARQL endpoint. We chose to use Ontop, software developed at the University of Bozen-Bolzano that allows to query a relational database via an ontology, using SPARQL. In this way we do not need to move our data from our efficient database in order to benefit from the semantic web capabilities (semantic interoperability, RDF/OWL 2 QL inference, etc.). We avoid the extract-transform-load (ETL) process for exporting our data in an RDF store and for updating it when data change in ArSol. Via the SPARQL endpoint, users or applications can query ArSol using the CIDOC-CRM part that we selected to represent our ArSol data. We used the Ontop Protégé plugin to design the OBDA mappings that are necessary for the SPARQL-to-SQL rewritings. Our final goal is to devise an application that will offer a single interface to query several distributed and independent archaeological databases, with heterogeneous structures, using CIDOC-CRM to relate them to each other. Querying ArSol in SPARQL via the CIDOC CRM is an important step towards this goal.

      How to move from Relational to Linked Open Data 5 Star – a numismatic example

      Authors: Karsten Tolle, David Wigg-Wolf

      Abstract: In our database solution Antike Fundmünzen Europa (AFE), where we record finds of ancient coins, we want to preserve as much information as possible. This also includes containments of possible coin types, or marking attributes of a coin as uncertain if the exact value can not be assured. As many others our backend-system is based on a traditional relational database (MySQL). In order to become a Linked Open Data 5 Star, we mapped our data to different ontologies from, Dublin Core, SKOS and others. Besides providing these data to others, we also benefit from the new ability to view our relational data in a totally different way, by loading the data back to a graph database. We will present how we mapped our data based on an existing mapping language called D2RQ Mapping Language, without the need for changing the underlying database. In our case this was less problematic due to the fact that internally we had already set AFE up based on thesauri. However, the thesaurus mapping can also be part of the mapping. With this mapping established, one can for example provide a SPARQL endpoint to others in order to allow them to access the data in an ontological way. However, for full interoperability there are still barriers that need to be overcome. Even if the same vocabulary is used, different modelling approaches might hinder full interoperability – this will be the focus or our talk, explaining what we mean by this. This problem does of course not occur when the modelling is identical. We are currently planning to combine different databases instances that are all build on top of AFE (such as Germany and Poland, as well as Romania which is under construction) based on the same mapping in order to demonstrate the potential. We will further report about benefits we see from the ability to use graph visualizations of the data. We will report on our experiences with AllegroGraph as a graph database allowing reasoning for some standard properties, and Gruff as a visualization and query interface on top of it.

      The Labeling System: A bottom-up approach for enriched vocabularies in the humanities

      Authors: Florian Thiery, Thomas Engel

      Shared thesauri of concepts are increasingly used in the process of data modelling and annotating resources in the Semantic Web. This growing family of linked data thesauri [1] follows a top-down principle. Vocabularies and broader concepts (SKOS-) are being created, maintained and provided under the supervision of central authorities to provide general and generic approaches used by scientists in the humanities. But the diversity of research questions in the humanities makes it virtually impossible to create shared controlled vocabularies that cover a wide range of potential applications, and therefore satisfy the needs of diverse stakeholders. Reliable interconnections among independent systems could solve this conceptual bottleneck of controlled vocabularies. The Labeling System (LS), developed by i3mainz and IEG [2] in contrast follows a bottom-up approach, enabling scientists working in the digital humanities to manage, create and publish their own controlled vocabularies as a SKOS concept scheme and concepts provided via a REST API and URIs [3]. One term of the vocabulary can be linked to broader corresponding concepts of domain experts and will become labels. The labels embed those broader concepts persistently into existing structures using a clean and straightforward UI. Technically the LS is defined over a flat ontology and can be queried through its triple store [4]. The created concepts can then be interlinked with well known LOD resources from e.g. The Getty Research Institute or the British Museum, but also to authorities maintaining linked data resources from natural science domains. The LS is domain independent, while uniting perspectives of different scientific disciplines on the same label and therefore contributing to interdisciplinary collaboration for building up cross and inter-domain linked data communities. As the newly created expert resources are available persistently, the concept is quotable, which strengthens the scientific discourse of their semantic shape. The paper addresses principles of the Labeling System in the light of heterogeneous archaeological data from Western Europe and the Middle East. Consequently, “usual” archaeological topics of conceptualizing and interlinking temporal and spatial concepts (meaning) will be discussed. To what extent is it possible to align existing concepts with “inserting” specific concepts of domain experts? How can the LS be used to solve the ambiguity of a place type and its role or function in a specific archaeological meaning? Furthermore, we will show how the non-technical researcher can use the Labeling System to get introduced into the process of linked-data conceptualization. Finally, the paper details the benefits of enriching linked-data concepts through relating to linked-data communities of other domains, e.g. geology [5] or anatomy [6]

      From interoperable to interoperating Geosemantic resources

      Authors: Paul J Cripps, Douglas Tudhope

      Abstract: The concept of using geospatial information within Semantic Web and Linked Data environments is not new. For example, geospatial information was very much at the heart of the CRMEH archaeological extension to the CIDOC CRM a decade ago (Cripps et al. 2004) although this was not implemented; a review of the situation regarding geosemantics in 2005 commented “the semantic web is not ready to provide the expressiveness in terms of rules and language for geospatial application” (O’Dea et al. 2005 p.73). It is only recently that Linked Geospatial Data has begun to become a reality through works such as GeoSPARQL (Perry & Herring 2012; Battle & Kolas 2012), a W3C/OGC standard, and the emerging CRMgeo standard (Doerr & Hiebel 2013). This paper presents some real world, practical examples of creating and working with archaeological geosemantic resources using currently available standards and Open Source tools. The first example demonstrates a lightweight mapping between the CRMEH, CIDOC CRM and GeoSPARQL ontologies using data available from the Archaeology Data Service (ADS) digital archive and Linked Data repository. The second example demonstrates the use of Ordnance Survey (OS) Open Data within a Linked Data resource published via the ADS Linked Data repository. Both examples feature the use of Open Source tools including the STELLAR toolkit, Open Refine, Parliament, OS OpenSpace API and custom components developed and released under open license. The first example will also be placed in the context of the GSTAR project which is using the approaches described to produce Linked Geospatial Data for research purposes from commonly used platforms for managing archaeological resources within the UK heritage sector. These include the Historic Buildings and Sites and Monuments Record (HBSMR) software from exeGesIS, used by UK Historic Environment Records (HERs), and MODES, used by museums for managing museum collections. As such, the outputs from the GSTAR project have wider applicability in moving geosemantic information from interoperable to interoperating.

      To see more videos like these please go to the YouTube channel Recording Archaeology-

      Jim Davila (

      Fisher (ed.), Arabs and Empires before Islam

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