Maia Atlantis: Ancient World Blogs

Tom Elliott (

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March 02, 2015

Archaeology Magazine

Alaska Landslide Reveals Stone Hammer

SITKA, ALASKA—Landslides in the Starrigavan Valley last year brought a prehistoric stone tool that may have been used to drive wedges and split wood to the surface. Forest Service hydrologists Marty Becker and KK Prussian were assessing the damage in the slide area when Becker found the piece of rock. “And I noticed it felt real comfortable in my hand. Like it just fit perfectly. I brushed it off, took a closer look, and realized what it was,” he told KTOO News. The handmaul is missing one arm of its usual “T” shape. “My guess is that it would have been used for harvesting cedar. One of the many uses of cedar was as planks. And there was just a tremendous amount of cedar on that slope that came down,” explained Forest Service archaeologist Jay Kinsman. There are archaeological sites in the area that range in age from 300 to 1200 years old, but archaeologists may never know when and where this particular tool was made.  

Mass Graves Discovered in Paris

PARIS, FRANCE—The skeletal remains of more than 200 people who may have been victims of the plagues that struck Paris in the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries have been discovered at a construction site in central Paris. The site had been a cemetery hospital from the twelfth through the seventeenth centuries, but it had been thought that all of the burials had been moved to the Paris Catacombs in the eighteenth century. So far, archaeologists from the French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) have uncovered seven graves that contain the remains of up to 20 individuals. An eighth grave holds the remains of more than 150 people. “What is surprising is that the bodies were not thrown into the graves but placed there with care. The individuals—men, women and children—were placed head to toe no doubt to save space,” archaeologist Isabelle Abadie told The Telegraph. Further study and carbon dating could tell archaeologists more about the burials. To read about a similar discovery, see "Barcelona's Black Death Victims."

Wealthy Woman’s Medieval Grave Found at Grey Friars Site

Greyfriars-Excavation-BurialLEICESTER, ENGLAND—A lead coffin enclosed in a larger limestone sarcophagus was unearthed at the site of the Grey Friars dig, which also yielded the grave of King Richard III. The coffin contained the skeletal remains of an elderly woman who may have been a benefactor of the friary since she had been buried inside the church, perhaps near the high altar. “The stone sarcophagus was a tapered box carved from a single block of limestone. Inside, the wider end was curved, creating a broad head niche. Unfortunately, the stone lid did not properly fit the coffin allowing water to get inside, and its immense weight had badly cracked the sarcophagus, meaning it could not be lifted intact,” said Mathew Morris of the University of Leicester. Analysis of the bones shows that she ate a protein-rich diet rich that included large amounts of sea fish. “This is the first stone coffin in Leicester to be excavated using modern archaeological practices. This makes it a unique discovery which will provide important new insights into the lives of people in medieval Leicester,” Morris added. To read about the discovery of Richard III's remains, see "The Rehabilitation of Richard III."

Well-Preserved Brain Is 2,600 Years Old

HESLINGTON, ENGLAND—The excavation of an Iron-Age landscape on the campus of the University of York in 2009 uncovered a skull with its jaw and two vertebrae still attached. The shape of the skull and the teeth suggest that this was a man between the ages of 26 and 45 years old at the time of death. While cleaning the skull, Rachel Cubitt of the York Archaeological Trust realized that something was inside it. “I peered through the hole at the base of the skull to investigate and to my surprise saw a quantity of bright yellow spongy material. It was unlike anything I had seen before,” she said. The top of the skull was carefully removed to reveal the well-preserved, 2,600-year-old Heslington Brain. The vertebrae show that the man had been hit hard on the neck before his head was severed with a small sharp knife shortly after death. The head was then buried face-down in wet, clay-rich pit that provided an oxygen-free environment, and although the skin, hair, and flesh did break down, the fats and proteins of the brain tissue were preserved. To read about similar discoveries, see "Bodies of the Bogs."

Peter Tompa (Cultural Property Observer)

Archaeo-Blogger Wonders about Professionalism

Archaeo-blogger David Gill has called into question the professionalism of BM officials in their dealings with his friend, Paul Barford.  But, their private reactions (now made public under the UK version of FOIA) are quite understandable given the discourteous person with whom they were dealing and his "take no prisoners" campaign against the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

Gabriel Bodard, et al. (Standards for Networking Ancient Prosopographies)

FAQ: What are the limits of SNAP content?

We have often been asked:

“SNAP” contains the word “Ancient,” which suggests a rather inclusive definition of classical antiquity, but “DRGN” includes “Greco-Roman”, which implies more traditional restriction. Are you interested in prosopographies from outside the strictly Greek and Roman world?

Yes! (Short answer.)

Longer answer is in two parts:

Antirrhinum(1) yes, we’re certainly interested in prosopographies and other person-data lists from outside the classical Greco-Roman world. The second half of the acronym, “DRGN,” was unfortunately massaged to suggest the word “snapdragon,” and I now regret the implication that we might be either linguistically, culturally or geographically limited to Greece and Rome;

(2) we expect the protocols and tools developed by SNAP eventually to be of relevance to all places and periods, but we’re defining our initial scope as “the Ancient Mediterranean and geographically or chronologically intersecting cultures.” So we’ll start with Greece and Rome and Egypt, perhaps Persian, Phoenician, Punic, Tifinag, Iberic, Celtic, etc., include dynastic Egypt and the Byzantine world, and slowly spread outward from there.

ChinaSo if you’re asking that question because you have a prosopography of Ancient India or China, Mediaeval Arabia, a catalogue of Celtic or old Norse personal names, or Sumerian/Babylonian person lists—then yes! We do want to hear from you. There will almost certainly be at least a one-person overlap between any two prosopographies in our collection eventually, and even if they weren’t, a single virtual authority of ancient persons from all world cultures will still be a valuable resource.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Lost City Discovered in Honduran Rain Forest

An expedition to Honduras has emerged from the jungle with dramatic news of the discovery of a...

Ancient Peoples

Clay Dogū, decorated by means of impressions and rope.Japan,...

Clay Dogū, decorated by means of impressions and rope.

Japan, Final Jomon period (1000-300 B.C.).

Dogū were human-like or animalistic clay figurines made exclusively during the Jomon period in prehistoric Japan. Their purpose remains unknown and should not be confused with the funerary figurines of later ages.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

ArcheoNet BE

Notae Praehistoricae 34 online beschikbaar

Op 6 december vond in Luik de jaarlijkse contactdag van de Contactgroep Prehistorie plaats. Het 34ste volume van de Notae Praehistoricae, met alle papers van deze contactdag, is nu ook als digitale publicatie beschikbaar op Bijna 200 pagina’s gratis leesplezier voor al wie geïnteresseerd is in de prehistorische archeologie van de Lage Landen, te downloaden als losse artikels of in zijn geheel. Ook oudere edities kunnen nog steeds in pdf-vorm geraadpleegd worden.

EAGLE News: Europeana Network of Ancient Greek and Latin Epigraphy

Inscribed Monuments in Arachne: The Votive Monument of Atarbos

One of the most fascinating (and celebrated) inscribed monument in the Arachne collection is the base of a votive offering from the Acropolis of Athens.

Votive offering of Atarbos: central part

In 1852 a basis of a group of bronze statues was discovered on the west end of the Acropolis in Athens, incorporated in the so called Beulé Gate. The basis consist of two blocks that were clamped together. The bronze group has disappeared but on the top of the basis it is still possible to view the traces of the footprints of the statues, both on the left block (two holes), and on the right (four footprints). The fine relief that decorates the basis can still be appreciated in full. The two parts that make the basis portrait a series of 17 figures moving from left to right, who are clearly separated and arranged in different groups. The analysis of these figures, together with the inscriptions that were carved on each of the blocks, tells a fascinating story about the Athenian society.

On the left block, seven men, fully clad in mantles (hymatia), are advancing to the right. Between the first and the last four figures there is a space that is well visible on the image.

The left block

On the right border, right before the end of the block, a woman is standing facing the advancing men. This mysterious female character was previously wrongly identified with a (male) chorus leader (choregos).

The right block shows a somewhat specular arrangement: close to the division, a female figures stands facing the viewer, with her gaze turned toward two groups of four young men. These youths are also moving to the right, but their movement is more accentuated and advance on the tips of their toes. They are also not clad, but naked, and wear only an helmet on their head and the round hoplitic shield on their outstreached left arms; the fist on their right arms are clenched.

The right block

On the upper fascia of the right block a dedication is preserved fairly well; the text, as edited in IG II2 3025, reads:

[πυρριχ]ισταῖς νικήσας Ἄταρβος Λυ[σ— — ἀνέθηκε. Κ]ηφισό[δ]ωρο[ς ἦρχε].

The text as reported can be translated as: “having won with [pyrrich]istai Atarbos son of Ly[s... dedicated. C]ephiso[d]oro[s was the archon].”

Short as it is, this inscriptions is very informative and helpful to attempt a reconstruction of the context for this monument. First of all, the name of the author of the offer (Atarbos) is preserved in full. Since the name is not very frequent in Attica, attempts can be made to identify this figure with greater precision [2]. Most likely, he must be identified with a man from the deme of Thorikos, and it is very likely that this indication was following the patronimic in the gap. Another important indication that is preserved is the name of the archon; since two Cephisodoros’s are known in the list of magistrates, two dates are possible for Atarbos’ victory: either 366-5 or 323-2. While the former is the date indicated in Arachne, the latter is generally preferred today, since a dating to the last quarter of the IV century would be more in agreement with some stylistic details of the relief.

Although the term pyrrichistai is partially lost, its reconstruction does not pose any problem. Indeed, the inscription confirms the identifications of the eight young dancers in the right block. They are dancers of the pyrriché, the most important and best documented weapon dance in Ancient Greece. Legends about the origin of the dance were various and widespread throughout the Greek world, but a tradition linked the dance with the figure of the goddess Athena, who first invented the dance to celebrate her birth (Lucian, Dial. Deorum 13) or her victory over the Titans (Dion. Hal. Ant. Rom. 7,72,7). Competitions of choruses dancing the pyrriché were held at the Panatenaia, as it is mentioned twice by the defender of Lysias’ Oration 21 (21.1 and 21.4). The second passage (quoted from the Perseus Project) reads:

Then, later, I was appointed to produce a chorus of children, and spent more than fifteen minae. In the archonship of Eucleides1 I produced comic drama for Cephisodorus and won a victory, spending on it, with the dedication of the equipment, sixteen minae; and at the Little Panathenaea I produced a chorus of beardless pyrrhic dancers, and spent seven minae.

Lysias, 21.4

Plato gives a vivid description of the dance, writing that “the warlike division”

being distinct from the pacific, one may rightly term “pyrrhiche”; it represents modes of eluding all kinds of blows and shots by swervings and duckings and side-leaps upward or crouching; and also the opposite kinds of motion, which lead to active postures of offence, when it strives to represent the movements involved in shooting with bows or darts, and blows of every description.

Plato, Laws, 815a

The pyrriché is often depicted on the Athenian vases, like the white-figured lekythos in the image below, where a pyrrichistes dances at the music of an aulos-player.

Attische Lekythos des Athena-Malers

But who are the men on the left block? Even if the inscription on that side is much more damaged, some clear indication can still be obtained. As printed in the Inscriptiones Graecae (IG II2 2035), the text reads:

νική[σας κυκλίωι χο]ρῶι.

which can be translated as “having won with the cyclic chorus”, i.e. the chorus performing the dithyramb. In this very lacunary text, however, only νικήσας and χορῶι can be considered certain. So, once again, the left block too celebrates a victory in a choral competition. The whole monument therefore is dedicated to glory the success of Atarbos as choregos, the wealthy Athenian citizen who took up the civic duty of financing the preparation of the choral performances in the Athenian religious festivals. Two victories, actually! One victory was obtained by Atarbos’ chorus in the pyrriché, the other, which is remembered in the left block, most likely in the very prestigious dithyramb competition.

But who are the female characters that are placed in specular position at the end and the beginning of the group of dancers? Various hypotheses have been made, but archaeologists have not reached a consensus.

And why the men in the right block are disposed in such an articulate series, with two separated groups and one figure isolated on the left?

Adam C. McCollum (hmmlorientalia)

Ethio-Hebrew Psalms (BL Add. 19342)

While looking lately at the records for some Judeo-Persian manuscripts in Margoliouth’s Catalogue of the Hebrew and Samaritan Manuscripts in the British Museum, I stumbled across the record for BL Add. 19342 (№ 158 in the catalog, p. 119), a manuscript with parts of the Psalter in Hebrew, but written in Gǝʿǝz script (Fidäl), something we can call Ethio-Hebrew on the pattern of the descriptors Judeo-Arabic, Judeo-Persian, etc. (We could also call Garšūnī Syro-Arabic, but custom has deemed otherwise.) Until this, I had never encountered this particular phenomenon, but as Margoliouth notes, Wright had previously described the manuscript as part of the Ethiopic collection (№ 127, p. 81). It so happens that this manuscript is among the many already made available through the British Library’s digitization project: see here. Following Wright, Margoliouth dates the manuscript to the 18th century. It contains Pss 1-11:4, 51, 121, 123, 130, 140. Unlike most Ethiopic manuscripts, this one is on paper, not parchment.

The beginning of Ps 1 is in both catalogs mentioned above, but we can now look at the manuscript itself, and in its entirety, thanks to the BL’s having made the images freely accessible. Here are some examples (Heb text below from BHS):

Ps 1:3

וְֽהָיָ֗ה כְּעֵץ֮ שָׁת֪וּל עַֽל־פַּלְגֵ֫י מָ֥יִם אֲשֶׁ֤ר פִּרְיֹ֨ו׀ יִתֵּ֬ן בְּעִתֹּ֗ו וְעָלֵ֥הוּ לֹֽא־יִבֹּ֑ול וְכֹ֖ל אֲשֶׁר־יַעֲשֶׂ֣ה יַצְלִֽיחַ׃

Ps 1:3 in Ethio-Hebrew, BL Add. 19432, f. 1r. Source.

Ps 1:3 in Ethio-Hebrew, BL Add. 19432, f. 1r. Source.

Ps 2:1-2

לָ֭מָּה רָגְשׁ֣וּ גֹויִ֑ם וּ֝לְאֻמִּ֗ים יֶהְגּוּ־רִֽיק׃ יִ֥תְיַצְּב֨וּ׀ מַלְכֵי־אֶ֗רֶץ וְרֹוזְנִ֥ים נֹֽוסְדוּ־יָ֑חַד עַל־יְ֝הוָה וְעַל־מְשִׁיחֹֽו׃

Ps 2:1-2 in Ethio-Hebrew, BL Add. 19432, f. 1v. Source.

Ps 2:1-2 in Ethio-Hebrew, BL Add. 19432, f. 1v. Source.

Ps 121

שִׁ֗יר לַֽמַּ֫עֲלֹ֥ות אֶשָּׂ֣א עֵ֭ינַי אֶל־הֶהָרִ֑ים מֵ֝אַ֗יִן יָבֹ֥א עֶזְרִֽי׃
עֶ֭זְרִי מֵעִ֣ם יְהוָ֑ה עֹ֝שֵׂ֗ה שָׁמַ֥יִם וָאָֽרֶץ׃
אַל־יִתֵּ֣ן לַמֹּ֣וט רַגְלֶ֑ךָ אַל־יָ֝נ֗וּם שֹֽׁמְרֶֽךָ׃
הִנֵּ֣ה לֹֽא־יָ֭נוּם וְלֹ֣א יִישָׁ֑ן שֹׁ֝ומֵ֗ר יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃
יְהוָ֥ה שֹׁמְרֶ֑ךָ יְהוָ֥ה צִ֝לְּךָ֗ עַל־יַ֥ד יְמִינֶֽךָ׃
יֹומָ֗ם הַשֶּׁ֥מֶשׁ לֹֽא־יַכֶּ֗כָּה וְיָרֵ֥חַ בַּלָּֽיְלָה׃
יְֽהוָ֗ה יִשְׁמָרְךָ֥ מִכָּל־רָ֑ע יִ֝שְׁמֹ֗ר אֶת־נַפְשֶֽׁךָ׃
יְֽהוָ֗ה יִשְׁמָר־צֵאתְךָ֥ וּבֹואֶ֑ךָ מֵֽ֝עַתָּ֗ה וְעַד־עֹולָֽם׃

Ps 121 in Ethio-Hebrew, BL Add. 19432, f. 9r. Source.

Ps 121 in Ethio-Hebrew, BL Add. 19432, f. 9r. Source.

More could be certainly be said, but here are a few scattered observations:

  • The Hebrew h marking final or -e is written (e.g. ሀያህ, ያዓሢህ [ሤ?]).
  • Hebrew is spelled with Gǝʿǝz ፀ (e.g. ክዔፅ, ኤሬፅ) or ጸ (e.g. ይትያጽቡ).
  • Hebrew š is generally spelled with Gǝʿǝz ሠ (e.g. ሣቱል, አሤር, ሦምሬካ), as is Hebrew ś (ያዓሢህ [ሤ?]). In at least one place (Ps 121:6), though, the Ethiopic letter ሸ (not used in Gǝʿǝz, but used in other Ethiosemitic languages) is fittingly used for š: ሀሸሜስ häšämes, but note that the last consonant here, which should also be š, is here a simple s (not ś as usual elsewhere in the manuscript), so that we end up with a form like Arabic šams.
  • Spirantized Hebrew k is spelled with Gǝʿǝz ኀ (e.g. ውኁል, also note the vowel, wǝxul). Spirantization in the other BGDKPT letters is not marked (e.g. ያቦእ).
  • The Hebrew in yārēaḥ is written with Gǝʿǝz ሀ (ውያሬሀ).
  • The Hebrew impf prefix yi- is spelled with Gǝʿǝz yǝ- (e.g. ይቴን, ይቦል). The prefix ye- is spelled with Gǝʿǝz yä- (የሄጉ; note the incorrect vowel on the h).
  • The tetragrammaton is written ይሁዋህ yǝhuwah.
  • The Gǝʿǝz vowel i often appears where we expect e. The latter vowel is used for Heb segol (e.g. ኤሬፅ, ኤል, ኤት); for the pausal form ā́reṣ we have አሬፅ.
  • An Ethiopism is ሚኵል for Heb mikkol.
  • There are some mistakes, such as ወዓላሁ for וְעָלֵ֥הוּ. The first two words of Ps 2 are missing.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Bulgarian Archaeologists Discover 1500-Year-Old Cross in Sandanski

Bulgarian archaeologists discovered in the town of Sandanski a bronze cross, which is estimated to...

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

New Open Access Journal: Commentaria Classica: Studi di filologia greca e latina

Have you taken the AWOL User Survey?

Commentaria Classica: Studi di filologia greca e latina
ISSN: 2283-5652

Ecco il primo numero di Commentaria Classica. Studi di filologia greca e latina. Il campo di indagine della serie è rappresentato dai testi greci e latini dall’età arcaica fino all’umanesimo. L’approccio è prevalentemente filologico e critico-testuale e, naturalmente, può essere dato ampio spazio anche alla storia degli studi classici.
Commentaria Classica si avvale di un qualificato comitato scientifico internazionale e mette in atto un’attenta selezione del materiale sottoposto per la pubblicazione mediante il sistema di peer review anonimo.
La serie è diffusa esclusivamente online (in formato .pdf).
Le lingue accettate per la pubblicazione sono l'italiano, l'inglese, il francese, il tedesco, lo spagnolo e il latino.
Trovate le norme editoriali da seguire in un’apposita sezione nella pagina principale.
Chi fosse interessato alla pubblicazione può inviare il proprio contributo in formato .doc o .docx all'indirizzo
Vol 1- 2014
  1. [7]
  2. Studi
  3. [11-21]
  4. [ 23-37]
  5. [39-53]
  6. [55-75]
  7. [77-107]
  8. [109-117]
  9. Note di lettura
  10. [121-125]

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

You are a Coiney: How to Write to CPAC

You are a coiney and scared by the alarmist tactics of the IAPN and PNG lobbyist you want to write to the CPAC to tell them not to carry on stopping smuggled antiquities enter the US. But what to say if you've not an original thought in your whole body?
Fortunately there is a handy guide, downloadable from the Coin Collecting for Dummies website. But before you start have a look at the educational video above to remind you what this is about:
Step one: Open the website (look at how many of us there are!)
Step two: Whatever you do, do not try to address the four points of the CCPIA on which the CPAC will deliberate, you'll only make a mess of things. Ignore the fact that the notice reiterates "specifically to the determinations under 19 U.S.C. 2602, pursuant to which the Committee must make findings". This is America and nobody in the Gubn'mint is going to dictate to us what we talk about.
Step three: Open the crib sheet - make sure you know how to operate "copy" and "paste" on your computer (this may be tricky for some, but comes easier after a bit of practice with those mouse-click fingers). Copy and paste this:
"Dear CPAC: Enough is enough. This MOU should be allowed to lapse.

Step four: (Underneath this) copy and paste this:
"Its negative impacts on collecting and the appreciation of Italian culture and people to people contacts collecting brings now far outweigh any benefits".
Step five: (Underneath this) copy and paste this:

At a minimum, please free all ancient coins from restriction. Such coins are openly and legally available for sale worldwide, including within Italy itself. It makes absolutely no sense to continue to restrict American access to what Italians themselves have enjoyed since the Renaissance.
Step five: (Underneath this) copy and paste this:
"Finally, please do not recommend new restrictions on Roman Imperial Coins. As the products of a great empire, these coins circulated throughout Europe, the Middle East and beyond. They belong not to Italy, but to us all".(You can add an exclamation make here if you like). Make sure the CPAC knows what the Roman Empire looks like on a map - how big it was.
Step six: In among this you can place something patriotic, "Land of the Free" is a good one, a reference to the Constitution, Congress ("the letter and the spirit of the Congressional enabling legislation"), the Founding Fathers or Sarah Palin. Claim anti-smuggling measures are discrimination against Americans.

Step seven: In order to make your comment noticeable, insult someone. "Small minded scholars" is bound to get their attention, as is "the ludicrous government of Italy"

Step eight: Put your name under it and send to the CPAC.
UPDATE 2.3.15
This observer welcomes Mr. Barford's observation, believing that it will do a great deal toward aiding US collectors  of ancient coins in coming to understand the contempt and animosity which radical archaeologists feel toward collectors, and the relentless war that the Archaeological Institute of America is waging against US collectors of ancient coins and other antiquities.
Nah, as is quite clear from the above, just the ones incapable of thinking for themselves. If the cap fits, wear it. And as for what the public comments cover, Mr Welsh might like to brush up on his CCPIA. If he cannot work it out for himself or get a sensible and honest answer from anyone else, I suggest he ask a knowledgeable Cultural Heritage Lawyer.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Work ongoing to put Ani on UNESCO heritage list

Work is continuing at the ancient ruins of Ani, a 5,000-year-old Armenian city located on the...

BiblePlaces Blog

Nose Falls Off the Skull of Gordon’s Calvary

Visitors to the Garden Tomb of Jerusalem are usually shown the “Skull” identified by Charles Gordon as part of the case that this spot may be the authentic site of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial. On February 20 the bridge of the skull’s nose collapsed during a storm. Our friend Austen Dutton visited the site, alerted us to the event, and sent us this photo.

Gordon's Calvary near Garden Tomb, amd022115831

For contrast, here’s a photo taken in 2008.

Gordon's Calvary near Garden Tomb, tb051608027

Visitors to the Garden Tomb are shown the passage that identifies the place of Jesus’ death as “the place of the Skull.”

“Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha)” (John 19:17).

It is worth noting that the Gospels never explain why the place was identified by a skull, nor does it say anything about a hill. The name could have come from a geological feature that bore this resemblance. Or it could have been for another reason altogether.

The recent storm and the resultant erosion suggests that the escarpment would have been greatly altered in the years since it was created by quarrying. I would consider it doubtful that anything like the skull-shape visible in recent years was known in the first century. Fortunately for those who prefer the Garden Tomb location, this has never been the primary support for its identification.

Gordon's Calvary showing skull, mat00918

Gordon’s Calvary in 1910s

Our Jerusalem volume in the American Colony and Eric Matson Collection has a section devoted to the Garden Tomb. In notes written by Tom Powers, he provides some of the fascinating background to the identification of the skull.

General Charles Gordon, spending several months in Jerusalem in 1883, became firmly convinced that the hill seen here was the Golgotha of the New Testament. The idea of Skull Hill as Golgotha was not original with him, however, as several earlier travelers and writers had proposed the same identification beginning as early as the 1840s, and Gordon certainly knew of some of these. Among the other proponents of this view was Claude Conder, a Palestine Exploration Fund explorer and surveyor who was sent to Palestine in 1872 and recorded the idea in two of his books, Tent Work in Palestine (1878) and The City of Jerusalem (1909).

Gordon, however, added his own unique, mystical notions to the theory, however, based in part on both topography and Biblical typology. He believed, for example, that because sacrificial animals were slaughtered in the ancient Jewish temples north of the altar, according to the Mishnah, that Jesus must have been crucified north of the city. Further, Gordon devised a conceptual scheme by which he superimposed a human skeleton on a map of Jerusalem. The skull, not surprisingly, fell on Skull Hill (and he even pinpointed the human figure’s esophagus, a known water channel that entered the city beneath the north wall)!

Plan of Gordon's Idea of Calvary, mat01364

Plan of Gordon's Idea of Calvary

Gordon added at least one other unusual aspect to the Skull Hill speculations: Being a military man, he consulted a detailed map of the area, the Ordnance Survey Plan of Jerusalem, and was struck by a particular contour line—2549 feet (797 m) above sea level—which, encircling the summit of “Skull Hill,” formed what looked to him like the outline of a human skull. Mention is sometimes made, somewhat derisively, of a revelatory dream or vision that Gordon had, but this seems not to be mentioned in the general’s own writings nor in contemporary accounts.

Gordon expressed his views in a flurry of letters and reports sent to various acquaintances and colleagues, including many to Conrad Schick and many others to Sir John Cowell in England, comptroller to the royal household. General Gordon was a hugely popular figure in his day, the perfect embodiment, one might argue, of military heroics, fervent Christian faith, and Victorian Romanticism, and after his death in Khartoum in 1885 his stature and fame only grew, if that were possible. In any event, there is no denying that the force of his personality provided an important impetus toward the acquisition, development and promotion of the Garden Tomb site, and did much to cement its credentials in the popular imagination.

Bertha Spafford Vester, daughter of American Colony founders Horatio and Anna Spafford, recounts her childhood memories of the famous General Gordon (1882–83):

“Five is not too young for hero worship, and my hero was a frequent visitor to our house, General Charles George ‘Chinese’ Gordon, ‘the fabulous hero of the Sudan’. He was fulfilling a lifelong dream with a year’s furlough in Palestine, studying Biblical history and the antiquities of Jerusalem. This was the only peaceful time the general had known in many years, and it was to be his last. . . . The general lived in a rented house in the village of Ein Karim . . . and General Gordon came often from his village home to Jerusalem riding a white donkey. . . . Whenever General Gordon came to our house a chair was put out for him on our flat roof and he spent hours there, studying his Bible, meditating, planning. It was there that he conceived the idea that the hill opposite the north wall was in reality Golgotha, the ‘Place of the Skull’ . . . He gave Father a map and a sketch that he made, showing the hill as a man’s figure, with the skull as the cornerstone. Part of the scarp of the rock of what is known as Jeremiah’s Grotto made a perfect death’s-head, complete with eye-sockets, crushed nose, and gaping mouth. Ever since then this hill has been known as ‘Gordon’s Calvary,’ although archaeologists are skeptical on the subject . . . Father did not agree with all the general’s visionary ideas, but he liked to talk about these and many other subjects with him, and they were good friends. Mother wanted General Gordon to have peace when he was meditating on the roof, and cautioned me not to disturb him, but I would creep up the roof stairs and crouch behind a chimney; there I would wait. I watched him reading his Bible and lifting his eyes to study the hill, and my vigil was always rewarded, for at last he would call me and take me on his knee and tell me stories.” -- Bertha Spafford Vester, Our Jerusalem: An American Family in the Holy City, 1881-1949 (Ariel, 1988), pp. 102-3.

Gordon's Calvary from city wall, mat00919

Gordon’s Calvary from wall of Jerusalem’s Old City (1910s)
Photos from The American Colony and Eric Matson Collection

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Laziness Ancient and Modern

In an essay earlier this semester, a student quoted Proverbs 18:9 as evidence that laziness was viewed negatively in ancient Israel, expressing themselves in a modern way which seemed to envisage someone who relies on handouts or the system and refuses to work.

Prov. 18:9 says:

One who is slack in work is close kin to a vandal.

Or in another rendering:

A lazy person is as bad as someone who destroys things.

Can't someone else just do itI offered a comment asking about what this verse actually shows. Proverbs is written by and for a wealthy ruling elite. And so it might well be that only such wealthy ruling people had the luxury of being lazy. For the majority of people, laziness meant certain death, since even with hard work there was no guarantee of survival.

Reading Proverbs as a person with a relatively elite status today, but also one that inhabits a very different socio-economic reality, makes it likely that a text like this one will be misunderstood.

But discovering what it is likely talking about makes the text take on new relevance to the present day. It seems quite common in the United States for those who today, by ancient and global standards, are wealthy, to seek to justify the fact that they have while others do not by claiming that many of the poor are lazy, with many happy to live off of welfare. That that seems so plausible to so many tells us this: that those people have never been poor, and that they have a blind spot for the lives of the most wealthy, who may be able to afford to play golf all day, while a poor person will most likely be working two jobs in that same day.

And so perhaps the warnings about laziness in Proverbs, even though they come from a very different place and time, are still as relevant as ever. One doesn’t even need to recognize that the rich are its original audience. One simply needs to take to heart the message of the Book of Job – that the kind of wisdom found in Proverbs is only helpful as a guide to personal self-assessment, and is dangerous when foolishly used as a weapon to condemn others.

As Proverbs 26:9 says, “A proverb in the mouth of a fool is like a thorny branch brandished by a drunk.”



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

Did St Nicholas of Myra / Santa Claus punch Arius at the Council of Nicaea?

In many places online we can find the statement that St Nicholas of Myra – the basis for Santa Claus – was present at the First Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, where he punched Arius in the mouth.  So … is it true?

Unfortunately we have almost no historical information at all about any St Nicholas of Myra – our information is entirely based on Saint’s Lives of him, of which the earliest are 9th century, and the latest are modern compilations based on medieval collections.  All these Lives are really closer to folk-tales than to history, and they reflect the accumulations of popular legends.  Some of them do have Nicholas attending the Council of Nicaea; but they do not contain the story of Nicholas punching Arius.

The main collection of source materials about Nicholas is by Gustav Anrich,[1] and in this I found what I suspect is the answer.

Before I look at the data, let’s summarise what it says.  Sometime in the middle ages, the story about his attendance at Nicaea was “improved” to show him slapping “an Arian”.  Over time, this turned into a story about him slapping Arius himself.  The story is now a standard item in Greek Orthodox tradition, and is embedded in their handbook of icon-painting.

On to the data.

In Anrich volume 1, p.459, in the section devoted to testimonia, there is an extract from a Latin text (!) by a certain Petrus de Natalibus, a Venetian.  Petrus in 1370 was bishop of Equilio (Jesolo) near Venice, and died around 1400.  The text of his work reads:

Fertur beatum Nicolaum jam senem Nicaeno concilio interfuisse et quemdam Arrianum zelo fidei in maxillam percussisse ob idque a concilio mitra et pallio privatum extitisse; propter quod ut plurimum sine mitra depingitur.  Sed dum aliquando missam beatae virginis, cujus erat devotus, in pontificalibus celebraret et privationem mitrae et pallii defleret quasi zelo nimio fidei ablata: ecce, cunctis videntibus, duo angeli eidem astiterunt, quorum unus mitram, alius pallium sibi divinitus restituerunt.   Et extunc insignia reassumpsit sibi caelitus restituta.[2]

It happened that saint Nicholas, now an old man, was present at the Council of Nicaea,  and out of jealousy of faith struck a certain Arian in the jaw, on account of which it is recorded that he was deprived of his mitre and pallium; on account of which he is often depicted without a mitre.  …[3]

This tells us that the story had arisen by whenever Petrus wrote these words – it is really difficult to find much about him! -, and was known in the West, or at least in Venice.  So it probably had existed for some time at that point.  But at this point it is not Arius himself – only “a certain Arian”.

The next piece of data is an extract from a biography by an obscure Damaskenos Monachus, written in the second half of the 16th century.  Apparently he lived in the second half of the 16th century, and may (or may not) be identical with the man of that name who was Bishop of Liti and Rendini in 1564; and Metropolitan of Naupaktos and Arta in 1570.  He composed a biography of St Nicholas of Myra, based on earlier accounts, which he included in his Thesaurus.  The oldest edition of his work was printed in Venice in 1570.  Anrich obtained this information from E. Legrand, Bibliographie hellenique II (1885), p.12 f., which contains little more than you have above.[4]

Anrich states that the Vita of Damaskenos is a vulgarisation of the Vita by Simon Metaphrastes, who created the standard Greek hagiographical texts in the 11th century.  I don’t know if any edition of Damaskinos can be found online?

Anrich gives the Greek of the extract.  Yesterday I posted this, and an appeal for a translation.  A kind corrrespondent obliged:

Damascenos the Monk:  Life of saint Nicholas the wonder-worker:  Large collection of lives of saints, or “Great Book of Saints” by Const. Chr. Doukakis.   Athens, 20 December, 1896, pages 171-190.

10.  p.179-180.  After the king seated himself on the throne, one hundred and fifty nine fathers seated themselves at either side of him, both they and Arius arguing with much unease.  Saint Nicholas, noticing that Arius was about to quash all the archpriests and moved by divine zeal, rose up and gave him a slap that shook all his members. Complaining, Arius says to the king: “O most just king, is it fair, before your royal highness, for one to strike another?  If he has something to say, let him speak as the other fathers do; if he is ignorant, let him remain silent as his like are. For what reason does he slap me in the presence of your highness?”  Hearing this, the king was greatly disappointed and said to the archpriests: “Holy archpriests, it is the law, that whosoever raises his hand before the king to strike someone, that it should be cut off. I leave this to you, so that your holiness(es) might be the judge.”  The archpriests replied, saying: “Your majesty, that the archpriest has acted wrongly all of us confess it; except that we beseech you, let us unstate him now and imprison him, and after the dissolution of the council, we shall then convict him.”

Having unstated and imprisoned him, that night Christ and the Holy Mother Theotokos appeared in prison and said: “Nicholas, why are you imprisoned?”  And the saint replied: “For loving You”. Christ then said to him: “Take this,” and gave him the holy gospel; the Holy Mother Theotokos gave him the archpriestly omophorion (scapular).  The next day some acquaintances of his brought him bread and they saw that he was freed of his fetters and on his shoulder he was wearing the omophorion, while reading the holy gospel he was holding in his hands. Having asked him where he found them, he told them the whole truth.  Having learnt of this, the king took him out of the prison and asked for forgiveness, as did all the others.  After the dissolution of the council, all the archpriests returned home, as did saint Nicholas, to his province.

This is the earliest text known to me, and evidently to Anrich, which records Nicholas punching Arius.

Anrich adds:

Die Darstellung der Nicaea-Episode stimmt mit den Angaben des Malbuches (unten S. 463,15 ff u. 33 ff); die nur in den Hauptzügen mit diesen beiden stimmende Dartellung von Petrus de Natalibus beweist, daß der Grundstock der Legende mindestens ins 14. Jh. zurückgeht.

The presentation of the Nicaea episode is consistent with the information provided by the Painting book (below, p 463, 15 et seq u 33 et seq.); since only the more significant features of these two versions agree with the story as given by Petrus de Natalibus, this shows that the foundation of the legend goes back at least to the 14th century.

The “Painting book” (I don’t know the English name of this work: in German it is the Malbuch) is the 18th century manual of iconography from Mount Athos, produced by Dionysius of Foura.  This gives the legends to be attached to icons.  The first reads as follows:

“The holy and ecumenical 1st Synod in Nicaea….
And Arius, standing, also in hieratic vestment, and standing before him, Saint Nicholas with arm outstretched to slap him.”

The second one says:

“The saint in prison, receiving the gospel from Christ and the omophorion from the Holy Mother. – Prison, and at the centre is the saint and Christ at his right holding a gospel; at his left the Theotokos holding an omphorion: they are giving these to him.”

The presence of the item in the Handbook shows that the topic is a standard one for icons.  So we may presume that the story reaches us today from Greek Orthodox sources, for whom it is a traditional motif, depicted in their churches.

Here is an example of the scene in a fresco from the Soumela monastery (via

St Nicholas of Myra slapping Arius at the Council of Nicaea.  Fresco at Soumela.  By Marco Prins. Via

St Nicholas of Myra slapping Arius at the Council of Nicaea. Icon at Soumela. Via

To summarise again: there is no ancient evidence whatever that St Nicholas punched or slapped Arius at the First Council of Nicaea.  The story is not found in any text before the late 14th century, and even that one mentions only “a certain Arian”.  In the next two centuries the legend mutates into Nicholas slapping Arius; and is then disseminated in works of popular fiction, and by the paintings of icons.  It has no historical basis whatever.

UPDATE: I am advised that ράπισμα means slap, not punch.  My correspondent adds: ” it was a slap intended to shock Arius back to his senses”.

  1. [1] G. Anrich, Hagios Nikolaos: Der Heilige Nikolaos in der Griechischen Kirche, 2 vols, 1913.  Accessible to Americans at Hathi Trust.
  2. [2] Anrich gives a reference: Petrus de Natalibus, Catalogus sanctorum et gestorum eorum ex diversis voluminibus collectus, Lugduni 1508, Fol. VII.  The English title appears to be Legends of the Saints.  Various editions are present on Google Books.  In the 1543 edition, the text is on folio Vb, at the top of the right-hand column.
  3. [3] Translation is mine.
  4. [4] This volume can be found online at Google Books, but not without considerable effort.  It is here (US only).


Christopher Price, MP and stalwart Marbalista – 1932-2015

I was sorry to hear earlier this week that Chris Price had passed away at the age of 83.

For those who didn’t know him, Chris was a former Labour politician, who worked tirelessly for many years in support of the return of the Parthenon Sculptures to Greece. He studied classics at Oxford and expressed his views on the Elgin Marbles (as they were then known) to colleagues as early as 1958. This is interesting, as many retentionists like to believe that any movements for return only originated when Melina Mercouri became Culture Minister in Greece in the 1980s, whereas the reality is that the return movement has always existed.

Chris was one of the original members of the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles, and its Deputy Chairman for many years. He was also a member of Marbles Reunited, liaising between the two committees. He was also a great philhellene and critic of the Turkish invasion of Northern Cyprus. Unlike many of today’s politicians, he was a man of substance and conviction – somebody who would do what he believed to be right, rather than perpetually worrying about whether this would damage his chances of being re-elected.

After leaving parliament following electoral defeat in 1983, he went on to become the vice-chancellor of Leeds Polytechnic during its transition to becoming a university, part of his lifelong commitment for a fairer and more equal society and the importance of educational opportunity. Once he retired had more time available to devote to the restitution of the Parthenon Sculptures, regularly using his parliamentary contacts and in-depth knowledge of government procedures to secure meetings, discover about new bills that were going to be debated and otherwise intervene, to make sure that the opinion of those supporting reunification of the sculptures was heard.

He enriched the lives of all of us who were lucky enough to have known him, and his expertise will be missed by all who campaign for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures. While others might have pre-conceived ideas of how the campaign should be managed, Chris was always open to adapting strategies and incorporating new approaches, in order to accommodate changing conditions. When I last met with him in 2010, he was enthusiastically talking to me about the idea of cultural decolonisation – the idea that Britain had decolonised physically, but never bothered to send back the cultural artefacts when she granted independence & that this was a widespread movement that needed to happen.

Chris died last Saturday 20th February 2015, after a period of poor health following a stroke.

Christopher Price, Deputy Chairman of the BCRPM

Christopher Price, Deputy Chairman of the BCRPM


Christopher Price: Energetic MP who despite his combative nature was liked and admired both by colleagues and opponents
Tam Dalyell
Tuesday 24 February 2015

It was Christopher Price’s misfortune – and in my informed opinion the nation’s – that he never held a safe Labour seat. In 1966 he took Birmingham Perry Barr from the Conservative incumbent Dr Wyndham Davies but perished when Edward Heath came to power in 1970. In February 1974 he was elected to Lewisham West, and held the seat in 1979, but to the huge sadness of his many Labour friends – he had the rare gift in politics of being candid and outspoken without making enemies – he lost by a sliver in the 1983 election at which Gerald Kaufman described Labour’s manifesto as “the longest suicide note in history”.

Had Price survived he would certainly have been elected to the Shadow Cabinet, and might well have been elected leader rather than Neil Kinnock; he would have garnered votes from a number of colleagues. His eventual successor in Perry Barr, Jeff Rooker, then a young engineering manager, told me Price had been well-regarded by the Birmingham Labour councillors and local union leaders. Jill Knight (Edgbaston) remembered him as a first class colleague on City of Birmingham supra-party issues. Brian Walden, elected in 1964 for Birmingham all Saints, told me, “Chris Price was a very, very good constituency MP. He genuinely cared about people, not least those from ethnic minorities. I have nothing adverse to say about him.” Coming from the most acerbic TV inquisitor of our age, that last sentence is an accolade.

In Lewisham Price won the admiration of the Labour movement on account of his tenacious support of three teenage constituents, condemned in court, but who through Price’s terrier-like confrontation with the majesty of the law turned out to be not in the least guilty of the offence of aggravated burglary with which they had been charged.

He was the son of Stanley Price, a pioneering educational administrator who helped introduce the first large-scale day-release schemes in Britain. His mother, Katherine Thornton, was the daughter of a remarkable Wesleyan missionary Alfred Saville, who became loved by the people of Huahine Island near Tahiti. In 1982 Price visited to receive an independence medal awarded to him by the islanders in recognition of his grandfather’s missionary service and his grandmother’s kindnesses to the Polynesian women. Price’s sister Helen Jackson, MP for Sheffield Hillsborough (1992-2005), said, “Chris was my middle elder brother; he was the one who always made me laugh.”

In the 1966-70 parliament he was one of a few MPs voicing concern about the British Indian Ocean territories, in particular the expulsion of the Banabans from Diego Garcia on the Foreign Officer’s grounds that “they were not belongers” to the Chagos archipelago.

He attended Leeds Grammar School; his near-contemporary, the botanist Nigel Hepper, remembered him as an argumentative pupil with a healthy curiosity. He went to the Royal Artillery training camp at Oswestry for his National Service, but left the Officer Cadet Training Unit “because I was so argumentative.” Qualities which did not appeal to the army were welcomed at The Queen’s College, Oxford, where he became secretary of the university Labour Club, then chairman of the National Association of Labour Student Organisations.

In 1958 Price and I met and became friends at the Labour Party conference in Scarborough. What stuck in my mind was less his ardent cheering for Hugh Gaitskell than his even more ardent support for the cause of returning the Elgin Marbles to Greece. Forty years later he was vice chairman of the Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles. When I told him that a senior curator of the British Museum had described him to me as “a pain in the arse” Price beamed with pleasure. He did enjoy challenging the great and the good.

He was teaching classics – he was a lifelong believer in the value of “hard subjects” in state schools – when he was elected to Sheffield council in 1962, serving as deputy chairman of the education committee (1962-66). He stood unsuccessfully in the 1964 general election, but the national agent Dame Sarah Barker was impressed by his performance and suggested that he try for Birmingham Perry Barr. Within weeks of entering the Commons he became PPS to the education secretary, Anthony Crosland. Nowadays secretaries of state are surrounded by a phalanx of young special advisers, but Crosland had three – his Permanent Secretary Sir Herbert Andrew, the formidable Toby Weaver, and Price.

The excellent working relationship between Weaver and Price was crucial to formulating Crosland’s advocacy of the polytechnics. In his second incarnation as an MP Price’s crowning achievement was his robust polite and penetrating chairmanship of the Select Committee on education, science and the arts. He was appalled at the current tendency of select committees chairpersons to “grandstand”.

Patrick Cormack was the senior Tory on the Education Select Committee during Price’s chairmanship. “Price really did care about the quality of education,” he recalled, “and this transmitted itself to the civil service and expert witnesses who came in front of our committee.” He was passionate about the arts and his involvement after the Commons was all-embracing: director of the London International Festival Theatre (1982-86), member of the Council of the Open University and of the Arts Council of England were but a few of his activities. He also wrote for the New Statesman and Times Education Supplement.

After Westminster the main job into which he threw his colossal energy was leading Leeds Polytechnic into becoming Leeds Metropolitan University in 1992. Praise came from an unexpected quarter: Sir Keith Joseph, Leeds MP and former education minister, said to me, “your friend is doing really good work, bringing into higher education many of those whose parents left school at 14. I had doubts about his appointment; now I admire what he is achieving.”

I cannot think of an MP who made more constructive use of a post-Westminster existence truncated by the swing of the political pendulum than Price. He told me he could not have done what he did without the support of his wife of nearly 60 years, Annie.

Christopher Price, politician, academic and journalist: born Leeds 26 January 1932; MP, Birmingham Perry Bar 1966-70, Lewisham West February 1974-83; married Annie Grierson Ross 1956 (one daughter, two sons); died London 20 February 2015.

Daily Telegraph

Christopher Price, Labour MP – obituary
6:15PM GMT 24 Feb 2015

Christopher Price, who has died aged 83, was one of Labour’s leading educational thinkers, and a staunch defender of civil liberties. A highly rated MP for Birmingham Perry Barr and Lewisham West, he went on to chair the New Statesman, be principal of Leeds Metropolitan University and campaign for the return of the Elgin Marbles to Greece.

Price never fitted into any of Labour’s ideological factions, congenially building contacts across the political and educational spectrum. He did not see comprehensive schools as an end in themselves, but as the most civilised way of educating children, with the school the focus of the wider community.

As deputy chairman of Sheffield education committee, he played a role in implementing the city’s shift to comprehensives. As an MP, he strongly supported Anthony Crosland’s Circular 10/65, which empowered local education authorities to make the change in their own way, then proposed forcing recalcitrant councils to go comprehensive in an influential pamphlet New Challenges In Education (1967).

Price cautioned Labour that the public schools could not be abolished at a stroke, but urged withdrawal of their charitable status. He caused laughter in the House by noting that Eton had been established to benefit the “poor and needy”.

As the Statesman’s education correspondent from 1970, he suggested that the entire higher education system should follow the Open University and waive qualifications for entry. “If the 11-plus examination was wrong,” he said, “so was the 14-plus, the 16-plus and the selection mechanism for university.”

At the North of England Education Conference in 1987, he told Kenneth Baker, the education secretary, to “stop slicing everything creative out of the curriculum”. He delivered – often in The Daily Telegraph – an informed critique of Margaret Thatcher’s reforms, concluding that they had run into the sand, with half a reform worse than none at all.

Price made his name as a civil liberties campaigner over the imprisonment of a constituent, Colin Lattimore, for the 1972 murder of Maxwell Confait, a homosexual transvestite found strangled in his blazing bedsitter. Two other youths were convicted; Lattimore had confessed, but Price reckoned he had a cast-iron alibi and persuaded the home secretary, Roy Jenkins, to review the case.

In 1975 the Lord Chief Justice ordered Lattimore’s release. A judicial inquiry concluded that his confession to arson was probably true, but that the other youths had persuaded him falsely to admit the killing. In 1980 the Attorney-General, Sir Michael Havers, declared all three men innocent of the murder.

Price’s ties to the New Statesman involved him in a second cause célèbre: the “ABC” trial of 1978, which greatly embarrassed the Callaghan government. Crispin Aubrey of Time Out, Duncan Campbell of the New Statesman and former Cpl John Berry of the Royal Signals were tried for breaching the Official Secrets Act. “Colonel B”, an intelligence officer not identified in court, was the main witness; three periodicals named him, prompting contempt proceedings from the Attorney-General, Sam Silkin.

Sensing an attack on free speech, Price and three other Labour MPs earned a rebuke from the Chair by naming “Colonel B” in the Commons. All three accused were convicted, and given minimal sentences. Price launched a campaign to reform the Act, which Clement Freud took up after winning the ballot for Private Members’ time; his Bill fell with the defeat of the Labour government.

Christopher Price was born in Leeds on January 26 1932, the son of Stanley Price and the former Katherine Thornton; his sister, Helen Jackson, would be Labour MP for Sheffield Hillsborough from 1992 to 2005. He was educated at Leeds Grammar School and, after National Service with the Royal Artillery, at Queen’s College, Oxford, becoming secretary of the University Labour Club in 1953, and national Labour students’ chairman.

Price taught classics at a grammar school, and in 1962 was elected to Sheffield city council. He fought Shipley in 1964, and in 1966 Perry Barr. He impressed as the only audible speaker at Harold Wilson’s notoriously rowdy public meeting in Birmingham’s Rag Market.

Elected by 3,665 votes, he became PPS to Crosland’s ministerial team. He took a constituency interest in inefficiency and poor labour relations at the British Motor Corporation, and helped David Steel push through his Abortion Bill.

Price was defeated at Perry Barr in 1970, but in the snap February 1974 election ousted the young John Gummer at Lewisham West. He campaigned against detaining disturbed adolescents in mental hospitals, and conceded that raising the school leaving age to 16 might prove a mistake; his own 15-year-old son could not wait to leave. He also urged ministers to include the SAS in defence cuts as “many Labour MPs do not think its activities do any credit to Britain”.

When James Callaghan became prime minister in April 1976, Price invited him to Lewisham – and received a speedy acceptance. Callaghan told him: “I have always found Lewisham a happy place. I did my courting in the Labour committee rooms during a general election. There is always room for fun and games between canvassing.”

Briefly PPS to Callaghan’s education secretary, Fred Mulley, Price fell foul of the Speaker when he accused the Appeal Court of a “perverse and misguided” decision that Mulley’s direction to Tameside council to abolish its grammar schools was unlawful.

He joined forces with Lewisham’s Labour council to try to have the National Front’s marches – in which he detected the “cancer of racism” – banned because of the risk of disorder. He also briefly served in the then-nominated European Parliament.

After Callaghan’s one-vote defeat in a no-confidence debate on March 28 1979, Price was among several Labour MPs who stayed behind defiantly singing The Red Flag.

It was Price who, that November, paved the way for Mrs Thatcher to reveal that Sir Anthony Blunt, Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures, had been a Soviet spy. With Dennis Skinner, he tabled questions linking Blunt to the case as rumours began to circulate. The next day Blunt was named and stripped of his knighthood; his disappearance that morning led Price to claim Blunt had been “tipped off”.

When the new select committee system was set up in 1980, Price became chairman of the education committee. When a musicians’ strike threatened the Proms, the panel brought the BBC and the Musicians’ Union together after three concerts had been cancelled. It also proposed what became the GCSE examination, fusing O-levels and the Certificate of Secondary Education, and took evidence from an Open University student brought from Wormwood Scrubs prison.

Price sought an emergency debate when Harriet Harman, legal officer to the National Council for Civil Liberties, lost her appeal to the Lords against her contempt of court conviction for allowing a journalist to see confidential Home Office documents disclosed to her in a legal action.

He also took up the issue of a party at New Cross which ended in 13 deaths when the house was set alight. He told MPs that had be been the parent of a victim, he would have been “horrified” by the way the inquest was conducted, and complained that young people who had been at the party were repeatedly arrested on minor charges.

Unseated again in 1983, Price became director of the London International Festival of Theatre and pro-assistant director of South Bank Polytechnic. Appointed director of Leeds Polytechnic in 1986, his eight years there saw it transformed into Leeds Metropolitan University.

Price chaired the New Statesman in 1994-95. He was also chairman of the National Youth Bureau and Yorkshire Arts; co-chairman of the Freedom of Information Campaign and a member of the Arts Council.

Christopher Price married Annie Ross in 1956; they had two sons and a daughter.

Christopher Price, born January 26 1932, died February 21 2015


Christopher Price obituary

Labour MP, teacher and education journalist who became chairman of the New Statesman

Throughout a lifetime of committed public service Christopher Price, who has died aged 83, ran successful parallel careers in politics and in education. When not otherwise occupied he also worked as an energetic campaigning journalist, and from his schooldays pursued the enthusiastic love for the classics he had learned at the family breakfast table. Although he was a Labour MP for a relatively short time and was never a minister, his impact on Westminster politics was considerable and he was widely admired for his principled principled decency. He had been in declining health in recent years, following a stroke.

A big teddy bear of a man, he was always full of the urgency of his latest idea for making the world a better place. He was uninterested in status, wealth or public recognition. He wanted people to be treated fairly and he wanted children to be taught properly. There are few politicians of whom it can be written that their universal popularity was such that they were without enemies, but he was one of them. “The laughter per square foot would rise immeasurably if he was there,” according to Peter (now Lord) Hennessy, who worked with him in education journalism and appreciated his undaunted spirit and warm-hearted generosity.

Chris was born in Leeds, the second of four children of Stanley Price, a classical academic, and his wife, Kitty, who trained as a health visitor. One brother became a doctor, the other a cleric, and his sister, Helen Jackson, was also a Labour MP. They were taught at home that classical Greece, Plato and a bit of Mesopotamia were what they needed to understand about civilisation, and at Leeds grammar school Chris quickly established the link with politics. He joined the Labour party aged 16, encouraged by a fellow pupil and future MP colleague, Gerald Kaufman, and amused himself at school by translating the Yorkshire Post into Latin and Greek.

He grew up in East Keswick and stayed on in Yorkshire to finish his schooling when his family returned to their native Croydon. During his national service in the army, he was thrown out of the Officer Cadet School for being argumentative and looking scruffy, and two days after completing his tour of duty went to Queen’s College, Oxford, to read classics. He chaired the Oxford University Labour Society and subsequently the National Association of Labour Student Organisations. The lifelong friends he made at Oxford included the journalist Anthony Howard and the tele- vision producer and executive Jeremy Isaacs.

Returning to Yorkshire, Chris became the senior classics teacher at Ecclesfield grammar school. Through student politics he had already met another friend for life in Roy Hattersley, who recalls him arriving late for a student conference, driving a battered Austin 7, wearing his Oxford blazer and waving a bottle of ouzo, and the two men later served together on Sheffield city council. Chris was the deputy chairman of the education committee to the great Albert Ballard, a leading figure in the Co-operative party, and is personally attributed with the abolition of the city’s grammar schools by the end of the 1960s.

He unsuccessfully fought Shipley for Labour in 1964, but won Birmingham Perry Barr in 1966 and was immediately appointed parliamentary private secretary to Anthony Crosland at the education department. He held the seat for only one parliament. Out of the Commons for four years, he worked as an education correspondent for Thames TV and the New Statesman – of which he later became the chairman (1994-95). He returned as an MP in February 1974 for Lewisham West and was appointed again as a PPS (1975-76) to the education secretary, by this time Fred Mulley.

When James Callaghan took over as prime minister from Harold Wilson in 1976, Chris might have expected to join the government, but believed privately that Callaghan failed to promote him because of a chip on his shoulder about Chris having studied classics at Oxford and believing him to be “too clever by half”. Even when he told Callaghan that he got a third class, the prime minister replied: “ Well, anyway, it was in Oxford. It’s all the same for people like you.”

Chris, with typical self-deprecation, had no regrets about his lack of elevation, which he felt also reflected his readiness to speak his mind and his lack of cohesion to either left or right in the then increasingly divided parliamentary party. He greatly enjoyed his delegated membership of the European parliament in 1977-78, before there were direct elections to it, and then chairing the Commons education select committee from 1980 until he lost his seat in the Labour wipeout of 1983.

Rather than seek another seat, he returned to teaching. He was director of Leeds Polytechnic for six years from 1986, overseeing its transition to Leeds Metropolitan University, of which he then became principal (1992-94). He was involved in a huge number of projects and campaigns throughout his life, worked with the National Youth Bureau on drug rehabilitation, was a member of the Arts Council and headed the Commission on the Organisation of the School Year (2000-03), through which he attempted, with limited success, to change the annual school programme into six-term years.

One of his greatest achievements, working initially with the National Council for Civil Liberties, was to secure the re-opening of a 1972 case on the murder of Maxwell Confait and the subsequent release of three innocent men from jail. This led to new legislation on police interrogation methods in cases involving those with a reduced mental capacity and the publication of The Confait Confessions (1977), which Chris co-wrote with Jonathan Caplan. He also campaigned for many years for the return of the Parthenon (Elgin) Marbles to Greece.

While at Oxford, Chris met Annie Grierson Ross, a nurse, and they married in 1956. She survives him, along with their three children, Jenny, Tony and Michael, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

• Christopher Price, politician, journalist and education, born 26 January 1932; died 21 February 2015

The Times

Christopher Price
Price did not toe the Labour party line
February 25 2015
Independent-minded Labour MP who campaigned for comprehensive schools and later had a role in exposing a Soviet spy

The Labour MP Christopher Price was a powerful voice at the vanguard of Britain’s education revolution in the 1960s. He waxed lyrical about the “civilising” influence of comprehensive schools, but advised against the abolition of the public schools. He famously caused great amusement in the House when he reminded MPs that Eton had been set up to benefit the poor.

As deputy chairman of Sheffield’s education committee, he helped to oversee the city’s switch to comprehensives, and later advocated forcing other councils to take the same path. He was parliamentary private secretary to the secretary of state for education, Tony Crosland, when polytechnics were created in the 1960s and, more than two decades later, as director of Leeds Polytechnic, he oversaw the institution’s transformation into a university.

“I tended to specialise in education because you have to specialise in something,” he once said of his political career. In fact, born and brought up in Yorkshire, Price was the son of an influential director of adult education and, as a young man, taught classics at state grammar schools in Sheffield.
Arriving at Leeds Polytechnic in the mid-1980s he found a sprawl of poorly maintained buildings erected in the 1950s and 1960s and “a great deal of snobbery”. By the time it became Leeds Metropolitan University in 1993 he had 19,000 students taking courses from cookery to institutional management. “The greatest change is the noticeably increased respect with which I am treated by the Leeds higher bourgeoisie,” he said.

As an MP, Price had been one of those casualties of politics who never quite fulfilled their early promise. First elected to the Commons for the marginal seat of Perry Barr in Birmingham at the age of 34, he seemed set for a bright future, an impression reinforced when he was appointed PPS to Tony Crosland in 1966. But Crosland was not inclined to promote the prospects of those who served him. He lost his seat in the election that brought Ted Heath to power and became education correspondent of the New Statesman. He used the position to advocate that Britain’s higher education system should follow the Open University and abolish entry qualifications.

Price returned to the Commons in the first general election of 1974 when he won the marginal Labour seat of Lewisham West in south London, a constituency he narrowly held in the second election of the year.

He was one of the MPs who, in November 1979, enabled Margaret Thatcher, by then prime minister, to reveal that Sir Anthony Blunt, the art historian who was Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures, had been, with Philby, Burgess and Maclean, a member of the Cambridge spy ring in the Thirties and Forties. Blunt was named after Price tabled questions in the Commons about the case. He lost his seat again in 1983.

Christopher Price was born in Leeds in 1932. He attended Leeds Grammar School and won a place at Queen’s College, Oxford, where he read classics and was secretary of the university Labour club. His father brought him up with a respect for education but not always for those in authority. If Price encountered “Trespassers will be prosecuted” signs while out on walks in the Dales, his father would tell him: “Don’t worry about that.” At Westminster, he established himself as a conscientious, if independent-minded MP fully prepared to take his own view on such issues as the Wilson government’s 1967 application to join the Common Market, which he opposed. He was the first to admit: “I was neither left-wing nor right-wing. Frequently, however, I felt that Labour was doing the wrong thing and sometimes I blurted it out. So I never became at all popular with either the left or the right.”

He admired Wilson but was irritated by James Callaghan: “I would be standing there and he’d put his arm around my shoulder: ‘How are you doing Chris? It’s all right for you, you know, with your first-class honours degree’, and I would say ‘Jim, I got a third class’, and he would say, ‘Well, anyway it was at Oxford. It’s all the same for people like you’. He was fairly bitter about the posh classes.”

Colleagues never found Price strident, but he fought his corner, often with a smile, and had a strong record on civil liberties. While MP for Lewisham West he successfully campaigned for the exoneration of three men convicted of the murder of a young transvestite in a case that raised questions about the police.
He married Annie Grierson Ross, a nurse, in 1956. They had three children: Jenny, an artist, Tony, a translator and editor, and Michael, who is an estate agent in the US. His sister, Helen Jackson, also became a Labour MP.

Price had a lifelong interest in Greece. He spent a summer there as a student travelling with friends, including Jeremy Isaacs, the future television executive, in a Bedford truck bought for £50 from a Ministry of Defence depot. The vehicle was so decrepit that a red oil light flashed on the dashboard whenever it climbed a hill — and the group were forced to drive backwards across the mountains. In Athens they found that the window of the youth hostel’s bathroom looked out on the Parthenon. Price was later outspoken in his support for the return of the Elgin marbles to Greece.

With his wife, a keen artist, he spent time at their cottage in the Dales, and regularly visited Cyprus, where he hoped to found a new university after retiring from Leeds in 1994. While still director, he quipped: “We are insisting on compulsory retirement at 60 for all our senior managers, saying if they are not knackered at 60, they ought to be.”

Christopher Price, Labour MP and polytechnic director, was born on January 26, 1932. He died on February 20, 2015, aged 83

The post Christopher Price, MP and stalwart Marbalista – 1932-2015 appeared first on Elginism.

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

Mobilizing the Past Workshop Review, Part 1

This weekend’s Mobilizing the Past for a Digital Future: The Potential of Digital Archaeology conference was great in every way. It was well-organized, collegial, and very useful. Videos of the various papers will be (or maybe are already) available on the web and I hope the organizers consider some kind of publication of proceedings. Having been to several of these conferences over the past few years, I feel confident in saying that this event reflected the coming of age of digital archaeology. While it is probably too soon to call the all archaeology digital, the range of presentations and tools on display essentially eliminated the possibility of a non-digital practices. 


Since my notes and comments on the conference are pretty expansive, I think I’ll break it into two posts. The first group of observations today are the positive things that I learned at the conference. The observations tomorrow will be a bit more probing and critical, but nevertheless a positive outcome from the conference:

1. Collegiality. The level of collegiality at this event was remarkable. There was a genuine effort to make the various projects, programs, and approaches presented talk to one another. Folks even made a genuine effort to bring my (perhaps overstated) luddite critique into the fold and to engage seriously the ideas and issues that I was attempting to explore. In fact, outbursts of apologizing punctuated the event as scholars let their passion for various approaches and platforms slide toward critique, but these apologies were never really necessary. It is clear that that an overwhelming sense of respect and academic humility permeates the entire digital archaeology community.  

2. Paper is technology. This was a key refrain that echoed through many of the papers. The technology of paper notebooks and recording forms shaped the social structure of archaeology and the structure of the information collected at trench side. Digital tools offer new models for both archaeological organization and new methods of information collection. Our generation of archaeologists will be the last to remember (or continue to use) paper to collect information in the field at any significant scale and the kind of information that archaeologists collect, analyze, and archive will start to diversify digitally mediated 3D models, video, mass photography, and illustrations become the norm. John Wallrodt’s key note set the stage for this conversation and presenters used it as a constant point of reference. 

3. Archaeology and Design. Chris Motz presented one of my favorite papers at the conference. One of the most obvious things that a guy like Motz brought to infield data recording was a sense of design. His elegant forms on the iPad led the archaeologist through the process of constructing an comprehensive and consistent infield dataset. For example, filling in the digital recording form produced an illustration of the physical tag that the archaeologist would copy onto the paper tag attached to the artifact bag. This simple tag design then continued through the entire digital workflow integrating the digital and physical records of field work. Likewise, consistent icons, colors, and other visual cues provide structure for the recording workflow and, presumably, improved the efficiency by visually demonstrating the relationship between certain data sets.         

4. Bringing Data in the Field. A few of the papers discussed the intriguing potential of bringing both project data as well as secondary publications into the field. I could immediately appreciate the advantage of having the full data set of a project in the field at our finger tips especially in dynamic visual forms could provide field teams with valuable information that would lead to better decision making. More than that, it offers the possibility of overlaying earlier views of the landscape, site, or trench to complicate (in a productive way) what the archaeologists sees.

5. Publication Options. Presentation by Eric Kansa of Open Context, Michael Ashley of Mukurtu, and Shawn Ross of FAIMS demonstrated the publication of archaeological data is keeping up with our ability to generate it. FAIMS and Mukurtu, in particular, demonstrate how publication can exist as part of the same workflow as data generation in the field. It seems clear to me that a major fork in digital archaeology involves an integrated workflow from trench side to data publication within a robust (and dynamic) application. 

6. Bespoke. By the end of Saturday, the word bespoke was being used to describe both applications and particular data structures made within those applications. The era of standardized data models is well and truly over and digital archaeologists have come to recognize that no matter how similar two data sets appear, comparing them in the most productive way remains a process best accomplished within the infinitely flexible context of the human mind. What digital archaeology can do, however, is to demonstrate relationship between data sets and assist in hypothesis building. The messy act of comparison – as a step toward understanding – remains a human endeavor.

7. Data and Efficiency. It was unsurprising that so many projects discussed how digital tools improved the accuracy and efficiency of data collection in the field. Indeed, some of the papers presented some outstanding of examples of streamlined recording and John Wallrodt’s keynote imagined a new, digitally mediate, structure of field work that would perhaps be more at home in CRM environment than an academic project. Despite such assertions of efficiency and the common-sense appearance of improved workflow, there were almost no arguments that used evidence from actual field practice to show how great an improvement digital archaeology actually managed. Informal conversations at the event made clear that such data likely exists, but none of the presenters deployed it during their at the conference.  

More tomorrow as I need to scurry off and catch up on my day job…

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Proroga Call for Paper Prima Conferenza Internazionale su tecniche e materiali di doratura nell'arte europea

E' stata prorogata al 15 marzo 2015 la Call for Papers per la Prima Conferenza Internazionale su tecniche e materiali di dorature nell'arte europea (GILT-EnArt2015) in programma all'Università di Évora da il 25 e il 27 Maggio 2015. L'evento, incluso nella strategia di dissemination del progetto di ricerca GILT-Teller (PTDC/EAT-EAT/116700/2010) promosso con i fondi della Fondazione Portoghese per la Scienza e la Tecnologia, vuole riunire tutte le comunità di storia dell'arte, conservazione e scienze applicate dall'Europa e nei paesi oltremare testimoniando simili o differenti tradizioni della tecnica di doratura nella realizzazione di manufatti patrimonio culturale.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Rare Native American artifact found in Newtown

NEWTOWN —A museum says a rare Native American artifact dating back to the fifth century has been...

Opening ceremony of another part of the Temple of Hatshepsut

Opening ceremony of the Solar Cult Complex in the temple of Hatshepsut, reconstructed by the Poles,...

Noel Tan (The Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog)

Profile of John Guy of the Met

A profile of Dr John Guy, curator of South and Southeast Asian Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

John Guy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Source: The Hindu 20150214

John Guy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Source: The Hindu 20150214

A detective across centuries
The Hindu, 14 February 2015

The remarkable object on the screen is one of these clues — a yupa stone found in Eastern Borneo that dates back to the fourth century AD. The Sanskrit inscription describes the sacrifices performed by a local king called Mulawarman. “The inscription is in grammatical, perfectly good Sanskrit,” says John Guy, while delivering the Vasant J. Sheth Memorial Lecture during which he uses antiquities to offer a glimpse into the world of the intrepid Tamil traders who ruled the waves before the Gujarati merchants arrived on the scene.

“The Sanskrit inscriptions indicate that local rulers in Southeast Asia employed South Indian Brahmins as advisors and counsellors. The Brahmins were the mechanisms through which the inscriptions and objects of Vedic ritual landed up in these improbable, remote places. There was clearly an Indian presence in Southeast Asia, not just of ideas and religion but of people as well.”

John Guy should know. He is the curator of the Arts of South and South East Asia at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Besides building collections and organising blockbuster exhibitions, he acts as a detective across centuries. “I try to reconnect an object with its forgotten history,” he says, pointing out that sometimes all that remains of kingdoms and cultures are a handful of coins and seals, or a few crumbling sculptures. “We can read the past only on the basis of what has survived.”

Full story here.

The Thang Long Citadel

A Xinhua feature on the Thang Long Citadel in Hanoi.


Thang Long Imperial Citadel stands as historical testament to Vietnam’s power center
Xinhua, via Global Post, 27 February 2015

The Thang Long Imperial Citadel, located at the heart of Vietnam’s capital city Hanoi, has borne witness to the long history of the country as it has been a continuous seat of political power for almost thirteen centuries.

The Thang Long (Ascending Dragon) Imperial Citadel was built in the 11th century by the Vietnamese Ly Dynasty (1010-1225), to mark the independence of the Dai Viet, as Vietnam was known at that time.

It was built on the remains of a Chinese fortress dating from the seventh century, on drained land reclaimed from the Red River Delta in Hanoi. The Imperial Citadel and the remains of the 18 Hoang Dieu archaeological site reflect a unique South-East Asian culture, specific to the lower Red River Valley, cites the introduction of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on its website.

Full story here.

photo by:

Roundup: Naked tourism in Angkor

An AP story rounds up the recent spate of incidents involving tourists taking nude photos of themselves and talks about Cambodian reaction to the affairs (Naturally, they are offended). One of the perpetrating Frenchmen who was deported for taking nude photos made a puzzling statement by saying that the case demonstrates the “endemic corruption” in Cambodia – I fail to see how that is connected to his inability to keep his pants on.

Angkor Wat

Anger at Angkor: Cambodians upset over naked western tourists at temples
AP, via The Guardian, 27 February 2015

Cambodia’s most popular tourist attraction – the complex of ancient temples that includes Angkor Wat – is suffering from a form of overexposure. At least five foreign visitors have been arrested and deported this year for taking nude photos at the sacred sites.

Authorities have no tolerance for people stripping off at Angkor archaeological park, a sprawling Unesco World Heritage Site that drew 2 million visitors last year. The incidents are also upsetting to ordinary Cambodians, for whom the Khmer-era complex, built between the ninth and 15th centuries, holds enormous spiritual and historical significance.

“Angkor Wat is the most famous sacred … temple in Cambodia, where everyone, not only tourists but also Cambodians themselves, has to pay respect,” said Rattanak Te, an administrative assistant who lives in Phnom Penh, the capital. “It definitely upsets me and all Cambodians, because outsiders will think we Cambodian people are careless and do not take good care of this World Heritage [site] by allowing these tourists to do such an unacceptable act.”

Full story here.

photo by:

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

LEGO Jesus

LEGO Jesus

Via Christian Memes on Facebook.

Liz Gloyn (Classically Inclined)

On disliking conclusions

As most of you know, I am currently wrestling with revising a book manuscript. This involves a good deal of looking at conclusions, and as such is making me remember just how much I dislike the blessed things.

There’s a lot to be said for the elegant conclusion – it distils the wisdom of a chapter or article into one or two crystal clear sentences that provide the icing, as it were, on the argumentative cake. But the bad conclusion is far easier to write – one which just recaps what has been said throughout the piece without really taking it through that rhetorical transmutation that creates a satisfying conclusion. The irony, of course, is that while I may chastise students in my marking feedback for offering conclusions which rehash the points they have already made, my first (and second and third and fourth) drafts of scholarly work often contain conclusions which do exactly the same – even when I think I’ve managed the requisite compositional alchemy.

This is something I’m particularly aware of at the moment because I’m trying to rewrite the conclusion to the whole book – not just offering a neat summary for a chapter, but a neat tie-up for over 100,000 words’ worth of point. Despite my best efforts, I’m still offering a rehash of previous points in quite a procedural manner (albeit less so than the original PhD conclusion, of which frankly the less said, the better). Finding the right words to be the last words of the book is also phenomenally difficult. My current strategy is to move into the personal voice, but I would be the first to admit that this is a strategy born out of desperation rather than of conviction. It’s also not quite coming out right just yet – there’s something too colloquial and apologetic about it, which is another risk of conclusions. While you think you have stated your case firmly and authoritatively, it often turns out that you’ve actually underplayed your own original contribution to a debate or the most significant consequence of your own argument.

I don’t think I have any tips for writing conclusions, other than being prepared to write, rewrite and rewrite again, and getting as many pairs of eyes on a conclusion as possible to tell you if you are doing yourself justice. But I am rather surprised at the difficulty of writing the conclusion for a book, if only because I had rather assumed it would be like writing a mini-chapter or article rather than concentrated last-blessed-paragraph syndrome. But maybe I’m unusual in finding conclusions such a particular bugbear. If anyone has any great ideas for avoiding the pitfalls and putting together that glittering wit and glitz that is the hallmark of a fine conclusion, I’m all ears.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Coffin-Within-a-Coffin Opened at Richard III Grave

A mysterious lead coffin found close to King Richard III’s grave beneath a parking lot in Leicester,...

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Fotogrammetria per l'archeologia: ricostruzione del rinvenimento di 38 oggetti dal Tempio di Ptah a Karnak

Il Centro franco-egiziano per lo studio del Tempio di Karnak (CNRS / Dipartimento delle Antichità d'Egitto) ha appena completato l'attività di studio e scavo di una favissa, scoperta ai primi di dicembre vicino al tempio del dio Ptah. L'attività di scavo ha rinvenuto ben 38 statue, statuette e oggetti preziosi. Questo deposito statuario è eccezionale, sia in termini di quantità che di qualità degli oggetti religiosi rinvenuti. Novità interessante è anche il nuovo metodo di rilievo utilizzato nella ricerca che permette di ricostruire virtualmente ogni fase della scoperta delle statue con precisione millimetrica.

Archaeology of Portus: Exploring the Lost Harbour of Ancient Rome

Week One – Your Questions Answered

Fossa Traiana (on Flickr)Fossa Traiana (on Flickr)


As part of Week Six we are today concentrating on answering questions raised on Week One. As a starting point Simon and I have created a video.


We have also added a video by Katherine where she introduces her research at Ostia and how it relates to Portus.


We have also added some additional cross-references to Hadrian’s Wall course both on the platform and on the blog for those of you who are registered on both. We appreciate that this makes it possible to become lost between the two so we have made sure that the links are reciprocal and we are also analysing movement between the courses to make it better in time for the summer when we hope that the courses may overlap.

We will continue to update this post as more information is added. As ever please comment on the FutureLearn platform so that all learners there can see. We are also going to provide another way of augmenting these videos. Watch this space!

American School of Classical Studies in Athens: Events

Activites 2014 de l’ Ecole suisse

March 12, 2015 - 12:18 PM - OPEN MEETING Karl Reber, directeur

Jim Davila (

Jesus' house in Nazareth?

ACTUALLY, PROBABLY NOT: Jesus' House? 1st-Century Structure May Be Where He Grew Up (Owen Jarus, LiveScience).
Archaeologists working in Nazareth — Jesus' hometown — in modern-day Israel have identified a house dating to the first century that was regarded as the place where Jesus was brought up by Mary and Joseph.

The house is partly made of mortar-and-stone walls, and was cut into a rocky hillside. It was first uncovered in the 1880s, by nuns at the Sisters of Nazareth convent, but it wasn't until 2006 that archaeologists led by Ken Dark, a professor at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom, dated the house to the first century, and identified it as the place where people, who lived centuries after Jesus' time, believed Jesus was brought up.

As usual with these things, the real story is that we now have detailed records of the excavation of a first-century Jewish house in Nazareth, which is archaeologically quite important. That there is a Byzantine and Crusader-era tradition that it was the house of Jesus hardly amounts to significant evidence that it was.

Leonard Nimoy z'l'

PEACE BE UPON LEONARD NIMOY, who, by his own account, adapted his Vulcan hand salute from a Jewish ritual he saw (well, peeked at, actually) in Synagogue as a boy. The sign represents the letter Shin (שׁ). Back in 2004 I noted the story of the salute here.

He lived long and prospered. May his memory be for a blessing.

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Digital Heritage 2015: si avvicina la scadenza della Call for Paper

La prima scadenza per la presentazione di contributi full papers per la Conferenza Internazionale Digital Heritage 2015 è il 29 marzo 2015. La Conferenza è dedicato al patrimonio culturale digitale, alle nuove tecnologie per la conservazione e valorizzazione dei beni culturali. La seconda edizione è in programma a Granada, in Spagna, dal 28 settembre al 2 ottobre 2015.

American School of Classical Studies in Athens: Events

“Competitive and Emulative Mortuary Behavior on Early Iron Age Cyprus”

April 29, 2015 - 11:45 AM - LECTURE Dr. Nicholas Blackwell (Assistant Director, The American School of Classical Studies at Athens)

Jim Davila (

Ahituv awarded 2015 Israel Prize

CONGRATULATIONS: Prof. Shmuel Ahituv to be 2015 Israel Prize laureate in Biblical Research Ahituv is a past head of the bible, archeology and ancient near eastern studies department and was the founder of the BGU Press (Lidar Gravé-Lazi, Jerusalem Post).
Prof. Shmuel Ahituv, of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, will be awarded the Israel Prize in Biblical Research, the Education Ministry announced on Thursday.


American School of Classical Studies in Athens: Events

“Νεώτερα αρχαιολογικά δεδομένα για τη Νάξο και τις Μικρές Κυκλάδες”

April 01, 2015 - 11:42 AM - LECTURE Ειρήνη Λεγάκη (Αρχαιολόγος της Εφορείας Αρχαιοτήτων Κυκλάδων, Υπ.Πο.Α.)

“Ideology, Identity, and Power: Harbor-Agora Connectivity at Hellenistic Miletos”

March 11, 2015 - 11:37 AM - LECTURE Lana Radloff ,Homer and Dorothy Thompson Fellow, The Canadian Institute in Greece

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Le novità della Fluorescenza a raggi-x in un workshop a Milano

Il 19 Marzo 2015 è in programma a Milano un workshop dal titolo Le novità della Fluorescenza a raggi-x: T-XRF e M-XRF. Cosa sono e a cosa servono? 

Colleen Morgan (Middle Savagery)

Mornings in the Manor

Instagram Photo


It was all so new, a year ago, when I described the over and under and through of my commute to work, walking through a microcosm of English history. Now it passes in a blur, I’m either in my headphones listening to a podcast or buzzing by on my lovely Gazelle–the sturdy Danish bicycle that I steer over frozen cobblestones and muddy, overgrown pathways.

I was delayed this morning by a brief flurry of snow, predicated by an Easter pink and yellow sky. I don’t notice my commute much, and a lot of the culture shock has worn off. Now I hear my previous self in other Americans, going on and on about the subtle differences, the quirks, the realignment of world view, and I hope that I wasn’t that completely tedious. I probably was.

I can understand most of what people say these days, even the most York-shure, and I don’t get as many looks of utter incomprehension when I ask for eggs or butter. Verbal code-switching has become comfortable and useful, though there’s still the occasional confusion with “shop” and “store” and a few other things.

So I was in my at-least-partially-acculturated haze this morning, wheeling my bicycle over the big stone pavers of King’s Manor, when I crossed paths with one of the lovely porters. We don’t really have porters in the States, they’re sort of watchmen/caretakers of the building, but not janitors or rent-a-cop security. They are constantly kicking me out of the building, as I often work until closing time–19:00 (7:00PM)–shockingly early in academia-land. But they do it with a smile, especially after I engaged on a military-esque campaign of extreme friendliness until even the most curmudgeonly porter relented.

As usual, I greeted the porter with a big smile and wave, and, code-switching without a thought, asked him if he liked the snow this morning. He returned my smile and said, in the most charming of accents:

“No, no. We never like the snow.”

Something about his cheerfully brusque response, the big old medieval walls rising around me, and the clatter of my bicycle wheels over the pavers pushed me out of my acculturation and made me notice again, back to being a stranger in a strange land. But I’m okay with that. If anything it made me happy to be reminded of how far I’ve been, how much I’ve changed, and how many adventures are yet to come.

American School of Classical Studies in Athens: Events

Ο θησαυρός του Αλή Μπέη

March 31, 2015 - 10:12 AM - Παράσταση Καραγκιόζη για ενήλικες Άθως Δανέλλης

Robert Consoli (Squinches)

Cyclopean Walls. Defensive or Exhibitions of Wealth and Status?

“Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,..”

Mending Wall
Robert Frost

What was the justification for building the walls which surround the great Bronze Age Mycenaean citadels?

Superficially this is a non-problem. Walls are obviously built for defense and these should be no different. But one complicating factor is that the great citadel walls of Mycenae, Tiryns, and Midea seem to have been erected during a time of relative stability. Why build walls when there is no anticipated use for them? And these particular cyclopean walls were no insignificant constructions; they were executed over a long period of time and would have required a very great outlay in rations and man-power. The only source for such resources is the land-owning aristocracy (I am begging the question here of whether there even was such a thing as a land-owning aristocracy) which would have to be convinced and/or coerced into supporting such a project.

Opening to the underground spring in the 
north-eastern extension of Mycenae (ca. 1250)
Courtesy of SquinchPix.

Scholars have scratched their heads over this conundrum and have tentatively suggested that the walls were not merely for defensive purposes but functioned as showcases for power and status. So we read things like the following:

In Dickinson (2006) 36, "The distribution of the massive 'Cyclopean' fortifications, whose function is surely as much to display wealth and power as to defend, ... " and this "Many of the great construction projects, like the palaces themselves, the tholos tombs, and fortifications, served to enhance the prestige of the ruling elite."[1]

And again, “Their erection (the cyclopean walls of Tiryns and Mycenae, RHC) may be linked with the establishment of major palatial complexes and may reflect a consolidation of control and expression of power more than any perceived need for defence; certainly they encircle only the uppermost parts of the acropolises.”[2]

Schofield: “..were perhaps built to impress and confer great status on the rulers of the sites. They certainly are, even today, awe-inspiring.”[3]

Hitchcock stresses the military and defensive aspect of the walls but also repeats the justification of power display:

“Although recent interpretations (Maran 2006) argue that Mycenaean fortification walls were more about display, they certainly were also intended to help the city function as a place of refuge during times of stress.”[4]

and this:

“The sheer monumentality of Mycenaean fortifications, tombs, and public works symbolized the power of the ruling elite.”[5]

Maran expresses it this way:

“Without denying the practical defensive significance of such Cyclopean fortifications, which has been emphasized in the literature, it is likely that this building technique also conveyed to the observer symbolic messages like hardness, inapproachability and unlimited power. This impression was increased by the rather uniform appearance of the Cyclopean walls, which, unlike medieval castles, did not have a façade broken up by protruding towers, windows and architectural ornaments.”[6]

In order for us to accept the argument that the cyclopean walls were more about display, projection of power and status we would have to believe that at some time in the Late Bronze the following conversation took place in the halls of Mycenae or Tiryns:

Advisor: Your highness I know that you’ve been concerned about people not respecting your power and status. I’ve thought about this and I think I have an answer.

Wanax: Well, get on with it.

Advisor: I’ve been travelling in the East and I noticed that a lot of the cities have gigantic walls around them. These are really impressive and I think that we should do the same thing here. Nobody else in the Argolid has one. It would knock those rubes in Argos on their butts! What do you think?

Wanax: This is good! I like it! It would really project my power and authority! To say nothing of my status!

Advisor: Now, I know that it wouldn’t be cheap and would take a long time.

Wanax: But it’s my, well, hardness we’re talking about! Let’s do it!

As Tolstoy says ‘it would be a mistake to think that this is mere irony’.[7] This is precisely the explanation offered by a number of sober and respectable scholars because, if we decide that the Cyclopean walls were not built for immediate defence, then display of status or power seems the only other choice.[7a]

But this is a false dichotomy.[7b]  There is a third choice.


Why do people build fortification walls? 

What specific practical advantage do they confer?

The specific advantage of a wall, if we were to formalize the notion, is this: to greatly reduce the number of men required to hold a position. Wall-building is a method for leveraging man-power. The men freed in this way may be used for any purpose but, once a wall secures your base, you’re free to go on the offensive.  In other words, wall-building has not just defensive but also offensive purpose.

This was clearly the case with the Athenian Long Walls.

When Themistocles recommended the building of the Athenian Long Walls in the early fifth century BC it wasn’t merely to protect Athens from the Spartans but to serve as the foundation stone (as it were) of the nascent Athenian Empire.  We sometimes look at the wall-building through the lens of the Peloponnesian War which came after and project the need to protect from Spartan invasion onto Themistocles' intentions.  This is not the entire truth.  We would do well to rethink what Plutarch means when he has Themistocles say with respect to the fleet he was urging the Athenians to build, “they could not only repel the Barbarians but also take the lead in Hellas” (τῆς Ἑλλάδος ἄρχειν δυναμένους,..) [8] 

 I do not mean to over-simplify a very complex set of events; my point is merely that Themistocles’ idea is that the walls serve to secure the city and the base and leave a large force (in this case a fleet) available to dominate their allies.[9]   Later in that century things are different.   Pericles urges the completion of the walls in the face of an obvious and growing danger to the city.  During that century, the fifth, the mental emphasis seems to shift from offense to defense with respect to the walls.   And it’s possible that we see something like that in the fourteenth century BC in the Argolid. At first (ca. 1350?) the walls of Mycenae and Tiryns place no particular emphasis on specific features that might be needed in battle such as the famous sally ports or secured water supplies.   It's almost as though the Cyclopean walls were built by people without much experience in the matter.  Only later (ca. 1250), approaching the final disaster, does there suddenly seem an emphasis on incorporating actual useful defense features into the walls.[10]  It is, of course, too little, too late.  The Mycenaean engineers did the best they could with what they had to work with but, as I pointed out in a recent post, Mycenae and Tiryns are basically indefensible.

In the above I have emphasized the potential offensive role of walls. In order to be successful every state or polity with offensive designs needs some advantage which is denied to its opponents. Without such an advantage no polity can really hope to prevail in the long run. In the ethnography of ranked chiefdoms those without some advantage over their prospective opponents accomplish little beyond extending the struggle, sometimes for centuries.  The struggle to unite the Hawaiian islands is of that kind.  It begins about the year 1500 and continues in an episodic manner until, at the end of the 18th century, one chief finally manages to acquire such an advantage – cannon from visiting European ships[11]

Kent Flannery and Joyce Marcus sum up the ethnographic situation very well:

“All these cases[12] began with societies that already possessed a degree of hereditary inequality. The engine that drove kingdom formation was competitive interaction among multiple elite actors. The balance was tipped when one of the actors achieved a competitive advantage. Whether set in the temperate highlands, the coastal desert, or the tropical forest, the process was similar. It was independent of environment or ethnic group.”[13] (emphasis mine)

In previous posts I have suggested that the Mycenaean Cultural Sphere was the scene of a war for consolidation of the type that ethnographic records would lead us to expect. I have suggested that this was a long lasting war and ended in the ‘Catastrophe’ of the 13th C. The 14th C walls of Mycenae and Tiryns were, on this showing, neither status decorations nor defensive works. They were offensive works and as long as they were unique they constituted the competitive advantage that would be needed for successful offensive operations in the Argolid and probably beyond.

I noticed at the start that some modern scholars hear messages of status and display in the cyclopean walls of the Argolid.  I regard this as a methodological error and I will examine it in a future post.


[1] Dickinson (2006) 36, 40.  Not consulted for this post but also useful sources for the 'walls are status' school are Loader (1995) and Iakovidis (1983).  I have made this view look monolithic among Mycenologists but it isn't.  See Field (1984).

[2] Dickinson (1994) 160. And see the discussion in Bintliff (2012) 189. Bintliff suggests that one of the primary purposes of the walls was ‘.. to intimidate ’.

[3] Schofield (2007) 78-9.

[4] Hitchcock (2010) 206.

[5] Hitchcock (2010) 208.

[6] ‘hardness’(!) Maran (2006) 79.

[7] War and Peace, Second Epilogue, i.

[7a] Bintliff (1998) 189.  "But why then does it take so long, from the first signs of a warrior elite in the Shaft Graves and elsewhere in the early Mycenaean world, to several hundred years later, for great circuit walls to be erected?  The second theory answers this by emphasizing the walling as a symbol of power and prestige rather than primarily a functional necessity."  

[7b] The fallacy of false dichotomous questions is a form of the fallacy of many questions.  See Fischer (1970) 9-12.  This particular false dichotomy is clearly expressed in Loader (1995) 30 who says "Although the size and structural arrangement presupposes that Cyclopean masonry was used for its strength, its appearance also suggests that it provided a means by which to convey wealth and prosperity of the territory within which it was based. This does not imply that defence was not a consideration of the Mycenaeans, but that danger was by no means imminent." (emphasis mine)

[8] Emphasis is mine. In Themistocles, iv. Perrin (1914) 13.  Plutarch is writing some six centuries after the event (although with far better sources than we have) and so perhaps this argument is only a testament to what Plutarch thought Themistocles meant.  Still it's hard for me at least to avoid this conclusion.

[9] Thucydides, i.90-1. The physical details and the history of the Athenian Long Walls are in Conwell (1992). Of course the fortification at Gla (~ 3 km. in circumference) turns my argument inside out, at least for Gla itself; I should think it would take a very large force to defend a 3 km. enceinte. Placing a man every ten feet (3 m.) at Gla would require nearly a thousand men. I do not know how many men Orchomenos (presumably) could muster but such an investment of manpower cannot have been easy.

[10] This shift in emphasis has been often noticed. Bintliff (2012) 13. Hitchcock (2010) 206. Schofield (2007) 171-2. For the shaft to the hidden water source on the Acropolis of Athens see Broneer (1938).

[11] The chief is Kamehameha.  The story of the Fair American and the kidnapping of Isaac Davis in Daws (1968) 34. The campaigns of Kamehameha on Maui and Oahu, pp 36-7. For another connected account see Flannery and Marcus (2012) 343 ff. The possession of cannon is instanced by most historians but another factor in Kamehameha's superiority was food. Kamehameha had the Anahulu Valley on Oahu terraced and cultivated in order to feed his army in preparation for the invasion of Kauai (which never came off); in Sahlins and Kirch (1994).

[12] Flannery and Marcus (2012) 392.  They are summing up here their discussions about the Zapotec, Moche, Maya, Hawaiians, Zulu, Hunza, and the Merina of Madagascar.

[13] Idem.


Bintliff (1998): Bintliff, John.  The Complete Archaeology of Greece: From Hunter-Gatherers to the 20th Century A.D.  Wiley-Blackwell. 1998.

Broneer (1938): Broneer, O. "A Mycenaean Fountain on the Athenian Acropolis", Hesperia, viii.4 (January 1, 1938). pp. 317-433 Online here.

Cline (2010): Cline, Eric H., The Oxford Handbook of the Bronze Age Aegean. Oxford University Press. 2010.

Conwell (1992): Conwell, David H. The Athenian Long Walls: Chronology, Topography and Remains. Brill. 1992.

Daws (1968): Daws, Gavan. Shoal of Time. Macmillan. 1968.

Dickinson (1994): Dickinson, Oliver. The Aegean Bronze Age. Cambridge University Press. 1994.

Dickinson (2006): Dickinson, Oliver.  The Aegean from Bronze Age to Iron Age: Continuity and Change between the twelfth and eighth centuries BC.  Routledge.  Taylor and Francis Group.  2006

Field (1984):  Field, D., Mycenaean Fortifications on the Mainland of Greece. PhD diss.
University of Cambridge.  UK.  1984.

Fischer (1970): Fischer, David Hackett, Historian's Fallacies: Towards a Logic of Historical Thought.  Harper Perennial.  1970.

Flannery and Marcus (2012): Flannery, Kent and Joyce Marcus. The Creation of Inequality: How our Prehistoric Ancestors set the Stage for Monarchy, Slavery, and Empire. Harvard University Press. 2012.

Iakovidis (1983): Iakovidis, S., Late Helladic Citadels on Mainland Greece. Leiden: E.J. Brill.

Loader (1995): Loader, Nancy Claire.  The defi nition of cyclopean: An investigation into the origins of the LH III forti cations on mainland Greece.  Ph.D. Dissertation. Online here.

Maran (2006): Maran, Joseph. "Mycenaean Citadels as Performative Space". In Constructing Power: Architecture, Ideology, and Social Practice, edd. Joseph C. Maran, Carsten Juwig, Hermann Schwengel, and Ulrich Thaler, 75-91. Hamburg: LIT. 2006.

Perrin (1914): Perrin, Bernadotte, trans., Plutarch. Lives, Volume II: Themistocles and Camillus. Aristides and Cato Major. Cimon and Lucullus. Loeb Classical Library 47. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1914.

Sahlins and Kirch (1994): Sahlins, Marshall and Patrick V. Kirch. Anahulu: The Anthropology of History in the Kingdom of Hawaii, 2 vols., University of Chicago Press. 1994.

Schofield (2007): Schofield, Louise. The Mycenaeans. Getty Publications, Los Angeles, California. USA. 2007

Further reflections on a Methodological Problem: The argument that Cyclopean walls were built to display status or power

'He's large.'

Olive Oyl sings about her upcoming
wedding to the villain, Bluto.
Written by Harry Nilsson.

"Popeye", 1980

In a previous post  I made much of the fact that many Mycenologists have claimed that a major motivation for the building of Cyclopean fortresses was ‘projection of status’ and ‘exhibition of power and/or wealth’.  I presented citations from a number of scholars who, in my view, have committed this methodological error.  

Mycenaean art project or did it have utilitarian purpose?
East walls of the citadel of Tiryns.  Observer facing SW.  Perhaps mid-14C BC.

In addition to the citations in that post I have since discovered that Nancy Loader makes this idea the organizing principle in chapter two of her Ph.D. dissertation.  She has this to say:  

“Although the size and structural arrangement presupposes that Cyclopean masonry was used for its strength, its appearance also suggests that it provided a means by which to convey wealth and prosperity of the territory within which it was based. This does not imply that defence was not a consideration of the Mycenaeans, but that danger was by no means imminent." (emphasis mine)”[1]

In this post I want to take a closer look at the logical problems which this type of claim raises. 

To start, the claim that the Cyclopean fortress walls were intended to display power, wealth, status, what-have-you, is an emotional projection into the past.  That this is the case is admitted by Schofield who says that since she’s impressed then everybody must have been. [2]

This resort to psychologizing about the motives of the Mycenaean leaders[3] raises many problems.  Not the least of these is the problem of consistency.  We see this from our own citations which I have put into tabular form:

hardness, inapproachability, power
impressiveness, status
enhance prestige, display wealth, display power
convey wealth, convey prosperity

Our scholars, as seen by this table, do not themselves agree on what message the Mycenaean leaders are trying to convey.   For our modern savants the walls appear to be a Rorschach test.  Do the walls convey ‘wealth’, ‘power’, ‘prosperity’, ‘hardness’, or ‘inapproachability’?  The differences are not resolved.    Nor can they be because this type of emotional retrojection and ahistorical reasoning on the part of modern mentalities commits the fallacy of the Universal Man.  This fallacy ‘assumes that people are intellectually and psychologically the same in all times, places, and circumstances.’[4]

And why should our mental palette be limited to displays of power, prestige, or wealth?  If we’re going to intuit mentalities why not go all the way?

1. It’s entirely possible that the creation of these walls was looked on as a great communal project in which all participated; an expression of ‘nationality’ (if I may be allowed such an anachronistic word here), ‘communitarianism’, or solidarity.

2. Perhaps the walls were intended as a display of up-to-date technical know-how?  In this showing the walls would be an example of the scientific prowess on the part of the Mycenaean leadership; a display of Mycenae’s modernity.

3. Perhaps the Mycenaean lords performed violent and bloody deeds on their subjects and the walls were intended to conceal such practices.  In such circumstances the walls would inspire, and were intended to inspire, fear and trembling.

4. Perhaps there was a myth, now lost, of the ideal dwelling place of the Gods, a kind of Mycenaean Valhalla which the walls were intended to replicate and invoke in the mind of the viewer.  In other words the walls were a display of religious content.

5. The walls may have originated as a giant unemployment project; a Keynesian resort in times of stress.  Onlookers of the time might have viewed the walls with gratitude and as a symbol of the beneficence of wise and generous rulers.

6. In order to get the walls built (for whatever reason) the Mycenaean rulers may have had to quash the powers of various lords who refused to provide corvee labor and rations for the work at hand.  As a result the walls may communicate feelings of joy (or the reverse) at the crushing of the nobility.[5]

There’s no end to the mental states that we can project onto these walls but, as the question is fundamentally undecidable, I forbear.

This type  of reasoning about the walls contaminates our understanding of the causality, not just for the walls, but for other Mycenaean building projects.  It subtly predisposes us to think that all Cyclopean wall building and, more broadly, all building projects on the part of the Mycenaeans were about the display of power and wealth.  

And that is flatly untrue.

For example, it would be very difficult to accept that the 17+ km wall which the Orchomenians built around the northern edge of the Copais Basin to drain the lake (the wall was 30 m wide in places [5a]) was done as an expression of wealth and prestige.  This project, the largest in the Mycenaean world, was (and we are as sure as we can be given the nature of the data) part of a massive land reclamation scheme; virtually certain to have been initiated by the rulers of Orchomenos and exploited for their benefit alone.  If I may be allowed a tautology it was the wealth of the Orchomenians which was their projection of wealth.[6]

In the thirteenth century BC a large port was built near Pylos.[7]  I think it would be silly to suggest that this port was built in order to project the wealth, power, or status of Pylos.  It was made to harbor trading vessels, tout court.  The same observation may be made about the diversionary dam outside of Tiryns or the land reclamation project near Nemea.  These great projects were strictly utilitarian and, while I’m sure that a case could be made that Bronze Age artisans worked with care and consistency, the case that any Mycenaean construction arose from motives of aesthetics, vanity or display is not demonstrated – nor can it be.

This methodological error is compounded - as I noticed last time - by a reliance on the false dichotomy of 'defense' vs. 'display' and prevents us from searching around for alternative explanations.  As I suggested in my previous post, there are alternative utilitarian explanations for the cyclopean fortifications which do not rely on the backwards projection of emotional states.


[1] Loader (1995) 30.  Dr. Loader traces this idea to Iakovidis (1983).

[2] Schofield (2007) 78-9.  Referring to the walls she says “They certainly are, even today, awe-inspiring.”

[3] If fact this particular argument does not psychologize about the Mycenaean leaders themselves.  It psychologizes about these leaders’ speculation about the desired psychological impact on their subjects and unnamed others – a double remove.

[4] Fischer (1970) 203 ff.  ‘People, in various places and times, have not merely thought different things.  They have thought them differently.  It is probable that their most fundamental cerebral processes have changed through time.  Their deepest emotional drives and desires may themselves have been transformed.  Significant elements of continuity cannot be understood without a sense of the discontinuities, too.’   We would be closer to my own thought if we added to Fischer’s description the words: ‘These differences must be presumed to exist because people were and are enculturated differently.’  And how differently is difficult for us to grasp without extensive exposure to ethnography.  If my, admittedly non-specialist, reading in modern research on neural networks and their training is applicable at all to physical changes in the learning brain then Fischer's statement '.. their most fundamental cerebral processes have changed through time ..' will be the literal truth.

[5] This was exactly the sequence of events in Hunza in the early 16th   and 17thcenturies.  The Mirs had to destroy competing clans in order have access to the men and rations that would enable the creation of the great irrigation projects there.  See Sidky (1996) 50-51.

[5a] Diagrams and measurements in Kalcyk and Heinrich (1989) fig. 4-2, p. 59; fig. 4-5, p. 67.

[6] Orchomenos’ wealth was proverbial.  Iliad, IX.381 [LCL 170: 422-423] "… all the wealth that goes to Orchomenus";  Iliad, V, 706-9 [LCL 170: 258-259] "Oresbius with flashing apron, who dwelt in Hyle on the border of the Cephisian lake, greatly concerned for his wealth; and near him dwelt other Boeotians having a land exceeding rich."; Pausanias,Boeotia, XXXVI.4 [LCL 297: 335 ] "The revenues that Minyas received were so great that he surpassed his predecessors in wealth."; Boeotia, XXXVIII.7-8 [LCL 297:345]  "It is not likely either that the Orchomenians would not have discovered the chasm, and, breaking down the work put up by Heracles, have given back to the Cephisus its ancient passage, since right down to the Trojan war they were a wealthy people. There is evidence in my favour in the passage of Homer* where Achilles replies to the envoys from Agamemnon:— 'Not even the wealth that comes to Orchomenus', a line that clearly shows that even then the revenues coming to Orchomenus were large."
Iliad ix.381.

[7] Zangger et al. (1997) 619 ff.


Cline (2010): Cline, Eric H., The Oxford Handbook of the Bronze Age Aegean. Oxford University Press. 2010.

Fischer (1970): Fischer, David Hackett, Historian's Fallacies: Towards a Logic of Historical Thought.  Harper Perennial.  1970.

Iakovidis (1983): Iakovidis, S., Late Helladic Citadels on Mainland Greece. Leiden: E.J. Brill. 1983.

Kalcyk and Heinrich (1989): Kalcyk, Hansjorg and Bert Heinrich.  "The Munich Kopais-Project" in Boeotia Antiqua I: Papers on Recent Work in Boiotian Archaeology and History.  John M. Fossey F.S.A., ed.  McGill University Monographs in Classical Archaeology and History.  McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  1989. 55-71.
Loader (1995): Loader, Nancy Claire.  The definition of cyclopean: An investigation into the origins of the LH III fortications on mainland Greece.  Ph.D. Dissertation. Online here.

Schofield (2007): Schofield, Louise. The Mycenaeans. Getty Publications, Los Angeles, California. USA. 2007

Sidky (1996): Sidky, H., Irrigation and State Formation in Hunza: The Anthropology of a Hydraulic Kingdom.  University Press of America, Lanham, Maryland, USA.  1996.

Zangger et al. (1997): Zangger, E., Timpson, M.E., Yazvenko, S.B., Kuhnke, F., Knauss, J., “The Pylos regional Archaeological Project, Part II. Landscape Evolution and Site Preservation,” Hesperia 66. 1997. 549–641.  Readily available online.

American School of Classical Studies in Athens: Events

Το στοιχειό της Αθήνας

March 21, 2015 - 9:46 AM - Παράσταση Καραγκιόζη για παιδιά Άθως Δανέλλης

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Giornata di studi sulla conservazione del patrimonio ligneo

Venerdì 20 marzo 2015 presso l’Aula Magna del Centro Conservazione e Restauro “La Venaria Reale” si terrà la Giornata di Studio “Insetti e legno nei Beni Culturali: diagnosi, prevenzione e controllo".

Dienekes' Anthropology Blog

Y chromosome mutation rate: 0.82x10-9

This is in Russian, but seems to be using Anzick-1, Ust-Ishim, K14 to get the mutation rate. Fu et al. who just used Ust Ishim got 0.7-0.9 for this which seems very similar, and also identical to the 0.82x10-9 value of Poznik et al. So, for the time being this seems like the value to use, although tighter confidence intervals would be welcome.

The Russian Journal of Genetic Genealogy (Русская версия), Vol 6, No 2 (2014)/Vol 7, No 1 (2015)

Константа скорости SNP мутаций Y-хромосомы по данным полного секвенирования

Дмитрий Адамов, Владимир Гурьянов, Сергей Каржавин, Владимир Таганкин, Вадим Урасин


Накопление данных тестирования BigY, FGC, с одной стороны, публикация сиквенсов Y-хромосомы древних образцов Anzick-1, Ust-Ishim, K14, с другой, дает возможность оценить среднюю скорость однонуклеотидных (SNP) мутаций. Авторы разработали собственный метод отбора истинных мутаций в современных и древних образцах и несколькими способами определили с высокой точностью константу скорости SNP мутаций - 0.82·10-9 в год на п.н.о. (95% CI: (0.70-0.94) ·10-9).


Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Barriers to PAS Participation in Archaeological Debate Online

The UK Heritage Debate,
the PAS seem to act as if they are in the
little round bit at the top, next to God
The PAS is supposed to be doing outreach and engaging with members of the public finding archaeological finds. It is still doing so in a very 1990s way, sitting in its ivory tower and issuing directives through its website and expecting to engender 'partnership' through people coming to the foot of the tower and gazing up or occasionally getting out among the plebs by paying a gracious visit to a metal detecting club or two to receive tribute in the form of proffered finds for recording.

This is 2015 and there is a great deal of activity in the social media. All sides of the debate are involved. Dealers have their websites, Facebook pages and blogs, artefact collectors too, artefact hunters have forums, twitter feeds, discussion lists. Investigative journalists concerned about the antiquities trade run an informative blog (Chasing Aphrodite), grassroots heritage preservation organizations (SAFE, Heritage Action) too, preservationists (David Gill, David Knell, Donna Yates, Paul Barford) run blogs, pro-collecting archaeologists (David Connolly) run their websites.

Yet the PAS themselves have a very moribund presence on social media and do not encourage interaction. FLOs tweet "nice finds I've seen" the PAS Facebook page too, the PAS now blogs mainly about tweaks in the website's software. The PAS website is visually an anachronistic uninviting mess oozing complacency. The PACHI PAS FOI response indicated that the PAS have absolutely no interest in anything at least one of those blogs engaging with portable antiquities collecting issues is writing about. In the past 30 months about the only thing that interested them on their hidden blog was when the Blog-They-Do-Not-Read mildly criticised a metal detecting club which one of the FLOs had had a spat with - that's it, that is about the extent of their interest in this corner of the heritage discussion which one would have thought directly concerns them and their work. This is a discussion they should be leading, not excluding.

Thus it is when a metal detectorist publishes on his blog a text "Is there a new breed of Archaeologist emerging?" about  an "outstanding Anglo-Saxon pendant found by a first year archaeology student", the PAS is nowhere to be seen. I doubt they even know there was an attempt made in the public domain to discuss Treasure Hunting Archaeologists as some kind of a "new breed".

Who engaged with this misleading discussion? Was it the PAS? No, the PAS actually probably did not even know what was being said on the blogs and forums, the PAS apparently could not give a tinkers what their partners are saying, quite openly, elsewhere. What kind of outreach and what kind of interaction is that? Is this really a partnership, or are the PAS exploiting artefact hunters as a source for database fodder but not in the slightest interested in helping them overcome their misconceptions? How can they claim to be doing the latter if they fail at every step to engage with the questions being asked, the issues arising in everyday discourse about artefact hunting and collecting? This is 2015, not 1995. There are social media out there beyond the walls of the Russell Square Ivory Tower, yet it seems from their reaction to it (an impression reinforced by the contents of their recent FOI response and their reaction to David Gill's PIA article) that the PAS treat people like myself actually involved in it with the utmost contempt.

Assessing the Damage at the Mosul Museum, Part 1: The Assyrian Artifacts

Chris Jones has a depressing text on his Gates of Nineveh blog: 'Assessing the Damage at the Mosul Museum, Part 1: The Assyrian Artifacts' (Feb 27, 2015). The text clearly explains what was damaged where.
Most of the destroyed artifacts fall into two categories: Sculptures from the Roman period city of Hatra, situated in the desert to the south of Mosul, and Assyrian artifacts from Nineveh and surrounding sites such as Khorsabad and Balawat.
Jones notes that many of the smaller objects in the museum had been moved at the time of the US-led invasion and were still (?) in Baghdad, ISIL were destroying the larger pieces which could not be moved so easily during that evacuation, and cannot easily be smuggled and sold now, and were ideal for propaganda purposes. The objects we see in the video being  destroyed in the museum included a number of replicas of Assyrian objects held elsewhere, while others are likely genuine. Sadly, the second part of his text will concern the destruction of sculptures from Hatra in the Museum, which he says appears to be even more devastating.

Vignette: ISIL visits a museum 

UPDATE 1st March 2015

Lamia Al Gailani Werr supplied a list of the contents of the Mosul Museum at the time ISIS invaded Mosul but notes that Museum staff have not been allowed in the Museum since that time, so it is unknown if anything was stolen before the men with sledgehammers got to work.
Assyrian Gallery
There are 24 Assyrian reliefs and statues from Nimrud and Nineveh, all of them are genuine with the exception of three reliefs of battle and hinting scenes.
Hatra Gallery
There are 30 statues and reliefs only four are casts, they are:
1- Statue of Hercules
2- Seated female holding a sphere in one hand.
3- Relief of of the horoscope.
4- a restored spread-winged eagle, part original stone, repaired with gypsum.
Islamic Gallery
30 objects, all originals. They were not shown in the video.
A few objects in the store rooms, one fragmentary statue of Ashurbanipal II and pottery mostly broken objects.

It is noted that the date of the rampage in the museum is unknown, but she ascertained that "the damage at the Nergal gate happened a few days ago".

It occurs to me that ISIL may have recognised that despite their size there is a market for these sculptures and it is one possibility that the Islamic items are not shown in this video being smashed because they have been reserved for sale in neighbouring Moslem countries (the Gulf states?) which are suspected as being a source for some of ISIL funding and on whom they may be increasingly forced to rely should the oil money falter and the payment of ransoms is stopped. Videos like this mean that the buyers can pretend to themselves that they are 'saving the art'.  On the other hand, it may well be that their propagandists are planning a second video from Mosul Museum with even more atrocities intended to shock.While tragic, we must remember these are just stones, and the real tragedy is the human cost of the circumstances leading up to and involved in the attempted establishment of this new state.

Meanwhile, disgustingly, the IAPN and PNG's paid lobbyist has a post on his nasty hate-blog "Destruction at the Mosul Museum: Who Cares?" suggesting that the locals don't care about the heritage. Nasty Amerocentric, xenophobic point-scoring sniping as usual from the US antiquities dealers lobby. Perhaps the more observant among us might recall the case of Samira Saleh al-Naimi reported  in September 2014 ('Execution of Human Rights Activist in Mosul, she Criticised Destruction of Historical Monuments').

March 01, 2015

Maarit-Johanna (History of the Ancient World)

Tomb Relief From Athens


Tomb Relief from Athens

Period: 360-50 BC.

The tombs of the Greeks were placed along the roads. Here the passers by could stop and read the names of the deceased.

In a small building supported by columns and with a triangular pediment, a woman is shown seated on a backless chair, her feet resting on a stool. The inscription on the architrave tells us her name is Philostrate. She is shown shaking hands with a standing youth who is her son Hippon.

The elderly bearded gentleman in the background is his father Agonippos from Piraeus whose hand is resting on the young man’s shoulder.

The relief shows a strong bond between the parents and their son. The vase in the pediment indicates that he died unmarried.

Source: Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Ancient Greece, Ancient history, Ancient world, Athens, Copenhagen, Denmark, Museums, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Tomb relief

Projekt Dyabola Blog

In pursuit of growth: February 2015 has brought 2971 new titles for the ‘Archaeological Bibliography’


We have just uploaded the last update of the month, which holds 983 new titles, in total we have referenced 2917 new titles  in February.  Be remainded that we update the ‘Archaeological Bibliography” at the end of the week. Each monday you will be provided with 500-1000 new bibliographical indications, which – we hope – may help to facilitate your research. These titles are the result of the evaluation of the weekly changing new acquistions in the five important libraries for classical studies at Rome: the German Archaeological Institute, the École Française de Rome, of the British School at Rome, the American Academy in Rome and of the Escuela Española de Historia y Arqueologia en Roma. In addition bibliographical work is done in the  libraries of the Universities of Heidelberg and Munich, as well as in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek.

What do you find referenced in Dyabola ?!  

Monographs, articles of any kind (in festschriften, congresses, journals, catalogues of exhibitions,  etc.). By the way: we evalutate not only the articles of the exhibition-catalogues but the texts  for the single exhibits as well. Some – most of them –  contain important ínformation, which may be helpful for researchers and students. And most important we reference any kind of reviews: in print-media and online-publication.

Since 2008 we are exploiting internet publications of any kind.

We add links to free-full texts to our bibliographical references, as well as DOI and the jstor-URLs, as they promise to be stable. Nearly 20.000 documents in the “Archaeological Bibliography” are identified with “DOI” links up to now. Our intention citing “DOI” links is create a sort of full-text-bibliography by links. By clicking on the link in the bibliographical reference, a new window will be opened showing access to the full text.  You may access the “DOI”  links to  contents liable to costs via the proxy-server of your University or Institution.

In February we have evaluated 201 new monographs and 117 new volumes of periodicals, gaining 2917 new titles for the “Archaeological Bibliography”. You will find the list of new monographs (also in pdf) and periodicals below as ever. The list of the new periodicals has been supplemented with links to the online editions of the respective journals – in addition to the links for the online resources.Comment and objective criticism regarding content – especially references for publications – will be very welcome: please mail to Dr. Martina Schwarz. Concerning technical support please contact

New monographies in February 2015 (New monographs February 2015. pdf):

  1. A history of Pythagoreanism. (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2014), ed. Huffman, C.A.
  2. Abelli Condina, F.: Tenet nomen lapis. La collezione di epigrafi del Museo archeologico della Val Camonica. (Milano, Edizioni Et, 2012) 35 S., Abb.Aix antique. Une cité en Gaule du Sud. [Musée Granet, Aix-en-Provence, 6 décembre 2014 – 3 mai 2015. (Aix-en-Provence, Silvana, 2014), ed. Nin, N.
  3. Aktuelle Forschungen in Eurasien. (Berlin, Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, 2014), ed. Hansen, S.
  4. Alexandrova, S.S.: Typology and chronology of the hand-made pottery of the Roman and early Byzantine period (1st – 6th c.) on the territory of Bulgaria. (Sofia, National Archaeological Institute with Museum, 2013), (National Archaeological Institute with Museum, 7)
  5. Alle radici della cultura mediterranea ed europea. I Normanni nello Stretto e nelle isole Eolie. [Lipari, ex ostello della gioventù, 1-31 ottobre 2002.](Palermo, Regione siciliana, 2014), ed. Bacci, G.M.; Mastelloni, M.A.
  6. Ambra. Dalle rive del Baltico all’Etruria. [Roma, Museo nazionale etrusco di Villa Giulia, 14 dicembre 2012 – 10 marzo 2013.](Roma, Gangemi, 2012)
  7. Ancient documents and their contexts. Firth North American congress of Greek and Latin epigraphy (2011). [ ](Leiden, Brill, 2015), ed. Bodel, J.; Dimitrova, N., (Brill studies in Greek and Roman epigraphy, 5)
  8. Antichnoe nasledie Kubani. (Moskva, Nauka, 2010) 3 Bde.,  ed. Bongard-Levin, G.M.; Kuznetsov, V.D.
  9. Antiqua Beneventano. La storia della città romana attraverso la documentazione epigrafica. (Benevento, La provincia sannita, 2013)
  10. Argyropoulos, P.: Von der Theorie zur Empirie. Philosophische und politische Reformmodelle des 4. bis 2. Jahrhunderts v.Chr. (München, Utz, 2013)
  11.  Arte della parola e parole della scienza. Tecniche della comunicazione letteraria nel mondo antico. (Napoli, D’Auria, 2014), ed. Grisolia, R.; Matino, G.
  12. Aspects of ancient institutions and geography. Studies in honor of Richard J.A. Talbert. [ ](Leiden 2015), ed. Brice, L.L.; Slootjes, D., (Impact of Empire, 19)
  13. Athurmata. Critical essays on the archaeology of the eastern Mediterranean in honour of E. Susan Sherratt. (Oxford, Archaeopress, 2014), ed. Galanakis, Y.; Wilkinson, T.; Bennet, J.
  14. Atti del X Simposio paolino. Paolo tra Tarso e Antiochia. Archeologia, storia, religione. (Roma, Istituto francescano di spiritualità, 2007), ed. Padovese, L., (Turchia, la chiesa e la sua storia, 21)
  15. Aux origines d’Antibes. Antiquite et haut moyen age. (Antibes, Musee d’archeologie, 2013), ed. Delaval, E.; Thernot, R.
  16. Baalbek-Heliopolis. 10000 Jahre Stadtgeschichte. (Darmstadt, von Zabern, 2014), ed. Ess, M. van; Rheidt, K.
  17. Bahat, D.: The Jerusalem western Wall Tunnel. (Jerusalem, Israel Exploration Society, 2014)
  18. Balty, J.: Inventaire des mosaïques antiques de Syrie (I.M.A.S.), 2. Les mosaïques des maisons de Palmyre. (Beyrouth, Institut français du Proche-Orient, 2014), (Institut français du Proche-Orient. Bibliothèque archéologique et historique, 206)
  19. Behr, C.: Irenaeus of Lyons. Identifying Christianity. (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2013)
  20. Bliquez, L.J.: The tools of Asclepius. Surgical instruments in Greek and Roman times. (Leiden, Brill, 2015), (Studies in ancient medicine, 43)
  21. Boix i Llonch, L.; Castanyer, P.; Monturiol, J. u.a.:Josep Esquirol, fotògraf d’Empúries. (Girona, Ajuntament de L’Escala, 2013)
  22. Boote, Burgen, Bischarin. Heinrich Schäfers Tagebuch einer Nubienreise zum zweiten Nilkatarakt im Jahre 1900. (Wiesbaden, Reichert, 2014), ed. Gertzen, T.L., (Menschen, Reisen, Forschungen. Wissenschaftsgeschichte aus Ägypten, 2)
  23. Borhy, L.: Die Römer in Ungarn. (Darmstadt, von Zabern, 2014)
  24. Bosnakes, D.: Enthettalizesthai. Technotropia kai ideologia ton Thessalikon epitumbion anagluphon tou 5ou kai tou 4ou ai.p.Ch. (Volos, Upourgeío Paideiás kai Threskeumaton, 2013), (Archaiologiko Institoúto Thessalikon Spoudon, 2)
  25. Bouby, L.: L’agriculture dans le bassin du Rhône du bronze final à l’antiquité. Agrobiodiversité, économie, cultures. (Toulouse, Ecoles des Hautes études en sciences sociales, 2014)
  26. Branscome, D.: Textual rivals. Self-presentation in Herodotus'”Histories”. (Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 2013)
  27. Burri, E.: Il prosciugamento del lago Fucino e l’emissario sotterraneo. (Pescara, Carsa, 2011)
  28. Buxton, R.: Myths and tragedies in their ancient Greek contexts. (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2013)
  29. Buzoianu, L.: Tomis. Comentaria istoric si arheologic. Historical and archaeological commentary. (Constanta, Editura Ex Ponto, 2012)
  30. Caillaud, F.; Grassi, B.; Mangani, C. u.a.:I signori della Brughiera. Il territorio della Malpensa tra XII e IX sec. a.C. [Arsago Seprio, Civico museo archeologico, 15 aprile – 15 giugno 2012.](Milano, Ministero per i beni e le attività culturali, 2012) 46 S., Abb., ed. Grassi, B.
  31. Calian, L.; Alföldy-Gazdac, A.: Die Kaiser-Suite Medaillen von Christian Wermuth im Münzkabinett des Siebenbürgischen Nationalmuseumes – Klausenburg. Seria medaliilor imperiale a lui Christian Wermuth în colectia Muzeului national de istorie a Transilvaniei, Cluj-Napoca. (Cluj, Mega Publishing House, 2014)
  32. Cappuccini, L.; Bianchi, I.; Cipolli, N. u.a.:Poggio Civitella (Montalcino, SI). Un insediamento etrusco ai confini del territorio chiusino. (Firenze, All’insegna del giglio, 2014), (Insediamenti d’altura, 1)
  33. Cardarelli, A.; Accorsi, C.A.; Balista, C. u.a.:La necropoli della Terramara di Casinalbo(Firenze, All’insegna del giglio, 2014) 2 Bde.,  (Grandi contesti e problemi della protostoria italiana, 15)
  34. Carty, A.: Polycrates, tyrant of Samos. New light on archaic Greece. (Stuttgart, Steiner, 2015), (Historia. Einzelschriften, 236)
  35. Castellana, G.: La Sicilia del Tardo Bronzo. Genti, culture, risorse e commerci. (Agrigento, Selbstverlag, 2014)
  36. Cazzella, A.; Moscoloni, M.; Recchia, G. u.a.:Coppa Nevigata e l’area umida alla foce del Candelaro durante l’età del bronzo. (Foggia, Grenzi, 2012)
  37. Charles Ede Ldt. Catalogue 189. (London, Selbstverlag, 2014)
  38. Chimienti, M.: Guido Antonio Zanetti. Un numismatico all’epoca dell’illuminismo. (Bologna, Tonelli, 2011)
  39. Christie’s New York. Ancient Jewelry. Thursday 11 December 2014. (New York, Selbstverlag, 2014)
  40. Christie’s New York. Antiquities. Thursday, 11 December 2014. (New York, Selbstverlag, 2014)
  41. Chrysostomou, A.: Archaía Edessa. Ta nekrotapheía. (Volos, Upourgeío Paideías Threskeumatón, 2013), (Archaiologiko Institoúto Thessalikon Spoudon, 5)
  42. Circulation des matériaux et des objets dans les sociétés anciennes. (Paris, Editions des archives contemporaines, 2014), ed. Dillmann, P.; Bellot-Gurlet. L.
  43. Constantinou, S.: Byzantine antiquities. Works of art from the fourth to fiftheenth centuries in the collection of the Moscow Kremlin Museums. (Moskow, Pinakotheke, 2013)
  44. Copora delle antichità della Sardegna. La Sardegna nuragica. Storia e materiali. (Sassari, Delfino, 2014), ed. Moravetti, A.; Alba, E.; Foddai, L.
  45. Correia, V.H.: A arquitectura doméstica de Conimbriga e as estruturas económicas e sociais de cidade romana. (Coimbra, Centro de estudos arqueológicos das Universidades de Coimbra e Porto, 2013), (Conimbriga. Anexos, 6)
  46. Cupcea, G.: Professional ranks in the Roman army of Dacia. (Oxford, Archaeopress, 2014), (British archaeological reports. International series, 2681)
  47. Da Orvieto a Bolsena. Un percorso tra Etruschi e Romani. (Ospedaletto, Pacini, 2013) Mostra Roma 23 aprile – 29 settembre 2013,  ed. Della Fina, G.; Pellegrini, E.
  48. Dalla cataogazzione alla promozione dei beni archeologici. I progetti europei come occasione di valorizzazione del patrimonio culturale veneto. Od katalogiziranja do promocije arheoloskih dobrin. Evropski projekti kot priloznost za vrednotenje kulturne dediscine Veneta. (Venezia, Regione Veneto, 2014)
  49. Dalley, S.: The mystery of the hanging gardens of Babylon. An elusive wonder traced. (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2013)
  50. Dallo scavo al museo. La tomba a casetta. Dalla necropoli di Sferracavallo a Norchia. Un modello di riuscita sinergia tra pubblico e privato, Viterbo, Rocca Albornoz, Museo nazionale etrusco. (Prato 2014), ed. Ceci, F.
  51. De Palma, G.; Labellarte, M.; Meucci, C. u.a.:Il vaso di Talos. Restauri a confronto. (Modugno, Seleservice, 1994) 64 S., Abb.
  52. Dé Spagnolis, M.: La Grotta di Tiberio a Sperlonga e le sculture di soggetto omerico. The Grotto of Tiberius in Sperlonga and the Homeric sculptures. (Roma, Edizioni Phoenix, 2012)
  53. Derow, P.: Rome, Polybius and the East. (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2015), ed. Erskine, A.; Quinn, J.C.
  54. Deux atliers de potiers de la Loire moyenne au Haut-Empire. Vrigny (Loiret) et Amboise (Indre-et-Loire). (Tours, FERACF, 2012), ed. Ferdière, A., (Revue archéologique du Centre de la France. Suppléments, 40)
  55. Di Napoli, V.: Teatri della Grecia romana. Forma, decorazione, funzioni. La provincia d’Acaia. (Athene, Boccard, 2013), (Meletémata, 67)
  56. Die badischen Grabungen in Qarâra und el-Hibeh 1913 und 1914. Wissenschaftsgeschichtliche und papyrologische Beiträge (P.Heid.X). (Heidelberg, Winter, 2014), ed. Habermann, W.; Fuchs, E.; Cowey, J.M. u.a.:, (Veröffentlichungen aus der Heidelberger Papyrus-Sammlung. Neue Folge, 14)
  57. Die hohen Schönheiten sind hier ohne Grenzen. Stendhal und Winckelmann. Stendhal in Deutschland. Ein Kolloquium der Winckelmann-Gesellschaft und des Centre d’Etudes Stendhaliennes et Romantiques. (Stendal, Winckelmann-Gesellschaft, 2014), (Schriften der Winckelmann-Gesellschaft, 30)
  58. Drecoll, V.H.; Kudella, M.: Augustin und der Manichäismus. (Tübingen, Mohr Siebeck, 2011)
  59. Eaverly, M.A.: Tan men – pale women. Color and gender in archaic Greece and Egypt. A comparative approach. (Ann Arbor, The University of Michigan Press, 2013)
  60. Eckhardt, H.: Objets and identities. Roman Britain and the North-Western provinces. (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2014)
  61. Egraphsen kai epoiesen. Meletes keramikes kai eikonographias pros timen tou kathegete Michale Tiberiou. Essays on Greek pottery and iconography in honour of Professor Michalis Tiverios. (Thessaloníke, University Studio Press, 2014), ed. Valavanis, P.; Manakidou, E.
  62. El Caire dessiné et photographié au XIXe siècle. (Paris, Picard, 2013), ed. Volait, M.
  63. El problema de las “imitaciones” durante la protohistoria en el Mediterráneo centro-occidental entre el concepto y el ejemplo. (Berlin, Wasmuth, 2014), ed. Graells i Fabregat, R.; Krueger, M.; Sardà Seuma,  u.a.:, (Iberia archaeologica, 18)
  64. Elliott, J.: Ennius and the architecture of the Annales. (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2013)
  65. Englen, A.; Filetici, M.G.; Palazzo, P. u.a.:Caelius, 2, 1. Le case romane sotto la basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo. (Roma, L’Erma di Bretschneider, 2014)
  66. Ensembles funéraires gallo-romains de la Loire moyenne, 2. (Tours, FERACF, 2013), ed. Ferdière, A.
  67. Epigrafia e ordine senatorio, 30 anni dopo. (Roma, Quasar, 2014) 2 Bde.,  ed. Caldelli, M.L.; Gregori, G.L., (Tituli, 10)
  68. Espinosa Espinosa, D.: Plinio y los “oppida de antiguo Lacio”. El proceso de difusión del Latium en Hispania Citerior. (Oxford 2014), (British archaeological reports. International series, 2686)
  69. Esteban Ortega, J.: Corpus de inscripciones latines de Cáceres, 2. Turgalium. (Cáceres, Universidad de Extremadura, 2012)
  70. f u.a.:Der Münzschatz von Beçin. (Wien, Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2010), ed. Ünal, R.H.; Alram, M.; Pfeiffer-Tas, S., (Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften. Philosophisch-Historische Klasse. Archäologische Forschungen, 17)
  71. Fahndung nach Augustus. Suche nach den Wurzeln der Euregio. Maastricht, Heerlen, Aachen, Jülich. (Jülich, Museum Zitadelle, 2014) 56 S., Abb.
  72. Fortieth Annual Byzantine Studies Conference, November 6-9, 2014. Simon Fraser University. Vancouver, British Columbia. Abstracts. (o.O., Selbstverlag, 2014)
  73. Froio, G.: La componente archeologica nel progetto moderno. (Soveria Mannelli, Rubbettino, 2013)
  74. From prehistoric villages to cities. Settlement aggregation and community transformation. (New York, Routledge, 2013), ed. Birch, J.
  75. Gabucci, A.: L’archeologia come mestiere. (Trieste, Edizioni Università Trieste, 2013), (Polymnia. Studi di archeologia, 3)
  76. Glas, T.: Valerian. Kaisertum und Reformansätze in der Krisenphase des Römischen Reiches. (Paderborn, Schöningh, 2014)
  77. Grenzen der Antike. Die Produktivität von Grenzen in Transformationsprozessen. (Berlin, de Gruyter, 2014), ed. Heinze, A.; Möckel, S.; Röcke, W., (Transformationen der Antike, 28)
  78. Guida al Museo archeologico nazionale della Lomellina. (Bergamo, Little Mercury, 2010), ed. Invernizzi, R.
  79. Hadjisavvas, S.: The Phoenician period necropolis of Kition, 1. (Nicosia, Republic of Cyprus, 2012)
  80. Haupt, K.W.: Johann Winckelmann. Begründer der klassischen Archäologie und modernen Kunstwissenschaft. (Weimar, Weimarer Verlagsgesellschaft, 2014)
  81. Heritage at risk. World report 2011 – 2013 on monuments and sites in danger. Patrimoine en péril. Patrimonio en peligro. (Berlin, Bässler Verlag, 2014), ed. Machat, C.; Petzet, M.; Ziesemer, J.
  82. Herrmann, K.: Gordian III. Kaiser einer Umbruchszeit. (Speyer, Kartoffeldruck-Verlag, 2013)
  83. Hesban, 11. Ceramic finds. Typological and technological studies of the pottery remains from Tell Hasban and vicinity. (Berrien Springs, Andrews University Press, 2012), ed. Sauer, J.A.; Herr, L.G., (Hesban, 11)
  84. Hobden, F.: The symposion in ancient Greek society and thought. (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2013)
  85. Horst, P.W. van der: Studies in ancient Judaism and early Christianity. (Leiden, Brill, 2014), (Ancient Judaism and early Christianity. Arbeiten zur Geschichte des antiken Judentums und des Urchristentums, 87)
  86. Hospitium comunis Pergami. Scavo archeologico, restauro e valorizzazione di un edificio storico della città. (Bergamo, Soprindendenza per i beni archeologici della Lombardia, 2012), ed. Fortunati, M.; Ghiroldi, A.
  87. Iberia Graeca. El legado arqueológico griego en la Península Ibérica. El llegat arqueològic grec a la Península Ibèrica. The Greek archaeological legacy on the Iberian Peninsula. E elleniké archaiologiké kleronomiá sten Iberiké Chersóneso. (Girona, Centro Iberia Graeca, 2012)
  88. Il bilinguismo medico fra tardonatico e medioevo. Atti del convegno internazionale di Messina, 14-15 ottobre 2010. (Messina, EDAS, 2012), ed. Urso, A.M.
  89. Il mito di Ifigenia da Euripide al Novecento. (Roma, Artemide, 2008), ed. Secci, L.; Bietolini, N.
  90. Il palazzo e il colle del Quirinale. Dai restauri del Quirinale. Dai restauri del Settennato Napolitano a Palazzo Valentini e alle collezioni Colonna e Pallavicini. (Roma, Gangemi, 2013), ed. Godart, L.
  91. Il viaggio oltre la vita. Gli Etruschi e l’aldilà tra capolavori e realtà virtuale. [Mostra Palazzo Pepoli, Museo della storia di Bologna, 25 ottobre 2014 – 22 febbraio 2015.](Bologna, Bononia University Press, 2014), ed. Sassatelli, G.; Russo Tagliente, A.
  92. Imagen y culto en la Iberia prerromana, 2. Nuevas lecturas sobre los pebeteros en forma de cabeza femenina. (Sevilla, Universidad de Sevilla, 2014), ed. Marín Ceballos, M.C.; Jiménez Flores, A.M., (Spal monografías, 18)
  93. Instrumenta inscripta V. Signacula ex aere. Aspetti epigrafici, archeologici, giuridici, prosopografici, collezionistici. Atti del convegno internazionale, Verona, 20-21 settembre 2012. (Roma, Scienze e Lettere, 2014), ed. Buonopane, A.; Braito, S.; Girardi, C.
  94. Interpretating silent artefacts. Petrographic approaches to archaeological ceramics. (Oxford, Archaeopress, 2009), ed. Quinn, P.S.
  95. Ismard, P.: L’événement Socrate. (Paris, Flammarion, 2013)
  96. Josifovski, P.: The Kuzmanovîc Collection. Stobi, 1. (Skopje, Macedonia Numismatic Collections, 2009)
  97. Kalogeropoulos, K.: To ieró tes Artémidos Tauropólou stis Alés Araphenídes (Loútsa), tomos deuteros. [summary: The sanctuary of Artemis Tauropolos in Halai Araphenides.](Athéna, Akademía Athenón, 2013), (Pragmateíai tes Akademías Athenón, 71)
  98. Keenan, J.G.; Manning, J.G.; Yiftach-Firanko, U.: Law and legal pratice in Egypt from Alexander to the Arab conquest. A selection of papyrological sources in translation. (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2014)
  99. Kenawi, M.: Alexandria’s hinterland. Archaeology of the western Nile Delta, Egypt. (Oxford, Archaeopress, 2014)
  100. Keszthely-Fenékpuszta. Katalog der Befunde und ausgewählten Funde sowie neuen Forschungsergebnissen. (Rahden, Leidorf, 2013), ed. Heinrich-Tamáska, O., (Castellum Pannonicum Pelsonense, 3)
  101. Kolníková, E.: Nemcice. Ein Macht-, Industrie- und Handelszentrum der Latènezeit in Mähren und Siedlungen am [sic] ihrem Rande. Kommentierter Fundkatalog Münzen. (Brno, Archeologicky ústav AV CR, 2012)
  102. La camera delle meraviglie. Seduzioni dai gioielli Castellani. (Roma, L’Erma di Bretschneider, 2015), ed. Russo Tagliente, A.; Caruso, I.
  103. La città com’era, com’è e come la vorremo. Atti dell’Osservatorio permanente sull’Antico. a.a. 2012-2013, Pavia, sezione di Scienze dell’antichità. (Firenze, All’insegna del giglio, 2014), ed. Corti, E., (Flos Italiae, 13)
  104. La didattica museale. Atti del convegno. Foggia, Museo civico, 28-31 marzo 1990. (Bari, Edipuglia, 1992) 446 S., Abb.
  105. La Sardegna dei 10.000 nuraghi. Miti e simboli dal passato. (Roma, ARA edizioni, 2013) Mostra Roma 14 dicembre 2013 – 16 marzo 2014,  ed. Campus, F.; Leonelli, V.; Trucco, F.
  106. La villa romana dei Nonii Arrii a Toscolano Maderno. (Tuscolano Maderno, Edizioni Et, [2009]) 27 S., Abb.
  107. Lançon, B.: Théodose. (Paris, Perrin, 2014)
  108. Le sanctuaire de Claros et son oracle. Actes du Colloque international de Lyon, 13-14 janvier 2012. (Lyon, Maison de l’Orient et de la Méditerranée, 2014), ed. Moretti, J.C.; Rabatel, L., (Travaux de la Maison de l’Orient et de la Méditerranée, 65)
  109. Le sanctuaire de Claros et son oracle. Actes du colloque international de Lyon, 13-14 janvier 2012. (Lyon, Maison de l’Orient et de la Méditerranée, 2014), ed. Moretti, J.C.; Rabatel, L., (Travaux de la Maison de l’Orient méditerranéen, 65)
  110. Le trésor de Marseillais. 500 av. J.-C. l’élcat de Mareseille à Delphes. (Somogy, Musée d’archéologie méditerrannéenne, 2012), ed. Garsson, M.
  111. Lebeaupin, D.; Séjalon, P.; Curé, A.M.: Les orgines de Lattara de la présence étrusque. Les données de la zone 27. (Lattes, Edition pour le développement de l’archéologie en Languedoc-Rouissillon, 2014), (Lattara, 22)
  112. Les Balears romanes. Nous estudis. (Palma de Mallorca, Edicions Documenta Balear, 2012), ed. Sánchez León, M.L.
  113. L’esercito e la cultura militare di Roma antica. Atti del XXIX Corso di archeologia e storia antica del Museo civico albano. (Albano, Selbstverlag, 2012), ed. Carosi, S.; Libera, R.
  114. L’histoire d’Alexandre selon Quite-Curce. (Paris, Colin, 2014), ed. Simon, M.; Trinquier, J.
  115. L’isola di domani. Cultura materiale e contesti archeologici a San Giacomo in Paludo (Venezia). (Firenze, All’insegna del giglio, 2014), ed. Ferri, M.; Moine, C.
  116. Lubinsky, C.L.: Removing masculine layers to reveal a holy womanhood. The female transvesitite monks of late antique eastern Christianity. (Turnhout, Brepols, 2013), (Studia traditionis Theologiae, 13)
  117. Mädchen im Altertum. Girls in antiquity. (Münster, Waxmann, 2014), ed. Moraw, S.; Kieburg, A., (Frauen, Forschung, Archäologie, 11)
  118. Marchini, M.: Un tesoro della ecclesia di Brescia. La “Confessione di fede di Tommaso” sul sarcofago da S. Afra nel Museo di S. Giulia. (San Zeno, Grafo, 2014)
  119. Marretta, A.; Solano, S.: Pagine di pietra. Scrittura e immagini a Berzo Demo fra età del ferro e romanizzazione. (Milano, Soprintendenza per i beni archeologici dell’Emilia Romagna, 2014), (Parco nazionale delle incisioni rupestri. Quaderni, 4)
  120. Marvelli, S.; Marchesini, M.; Lambertini, F. u.a.:Aquae. La gestine dell’acqua oltre l’Unità d’Italia nella pianura emiliana. Acque e bonifiche a Bondeno dal neolitico ad oggi. Guida alla mostra. (San Giovanni in Persiceto, Selbstverlag, 2014) 20 S., Abb.
  121. Mathys, M.: Architekturstiftungen und Ehrenstatuen. Untersuchungen zur visuellen Repräsentation der Oberschicht im späthellenistischen und kaiserzeitlichen Pergamon. (Mainz, von Zabern, 2014), (Pergamenische Forschungen, 16)
  122. Mensch, Natur, Katastrophe. Von Atlantis bis heuet. Begleitband zur Sonderausstellung. (Regensburg, Schnell und Steiner, 2014), ed. Schenk, G.J.
  123. Metalle der Macht. Frühes Gold und Silber. 6. Mitteldeutscher Archäologentag vom 17. bis 19. Oktober 2013 in Halle (Saale). (Halle ) 2 Bde.,  ed. Meller, H.; Risch, R.; Pernicka, E.
  124. Mili, M.: Religion and society in ancient Thessaly. (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2015)
  125. Müller, H.A.: Herrschaft in Gallien. Studien zur Entwicklung der keltischen Herrschaftsformen im vorrömischen Gallien. (Gutenberg, Computus, 2013)
  126. Museo dei Brettii e degli Enotri. Catalogo dell’esposizione. (Soveria Mannelli, Rubbettino, 2014), ed. Cerzoso, M.; Vanzetti, A.
  127. Numismatik Lanz München. Auktion 159. Numismatische Raritäten. Montag 8. Dezember 2014. (München, Selbstverlag, 2014)
  128. O’Brien, W.: Prehistoric copper mining in Europe, 5500 – 500 B.C. (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2015)
  129. Optima hereditas. Studi in ricordi di Maria Adelaide Binaghi Leva. (Gallarate, Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo, 2013), ed. Leva, F.; Palazzi, M.
  130. Pantò, G.: Papiro di Artemidoro. (Torino, Soprintendenza per i beni archeologici dell’Emilia Romagna, 2014), (I cataloghi. Museo di antichità di Torino, 5)
  131. Paoli, L.; Baldi, I.: Frascole etrusca. L’area archeologica di San Martino a Poggio. L’area archeologica e dedicata a Giuliano de Marinis, insigne archeologo e studioso che tanto amo questo luogo. (Firenze, Aska, 2013)
  132. Papuci-Wladyka, E.: Corpus vasorum  antiquorum. Poland, 11. Crakow, 1. Jagliellonian University Institute of Archaeology, 1. Jagiellonian University Museum. (Kraków, Polish Academy of Sciences, 2012)
  133. Patera, M.: Figures grecques de l’épouvante de l’antiquité au présent. Peurs enfantines et adultes. (Leiden, Brill, 2015), (Mnemosyne. Supplementa, 376)
  134. Patricia Cronin. Le macchine, gli dei e i fantasmi. Museo Capitolini, Centrale Montemartini, 10 ottobre – 20 novembre 2013. (Milano, Silvana, 2013)
  135. Peacock, D.P.S.: The stone of life. Querns, mills and flour production in Europe up to c. A.D. 500. (Southampton 2013), (Southampton monography in archaeology. New series, 1)
  136. Pernin, I.: Les baux ruraux en Grèce ancienne. Corpus épigraphique et étude. (Lyon, Maison de l’Orient et de la Méditerranée, 2014), (Travaux de la Maison de l’Orient et de la Méditerranée, 66)
  137. Phicaria. II Encuentros internacionales del Mediterráneo. Uso y gestióm de recursos naturales en medios semiáridos del ámbito mediterráneo. (Mazarrón, Universidad popular de Mazarrón, 2014)
  138. Philosophical themes in Gallen. (London, Institute of Classical Studies, 2014), ed. Adamson, P.; Hansberger, R.; Wilberding, J., (Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies. Supplements, 114)
  139. Pirson, F.: Ansichten des Krieges. Kampfreliefs klassischer und hellenistischer Zeit im Kulturvergleich. (Wiesbaden, Reichert, 2014), (Archäologische Forschungen, 31)
  140. Planck, D.: Das Limestor bei Dalkingen. Gemeinde Rainau, Ostalbkreis. (Darmstadt, Theiss, 2014), (Forschungen und Berichte zur Vor- und Frühgeschichte in Baden-Württemberg, 129)
  141. Politica antica. Rivista di prassi e cultura politica nel mondo greco e romano 4 (2014)
  142. Pompei accessibile. Per una fruizione ampliata del sito archeologico. Accessible Pompeii. For an extended fruition of the archaeological site. (Roma, L’Erma di Bretschneider, 2013), ed. Picone, R.
  143. Pompeji. Götter, Mythen, Menschen. (München, Hirmer, 2014), ed. Westheider, O.; Hoffmann, A.; Philipp, M.
  144. Poseidon and the sea. Myth, cult, and daily life. [Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska, February 8 – May 11, 2014; Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, Florida, June 14 – November 30, 2014.](Tampa Fl., Tampa Museum of Art, 2014), ed. Pevnick, S.D.
  145. Protecting the cultural heritage of Cyprus. Joining efforts in preventing the illicit trafficking of cultural heritage. (Nicosia, Department of Antiquities Cyprus, 2014), ed. Pilides, D.; McCarthy, A.
  146. Rainini, I.: Archeologia di frontiera. Antichità romane nel medioevo marchigiano fra i Sibillini e l’Altopiano plestino. (Macerata 2014)
  147. Re-presenting the past. Archaeology through text and image. (Oxford, Oxbow, 2013), ed. Bonde, S.; Houston, S., (Joukowsky Institute Publication, 2)
  148. Richesse et sociétés. (Paris, Boccard, 2013), ed. Baroin, C.; Michel, C., (Colloques de la Maison René-Ginouvès, 9)
  149. Rocco, G.: Monumenti di Kos, 1. La stoà meridionale dell’agorà. (Roma, Quasar, 2013) CD-ROM,  (Thiasos. Rivista di archeologia e storia dell’architettura antica, 3)
  150. Roma, Tibur, Baetica. Investigaciones adrianeas. (Sevilla, Universidad de Sevilla, 2013), ed. Hidalgo, R.; León, P., (Historia y geografía, 245)
  151. Rossi, C.: Le necropoli urbane di Padova romana. (Padova, University Press, 2014), (Antenor. Quaderni, 30)
  152. Rüpke, J.: From Jupiter to Christ. On the history of religion in the Roman imperial period. (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2014) Original: Von Jupiter zu Christus (Darmstadt 2011),
  153. Ruri mea vixi colendo. Studi in onore Franco Porrà. (Ortacesus, Sandhi, 2012), ed. Corda, A.M.; Floris, P.
  154. Russenberger, C.: Der Tod und die Mädchen. Amazonen auf römischen Sarkophagen. (Berlin, de Gruyter, 2015), (Image and context, 13)
  155. Sacrum facere. Atti del I Seminario di archeologia del sacro. Trieste, 17-18 febbraio 2012. [ ](Trieste, Edizioni Università Trieste, 2013), ed. Fontana, F., (Polymnia. Studi di archeologia, 5)
  156. Segal, A.; Eisenberg, M.; Mlynarczyk, J. u.a.:Hippos-Sussita of the Decapolis. The fist twelve seasons of excavations 2000 – 2011, 1. (Haifa, University of Haifa, 2013)
  157. Seider, A.M.: Memory in Vergil’s Aeneid. Creating the past. (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2013)
  158. Seifert, A.: Kaiser, Senat und Volk. (Xanten, Landschaftsverband Rheinland, 2011), (Führer und Schriften des (LVR-) Archäologischen Parks Xanten, 23)
  159. Sena Chiesa, G.: Gli asparagi di Cesare. Studi sulla Cisalpina romana. (Sesto Fiorentino, All’insegna del giglio, 2014), (Flos Italiae, 11)
  160. Sheppard, K.L.: The life of Margaret Alice Murray. A woman’s work in archaeology. (Lanham, Lexington Books, 2013)
  161. Smith, J.Z.: Magie de la comparaison et autres essais d’histoire des religions. (Genève, Labor et fides, 2014), ed. Barbu, D.; Meylan, N., (Histoire des religions, 1)
  162. Société française d’étude de la céramique antique en Gaule. Entre Seine et Loire. Les Carnutes. Des faciès céramiques contrastés. Actualité des recherches céramiques. Actes du congrès de Chartres, 29 mai – 1er juin 2014. (Marseille, S.F.E.C.A.G., 2014)
  163. Sommerstein, A.H.; Torrance, I.C.: Oaths and swearing in ancient Greece. (Berlin 2014), (Beiträge zur Altertumskunde, 307)
  164. Space and time in Mediterranean prehistory. (New York, Routledge, 2014), ed. Souvatzi, S.; Hadji, A., (Routledge studies in archaeology, 11)
  165. Speed, G.: Towns in the dark? Urban transformations from late Roman Britain to Anglo-Saxon England. (Oxford, Archaeopress, 2014)
  166. Sport in the Greek and Roman world, 1. Early Greece, the Olympics, and contests. (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2014), ed. Scanlon, T.F.
  167. Stager, L.: Rites of spring in the Carthaginian tophet. [Tuesday 25 November 2014 at the National Museum of Antiquities at Leiden.](Leiden, The BABESCH Foundation, 2014) 34 S., Abb., (Babesch. Byvanck Lecture, 8)
  168. Stocks, C.: The Roman Hannibal. Remembering the enemy in Silius Italicuss “Punica”. (Liverpool, Liverpool University Press, 2014)
  169. Stroppini de Focara, G.: D’Alexandre à Jésus. De la grandeur profane à la grandeur sacrée. (Paris, Orizons editions, 2013)
  170. Studi Rubastini. I luoghi, la storia, l’arte, l’architettura di Ruvo di Puglia. (Terlizzi, Pegasus, 2014), ed. Bucci, C.
  171. Submerged literature in ancient Greek culture. An introduction. (Berlin, de Gruyter, 2014), ed. Colesanti, G.; Giordano, M.
  172. Symposion 2013. Papers on Greek and hellenistic legal history (Cambridge MA, August 26-29, 2013). Vorträge zur griechischen und hellenistischen Rechtsgeschichte (Cambridge MA, 26.-29. August 2013). (Wien, Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2014), ed. Gagarin, M.; Lanni, A., (Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften. Philosophisch-Historische Klasse. Documenta antiqua. Antike Rechtsgeschichte, 24)
  173. Sythiakake-Kritsimalle, V.: O anágluphos architektonikós diákosmos ste Thessalía kai Phthiótida. Palaiochristianiká kai próima mesaioniká chrónia. (Athéna, Archaiologiká Institoúto Thessalikón Spoudón, 2012)
  174. Ta mnemeía tou Mustrá. To érgo tes Epitropés anaséloses mnemeíon Mustrá. The monuments of Mystras. The work of the Committee for the restoration of the monuments of Mystras. (Athéna, Tameío Archaiologikón Póron kai Apallotrióseon, 2009), ed. Sinos, S.
  175. Talmatchi, G.: Monetariile oraselor vest-pontice Histara, Callatis si în epoca autonoma. Iconografie, legenda, metodologie, cronologie si contramarcare. (Cluj, Mega Verlag, 2011)
  176. Taylor, M.J.: Antiochus the Great. (Barnsley, Pen and Sword military, )
  177. Territoires et dépendances. Approches linguistiques. (Besançon, Presses universitaires de Franche-Comté, 2014), ed. Brunet, C.
  178. Territorio, città e spazi pubblici dal mondo antico all’età contemoranea, 3. Estetica della città. Abbadia di Fiastra (Tolentino), 24-25 Novembre 2012. (Macerata, Centro di studi storici maceratesi, 2014), (Studi maceratesi, 48)
  179. Textile production and consumption in the Ancient Near East. Archaeology, epigraphy, iconography. (Oxford, Oxbow, 2013), ed. Nosch, M.L.; Koefoed, H.; Andersson Strand, E., (Ancient textiles series, 12)
  180. The epigraphy and history of Boeotia. New finds, new prospects. (Leiden, Brill, 2014), ed. Papazarkadas, N., (Brill studies in Greek and Roman epigraphy, 4)
  181. The horologium of Augustus. Debate and context. (Portsmouth, Journal of Roman Archaeology, 2014), ed. Haselberger, L., (Journal of Roman Archaeology. Supplementary series, 99)
  182. The Oxford handbook of the archaeology of the Levant c. 8000 – 332 B.C.E. (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2014), ed. Steiner, M.L.; Killebrew, A.E.
  183. The Punic Mediterranean. Identities and identification from Phoenician settlment to Roman rule. (Cambridge, The British School at Rome, 2014), ed. Quinn, J.C.; Vella, N.C.
  184. Timpe, K.; Boyd, C.A.: Virtues and their vices. (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2014)
  185. Tiverios, M.A.: Plastés archaiótetes kai paracháraxe tes istorías. E períptose enós eikonographeménou molúbdinou elasmatos. (Athéna, Morphotikó Idruma Ethnikés Trapézes, 2014)
  186. Troncarelli, F.: Umanesimo tardoantico. L’ultimo dei Romani e la consolazione della saggezza. (Rome, Vecchiarelli, 2012)
  187. Turner, J.: Philology. The forgotten origins of the modern humanities. (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2014)
  188. Tuscania tra antichità e valorizzazione. Un patrimonio da riscoprire. Atti del IV convegno sulla storia di Tuscania. Tuscania, 2 marzo 2013. (Viterbo, Archeoares, 2014), ed. Ceci, F.
  189. Uluslararasi çaglar boyunca hatay ve çevresi arkeolojisi sempozyumu bildirleri. 21 – 24 mayis 2013 Antakya.The Proceedings of the International Symposium on the archaeology of Hatay and its vicinity through the ages. 21 – 24 May 2013 Antakya. (Antakya, Mustafa Kemal Üniversitesi, 2014), ed. Özfirat, A.; Uygun, Ç., (Mustafa Kemal Universitesi yayinalri, 52)
  190. UNESCO-Welterbe in Deutschland und Mitteleuropa. Bilanz und Perspektiven. Internationale Fachtagung des Deutschen Nationalkomitees von ICOMOS. München, 29. bis 30 November 2012. (Berlin, ICOMOS, Nationalkomitee der Bunderepublik Deutschland, 2013)
  191. Urban dreams and realities in antiquity. Remains and representations of the ancient city. [ ](Leiden, Brill, 2015), ed. Kemezis, A.M., (Mnemosyne. Supplementa, 375)
  192. Varvaro, M.: Le istituzioni di Gaio e il Glückstern di Niebuhr. (Torino, Giappichelli, 2012), (Università di Palermo. Annali del Dipartimento di storia del diritto. Monografie, 11)
  193. Veikko Väänänen, latiniste et romaniste. Un bilan. (Helsinki, University of Helsinki, 2012), ed. Härmä, J., (Publications romanes de l’Université de Helsinki, 5)
  194. Villae rusticae. Family and market-oriented farms in Greece under Roman rule. Proceedings of an international congress held at Patrai, 23-24 April 2010. (Athéna, Boccard, 2013), ed. Rizakis, A.D.; Touratsoglou, I.P., (Meletémata, 68)
  195. Vitruvio e l’archeologia. (Venezia, Marsilio, 2014), ed. Clini, P., (Collana del Centro studi vitruviani, 2)
  196. Volpi, F.: Il santuario etrusco di Pietramarina. (Trento, Edizioni del Faro, 2012)
  197. Wiersma, C.W.: Buidling the bronze age. Architectural and social change on the Greek mainland during Early Helladic III, Middle Helladic and Late Helladic I. (Oxford, Archaeopress, 2014)
  198. Williams, M.H.: Jews in a Graeco-Roman environment. (Tübingen, Mohr Siebeck, 2013), (Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament, 312)
  199. Xenia. Studi in onore di Lia Marino. (Caltanissetta, Sciascia, 2013), ed. Cusumano, N.; Motta, D.
  200. Z’ epistemonike sunantese gia ten ellenistike keramike. Aigio 4-9 apriliou 2005. Praktika. (Athéna, Ekdose tou tameiou archaiologikon poron kai apallotrioseon, 2011) 2 Bde.

New volumes of periodicals:

Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres. Comptes rendus des séances de l’année 19(20)xx  (2013) Nr.2

Accordia Research Papers 13 (2013)[2014]

Acta antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 53 (2013) online edition

Aegaeum 37 (2014)

Altamura 53-54 (2012-13)

American Journal of Archaeology 119 (2015) Nr.1 online edition

Amoenitas 3 (2014)

Annali della Fondazione per il Museo Claudio Faina 21 (2014)

Annali di studi umanistici. Università di Siena 1 (2013)

Annali. Istituto italiano di numismatica 59 (2013)

Antichthon 48 (2014)

Aquitania 30 (2014)

Archaeologia Bulgarica 18 (2014)  Nr.3

Archaeologia Mosellana 9 (2014)

Archaeologiae 10 (2012)

Archaeologiai értesíto 139 (2014) online edition

Archaeological Reports for 19xx (20xx) 60 (2013-14)

Archaeonautica 18 (2015)

Archäologie in Deutschland  (2015)  Nr.1

Archäologische Informationen. Mitteilungen zur Ur- und Frühgeschichte 37 (2014)

Archäologisches Korrespondenzblatt 44 (2014) Nr.3

Archeologia Paris 528 (2015)

Archeologia Paris 529 (2015)

Archéologie médiévale 44 (2014)

Archeologija Kiiv (2014)  Nr.4

Archeomatica. Tecnologie per i Beni culturali 5 (2014)  Nr.3,

Archív orientální 82 (2014)

Archivio storico lombardo 19 (2014)

Arheologia Moldovei 36 (2013)

Arkeoloji ve sanat dergisi 146 (2014)

Arkeoloji ve sanat dergisi 147 (2014)

Baetica 35 (2013)

Bayerische Vorgeschichtsblätter 79 (2014)

Bericht der Bayerischen Bodendenkmalpflege 55 (2014)

Bibliographie analytique de l’Afrique antique 41 (2007)[2013]

Bizantinistica 15 (2013)

Boletín de la Asociación española de amigos de la arqueología 47 (2012-13)

Boletín del Seminario de estudios de arte y arqueología, Universidad de Valladolid 79 (2013)

Bollettino di studi latini 44 (2014) Nr.2

Bryn Mawr Classical Review (2015)  Nr.2  online resource

Bulletin de la Société française de numismatique 69 (2014)

Bulletin des Musées royaux d’art et d’histoireBruxelles 83 (2012)

Bulletin du Cercle d’études numismatiques 51 (2014) Nr.3

Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 372 (2014) online edition

Bulletin of the Council for British Research in the Levant 9 (2014)

Byzantinische Zeitschrift 107 (2014) Nr.2 online edition

Cahiers archéologiques 55 (2013-14)

Chronique d’Egypte 89 (2014) Nr.178

Classical Philology 110 (2015) Nr.1

Classical World 108 (2014)

Conimbriga 51 (2012)

Deltion tes christianikes archailogikes etraireias 35 (2014)

Dialogues d’histoire ancienne 40 (2014)  Nr.2

Egyptian Archaeology 45 (2014)

Elenchos 35 (2014) Nr.1

Eos 100 (2013) Nr.2

Folia Orientalia 49 (2012)

Folia Orientalia 50 (2013)

Forma Urbis 20 (2015)  Nr.1

Germania 90 (2012)

Gnomon 87 (2015) Nr.1

Göttingische gelehrte Anzeigen 266 (2014) Nr.3-4

Gymnasium 121 (2014) Nr.6

Harvard Theological Review 107 (2014) Nr.4

Histara (2015) online resource

Historische Zeitschrift 299 (2014) Nr.3

Iran 52 (2014)

Israel Exploration Journal 64 (2014) Nr.2

Journal des savants  (2014) Nr.2

Journal für Kunstgeschichte 18 (2014) Nr.4

Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 77 (2014)

Kalakorikos 19 (2014)

Kernos 27 (2014)

La parola del passato 67 (2012)

Lares 78 (2012)

Levant 46 (2014)

Mediterranean Historical Review 29 (2014) Nr.2

Mélanges de l’Ecole française de Rome. Antiquité 125 (2013) Nr.1

Mnemosyne 68 (2015) Nr.1

Münchner Jahrbuch der bildenden Kunst 64 (2013)

Near Eastern Archaeology 77 (2014)  Nr.4

Orientalia christiana periodica 80 (2014) Nr.1

Padusa 49 (2013)

Palaeohistoria 55-56 (2013-14)

Palestine Exploration Quarterly 146 (2014) Nr.4

Peuce 12 (2014)

Philologus 158 (2014) Nr.2

Potestas 7 (2014)

Praktion tes  athenais archailogikes etraireias 166 (2011)[2014]

Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 80 (2014)

Pyrenae 45 (2014)  Nr.1

Pyrenae 45 (2014)  Nr.2

Quaderni di archeologia d’Abruzzo 3 (2011)[2014]

Quaderni giuliani di storia 35 (2014)

Rassegna storica salernitana 27 (2010)  Nr.1

Rassegna storica salernitana 27 (2010)  Nr.2

Rassegna storica salernitana 29 (2012)  Nr.1

Rassegna volterrana 90 (2013)

Revue archéologique de Picardie (2014)  Nr.3-4,

Revue biblique 122 (2015) Nr.1

Revue de l’histoire des religions 231 (2014)

Revue des études latines 91 (2013)

Revue du Nord. Archéologie de la Picardie et du Nord de la France 94 (2012)  Nr.2,

Revue du Nord. Archéologie de la Picardie et du Nord de la France 95 (2013)

Rivista degli studi orientali 87 (2014)

Rivista italiana di numismatica e scienze affini 134 (2013)

RStorIt 126 (2014)

Schweizer Münzblätter 64 (2014) Nr.256

Scienze dell’antichità 20 (2014)

Semitica et classica. Revue internationale d’études orientales et méditerranéennes. International Journal of Oriental and Mediterranean Studies 7 (2014)

Sibrium 28 (2014)

Skyllis 13 (2013) Nr.2

Studi bitontini 95-98 (2013-14)

Studi cassinati [ ] 14 (2014)

Studia Hercynia 17 (2013)  Nr.2

The Ancient World 45 (2014) Nr.2

The Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 51 (2014)

The Journal of Hellenic Studies 134 (2014)

The Journal of Roman Studies 104 (2014)

The Mariner’s Mirror. The International Journal of the Society for Nautical Research 100 (2014)

Vestnik drevnej istorii (2014)  Nr.1

Vestnik drevnej istorii (2014)  Nr.2

Vigiliae Christianae 69 (2015) Nr.1

World Archaeology 46 (2014) Nr.5

Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 164 (2014)

Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der älteren Kirche 106 (2015)

Zeitschrift für Orient-Archäologie 7 (2014)


Filed under: Archäologische Bibliographie, Projekt Dyabola, Update Announcements Tagged: Archäologische Bibliographie, doi, dyabola, online publications, Realkatalog, Subject catalogue

Mary Beard (A Don's Life)

The culture of entrapment


I am rather late to the party on this one, but I have been thinking about the "Malcolm Rifkind and Jack Straw scandal" quite a lot since I watched the Channel 4 Dispatches programme last week, and there was a good article on it by John Naughton in the Observer this week.

I guess I should confess that I was pretty gripped by the programme, and no doubt like most of the watchers took a terrible (and not wholly worthy) pleasure in seeing the fat cats caught out. It was gripping viewing, watching how these guys were going to step in the shit next.

But there was also something a bit dirty and polluting about it.

I know that you might say that this was a great example of the third estate holding those in power to account. If these guys can't behave properly or be policed by Westminster itself, then may be we should let some clever investigative journalists do the job instead.

But I still can't help feeling that I want the electorate to oust elected politicians not a joint sting operation by a tv company and a newspaper.

And then there is the nature of the sting operation itself.

The point surely is that this was not an operation to hire an MP or ex-MP to be a consultant for a Chinese company. It was presumably an exercise in entrapment with the aim of getting these guys to say roughly what they did. It was a bit like a phone call scam -- when their aim in NOT to mend your computer which has a puzzling but as yet undiagnosed fault, but to get you to part with your bank card details.

So the point is for me, what happened in the bits of the encounters that we did not see? I haven't been able to find any information on that. For example, both guys seemed very anxious to boast about the influence they had (whether in the EU or among ambassadors or whatever). Maybe they are just natural braggers. But I couldn't help wondering if they had been set up for that in the sections of the encounter not broadcast. Were they, for example, set up to be competitive? Was the influence of other people, who had supposedly already been talked to, trailed for them to outbid ("we have spoken to someone who could help us with the heads of all the trade missions..".."oh well I could get you in with every ambassador.."). It doesn't excuse it, far from it, but it does rather differently contextualise it.

I guess that I have always taught students that fragmentary sources and excerptions make dangerously difficult evidence. It would be nice to see the out-takes.

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Biblical Studies Carnival February 2015

Jennifer Guo has posted the latest round-up of highlights from the past month of Biblical studies blogging. Click through and take a look!


ArcheoNet BE

M&L wijdt themanummer aan Wase polders

Het recentste nummer van het tijdschrift ‘M&L – Monumenten, Landschappen & Archeologie’ (jaargang 34, nr. 1) is volledig gewijd aan het erfgoed in de Wase polders.

Dat het historisch polderlandschap rond Doel bedreigd is door de voortschrijdende havenuitbreiding, werd jaren geleden al door Wannes van de Velde bezongen. De schier surrealistische leefomstandigheden in de half verlaten dorpen zijn bekend. Vanuit de eeuwenlange geschiedenis van de polderlandbouw en de typische erfgoedlandschappen die hieruit ontstonden, houden Tim Soens en Iason Jongepier een vurig maar stevig onderbouwd pleidooi voor het inpassen van de erfgoedwaarden in de toekomstige ontwikkeling van het gebied.

Dezelfde auteurs schreven een tweede bijdrage over de ‘Doelse Dijksequentie’. De ovale ringdijk met de poëtische naam Zoeten Berm uit de 17de eeuw, de Nieuw-Arenbergpolder uit de 18de, de Prosperpolder uit de 19de en de Hedwigepolder uit de 20ste eeuw: een vrij intact bewaarde sequentie van wat in al deze periodes als een ‘moderne’ zeedijk werd beschouwd. Soens en Jongepier breken een lans voor de bredere integratie van de Doelse dijksequentie in de nieuwe plannen en pleiten voor een herwaardering van historische dijken in het Vlaamse kust- en rivierengebied.

Een derde artikel is gewijd aan de historische hoeves in de Wase polders. De hoog oprijzende schuren met hun indrukwekkende houten gebinten beheersen het silhouet van het polderlandschap. Uit toenmalige aktes leren we dat ze gebouwd werden volgens het sleutel-op-de-deur principe, met andere woorden ze werden volledig gebouwd door de eigenaar. De pachter daarentegen stond in voor zijn eigen meer bescheiden woonhuis. Ewald Wauters onderzocht de evolutie van deze polderhoeves, een eertijds indrukwekkend patrimonium dat stilaan verdwijnt. Deze monumentale hoevegebouwen vertellen nochtans elk hun eigen verhaal, dat zou kunnen verder gezet worden binnen de nieuwe natuurbestemming van het gebied.

Zoals steeds bevat het tijdschrift ook een interessante ‘Binnenkrant’, met besprekingen van nieuwe publicaties, tentoonstellingen en studiedagen.

Praktisch: het tweemaandelijkse tijdschrift ‘M&L – Monumenten, Landschappen & Archeologie’ is een uitgave van het agentschap Onroerend Erfgoed. Een los nummer is verkrijgbaar aan 7 euro. Een jaarabonnement (6 nummers) kost 40 euro. Meer info op of bij Nancy Van Den Bossche.

Ancient Art

A Mixtec greenstone monkey head. Late Postclassic, from...

A Mixtec greenstone monkey head. Late Postclassic, from the Oaxaca City area of Mexico.

Courtesy of & can be viewed at the Dallas Museum of Art, Texas. Photo taken by Mary Harrsch.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Newly Open Access Journal: Ephemeris: The Classical Journal of Denison University

Have you taken the AWOL User Survey?

Ephemeris: The Classical Journal of Denison University
Ephemeris, the Classical Journal of Denison University, is published once a year and seeks to offer an opportunity for those interested in classical studies to publish their work in an undergraduate forum. It promotes the coming together of history, literature, philosophy, religion, art, architecture and creative works inspired by the classics.

Ephemeris was originally published between 2002-2004 and has now been revived in a fully on-line format. We accept submission from any undergraduate institution and look forward to a future of engaging with both traditional scholarly submissions and those made using the increasingly creative technologies provided by the on-line environment.

Current Issue

Table of Contents
Oath Making and Breaking in Euripides’ Medea
Karyn Greene, Denison University
Shakespeare and Ovid
Paul Filippelli, Ohio State University
Channeling Tradition and Self: An Examination of theAllusivity and Originality of Theognidean Verse
Paul Bisagni, Kenyon College
Rachel Mazzara, University of North Carolina
Dalton Tracey, Muskingum University
 Back Issues

Open Access Journal: Prosopon: The journal of Prosopography

 Have you taken the AWOL User Survey?

Prosopon: The journal of Prosopography

Prosopon has been published in newsletter format by the Unit of ProsopographicalResearch since 1994. With the foundation of the Prosopography Centre at the Modern History Research Unit Prosopon has transformed into bi-annual scholarly Journal.

The purpose of Prosopon is to disseminate information about current research into subjects relevant to mediaeval prosopography. As such its contents include: descriptions of major ongoing research projects concerned with any aspect of prosopography; short notices of forthcoming publications (editions of primary sources as well as secondary works) of a prosopographical interest; a forum for contact between scholars whose research has a prosopographicalelement. Contributions with prosopographicalimplications concerned with the auxiliary disciplines such as onomastics, genealogy, biography, and computing are also welcome.

ArcheoNet BE

Nieuwe erfgoedvacatures

Deze week belandden verschillende interessante erfgoedvacatures in onze mailbox. Zo is de Erfgoedcel Waasland momenteel op zoek naar een nieuwe erfgoedconsulent. De provincie Vlaams-Brabant zoekt dan weer een voltijdse bestuurssecretaris erfgoed via een vervangingsovereenkomst (solliciteren tot 6 maart!).

Future for Religious Heritage (FRH), de Europese netwerkorganisatie voor religieus erfgoed, die gevestigd is in Brussel, zoekt een Communications and Office Assistant (deeltijds) en een Executive Officer (voltijds). Deze vacatures vind je op

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: Metropolitan Museum Journal

Have you taken the AWOL User Survey?

Metropolitan Museum Journal
P-ISSN: 0077-8958
E-ISSN: 2169-3072
The Metropolitan Museum Journal is an annual publication that serves as a forum for the latest scholarly findings about works of art, chiefly in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum, and topics related to them.
 Recent Content Includes:

"Redeeming Pieter Coecke van Aelst’s Gluttony Tapestry: Learning from Scientific Analysis": Metropolitan Museum Journal, v. 49 (2014) Carò, Federico, Giulia Chiostrini , Elizabeth Cleland, and Nobuko Shibayama (2014)

"Another Brother for Goya’s “Red Boy”: Agustín Esteve’s Portrait of Francisco Xavier Osorio, Conde de Trastámara": Metropolitan Museum Journal, v. 49 (2014) Salomon, Xavier (2014)

"A New Analysis of Major Greek Sculptures in the Metropolitan Museum: Petrological and Stylistic": Metropolitan Museum Journal, v. 49 (2014) Lazzarini, Lorenzo and Clemente Marconi (2014)

"Nature as Ideal: Drawings by Joseph Anton Koch and Johann Christian Reinhart": Metropolitan Museum Journal, v. 49 (2014) Reiter, Cornelia (2014)

"Trade Stories: Chinese Export Embroideries in the Metropolitan Museum": Metropolitan Museum Journal, v. 49 (2014) Yoshida, Masako (2014)

"Honoré de Balzac and Natoire’s The Expulsion from Paradise": Metropolitan Museum Journal, v. 49 (2014) Santoleri, Carol (2014)

"Hellenistic Etruscan Cremation Urns from Chiusi": Metropolitan Museum Journal, v. 49 (2014) Huntsman, Theresa (2014)

"A Buddhist Source for a Stoneware “Basket” Designed by Georges Hoentschel": Metropolitan Museum Journal, v. 49 (2014) Leidy, Denise Patry (2014)

"The Treatment of Tullio Lombardo’s Adam: A New Approach to the Conservation of Monumental Marble Sculpture": Metropolitan Museum Journal, v. 49 (2014) Riccardelli, Carolyn, Jack Soultanian, Michael Morris, Lawrence Becker, George Wheeler, and Ronald Street (2014)

"Adam by Tullio Lombardo": Metropolitan Museum Journal, v. 49 (2014) Syson, Luke and Valeria Cafá (2014)

"Ancient Sources for Tullio Lombardo’s Adam": Metropolitan Museum Journal, v. 49 (2014) Cafá, Valeria (2014)

"A Greek Inscription in a Portrait by Salvator Rosa": Metropolitan Museum Journal, v. 49 (2014)
Zellmann-Rohrer, Michael

And See

Ancient Peoples

Stela described in Sanskrit, detailing a donation to Vishnu,...

Stela described in Sanskrit, detailing a donation to Vishnu, made by Kaundinya prince Gunavarman.

Funan Kingdom, 5th century A.D. Đồng Tháp province, Vietnam.

Currently on display in the Museum of History in Ho Chi Minh City.

Hello! Since penis sheath was an option on that last artifact, was that practice common in Vietnamese culture at the time period listed? Could you also please explain why?

Hi there!

There is, unfortunately, only very limited information about the subject, so we aren’t at all sure whether the practice was common in the Viet-Han period. We can make an educated guess that it might have been at least somewhat common enough if the experts at the MET considered it a valid option, however. In general, penis holders were used to protect that particular male member, so we think you can go ahead and assume that’s what the Viet-Han used them for! That, or the Vietnamese were more kinky than we have heretofore known…

Shawn Graham (Electric Archaeology)

‘Teaching 1613, An Algorithmic Incoherence’, or, the results of an experiment in automatic transcription

I loaded the audio of the opening remarks I made at last year’s Champlain Colloquium at Carleton into Youtube, to see what Google’s automatic transcription would make of it.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you,

‘Teaching 1613, An Algorithmic Incoherence’

0:00 maize from these critical encounters I’m yours and
0:04 think back to my high school history class and mutual security
0:08 more I don’t be overly much space in homers
0:12 we brigham
0:15 hey don’t think I actually for him as a good
0:19 historical persons old I’m
0:23 my position we’re in the artist’s
0:26 those addresses her donor speaking truth to power
0:30 to whom do we use in humans
0:34 the how to change such as homeless
0:38 Jaume here in this place
0:41 this time intern so 201 church introducing my
0:48 rules is batting practice teaching in volunteering
0:51 wrestle with this question these questions it is a
0:56 various university classroom secondary schools
0:59 the water column jam we are the people who was in
1:04 people that are you know that ass time hurdles and they’re going to
1:09 problem I I’m it she does so we ask that his own loss
1:15 you know I designs
1:18 that mean for us on this issue
1:22 use minutes or so that’s just wrong
1:26 I’m Evans and you know
1:30 also moms no said also I am so there’s no
1:35 lines or yes yes it does
1:38 don’t know those did final sorry I’m gone
1:42 my saddam
1:45 we have john wong you I
1:48 comedian is historic Department is here you go
1:51 University where he teaches courses in so long as you know the issue
1:55 one so this is going to her place memory and remember
1:59 placing yeah although it has a very strong residents
2:03 and numerics today a
2:06 know I was engage I’m program so it was also observed
2:11 also sewing machine i mean for his own use or lose you
2:15 him to keep his arm because it’s government
2:19 Karen the Russian a
2:22 yeah YES on the measure them all
2:26 lost museum chaos gym class heroes:
2:30 no year also a pedagogy
2:33 anything
2:34 yeah yeah he’s OK
2:37 you people in the US you all moved into a home
2:411 0 June 1810
2:44 yeah yeah and you just who is the director of any
2:49 education for the can see you vision
2:52 luminous Jim so I was I wish to change
2:57 share those experiences and observations
3:01 I and we should use those observations for a jumping off point
3:05 for our discussion that only are you know
3:08 billion GG 6 p.m.

…I wonder though, if I went through the transcription and corrected it – since Google now knows what I sound like, and what I’m saying at each of these timestamps: would the next bit I upload be better transcribed? Am I teaching the machine? Are we all?

Dienekes' Anthropology Blog

8,000 year old wheat in Britain

Britain received farming later than most of Europe, but perhaps it received one of the products of farming well before any farmers set foot on the island. I've always wondered if news (and at least some products) of the agricultural revolution spread far and wide before the revolution itself did. Did foragers at the northwestern end of Europe hear stories of the strange new people that had already appeared 8,000 years ago on the opposite end of the continent?

Was this an isolated incident or will we be finding wheat elsewhere in pre-farming Europe? 

Science 27 February 2015: Vol. 347 no. 6225 pp. 998-1001

Sedimentary DNA from a submerged site reveals wheat in the British Isles 8000 years ago 

Oliver Smith et al.

The Mesolithic-to-Neolithic transition marked the time when a hunter-gatherer economy gave way to agriculture, coinciding with rising sea levels. Bouldnor Cliff, is a submarine archaeological site off the Isle of Wight in the United Kingdom that has a well-preserved Mesolithic paleosol dated to 8000 years before the present. We analyzed a core obtained from sealed sediments, combining evidence from microgeomorphology and microfossils with sedimentary ancient DNA (sedaDNA) analyses to reconstruct floral and faunal changes during the occupation of this site, before it was submerged. In agreement with palynological analyses, the sedaDNA sequences suggest a mixed habitat of oak forest and herbaceous plants. However, they also provide evidence of wheat 2000 years earlier than mainland Britain and 400 years earlier than proximate European sites. These results suggest that sophisticated social networks linked the Neolithic front in southern Europe to the Mesolithic peoples of northern Europe.


Archaeological News on Tumblr

Amphipolis Tomb Archaeologist ‘Doesn't Care About the Skeletons’

The head archaeologists in Amphipolis, Katerina Peristeri has finally spoken after months of...

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Saxon Gold Find by Student

A first year student Tom Lucking, 23, who has been an artefact hunter since he was 11 has found  seventh century coins and jewellery next to a female skeleton in a field near Diss, Norfolk . He is referred to in the media coverage as an "archaeology student' (Kate Pickles, 'Archaeology student discovers 'outstanding' Anglo-Saxon pendant worth £50,000 in first-year dig - and he gets to keep the profits'' Daily Mail, 28 February 2015), which might raise some eyebrows and has got metal detectorists chattering and spluttering away. This seems to be based on the fact that "he enrolled on a landscape history course at the University of East Anglia in September, making the incredible discovery just months later". This seems to be the course concerned(the outline does not appear to be very 'archaeological' at all, indeed the UEA does not have an archaeology department). By what means was this site chosen? This makes it sound like another case of a metal detectorist targeting a known site:
'We knew there was something in that area of the grave, but no-one was expecting anything so significant,' said Tom, from Felixstowe, Suffolk. 
The grave is below plough level. According to the Mail's journalist (PAS have a lot to answer for), apparently now in Great Britain, archaeologists are called "Treasure experts" ("The three-inch jewel encrusted pendant is thought to be the most valuable of the lot with treasure experts describing it as an 'outstanding' piece") and an excavation of an Anglo-Saxon grave is now called "Treasure hunting". Anyway, Mr Lucking will be sharing any Treasure reward for the grave goods "the pendant will be subject to a treasure inquest before proceeds of any sale can be split between Tom, the landowner and others on the above dig". Then, perhaps they will use that to finance the analysis of the field documentation and recovered artefacts, placing the grave in context and then publication of their report.

UPDATE 1st March 2015
Within a few hours, Mr Lucking contacted me to explain that the journalist was mistaken in portraying him as an archaeology student - see the comments down below this post for the full text. Note the role of close recording in defining the site.

Ancient Peoples

Nephrite mask ornament.Liangzhu Culture (Neolithic period),...

Nephrite mask ornament.

Liangzhu Culture (Neolithic period), China. Mid-3rd millennium B.C.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Male sexual quirks among the Ottomans

“Your airs have turned my head! Say, who has brought you up so impudent?That stature by no cypress...

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

DNA evidence shows surprise cultural connections between Britain and Europe 8,000 years ago

The ancient British were not cut off from Europeans on an isolated island 8,000 years ago as previously thought, new research suggests. Researchers found evidence for a variety of wheat at a submerged archaeological site off the south coast of England, 2,000 years before the introduction of farming in the UK.

The team argue that the introduction of farming is usually regarded as a defining historic moment for almost all human communities leading to the development of societies that underpin the modern world.

Published in the journal Science, the researchers suggest that the most plausible explanation for the wheat reaching the site is that Mesolithic Britons maintained social and trade networks spreading across Europe. These networks might have been assisted by land bridges that connected the south east coast of Britain to the European mainland, facilitating exchanges between hunters in Britain and farmers in southern Europe.

Called Einkorn, the wheat was common in Southern Europe at the time it was present at the site in Southern England – located at Bouldnor Cliff. The einkorn DNA was collected from sediment that had previously formed the land surface, which was later submerged due to melting glaciers.

The work was led by Dr Robin Allaby of the University of Warwick, in collaboration with co-leads Professor Vincent Gaffney of the University of Bradford and Professor Mark Pallen of Warwick Medical School, the Maritime Archaeology Trust, the University of Birmingham and the University of St. Andrews.

Dr Allaby, Associate Professor at the University of Warwick’s School of Life Sciences, argues that the einkorn discovery indicates that Mesolithic Britain was less insular than previously understood and that inhabitants were interacting with Neolithic southern Europeans: “8,000 years ago the people of mainland Britain were leading a hunter-gatherer existence, whilst at the same time in southern Europeans farming was gradually spreading across Europe. Common throughout Neolithic Southern Europe, einkorn is not found elsewhere in Britain until 2,000 years after the samples found at Bouldnor Cliff.  For the einkorn to have reached this site there needs to have been contact between Mesolithic Britons and Neolithic farmers far across Europe.

“The land bridges provide a plausible facilitation of this contact. As such, far from being insular Mesolithic Britain was culturally and possibly physically connected to Europe. The role of these simple British hunting societies, in many senses, puts them at the beginning of the introduction of farming and, ultimately, the changes in the economy that lead to the modern world. The novel ancient DNA approach we used gave us a jump in sensitivity allowing us to find many of the components of this ancient landscape”

Commenting on the research’s findings Professor Vincent Gaffney, research co-lead and Chair in Landscape Archaeology at the University of Bradford, added,  “This find is the start of a new chapter in British and European history.  Not only do we now realise that the introduction of farming was far more complex than previously imagined.  It now seems likely that the hunter-gather societies of Britain, far from being isolated were part of extensive social networks that traded or exchanged exotic foodstuffs across much of Europe.

“The research also demonstrates that scientists and archaeologists can now analyse genetic material preserved deep within the sediments of the lost prehistoric landscapes stretching between Britain and Europe. This not only tells us more about the introduction of farming into Britain, but also about the societies that lived on the lost coastal plains for hundreds of thousands of years. The use of ancient DNA from sediments also opens the door to new research on the older landscapes off the British Isles and coastal shelves across the world.”

Co-lead Professor Mark Pallen, leader of the Pallen Group at the University of Warwick’s Medical School, explains how the researchers employed a metagenomic approach to study the einkorn DNA: “We chose to use a metagenomics approach in this research even though this has not commonly been used for environmental and ancient DNA research. This means we extracted and sequenced the entire DNA in the sample, rather than targeted organism-specific barcode sequences. From this we then homed in on the organisms of interest only when analysing DNA sequences”.


The research builds on the work of the Maritime Archaeology Trust, who also collected the sediment samples from the site.  The Trust’s Director, Garry Momber, commented: “Of all the projects I have worked on, Bouldnor Cliff has been the most significant. Work in the murky waters of the Solent has opened up an understanding of the UK’s formative years in a way that we never dreamed possible. The material remains left behind by the people that occupied Britain as it was finally becoming an island 8,000 years ago, show that these were sophisticated people with technologies thousands of years more advanced than previously recognised. The DNA evidence corroborates the archaeological evidence and demonstrates a tangible link with the continent that appears to have become severed when Britain became an island”.

The research is published in a Science paper entitled: ‘Sedimentary DNA from a submerged site reveals wheat in the British Isles 8,000 years ago’Click here to access the article from Science.

The post DNA evidence shows surprise cultural connections between Britain and Europe 8,000 years ago appeared first on History of the Ancient World.

Antiquitas (Sciences de l'Antiquité à l'Université de Lorraine)

Martin Steskal : « Vivre et mourir à Éphèse »

Le Séminaire d’Histoire Ancienne a la joie d’accueillir Martin Steskal, privat-dozent à l’Institut Archéologique Autrichien, pour une conférence intitulée : « Vivre et mourir à Éphèse : archéologie de la mort dans une métropole romaine » (Leben und Sterben in Ephesos. Archäologie des Todes in einer römischen Metropole). La conférence se déroulera le jeudi 5 mars 2015 à 18h. en salle A329b (CLSH, place Godefroy de Bouillon).

Après que des fouilles illicites aient eu lieu dans la nécropole d’Éphèse, L’Institut Archéologique Autrichien a décidé, au milieu des années 2 000, d’entreprendre des fouilles systématiques dans les zones d’inhumations se trouvant souvent loin des flux touristiques. Ces travaux se poursuivent aujourd’hui et constituent le centre de gravité des recherches autrichiennes à Éphèse. L’objectif consiste à recenser toutes les nécropoles du début de l’établissement des Grecs vers 1 000 avant J.-C. jusqu’à la fin de l’époque byzantine au XVe siècle et à en comprendre la structure.

À côté de leur plan architectonique et de l’organisation des nécropoles, l’homme et ses pratiques dans le domaine de la mort sont au cœur de notre intérêt. À quelles conclusions conduisent les découvertes archéologiques ? Peut-on reconstituer la biographie des morts ? Quelle mémoire reste-t-il des morts et comment ceux qui leur ont survécu ont-ils souhaité la montrer ?

Nachdem es in den Nekropolen um Ephesos zu erheblichen Raubgrabungen gekommen war, entschloss sich das Österreichische Archäologische Institut, Mitte der 2 000er Jahre systematische Forschungen in den oft weit von den Touristenströmen liegenden Bestattungsarealen zu beginnen. Diese Arbeiten halten bis heute an und bilden einen der Schwerpunkte österreichischer Forschungen in Ephesos. Ziel ist es, alle Nekropolen vom Beginn der griechischen Besiedlung um 1 000 v. Chr. bis zum Ende der byzantinischen Zeit im 15. Jahrhundert n. Chr. zu erfassen und in ihrer Struktur zu verstehen.

Neben dem architektonischen Aufbau und der Organisation der Nekropolen steht aber der Mensch und sein Handeln im Umfeld des Todes im Zentrum unseres Interesses. Welche Rückschlüsse erlaubt der archäologische Befund? Lassen sich die Biographien der Verstorbenen rekonstruieren? Wie will der Verstorbene in Erinnerung bleiben und wie wollen die Hinterbliebenen, dass er gesehen wird?

Télécharger l’affiche.


Archaeological News on Tumblr

Dozens of scientists conserve Britain's oldest brain

The preservation of Britain’s oldest brain, found when archaeologists saw its spongy shape in a...

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

From “Thou Shalt Not Kill” through “God Wills It!” and Beyond: The Inevitable Arc of Changing Christian Attitudes Towards War

 From “Thou Shalt Not Kill” through “God Wills It!” and Beyond: The Inevitable Arc of Changing Christian Attitudes Towards War

By Del Stewart

Master’s Thesis, American Public University System, 2014

Biblical battle scene from the Morgan Bible

Abstract: The following is a unique interpretation of the development of Christian Just War theory, and other Christian attitudes towards war and killing, which holds the following points:

• Christian attitudes towards war and the State-sanctioned taking of human life are both linked to the State position regarding capital punishment;
• Christian attitudes towards war largely developed from Jewish thought, but did so in an almost mirror image over time, ending with the Holy War (and arguably its apex of the Crusade).
• Christianity as a religion essentially changed from a religion of individual Salvation, to include group conversion, to a religion which served the State as both Church and State became more intertwined.

Note that the Holy War terminology, which was the original position taken by the peoples and religions of Mesopotamia and Egypt, preceded yet overlapped for a time with Judaism. However, Judaism used different principles, thoughts, and terminology to describe its wars. This terminology included the concepts of commanded wars, discretionary (permitted) wars, and obligatory wars.

Introduction: This treatise covers from the surviving fragments of written culture in the Mesopotamian region, circa 3500 BCE, to approximately CE 1500. The wording of the title seeds the idea of an evolving theology, and offers the anchor that this arc, passing as it did (and does) through many different interpretations and doctrines, was grounded in something – and as will be shown, that model was Jewish thought. Ironically, as Judaism evolved from a doctrine where God commanded their wars to a view that life was sacred, Christianity started with the view that life was sacred, and then evolved towards the direction of holy war and crusade. The weight of more than 3,350 years of pre-Christian historical focus upon the holy war, by whatever name or terminology, exerted an inexorable influence, and eventually brought Christianity to the position of reinforcing the objectives of the state(s) for which it served as the official religion.

The focus of this inquiry is primarily upon Europe and the Middle East in terms of geography, and indirectly Africa, insofar as various lands were under Roman rule and Christianity dispersed throughout the empire. Discussions of Judaism are only for the sake of illumination vis-à-vis Christianity, and not exhaustive, while any consideration of Islam is even more truncated. Protestantism emerged much later than Catholicism and Greek Orthodox teachings, thus covered the same ground in terms of theory, offering only one compromise position: non-violent participation, explained below.

Click here to read this thesis from

The post From “Thou Shalt Not Kill” through “God Wills It!” and Beyond: The Inevitable Arc of Changing Christian Attitudes Towards War appeared first on History of the Ancient World.

Samuel Fee (Arranged Delerium)

Loving Negative Space

Chris Griffith (a former student) is living the dream as a web designer in CA. He shares here a story prompted from experiences with a recent client: KEEPING IT SIMPLE So here he relates a little bit of the friction between designer/client, but also addresses… Continue reading

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)



Saturday’s Non Sequitur connected Noah and Twitter. It isn’t the first time such a connection has been made:

Noah World's First Tweet

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Extensive tomb complex unearthed in suburban Beijing

A massive tomb complex has been found in a southwest suburb in Beijing, the Beijing institute of...

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Call for Papers 2015

Archeomatica, Cultural Heritage Technologies

Issues1-2-3-4 / 2015




Archeomatica is a multidisciplinary journal, printed in Italy, devoted to the presentation and the dissemination of advanced methodologies, emerging technologies and techniques for the knowledge, documentation, safeguard, conservation and exploitation of cultural heritage.

The journal aims to publish papers of significant and lasting value written by scientists, conservators and archaeologists involved on this field with the diffusion of specific new methodologies and experimental results. Archeomatica will also emphasize fruitful discussion on the best up-to-date scientific applications and exchanging ideas and findings related to any aspect of the cultural heritage sector.

Archeomatica is intended also to be a primary source of multidisciplinary and divulgatia information for the sector of cultural heritage.

The journal is divided in three sections Documentazione (Survey and documentation), Rivelazioni (Analysis, diagnostics and monitoring), Restauro (Materials and intervention techniques).

The issues are also published on line at the website


Archeomatica invites submissions of high-quality papers and interdisciplinary works for the next issues in all areas related to science and technology in cultural heritage, particularly on recent developments.


If you are interested please submit an original paper to

The papers will be subject to review by the scientific board after which they are accepted or rejected in order to maintain quality.

Applicants will be notified by email as to their acceptance.

Topics and trends relevant to the Archeomatica Issues include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Methodologies and analytical techniques for the characterization and for the evaluation of the preservation state of historical masterpieces
  • On-site and remotely sensed data collection
  • Digital artefact capture, representation and manipulation
  • Experiences in cultural heritage conservation
  • Methods for data elaboration and cataloguing
  • Intelligent tools for digital reconstruction
  • Augmentation of physical collections with digital presentations
  • Applications in Education and Tourism
  • Archaeological reconstruction
  • XML and databases and computational interpretation
  • Three-dimensional computer modeling and virtual worlds
  • Image capture, processing, and interpretation
  • 3-D laser scanning or X-ray imaging and analysis
  • Metadata of material culture
  • Optical 3D measurement
  • Cultural heritage recording
  • Laser scanning
  • Virtual reality data acquisition
  • Photogrammetric processing
  • Remote sensing
  • Culture portals
  • Advanced systems for digital culture in museums, archives and art institutions
  • Web 2.0 and development of social networks on the top of cultural heritage portals
  • Applications of mobile technologies for digital culture and cultural heritage
  • Methodologies and approaches to digitization
  • Augmented reality
  • Access to archives in Europe and in the World
  • 2/3/4D Data Capture and Processing in Cultural Heritage
  • Web-based museum guides
  • Applications of Semantic Web technologies in Cultural Heritage
  • Non-Destructive analytical techniques for the study of the composition and decay of cultural heritage components
  • Management of heritage knowledge and data
  • Visualization for cultural heritage


Publication Frequency
The journal is published quarterly a year

Submission Preparation Checklist
As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission's compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.

The journal is published in Italian but guest Papers in English, French and Spanish are accepted and welcomed.

Copyright Notice
Copyright for articles published in this journal is transferred by the authors to the journal.

By virtue of their appearance in this journal, articles can be reproduced or copied in whole or in part, with proper attribution, in educational and other non-commercial settings.

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Renzo Carlucci

Editor in Chief





Archaeological News on Tumblr

Archaeologists unearth lost fortress of Genghis Khan in western Mongolia

Japanese and Mongolian archaeologists said Feb. 26 that they have discovered the remains of a...

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

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Dorothy King (PhDiva)

PSA Cult Beauty GWP

I tend to love a much higher percentage of the items I buy from Cult Beauty than other companies, but I'm feeling too easy like Sunday morning ... and can't be bothered to affiliate link etc. So: the current offer is a goody bag with a spend of £90, which can be combined with offers on some of the brands; if you want to know which products I like click through on the "Cult Beauty" tag. Yes it is a large minimum spend, and I tend to add items to my "wish list" and wait for one of these regular offers to stock up on old favourites and try new products (ie the rest of the Kai range).

Photo of what's included below, or just go straight to ...

I want to know more ... -»

Archaeological News on Tumblr

200 bodies found in mass grave beneath Paris supermarket

Archaeologists discover the remains of more than 200 people believed to have died from the plague...

Dorothy King (PhDiva)

Today In 317: Constantine II Became Caesar

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

The Blissful Joy of Bathing

Bathing. Aphrodite appreciated it as did Artemis. The Romans built public buildings to celebrate its pursuit and pleasure - and the countless laws and edicts regarding bathing show how seriously they took it (particularly the segregation of men and women!).

The Roman Bathhouse developed through the Byzantines into the Muslim Hammam ... something every Classicist should experience (although I recommend skipping the African Mikvah experience).

In Marrakech I highly recommend Les Bains de Marrakech who do a slightly adapted version visitors prefer - and ask for the Shiatsu Master who is not listed, but does a massage unlike any shiatsu I've ever had and is simply amazing. (I have not tried their new French outpost but their standards are high, and I stayed there when they were first experimenting with a riad).

Bathing does not have to be simply hygiene - do like the Romans did and make it a cultural experience with a good book or music ... even a movie playing on a laptop.  

 Hygieia was a goddess for good reasons!

I want to know more ... -»

Végh Zsuzsanna and Simon Zsolt (Agyagtábla, papirusz)

Új székhelyről jelentkezünk

A mai naptól, sok-sok év után először, blogunk mindkét szerzője ismét egyazon városból, sőt, egyazon intézményből fog tudósítani (s ez előreláthatóan jó ideig így is marad). Az már a magyar felsőoktatás (és az ország általános) helyzetét jellemzi, hogy e közös intézmény a müncheni Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität. Mindenesetre az új affiliáció révén remélhetőleg még frissebb és még részletesebb információkat tudunk nyújtani Kedves Olvasóinknak, akiknek így csak azt tudjuk javasolni, hogy olvassák továbbra is lelkesen a Szabad Agyagpapot, Münchenből!

Portus Project

Build your own Portus in Sketch Up and share it with us

Following upon last year discussions initiated on Twitter via #buildyourownportus and in the course and summarised in a post by Matthew Tyler-Jones on “The Portus MOOC and modelling“, I have found extremely interesting how many people wanted to build their own Portus model and experience modelling as interpretative process.

Graeme covers, in his post on “Build your own Portus” and extensively during the MOOC, some of the techniques used to give a sense of the site and how the modelling helps archaeologists.

And I want to start exactly from this point. One of the aspects about modelling that facinates me the most, which I think it’s the next natural step, is how information is shared and re-used. Normally, once a model has been created it’s circulated to experts for comments. In the last couple of years I have been looking closely to the visualisation created by Grant Cox (via ArtasMedia) and how he communicate with the rest of the team. Modelling a particular building in 3d, not only helps in the interpretative process, but creates a solid base that can be easily shared and re-used and where changes can be tracked down following the different versions.

You might would like to try to build your own 3d model and share it with us! I think this is a good way to experience this “less traditional” technique that is becoming more and more popular.

Grant use a quite sofisticate software, 3ds Max, but there are free softwares, like Google Sketch up, that allows users to create and share their own models online. I think Sketch Up is ideal as it work across different platforms (as well as on tablets and phones) and it’s really user-friendly.  I have created a step-by-step document to guide you through the process (from how to download the software to how to share the model with us) and I have also created a basic sketch up file, which already contains all relevant information from the Modelling Help Sheet, that you can use to start your model. Have a look to the guidelines and download the Sketch up file on the course website.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Mission Accomplished?

Andrew: Roger Bland's talk on made me think, isn't the PAS doing well?
I rather think that was probably what the aim of the talk was. But is it? In terms of what the PAS was originally set up to do, did Dr Bland highlight or play down the shortfall in finds made by metal detectorists annually and the number they actually record?  Is "one in four" actually "doing well"? (one hospital bed within a year for every four people that need one, the rest dying untreated outside the system because there are no beds?). I think supporters of the PAS have a warped idea of what doing well should mean when it relates to the mindless erosion of a huge area of the archaeological heritage and what we do about it. Since the PAS was set up and started calling itself a "success" and all artefact hunters "responsible", its own figures reveal that less than one in four hoiked finds are being recorded, and an estimated total of 3 611 880 recordable finds have vanished into artefact hunters pockets and some ended up by now in skips without any kind of proper record. When such information is irreplaceable, can that be seen as a "success" anywhere else than Bonkers Britain?

Can we really not aspire to doing a little bit better than this? Can we not at least discuss it? Can PAS imagine how much damage uncritical acceptance of their spin  is doing outside Britain to the efforts of others to protect the remains of the past from Collection-Driven exploitation?

Jim Davila (

Ben Sira, gender, and canon

Why Is There a Bible and What Do Women Have To Do With It?
Gender, Ben Sira, and the Canon

What makes Ben Sira stand out within this larger cultural gender ideology is that the women he fears most are not the women on the street, or even the singing girls he expects to encounter at banquets (Sir. 9:1-9). Rather, in a far more acute manifestation of gender anxiety, the woman he fears most is his own wife.

The following essay is adapted from Ben Sira and the Men Who Handle Books: Gender and the Rise of Canon-Consciousness (Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2013).

By Claudia V. Camp
John F. Weatherly Professor of Religion
General editor, Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies
Texas Christian University
January 2015

Dorothy King (PhDiva)

Today In 293: Constantine Chlorus Became Caesar

... and thus one of the Tetrarchs depicted in the porphyry group now at San Marco (for more see here). He later became Augustus, and died at York after which he was succeeded by his son Constantine.

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

Per Lineam Valli

Did Roman cavalrymen smell a bit horsey?

The fact that the same Latin word was used for a Roman soldier’s cloak as for a saddle blanket – sagum – gave me pause recently to wonder whether this may have been more than just a coincidence of vocabulary. Did the same garment serve two different purposes? If so, they must have, well, you know, reeked a bit.

Cavalryman on cast of Trajan's Column

This chap has both cloak and saddle blanket – but can we trust Trajan’s Column?!

Anybody with kids who go riding and generally hang around horses (the two usually seem to go together) will be familiar with that horsey smell (just as those who do it evidently are not): not unpleasant, but definitely distinctive. Even if cavalrymen didn’t wear their horse blankets in off-duty moments, we have had to come to terms with the knowledge that they lived right next door to their horses in what are now termed stable barracks: three men on one side of a partition, their mounts on the other. It seems inevitable that, at the very least, the average auxiliary cavalryman will have been inured to that horsey pong.

A stable barrack in Wallsend fort

A stable barrack in Wallsend fort: horses (with soakaways) to the left, men to the right

That brings us sweetly, if not exactly fragrantly, to the dimension of ancient life that we so often overlook: smell (or, as we politely call it these days, odour). We frantically deodorise at every available opportunity with cans of this and plug-ins of that wafting chemical freshness at our vulnerable nostrils whenever they are in danger of smelling some of the real odours of life. At Housesteads, everybody marvels at the famous latrines in the south-east corner, flushed periodically by the water so carefully garnered from the run-off every time it rained.

The Housesteads latrine

The Housesteads latrine

Fewer pay any heed to the sewer outfall that gave out into the adjacent part of the civil settlement. Presumably they assume it was all carried away underground to some distant location. Not so; analysis of samples from the ditches of Roman forts often finds evidence of the presence of faecal matter, most famously so at Bearsden, where the remains of wholegrain bread that had passed through the human gut were identified, along with intestinal parasites. Yum.

The Housesteads sewer outfall

The Housesteads sewer outfall

In fact, the rank cacodour* that clung to the lower orders (and the army) may be one reason why perfume was so popular in the Roman world: not just to make you smell good, but to hide the pong of all around you.

With all of that, can we seriously propose that anybody would even notice if a cavalryman wandered around the civil settlement wearing his horse blanket? Hang on; has someone round here trodden in something … ?

* I admit, I made that word up, but cacodorous is a real word (OED Online. December 2014. Oxford University Press. (accessed February 28, 2015))

Ut Milites Dicuntur cover

Dienekes' Anthropology Blog

Two observations on the ancestry of Armenians

I was thinking a bit on how to interpret the findings of the new Haber et al. preprint, and especially the idea that "29% of the Armenian ancestry may originate from an ancestral population best represented by Neolithic Europeans." I looked at the globe13 proportions, and strangely enough, I had estimated that the three Armenian samples (Armenian_D, Armenians, and Armenians_15_Y) have 28-29% of the Mediterranean component that is modal in Sardinians. This seems like a curious coincidence which has raised my confidence that Haber et al. is picking something real.

Looking back at my inferences of Armenian ancestry, it seems (according to globe13) to come completely from West_Asian, Mediterranean, and Southwest_Asian. The Mediterranean component seems real enough as it seems to match Sardinians/early European farmers well. I am not so sure about the Southwest Asian component which is modal in Yemen Jews and may represent population-specific drift in relatively recent Arabians. The West_Asian component is bimodal in Caucasus and Gedrosia, so it can't be the result of a very drifted population in either region (unless there is spooky action at a distance). 

Another curious finding is the lack of North_European in a latitudinal "column" of populations from the Yemen, through the Levant to the South Caucasus (Georgians and Armenians). It seems that North_European is the only one of the four major Caucasoid components that Armenians lack to any important degree. There is a rather abrupt change between the South Caucasus (~1%) and the North Caucasus (15-20%). It seems that the Greater Caucasus did act like a barrier to gene flow. The K=4 analysis of the same dataset that produced K=13 (globe13) also shows the same barrier: all three Armenian samples and Georgians have ~0% of "Amerindian" (which is surely correlated to "Ancient North Eurasian" ancestry and via it with North_European), but North Caucasians and Europeans have 4-10%.  It's clear that this influence did not cross the Greater Caucasus, as Armenians and Georgians lack it. 

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

PACHI PAS FOI: the PAS Forum Introduction

This section of my commentary on the material placed in the public domain as a result of a PACHI FOI request from the British Museum will discussing the information about the contents of the PAS hidden forum and the type of 'Discussion of Portable Antiquities and Treasure Issues' it reveals. 

A bit of background, the PAS once had a forum for interacting with the members of the public and all those interested in the work of the scheme. This was sabotaged by the bad behaviour of metal detectorists (see below) and "closed" - at least that is what the PAS told the audience. I began to have doubts about the veracity of what the PAS had said when two types of unusual activity on my blog suggested that there was indeed a secret PAS forum, not accessible to the public who pay for it and that FLOs were reading posts on my blog, but publicly saying nothing in reply to the issues raised.  Then at the end of last year the PAS admitted that they did indeed have a secret forum. So, what there was being said about the issues raised on this blog? Christopher Denvir the BM's  Information Manager was informed only about three forum threads in the period 21st May 2012 to the 26th January 2015 (the date the request was received).

Take a look at a PAS job advert for a FLO, there are always a few in the internet. One of the requirements for many of them is "awareness of the issues concerning portable antiquities" (in general). That is one of their job requirements, which makes sense if they are to be interacting with all manner of people on the issues affecting the handling of portable antiquities. One therefore might expect some discussion on their forum on these issues, how to deal with a certain type of question/ situation. One might expect the sharing of information of stuff they've read, a controversial view for example. To be honest I would have thought that if a load of other people not connected at all with archaeology some of them, are reading this blog and taking away some thoughts on portable antiquity collecting (and heritage) issues, the FLOs might have visited from time to time. If they did, it seems from what they write about on their forum, none of them found anything here of any value to them. So what have they discussed? There are three topicsdiscussed in three separate post below:

Topic D: The Planted Fibula (8th November 2013),

Topic E: 'Grand Stirrup Master' is Badly Treated and Gets Revenge,

Topic K 24th -27th December 2014 Comforting Words over the Lenborough Fiasco.

February 28, 2015

Ancient Art

The Theatre of Verulamium: Britain’s only Roman theatre...

The Theatre of Verulamium: Britain’s only Roman theatre still visible today. Located in modern-day St Albans, England.

Continuing my series on the Roman town of Verulamium, the next site I will be looking at is the town’s theatre, which was built about 140 AD. Kept in absolutely pristine condition, visiting the archaeological site (which also included the remains of a Roman town house built behind 1st century shops) was reasonably priced at £1.50 for children, £2.50 for adults, and £2 for students or elderly, and certainly worth every cent: definitely a highlight from my time in England. In this article I will be focusing on: the features of the theatre, how such theatres fitted into Roman society, its use for gladiatorial battles and the pantomimes, and how it ended up being used as a 4th century dumping ground.

Roman theatres were not too dissimilar to those built today: with once high auditoriums (Latin cavea) semicircular in shape, facing the stage (proscaenium). Typically, Roman theatres were not roofed, with a shallow stage and an open arena in front of it (the orchestra). Looking out at the Theatre of Verulamium, we can clearly see the 3 gangways (once vaulted over) leading to the large central arena. Visible today is a reconstructed column atop the stage, with the foundations of 2 other columns next to it (photos 2 & 4). Unlike the majority of the theatre, the rear section of the stage would have been roofed over, with its front supported by these columns. Immediately in front of the stage are 2 flint walls parallel to each other (best seen in photo 6), which contained the equipment for lowering and raising the curtain. Near the standing column we can see the remains of what was likely the dressing room (photo 7). The plan of this room is a bit confusing, but it probably had an open area where stage props were stored. This artistic reconstruction gives you an idea about how the theatre as a whole would have once appeared.

There are a few peculiar aspects to the Theatre of Verulamium, which offer us insight into its possible uses. This theatre has an usually large circular arena, and sections of seats facing towards the arena instead of the stage. There was once sturdy wooden gates separating the gangways and the arena, and there seems to have been the necessity to have a 1.5m strong wall, once between the auditorium (holding the spectators) and the arena. Evidently a lot of effort was taken to ensure that the audience were separated from whatever was going on inside the arena. These are not at all common features of Roman theatres, but are of amphitheaters, the latter being where gladiatorial battles took place. It has been suggested that during the 2nd century sword or bullfights may have occasionally taken place here.

The Theatre of Verulamium could have held approximately 7000 spectators during its heyday -this is certainly a lot when we consider that the total population of Verulamium likely never exceeded 8000. These shows probably also attracted people from the surrounding countryside. Being a Roman theatre, the seating was tiered according to rank. The seats in the arena (during plays!) would have been strictly reserved for the local wealthy merchants, rich villa owners and aristocrats, with slaves and poorer townspeople occupying the tiers of benches at the back of the auditorium. In Verulamium, in accordance with the rest of the Roman Empire, the local government was in the hands of 2 magistrates elected annually. These magistrates were expected to finance and organize public entertainment. This would include theatrical performances, gladiatorial shows, and the like, which took place during religious festivals or state occasions. Sacrifices would have kick-started the day at the theatre, ensuring the welfare of the Emperor, or the favor of the gods, which likely took place in the 2 large temples associated with this theatre.

During the catastrophic fire that devastated Verulamium, the theatre seems to have escaped damage. However, with the town’s rebuild in the 2nd half of the 2nd century, a number of alterations were made to the theatre. It seems as though the building was converted to a normal theatre: no longer one that facilitated combat in the arena. As in Rome, theatrical performances were probably popular in the provinces. We don’t really know what performances exactly were staged at Verulamium. While some of the plays by Greek and Latin authors that were favourites in Rome might have been played here, the provincial and largely rural population of Verulamium would probably not know great deals of Greek or Latin overall. It is thought that instead another type of Roman play was more popular here: the pantomimes. Differing from their modern counterpart, Roman pantomimes were essentially ‘dumb shows’, where the actors (wearing masks with sad or happy faces) would mime actions and dance, while being accompanied by a chorus singing the words and music.

Despite the economic and political hardships the Empire faced during the 3rd century, the theatre seems to have been maintained rather well in all. However, by the early 4th century it required some urgent attention, and was subsequently extended. We’re not really sure for how long after these alterations were made that the theatre remained in use, but in certainly wasn’t during the late 4th century, about 380 onwards. At this time the arena was used as the town’s dumping ground: excavations have revealed a thick layer of black earth containing huge amounts of 4th century Roman rubbish. A significant reason behind the decline of the theatre in the end may likely have been the adoption of Christianity as the state religion (first instigated by emperor Constantine in 315), for theatres held a close associated with pagan rites.

Photos taken by myself. AncientArt in Europe 2014/15. See also: The Roman town of Verulamium: a (very) brief introduction. Dr Rosalind Niblett’s information booklet about the theatre was of great use when writing up this post.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Oriental Institute News: Smart Tabs Enabled for Online Collection Search

Have you taken the AWOL User Survey?

Smart Tabs Enabled for Online Collection Search
February 28, 2015
The online Collections Search has been updated with a smart tab feature to improve efficiency and user experience. Users will no longer find a search all tab after queries. Only tabs with results will be displayed and tabs without results will be hidden. Further, facet tools on the right side of the page will now always be visible following a query. Another new feature is the ability to search all the collections for items with multimedia. Over 50,000 multimedia images are available between the Research Archives, Museum Archives, and Photo Archives collections.

Ancient Peoples

Just to clear up confusion, the Met Museum wasn’t sure...

Just to clear up confusion, the Met Museum wasn’t sure either!

We didn’t want to give false information, so provided you with all options for the use of the object. 

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: Teiresias: A Review and Bibliography of Boiotian Studies

[First posted in AWOL 9 November 2009. Updated 28 February 2015]

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Teiresias: A Review and Bibliography of Boiotian Studies
ISSN 1206-5730

Teiresias (ISSN 1206-5730) is a review and continuing bibliography of Boiotian studies. It has been published since 1971, and since 1991 has been available electronically. It is edited by Albert Schachter, Emeritus Professor of History.
Teiresias comes out twice a year, and in addition to the bibliographical section, it publishes notes on Works in Progress submitted by scholars working on Boiotian subjects. The Work in Progress section also regularly contains annual reports from the Leiden-Ljubliana Tanagra Survey Project. Anybody interested can be added to the recipient list of Teiresias by writing to Albert Schachter.
Teiresias 44.1 (2014) [.pdf]
Teiresias 43.2 (2013) [.pdf]
Teiresias 43.1 (2013) [.pdf]
Teiresias 42.2 (2012) [.pdf]
Teiresias 42.1b (2012) [.pdf]
Teiresias 42.1a (2012) [.pdf]
Teiresias 41.2b (2011) [.pdf]
Teiresias 41.2a (2011) [.pdf]
Teiresias 41.1 (2011) [.pdf]
Teiresias 40.2 (2010) [.pdf]
Teiresias 40.1 (2010) [.pdf]
Teiresias 39.2 (2009) [.pdf]
Teiresias 39.1 (2009) [.pdf]
Teiresias 38.2 (2008) [.pdf]
Teiresias 38.1 (2008) [.pdf]
Teiresias 37.2 (2007) [.pdf]
Teiresias 37.1 (2007) [.pdf]
Teiresias 36.2 (2006) [.pdf]
Teiresias 36.1 (2006) [.pdf]
Teiresias 35.2 (2005) [.pdf]
Teiresias 35.1 (2005) [.pdf]
Teiresias 34.2 (2004) [.pdf]
Teiresias 34.1 (2004) [.pdf]
Teiresias 33.2 (2003) [.pdf]
Teiresias 33.1 (2003) [.pdf]
Teiresias 32.2 (2002) [.pdf]
Teiresias 32.1 (2002) [.pdf]
Teiresias 31.2 (2001) [.pdf]
Teiresias 31.1 (2001) [.pdf]
Teiresias 30.2 (2000) [.pdf]
Teiresias 30.1 (2000) [.pdf]
Teiresias 29 (1999) [.pdf]
Teiresias 28 (1998) [.pdf]
Teiresias 27 (1997) [.pdf]
Teiresias 26 (1996) [.pdf]
Teiresias 25 (1995) [.pdf]
Teiresias 24 (1994) [.pdf]
Teiresias 23 (1993) [.pdf]
Teiresias 22 (1992) [.pdf]
Teiresias 21 (1991) [.pdf]

Ancient Peoples

Bronze penis sheath / baton handle*Vietnam, Viet-Han period,...

Bronze penis sheath / baton handle*

Vietnam, Viet-Han period, 1st-3rd century A.D.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Knowledge and Power in the Neo-Assyrian Empire

[Most recently updated 28 February  2015] 

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Knowledge and Power in the Neo-Assyrian Empire
In the seventh century BC the Assyrian monarch was the most powerful human being in the whole Middle East. Hundreds of letters, queries and reports survive from Neo-Assyrian capital of Nineveh PGP  in northern Iraq. They show scholars advising the Assyrian royal family on matters ominous, astrological and medical, often with direct impact on political affairs. Along with court poetry and royal prophecies, they give an extraordinary vivid insight into the actual practice of scholarship in the context of the first well-documented courtly patronage of scientific activity in world history.

Letters, queries, and reports

These letters, queries, reports, and other materials were first published in the State Archives of Assyria series. They are reproduced here with the kind permission of the authors and the The Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project (NATCP). Copyright remains with the authors and the NATCP. They may not be reproduced for non-educational purposes, beyond fair use, without the permission of the authors and the NATCP.
Browse or search the letters, queries, and reports, etc.
Abbreviations Original Publication
SAA 3 (poetry) A. Livingstone, Assyrian court poetry and literary miscellanea (State Archives of Assyria 3), Helsinki 1989
SAA 4 (queries) I. Starr, Queries to the Sungod: divination and politics in Sargonid Assyria (State Archives of Assyria 4), Helsinki 1990
SAA 8 (reports) H. Hunger, Astrological reports to Assyrian kings (State Archives of Assyria 8), Helsinki 1992, with the author's corrections and additions incorporated into this online publication
SAA 9 (prophecies) S. Parpola, Assyrian prophecies (State Archives of Assyria 9), Helsinki 1997
SAA 10 (scholarly letters) S. Parpola, Letters from Assyrian and Babylonian scholars (State Archives of Assyria 10), Helsinki 1993
SAA 13 (priestly letters) S. Cole and P. Machinist, Letters from priests to kings Esarhaddon and Assurbanipal (State Archives of Assyria 13), Helsinki 1999
SAA 16 (political letters) M. Luukko and G. Van Buylaere, The political correspondence of Esarhaddon (State Archives of Assyria 16), Helsinki 2002
SAA 18 (Babylonian letters) F. Reynolds, The Babylonian correspondence of Esarhaddon (State Archives of Assyria 18), Helsinki 2003

Knowledge and Power is a component of The Open Richly Annotated Cuneiform Corpus (ORACC)

The Central Palace of Tiglath-pileser III at Nimrud and the Polish Center of Mediterranean Archaeology’s Excavation (1974-1976): A Digital Publication

[First posted in AWOL 19 February 2013, updated 28 February 2015]

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The Central Palace of Tiglath-pileser III at Nimrud and the Polish Center of Mediterranean Archaeology’s Excavation (1974-1976): A Digital Publication
The Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology returned to re-excavate the site of the Central Palace of Tiglath-pileser III (744-727 BCE) at Nimrud (ancient Kalhu) near the city of Mosul in northeastern Iraq in 1974, because the Palace was the least known and least understood of the buildings on Nimrud's citadel.  It was hoped that new excavations would elucidate this poorly preserved Palace with more up-to-date excavation techniques and new finds.  The excavation was supposed to make the Central Palace a source for the study of the life and times of this important ancient Assyrian king.  Many fragments of Assyrian bas-relief, not only those of Tiglath-pileser III, were discovered, some re-excavated in the trenches of the previous excavator, Austen Henry Layard. Then the field director, Janusz Meuszynski, died in 1976, and the final reports were never completed.

There are too few examples of Tiglath-pileser’s bas-reliefs in the total corpus of Assyrian bas-relief to allow the results of the Polish project to remain unpublished.  The Polish finds are an extremely valuable resource.  An additional and disturbing fact is that individual bas-relief sculptures (some with inscriptions) have been appearing on the antiquities market, looted from the site museum storerooms at Nimrud.  Some of the bas-reliefs have been broken up into pieces to obscure their origin and in order to obtain more money from several rather than from the one original fragment.  Many of the better examples of bas-relief from this excavation are now on the international art market as a result of illicit activities (theft) at Nimrud subsequent to the Gulf War of 1991 (there is increasing anxiety among scholars -- expressed in a 2003 interview -- that war in Iraq will lead to further destruction of key monuments, like those at Nimrud).

What we know of Tiglath-pileser’s Palace is that many of the themes of earlier and later sculpture are to be found on its wall decoration.  And, there are new motifs and the syntax of the sculpture, the way scenes were portrayed, the placement of the vignettes of individual parts of scenes on the faces of the slabs, and details of the garment decorations have their own character and style. 

Richard Sobolewski and (the late) Samuel Paley were to publish the results of the excavation in digital format with top plans, photographs, and comparative material from museums and Layard’s archives.  Learning Sites will finish the publication. The digital format will allow the reader to access all the relevant data through appropriate links from interactive 3D computer models of the remains and in reconstructed panels of the wall decorations.  Fragments of bas-relief and inscriptions from the periods of Ashur-nasir-pal II and Shalmaneser III discovered during the course of the excavation will also be incorporated into this publication, as well as the scant remains of the post-Assyrian buildings built on the Central Palace site.  The corpus of photographs of the Polish Center's excavation will be available permanently on this Website.  The final computer model and the publication will be prepared, marketed, and distributed by Learning Sites, Inc., in collaboration with scholars from around the world.

These Webpages will be where the computer visualizations of the remains, photographs, drawings, descriptions, and analyses will be collocated en route to their full publication.  Material here will expand and change as the project progresses.  From the Index above you may access the various pages of text and images.

The research and compilation of the manuscript for this final publication were made possible through a generous grant from The Shelby White - Leon Levy Program for Archaeological Publications (,  and  the generosity of the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology,  the UB Foundation, and individual supporters.

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

More Monotheism

Another publication of mine – also an entry in a reference volume on the subject of monotheism – has been made available on the Butler University digital repository. I am grateful to E. J. Brill for granting permission to share my article “Monotheism” from the forthcoming volume Vocabulary for the Study of Religion.

I recently shared another article, also on “Monotheism,” which I contributed to the The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Ethics.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

PACHI PAS FOI: the PAS Forum and the Topic of 'Planted Finds' Being Avoided by the PAS Again

Commentary on the material placed in the public domain as a result of a PACHI FOI request from the British Museum from the PAS hidden forum

Topic D: The Planted Fibula (8th November 2013):
David Williams gives a link on the forum to a Surrey Mirror article about a planted brooch 'found' on a rally. I'd written about what the article said and then asked the archaeologist dealing with the find for information on the type of brooches involved:
There will be an article in the next Searcher. Paul Barford has already picked up on this but all I've done is refer him to the next Searcher - which he won't see.
You almost imagine him tittering as he typed that. Remarkable. Dr Williams is justifying himself like a naughty schoolboy, "all I've done is..." ("don't mention the war, I did it once but I think I got away with it!") and then taunting that I'll not be able to find out more (we see this type of perverse enjoyment of the feeling that these professionals have hidden something from an enquirer in the Drost/Milliongate thread too).

What on earth is the guy writing about that I'll not "see" the Searcher, does he think I live on the moon? True enough the Institute of Archaeology here does NOT get the Searcher, but I did more than "see" it.  Let us note though that he does not say that I wrote asking for details on the two fibulas mentioned and I considered his reply unprofessionally "dismissive". I had discussed this incident and some of the implications, including for the integrity of the records of the major rallies which the PAS had attended previously in the immediately adjacent area and used as showcases for their "partnership". Perhaps that is the problem. You will note that there is absolutely no discussion of the implications for the PAS of this affair in the posts forwarded to me from the BM, just the superficial issue that it was being discussed but Williams assuring fellow professionals that he'd managed to throw me off the trail.

That is not the end of the story, there was a further development in the case of one of the brooches (of which Dr Williams once he'd decided to be a little bit more professionally-archaeological informed me), but I believe this is not in the public domain.  This complicates the story even more and raises other questions of how FLOs vet finds, but that question was not raised on the PAS forum in November 2013.

What was discussed in the thread was the reaction of the metal detectorists (Katie Hinds 8th Nov). This was followed by the reaction (11th November) of Dr Williams "Oh Gawd!!" to this text on my blog: 'Focus on Metal Detecting: Conspiracy, conspiracy... "Dirty Tricks Incident" - NCMD'. But look what is happening. My post relates what is going on over on a metal detecting forum. Why did Williams not supply PAS 'partners of metal detectorists' a link to the MD forum? FLOs very rarely it seems do any of their outreach through the existing forums of their "partners", they just talk about them behind their backs on their hidden forum.

Vignette: planted

Glasgow Scholar Challenged

"Islamic glass available now"
Donna Yates has several times expressed her belief that a lot of the reporting on Syrian antiquities is wrong. Recently she has said several times (most recently here) that she doubts that "Syrian antiquities are coming to UK" adding "the bigger picture is I am getting media calls about this today". Professor Gill, fresh from a further visit to London dealers with a BBC reporter responds succinctly ('Hypothetical commentary on Syrian antiquities?' Looting matters,Thursday, February 26, 2015) 
Can we ask if this is a 'hunch' from Clydeside? Or has Dr Yates been round various London galleries to look? What is the basis of her 'authoritative' claim?
What do the folk who work in the BM's PAS think about any of this? Are they following this debate?

ISIL Destroys More Monuments in Iraq

 Last June, after Iraqi security forces melted away, Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city and the surrounding Nineveh province fell to Islamist militants who then declared a self-styled caliphate on territories that are under their control, killing members of religious minorities, driving others from their homes, enslaving women and destroying houses of worship. They are now removing from this territory all non-Islamic elements which has included library books, archaeological relics, and Islamic sites considered idolatrous. Until now, the antiquities in Mosul Museum were apparently left untouched, though some may have been removed for sale. Now the destruction of what was left has been ordered.
The Islamic State group released a video on Thursday purportedly showing militants using sledgehammers to smash ancient artifacts in Iraq's northern city of Mosul, describing them as idols that must be removed [...] The five-minute video shows a group of bearded men inside the Mosul Museum using hammers and drills to destroy several large statues, which are then shown in pieces and chipped. The video then shows a black-clad man at a nearby archaeological site inside Mosul drilling through and destroying a winged-bull Assyrian protective deity that dates back to the 7th century B.C. [...] "Oh Muslims, these artifacts that are behind me were idols and gods worshipped by people who lived centuries ago instead of Allah," a bearded man tells the camera as he stands in front of the partially demolished winged-bull. "The so-called Assyrians and Akkadians and others looked to gods for war, agriculture and rain to whom they offered sacrifices," [...] "Our prophet ordered us to remove all these statues as his followers did when they conquered nations," the man in the video adds.
The video is thought to be authentic. What is not entirely clear is when this happened. I am not going to repost these images here. I hope though that my readers will join me in the hope that they are used to bring war criminals to justice when the time comes.You can however see some screen shots with a commentary produced with his usual thoroughness by the indefatigable Sam Hardy 'Islamic State has toppled, sledgehammered and jackhammered (drilled out) artefacts in Mosul Museum and at Nineveh'.
'Islamic State video shows militants smashing ancient artifacts in Iraq'. Associated Press February 26, 2015

PACHI PAS FOI: the PAS Forum, Lenborough and Fantasy Trolling by Nameless Varsovians

Commentary on the material placed in the public domain as a result of a PACHI FOI request from the British Museum from the PAS hidden forum

Topic K 24th -27th December 2014 Comforting Words over the Lenborough Fiasco:

The only other sequence of forum posts which Christopher Denvir made available refer to the Lenborough hoard. Nothing else I say on my blog over thirty months is of any interest to any of them, but the damage done by the Lenborough affair seems to have excited them into some activity. This is started off by Ros Tyrrell in a metal-detecting-forum-qualifying post full of emoticons and exclamation marks on 24th December claiming she was being "slagged off by email" - not true of course, she's playing the victim. I've discussed one aspect of that post earlier, and will return to it again later (and the significance that there was no reaction to what was said in either case). It was David Williams (24th Dec) who said it "all sounds absolutely fine [...] wish I'd been there!" Then,
"I see it's our Warsaw friend doing the criticising and wondering why his emails to you are bouncing?"*
Two points, first "our Warsaw friend" (and worse) is a metal-detectorish way to refer to he-who-shall-not-be-named. I have a name and it is not one totally unknown in archaeological circles and I do not see why it cannot be used here. Secondly  by the time Williams wrote this, it was not just me doing the criticising, there was quite widespread dismay in archaeological circles in general about this time, though RESCUE had not yet produced their account. Thirdly, my emails to Ms Tyrell's office were polite requests for information from an archaeologist interested in the case, what does it say for the transparency of the PAS that Mr Williams is "not surprised" these emails were ignored (indeed being - it seems he thinks - deliberately 'bounced')?  Julie C[assidy] agrees (30th Dec)
"you did a great job. Just ignore the Warsaw moaner. Nothing we do would have made [sic] him happy xxx".
"Warsaw moaner"? What? A major archaeological find is trashed on film by being hurriedly excavated ("it took all day") blindly digging down using a paint-stripping scraper and a carrier bag and tipped out loose on a kitchen table  and another FLO (paid for with YOUR money) says "you did a great job" and somebody looking at that scandalous footage and expressing concerns should instead be "happy" to watch something like that happen. That an archaeologist watching that reacts in any other way than delirium that some more shiny silver discs have been hoiked just makes him some kind of foreign "moaner". This conversation is ridiculous. These are not the standards of best practice the PAS is employed to promote. Peter R[eaville] makes an astounding claim:
I was trolled and insulted by warsaw [sic]  after excavating a couple of hoards - I just emailed him with details of my line managers and the IFA and asked him to report me for unprofessional conduct - he never did (but also never retracted the posts).
"Trolled"? I am really at a loss to understand this whole accusation. Mr Reavill is mentioned on my blog six times, twice with regard to the Kate Hunter piedfort case, once mentioning his blog, once with reference to a 'finds day', and once with reference to a hoard ('Not nighthawking, really - it woz in da day' Tuesday, 8 September 2009).  Could he be talking about the post (Sunday, 21 August 2011) on the 'Baschurch Hoard Screw-up'? Is the raising of cocerns about the aftermath of an archaeological investigation "trolling", or is it something else? Is it "insulting" to comment on a case like this? What is Mr Reavill on about? As for the email with employment details, I recall receiving no such document, and here the question was organizational matters not "professional conduct". I really think some people involved in the metal detecting "partnership" in the UK have extremely thin skins and warped ideas about the nature of archaeological debate. Note again the depersonalising labelling, "warsaw", here it is not even capitalised.

But then Dr Reavill (24th dec) also moots the suggestion, seventeen years into the operation of the PAS of guidelines and excavation kit lists and an emergency contacts page. Unfortunately if this developed into something, we cannot see it in the current FOI. Such texts should surely be consulted outside the narrow confines of a hidden PAS forum.

25th December Christmas Day, Dan Pett reports in this thread a propos nothing at all I can see:
Lovely, I am being trolled by Warsaw and H[eritage] A[ction] at the moment for sticking up for us.
Again the verb "trolled" and depersonalising "Warsaw". Later (25th Dec) Mr Pett added "don't feed the troll" to Ros Tyrrell's announcement that she was not going to address the issues I had raised. It was the BM's Dan Pett's use of the word "troll" at a public meeting where it was recorded that is part of the reasons for this FOI, so it is important to note he is still using it here and in what context. As for the accusation, on 25th December I sent no email to Dan Pett. This "trolling" is a fantasy of Mr Pett, on Christmas Day I made just one blog post with not a troll in sight. As far as I know Heritage Action were focusing on other issues at this time. This is really getting ridiculous, everyone is playing the victim, falsely crying 'wolf'  and refusing to address the archaeological issue at hand.

On 25th December Ros Tyrrell explains she was not going to answer my request for information, because she'd been unable to explain the Cold Brayfield hoard earlier and she did not fancy her chances here either. Certainly there are no comments by Ms Tyrrell under any of my posts on Cold Brayfield, so she'd not made much of an effort to put forward another side of the story here (and I would not think it too difficult a task for a skilled communicator to explain a hole in the ground to a fellow archaeologist). And look at the next bit:
I can't tell the world that there was no money for lifting the hoard because the Bucks Emergency Excavation Fund was spent on the Creslow Burial in Oct. The detectorists breaking the hoard story too early, while I was trying to be on leave, has messed up the plans we had for launching that! Aargh!
Hmm. Why "can't" there be any public acknowledgement of the financial problems caused by Weekend Wanderers targeting a known archaeological site just before Christmas (when their aim of going there is to find something) when there are no funds in the county to deal with anything they might find? I think this raises all sorts of questions about what is responsible detecting, and here we see the PAS deliberately avoiding bringing the subject up in the public domain (see 'What the PAS Does Not Want You to Know About the Creslow Burial?'). What is the problem with the Creslow Burial being mentioned? I do not understand why she thinks this is some kind of topic to be swept under the carpet.

Also, what a nerve she has blaming the detectorists for spoiling the plans to "launch" the (her) find (at the Treasure Report show). This raises a rather repugnant thought, was that the reason it was hoiked out - so enough of it could be scrubbed clean to make a good show for the Minister on Treasure Day?  The manner in which the PAS deliberately manipulates the timing of announcements like this for self-publicity has been noted before. The finders also have rights to brag about their find, Ms Tyrrell was a guest at the rally, now she seems to be depicting it as run for the benefit of the PAS and its annual circle of publicity stunts. Note also the interesting information in this thread that the finder of the hoard had only recorded a small number of finds 'none of them coins' with the Scheme before his million-pound Treasure. This is not the sort of information they generally release, trying to create the impression that many metal detecting finders show many objects from their personal collections each, when that seems from what one can glean from the PAS tables in their annual reports to be almost an exception rather than a rule.

I may return to what Williams says below that about my "support" of the PAS. That made me really angry. The guy obviously has no idea what this is about. Have any of them?

I think anyone who dismisses a fellow worker as merely a "troll", as this crowd are while at the same time bragging about never having read a word of what he has written, really represent all that is rotten in British archaeology when it comes to discussing the issues surrounding portable antiquities collecting and the antiquities trade. If we see this sort of superficial knee-jerkism in the Portable Antiquities Scheme itself - which should be the focal hotbed of debate, then what hope is there for the future of archaeology in Great Britain? Metal detectors and JCBs and grubbing out all the shiny bits?

Before leaving this topic, let us note that nowhere in the entire thread is there any discussion of the issues of archaeological methodology and best practice of the way this hoard was 'excavated'. All the name-calling by PAS professionals has obscured the fact that it was this, and primarily this, which was and is the focus of the comments on my blog. This, the PAS totally ignore. 
* By the way, Dr Williams' use of a rising inflection here is incomprehensible  - PAS punctuation perhaps is being affected by prolonged "partnership" with ignorant tekkies.

UPDATE 26th Feb 2015

Nigel Swift reacts to the accusation that Dan Pett was "being trolled by Heritage Action for sticking up for us" 
which was mirrored in my own post here 'Academics Lose the Thread in Metal Detector Debate (Again)'. Both of these posts are relevant to the aspects of the Lenborough fiasco being discussed here. But these are both from January 3rd, nine days after Mr Pett's complaint. Quite what it is he is referring to is beyond us to understand. Quite why anyone would want to "stick up for" hoik-blind-paint-scraper-and-carrier-bag-archaeology done by a major archaeological outreach organization is also difficult to understand.

Ancient Peoples

Lacquered case with dragon fly design.Japan, end-1st millennium...

Lacquered case with dragon fly design.

Japan, end-1st millennium B.C. 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

BiblePlaces Blog

Weekend Roundup

Chris Jones has a careful assessment of the damage at the Mosul Museum. Some of the items destroyed were replicas but many were originals.

The Iraqi Prime Minister has condemned the destruction of antiquities from Nimrud and Nineveh by IS. The United Nations Security Council has condemned the latest "barbaric terrorist acts." Some experts see the video primarily as propaganda. Ferrell Jenkins provides some background and photos he took in 1970.

Militants have also taken control of Ezra’s tomb in Iraq.

Syria is blaming Turkey for the flow of artifacts out of the country.

What are Judean Pillar Figurines? Erin Darby explains our interest, their importance, and their use for protection and healing.

One of the divers gives his account of the discovery of the treasure of golden coins in the Caesarea harbor.

The downside of such discoveries is increased looting by everyone who thinks that they’ll be the next to find buried gold.

D. Scott Stripling: 2014 Excavations at Kh. el-Maqatir: A Proposed New Location for the Ai of Joshua 7–8 and Ephraim of John 11:53-54

The Jezreel Expedition used airborne LiDAR to prepare for an old-fashioned foot survey that showed that Jezreel is much larger than previously thought.

Dothan appears only twice in the Bible, and Wayne Stiles explains the lesson we can learn from Joseph and Elisha.

The Biblical Museum of Natural History recently opened in Beit Shemesh and it includes a skull of what they identify as behemoth.

Popular Archaeology has a profile of the recent excavations of Tel ‘Eton (biblical Eglon?).

Haaretz: What does it mean when a biblical figure “sat in the gate”?

Shmuel Ahituv has been awarded the 2015 Israel Prize for Bible Studies.

Israeli and Jordan authorities have signed a historic agreement on water sharing that includes sharing water from a desalination plant to be built in Aqaba.

The city of Jerusalem plans to build seven public swimming pools.

Newly released: I. M. Swinnen and E. Gubel, eds., From Gilead to Edom. Studies in the Archaeology and History of Jordan, in Honor of Denyse Homès-Fredericq on the Occasion of Her Eightieth Birthday. Akkadica Supplementum XII. Wetteren: Cultura, 2014.

I’ll be traveling the next couple of weekends and unable to collect stories or write round-ups. If you see anything of interest, send me an email and I’ll include it at the next opportunity.

HT: Ferrell Jenkins, Charles Savelle, Agade, Joseph Lauer

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

COATPEG Miracles

Features of Jesus Miracles - COATPEG

Paul Regnier came up with an acronym for remembering key aspects of Jesus’ miracles as depicted in the New Testament, which is adapted from an A-Level textbook by Gwynn ap Gwilym. Here’s how Regnier explains the acronym in greater detail:

Command – Jesus performs some miracles with only a verbal command. This is the case with nature miracles, but also elsewhere, e.g. the possessed man in Capernaum synagogue. 
Only where there is faith – Faith is a common feature of the miracle stories, while both Mark (6:5) and Matthew (13:58) tell us Jesus performed few miracles in his home town because people did not believe in him. 
At a distance – Jesus does not need to be present to perform a miracle, for example, the healing of the centurion’s servant.
Touch – Jesus is able to perform miracles by touch, such as healing the ear of the high priest’s servant. 
Pity for suffering – The miracles demonstrate Jesus’ compassion for suffering humanity. Healing miracles are good examples of this, as is the feeding of the 4,000, where Jesus says he has compassion for the hungry crowd.
Evidence not always accepted – Those who did not believe in Jesus attribute the miracles to Satan, e.g. the teachers of the Law in Mark 3:20-30.
Glorify God – The purpose of Jesus’ miracles is to bring glory not to Jesus, but to God. For example, when the widow of Nain’s son is resurrected, the people glorify God.


Archaeological News on Tumblr

Iraq reopens Baghdad museum 12 years after looting

Iraq’s national museum officially reopened Saturday after 12 years of painstaking efforts...

Végh Zsuzsanna and Simon Zsolt (Agyagtábla, papirusz)


B. Perlov , Yu. Saveliev: Administrative Texts from Tello from the Ur III Period. Cuneiform Texts in the Collection of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts I. Moscow, 2014

Jean-Claude Margueron: Mari: Capital of Northern Mesopotamia in the Third Millennium. The archaeology of Tell Hariri on the Euphrates. Oxford

U. Finkbeiner et al. (eds.): Associated Regional Chronologies for the Ancient Near East and the Eastern Mediterranean. Middle Euphrates. Brussels

Juan Luis Montero Fenollós: Asirios en el Medio Éufrates. La cerámica medioasiria de Tell Qabr Abu al-‘Atiq en su contexto histórico-arqueológico. Ferrol (letölthető itt

Marian W. Broida: Forestalling Doom. “Apotropaic Intercession” in the Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East. AOAT 417. Münster

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Friday Retrospect: The Cold Brayfield Affair

A few weeks ago, the Buckinghamshire FLO was moaning to her colleagues "[I] prefer not to have any dealings with PB. I wasted ages explaining myself over the Cold Brayfield Hoard and was ignored and misunderstood!". I am at a loss to know to what she is referring and, quite frankly resent that - if she cannot explain a hole in the ground to a fellow archaeologist, what hope is there that she can explain best practice to artefact hoikers? There was some coverage of this rather disturbing incident on my blog, and just to put Ms Tyrrell's allegations in some sort of context I give here the links to all the posts I made so readers can see just how much time Ros Tyrrell devoted on this blog to "explaining"  this situation to my readers. If you look through the posts, you will find the comment (Cold Brayfield Questions that will not go away, 6 November 2008):
I recently addressed these questions to the two FLOs involved (twice). All I received in reply was some generally dismissive statement of "the sort of whispers that accompanies this sort of find".
Now, I do not have anywhere to hand those emails any more (maybe we should do an FOI request for them too to get at what Ms Tyrrell really said to me?) but it does not look to me that even offline she made much of an effort to "explain" anything to me  [She may resend them as a comment here if she contests that].

It is also worth returning to Cold Brayfield as it is quite a symptomatic case, raising a number of issues which are still unresolved today, seven years later. One of the reasons for that is the failure - indeed refusal - of the PAS to discuss these issues openly, as we have seen in the case of Lenborough.I think many of the things I said there six and seven years ago can be said today. So what change has the Portable Antiquities Scheme actually achieved on the ground for all those millions of quid of public outreach? Is this why they do not want to engage with them?
'English Detectorists Say They Dug a Metre into Roman Site in the Dark'
Wednesday, 29 October 2008

'The Washington Lawyer and the Metal Detectorists' Thursday, 30 October 2008

'What would the PAS say?' Thursday, 30 October 2008

'Treasure Annual Reports: just "inconvenient"?', Sunday, 2 November 2008 (note comments about sa separate Treasure archive - later abandoned, they were added to the PAS database alongside a totally different category of material)

'Cold Brayfield Questions that will not go away', Thursday, 6 November 2008

'Having a Chat with Central Searchers?' Thursday, 6 November 2008 (Secretive metal detectorists - instant ban for Marcus)

Incidental mention here: 'Some Thoughts on Illegal Artefact Hunting in England', Saturday, 8 November 2008

This Coroner is helpful: 'Cold Brayfield Inquest' Wednesday, 12 November 2008

More questions raised, 'The New Treasure Report' Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Incidental mention, 'Welsh Treasure System Failure' Thursday, 8 January 2009

Incidental mention, 'Central Searchers Dislikes Breeches and Will Avoid Them in Future', Wednesday, 9 June 2010.

What is it that Ros Tyrrell, the PAS FLO for the county concerned, wanted to 'explain'? Explain, or explain away on behalf of the BM's metal-detecting "partners"? 

Samuel Hardy (Conflict Antiquities)

Unevidenced and seemingly (hopefully) impossible claim that IS burned alive those who refused to wreck Mosul museums

I’ve continued to update my original post on Islamic State’s attack on Mosul Museum and the Nergal Gate Museum at Nineveh and am working on more, but there is one report that I want to address straight away on its own: “IS burns 4 members in Mosul for refusing to destroy museum”. It has also […]

Martin Rundkvist (Aardvarchaeology)

February Pieces Of My Mind #2

  • I thought my pet was a meerkat, but it was in fact a mere cat.
  • Movie: Wild Tales. A collection of unconnected short wry films about revenge. Grade: pass.
  • Eagle-eyed Roger Wikell found something that looked like a duplicate entry in my database. A flanged axe found at Vappeby hamlet by someone named Winberg, and a flat axe found at Väppeby hamlet by someone named Vinberg. Turns out they are different axes found by different people, one at Vappeby in Torstuna parish and one at Väppeby in Kalmar parish. Phew!
  • Reading Stanislaw Lem’s 1959 novel Eden. His big point is that aliens, their structures and their tech are incomprehensible. Sadly Lem makes it pretty clear that he doesn’t know either what all the weird shit he describes is or does. Endless descriptions of stuff that might as well be abstract sculpture. Yawn.
  • My social anthropology thesis will deal with gendered behaviour among staff and customers at building supply stores.
  • Jrette faces a history test. Mom & Dad help her study. Both aced high school history. They’re friends with both authors of Jrette’s textbook. The celeb historian in the teaching videos shown to the class is a work acquaintance of Dad’s. Class society perpetuated.
  • I have attended to the Rundkvist family’s main outstanding administrative task. I went to the Sibyl’s coffee/tea shop and consolidated our customer loyalty stamps. We now only have one stamp card instead of five. Peace.
  • Dear Anglophone scientists, stop prefacing your replies to interview questions with “so”. It makes no sense.
  • Realised: the Russians’ 1719 torching of the Swedish East Coast was politically analogous to the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
  • Preparing to dredge sediments full of industrial contaminants from the bottom of the Valdemarsvik inlet, divers found a train car that had gone off the rails at the silo on the dock.
  • Watched a 5-y-o girl with Williams syndrome lovebomb strangers on the train. Very sweet. “Oh! I like YOU! Eeeeeeek! Your hair! Eeeeep!”
  • Poofreading: literary analysis from a queer perspective.
  • Laul & Valk’s 2007 book Siksälä : a community at the frontiers : Iron age and medieval has a chapter on craniology and ethnic attribution. Errr…
  • Having broken a mirror, Reginald popped wood to counter bad luck.
  • Autocorrect informs me that the English equivalent of Sw. morgonrock, “dressing gown”, is Mytholmroyd.
  • Loving your country is a 19th century notion. Love the world and humanity!
  • I sometimes wonder if I’m the father that gets briefly described at the start of a celebrity biography.
  • I want an edition of the writings on the paper stuffed inside the mummified monk.
  • Reading an article in the local paper about egg dishes I was impressed by the wording and factual accuracy regarding Chinese Thousand Year Eggs. In fact, the passage sounded strangely familiar. Turns out I wrote it on Wikipedia and the journalist copied it.
  • Jrette has picked up from the net that nail varnish dries faster if you dip your nails into cold water. Her wording: “It solidifies faster”. This strikes me as a misunderstanding of how nail varnish dries. It’s simply a question of the solvent evaporating, not of temperature. Add solvent a day later and the varnish becomes liquid again. The water shouldn’t do anything at all. Or does the solvent diffuse into the water faster than it evaporates into the air?
  • “Kokomo” from 1988 had no input from Brian Wilson and is widely seen as the Beach Boys’ least edgy, least innovative, least respected hit. Still it’s the only one I can think of whose lyrics references drugs.
  • I like Google Inbox’s new single-click “make this email invisible until after office hours” button.
  • Magpie making fluting lovey noises and messing around with an old nest.
  • Some website said that Melvyn Bragg would be discussing the history of Unix on In Our Time. Turns out it’s actually eunuchs.
  • The Danish village name Møgeltønder doesn’t mean “Mouldy Barrels” as it looks to a Swede. It means Mickle (i.e. big) Tønder, and refers to a nearby town that was once smaller. And Tønder is originally a common pan-Scandy stream name cognate with Eng. tinder and Sw. tindra, meaning “sparkling, glinting”.
  • Movie: The Imitation Game. Alan Turing biopic. Grade: pass.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

PAS PACHI FOI: The Internal Emails - Milliongate

Topic H, 'Milliongate': The bulk of the pdf we received as a result of my FOI request consists of a series of duplicated emails (somebody's not good at inbox-management) on the affair I dubbed 'milliongate' - the smoke and mirrors surrounding the "millionth find" in the PAS database (a 'Late Roman Bronze' coin from the Seaton Hoard). When sorted out there are 18 of these documents - and apparently nothing in the PAS forum. Taken together, they show above all the PAS attitude to information transparency and how a new member of staff is instructed to ignore requests from the Scheme's audience for information.

The sequence starts off with a brief email from me on 8th September 2014. I asked the PAS a question about the sudden jump in statistics on the database home page that day. The reply could have dealt painlessly with my five queries in two sentences giving all the information requested. This, we now know, is what Dr Drost could have written:
*Paul, This is a recently excavated hoard of Roman coins from Seaton, Devon, yes the number is an estimate, we are still in the process of recording and individually photographing these coins. Please do not discuss this find or use this information until after the press conference on 25 September, Best wishes Vincent Drost*
That is what he could have written, it would have taken him less than a minute. He did not though. What happened instead? Well, that was far more time-consuming and led to the generation of the wadge of documents we received. First, my query was ignored. I wrote again politely seven days later, pointing out additionally that there was a problem with the visibility of previously visible information in the database. [After I mentioned I'd spotted the jump in the database, the PAS for reasons best known to themselves attempted to hide the information].

The reply (Vincent Drost [VD] to PMB Sept 16th 5:21 PM), instead of just answering the queries I had, dismissively dodges them (and, despite it being consulted with two other BM employees, lacks one part of the second sentence). It  does not in any way answer the perfectly reasonable questions I had asked more than a week earlier about the sudden jump in publicly available recorded finds figures. VD was clearly being deliberately evasive. I asked again, about the nature of these 'data' recorded at public expense. VD's response to that third attempt to explain this anomaly was again to ignore the query totally.

In fact, I found out that his original fob-off reply of September 16th contained false information. He denied the data were in the database (when as my original request indicated, everybody could see from the overall total on the database home page that they still were!)  and he said they could not/would not be entered until after the inquest. But the inquest had actually taken place four days before his response. This is not the behaviour we should expect from publicly funded heritage professionals (in Poland for this under the Civil Code and Codex of Administration Procedure, such an employee could expect disciplinary measures). I gave up trying to get a straight answer from this guy, obviously a waste of time.

The PAS database is created with public money. Dr Drost works in the BM, publicly funded, the chair he sits on was paid for with public money, his computer and the programs in it too. The material he is employed to process as part of his work for the PAS are finds made by members of the public and made available so they can become part of public record. The public records of the PAS (I have no special access) showed a sudden and mysterious jump of 22000 objects and this was there assigned to something Vincent Drost had done. The total was brought up to over "a million" and this is used by metal detectorists and their apologists at home and abroad as an argument "how useful collection driven exploitation is" meaning we and the PAS have to be very clear what these figures actually represent. Dr Drosts's involvement in this is not as a private individual, so when somebody starts messing a blogger around when he asks a perfectly civil question, Dr Drost really should not be surprised that the blogger blogs about what has happened. That is not "getting personal" as he put it any more than his fobbing me off with weasel words was.

What happened next was simply weird. On 24th September at 9:44 in the morning after a break in the thread of more than a week, Dr Drost timidly writes to Michael Lewis. 
Dear Michael, sorry to bother you. I came across Paul Barford's blog. I know he's a trouble maker [...] Even if this is nonsense [...]
I think that says an awful lot about what the self-anointed demigods in the British Museum and its Portable Antiquities Scheme are probably saying about the Portable Antiquities Collecting and Heritage Issues blog. Troublemaking nonsense- monger. Note the coy "I came across PMB's blog". Dr Drost does seem from this exchange to have a few problems actually admitting what the problem is... Dr Lewis sees through this fluff, barely 20 minutes later he is berating the new boy:
I saw Philippa [Walton] the other day and she said you had replied to him - is that so? Maybe she got that wrong 
Oh dear. Caught out by the office grapevine. Dr Drost contritely replies (Note that in fact before his reply, I had only written once and then sent a polite reminder a week later):
"As he kept asking, I've [sic] sent him a short reply in consultation with Sam and Ian, below is what I wrote [he quotes it in entirety ...] I probably shouldn't have but I don't think this changes anything. I understand now that I have to completely ignore him and his blog.
What an extraordinary and comic exchange!   Like a little boy to his school headmaster, "I know I shouldn't have done, but no harm was done, honest, but he made me do it!" Michael Lewis, as if to reinforce the impression we are dealing with a group of schoolkids, thinks up (24th September 10:50) a way to "irritate him [i.e. me] more". [tee hee]. Anyway, Dr Drost tries to be a good employee and assures Dr Lewis (24th Sept 2014, 10:56): "I am going to ignore him completely from now on. Sorry about that (sorry Sam and Ian to involve you in this)". Mike Lewis soothes him (perhaps in his best Stephen Fry voice):
"Its no ones fault. he is a tricky one to deal with, especially as we feel we ought to reply. But he is so mischievous I think it is fine to ignore him".
I've not been called "mischievous" since I was ten and certainly not by anyone who forgets to use apostrophes in official communications. It is "fine" in the British Museum, apparently, to ignore substantive public enquiries. What on earth is going on here? Involved in what, precisely? A member of the public asks PAS a question, and what exactly is Drost apologising for? The impression you get from some of these emails is that PAS head office is some kind of pretty distopic organization. I was not expecting that, I must admit.

Ian Richardson at first appears to attempt to insert some sanity into the communal self-flagellation and recriminations (24th September 11:21 to ML, VD, copied to SM). He actually sees where the issue arises: "I think what happened was that PB was keeping an eye on the overall counter as it ticked approached a million and when, all of a sudden it went over, he was able to query the database statistics" (bingo - got it in one, see it's not so difficult). Disappointingly he seems unable to go that one step further to thinking outside the institutional box: "it really is frustrating to have such a useful tool, which helps make our work more transparent, used in a mischievous way" . Eh? (See below). No fear, Michael Lewis (24th September 2014, 11:24) assures Ian Richardson, VD, Sam Moorhead, Dan Pett and a person whose name has been redacted out (and where did this person suddenly come into the thread?) that "Dan said that he and [redacted] were going to look at how the counter works". Gotta get that transparency issue sorted out, make sure that they prevent "mischievous people" seeing how many objects were recorded by whom in any particular time period.

[Note, not that he'll see it: I would not bother Dan, the totals are now so hopelessly muddled, the results so periodically inconsistent (and have been since we were discussing them on Britarch and on the PAS public forum which you closed), that nobody who has looked at them carefully really believes any of it any more.]

There is some more chat about not replying to queries from Barfords, more self-recriminations (VD, SM),  then flippancies. Pathetic.

But then, a further redacted person comes into the conversation (Sept 24th 12:08) answering a post in the 'capitalised RE' thread - despite not (?) having been copied in it earlier (suggesting that Christopher Denvir has not actually been able to gather all the relevant material). Actually, I think it is pretty clear from the style who this is and one might be forgiven for thinking that the only reason the name is redacted out is an attempt to hide that he was not copied in the previous correspondence. This person is gloating that since the PAS are keeping information from members of the public what I write is allegedly "ill-informed". Well, whose fault is that if true? In any case, is there only "one Truth" that of the PAS and Baz Thugwit? Is that what the PAS want us to believe? The demigods decide and it is for the rest of us to just accept the crumbs of wisdom that drop out of the clouds which veil the true face of "The Great Social Experiment Which is The Great and Glorious PAS". This Deus ex machina advises his readers to "avoid his blog posts as [...] this is all grist to his mill. Worse still is that regularly viewed blog posts will climb the ranks of Google and be more likely to turn up in search results for your name". Sounds like... the pompous alarmism of a well-known Washington allobbyist Tompa ! Then the sky will fall and the seas turn to blood, no doubt. Thus spake Bloomsbury.  (Of course this is anti-Googlian nonsense, if VD reads a post about looting in Syria on my blog, a Google search will not associate him with ISIL).

To return to what Ian Richardson said, the work of any publicly funded heritage body like the PAS should be 100% transparent. It's not the Ministry of Defence, its about little old ladies finding potsherds in their rose beds and little boys finding Roman glass beads on an allotment. In any case, to follow almost everything you read about the PAS, they consider making the database, and making the database" bigger" is their work. The only thing that is mischievous is (a) including Treasure hoards on the database of non-Treasure finds to boost numbers of 'voluntarily reported finds' (the Treasure Report is the place for them) and (b) hiding the true source of the information behind smokescreens. And it is not me being "mischievous" in trying to find out what the PAS are up to with their artefact hunting "partners". If the PAS is built on the basis of a multivocality of archaeology, then my seeking knowledge of the past has as much validity and rights as Baz Thugwit's. Yet Baz gets patted on the head by the PAS and I get called names and insulted for asking the same sort of questions. I have every right to ask what the PAS and their metal detecting partner are doing with the heritage, my heritage, and  I have a right to get an answer to these questions, and they (ivory tower demigods or not) as a public institution have an obligation to share that information without me having to put in an FOI request.

Thibaut Castelli (Spartokos a Lu)

la cité romaine d’Ibida

En Dobroudja, à Slava cercheza, les archéologues roumains fouillent depuis la fin du XIXe s., le site romain de Ibida. Il s’agit d’un site fortifié romain.  Le site présente l’historie des fouilles, l’histoire du lieu, mais publie outre des photos, une bibliographie avec des articles en ligne sur cette cité.

Le site est en anglais et en roumain.

Ibida site

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

PAS and External Social Media

Heritage Action start today's post on nighthawking:
We recently managed to shame the country's largest metal detecting shop, Regtons, into stopping selling night vision gear. It was a victory for conservation (which PAS and The Archaeological Establishment should have secured, not us)
but then if the ivory tower gods of Portable Antiquities Scheme hold themselves aloof from what heritage bloggers are blogging, then they have no idea about what is being discussed and have no chance to engage with any of it.  So it is not surprising that they are failing to deal with such issues.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Hercules Escapes—And Italy’s Closing In On More Looters

Italy’s heritage police were chasing a tiny stolen statuette for 50 years when it turned up in New...

Jona Lendering (New at LacusCurtius and Livius.Org)

New magazine on ancient history (2)

ahm_coverI already wrote about the new magazine about the ancient world which Karwansaray Publishers wants to launch. The website is now online: here.

The PDF with the trial issue will soon be available too. It contains articles on a Greek in Egypt, a recently-published papyrus that seems to document a scene from Alexander’s campaign to the east, and Trajan’s Markets.

On the cover, you won’t see a museum piece or a ruin, as is customary on archaeological magazines. We’ve chosen a drawing of a scene from Trajan’s Markets. After all, our magazine is about the ancient world, and not about “the ancient world as seen by archaeologists” or “the ancient world as seen by classicists”. A drawing is a good way to show the world in which it all started: urban life, writing, states, monotheism, science, literature.

Please visit the website here.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Manchester Museum to reveal more secrets of the Easter Island statues

A Manchester Museum exhibition is about to reveal more secrets of the stone statues of Easter...

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

The Impact of Secularization


Another cartoon from People in White Coats. I’m not sure if this is supposed to be a commentary on secularization, or on human resources directors…

ArcheoNet BE

Rapport opgravingen Spelverstraat Bilzen

In 2013 voerde VUhbs archeologie een opgraving uit langs de Spelverstraat in Bilzen. Bij het onderzoek werden 19 gebouwen, 17 spiekers, 2 crematiegraven en vele kuilen ontdekt en onderzocht. Op basis van deze sporen en een groot aantal vondsten kan worden gereconstrueerd hoe het terrein gedurende meerdere perioden in de IJzertijd is bewoond en gebruikt. Het eindrapport van de opgraving is nu beschikbaar.

De ijzertijdnederzetting was gesitueerd aan de randen van een lössplateau, op de hellingen van het dal van de Wilderbeek en een daarop aansluitend droogdal. Binnen de opgegraven nederzetting kunnen tenminste vijf erven worden onderscheiden die in verschillende periodes tussen de Vroege en Late IJzertijd bewoond zijn geweest. Of deze bewoning ook deels gelijktijdig heeft plaatsgevonden is niet goed te bepalen. De aangetroffen gebouwen vertonen een typologische variatie (zo werden onder meer de types Geleen-Echt, Oss-Ussen 2A, Haps/Oss-Ussen 4, Oss-Ussen 2A en Oss-Ussen 5 herkend). Op basis van de plattegronden kunnen parallellen worden gevonden op de Antwerpse Kempen, het Zuid-Nederlandse zandgebied en het Zuid-Limburgse lössgebied. Een aantal kuilen kan nader worden geïnterpreteerd op basis van vorm of inhoud. Met name een grote klokvormige silo, gelegen op het hoge, onbewoonde deel van het terrein, en een voorraadkuil met verlatingsdepositie zijn noemenswaardig.

Vuursteenvondsten tonen aan dat het terrein ook al in een verder verleden in gebruik is geweest. Zo zijn gereedschappen uit het Laat Paleolithicum en het Midden Neolithicum A gevonden. In deze laatste periode was er waarschijnlijk sprake van een nederzetting, waarvan helaas geen grondsporen konden worden herkend.

Lees meer: het eindrapport (ZAN 324) kan gedownload worden via De publicatie is vrij beschikbaar, maar vereist wel een registratie bij dans-easy.

Jim Davila (

Anxious Gnosticism

PHILIP JENKINS has been putting up a series of informative posts on Gnosticism over at The Anxious Bench. They are still in progress, but this seems like a good time to note what he has published to date and to make some comments of my own.

Those Who Know
Ever since my undergraduate years, I have been interested in early Christian history and Gnosticism. In the next few posts, I will talk about some of the things I have learned about Gnosticism, why it is so important, and some of the areas I am still trying to explore in my present book project. Here, I will just define my terms, and identify my main questions.
More on Kabbalah and Gnosticism here.

The Beginning of Wisdom
I am assembling that package of ideas out of pure imagination, and I can point to no group of texts that prove its existence. What I am suggesting is that a large part of Gnosticism could, hypothetically, have been constructed without wandering too far outside Judaism as it existed, in its very diverse and sectarian forms, during the first century AD.
True, but I still want some texts.

Athens, Jerusalem and Nag Hammadi
Gnosticism thus emerges from a world in which Platonism more generally defined had become a common currency of philosophical language and thought. Of the vast number of ideas and theories that Plato and his successors generated, some are particularly relevant to our subject here, in providing the intellectual vocabulary of Gnosticism.
Gnostics and Platonists
Although the origins of Gnostic thought are controversial, many of the core themes and terms undoubtedly stemmed from Greek philosophical thought, especially Platonism. That did not necessarily mean that early Gnostics were taking these ideas directly from Greek thinkers or schools, rather that they came from a Jewish (and emerging Christian) world that had long sought to integrate Platonic concepts. Any attempt to separate Greek and Jewish elements in this synthesis is doomed to failure.
Asking the Wrong Question
I have been puzzling over the origins of Gnosticism, and we can certainly find some plausible answers to that issue. Jewish, Greek and Christian, (and possibly Persian), the building blocks were all clearly there. Perhaps, though, I have been asking the wrong question all along. Instead of asking why some people came up with that particular set of answers, we should rather inquire why others didn’t.
Philo’s Answer
Greek philosophy made it all but impossible to reconcile the transcendence of God with a deity who created and ruled the world, with a deity like that portrayed in the Hebrew Bible. During the Second Temple era, that clash of visions was deeply troubling for Jews who wished to integrate into the Greek-dominated international culture.

Of the thinkers who tried to reconcile the systems, the best-known was Philo of Alexandria (25 BC – 50 AD), whose life overlapped with figures like Jesus and Paul. ...
Dating the Gnostics
Obviously, arguing from silence is risky. The account I have given here is drawn from Irenaeus, who was widely traveled and well-connected, but who did not necessarily know everything that was in progress in every corner of the Christian world. He knew Asia Minor, Rome and Gaul at first hand, but might not have had such good connections elsewhere. As I have remarked, such early accounts of Gnosticism are curious in their geographical emphasis. They focus on Alexandria and Antioch, with much commuting to and from Rome. Few pay much attention to the quite intense activity that seems to have been in progress in Mesopotamia, where Jewish Christian, baptismal and Gnostic sects were highly active no later than the early second century. Perhaps Irenaeus was simply missing some key events and activists.

Alternatively, perhaps Irenaeus really was depicting historical reality, in which Gnosticism really was an innovation of the late first century, at least a generation or two after Jesus’s time. And at least in its early days, it was strictly confined to Syria, even to Antioch itself.

The question then arises: why then, and why there?
I'm sure Professor Jenkins's answers will continue to be interesting and I look forward to hearing more. Background to the series is here.

For my part, I have not found any arguments for a pre- (or non-) Christian Jewish Gnosticism in antiquity persuasive. The development of Gnosticism seems much easier to me once you add Pauline theology (notably its demotion of Jewish law) into the mix of Judaism and Platonism. And, tellingly, none of the surviving Gnostic texts deal with the halakhic and national/ethnic issues that the demiurgic myth would inevitably have raised. I have discussed the issues in greater detail here and here.

Société Internationale des Amis de Cicéron (Tulliana News)

SIAC Newsletter 77 (5/2015)


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


- Alesse, Francesca, Il tema della prescrizione nella filosofia pratica di Aristotele, “Antiquorum Philosophia”, 8, 2014, 99-120. LINK

- Balbo, Andrea, rec. di Renato Badalì, Carmina Medicalia, Città del Vaticano, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 2013, “Bollettino di Studi Latini”, 44, 2, 2014, 798-801. LINK

- Berno, Francesca Romana, rec. di Stefano Costa, Quod olim fuerat. La rappresentazione del passato in Seneca prosatore, Hildesheim-Zürich-New York, Georg Olms Verlag, 2013, “Bollettino di Studi Latini”, 44, 2, 2014, 734-735. LINK

- Casamento, Alfredo, Navi o pesci? Una nota a Seneca, Phaedra 472, “Pan”, 2, 2013, 85-95. LINK

- Casamento, Alfredo, rec. di Francesca Romana Nocchi, Tecniche teatrali e formazione dell’oratore in Quintiliano, Berlin-Boston, De Gruyter, 2013, “Bollettino di Studi Latini”, 44, 2, 2014, 737-740. LINK

- Casamento, Alfredo, rev. of Carlo Fanelli, Con la bocca di un’altra persona. Retorica e drammaturgia nel teatro del Rinascimento, Roma, Bulzoni, 2011, “Rhetorica: A Journal of the History of Rhetoric”, 33, 1, 2015, 106-107. LINK

- Cattaneo, Gianmario, Valla, il simbolo apostolico e il codice di Isidoro, “Giornale Italiano di Filologia”, 66, 2014, 267-280. LINK

- Degl’Innocenti Pierini, Rita, rev. of Jacques-Emmanuel Bernard, La sociabilité épistolaire chez Cicéron, Paris, Honoré Champion, 2013, “Mnemosyne”, 68, 2, 2015, 322-325. LINK

- Del Giovane, Barbara, rec. di Lorenzo De Vecchi, Orazio: Satire. Introduzione, traduzione e commento, Roma, Carocci, 2013, “Bryn Mawr Classical Review”, 2015.02.32. LINK

- De Paolis, Paolo, Gli studi classici a Montecassino nella seconda metà del secolo XIX. Un volgarizzamento sallustiano di don Luigi Tosti, in Salvatore Cerasuolo, Maria Luisa Chirico, Serena Cannavale, Cristina Pepe, Natale Rampazzo (a cura di), La tradizione classica e l’unità d’Italia. Atti del Seminario Napoli – Santa Maria Capua Vetere, 2-4 ottobre 2013, vol. I-II, Napoli, Satura Editrice, 2014. LINK

- Ferrary, Jean-Louis, Les mémoriaux de délégations de Claros, d’après la documentation conservée dans le Fonds Jeanne et Louis Robert, 2 vols., Paris, Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, 2015. LINK

- Guillaumont, François & Roesch, Sophie (éds.), La divination dans la Rome antique. Études lexicales, Paris, L’Harmattan, 2014: François Guillaumont, Le vocabulaire de l’inspiration dans le De diuinatione (85-100); Bruno Poulle, Le vocabulaire de la nécromancie chez Cicéron (101-109). LIEN

- Li Causi, Pietro, Ebuzio Liberale: un dedicatario (quasi) senza dedica nel De beneficiis di Seneca, in Jean-Claude Juhle (éd.), Pratiques latines de la dédicace. Permanences et mutations, de l’Antiquité à la Reinassance, Paris, Garnier, 2014, 163-188. LIEN

- Li Causi, Pietro, Seneca, Lucius Annaeus: De beneficiis, in The Literary Encyclopedia, online, first published 30 January 2015. LINK

- Malaspina, Ermanno, rec. di Jacques-Emmanuel Bernard, La sociabilité épistolaire chez Cicéron, Paris, Honoré Champion, 2013, “Bollettino di Studi Latini”, 44, 2, 2014, 711-713. LINK

- McConnell, Sean, rev. of Jed W. Atkins, Cicero on Politics and the Limits of Reason: The Republic and Laws, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2013, “CJ-Online”, 2014.11.07. LINK

- Orlando, Antonello, rev. of Francesco Verde, Elachista. La dottrina dei minimi nell’Epicureismo, Leuven, Leuven University Press, 2013, “Mnemosyne”, 68, 2, 2015, 344-347. LINK

- Prost, François, Amor et Amicitia dans la correspondace d’exil de Cicéron, “Vita Latina”, 2015, 191-192, 7-35. LIEN

- Vasconcellos, Paulo Sérgio de, Fingi(dores) de si mesmos: dores fingidas e reais na oratória romana, “Nuntius Antiquus”, 10, 1, 2014, 135-159. LINK



- Bugaeva, Natalia Vladimirovna, Письмо Цицерона Гн. Помпею De rebus suis in consulatu gestis = Cicero’s Letter To Cn. Pompeius De Rebus Suis In Consulatu Gestis // Восток, Европа, Америка в древности. Сборник научных трудов XVIII Сергеевских чтений. М., 2014. С. 234-239. LINK

- Deligiannis, Ioannis, Εγκώμιο και αυτοεγκώμιο στα πολιτικά έργα του Κικέρωνος / Praise and Self-Praise in Cicero’s Political Works, in Spyridon Tzounakas (ed.), Εγκώμια Ηγετικών Μορφών στη Λατινική Γραμματεία. Πρακτικά Συμποσίου Λατινικών Γραμμάτων (Λευκωσία, 13-14 Σεπτεμβρίου 2013), Λευκωσία, 2014 / Praises of Roman Leaders in Latin Literature. Proceedings of a Latin Symposium (Nicosia, 13-14 September 2013), Nicosia 2014, 13-52. LINK

- Dunsch, Boris, Et apud patrem historiae sunt innumerabiles fabulae: Cicero über Herodot, in Boris Dunsch & Kai Ruffing (ed.), Herodots Quellen – Die Quellen Herodots, Wiesbaden, Harrassowitz Verlag, 2013, 153-200. LINK

- Ferri, Rolando, Witness and Lawyer in the Roman courts. Linguistic strategies of evasiveness and intimidation in Roman trial debates, “Incontri di Filologia Classica”, 12, 2012-2013 [stampa 2014], 57-99. LINK

- Flammini, Giuseppe, Senari e trimetri giambici nelle versioni poetiche di Marco Tullio Cicerone. Annotazioni di metrica verbale, “Giornale Italiano di Filologia”, 66, 2014, 93. LINK

- Fornés, Maria Antònia & Puig, Mercè, El procés de composició de l’obra ciceroniana segons les Cartes a Àtic, “Anuari de Filologia. Antiqua et Mediaevalia”, 3, 2013, 61-78. LINK

- Privitera, Tiziana, Oreste da Cicerone a Virgilio, “Giornale Italiano di Filologia”, 66, 2014, 125. LINK

- Schultz, Celia E. (ed.), A commentary on Cicero, De divinatione I, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 2014. LINK


- Postdoctoral Researcher Conference Individuals in Communities, London, February 21st, 2015. Roman Frolov, ‘Privatus vetuit’: Metellus Celer as a Private Individual and a Magistrate-Elect in the Political Life of the Roman Citizens’ Community in 61/60 B.C. LINK

- Annual Meeting of Postgraduates in Ancient History (AMPAH 2015), Durham University, 21st March 2015. Paula Rondon-Burgos (Durham University), Will the real Cicero please stand up? A fresh approach to Cicero the politician using villas and villa life during the late Republic. LINK

[Last updated on February 28, 2015.]

Filed under: Newsletter

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Light a virtual candle

Please, readers, artefact hunters, collectors, dealers, archaeologists, museum and heritage professionals, join in support of the the initiative by the US based heritage organization SAFE. Stand in solidarity with us all, who lost a piece of our own legacy with the destruction at the Mosul Museum. Light a candle for Iraq’s heritage, our heritage.

Statement by British Museum on the Destruction of Objects in Mosul Museum

What goes on behind closed doors here, few
know, but when the time comes to speak out for the
portable heritage, the doors should not remain closed.
The 'encyclpaedic' British Museum apparently failed yesterday to deliver a statement about the portable antiquities destroyed in Mosul Museum and deliberate destruction of archaeological monuments of Northern Iraq to match the elegance of this one from the Metropolitan Museum of Art:
Speaking with great sadness on behalf of the Metropolitan, a museum whose collection proudly protects and displays the arts of ancient and Islamic Mesopotamia, we strongly condemn this act of catastrophic destruction to one of the most important museums in the Middle East. The Mosul Museum’s collection covers the entire range of civilization in the region, with outstanding sculptures from royal cities such as Nimrud, Nineveh, and Hatra in northern Iraq. This mindless attack on great art, on history, and on human understanding constitutes a tragic assault not only on the Mosul Museum, but on our universal commitment to use art to unite people and promote human understanding. Such wanton brutality must stop, before all vestiges of the ancient world are obliterated.
Even the Association of Art Museum Directors in America (jointly with the Archaeological Institute of America, Society for American Archaeology, and the American Schools of Oriental Research) managed to issue a similar statement - which sits very uneasily with their recent opposition to CCPIA MOUs attempting to deal with the problem of US dealers importing objects from places affected by 'pillage'. They, like the BM, need to get their act together.

UPDATE 27.02.15
Several hours later the BM press department stirred into action and issued a brief statement for the edification of the masses, just above the bit about them lending Greece's Parthenon marble bit to Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin:
The British Museum is very concerned to see the reports that militants have destroyed items in the Mosul Museum and sculptures in the Nergal Gate Museum on the edge of Nineveh. We naturally deplore all such acts of vandalism and destruction of cultural heritage, and continue to monitor the situation to the best of our ability. In the absence of further information it is difficult to verify the details of those objects featured in the footage. We can confirm that none of the objects featured in this video are copies of originals at the British Museum.
Well, of course they did not deign to look that closely, that would entail engaging with the heritage debate, blogger Chris Jones showed that among the objects destroyed in Mosul were casts of items in the BM. How "mischievous".

Archaeology Briefs


A rare Neolithic-era find of the skeletons of a couple embracing was found in excavations by the northern entrance of the Alepotrypa ('Foxhole') cave in southern Greece, on the Peloponnese peninsula. The Greek Culture Ministry now informs that DNA analyses show that the remains belong to a young couple, a man and a woman, both aged between 20 and 25, dating back almost 6,000 years and discovered next to numerous arrow heads.

The find is significant due to the corpses' antiquity and the fact that the man and woman were found entwined in an interlocking embrace, a very unusual position in archeological remains from this era. The researchers do not know how the couple died, but the fact they were buried together in this way suggests they died either at the same time, or during a similar time frame.

Both burials are part of a Neolithic cemetery in the greater area of the Neolithic Diros Cave, in western Mani, where excavations have yielded burials of children, embryos and adults dated from 4200 to 3800 BCE. According to most recent data and analyses, the cave appears to have been in use from Early to Final Neolithic (6000-3200 BCE) and served throughout as settlement and cemetery. At the end of the Final Neolithic (3200 BCE), a severe earthquake sealed the entrance of the cave and the remains of its inhabitants inside. The site has previously been linked with sparking myths about the Greek underworld god Hades.

Excavations began after an accidental discovery by speleologists Yiannis and Anna Petrocheilos in 1958. Excavations in the area were continued in 2014 under the honorary ephor of antiquities George Papathanassopoulos heading a committee of the Paleoanthropology Ephorate of Antiquities and the Speleological Society of Northern Greece.

Commenting on the finds, Dr. Papathanassopoulos said: "The type of burial in the foetal position is common in the Neolithic era, but the specific double burial in embrace is one of the earliest known examples. At some point, they will be exhibited in the museum."

Edited from Latin American Herald Tribune, EuroNews, Mail Online, Greece Reporter (13 February 2015)
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[4 images, 1 video]
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More than 30 years ago archaeologist Jonathan Driver was part of the team that uncovered one of the rarest finds in Canadian history - evidence of human occupation in northern British Columbia dating to the end of the last ice age.

Charlie Lake cave contained some of the oldest human remains in western Canada, as well as specialized weapons used to hunt large mammals, and animal skeletons suggesting ceremonial practices. The cave itself is not threatened by the planned construction of a dam and 83 kilometer long reservoir on the Peace River, starting in the summer of 2015, however hundreds of other sites will be flooded.

Dr Driver, a professor of archaeology at Simon Fraser University, says: "The Peace River was a well-travelled route between the lowlands and the front ranges of the Rocky Mountains. It goes down deep, so you can follow the history of people in the Peace River just as the ice age is ending and the first animals and plants and then people are moving into a brand new land, and at this site you can follow that for 12,000 years."

Field work to create a heritage inventory in 2010 found 26 Class 1 palaeontology finds - rare or especially well-preserved and diverse fossils - as well as almost 300 archaeological sites, plus heritage sites of the earliest European settlers. Sites and artifacts which cannot be saved will be studied. The prehistory of the area is still being pieced together. Recently, a local farmer donated boxes of artefacts including 8,000-year-old pieces of obsidian from faraway quarries, indicating a vast trading network.

The province has approved construction knowing that what it terms 'heritage resources' will disappear. With construction set to begin in June, there is little time left to preserve this part of British Columbia's history.

Edited from The Globe and Mail (1 February 2015)
[1 image]


A team of scientists has developed a mathematical technique that can work out how and when changes occurred to words in different languages, giving researchers the potential to turn the clock of human speech back thousands of years.

A leading evolutionary biologist at the University of Reading (UK) working with colleagues from the Santa Fe Institute (USA), professor Mark Pagel has detected these 'concerted sound changes', where a specific sound changes to another sound simultaneously in many different words. His team use statistical estimates of rates of lexical replacement for a range of vocabulary items in the Indo-European languages. The variation in replacement rates makes the most common vocabulary items promising candidates for estimating the divergence between pairs of languages.

The model was tested on the evolution of Turkic, a family of at least 35 languages spoken by peoples from southeastern Europe and the Mediterranean to Siberia and Western China, identifying more than 70 regular sound changes that occurred throughout the 2000 year history of the language group.

Pagel says: "Intriguingly, this concerted linguistic change has a parallel in genetics where the same changes can happen to several different genes simultaneously."

Pagel's research offers a fascinating picture of how our 7,000 living idioms have evolved, documenting shared patterns in the way we use language, and exploring the reasons why some words succeed and others become obsolete. His results suggest that forms of some common words used by Ice Age people living in Europe 15,000 years ago could still be recognized today.

Edited from PhysOrg (10 February 2015)


In 1891 a civil engineer from Bacup, Lancashire (England) was excavating in the Little Orme: one of two promontories which flank the town beach at Llandudno, on the coast of North Wales. What he discovered was a Neolithic female skeleton, dated at approximately 3,500 BCE. For whatever reason, the skeleton returned with the engineer to Bacup and it has remained there ever since.

Affectionately titled 'Blodwen', paying respect to her native Wales, research of her bones suggests she died between the age of 54 and 63 - which was remarkable for its time - was about 5ft (1.52m), of robust build, and probably from a farming community. She had arthritis in both her spine and knees and at the time of her death she was also suffering from secondary cancer.

For several years a Welsh historian, Frank Dibble, campaigned for the return of the ancient remains but sadly he passed away before he could achieve his ambition. Now the Stone Age skeleton is returning home after spending 120 years in England. Although the return is a permanent donation from the Bacup Natural History Society, there is still quite a cost involved in housing the exhibition. Fortunately the funds needed have been raised from a variety of sources and it is expected that a permanent exhibition will be opened to the public in April 2015, and will depict Llandudno in Neolithic times, with the skeleton as a centerpiece.

Edited from Daily Post (16 February 2015)
[4 images, 1 drawing]

February 27, 2015

AIA Fieldnotes

Heroic Offerings: The Terracotta Plaques from the Spartan Sanctuary of Agamemnon and Kassandra

Author Gina Salapata

Heroic Offerings sheds light on the study of religion in Sparta, one of Greece’s most powerful city-states and the long-term rival of Athens. Through the comprehensive study of a distinctive class of terracotta votive offerings from a specific sanctuary, Gina Salapata explores both coroplastic art and regional religion. By integrating archaeological, historical, literary, and epigraphic sources, she provides important insights into the heroic cults of Lakonia and contributes to an understanding of the political and social functions of local ritual practice. Read more »

Publisher University of Michigan Press
Date PublishedFebruary 2015

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

Is this Katharevousa and can anyone translate it? A passage from Damaskenos Monachos on St Nicholas punching Arius

Let me introduce to a certain Damaskenos Monachos.  Apparently he lived in the second half of the 16th century, and may (or may not) be identical with the man of that name who was Bishop of Liti and Rendini in 1564; and Metropolitan of Naupaktos and Arta in 1570.  He composed a biography of St Nicholas of Myra, based on earlier accounts, which he included in his Thesaurus.  The oldest edition of his work was printed in Venice in 1570.  There is information about him in E. Legrand, Bibliographie hellenique II (1885), p.12 f.

All these details I obtain from G. Anrich’s Hagios Nikolaus, I (1913), p.459-60.  Anrich prints an extract from the 1896 edition of the text which mentions, charmingly, how St Nicholas of Myra punched Arius on the jaw at the First Council of Nicaea.  I’ve posted it below.

Unfortunately I can’t read this.  A Greek correspondent tells me that it seems very like Katharevousa, or like the Greek that might be read in a service on Mt Athos.  I had not heard of this, but apparently it was a compromise between ancient and modern Greek which was the official language of Greece until 1976.  An educated Greek should be able to handle it, he thinks.

If you can read it – all of it -, would you like to translate it into English for me?  I can pay something.  You can message me via my contact form.

Here is the text:


UPDATE: And here are a couple more lines, from the Handbook of painting icons, issued by Mount Athos:


A kind correspondent has sent in a rough translation of all this material, which is as follows:

Damascenos the Monk:  Life of saint Nicholas the wonder-worker:  Large collection of lives of saints, or “Great Book of Saints” by Const. Chr. Doukakis.   20th of December, in Athens, 1896, pages 171-190.

10.  p.179-180.  After the king seated himself on the throne, one hundred and fifty nine fathers seated themselves at either side of him, both they and Arius arguing with much unease.  Saint Nicholas, noticing that Arius was about to quash all the archpriests and moved by divine zeal, rose up and gave him a slap that shook all his members. Complaining, Arius says to the king: “O most just king, is it fair, before your royal highness, for one to strike another?  If he has something to say, let him speak as the other fathers do; if he is ignorant, let him remain silent as his like are. For what reason does he slap me in the presence of your highness?”  Hearing this, the king was greatly disappointed and said to the archpriests: “Holy archpriests, it is the law, that whosoever raises his hand before the king to strike someone, that it should be cut off. I leave this to you, so that your holiness(es) might be the judge.”  The archpriests replied, saying: “Your majesty, that the archpriest has acted wrongly all of us confess it; except that we beseech you, let us unstate him now and imprison him, and after the dissolution of the council, we shall then convict him.”

Having unstated and imprisoned him, that night Christ and the Holy Mother Theotokos appeared in prison and said: “Nicholas, why are you imprisoned?”  And the saint replied: “For loving You”. Christ then said to him: “Take this,” and gave him the holy gospel; the Holy Mother Theotokos gave him the archpriestly omophorion (scapular).  The next day some acquaintances of his brought him bread and they saw that he was freed of his fetters and on his shoulder he was wearing the omophorion, while reading the holy gospel he was holding in his hands. Having asked him where he found them, he told them the whole truth.  Having learnt of this, the king took him out of the prison and asked for forgiveness, as did all the others.  After the dissolution of the council, all the archpriests returned home, as did saint Nicholas, to his province.

And from the painting manual (I don’t know the English name of this work: in German it is the Malbuch), the items seem to be legends to place on the icons.  The first reads as follows:

“The holy and ecumenical 1st Synod in Nicaea….
And Arius, standing, also in hieratic vestment, and standing before him, Saint Nicholas with arm outstretched to slap him.”

The second one says:

“The saint in prison, receiving the gospel from Christ and the omophorion from the Holy Mother. – Prison, and at the centre is the saint and Christ at his right holding a gospel; at his left the Theotokos holding an omphorion: they are giving these to him.”

Again, many thanks!  Comments are welcome!

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Is That Star Trek Uniform Blue and Black or Gold and White?

Kirk and Spock

Making a Star Trek contribution to the blue and black dress debate seemed an appropriate tribute to Leonard Nimoy.

Compitum - publications

Steven Biddlecombe, The Historia Ierosolimitana of Baldric of Bourgueil


Steven Biddlecombe, The Historia Ierosolimitana of Baldric of Bourgueil, Woodbridge, 2014.

Éditeur : Boydell Press
261 pages
ISBN : 9781843839019

Baldric of Bourgeil's Historia Ierosolimitana is a fascinating Latin prose account of the events of the First Crusade (1095-99), and a clarification of their miraculous meaning. It was composed around 1105 by Baldric, the abbot of Bourgueil, who later became the archbishop of Dol. It is a crucial text, yet, in part because its manuscript tradition has not been fully explored, it has been hitherto neglected.
This volume presents the first critical edition of the text for nearly 150 years. Importantly, the editor has established that the text exists in over three times as many manuscripts as originally thought, thus indicating a far greater impact, geographically and chronologically, for Baldric's work than has been previously considered, and placing it at the forefront of crusade accounts of the period. In addition to a careful examination of the greatly extended manuscript tradition, the editor's critical analysis explores Baldric's career; his writing style; the dating and reception of his text; the amplification of the language, narrative and characters found in his recapitulation of his primary source, the Gesta Francorum; the influence of the text on medieval authors from Orderic Vitalis to Humbert of Romans; and its perspective on the crusade as a means of protecting the familia Christi.

Source : Boydell and Brewer

Archaeology Magazine

Unusual Medieval Burials Found in York

York-Tudor-SkeletonsYORK, ENGLAND--Twelve skeletons dating to the time of the War of the Roses are thought to be the remains of soldiers or criminals executed at nearby Tyburn, where executions took place until 1802. All of the individuals were males between the ages of 24 and 40 at the time of death. Two of the men had suffered bone fractures that may be evidence of fighting. “We knew this was a fascinating find as, unlike fifteenth century Christian burial practice, the skeletons were all together and weren’t facing east-west,” Ruth Whyte, osteo-archaeologist for York Archaeological Trust, told The York Press. “They may have been captured in battle and brought to York for execution, possibly in the aftermath of the Battle of Towton during the Wars of the Roses, and their remains hastily buried near the gallows,” she said. To read about the recent discovery of a significant artifact dating to the war, see "War of the Roses Cannonball Recovered."

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents Newsletter

[First posted in AWOL 1 November 2009. Updated (additional issues) 28 February 2015]

 Have you taken the AWOL User Survey?

Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents Newsletter
The Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents was established in 1995 under the auspices of Oxford University's Faculty of Literae Humaniores to provide a focus for the study of ancient documents within Oxford. Over the last six years it has developed into a research centre of national and international importance. The Centre forms part of the Classics Centre, currently located in the Old Boys' School in George Street.
The Centre provides a home for Oxford University's epigraphical archive, which includes one of the largest collections of squeezes (paper impressions) of Greek inscriptions in the world, together with the Haverfield archive of Roman inscriptions from Britain, and a substantial photographic collection. The strengths of the epigraphical archive lie in its broad coverage of early Greek inscriptions, Attic epigraphy and the Hellenistic world. Individual sites well represented in the archive include Chios, Samos, Priene, Rhodes, and Samothrace. The material in the archive is currently being reorganised and catalogued.
The Centre's Newsletter, published biannually in spring and autumn, offers news of events and activities at CSAD. The newsletter can be read or downloaded either in HTML format or as an Adobe Acrobat document.

Newsletter no. 1 (Winter 1995/96)

Newsletter no. 2 (Spring 1996)

Newsletter no. 3 (Autumn 1996)

Newsletter no. 4 (Summer 1997)

Newsletter no. 5 (Autumn 1997)

Newsletter no. 6 (Summer 1998)

Newsletter no. 7 (Spring 1999)

Newsletter no. 8 (Autumn 1999)

Newsletter no. 9 (Winter 2002)

Newsletter no. 10 (Autumn 2002)

Newsletter no. 11 (Winter 2004/5)

Newsletter no. 12 (Winter 2009/10)

Newsletter no. 13 (Summer 2010)

Newsletter no. 14 (Winter 2010/11)

Newsletter no. 15 (Winter 2011/12)

Newsletter no. 16 (Spring 2013)

Archaeology Magazine

Fifth-Century Gorget Unearthed in Ohio

CINCINNATI, OHIO—Workers digging a trench earlier this month in Newtown, Ohio, uncovered a Native American burial that included a rare, fifth-century gorget. “A gorget is an ornamental item. These gorgets have three holes in them. They have two at the top for suspension and there’s one in the middle where they possibly could have been attached to clothing or something else,” Bob Genheimer, Rieveschl Curator for Archaeology at the Cincinnati Museum Center, told WVXU Cincinnati. The image on this decorative shell resembles a half bird and half cat. “We believe that the bird may be a Carolina Parakeet. Which, as many people know, is now an extinct bird, but used to be prevalent in the southern United States and as far north as here,” he said. The shell is thought to have come to Ohio from the Gulf Coast or the southern Atlantic region through trade, but it is unknown where the carving was done. The remains have been reported as required by the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. To read about a massive archaeological site in Ohio that dates to the same time, see "The Newark Earthworks."

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Inhofe Disproves Poverty and Hunger

Inhofe Money 3

On Facebook, Chris Code offered the following comment about Senator James Inhofe’s misguided attempt to disprove global warming by holding up a snowball:

This is Republican, science-denier logic for you. What will he ask next? “If poverty is real then where did I get this money? If world hunger is real then where did I get this cheeseburger? “

This seemed to me to deserve to become a meme. Or two.

Inhofe Cheeseburger


Rob Cain (Ancient Rome Refocused)

Old as the hills

I went to the VA today.    A older veteran was sitting waiting for a bus and was playing a flute.  He had a walking staff, a veterans hat, and was happily playing what is known as a ‘recorder.’  I could not help but think of an earlier time.  untitled

A more youthful image of what I saw, but I could imagine himself as this once...a long time ago.

A more youthful image of what I saw, but I could imagine himself as this once…a long time ago.

Archaeology Magazine

Noblewoman’s Grave Yields Anglo-Saxon Jewelry

Anglo-Saxon-PendantNORFOLK, ENGLAND—Archaeology student Tom Lucking was exploring a private field with a metal detector when a large and deep signal led him to the top of a bronze bowl. He refilled the hole and called in the geophysics team from the Suffolk Archaeological Field Group and Norfolk County Council’s Heritage Environment Service. The excavation revealed that the bowl was at the foot of the grave of an Anglo-Saxon noblewoman who had been buried with a fine pendant made of gold and jewels. “It’s so beautifully made. The garnet cells even have scored gold ‘foil’ at the back of them to catch the light,” archaeologist Steven Ashley of the Historic Environment Service said of the pendant. She also had a chatelaine, and a necklace made of two gold beads and repurposed gold coins. One of the coins in the necklace dates to between 639 and 656, and was minted for the Frankish king, Sigebert III. The bronze bowl was probably also imported from France. “She’s going to have known the kings of East Anglia, and France,” archaeologist Helen Geake commented to EDP 24. The woman’s skeletal remains will be analyzed for information about her age, diet, and medical conditions. For more on Anglo-Saxon archaeology, see "The Kings of Kent.'

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Greek Archaeological Mission in Mesopotamia Online

 [First posted in AWOL 26 May 2012, updated 27 February 2015]

Greek Archaeological Mission in Mesopotamia
The Faculty of History and Archaeology of the University of Athens obtained the permission of the Kurdistan Regional Government and the Ministry of Culture of the Republik of Iraq to conduct excavations in two important archaeological sites:
  • Tell Nader, which dates between the 6th and early 1st millennium B.C. and lies on the outskirts of the city of Erbil
  • Tell Baqrta, which dates from the Chalcolithic down to the Isalmic period and lies approximately 28 km to the south of Erbil, near the village Minara
In addition, the Governor of the Erbil Province, Mr. Nawzad Hadi Mawlood, invited a Historical Research Team of the University of Athens in order to examine older and new theories concerning the location of the Gaugamela battlefield.                                     

Tell Nader Project

Tell Baqrta Project

Gaugamela Project

Conference Proceedings

K. Kopanias, J. MacGinnis. Eds. In preparation. Archaeological Research in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and the adjacent areas. Conference Proceedings, Athens, November 1st-3rd 2013. Oxford: Archaeopress.


  1. Kopanias, K. Forthcoming. "An Attempt to Define the Ubaid and its Cultural Borders". In Bordered Places. Bounded Times. Cross-disciplinary perspectives on Turkey, edited by E. Baysal and L. Karakatsanis. BIAA Monograph series. London: The British Institute at Ankara.
  2. Kopanias, K., C. Beuger, J. MacGinnis, J. Ur. Forthcoming, "The Tell Baqrta Project in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq." In Proceedings of the Conference Provincial Archaeology of the Assyrian Empire, December 13-Saturday December 15 2012, organized by the MacDonald Institute for Archaeological Research of the University of Cambridge, edited by J. MacGinnis. Cambridge: McDonald Institute Monographs Series.
  3. Kopanias, K., S. Fox. Forthcoming. "Headshaping at Tell Nader." In Embodied Identities In The Prehistoric Eastern Mediterranean: Convergence Of Theory And Practices. Conference hosted by the University of Cyprus, 10-12 April 2012, Nicosia, Cyprus, edited by M. Mina, I. Papadatos, S. Triantaphyllou. Oxford: Oxbow Books.
  4. Kopanias, K. Forthcoming. "Archaeological research in Tell Nader and Tell Baqrta in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq." In EX ORIENTE LUX. Symposium about the Research and Teaching of the Egyptian, Near Eastern and Cypriote Archaeology in Greek Universities, co-organized by the University of Aegean and the University of Athens. Athens 20/5/2011, edited by P. Kousoulis. Athens: Papazisis [in Greek].
  5. Kopanias, K., C. Beuger, S. Fox. 2014. "Preliminary Results from the Excavation at Tell Nader in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq." In Proceedings of the 8th International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East 30 April - 4 May 2012, University of Warsaw, Τόμος 2, Excavation and Progress Reports, Posters, edited by P. Bieliński, M. Gawlikowski, R. Koliński, D. Ławecka, A. Sołtysiak, and Z. Wygnańska: 140-63. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.
  6. Kopanias, K., C. Beuger, T. Carter, S. Fox, A. Hadjikoumis, G. Kourtessi-Philippakis, A. Livarda, J. MacGinnis. 2013. "The Tell Nader and Tell Baqrta Project in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq: Preliminary Report of the 2011 Season." SUBARTU 6-7: 23-57.

Open Access Journal: Incontri (triestini) di filologia classica

 [First posted in AWOL 20 May 2013, updated (two new volumes) 27 February 2015]

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Incontri (triestini) di filologia classica
Gli Incontri di filologia classica (fino al vol. IX Incontri triestini di filologia classica) sono una pubblicazione periodica annuale che raccoglie le relazioni di studiosi appositamente invitati, presentate e discusse negli omonimi cicli di seminari, organizzati dal "Centro di studi sulla tradizione e la ricezione dell'antico" del Dipartimento di studi umanistici dell'Università di Trieste che si tengono con calendario prefissato per ogni anno accademico presso la Biblioteca statale di Trieste.

Si propongono di rendere disponibili alla comunità degli studiosi e a un più vasto pubblico interventi inediti (la cui redazione scritta è sottoposta a peer review) su temi inerenti la cultura classica, riuniti sia in volume (EUT – Edizioni Università di Trieste), sia liberamente accessibile online. I contributi, accompagnati da abstract in inglese e in italiano di max 200 parole, potranno essere nelle lingue italiana, inglese, tedesca, francese, spagnola, portoghese.

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Was Peter…?

I asked students whether Peter (as in the apostle) was married. Some decided to Google it. What they discovered is that most people who start their inquiry with “Was Peter” are not interested in the apostle and whether he was married. Here are the autocomplete suggestions:

Was Peter autocomplete

On the question of whether Peter was married, Google offered a response from that wasn’t half bad.

Archaeology Magazine

Domestic Grain DNA Discovered in Mesolithic Britain

sn-wheatHCOVENTRY, ENGLAND—A submerged archaeological site off the southern coast of England has yielded DNA from 8,000-year-old wheat. At the time, Mesolithic Britons were hunter-gatherers, but the DNA, collected from the sediments of the Solent, the strait separating the Isle of Wight from mainland England, suggests that they maintained social and trade networks with the Neolithic farmers of mainland Europe. “Common throughout Neolithic Southern Europe, einkorn is not found elsewhere in Britain until 2,000 years after the samples found at Bouldnor Cliff. For the einkorn to have reached this site there needs to have been contact between Mesolithic Britons and Neolithic farmers far across Europe. The land bridges provide a plausible facilitation of this contact. As such, far from being insular Mesolithic Britain was culturally and possibly physically connected to Europe,” said Robin Allaby of the University of Warwick, who co-led the research team with Vincent Gaffney of the University of Bradford and Mark Pallen of Warwick Medical School, the Maritime Archaeology Trust, the University of Birmingham, and the University of St. Andrews. “The use of ancient DNA from sediments also opens the door to new research on the older landscapes off the British Isles and coastal shelves across the world,” Gaffney added. To read more about early domestication, see "The Origins of Staple Foods Studied."

Samuel Fee (Arranged Delerium)

Mobilizing the Past

Mobilizing the Past starts now! The Mobilizing the Past for a Digital Future: The Potential of Digital Archaeology Worksop is underway this weekend. You can find the web site for the Workshop at Perhaps more immediately important, you can find video recordings of the… Continue reading

ISAW News Blog

News: Jill Golden becomes ISAW's New Assistant Head Librarian

Jill Golden joins the ISAW Library this week as its new Assistant Head Librarian. Jill comes to ISAW from the Hoover Institution Library and Archives at Stanford University, where she had worked as an archivist in charge of special projects, communications, and outreach since 2010. Jill has extensive experience in both archives and libraries in the United States and Europe, as well as deep experience in metadata and digital projects. She will therefore be an integral part of the team working on meeting the ISAW Library's current challenges, including the crafting of a strategic plan, the growth and curation of the Ancient World Digital Library, and a number of other operational and digital initiatives planned for the near and intermediate future.

In addition to her MLIS, Jill has an MA from Stanford in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, and so she is a welcome addition to ISAW's capacity to collect materials about Central Asia, in print and digital formats. The search committee was unanimous in its belief that Jill's mix of skills, experience, and vision made her the right librarian to help support and foster the signature culture of entrepreneurial engagement, active outreach, and technological savvy that is the hallmark of ISAW and the NYU Division of Libraries today.

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Leonard Nimoy Lived Long and Prospered

Leonard Nimoy has passed away, at age 83. Tributes are appearing far and wide. The character of Spock on Star Trek is obviously his most famous role, and the commitment to logic without emotion, and yet the forging of friendship and self-sacrifice, coupled with the ideology of Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations, offered a worldview that, although fictional and alien, inspired many human beings.

Here is a video in which Nimoy talks about the Jewish roots of the famous Vulcan salute.

Click here to view the embedded video.


Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Creslow Burial and Helen Geake in "The Searcher"

Someone objected to me showing
a smiling metal detectorist here,
so here instead is a picture of the
USAF doing Washington's bidding
and attacking someone
In the photo accompanying the "Searcher" feature story in the April 2015 number, American detectorist John Steele proudly shows his English metal detecting mates that he has all his own teeth.
Last year, on his first visit it the UK on a detecting tour organised by Weekend Wanderers, John Steele found a Roman burial in Buckinghamshire. He tells his own story of the discovery and I look in closer detail at the finds and their significance. John, a detectorist since 1969, lives in Colorado. He has been retired from the US Air Force for 13 years.
Does the Searcher metal detecting magazine (in which the British Museum's Helen Geake also has an article this month)  go through the problems caused to Buckinghamshire archaeologists by Col Steele's carefree foray in the British archaeological record? Does it tell readers that dealing with the find - on a known archaeological site being exploited for commercial purposes, the county's entire Emergency Fund was gobbled up and then there was nothing to allocate to Lenborough? Is this not an issue that should be of concern to responsible metal detectorists and written about and discussed in a magazine of this type? What is meant by responsible detecting anyway, just dig into something and let somebody else sort out the mess while the finder gets a pat on the back for shooting fish in a barrel? How much do commercial artefact hunting groups make from organizing events like metal detecting holidays for steely-jawed ex-US servicemen? How much of those profits do they pay into the emergency funds of counties where they operate to offset the substantial costs incurred in finishing the job properly? To what extent is Col Steele even aware of the extent of the problems his "dream find" caused for a lot of other people and organizations?

In any case, one of the justifications for metal detecting trotted out by the pro-collecting brigade is that these people are "learning about their past" through the activity of hoiking out archaeological evidence from sites and putting it in their pockets. Col Steele is not learning about any past at all pocketing British artefacts (note detectorist John Winter writes for the magazine describing the grave deposit itself) and Weekend Wanders is not facilitating anything much by taking money from people like him. Just what is going on here? How would you, how would the PAS, name this? How would you name this if it involved exploitive visits to other countries in other fields of human pleasure-seeking for money?

It is of course no use expecting the Portable Antiquities Scheme to be discussing this issue, but the rest of us can. Is this the way we should be treating Britain's fragile and finite archaeological heritage?

UPDATE 27th Feb 2015
Apparently in the "Searcher", Col Steele boasts "I’ve signed my interest over to the Bucks County Museum" I suppose that's a way to escape the full costs of excavation, conservation, analysis and publishing it. Now it's up to the Buckinghamshire Emergency Fund ('What the PAS Does Not Want You to Know About the Creslow Burial') and in true metal detecting fashion getting somebody else to pick up the bill - raising once again what we understand by "responsible detecting". Goodbye, good riddance and don't come back.

"Excavating casket" - another deep ragged hole
in Buckinghamshire's past (the History blog)