Maia Atlantis: Ancient World Blogs

Tom Elliott (

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June 25, 2016

Archaeology Magazine

Italy Pompeii skeletonsROME, ITALY—Archaeologists excavating a shop on the outskirts of Pompeii have found four skeletons, several gold coins, and a necklace pendant, according to an Associated Press report. The skeletons belonged to young people who died in the back of the shop when nearby Mount Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79. There was an oven in the shop that the archaeologists believe may have been used to make bronze objects. There is evidence that the shop was targeted by looters seeking treasure after the eruption, but they apparently missed the gold coins and the gold-leaf-foil, flower-shaped pendant. Archaeologists have been excavating a second shop as well, though they are unsure what its purpose was. The dig has also turned up a fourth-century B.C. tomb containing an adult skeleton surrounded by six black vases. For more on the archaeology of Pompeii, go to "Family History."

BEARDSTON, ILLINOIS—Archaeologists are excavating at the Lawrenz Gun Club site, one of the largest known fortified Mississippian Period villages in the Illinois River Valley, reports the Journal Courier. The site's defensive palisade was built around A.D. 1150, but a team led by Indiana University archaeologist Jeremy Wilson has unearthed another structure dating to A.D. 1100, which was part of an earlier and smaller settlement of some 100 people. The later fortified village could have housed up to 600 people and covered some 50 acres. The team has also unearthed a number of pot sherds as well as stone tools. “What we’re seeing here is ceramics that are either traded up or crafted in a very similar fashion to what was being made down near modern day St. Louis at that time," said Wilson. "The stone is also non-local. They’re getting a lot of this material from other parts of the lower Midwest.” To read about another site dating to the same period, go to “Mississippian Burning.”

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

What Have You Done?

Dawn breaks in Westminster June 24, 2016 (REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth)
As a European committed to living and working together, I was shocked, saddened and puzzled by the narrow brexit win in voting in the UK. I never liked Mr Cameron, thought he was a bit of an idiot, his and his government's handling of what will probably turn out to be one of the most important political decisions facing Britain in the first third of the 21st century totally confirmed that. This is going to affect the whole continent.  How could this happen when  the arguments for Britain retaining its place within the community of which it was one of the co-founders are so clear? Throughout the day it seemed I was not the only one asking these questions and a number of factors seem to have involved:

There were geographical issues
as well as social ones, :
Then demographic ones according to another breakdown:

This comment from a reader of the FT identifies some tragedies:

The new government which comes in after this fiasco has a real mess to deal with in the challenging and confusing times which this three percent majority has unleashed. From Europe, good luck with that. Who though, will want to be the new master of a sinking ship?

UPDATE 25th June 2016

The Guardian interviews some leavers in the West Midlands and found them pretty clueless: 'I hope I don’t live to regret this': Brexit doubts linger at the centre of England', whilein Barnsley, Channel 4 interviewed some brexiters to find out why they did what they did to their country: "it's to  stop the muslims" and Mr Phil E. Stine complains "they [EU] spent 13 million on art". I imagine there are a lot of issues which crossed the superficial minds of such people - or concern them now. But the other half of the nation have to live with the consequences of the preferences and concerns of the other half. Here's the world of British art reacting to the anti-cultural sentiment quoted above: Arts hit back at Brexit  Guardian. There is good reason for their reaction: 'Concern and dismay in the art world after Brexit vote' Apollo 24 June 2016. Anyway 'oo needs art eh?

For those concerned with heritage and the world of knowledge creation in Britain, there is more dismay: 'Brexit sends shockwaves through museums and heritage sector and poses the next great challenge', Museums and Heritage Advisor. Anyway 'oo needs arty-farty museums eh?

This is going to affect British science considerably: 'Brexit big blow to UK science, say top British scientists Guardian (concerns over losing £1bn a year in funding and closing doors on researchers from EU countries), 'EU referendum result: What does Brexit mean for the UK’s higher education sector and students?' Independent, 'Life after Brexit: what next for British universities?' Times Higher Education, 'Academics fear new Brexit – a brain exit – after referendum vote'  Independent. Anyway 'oo needs a scientists, esperts and academics eh?

The move will hit British citizens in the pocket (whether they are the half which voted for brexit or the half which has unwillingly to suffer the consequences of the actions of others), both individually: 'How will Brexit affect your finances?', BBC 24 June 2016, as well as communities: Financial Times 'The parts of the UK which rely the most heavily on the EU for exports were the most anti-EU', 'Cornwall votes for Brexit and then pleads to keep EU funding'  Independent. But they knew, for example: '17 things European funding has done for Merseyside' but the ungrateful people of Merseyside took the money and ran. Perhaps they'd like to give it back now. Anyway 'oo needs ter scrounge EU funds eh?

One of the faces of
British nationalism,
Nigel Farage
It is really saddening that, though a major motive behind the creation of the EU (and its predecessor organizations) was to try and curb the nationalisms that were behind the Second World War and which are a threat to peace everywhere. It is dismaying to hear the tub-thumping nationalist claptrap  coming from the mouth of brits as bigoted as their eastern European counterparts. It will backfire badly. Future historians will not judge this favourably ("@Ted Scheinman  24.06"...and in the end, Britain, which had colonized the world, destroyed itself in fantasies that it was being colonized in turn" — historians"). The differences in opinion over the issue is splitting the nation: Brexit: Nicola Sturgeon says second Scottish independence vote 'highly likely' - BBC News ("Hey, happy brexit celebrators waving Union Jacks! You just broke the union!")

The strains within Britain that led to this referendum result are universal, at least in the West. Insurgent movements of left and right, posing as standard-bearers of a popular revolt against the political establishment, can spread and grow at scale and speed. Today’s polarized and fragmented news coverage only encourages such insurgencies — an effect magnified many times by the social media revolution.
It was already clear before the Brexit vote that modern populist movements could take control of political parties. What wasn’t clear was whether they could take over a country like Britain. Now we know they can.
Those in the political center were demonized as out-of-touch elites, as though the people leading the insurgency were ordinary folks — which, in the case of the Brexit campaign, is a laughable proposition. The campaign made the word “expert” virtually a term of abuse, and when experts warned of the economic harm that would follow Brexit, they were castigated as “scaremongers.” Immigrants were described as a bunch of scroungers coming to grab Britons’ jobs and benefits when, in reality, the recent migrants from Eastern Europe contribute far more in taxes than they take in welfare payments. And besides, immigration to Britain from outside the European Union will not be affected by the referendum decision.
The political center has lost its power to persuade and its essential means of connection to the people it seeks to represent. Instead, we are seeing a convergence of the far left and far right. The right attacks immigrants while the left rails at bankers, but the spirit of insurgency, the venting of anger at those in power and the addiction to simple, demagogic answers to complex problems are the same for both extremes. Underlying it all is a shared hostility to globalization. [...] the challenges of globalization cannot be met by isolationism or shutting borders. The center must regain its political traction, rediscover its capacity to analyze the problems we all face and find solutions that rise above the populist anger. If we do not succeed in beating back the far left and far right before they take the nations of Europe on this reckless experiment, it will end the way such rash action always does in history: at best, in disillusion; at worst, in rancorous division. The center must hold.

The issue is however that it is precisely to "countries like Britain" and the USA that we should be looking for that reasoned alternative to extremist and uncritical populism. The education systems of these countries does seem to be failing to inculate such attitudes and ability to think things through and take rational and informed decisions. Anyhow, next week's 'New Yorker' title page will figure  “Silly Walk Off a Cliff,” by Barry Blitt, while Andy Borowitz points out also in the New Yorker that 'British Lose Right to Claim That Americans Are Dumber'.They certainly do. In this context, the British dumbdown presentations of the issues surrounding archaeology and artefact collecting take on a new context.We need to fight dumbdown and anti-intellectualism.

June 24, 2016

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Accesss Journal: Aitia. Regards sur la culture hellénistique au XXIème siècle

 [First posted in AWOL 30 May 2012, updated 24 June 2016]

Aitia. Regards sur la culture hellénistique au XXIème siècle
ISSN electronic edition: 1775-4275
Aitia. Regards sur la culture hellénistique au XXIe siècle est une revue internationale électronique. Elle s’intéresse à l’ensemble de la culture hellénistique. Les études hellénisitiques ont fait durant les deux dernières décennies des progrès considérables et ont connu d’importants bouleversements. Toute cette importante partie de la littérature, de l’art et de la philosophie est longtemps restée dans l’indifférence des chercheurs et universitaires en raison de son caractère déjà tardif et de sa complexité. La notion même de « période hellénistique » – qui débute au moment de la mort d’Alexandre, en 323 avant J.-C. et s’achève autour de 30 av. J.-C. – est assez récente. C’est pourtant un moment essentiel de l’histoire culturelle à l’articulation entre le monde classique grec et le monde romain, un moment essentiel où, notamment, se mettent en place la critique littéraire et l’approche scientifique des textes dans le cadre de la Bibliothèque du Musée à Alexandrie.

Comptes rendus

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

The Crackpot Index

John Baez came up with a “Crackpot Index” for those who think they are geniuses with revolutionary ideas in physics. What do you say we adapt the list for the field of historical Jesus? How do you think the list below – adapted ever so slightly from Baez’s – works? What changes would you recommend? How [Read More...]

David Meadows (rogueclassicism)

Returning to the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife: Reflections and Implications (I)

As readers of rogueclassicism are probably already aware, a couple of weeks ago Ariel Sabar wrote a lengthy piece in the Atlantic documenting his successful search for the owner of the so-called Gospel of Jesus Wife. It’s a sequel to an earlier piece he wrote for the Smithsonian Magazine back when the story was just breaking and overlaps to a large extent with some of the work Owen Jarus has been doing for Live Science over the past couple of years. It also overlaps with some of my own research, which I never actually had the opportunity to blog at the time (and which was largely covered by Owen Jarus’ pieces). Because of Sabar’s investigative journalism, the questions about authenticity of the fragment currently loom larger than ever. At the same time, however, the investigative journalism approach tends to focus on the ‘telling of the story’ as much as the information involved, and important things might get lost along the way. The present post is an attempt to bring together as much as possible into one post everything that can be known about the GJW; a second post will consider the implications of this episode for scholars in Classics (soon-to-be-open museums) who are dealing with ‘new’ papyrus finds.

At the outset, I encourage people to set aside an hour or so to read the investigative journalism pieces in order; the Owen Jarus pieces are important because much of what Sabar reveals was already revealed by Jarus in one form or another:

As hinted at above, I’m going to try and organize this in a timeline, which makes the series of events  and assorted reactions a bit easier to follow. The timeline is interspersed with notes and observations along the way. An additional abbreviation to note is (KK), which is information gleaned from Karen King’s various accounts, but primarily:

  • King, Karen L. 2014. ““Jesus said to them, ‘My wife . . .’”: A New Coptic Papyrus Fragment.” Harvard Theological Review 107, no.2: 131-159 (online here)

It’s worth putting a link to Harvard’s collection of materials which include images (in theory; they don’t come up) and the scientific test reports (which may or may not download for you):

We’ll begin with Dr King’s account in Harvard Theological Review of how the GJW came to her:

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

… a footnote provides some additional information:

The second document is a photocopy of a typed and signed letter addressed to H. U. Laukamp dated July 15, 1982, from Prof. Dr. Peter Munro (Freie Universität, Ägyptologisches Seminar, Berlin), stating that a colleague, Professor Fecht, has identified one of Mr. Laukamp’s papyri as having nine lines of writing and measuring approximately 110 x 80 mm, and containing text from the Gospel of John.

… and away we go!

Annotated Timeline:

1961:  Laukamp swims to Berlin (AS2)

1963: Laukamp acquires papyri in Potsdam (KK)

  • so almost immediately there is a question: If Laukamp escaped East Germany in 1961, is he likely to have gone back in 1963 to ‘acquire’ the papyri?

1982 (July 15): Correspondence from Peter Munro from Gerhard Fecht to Laukamp identifying one of his papyri as being a fragment of the Gospel of John (KK)

1988-1992 or 1993: Walter Fritz is an MA student at the Free University of Berlin  (Freie Universität Berlin) (AS2)

1989:Jürgen Osing new department chair at the Free University;  apparently one tough cookie (AS2)

1991: Fritz publishes an article in Studien zur Altägyptischen Kultur, orS tudies in Ancient Egyptian Culture  which apparently is still influential, but wasn’t very original(AS2)

1991 (October): Fritz hired as head of the Stasi Museum (AS2)

1992 (“Spring”): Fritz is dismissed (AS2)

  • It’s worth quoting AS on this one:

In March 1992, five months into the job, the museum’s board members ordered him to shape up. They were concerned, among other things, about valuables—paintings, Nazi military medals, Stasi memorabilia—that had gone missing from the building’s storage during Fritz’s tenure. Drieselmann confronted him about his job performance in the spring of 1992. Not long after, Fritz disappeared, leaving behind a resignation letter.

1990s  (“1992-1995”): Fritz meets Laukamp; various stories(AS2)

  • not sure the ‘met at a von Daniken’ lecture is really necessary; I’m sure this is something which could be checked out …

1993 (at the latest): Fritz in Florida (AS2)

1995: Laukamp and Herzsprung running ACMB (AS2)

1996: Nefer Art’s website is up (my own research)

  • In April of 2014 I came across Nefer Art’s website in the Wayback Machine after following various online sources which referred to this Walter Fritz fellow. The website bears a copyright date on its front page of 1996-2014. Nefer Art was ostensibly a photography business, but their webpage seemed to indicate other things were going one. I was particularly struck, by an image (without a label or comment) on one of the pages: a18
  • I sent this image to assorted journalists and papyrologists for comment and my query clearly circulated around. Most saw the reference to Hecate and below there is a reference to Phoebe. None of those who responded had ever seen it before and didn’t think it was authentic. In the most recent wave of reaction to Sabar’s Atlantic piece, Christian Askeland brings up the above and gives pretty much the common opinion (More on the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife and Walter Fritz). The drawing is pretty ‘simplistic’ and it really doesn’t have any affinities with any known illustrated papyri and the diacritics on the Greek are potentially anachronistic. In passing we might mention the apparent ‘fascinum’ approaching the nude female, which might suggest someone was looking at items from Pompeii, but that’s speculation.
  • What isn’t mentioned in the various sites now mentioning this piece is the page it comes from  has a copyright date 1996-2012, which might provide a terminus ante quem of sorts.
  • Besides this little papyrus scrap, what also interested me about this was the name ‘Nefer Art’. Readers might recall that Frieda Nussberger-Tchacos (of Gospel of Judas fame) had a gallery named Gallery Nefer and obviously had been selling papyri therefrom.  There seems to be a Gospel of Judas connection in here somewhere (possibly coincidental)

1997: Laukamp in Florida (AS2)

1997: Walter Fritz purchases papyri from Laukamp (AS1)

  • not sure if the 1997 date is a typo in the article, something misheard by Sabar in an interview with King, or just some mistake along the way; the papyrus wasn’t sold until two years later according to the contract

1999: (November 12): Laukamp sells papyri to Fritz (AS)(KK)

1999 (December): Laukamp’s wife dies in Germany (with Laukamp at her side); four days later, the American branch of ACMB is registered in Venice, Florida with Walter Fritz as one of the signatories (AS)

  • when I was checking out the address of ACMB in Florida it appeared it was little more than an office; there do not seem to be ‘machine facilities’ in a building full of medical services and the like

2002 (August): ACMB bankrupt (AS2)

2002: Laukamp dies in Germany (KK)

2002: Gospel of Thomas posted on the Internet (AS2)

  • mentioned because in the scholarly/blog reaction to publication of the fragment, it was clear that there was some connection to the Gospel of Thomas, specifically the online version which had a significant error in it.

2003: Walter Fritz running a web-based porn site (AS2)

  • As might be imagined, this seems to be the thing everyone (especially the Daily Mail) latches on to. Rather than taking the moralistic stance, however, we really should be looking at this in relation to the timeline and ask why no one has really looked into Fritz’s other sources of income. With ACMB bankrupt, an income stream has clearly dried up. AS2 tells us Fritz and his wife derived up to a third of their income from this. Where was the other two-thirds coming from?

2006 (December 13): Gerhard Fecht dies (KK) … confirmed

2006 (April): National Geographic publishes the Gospel of Judas

2007 (March) Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity  is published by Elaine Pagels and  Karen King, correcting some aspects of the initial publication

  • Yes, Karen King was connected to the Gospel of Judas; it seems likely that this was how her name was known to Fritz

2008 (January 2): Peter Munro dies (KK) … obituary

2008 (April): Walter Fritz tries (and fails) to sell his house in Florida (AS)

  • possible  further indication of financial difficulties?

2009 (August): Fritz’s wife’s blogpost (AS2)

  • this is another one which Christian Askeland has mentioned in one of his recent posts. Fritz’s wife blogs about making little amulets which incorporate bits of papyrus. The interesting quote:

I got these fragments from a reputable manuscript dealer who was restoring a larger papyrus with a christian gospel on it. The fragments were left over and couldn’t be incorporated into the big papyrus any more because they were so small. I have photos of the restoring process.

2009: Walter Fritz in London; visits a dealer with his papyrus collection (AS2)

  • taken in conjunction with the ‘wife’s blogpost’, we now have to wonder: did Fritz go to London before or after August of 2009? Askeland thinks the GJW was created after Monroe’s death; perhaps the trip to London was a sidetrip after a funeral? Did he take his papyrus collection there to get it evaluated or was he there to purchase? It would be very useful to know which dealer in London this might have been.
  • restoring a Christian gospel … this definitely requires further investigation. Maybe the Museum of the Bible knows about large Christian gospel papyri that hit the market in 2009?

2010 (February): Walter Fritz tries (and fails) to sell his house in Florida (AS2)

  • again, financial difficulties?

2010 (April): Walter Fritz writes Vatican about sexual abuse as a child (AS2)

  • if we add this to the ‘financial difficulties’ speculation, it’s worth noting that 2010 was a big year for the Vatican compensating sexual abuse victims. For German victims, such compensation was approved in September of that year. It doesn’t appear, however, that Fritz’ claims were compensated.

2010 (July 9): Walter Fritz emails Karen King about the papyrus; she is suspicious and says she didn’t have time.

2011 (June ?): Walter Fritz emails Karen King again … something about a Gospel of Thomas connection; KK asks to see the papyrus (AS2)

2011 (December): Walter Fritz delivers the papyri to King. On loan to Harvard for ten years?

2012 (March): Roger Bagnall express the opinion that it is authentic based on ink penetration (AS2)

2012 (August 26): Walter Fritz registers the website: (AS2)

  • This is important insofar as it raises the question of who came up with the title. It’s also important because clearly Fritz is trying to make money off this somehow

2012 (September 18): Karen King announces the details about the papyrus at the International Coptic Congress in Rome (AS1)

2012 (November 14-15, 2012) Malcolm Choat examined the fragment during a visit to Harvard  (KK)

  •  It would later result in: Malcolm Choat (2014). The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife: A Preliminary Paleographical Assessment . Harvard Theological Review, 107, pp 160-162. doi:10.1017/S0017816014000145.

2012 (December 17) Microscopic imaging was conducted by Douglas Fishkind and Casey Kraft with Henry Lie at the Harvard Center for Biological Imaging  (KK)

2013 (March 11-12) Raman testing of the ink was done by James Yardley with Alexis Hagadorn at Columbia University (KK)

  • ink testing suggested there was nothing inconsistent with ancient ink;  it apparently took three months to acquire funding for radiocarbon testing. We note that at one point in this saga that ‘the owner’ was going to pay for the radiocarbon testing; perhaps the fact that it took so long is another indication of his financial situation

2013 (June-July) Radiocarbon analysis was performed by Greg Hodgins at the University of Arizona Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Laboratory. Funding  provided by a gift from Tricia Nichols. (KK)

  • I’m very curious about Tricia Nichols’ involvement in this. She’s a Denver-based philanthropist and  I can’t help but wonder who approached her: was it King? Fritz? What is the connection?

2013 (August 26) Multispectral imaging was performed by Michael Toth and select images were processed by William Christians-Barry (KK)

  • I couldn’t get the images of this to come up today, but I’m wondering why this technology wasn’t used to get a better reading of the faded side …

2013 (November 5) Timothy Swager, Joseph Azzarelli and John Goods performed Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) testing at MIT (KK)

2014 (April 10):  Harvard press release about the results of the testing demonstrating that the papyrus is ancient

Now the scientific dating of the papyrus and analysis of the ink (which is not ink at all, but rather lampblack, a pigment often used in ancient Egypt for writing on papyrus) indicate that both are consistent with an ancient origin.

Because the fragment is so small, carbon-dating it proved troublesome. Researchers at the University of Arizona called into question their own results—which dated the papyrus to several hundred years before the birth of Christ—because they were unable to complete the cleaning process on the small sample of papyrus with which they were working, and felt that might have led to spurious results. A second carbon-dating analysis undertaken by Clay professor of scientific archaeology Noreen Tuross at Harvard and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute dated the papyrus, and a separate one (also believed to be of ancient origin) with text from the Gospel of John to approximately A.D. 700 to 800.

Because the text concerning Jesus’s wife is written in Sahidic, a language of ancient Egypt, it may be a transcription of an earlier Coptic text that was based on a Greek copy, as many early Christian gospels are. Given similarities in wording and subject to the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary, and the Gospel of Philip, the text of the GJW may originate in a time as early as the second half of the second century C.E.

2014 (April): the critical edition is published by the Harvard Theological Review

2014: Porn sites associated with Fritz  are taken down (AS2)

  • I wonder how closely this coincides with  the publication; was Fritz going to admit he was the owner of the papyri? Whatever the case, that income stream has apparently dried up.

2014 (by December): comparison of the fragment of the Gospel of John which was also part of the package which King was given was demonstrated to be much later, and so the doubts about the authenticity of the GJW were renewed.

  • The December 2014 article in the Atlantic provides an excellent summary: The Curious Case of Jesus’s Wife
  • it is worth noting that King continued to refuse to believe the item was a forgery

2015 (November): Fritz denies being an Egyptologist; denies being the owner of the papyrus and doesn’t know who is (AS2)

2016 (March): Fritz denies being the owner, but says he knows the owner. He also denies forging the papyri (AS2)

2016 (two weeks later): Fritz admits he is the owner of the papyrus (AS2)

  • not sure why the ‘forging’ angle wasn’t pursued

2016 (April): AS meets Fritz face to face and ‘fleshes’ out the tale.

In short, the whole story of Walter Fritz and his admission that he is the owner of the piece clearly suggests that the Gospel of Jesus Wife probably isn’t living up to its billing. Without getting into the salacious side of things, he clearly has the knowledge to pull off a forgery — whether he had the talent is not clear (but his wife is an artist! Hmmmm). He seems to have had numerous opportunities to acquire papyri.  He had a spell of financial difficulty which might provide motive; he seems to have some chip on his shoulder in regards to academia, which might also provide motive; he seems to be somewhat charismatic and probably made use of that as well. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more from/about Walter in the next few months.

In the wake of the article, Karen King would concede that the information provided ‘tipped the balance’ in favour of forgery: Karen King Responds to ‘The Unbelievable Tale of Jesus’s Wife’

I asked why she hadn’t undertaken an investigation of the papyrus’s origins and the owner’s background. “Your article has helped me see that provenance can be investigated,” she said.

Many news reports in the wake of the Atlantic article give the impression that this is something ‘shocking’, but is it? Karen King did a lot of things right:

  • she was initially skeptical of the claim
  • she showed the papyrus to several people for their opinion (including Roger Bagnall, who isn’t someone who would be directly connected to her ‘school of thought’)
  • she announced the discovery at a scholarly congress and not on some significant date like Easter or Christmas
  • she made preliminary versions of her paper and photos available
  • she acted on peer review suggestions to have it tested

… but she did at least one thing wrong:

  • after being so up front about the announcement and preliminary paper, she did not keep us similarly informed about the testing (i.e. she should have said ‘we are going to do this, that, and the other thing which will probably take x number of months’
  • she was not suspicious that she was given photocopies of documents; photocopying can cover up a number of ‘peccadilloes’ when one wants to fake a document (I’m sure I’m not the only one who (ages ago) photocopied any typewritten page which had used whiteout/correction fluid in order that the ‘need for correction’ wasn’t apparent in the good cop)

Notice that I did not include ‘not investigating provenance’ in there. What she had and what she told us was probably more than we’ve had in regards to a papyrus from many times. If we are ever told anything, it’s usually something like ‘acquired at an auction’ or ‘some famous dead guy acquired this from a shop in Cairo in 1922). From what I can tell, King actually gave us more than we usually get and she pretty much decided it was a closed case since everyone involved was dead. She really should not be criticized for doing what pretty much the whole discipline has been doing for at least a century.

Clearly, however, things have changed. We’ll consider the implications of all this (and the growing interest in provenance/collecting history) in a subsequent piece. One last thing to mention, however: we have been told that there were six papyri in this collection and the owner — who we now know to be Walter Fritz — was trying to sell them to Harvard. The Gospel of John piece is obviously one of the six along with the GJW. What about the other four? Is everything still being offered for sale to Harvard? Is someone else working on the other four papyri? These are some rather large questions which still need to be answered.

Kristina Killgrove (Forbes)

Four Human Skeletons Appear In Ancient Shop Near Pompeii

French archaeologists digging at Pompeii were surprised when they found four skeletons in the back of an ancient shop.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Skeletons, coins found in dig of ancient Pompeii shop

Italian and French archaeologists have discovered four skeletons and gold coins in the ruins of an...

Canaanites Sacrificed Animals From Egypt 5,000 Years Ago

The ancient Canaanites living in Gath some 5,000 years ago weren’t sacrificing their own...

Archaeology Magazine

RAMAT-GAN, ISRAEL—Archaeologists have found evidence that ancient Canaanites imported and sacrificed animals from Egypt around 5,000 years ago. Isotopic analysis of donkey, sheep, and goat remains found in Early Bronze Age levels at Gath shows that the animals were born and raised in the Nile River valley and arrived in Canaan shortly before their deaths. “That there were trade connections between Egypt and Canaan in the Early Bronze Age is not new,” said Aren Maeir, head of the excavations in Gath, told Haaretz. “The fact that animals were a part of the trade—and that they went from Egypt to Canaan—is very interesting.” Among the imported animal remains was a complete skeleton of a donkey that was found under the foundations of a residential building. The donkey was apparently sacrificed and then put in place before the start of construction, a practice known from other Early Bronze Age sites in Israel. For more, go to “The Gates of Gath.”

Japan Early Rice PaddiesNARA, JAPAN—In the south of Japan’s largest island of Honshu, archaeologists digging at the site of a future hotel have discovered remnants of 2,500-year-old rice paddies, reports the Asahi Shimbun. The paddies were planted during the Yayoi period, which lasted from 300 B.C. to A.D. 300. Traces of small rice paddies dating to this period had been found in the area, but the newly discovered paddies number around 500, and some measure up to 530 square feet. The discovery shows rice cultivation existed on a massive scale in Japan earlier than previously believed. To read more about archaeology in Japan, go to "Khubilai Khan Fleet." 

Liz Gloyn (Classically Inclined)

On Pandora and the opening of Zeus’ gift

But when he had finished the sheer, hopeless snare, the Father sent glorious Argus-Slayer, the swift messenger of the gods, to take it to Epimetheus as a gift. And Epimetheus did not think on what Prometheus had said to him, bidding him never take a gift of Olympian Zeus, but to send it back for fear it might prove to be something harmful to men. But he took the gift, and afterwards, when the evil thing was already his, he understood. For ere this the tribes of men lived on earth remote and free from ills and hard toil and heavy sickness which bring the Fates upon men; for in misery men grow old quickly. But the woman took off the great lid of the jar with her hands and scattered all these and her thought caused sorrow and mischief to men. – Hesiod, Works and Days.

I’m writing this on my way back from a conference in Dublin, where I have found it very difficult to give a paper on classical monsters in Hollywood films since 2000, and equally difficult to concentrate on the panel I have been attending about the nature of the ancient epic in the modern world. British classicists have checked the BBC and social media obsessively, sworn a fair bit, looked at each other hopelessly. Our European and international colleagues have commiserated, hugged, looked at an equal loss. And those who are British but work in the EU, or are EU nationals who work in Britain, have been doing a bit of everything.

Pandora’s jar has been opened and we are seeing the evils come out into the world.

We have had the Prime Minister resign, key pledges from the Leave campaign dismissed as ‘mistakes’, the financial markets drop sharply and struggle to right themselves, people who voted Leave astonished and upset to discover their vote actually counted, Scotland and Ireland reconsidering their positions as part of the Union, the EU Commission trying to get this process over and done with as quickly as possible, and on, and on, and on.

I am worried for myself, for my son, for my little family that had just got a little bit of stability, for my wider family, for the higher education sector, for those who had so much to lose – although, if I’m honest, in a rather blank sort of way, because I suspect I’m still in shock.

And yet. And yet.

When Pandora had opened the jar, and all the evils had flown out and into the world, one last thing remained. Hope.

Hope in the majority of people under 49 who voted to Remain, and whose political day is coming. Hope in three months’ grace before a change of Prime Minister. Hope in the pause before Article 50 is invoked. Hope in the time it will take the dust to settle and to see what landscape actually remains. Hope in the potential this has to re-engage people who believed their votes didn’t matter. Hope in the unlikeliest of places, also in the jar. Whether or not it too was an evil remains to be seen.

Only Hope remained there in an unbreakable home within under the rim of the great jar, and did not fly out at the door; for ere that, the lid of the jar stopped her, by the will of Aegis-holding Zeus who gathers the clouds.

Ancient Peoples

Gold bracelet with bust of Roma (female personification of...

Gold bracelet with bust of Roma (female personification of Rome)

Byzantine, made in Rome 400–450 AD

Personifications, like this one of Rome, were creations of the classical world that remained popular in Byzantium.

This work was part of a hoard found at the base of the Capitoline Hill, the center of commercial activity in Rome even after the transfer of the imperial capital to Constantinople. The jewelry was probably hidden during the sack of Rome by the Visigoths in 410 or the Vandals in 455.

Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Dienekes' Anthropology Blog

Population history with physically phased genomes

bioRxiv doi:

Modeling human population separation history using physically phased genomes

Shiya Song, Elzbieta Sliwerska, Sarah Emery, Jeffrey M Kidd

Phased haplotype sequences are a key component in many population genetic analyses since variation in haplotypes reflects the action of recombination, selection, and changes in population size. In humans, haplotypes are typically estimated from unphased sequence or genotyping data using statistical models applied to large reference panels. To assess the importance of correct haplotype phase on population history inference, we performed fosmid pool sequencing and resolved phased haplotypes of five individuals from diverse African populations (including Yoruba, Esan, Gambia, Massai and Mende). We physically phased 98% of heterozygous SNPs into haplotype-resolved blocks, obtaining a block N50 of 1 Mbp. We combined these data with additional phased genomes from San, Mbuti, Gujarati and CEPH European populations and analyzed population size and separation history using the Pairwise Sequentially Markovian Coalescent (PSMC) and Multiple Sequentially Markovian Coalescent (MSMC) models. We find that statistically phased haplotypes yield an earlier split-time estimation compared with experimentally phased haplotypes. To better interpret patterns of cross-population coalescence, we implemented an approximate Bayesian computation (ABC) approach to estimate population split times and migration rates by fitting the distribution of coalescent times inferred between two haplotypes, one from each population, to a standard Isolation-with-Migration model. We inferred that the separation between hunter-gather populations and other populations happened around 120,000 to 140,000 years ago with gene flow continuing until 30,000 to 40,000 years ago; separation between west African and out of African populations happened around 70,000 to 80,000 years ago, while the separation between Massai and out of African populations happened around 50,000 years ago.


Archaeological News on Tumblr

Large rice paddies existed 2,500 years ago in central Nara

NARA–Remnants of hundreds of rice paddies dating back 2,300 to 2,500 years were found, the...

ArcheoNet BE

Voor het eerst sinds 1952 restanten van Belgische soldaten gevonden

Tijdens archeologisch bodemonderzoek in de Tuinwijk in Diksmuide zijn twee weken geleden de resten van drie Belgische en één Franse soldaat gevonden die sneuvelden tijdens Wereldoorlog I. “Aan de hand van bijvondsten konden we vaststellen dat de Belgische soldaten deel uitmaakten van de Twaalfde Linie uit Spa”, licht archeologe Marie Lefere toe. Dankzij de lijst met vermiste soldaten kon men het aantal mogelijke identiteiten al terugbrengen tot een dertigtal. Verdere studie van het botmateriaal en DNA zal het hopelijk mogelijk maken de gesneuvelden te matchen met nabestaanden. Meer info via De Redactie.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Exploring the prehistory of Palawan Island through human remains

Researchers are excavating human remains from caves in Palawan Island in the Philippines to learn...


Arcadian round-up

To begin with... 
μίνονσαι = μένουσαι (Buck, no. 22 = Schwyzer 657):
(1) *ntya- > nsya (Buck, sect. 77.3), (2) -ns- preserved, and (3)-ιν- < -εν-.

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Apre il MuCaS, il Museo del Carnevale di Sciacca con un nuovo allestimento multimediale

Per celebrare e valorizzare compiutamente la storia di una manifestazione annuale dalla tradizione ultracentenaria, capace di aggregare la cittadinanza saccense e richiamare turisti ed appassionati, è stato ripensato e progettato un nuovo allestimento del Museo del Carnevale di Sciacca.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Eastern Africans Hunted with Poison-Tipped Arrows at least 13,000 Years Ago

Bone technology was essential to a Stone Age man’s lifestyle and has been shown to have been in use...

Construction site near Kamloops uncovers proof of 'pre-contact Indigenous habitation'

An archaeological dig at a construction site on Kamloops Lake has led to a find that local...

Compitum - publications

S. C. Mimouni et M. Scopello, La mystique théorétique et théurgique dans l\'Antiquité ...


Simon C. Mimouni et Madeleine Scopello (éd.), La mystique théorétique et théurgique dans l'Antiquité gréco-romaine: Judaïsmes et christianismes, Turnhout, 2016.

Éditeur : Brepols
Collection : Judaïsme ancien et origines du christianisme 6
601 pages
ISBN : 978-2-503-56188-2

Dans ce volume sont publiés une partie des résultats d'un programme de recherche intitulé «Mystique théorétique et théurgique dans l'Antiquité gréco-romaine» et sous-titré «paganismes, judaïsmes, christianismes»: c'est dire sa diversité, son ouverture et sa portée dans un monde scientifique où le cloisonnement – sans doute rendu inévitable à cause de la variété des sources et concepts – des disciplines et des domaines devient de plus en plus préjudiciable à une perspective globalisante. Ainsi l'objet de ce projet a été de rendre compte non seulement des pratiques mystiques (rituelles ou cultuelles) mais aussi du versant spéculatif ou intellectuel de la mystique tel qu'on le trouve en œuvre, par exemple, dans la philosophie grecque.

Lire la suite...

Aerial Photographic Archive for Archaeology in the Middle East

Early Turkish Aviation – and Disaster

Following the successful French-organized staged flights from Paris to Cairo in late 1913 (see posts on this Blog of 31 July and 12 and 13 August 2015), the Turkish military planned their own display of aviation prowess. Military aircraft were to fly from Constantinople to Cairo, across Anatolia, Syria and Palestine. They set off on 8 February 1914. One aircraft crashed on the Golan Heights killing both the crew. The second crashed into the sea off Jaffa killing one of the crew. All were buried in Damascus and a monument was erected near the Sea of Galilee. In Constantinople a second monument was set up - inaugurated in 1916, dedicated to these ‘martyrs’ as they were designated. It is in a park in front of the former City Hall.
Aviators' Monument Istanbul. Photographer: David L. Kennedy. APAAMEG_20160609_DLK-0083.
The broken marble column has two brass plates attached, one with the names of the dead. The second plate depicts an aircraft, a mosque (Suleymaniye?), the monumental entrance to Istanbul University, the nearby Beyazit Tower (then part of the Ministry of War) and the two pyramids in Egypt.

Aviators' Monument Istanbul. Photographer: David L. Kennedy. APAAMEG_20160611_DLK-0066 (Cropped)

Jim Davila (

John the Jew (Camaldoli) day 4

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1 Enoch 85-90

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Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Al Museo Egizio di Torino indagini di fluorescenza a raggi X per scansioni macro per studiare le tecniche pittoriche dell’antico Egitto

L'Istituto per i Beni Archeologici e Monumentali del CNR, con il suo laboratorio LANDIS (Laboratorio Analisi Non Distruttive) è impegnato, in sinergia con i ricercatori dell'Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare – Laboratori Nazionali del Sud (INFN – LNS), da più di dieci anni nello sviluppo di tecniche analitiche innovative ottenendo importanti risultati nella ricerca di frontiera applicata al più ampio filone della scienza della conservazione.

Prima Laurea in Italia in Restauro di strumenti musicali e scientifici e Master in ingegneria acustica

Lunedì 20 giugno 2016 presso l’Auditorium “Giovanni Arvedi” del Museo del Violino di Cremona è stata presentata la prima Laurea in Italia in Conservazione e Restauro dei Beni culturali dedicata agli Strumenti musicali, Strumentazioni e strumenti scientifici e tecnici, che partirà al Dipartimento di Musicologia dell'Università di Pavia nell'Anno Accademico 2016/2017 e il Master of Science in Computer Engineering - Musical Acoustics in avvio nella sede cremonese del Politecnico di Milano. Si tratta di importanti novità formative nell’ambito del Distretto Culturale finanziato da Fondazione Cariplo.

Jim Davila (

Conference on the Talmud and Christianity in Cambridge

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Ethiopic commentary on Daniel

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Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Stolen by a UK Metal Detectorist - from us all

As a result of Operation Chronos, a Surrey metal detectorist has been fined for stealing a Bronze Age gold ring ('Treasure hunter fined for stealing ancient gold ring' West Sussex County Times,  23 June 2016)
Ricky Smith, 34, of Cranleigh, was ordered to pay a total of £1,050 after being found guilty of theft at West Surrey Magistrates’ Court, said police. Smith was sentenced on Friday (June 17) after Surrey County Council staff told him he had to report his find to a coroner on September 17 2014. Smith, who had found the Bronze Age ring on bridleway in a private estate in Cranleigh, told the Finds Liaison department that he was a detectorist for 11 years and was ‘in it for the money’, said police. Three days later he called again to say that he was going to report the find to Sussex. But it was later confirmed that Smith had contacted a museum in Sussex but had not reported his find to the Coroner, breaching the 14 day gap granted by the Treasure Act legislation. Detectives later identified Smith and found the ring at his home. He was summonsed to appear for a court hearing on April 12 but failed to appear. A warrant was issued and he was arrested on May 9.
The police were necessary to know the identity of the finder? Why did the PAS FLO not know and report him? The article explains at some length that what peopłe are stealing bz pocketing stuff without reporting is knowledge. Knowledge theft is the real crime in irresponsible collecting. Of course the article contains the de rigeur English PAS claptrap:
“The vast majority of detectorists comply with the law and have made a number of significant discoveries that have added to knowledge to our shared cultural heritage.”
Bollocks, by PAS estimates (because not even they can be bothered to make the necessary effort to find out the real details) the majority of artefact hunters finds go UNreported - but yes, that is actually complying with a Bonkers-Britain law which is about as much help in protecting the buried heritage as a wet paper bag. And it is clearly untrue to claim that “The vast majority of detectorists [...] have made a number of significant discoveries". Many of them most frequently target known sites identified by "research" (sic) in existing archaeological literature and the plaintive claim that most of them do not find anything worth reporting is the stock explanation of why reporting is at such a pathetically low level after millions of pounds spent on attempting to get these people to adhere to even any rudimentary form of 'best practice'. Deceit after deceit, all at public cost.

Jim Davila (

Menachem Fisch: The Rationality of Religious Dispute

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American School of Classical Studies in Athens: News

Οι κήποι της Αθήνας χθες, σήμερα …αύριο.

Σεμινάριο στο πλαίσιο της έκθεσης "Flora Graeca" πραγματοποιήθηκε την Πέμπτη 23 Ιουνίου στο Αναγνωστήριο Σπάνιων Βιβλίων Μανδύλα από την κα Σταυρούλα Κατσογιάννη, Γεωπόνο, Αρχιτέκτονα Τοπίου Msc.

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

A ICOM Milano 2016 la vetrina intelligente e un Laboratorio di formazione continua rivolto alla Museum Industry

In occasione della XXIV Conferenza Generale ICOM (International Council of Museums), Goppion MuseumLab, main sponsor insieme a Paul Bernhard Exhibit Design & Consulting, The Hettema Group, e THK Co., Ltd., organizza per questa occasione un ciclo di incontri dedicati ad approfondire le conoscenze, le tecnologie e i migliori strumenti per la conservazione del patrimonio culturale mondiale. Una condivisione di esperienze e di conoscenze per stimolare innovazione e l’eccellenza.

Bryn Mawr Classical Review

2016.06.33: Universal Salvation in Late Antiquity: Porphyry of Tyre and the Pagan-Christian Debate. Oxford studies in late antiquity

Review of Michael Bland Simmons, Universal Salvation in Late Antiquity: Porphyry of Tyre and the Pagan-Christian Debate. Oxford studies in late antiquity. Oxford; New York: 2015. Pp. xliv, 491. $99.00. ISBN 9780190202392.

2016.06.32: Master of Attic Black-Figure Painting: The Art and Legacy of Exekias

Review of Elizabeth Moignard, Master of Attic Black-Figure Painting: The Art and Legacy of Exekias. London; New York: 2015. Pp. xxi, 177. $110.00. ISBN 9781780761411.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Heidelberger digitale Ressourcen zur Ägäischen Archäologie

Heidelberger digitale Ressourcen zur Ägäischen Archäologie
Das Themenportal Ägäische Archäologie soll interessierten Wissenschaftlern, Studierenden und Laien einen vielfältigen digitalen Apparat zur Minoischen, Mykenischen und Kykladischen Kultur bieten.
Hauptziel des Portals ist
  • zahlreiche relevante Quellen (Webseiten, Datenbanken, Tagungen etc.) zur Ägäischen Archäologie systematisch zu sammeln
  • und diese strukturiert über verschiedene Sucheinstiege online zugänglich zu machen.
Um das bereits bestehende Angebot anderer Portale zur Ägäischen Archäologie (NESTOR, AEGAEUS) sinnvoll zu erweitern, soll hier in erster Linie die Schaffung einer digitalen Bibliothek vorangetrieben werden. Diese wird sowohl digitalisierte ältere Publikationen, die im Open Access online bereitgestellt werden und durch eine Volltextsuche zugreifbar sind, als auch neuere Aufsätze oder noch unveröffentlichte Manuskripte umfassen. Darüber hinaus sollen relevante Internetquellen erschlossen und aktuelle Informationen zu Kongressen und anderen wissenschaftlichen Aktivitäten angeboten werden. 

Vorschläge für die Digitalisierung Alter Drucke sind willkommen! Kontaktieren Sie bitte Maria Effinger oder Diamantis Panagiotopoulos.

Geschichte der Ägyptenrezeption

Geschichte der Ägyptenrezeption
Das Fachportal zur Geschichte der Ägyptenrezeption soll einen Überblick über diejenigen Forscher, ihre Publikationen und Projekte geben, die einschlägig zu Themen aus dem Umfeld der Geschichte der Ägyptenrezeption gearbeitet haben. Da sich diese Geschichte in zahlreichen Diskursen entwickelt hat, die in vielerlei Hinsicht unter- und miteinander zusammenhängen, sich jedoch nicht als kohärenter Ägyptendiskurs organisiert hat, ist das Portal ebenfalls disziplinübergreifend. Die Frage nach den Formen und Transformationen des Ägyptenbildes in der abendländischen Kulturgeschichte soll unter Vertretern verschiedener fachlicher Provenienz zur Diskussion gestellt werden. 

Unter "Ägyptenrezeption" werden hier die literarisch oder ikonographisch tradierten Vorstellungen und Bilder vom alten Ägypten verstanden, die in der abendländischen Welt entstanden sind, ohne dass sie auf einem direkten Verständnis der altägyptischen Quellen, insbesondere der Hieroglyphen selbst, beruhen. 

Das Portal befindet sich im Aufbau. Es soll die Forschung in ihrer thematischen Vielfalt erschließen, einen lebendigen wissenschaftlichen Diskurs fördern und ein effizientes und solides Werkzeug der Recherche sein.

Newly Open Access Journal: Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes

Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes
ISSN: 1761-0583
Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes
Bienvenue sur le site Internet du Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes !

Si vous cherchez un article en particulier, cliquez sur le champ de recherche ci-dessus puis saisissez le début du titre ou le nom de l’auteur. Une fois l’article trouvé, cliquez sur “DOWNLOAD” pour le télécharger (ou sur “CITE” pour télécharger la notice bibliographique au format RIS).

Vous pouvez également consulter la liste des articles triés par année, ou voir la liste des auteurs ayant contribué au JMC.

Si vous avez des questions, vous pouvez nous écrire à l’adresse “contact (arobase) medecinescuneiformes (point) fr”.


Worthington Martin, “Edition of BAM 3,” Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes, vol. 7, 2006, p. 18–48. Cite Download
Wyplosz Julien, “Quelques réflexions sur L’aruspice mésopotamien et le regard de l’anatomiste de J.-J. Glassner,” Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes, vol. 8, 2006, p. 24–28. Cite Download
Lawson Jack N., “Divination and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A Problem of Perspective? Part I,” Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes, vol. 8, 2006, p. 29–48. Cite Download
Hurowitz Victor Avigdor, “Healing and hissing snakes — Listening to Numbers 21:4-9,” Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes, vol. 8, 2006, p. 13–23. Cite Download
Geller Markham J., “Les maladies et leurs causes, selon un texte médical paléobabylonien,” Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes, vol. 8, 2006, p. 7–12. Cite Download
Geller Markham J., “La médecine au quotidien,” Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes, vol. 8, 2006, p. 2–6. Cite Download
Scurlock JoAnn, “Whatever Possessed Them?: Progress and Regress in the History of Medicine,” Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes, vol. 7, 2006, p. 11–17. Cite Download
Goodnick Joan and Sigrist Marcel, “The Brain, the Marrow and the Seat of Cognition in Mespotamian Tradition,” Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes, vol. 7, 2006, p. 1–10. Cite Download


Worthington Martin, “Cabinet de lecture. Review of: Volkert Haas (with the assistance of Daliah Bawanypeck), Materia Magica et Medica Hethitica,Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes, vol. 5, 2005, p. 47–48. Cite Download
Marti Lionel, “Recherche d’un remède contre le mal-ekkêtum,Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes, vol. 5, 2005, p. 1–3. Cite Download
Worthington Martin, “Edition of UGU 1 (=BAM 480 etc.),” Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes, vol. 5, 2005, p. 6–43. Cite Download
Ziegler Nele, “Les vaisseaux sanguins et Enûma eliš VI: 5,” Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes, vol. 5, 2005, p. 4–5. Cite Download
Coleman Mary, “Lettre aux éditeurs ‘Reply to Nils P. Heeßel,’” Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes, vol. 6, 2005, p. 43–48. Cite Download
Attia Annie and Buisson Gilles, “[A.2025] : « un texte pour les médecins »,” Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes, vol. 6, 2005, p. 41–42. Cite Download
Heeßel Nils P., “Bibliographie zur altorientischen Medizin 2000 bis August 2005 (mit Nachträgen aus früheren Jahren),” Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes, vol. 6, 2005, p. 34–40. Cite Download
Glassner Jean-Jacques, “L’aruspice mésopotamien et le regard de l’anatomiste,” Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes, vol. 6, 2005, p. 22–33. Cite Download
Kinnier Wilson James, “On the Cryptograms in the lexical and related texts,” Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes, vol. 6, 2005, p. 1–21. Cite Download
Mouton Alice, “Quand la reine hittite vit en rêve l’herbe qui pouvait soigner Mon Soleil,” Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes, vol. 5, 2005, p. 44–46. Cite Download


Finkel Irving, “Old Babylonian medicine at Ur: lettre aux éditeurs,” Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes, vol. 4, 2004, p. 26. Cite Download
Geller Markham J., “Anus and kidneys,” Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes, vol. 4, 2004, p. 1–8. Cite Download
Kämmerer Thomas R., “About the emergence and spreading of smallpox in the Ancient Near East – did it reach us from camels or from cattle?,” Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes, vol. 4, 2004, p. 16–25. Cite Download
Attia Annie and Buisson Gilles, “Du Bon Usage des Médecins en Assyriologie,” Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes, vol. 4, 2004, p. 9–15. Cite Download
Scurlock JoAnn, “From Esagil-kīn-apli to Hippocrates,” Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes, vol. 3, 2004, p. 10–30. Cite Download
Heeßel Nils P., “Reading and Interpreting Medical Cuneiform Texts - Methods and Problems,” Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes, vol. 3, 2004, p. 2–9. Cite Download


Abrahami Philippe, “À propos des fonctions de l’asû et de l’āšipu : la conception de l’auteur de l’hymne sumérien dédié à Ninisina,” Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes, vol. 2, 2003, p. 19–20. Cite Download
Attia Annie and Buisson Gilles, “Cabinet de lecture,” Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes, vol. 2, 2003, p. 21–24. Cite Download
Worthington Martin, Attia Annie and Buisson Gilles, “K. 19766 — Propositions de lecture pour UGU 2,” Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes, vol. 2, 2003, p. 18. Cite Download
Scurlock JoAnn, “Collations of the « Jastrow »,” Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes, vol. 2, 2003, p. 16–17. Cite Download
Attia Annie and Buisson Gilles, “Édition de texte : « Si le crâne d’un homme contient de la chaleur, deuxième tablette »,” Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes, vol. 1, 2003, p. 1–24. Cite Download
Renaut Luc, “Lettre aux éditeurs d’UGU 2,” Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes, vol. 2, 2003, p. 14–15. Cite Download
Worthington Martin, “A discussion of aspects of the UGU series,” Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes, vol. 2, 2003, p. 2–13. Cite Download

Archaeology Magazine

Kuumbi Cave poisonZANZIBAR, TANZANIA—Sci-News reports that seven bone tools from East Africa’s Kuumbi Cave, including five projectile points, a bone awl, and a notched bone tube, were examined by a team led by Michelle Langley of Australian National University. The researchers suggest the 13,000-year-old projectile points, which are slender and short, may have been too small to bring down the zebra, buffalo, waterbuck, common reedbuck, bushbuck, and bush pig whose bones were also found in Kuumbi Cave. Langley suggests that the projectiles were used in conjunction with poison, perhaps made from the poisonous fruit of the Mkunazi plant. (Charcoal from the Mkunazi plant was found during a previous investigation.) For more on archaeology in this area, go to "Stone Towns of the Swahili Coast."

Kristina Killgrove (Forbes)

'Bones' Season 11, Episode 20 Review: The Stiff In The Cliff

A biological anthropologist reviews Season 11, Episode 20 (The Stiff in the Cliff) of FOX's 'Bones,' summarizing the episode and looking for errors.

Laura Gibbs (Bestiaria Latina Blog)

Latin Proverbs and Fables Round-Up: June 23

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

HODIE (Roman Calendar): ante diem nonum Kalendas Iulias.

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


TINY MOTTOES: Today's tiny motto is: Resurgam (English: I shall rise again).

3-WORD PROVERBS: Today's 3-word verb-less proverb is Fames optimum condimentum (English: Hunger is the best seasoning)

AUDIO PROVERBS: Today's audio Latin proverb is Longae regum manus (English: Long are the hands of kings). To read a brief essay about this proverb and to listen to the audio, visit the Latin Via Proverbs blog.

PUBLILIUS SYRUS: Today's proverb from Publilius Syrus is: Nil proprium ducas, quidquid mutari potest (English: Do not consider anything to be your own if it can change).

ERASMUS' ANIMALS: Today's animal proverb from Erasmus is Mus non ingrediens antrum, cucurbitam ferebat (English: The mouse couldn't get into its hole because it was carrying a pumpkin; from Adagia 3.3.79).

BREVISSIMA: The distich poster for today is Vae Soli. Click here for a full-sized view. I'm sharing these with English translations at Google+ now too.

And here are today's proverbial LOLcats:

Nil timeo.
I fear nothing.

Discat qui nescit; discendo sapientia crescit.
Let him learn who does not know; by learning wisdom grows.


FABULAE FACILES: The fable from the Fabulae Faciles widget is Gallus et Ancillae, a story of unintended consequences (this fable has a vocabulary list).

MILLE FABULAE: The fable from the Mille Fabulae et Una widget is Vitis et Hircus, a fable about greed ... and karma.

Hircus et Vitis

Latin Sundials. Below you will find an image of a sundial, and for detailed information about the Latin motto see this blog post: UMBRA TRANSIT, LUX MANET.

June 23, 2016

Calenda: Histoire romaine

Procédure ordinaire et procédure extraordinaire

L’usage du mot « ordinaire » dans le domaine judiciaire est apparu en droit romain. « L'ordre judiciaire » à la fin du IIe siècle désigne la réglementation de la procédure. Il est alors édifiant de voir émerger presque concomitamment la qualification de crimes extraordinaires et au siècle suivant la procédure extraordinaire propre aux tribunaux impériaux qui tend paradoxalement à devenir de droit commun. « Extraordinaire » renvoie donc dans son usage courant à une démarche qui s’écarte de ce qui était prévu par l’ordre légal mais devient souvent habituel.

Mary Beard (A Don's Life)

The long wait


As the daughter observed the other day, the referendum has become a bit like an exam. You've done all the revision you're going to do, and now you just want to go and actually do the paper. So, as I write this at 9.30 pm on referendum night, with the voting nearly done and dusted, it's a bit like that limbo time between doing the papers and the moment when the results are announced.

To be honest, I cant remember what I did after the other two referendums (or referenda) I lived through, and I have no recollection whatsoever of how I actually found out the result. For general elections, we have a long standing ritual, which involves some large hunks of nice cheese and a large bottle of nice whisky, and staying up till the moment when you more or less know what the result is bound to be (not usually beyond 3.00 am). There's a nicely comparative, historical side to it too (not unlike listening to the Archers, I fancy), as you compare the silly gadgets for displaying the predictions with all those you've seen before, or the eloquence of the presenters and of the exhausted politicians brought on to speak for the booming or failing parties. Why else do we get nostalgic about the swingometer--even though few of us could accurately describe what it actually was? And why else the rather jolly memories of the Portillo moment, which has mythic status far beyond the claiming of a single Tory scalp?

And, perhaps more important than any of that, there is a sense that the decision is reversible next time, and that -- important as some ideological and policy differences are between right and left -- an awful lot will go on exactly as before. You can go to bed, sorrows drowned, and think of living to fight another day.

This doesnt feel like that kind of occasion at all. That's partly because at this point it looks like you'll have to be awake at still at 4.00 am before there's any reliable indication. It's partly because we dont have the usual props of exit polls in marginal constituencies.  But it is largely to do with the 'no going back' aspect to the whole thing, which must be one of the things that underlies the toxic turn (let's not forget that we have had the closest thing to a politcal assassination in this country for many years).

And that's why I guess, we're seeing, mad conspiracy theories -- like the idea that the establishment (whoever they may be) will be busy tampering with ballot papers, rubbing out the pencil crosses in the 'Leave' box and replacing them in 'Remain'. I'm usually a cynical sort of person, but not so paranoid that I think it remotely conceivable that there are battalions of secret agents in the the counting halls of Cambridge, or elsewhere, armed with erasers doing some dastardly alterations.

But the truth is that I am not even at home, and far from being armed with whisky and cheese, it's been wine and a Thai Green curry on hotel room service. And my suspicion is that I might be fast asleep before a single result comes.

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

Qasr Bashir – A Roman fortlet in Jordan

Qasr_BashirI found this marvellous photograph of a Roman fortlet in the Jordanian desert on Twitter here.  The tweeter also added:

Great photos & interesting survey diagrams of Qasr Bashir done by Brunnow & Domaszewsky in 1897 here.

More useful to most of us is a nice blog post here, with many photographs and plans, to which I am indebted for the details that follow.

The walls stand up to 20 feet tall.  It was built at the start of the 4th century AD, as part of defensive works for a limes Arabicus, and held a cavalry unit of perhaps 120-150 men.  The building inscription survives:

Optimis maximisque principibus nostris Caio Aurelio
Valerio Diocletiano Pio Felici Invicto Augusto et
Marco Aurelio Valerio Maximiano Pio Felici Invicto Augusto et
Flavio Valerio Constantio et Galerio Valerio Maximiano
nobilissimis Caesaribus Castra Praetorii Mobeni fossamentis
Aurelius Asclepiades praeses provinciae Arabiae
perfici curavit .

Which tells us that the fort was called Mobene, and was constructed by the Praeses of the province of Arabia, a chap named Aurelius Asclepiades, in the reign of the tetrarchy, Diocletian and friends.

One question the blog leaves unclear is where exactly the fort is.  Funnily enough, Google Maps will tell us rather well!  Just search for Jordan, and the Qasr Bashir!


I’d never thought of Google as a tourist guide; but of course Jordan is a civilised country, and aerial photographs and much else are available.

I’d love to go and see it.

Archaeology Magazine

Hungary Suleiman mosqueSZIGETVAR, HUNGARY—Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, ruler of the Ottoman Empire, died in 1566 in Hungary during the siege of Szigetvar Castle. Last year, Norbert Pap of the University of Pecs announced he had found the shrine where the sultan’s organs were interred before his remains were transported to Istanbul. Now, according to a report by the Anadolu Agency, Pap claims to have uncovered the mosque built next to the shrine by Suleiman’s son, Sultan Selim II. “According to archives, in the very same area there must also be a 1570 [era] dervish lodge used by the dervishes coming from Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Pap said. He and his team are continuing to look for the dervish lodge. The complex was destroyed by Austrian Habsburg soldiers in 1692. For more, go to "Temple of the Storm God."

FREDERICTON, CANADA—A campsite estimated to be around 12,000 years old has been unearthed near a highway in the province of New Brunswick. Provincial archaeologist Brent Suttie said in a CBC News report that an intact campfire and 600 artifacts, mostly stone tools and flakes, have been recovered. Additional evidence suggests that the campsite was situated on the shores of a large glacial lake. The site’s age is within 500 years of the oldest evidence of human occupation found in the region. For more, go to "Canada Finds Erebus."

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Ancient Israelite Cosmology Video

I've shared images of the ancient Israelite view of the universe before. But above is a video that talks you thought it, created and narrated by Mike Heiser.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Only Six in the World, but Cannot Shift it for 12k

It seems collectors for some reason are a bit wary about the possibility of buying the six known Anglo-Saxon helmets from Bab Dadge the dealer even if the price is dropped from an estimate of 35000 green ones to 12000. Could there be some reason for this? Is it the lack of full details upfront about collecting history that would bulk out that cover-all assurance: "legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14"? Or is there some other reason? Seems a bargain, no? And weapons and helmets are very popular in the collecting world, so what is it about this one that is preventing it from being snapped up by a greedy collector interested in such things?

Vignette: a picture of a lime tree from a Polish website 

Investigating Metal Detecting: Big Funding, No Results Again?

Where is the final document of the Leverhulme Trust funded project 'ThePortable Antiquities Scheme Database as a tool for archaeological research' in which Roger Bland was principal investigator? It was due to finish last year and all we have from it so far is a rather slim and tentative "Guide to Researchers' which says mainly what we already knew.

Ancient Peoples

Fragment of a terracotta oinochoe (wine jar) with a grazing...

Fragment of a terracotta oinochoe (wine jar) with a grazing goat

East Greek,  7th century B.C. (Archaic period)

Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Shawn Graham (Electric Archaeology)

A traveller’s diary, Nov 24th, 1874

In a traveller’s diary, November 24th 1874

Stopped at the Coliseum and

went to the very topmost platform of this tremendous ruin

and looked into the far depths of the present excavations. Walked all

around among the arches and after coming down to what used to be

considered the arena we went boldly down an inclined plain in

among the recently found arches etc into two or three long passages

heading ever so far away, saw the bronze sockets in the large

flag stones in the middle of the passage where the gates are

supposed to have turned to admit the animals. Some columns

and capitols and fragments of statuary and slabs with figures engraved on them.

some of them representing fighting or chase. After a late lunch took

a walk through via Babuino, Condoti and Corso home. On the old

pavement below the arena are long pieces of charred wood

with smaller crossbars of the same – very curious.

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

John the Jew: The Last Day of the 2016 Enoch Seminar Nangeroni Meeting

This is the final day of the 2016 Enoch Seminar meeting on the Gospel of John and Jewish messianism. It has been as fascinating as each of the preceding days. There were short papers on topics such as John and Philo’s Logos, John and mysticism, and John and the imagerly on the recently-discovered Migdal Stone. [Read More...]

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

No-Questions-Asking Collectors Behind Bars is What we Need

The parents of a British Muslim convert who is believed to have joined the Islamic State group are set to stand trial in January for terrorism-related charges (Associated press, 'Parents of Suspected Terrorist to Face Trial in 2017' June 23rd, 2016)
John Letts and Sally Lane are charged with funding terrorism for allegedly sending money to their 20-year-old son Jack Letts. Jack Letts left his home in Oxford and travelled to Syria in 2014. He has been dubbed "Jihadi Jack" by some British media. His parents are accused of transferring payments of roughly 1,750 pounds ($2,600) in 2015 and 2016. They were released on bail. The trial date was set Thursday during a hearing at the Old Bailey court.
Interesting case, first of all, there is the issue of defining what we mean by the coverall term "terrorism". Secondly, one wonders whether, if the case is successfully concluded, we will soon see trials of UK or US antiquities dealers and collectors similarly charged with funding terrorism by passing money to middlemen handling artefacts traded from or through ISIL-held territories. Now, that would be a good thing if it could be pulled off. After all, nobody could claim they bought stuff "in good faith" given the amount of publicity this issue has received. A few collectors behind bars would lead to an increase in awareness of the need for proper, not the limp declared  ("Chapter 14") due diligence which is all these people usually manage.

Antiquity Now

Throwback Thursday! Perfectly Preserved Petroglyphs

It is said “a picture is worth a thousand words,” but some pictures are worth much more than that. Some ancient pictures are worth a thousand years of history and knowledge. These images tell stories about our ancestors and they … Continue reading

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Mosque ruins hint at Süleyman shrine in Hungary

A Hungarian excavation team claims to have found the ruins of an Ottoman-era mosque next to what it...

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Ultimi giorni per presentare contributi per la XXI Conferenza Internazionale Cultural Heritage and New Technologies (CHNT 21)

È aperta fino al 1 luglio 2016 la Call for Paper, Poster e App per la XXI Conferenza Internazionale Cultural Heritage and New Technologies (CHNT 21) in programma a Vienna dal 16 al 18 Novembre 2016. Tema dell'edizione 2016 è "Urban Archaeology and Archaeological Data: Preservation, Re-use and Repurposing".

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

English Infection in Danger of Spreading to Continent?

Archaeology this is not, and whether this particular horrible hoiking
hole is 'legal' or 'illegal' by a crazily liberal law is immaterial
with reference to the archaeological damage done. 
The happy twittering is coming in from the one-sided presentations in the 'academic' conference: "Chance or challenge: metal detector finds in heritage practice and research. I recorded a few of my thoughts here on Monday, 4 April 20: 'The English Disease'. If Britain brexits let's hope that is the end of their nonsense we'll see this side of the Channel.

Martin Rundkvist (Aardvarchaeology)

Metal Detectorist Tattoo #4

Jan Mortensen's tattoo

Jan Mortensen’s tattoo

Another metal detectorist tattoo! This time it’s Jan Mortensen who has decorated the arm with which he brandishes the detector. The object is a 10th century trefoil brooch that Jan found in Holbæk municipality, northern Zealand. Hugo Tattoo in Holbæk did the needlework.

Trefoil brooches were worn by South Scandinavian women as a third brooch, to close their cloaks. But the overall shape descended from high-end acanthus-decorated silver mounts for the bandoliers worn by Charlemagne’s vassals around AD 800. Their trefoils joined the strap from the scabbard to the ends of the strap worn over your shoulder. Viking Period art and design is eclectic in its influences.

10th century trefoil brooch from Holbæk municipality, Zealand

10th century trefoil brooch from Holbæk municipality, Zealand

I’ve discussed 123 metal detectorist tattoos here before.

Jim Davila (

John the Jew (Camaldoli): my response to Williams

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Compitum - publications

Ph. Bather et Cl. Stocks (éd.), Horace's Epodes. Contexts, Intertexts, and Reception


Philippa Bather et Claire Stocks (éd.), Horace's Epodes. Contexts, Intertexts, and Reception, Oxford, 2016.

Éditeur : Oxford University Press
304 pages
ISBN : 780198746058
70 £


Horace's Epodes rank among the most under-valued texts of the early Roman principate. Abrasive in style and riddled with apparent inconsistencies, the Epodes have divided critics from the outset, infuriating and delighting them in equal measure. This collection of essays on the Epodes by new and established scholars seeks to overturn this work's ill-famed reputation and to reassert its place as a valid and valued member of Horace's literary corpus. Building upon a recent surge in scholarly interest in the Epodes, the volume goes one step further by looking beyond the collection itself to highlight the importance of intertext, context, and reception. Covering a wide range of topics including the iambic tradition and aspects of gender, it begins with a consideration of the influences of Greek iambic upon the Epodes and ends with a discussion on their reception during the seventeenth century and beyond. By focusing on the connections that can be drawn between the Epodes and other (ancient) works, as well as between the Epodes themselves, the volume will appeal to new and seasoned readers of the poems. In doing so it demonstrates that this smallest, and seemingly most insignificant, of Horace's works is worthy of a place alongside the much-lauded Satires and Odes.

Lire la suite...

Jim Davila (

Review of Schmitt, Mantik im Alten Testament

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Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: Schweizerischer Altphilologenverband - Association Suisse des Philologues Classiques / Bulletin

[First posted in AWOL 5 October 2011, updated 23 May 2016]

Schweizerischer Altphilologenverband - Association Suisse des Philologues Classiques - Associazione Svizzera dei Filologi Classici / Bulletin
Das Bulletin ist das Mitteilungsblatt des SAV. Es erscheint halbjährlich (üblicherweise im März und im September) in einer Auflage von ca. 300 Exemplaren. Artikel können elektronisch (notfalls auch nur in Papierform) an die Bulletin-Redaktorin und an den Webmaster geschickt werden. Die Beiträge werden nach dem Eingang noch vor der Drucklegung auf dem Internet veröffentlicht, ausser die Autoren wünschen dies nicht. Normale Artikel (inkl. Rezensionen) sollten max. 3200 Zeichen (inkl.max. 30000 Zeichen (inkl. Leerzeichen) lang sein. Eine Anzeigenseite kostet 500 Franken.  Leerzeichen), der Leitartikel sollte
 Le Bulletin d'information de l'ASPC paraît deux fois par année, en mars et en septembre avec une tirage d'environ 300 exemplaires. Les articles à paraître peuvent être adressés par e-mail ou sur CD (ou sur papier) directement à la rédactrice du Bulletin et au Webmaster. Les articles seront publiés tout de suite sur l'internet, excepté que les auteurs ne le voudraient pas. Le longeur d'un article est en maximum 3200 charactères, le longeur de l'article principal est en maximum 30000 charactères. Une annonce coute 500 franc


(elektronisch oder als Faksimile)
Bulletin 87 vom April 2016 (PDF-Fassung)
Bulletin 86 vom September 2015 (PDF-Fassung)
Bulletin 85 vom April 2015 (PDF-Fassung)
Bulletin 84 vom Oktober 2014 (PDF-Fassung)
Bulletin 83 vom Mai 2014 (PDF-Fassung)
Bulletin 82 vom September 2013 (PDF-Fassung)
Bulletin 81 vom April 2013 (PDF-Fassung)
Bulletin 80 vom Oktober 2012 (PDF-Fassung)
Bulletin 79 vom April 2012 (PDF-Fassung)
Bulletin 78 vom September 2011 (PDF-Fassung)
Bulletin 77 vom April 2011 (PDF-Fassung)
Bulletin 76 vom September 2010 (PDF-Fassung)
Bulletin 75 vom April 2010 (PDF-Fassung)
Bulletin 74 vom September 2009 (PDF-Fassung)
Bulletin 73 vom März 2009 (PDF-Fassung)
Bulletin 72 vom September 2008 (PDF-Fassung)
Bulletin 71 vom April 2008 (PDF-Fassung)
Bulletin 70 vom September 2007 (PDF-Fassung)
Bulletin 69 vom April 2007 (PDF-Fassung)
Bulletin 68 vom September 2006 (PDF-Fassung)
Bulletin 67 vom April 2006 (PDF-Fassung)
Bulletin 66 vom September 2005 (PDF-Fassung)
Bulletin 65 vom April 2005 (PDF-Fassung)
Bulletin 64 vom September 2004 (PDF-Fassung)
Bulletin 63 vom April 2004 (PDF-Fassung)
Bulletin 62 vom September 2003 (PDF-Fassung)
Bulletin 61 vom April 2003 (PDF-Fassung)
Bulletin 60 vom September 2002 (PDF-Fassung)
Bulletin 59 vom April 2002 (PDF-Fassung)
Bulletin 58 (nur elektronische Beiträge) vom Oktober 2001 (Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 57 (nur elektronische Beiträge) vom März 2001 (Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 56 vom September 2000 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 55 vom März 2000 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 54 vom August 1999 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 53 vom März 1999 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 52 vom September 1998 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 51 vom Februar 1998 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 50 vom August 1997 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 49 vom März 1997 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 48 vom November 1996 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 47 vom April 1996 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 46 vom Oktober 1995 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 45 vom April 1995 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 44 vom Oktober 1994 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 43 vom April 1994 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 42 vom Oktober 1993 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 41 vom April 1993 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 40 vom Oktober 1992 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 39 vom April 1992 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 38 vom Oktober 1991 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 37 vom April 1991 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 36 vom Oktober 1990 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 35 vom April 1990 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 34 vom Oktober 1989 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 33 vom März 1989 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 32 vom Oktober 1988 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Sonderbulletin zu den Rahmenlehrplänen vom September 1988 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 31 vom Mai 1988 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 30 vom Oktober 1987 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 29 vom März 1987 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 28 vom Oktober 1986 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 27 vom Mai 1986 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 26 vom September 1985 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 25 vom März 1985 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 24 vom Oktober 1984 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 23 vom Juni 1984 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 22 vom Oktober 1983 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 21 vom März 1983 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 20 vom Oktober 1982 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 19 vom März 1982 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 18 vom Oktober 1981 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 17 vom Mai 1981 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 16 vom Oktober 1980 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 15 vom März 1980 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 14 vom Oktober 1979 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 13 vom Juni 1979 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 12 vom Oktober 1978 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 11 vom März 1978 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 10 vom Oktober 1977 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 9 vom März 1977 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 8 vom Oktober 1976 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 7 vom Februar 1976 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 6 vom Oktober 1975 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 5 vom April 1975 (nur Faksimile, PDF)
Bulletin 3 vom Oktober 1972 (nur Faksimile, PDF)

Bryn Mawr Classical Review

2016.06.31: Sicily and the Sea

Review of Diederik Burgersdijk, Richard Calis, Jorrit Kelder, Alexandra Sofroniew, Sebastiano Tusa and René van Beek, Sicily and the Sea. Zwolle: 2015. Pp. 204. €24.95 (pb). ISBN 9789462581159.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

A computational approach to Latin verbs: new resources and methods

A computational approach to Latin verbs: new resources and methods
Barbara McGillivray

This thesis presents the application of computational methods to the study of Latin verbs. In particular, the author describes the creation of a sub-categorization lexicon extracted automatically from annotated corpora. Furthermore she presents a probabilistic model for the acquisition of selection preferences from annotated corpora and Latin WordNet. Finally, the author describes the results of a diachronic quantitative study on Latin spatial preverbs.

Jim Davila (

John the Jew (Camaldoli) day 3

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1 Enoch 82-83

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CPF: Helsinki workshop on Jewish texts in their Hellenistic context

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Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

ADA as Illiterate as the rest?

Cats know, dealers don't
The ADA reckons that "‘Vital changes’ are needed to looted art bill as dealers says definition of ‘cultural property’ is too vague" but I think they need to get somebody who can actually read and write to argue their case. They propose that "cultural property" should be defined so narrowly as to preclude the artefacts which are the bread and butter of both the legal and illicit trade to be exempt from any kind of controls.
The association believe that [the existing] definition is not specific enough and could “unintentionally blight artworks and objects that have nothing to do with this issue”. ADA chairman Chris Martin said that the definition used in Article 1 of the UNESCO Convention – already adopted by 130 countries – is more appropriate “because it restricts the definition to items of ‘outstanding universal value’ in terms of cultural heritage.”
Mr Martin will, of course be only too happy to be asked to point out where that wording occurs anywhere in Art 1 of said Convention, or in any of the remaining 25. I think he is confusing it with the UNESCO World Heritage Convention and the US CCPIA, isn't he? Peter Tompa will no doubt come to his rescue. I think the time is over for dialogue with the antiquities dealers, past and current experience shows perfectly clearly that they quite obviously will use any number of false arguments denial and deflections to stave off the introduction of responsibility into this blighted trade. Time to call a STOP to their farrago of nonsense.

Surely what is cultural property is what is sold and used as precisely that.  Antiquity and art dealers do not sell potatoes for French-fry-making.

UPDATE 23rd June 2016

Mr Martin did not have the decency in him required to actually answer my letter enquiring about the source of the text he quoted, let alone that required to retract his false statement (antiquity dealers, eh?). Neither, be it noted, is there any trace of any dealer or collector in the ADA or from outside it  pulling him up on his evident ignorance of the wording of this important convention./ Not a single one.

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

Houses and Landscapes in the Western Argolid

This week we had a chance to check out some nice early-20th-century seasonal houses in the Western Argolid. 

I got a little bit of artificial tilt-shiftiness in the image probably because of the haziness of the ridges in the background and my playing a bit with aperture settings.  



A nice example of a heavy layer of mud-mortar used along the top of the wall.


And a really nice example of the layering of tiles, mud, and reeds to form a water tight seal for the roof:


A Balkan-style long house where half of the house is set aside for animals (and in this case milking and cheese making) and other half for living space. 





A well-built, mud-brick dividing wall between the living quarters and the area for animals: 


And some mappers, team leaders, and field walkers in the landscape:







June 22, 2016

All Mesopotamia

ancientpeoples: Amulet depicting Lamashtu Assyrian,...


Amulet depicting Lamashtu

Assyrian, Mesopotamia, 883–612 B.C. (Neo-Assyrian Period)

Polished black stone medicinal amulet incised with an image of the lion-headed, bird-clawed demon Lamashtu, filled with reddish-white paste. Such amulets were worn by pregnant women to protect them from the demon Lamashtu, who was believed to kill newborn infants and take them for herself. Expectant mothers bribed her away with small offerings of combs and fibulae (brooches shaped like safety pins). These gifts and a clay image of Lamashtu were ritually set adrift in a model boat that, it was hoped, would take her back to the Netherworld. This amulet shows Lamashtu, pregnant herself and suckling a dog and a pig, sailing away on her boat and holding her new comb and fibula. 

Source: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

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

Scribes removing paganism from Galen’s “On my own opinions”?

In 2005 a bored PhD student, left hanging around the catalogue desk at the Vlatades Monastery in Thessalonika, looked through the catalogue and discovered a previously unknown Greek manuscript of the works of the 2nd century medical writer, Galen.  The Ms. Thessalonicensis Vlatadon 14 contained complete Greek texts of several works previously known only from fragments or translations into Arabic, as well as a new and important work, the Peri Alupias (On Grief), about which I have written elsewhere.

One of the works whose complete Greek text is now accessible is On my own opinions.  Immediately after the prologue, we find that Galen discusses his opinion of the gods, as I learn from an interesting article by A. Pietrobelli.[1]  The passages are also extant in Latin, translating an Arabic version now lost; and in Hebrew, also translating a different Arabic version, also now lost.

The Latin version, made from Arabic, is entitled De sententiis, made at Toledo in the school of Gerard of Cremona in the 12th century AD.  There are five manuscripts of this work, all mutilated at the end.  (Another Latin translation does exist, made from Greek; but it only covers the last two sections of the work, whereas our material is from the beginning.)

The Arabic version, from which the Latin was made, is lost.

Hunain Ibn Ishaq was a 9th century Nestorian Christian writer.  He was commissioned with others to translate Greek technical works into Arabic.  The method used was to translate the Greek texts into Syriac, as there were well-established procedures to do this.  Then the Syriac, a semitic language, could easily be translated on into Arabic.

Hunain tells us, in his work on the translations of Galen,[2] that two Syriac translations of Galen’s On my own opinions existed at that time.  The first was made by “Job”, presumably Job of Edessa[3], the second by Hunain himself for his son Ishaq.  Thabit ibn Qurra then translated the latter version into Arabic.[4]  In addition a 13th century Hebrew translation exists, again made from someArabic version.

But the text has undergone some revision in transmission.  Let’s have a look at the different versions, and see how.  Pietrobelli gives the text and a French translation – I have rendered the latter into English so that we can see what is said.

Here’s the first passage:

Original Greek:

Whether the universe is uncreated or created, whether there is something after it or outside it or indeed nothing, because I say that I am in ignorance faced with such questions, I also do not know of course what is the nature of the creator of all things in the universe, if he is incorporeal or corporeal, and more, in what place he resides.[5]


So I say that I do not know whether the world is created, if there is something outside of it or not. And because I say I do not know these things, so it is clear that I do not know about the creator of all things in this world, whether he is corporeal or incorporeal, nor where he is located, namely the divinity, or rather the power of the divinity. This power is of him whose works are revealed in this world through acts that can only come from a creator. Thus these themselves demonstrate God.[6]


He said: I do not know if the world is created or not, and if there is something else outside of it, or nothing. And as I say that I am ignorant about these things, it is also clear that I do not know about the creator of all things in the world, whether he is a body or incorporeal, nor what is the place of his residence. As for God and the divine powers, that is to say the powers whose activities are manifested in the world, they can only come from the Creator, so they reveal Him and they are attributed to Him.[7]

In this case, the text has been augmented, somewhere along the line.  Somebody has added some extra explanatory text on the end.  Where Galen is ambivalent about the Creator, etc, the editor has firmly asserted the existence of a creator.

Here’s the second:


Is it only about the gods I also affirm that I am in uncertainty, as Protagoras said, or in fact that I say about them that I am ignorant of their essence, while recognizing their existence from their works? For the constitution of living beings is the work of the gods, and also all the warnings that they send, by omens, signs and dreams.[8]


And I will not speak like Pictagoras who denied having any knowledge about them, but I say that I have no knowledge of their essence; but that such powers exist, I know through their works because the organization of living beings is their doing, and they are revealed by divination and dreams.[9]


I do not say of them like Protagoras: “I do not know anything about them,” but I say I do not know what is their essence. That they exist, on the other hand, I know from their activities, and from their activities appear the composition of animals and that which is manifested through divination, omens, and the interpretation of dreams.[10]

These three are more similar – although the name Protagoras has turned into Pictagoras! All the same, the change is subtle.  A question that Galen leaves open becomes a positive statement.

Here’s the third passage adduced by Pietrobelli:


The god who is honoured at home in Pergamum has shown his power and providence on many other occasions but especially on the day he nursed me.

At sea, I experienced not only the providence, but also the power of the Dioscuri.

In fact, I do not think it is wrong for men to be ignorant of the essence of the gods, although I decided to honour them by following the ancient custom, in the manner of Socrates who advised people to obey the precepts of Pythios.

That is my position regarding the gods.[11]


Concerning the works of God in us … † †[12] they appeared by his power, because he nursed me once through an illness I had and because he manifests himself at sea in delivering those who are about to be wrecked thanks to the signs that they see and those who firmly believe in their salvation. That clearly indicates an admirable power that I have myself experienced. And I do not see what is harmful for men if they ignore the essence of divinity, and I see that I must accept and follow the law on this point and accept what Socrates prescribed who expressed himself quite strongly on this subject.

That’s what I have to say about the deity.[13]


And among the actions of God, blessed and praised be He, which reveal his power and his providence for his creatures, there is the fact that He healed me from an illness I had, and what can be seen at sea after the rescue of those who embark on the ships; after believing they will be shipwrecked and drowned, <they are saved> by the signs that they see and that they believe and by which they are saved. This gives a clear indication of a great power, and I do not think that does harm to people if they do not know what is the essence of the divine powers. That’s why I think I need to exalt and praise them, as religion ordains.[14]

The differences here are considerable.  Galen’s own text acknowledges the favour of Asclepius, the  god of Pergamum, Galen’s home city; of the Dioscuri, Castor and Pollux, and the teachings of Apollo (Pythios).  All this pagan material has been removed, in favour of acknowledgement of the intervention of God.

Furthermore, the Hebrew reveals yet more intervention  – “God, praised and blessed be He” has a  distinctly Islamic flavour.

What are we to make of all this?

The changes may have been made at any point in the transmission.  Without a general knowledge of changes of this kind in the Arabic translation movement, we cannot say if any of this reflects the Greek text before Hunain and Job; or is conventional, in Syriac translations; or is their own work, in adapting a medical textbook for the needs of a capricious Muslim despot; or is the work of later Arabic editors, or indeed of the Latin and Hebrew translators in Europe.  But somewhere along the line, someone got creative.

The changes, in fairness, are mild.  They adjust paganism to monotheism, and remove an irrelevant irritant for the reader.  They are probably no worse than some modern editors are doing to old but politically incorrect childrens’ classics like Biggles.

All the same, it does highlight that the transmission of texts is sometimes less than faithful, on ideological grounds.  It would be most interesting to see if there is any general pattern available in the data.  I suspect that there might be.

  1. [1] The material for this article is found in A. Pietrobelli, “Galien agnostique: un texte caviardé par la tradition,” Revue des Études Greques 126 (2013), 103-135.
  2. [2] Details here.  John Lamoreaux has since made an English translation, Hunayn Ibn Ishaq on His Galen Translations, BYU (2015).
  3. [3] Pietrobelli suggests alternatively a “Job le tacheté” of whom I can discover absolutely nothing – in Lamoreaux’s translation, Job is Job of Edessa.
  4. [4] Pietrobelli states that both Syriac versions were translated into Arabic, the first by Thabit ibn Qurra, the second by Isa ibn Yahya, a disciple of Hunain; Lamoreaux gives the passage as: “What He Believes by Way of Opinion [B113]  This book consists of a single volume. In it he describes what is known and what is not known. Job has translated it into Syriac. <I translated it into Syriac> for my son Ishaq. Thabit translated it into Arabic for Abu Jafar Muhammad Ibn Musa.” and “A adds: Isa Ibn Yahya translated it into Arabic, which Ishaq collated with the original and corrected, for Abd Allah Ibn Ishaq. “
  5. [5] Que l’univers soit incréé ou créé, qu’il y ait quelque chose après lui au dehors ou bien rien, parce que j’affirme être dans l’ignorance face à de telles questions, j’ignore aussi évidemment quelle est la nature du créateur de toutes choses dans l’univers, s’il est incorporel ou corporel, et bien davantage, en quel lieu il réside.
  6. [6] J’affirme donc ne pas savoir si le monde est créé, s’il existe quelque chose à l’extérieur de lui ou pas. Et parce que je dis que je ne sais pas ces choses, il est donc clair que je ne sais pas, à propos du créateur de toutes les choses qui sont dans ce monde, s’il est corporel ou incorporel ni où il est situé, à savoir la divinité, ou plutôt le pouvoir de la divinité. Ce pouvoir est de ceux dont les oeuvres sont révélées dans ce monde par les actes qui ne peuvent provenir que d’un créateur. Ainsi ils indiquent eux-mêmes Dieu.
  7. [7] Il dit : j’ignore si le monde est créé ou pas, et s’il y a quelque chose d’autre en dehors de lui ou rien. Et puisque je dis être ignorant sur ces choses, il est aussi évident que j’ignore, à propos du créateur de toutes les choses qui sont dans le monde, s’il est un corps ou incorporel  ni quel est le lieu de son séjour.  Quant à Dieu et aux pouvoirs divins, c’est-à-dire les pouvoirs dont les activités se manifestent dans le monde, ils ne peuvent que provenir du Créateur, c’est pourquoi ils Le révèlent et ils Lui sont attribuées. 
  8. [8] Est-ce donc qu’au sujet des dieux j’affirme également que je suis dans l’incertitude, comme Protagoras le disait, ou bien qu’à leur sujet j’affirme être ignorant de leur essence, tout en reconnaissant leur existence d’après leurs oeuvres?  Car c’est l’oeuvre des dieux que la constitution des êtres vivants, ainsi que tous les avertissements qu’ils envoient par des présages, des signes ou des songes.
  9. [9] Et je ne parlerai pas comme Pictagoras qui niait avoir une connaissance à leur sujet, mais j’affirme que je n’ai aucune connaissance de leur essence; mais que ces pouvoirs existent, je le sais à travers leurs oeuvres parce que l’organisation des êtres vivants est leur fait et qu’ils sont révélés par la divination et les rêves.
  10. [10] Je ne dis pas d’eux comme Protagoras : « Je ne sais rien du tout à leur sujet », mais je dis que j’ignore quelle est leur essence. Qu’ils existent en revanche, je le sais d’après leurs activités et à leurs activités appartiennent la composition des animaux et ce qui se manifeste à travers la divination, les augures et l’interprétation des rêves.
  11. [11] Le dieu qui est honoré chez moi à Pergame a montré sa puissance et sa providence en bien d’autres occasions mais particulièrement le jour où il me soigna. En mer, j’ai fait l’expérience non seulement de la providence, mais aussi de la puissance des Dioscures. Non vraiment, je ne pense pas que cela fasse du tort aux hommes d’être ignorants de l’essence des dieux, bien que je sois décidé à les honorer en suivant la coutume ancestrale, à la façon de Socrate qui conseillait d’obéir aux préceptes de Pythios. Voilà ma position en ce qui concerne les dieux.
  12. [12] Note 25. V. Nutton proposes to restore the text thus : “Concerning the workings of God in us +having come+ into deep trouble, +how much clearer+ have they appeared in their power!”
  13. [13] En ce qui concerne les oeuvres de Dieu en nous †…† elles sont apparues par son pouvoir, parce qu’il me soigna une fois d’une maladie que j’avais et parce qu’il se manifeste en mer en délivrant ceux qui sont sur le point de faire naufrage grâce à des signes qu’ils aperçoivent et qui leur font croire fermement à leur salut. Voilà qui indique manifestement un pouvoir admirable don’t j’ai moi-même fait l’expérience.  Et je ne vois pas ce qu’il y a de nuisible pour les hommes s’ils ignorent l’essence de la divinité et je vois que je dois revendiquer et suivre la loi sur ce point et accepter ce qu’a prescrit Socrate qui s’est exprimé assez fermement sur ce sujet. Voilà ce que j’ai à dire sur la divinité.
  14. [14] Et parmi les actions de Dieu, béni et loué soit-Il, qui révèlent son pouvoir et sa providence pour les créatures, il y a le fait qu’Il m’a guéri d’une maladie que j’avais et ce qui peut être vu en mer d’après le sauvetage de ceux qui s’embarquent dans des navires; après avoir cru faire naufrage et couler, <ils sont sauvés> par le signe qu’ils voient et auquel ils croient et par lequel ils sont sauvés. Cela donne une indication claire d’un pouvoir merveilleux, et je ne pense pas que cela fasse du tort aux gens s’ils ne savent pas quelle est l’essence des pouvoirs divins. C’est pourquoi je pense que je dois les exalter et les louer, comme l’ordonne la religion.

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Roswell That Ends Well (God as Alien)

I happened recently across the blog Our Daily Fred. There’s a fair amount there that is entertaining on the subject of religion, but the one that brought me there was exploring the alienness of God, bringing the Bible’s use of the term into proximity with some sci-fi images that you can see below (the first is “Saint [Read More...]

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

New Open Access Journal: Santander Art and Culture Law Review

Santander Art and Culture Law Review

The Homer Multitext

Summer Seminar 2016 set to begin next week

Priam supplicates Achilles for the return of the body of Hector.
Athenian red-figure vase, ca. 500-450 BCE. Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum 3710.
Image courtesy of the Florida Center for Instructional Technology
The annual Homer Multitext Summer Seminar begins next week at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, DC. This year students and faculty from Brandeis University, the College of the Holy Cross, Furman University, Gustavus Adolphus College, the University of Houston, Leiden University in the Netherlands, Trinity University in San Antonio, the University of Washington, and Washington and Lee University will come together to learn about the theoretical underpinnings of the Homer Multitext and to create a complete edition of book 24 of the Iliad. You read that right—we are closing in on a complete edition of the entire Venetus A manuscript of the Iliad, a project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities that has been over a decade in the making.

In addition to our editorial work, we will seek to gain a better understanding of the poetics of Iliad 24, and how a multitextual approach to Homeric epic enhances our understanding of those poetics. Stay tuned for more about our discussion next week.

Archaeology Magazine

England Roman influenceIPPLEPEN, ENGLAND—Coins, a road, and imported pottery vessels suggest that Roman influence stretched further into southwest Britain than had been previously thought, according to a report in The Guardian. Archaeologists from the University of Exeter, the Portable Antiquities Scheme, Devon county council, and Cotswold Archaeology began searching for a Roman settlement after metal detectorists discovered 150 Roman coins in an unexpected area. They think the road was probably constructed by the Roman army in the first century A.D., and was maintained over a period of 300 years. The team also found a cemetery near the road that was in use between the sixth and eighth centuries. Handles from amphoras that held wine, oil, and fish sauce have also been found. “The presence of these kinds of vessels demonstrates that the people living here were at least influenced in some way by the Romans—they have adopted Romanized ways of eating and drinking which shows that some of the locals developed a taste for Mediterranean products such as wine and olives,” said Danielle Wootton, Devon finds liaison officer. For more on Roman finds in England, go to "A Villa under the Garden."

South America megafaunaADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA—Humans and megafauna coexisted in South America for at least 1,000 years and for perhaps as long as 3,000 years before the animals went extinct, according to a new study led by Alan Cooper of the University of Adelaide. Humans were living at the archaeological site at Monte Verde, located at the edge of Patagonia, some 14,600 years ago. It had been thought that as these hunters moved into North and South America, they killed off large animal populations. Cooper and an international team of scientists carbon-dated animal bones from caves across southern South America, and studied their DNA. They found that the megafauna all died out within a 300-year period around 12,300 years ago, a time when the climate was warming rapidly after a long cold period. Cooper says that the change in climate would have changed the vegetation in the region, producing more rainfall and forests. Only the ancestors of llama and alpaca survived the combination of habitat destruction and human hunting. “We might expect the same processes to be happening again,” he told ABC News Australia. For more, go to "America, in the Beginning."

England Roman BurialLINCOLN, ENGLAND—The Lincolnshire Echo reports that the remains of two babies and an adult have been uncovered in a Roman cemetery in Lincoln’s city center. One of the children had been buried beneath a roof tile. Cremated remains were also found in an urn. City archaeologist Alastair MacIntosh explained that evidence of Roman buildings dating back to the first century had been found in the area, but the discovery of the cemetery was a surprise. Since Roman burials were usually placed outside the city walls, the site could help researchers determine the early limits of the city of Lindum. Further excavation could also reveal the purpose of a large stone slab unearthed at the site. “What we have uncovered so far indicates that we have probably located part of a cemetery used over an extended period of time, but we can’t draw definitive conclusions at this early stage,” Gavin Glover of Allen Archaeology explained. To read about another Roman burial in England, go to "What’s in a Name?"

Georgia wine vesselVENICE, ITALY—Evidence of wine has been discovered in a vessel unearthed at Aradetis Orgora, a site in Georgia associated with the Kura-Araxes culture, by a team of archaeologists from Ca’Foscari University in Venice and the Georgian National Museum in Tbilisi. The Mirror reports that the animal-shaped vessel, which dates to around 3000 B.C., is missing its head, but still has three small feet and a hole on its back. It was unearthed near a similar vessel and a jar on the burned floor of a building thought to have been used for cultic activities. Palynologist Eliso Kvavadze found well-preserved pollen grains of Vitis vinifera, or common grape vine, in the vessel. The team suggests that the wine was poured out as offerings to the gods or as memorials for the dead. To read about another find from Georgia, go to "Homo erectus Stands Alone."

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Discovery of Roman coins in Devon redraws map of empire

The discovery of a few muddy coins in a Devon paddock by a pair of amateur metal detector...

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Contested Pre-Columbian Artefacts in Pittsburg Museum

Where does this lot come from?
Scott B. Leff of Point Breeze claims that nearly 300  pieces of Pre-Columbian art on display in the University of Notre Dame's Snite Museum of Art were stolen in 1996 from his father, Jay C. Leff, a retired bank president and renowned collector of pre-Columbian art (who died in 2000). Leff is seeking a court order for the art's return or damages equal to its current value.
The lawsuit says his son learned in 2015 that the museum had bought the art a decade earlier but that Notre Dame refused to acknowledge his ownership. Although the museum bought the art from a legitimate dealer, the dealer apparently bought it from the thief, the lawsuit says.  [...]  Scott Leff reported the theft to Pittsburgh police in 1996, according to a copy of the police report included in the lawsuit. He valued the collection at $575,000. In a letter to Scott Leff included as an exhibit in the lawsuit, the university notes that there's no evidence that anything came of the police report and neither of the Leffs ever took any action to recover the art from the person the son believes stole it. “We do not believe a true owner of this valuable art would do nothing for 20 years about the theft of art allegedly worth ($500,000),” the letter said. The university said that without “compelling proof” of Leff's ownership, it would reject his demands for return of the art or a negotiated sale.

Brian Bowling, 'Fight between Pittsburgh man, Notre Dame over half million dollars of early American art moves to federal court', June 14, 2016.

Harvard Pap. Dodge Fiasco: Scholar Pleads Naivity

'He lied to me' was the response of Karen L. King Harvard historian of Christianity on reading Ariel Sabar's report on the identity and history of Walter Fritz, the owner of the papyrus fragment she published as "The Gospel of Jesus' Wife" (Ariel Sabar, 'Karen King Responds to ‘The Unbelievable Tale of Jesus’s Wife' ’ The Atlantic 16th June 2016).
Although she had exchanged numerous emails with the owner and had met him in December 2011, she realized after reading the article that she knew next to nothing about him, she said. Walter Fritz had never mentioned his years at the Free University’s Egyptology institute, his formal study of Coptic, or his work as a pornographer whose star actress was his own wife—a woman who’d written a book of “universal truths” and claimed to channel the voices of angels. He had presented himself to her as a “family man” who enjoyed trips to Disney World and was independently wealthy. “I had no idea about this guy, obviously,” she said. “He lied to me.”
This is extraordinary, she introduced material into the academic literature on the mere say-so of a complete stranger, one which a few mouse clicks Googling the information which she did have would reveal his "Nefer Art" business. Personally, if I learnt somebody was an art dealer with dodgy papyri on their website, I'd suspect them of being a yarn-spinner right away.  She met Fritz in December 2011, but presented the papyrus 18th September 2012, and in that time had not made any progress in verifying where actually the too-good-to-be-true fragment had come from.
But King had placed her faith in the opinions of expert papyrologists, along with a series of carbon-dating and other scientific tests, at MIT, Harvard, and Columbia, that had turned up no signs of modern tampering or forgery.
But this refutes nothing, because they only looked at a selected part of the evidence. The object "surfaced" in association with three other documents. Dr King did not submit the associated material to any tests at all for authenticity. That was left to a journalist to do four years later, and scholarship is all the poorer for that.

Astoundingly, when Ariel Sabar asked Dr King why she hadn’t undertaken an investigation of the papyrus’s origins and the owner’s background, he received the reply:
“Your article has helped me see that provenance can be investigated”.
Wow. Yes, most other scholars take great care to examine the material they wish to use as a source of information about anything to ensure it is what it is supposed to be. The carpal of an ass can be radiocarbon dated to 28 AD +/- 22 yrs, can be shown by isotopes to have been fed grass which grew in the region of Jerusalem, and osteological analysis can show it walked with a slight limp from carrying heavy weights, but no amount of tests showing that "there is no evidence that this was not the donkey that carried Christ into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday" will show that it was. But belief is not trammelled by constraints of logic:
King said she would need scientific proof—or a confession—to make a definitive finding of forgery. It’s theoretically possible that the papyrus itself is authentic, she said, even if its provenance story is bogus. 
It seems though that she is still clinging on to hope:
King hoped that Fritz would allow the scrap to remain at Harvard, so that scholars could continue to probe questions of authenticity.
But she does now admit that the preponderance of the evidence now that Sabar has done what she should have done four years ago “presses in the direction of forgery.”

What Brexit will mean for British Archaeology

This is an amazingly thorough write up of some amazingly thorough research: Doug's Archaeology " What Brexit or … Exit will mean for Archaeology… really all of the UK.  June 20, 2016. I wonder who it is for though, are there many archaeologists who are Brexiters? Many of the metal detectorists (who probably are to a large extent Brexiters) will be rejoicing that this would be a blow to the hated archaeology, bless 'em. But it won't affect metal detecting will it?

Lesson from the Harvard Pap Dodge Fiasco

Commenting elsewhere on the Gospel of Jesus' Wife Fiasco:
I am sure we can agree that the issue is that objects just "surfacing" from the opacity of the market should have their collecting history and actual origins thoroughly examined by academics before they decide to handle them. If they do, a condition of handling licitly-obtained and licitly-owned source material must be complete disclosure, not hiding of important facts about their origin. The fact that the academic here agreed to hide important details to gain access has landed her, her institution and a whole field of study in a highly embarrassing situation. [My understanding was that the fragment is currently housed actually in the Harvard School of Divinity, hence my remark.]
There is a tendency among collectors, dealers and some academics studying such things  to believe that in the case of what theoretician of historiography Jerzy Topolski called addressed sources, (coins, inscriptions, manuscripts, cuneiform tablets, papyri) the message they carry can be interpreted in its own rights, without regard to its context of discovery. But each text or image is created, used and then lost in a particular context, and these factors relate not only to their creation but also reception (by the addressee). The fragment now in Harvard Divinity School has markings on it which are 'addressed' to a certain audience, and where and how this artefact "surfaced" is important in determining the motives for its creation and dissemination (and meaning) of the "information" it contains.

Vignette: "It's the text that's important..."  (nonsense)

Sauce for the Greek Goose, sauce for the Indiana Gander

"Schreck isn’t sure what thieves were looking
for and what would have been left behind.
“I don't
know that a whole lot would be left,
but again jewelry or other items that
they may have been looking for".

Donna Yates @DrDonnaYates not long ago
Nineteenth-Century Grave Looted in Indiana …
Paul Barford ‏@PortantIssues even less time ago  Paul Barford retweeted Donna Yates
US dealers lobby groups - CPAC should force Greeks et al to pay a "living wage" to stop looting there - start at home!
The boards of both the International Association for Professional Numismatists and the Professional Numismatists Guild have, it is true, so far neglected to respond to my written  request for further information about the recommendation they made to the CPAC in Washington that somebody make sure that off-season casual labourers are paid a "living wage" to prevent them looting archaeological sites in the vicinity. I am sure this is because they are putting together a proper answer with concrete proposals of how this could be implemented.

I suggest thought that before putting it into action in an unfamiliar socio-economic environment, the US-based dealers in the Association and Guild put a pilot scheme into operation themselves in selected poor regions of the US with a rich heritage - such as Harrison County for example. Let us see how much it costs and what the effects are. Are you ready to put your own recommendations into action IAPN and PNG? Show us that you know what you are talking about - put your money where your mouth is. Show the world you are as interested in action being taken as the rest of us and are not just stalling - again.

Amber Room Search in Poland

After the predicted anticlimax over the non-existence of alleged Nazi Gold train, Polish treasure hunters are off on another jolly jape inspired by events in the dark days at the end of the Second World War.  Now they are looking for the Amber Room. For those who do not know the story:
The Amber Room was a gift of King Frederick Wilhelm I of Prussia to Russian Emperor Peter the Great. The room was brought to St. Petersburg in 1717 and was fitted into Russia’s Catherine Palace in the Tsarskoye Selo imperial residence. Architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli added gilded carving, mirrors and mosaic panels made of agate and jasper to the room’s interior decoration under the rule of Empress Elizabeth of Russia (born 1709-died 1761), the daughter of Emperor Peter the Great. The Amber Room remained intact for about 200 years. It was stolen by German fascists who occupied Tsarskoye Selo during WWII.
It was then shipped off to the Castle in Koenigsberg  (now in Russia’s Kaliningrad region) in 1941, and then when the Red Army advanced on the city, one story is that it was evacuated by the Germans and hidden somewhere in the Reich in 1945. One of the several places where it was believed it had been hidden was the bunker complex at what is now Mamerki in Poland. There were searches here in the 1950s-1960s because a witness claimed that the Germans had unloaded treasures there in 1945 (one of several dozen places where hearsay evidence located secret treasure hoards - very few of which prove to be in any way grounded in fact). Field engineers tried to find the alleged hidden treasure for several days, dynamiting entrances into that concrete facility, but found nothing.

Anyway more modern equipment has now been brought to bear on the legend, ground-penetrating radar - and drilling has started in the anomalies it revealed. The first hole, 3m deep, has found no empty cavities. A new borehole will be sunk next week. Tass reports on the story 'Amber Room not found in Poland so far — explorers' Tass June 15 2016.

Sadly, the actual truth seems to be that the Amber Room never left Koningsburg Castle and was destroyed in Red Army military action between 9 and 11 April 1945. Claims that the Nazis took it away would therefore be Soviet propaganda.

Vignette: President Putin in the reconstructed amber room - photo from interesting article.

Ancient Peoples

Terracotta head of a woman, 20 cm/8 in high  Cypriot,  6th...

Terracotta head of a woman, 20 cm/8 in high  

Cypriot,  6th century B.C. (Cypro-Archaic II)

Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Hmmm, Harvard

Only in the USA?
6 godz.6 godzin temu
: “Your article has helped me see that provenance can be investigated." A Harvard history professor said that.
3 godz.3 godziny temu
Scholar meets world. "Your article has helped me see that provenance can be investigated."
3 godz.3 godziny temu
Douglas Hunter podał/a dalej Douglas Boin
There's something to be said for scholars learning some basic journalism skills.
21 godz.21 godzin temu
Seth L. Sanders podał/a dalej Roberta Mazza
The real story of the Gospel of Jesus' Wife is scholars' low standards of evidence for things that tell good stories
4 godz.4 godziny temu
I have the best provenance, really good provenance.

"Antiquities Market"

Interesting experiment. Try and find out what the British antiquities market in general looked like before the Internet and metal detectors (so let us say 1920s to 1970s). The catalogues of the big auction houses only give a view of the 'upper end' of the market, the postal catalogues of the smaller shops tend to concentrate on coins. There are not many of either here in Poland of course. So what does Mr Google say? Type in "Antiquities market" and you get a series of articles on looting, illicit trade etc. While that's nice, one wonders what that says about the existence of this "legitimate market" one hears so much about (from the dealers). Where are the texts relating to that per se? Oh there are lots of apologetic texts ("we-are-misunderstood-and-not-like-those-nasty-archaeologists-say"-type stuff from Mr Ede and his fellows), but not much in a way of characterising what that market looked like in the past and what it looks like today. Why would that be? Something to hide?

If I walked into a provincial antiquities dealer's shop in the 1960s, what would I have found?  My first visit was to one in Brighton in 1979, and I remember shabtis, scarabs and 'Luristan' bronzes - the man was very nice, served tea and explained that 'Luristan' was a trade cover-all term for "don't really know what this is and where it's from". I do not recall being then particularly shocked, this was a time when I was just beginning my 'adventure' with metal detectorists and visiting their clubs. There were two coin shops in my local town which had Roman and medieval coins among the shinier modern ones. The blokes that ran them were very nice - but then started saying too much about what metal detectorists were doing, and what they were bringing in which was a bit of a turning point for me. I recall stone axes in another shop about this time. What else? What would have been the ratio between 'local' and 'imported' antiquities on the trade as a whole in the UK?

Are there any studies on this I should try and get hold of? 

The Archaeology News Network

Devon excavation extends boundaries of Roman Empire

A team of archaeologists, students and local volunteers have unearthed evidence of a Romano-British settlement in a rural Devon village. Archaeologists working on the site at Ipplepen  [Credit: Steven Haywood/BBC]The finds shed new light on how the county’s inhabitants lived during the Roman period. Until now little evidence of the Romans had been found outside of Exeter and it had been thought that rural areas had not been...

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Archaeological News on Tumblr

Peek Inside Cat Mummies With New X-ray Images

Archaeologists may soon unravel the mysteries of ancient Egypt using a new imaging technique that...

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

John the Jew, Kingship, Priesthood, and Divinity: Enoch Seminar Day 3

The morning sessions I attended both focused on John 5. We explored fascinating questions such as: whether the argument that an obedient son does what he sees his father doing requires a particular ontological understanding of divine sonship, or works equally well if it is the relational sonship of the Davidic king that is in [Read More...]

The Archaeology News Network

Pieces of a small medicine jar may be linked to Lost Colony

Archaeologists on North Carolina's Roanoke Island found pottery pieces that could have been part of a jar belonging to a medicine maker of the Roanoke Island voyages and perhaps a member of the "Lost Colony." Two pieces of pottery belonged to a medicine jar used by a member of the Roanoke voyages during the late 1500s  [Credit: National Park Service]Two quarter-size fragments, colored blue, white and brown, were discovered buried...

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New origins for farmed rice discovered

Chew on this: rice farming is a far older practice than we knew. In fact, the oldest evidence of domesticated rice has just been found in China, and it's about 9,000 years old. The oldest evidence of domesticated rice has just been found in China, and it's about 9,000 years old  [Credit: Asian landscape by Scott Gable]The discovery, made by a team of archaeologists that includes University of Toronto Mississauga professor Gary...

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The Archaeology News Network

Excavations start at Apollonia ad Rhyndacum in northwestern Turkey

Uludağ University (UÜ) Department of Archaeology aims to introduce Bursa's Gölyazı neighbourhood, which is also called "Little Venice," to tourism after the completion of the archaeological excavations currently being conducted in the region. UÜ Vice Chancellor Professor Tevfik Yücedoğru and Secretary in general Professor İsmail Sağlam visited the excavation site and were briefed by Professor Mustafa Şahin of the Department of...

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ASOR Blog (American Schools of Oriental Research)

New Evidence for Middle Bronze Age Chronology and Synchronisms in the Levant

A sound and secure chronological framework is the backbone of history. Only when we know when certain events took place, we can try to answer the questions how and why they happened [...]

The post New Evidence for Middle Bronze Age Chronology and Synchronisms in the Levant appeared first on The ASOR Blog.

AMIR: Access to Mideast and Islamic Resources

Open Access Digitised Manuscript: British Library’s Shāhnāmah manuscript (Add.5600)

British Library’s Shāhnāmah manuscript (Add.5600)

Date: late 15th century
Title: Shāhnāmah, by Firdawsī
Content : Firdawsī’s epic the Shāhnāmah ‘Book of kings’ with the older preface. Refurbished ca 1616 (f..274r) in the studio of ʻAbd al-Raḥīm Khān Khānān. Contains 90 overpainted mniatures by attributed Mughal artists.

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

TESS: un sistema di catalogazione informatizzato dei rivestimenti pavimentali antichi

Martedì 21 giugno 2016 presso la sala conferenze di Palazzo Massimo è stato presentato ufficialmente il Portale web del Progetto TESS, sistema di catalogazione informatizzato dei rivestimenti pavimentali antichi.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

PAS partner-spin: Metal Detecting targets known productive areas, generally "redraws" little

Once again, looks like a grassland site with the archaeology just
below a shallow topsoil - the sort of site the Code of Responsible
Detecting says to keep right off - but who pays any attention to that
any more? (Photo Exeter University digging along with the tekkies) .
Slow news day down in the SW of England (Steven Morris, 'Discovery of Roman coins in Devon redraws map of empire' Guardian 22 June 2016), at Ipplepen:
The discovery of a few muddy coins in a Devon paddock by a pair of amateur metal detector enthusiasts has led to the redrawing of the boundary of the Roman empire in south-west Britain. Previously it had been thought that Ancient Rome’s influence did not stretch beyond Exeter [...]  Danielle Wootton, the Devon finds liaison officer, said [...]  it was clear that Wills and Hewings had happened upon something important.”
I suggest the FLO reads the Devon HER (online here) where a settlement and the road and previous coin finds are noted in records of the 1960s. Was it "research " of these existing records which led to the artefact hunters deciding to target the area to pull out another 150 coins for their own collection? Perhaps FLOs could state the case with accuracy and not engage in partner-coddling spin in future. Telling the public the truth about portable antiquity issues is - surely - what they are paid for.

Ben Blackwell (Dunelm Road)

IBR Main Session: Humphrey and Responses

I know we’re a few months out from the annual meetings this November, but now that the SBL schedule is online, I’m excited to point your attention to Edith Humphrey’s contribution as the main lecture at IBR this year. In addition Mike Gorman and I (Ben) will be serving as respondents, so I’ll get to be on stage with two of my friends who are among my favorite Paul scholars.

Institute for Biblical Research
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Edith M. Humphrey, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
Reclaiming all Paul’s Rs: Apostolic Atonement by Way of the Eastern Fathers (40 min)

Ben Blackwell, Houston Baptist University, Respondent (10 min)
Michael Gorman, Saint Mary’s Seminary and University, Respondent (10 min)
Discussion (20 min)

The Archaeology News Network

The call of the sea: Mammalian evolutionary transitions back to the sea

Though mammals adapted on land, a new study by Maria Chikina and Nathan Clark has shown that during three major independent evolutionary events, a number of mammals harkened back to the sea. Antillean manatee [Credit: WikiCommons]For the manatee, walrus, dolphin, and killer whale, the return to the sea involved many evolutionary trade-offs amongst hundreds of genes: a general loss of the number of sensory genes for smell and taste,...

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Martin Rundkvist (Aardvarchaeology)

Tuna and Nävragöl: Harness Mounts

As I blogged about in late May, a recent find from Blekinge has cast light on an enigmatic oval mount that my team collected in Östergötland in 2007. We can now say fairly confidently that the object type belongs to the 19th century. And yesterday Karin Tetteris of the Swedish Army Museum came through with evidence that strengthens this dating and suggests a function for the mounts: horse harness.

Specifically, we’re dealing with cruppers, Sw. svanskappor, “a soft padded loop under the base of the tail, to keep the harness from slipping forward” as Wikipedia explains. None of the mounts in Karin’s photographs are exact parallels, but they’re close enough in my opinion. Case closed! Thank you, Karin! Though I’d love to see an oval, gilded mount still on its harness, too.

19th century crupper in the Swedish Army Museum. Photo Karin Tetteris.

19th century crupper in the Swedish Army Museum. Photo Karin Tetteris.

Mount from Tuna in Östra Husby, Östergötland, April 2007

Mount from Tuna in Östra Husby, Östergötland, April 2007

Jim Davila (

John the Jew (Camaldoli) day 2

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Report on the Shenoute Conference

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Game of Thrones (sort of) re-enacts Battle of Cannae (spoilers!)

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Geza Vermes's birthday

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The Archaeology News Network

How the mouse outlived 'the giant'

T. rex may have been the most ferocious creature in the jungle, but something as simple as growing hair may have helped mammal-like reptiles to outlive this scary beast. Fossil of a Galesaurus, a cynodont closely related to Thrinaxodon  [Credit: Iziko Museum of Natural History]By scanning the fossil remains of mammal-like reptiles from the Karoo of South Africa, Dr Julien Benoit and his colleagues from the University of the...

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Archaeological News on Tumblr

Bolivia recovers 21 archaeological artefacts in Germany

LA PAZ  – Bolivia has recovered 21 archaeological artifacts in Germany which are suspected to...

The Archaeology News Network

Fish out of water are more common than thought

Fish have evolved the ability to live on land many times, challenging the perception that this extreme lifestyle shift was likely to have been a rare occurrence in ancient times, new UNSW Australia research shows. A land-dwelling blenny from Mauritius that leaps around in the splash zone on intertidal rocks and hides in moist  crevices when the tide is low [Credit: Dr. Georgina Cooke]"A fish out of water might seem an...

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Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Fruire la musica del passato: nell'Archivio Storico del Banco di Napoli aprono le Sale della Musica

Giovedì 23 giugno alle ore 18.00 presso la sede della Fondazione Banco di Napoli di via Tribunali verranno inaugurate le due nuove sale multimediali dedicate al mondo della musica per valorizzare e rendere fruibile a tutti l’importante patrimonio racchiuso nelle scritture bancarie dell’Archivio Storico del Banco di Napoli.

The Archaeology News Network

The world's oldest farmers

The team, led by James Cook University's Associate Professor Eric Roberts, discovered the oldest known example of fungus gardens within fossil termite nests from the Great Rift Valley of Africa in 25 million year old sediments. A 25 million-year-old termite nest with the remains of a 'fungus garden' preserved inside  [Credit: H. Hilbert-Worf, James Cook University]Fungus farming termite colonies cultivate fungi in gardens in...

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Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Agli Stati Generali della Cultura del Piemonte si parla di tecnologie per la valorizzazione e la fruizione dei beni culturali

Inizia a Cuneo il 22 e 23 giugno, ed Alessandria e ad Asti, il 30 giugno e 1 luglio 2016, il percorso a tappe degli Stati Generali della Culturale del Piemonte. Gli Stati generali della cultura costituiscono l’occasione per definire, attraverso il confronto fra gli attori del sistema, una visione di lungo periodo sul ruolo strategico della cultura in Piemonte.

Compitum - publications

E. Neri, Tessellata vitrea tardoantichi e altomedievali: Produzione dei materiali e loro messa ...


Elisabetta Neri, Tessellata vitrea tardoantichi e altomedievali: Produzione dei materiali e loro messa in opera, Turnhout, 2016.

Éditeur : Brepols
Collection : Bibliothèque de l'Antiquité Tardive 32
408 pages
ISBN : 978-2-503-56791-4
85 €

The production of mosaic glass and the laying technique of wall mosaic tesserae in Late Antique and Early Medieval times is the subject of this book, focusing in particular on the case of Milan.
The first part examines the production process of glass mosaics, in order to reconstruct the commercial and cultural exchanges of the period being studied. Different tools (ethnoarchaeology, technical recipes, archaeometric analyses, archaeological remains, economic sources, quantitative estimates, restoration reports) are used to track the indica-tors of a workshop producing coloured and gold-leaf mosaic glass-cake, to identify the markers of mosaic glass history and technology, and to detect the material outcome of the actions performed by the mosaicist.
The second part investigates the specific issues of the case of Milan, for which a contradictory literature exists, in terms of chronology and cultural framework of the mosaic art. In particular, it reviews the hypotheses relating to a specific glass production workshop and a school of mosaicists.
The archaeological remains, literary sources, iconographic evidence, and archaeometric analyses, despite their difficult interpretation, allow the identification of three stages of diffusion of the mosaic art in Milan: the late Imperial age, the age of the Goths, and the final centuries of the Early Middle Ages. Four significant cases are analysed: the Imperial mausoleum of St. Victor ad Corpus (4th century), the Basilica of St. Lawrence (early 5th century), the baptistery of St. John ad Fontes (end 5th-6th century) and the Basilica of St. Ambrose (5th-6th and 10th centuries).
This research contributes to several open questions: the technology of glass and gold in a period of technological transition, the mural decoration of Milanese buildings, the choices made by the customers who financed the buildings, the investment required, the social and commercial relations established in order to carry out the works.

Lire la suite...

The Archaeology News Network

'Coral zombies' may spell doom for coral reefs around world

Scientists have known for a while that coral reefs around the world are dying, and in a worst-case scenario they were counting on large, healthy-looking corals to repopulate. New research implies that apparently healthy coral colonies are ‘Coral Zombies’ without any reproductive ability,  causing them to be useless inside a recovery effort [Credit: Oregon State University/Flickr]But a new study presented at the 13th International...

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Jim Davila (

St. Peter's fish bones found in ancient shipwreck

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The Archaeology News Network

Significant humus loss in forests of the Bavarian Alps

Alpine forests will be at great risk should weather phenomena such as droughts and torrential rain become more frequent. As a study by the Technical University of Munich (TUM) shows, the mountain forests of the Bavarian Alps have seen a significant reduction in topsoil organic matter over the past three decades. The study authors' recommendation is therefore to preserve, or better still, increase soil humus regardless of climate change...

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American School of Classical Studies in Athens: News

Gennadius Library closed on July 4

The Gennadius Library will be closed on Monday, July 4.

Mary Beard (A Don's Life)

'Thank you' goes a long way

  635961982204777825-1306133917_thank you

A little while ago a friend of mine who works in an ostensibly desirable employment sector was giving a talk to undergraduates about how to break into her world. Towards the end, there was the usual question: "What's the one piece of advice, you would give us". It was a simple reply. "I know this might seem very old-fashioned," she said, "but always say 'thank you'". What she meant, as she explained to them and to me afterwards, was that she often got emails from people asking for career and other advice, she would regularly take some time and trouble to answer, and only in something like 50% of cases would she get an acknowledgement or a thank you. She always tried to remember those who had got back to her, and it didn't do them any harm, to say the least. Extrapolate from that.

I feel a bit the same. I get lots of questions, observations and enquiries about the ancient world, and about studying it at school or university. And I am very pleased to answer them -- partly because I still reckon that university teachers are basically public servants (despite the fact that the funding stream isnt as public as it once was) and so we have an obligation to answer the public's questions, partly because you have an even greater obligation to do that if you put yourself about on the tv, and partly because it is fun and I really value the feedback, both positive and constructively negative. So if you dont get a reply from me, give me a nudge, it will be because it accidentally got lost in the depths of the email inbox somewhere.

I dont draw the line at much. I do feel a little bit irritated when I get a query about (say) the date of Julius Caesar's assassination. The temptation to reply "tried Google?" is almost irresistible. I also feel slightly uneasy about answering queries from sixth-formers who have been "encouaged to reach out to an expert" (as they often put it) instead it seems of doing any reading from an actual book (I tend now to ask them what they have read and THEN engage with their queries). And I sometimes pull the plug at the third or fourth mini dissertation from someone with a bee in their bonnet about (this is invention, dont worry) 'moonmen at Chedworth Roman villa'. But most the comments are extremely good to get and the questions raised are worthwhile and spot on.

It does all take quite a time to pull off though.

 I reckon that I average betwen one and two hours a day, every day, on the email in this way. And like my friend, I reckon that I have something in the order of a 50% acknowledgment rate. I'm not expecting much (just the reassurance that the email has been received is usually enough), though I have sometimes enjoyed some longer responses. One common question is about visiting Rome and Pompeii, including how you get to see some of the places we've shown in the tv programmes. And I have had some marvellous accounts when people return, telling me how it went, and what they managed or didn't manage to see. It really does seem that it's one of the good uses of the accessibility offered by email (and also Twitter).

But when I spend quarter an hour plus working out what is the most helpful thing to say in reply and I get sweet f* all back, I feel a bit used. And (sorry to say it)  I feel occasionally that those who are encouraging pupils to "reach out to an expert" aren't absolutely always encouraging them to thank the expert when they have got the reply. And just occassionally, if I haven't heard within a week, I rather naughtily email to ask innocently if my reply has been received.

Is that reasonable, do you think? 'Thank you' does go a long way.

The Archaeology News Network

Drought kills 66 million trees in California's Sierra

The number of trees in California's Sierra Nevada forests killed by drought, a bark beetle epidemic and warmer temperatures has dramatically increased since last year, raising fears they will fuel catastrophic wildfires and endanger people's lives, officials said Wednesday. Patches of dead and dying trees near Cressman, Calif. The U.S. Forest Service announced Wednesday, June 22, 2016,  that the number of trees in California's...

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Doug's Archaeology: Investigating the Profession and Research

The Elemental (Re)turn. The Archaeology of Elementary Philosophy and Humoral Principles

Your Wednesday dose of archaeology conference videos. Again from the TAG conference-

Session Abstract: This session encourages archaeologists to (re)engage with pre-Enlightenment doctrines— namely elemental and humoral theory—which, it will be argued, are more relevant for archaeological interpretation than much of current theoretical discourse. Its aims is to show how these ancient theoretical paradigms might be marshalled to provide more direct readings and robust analyses of the archaeological record, provide fairer representations of past cultures, heal present rifts in the discipline’s arts- and science-based research, and position archaeology at the forefront of debates concerning future sustainability and resilience.
Throughout the western world, and for at least the last 2,500 years, all aspects of human life, lifestyle and behaviour—diet, farming practices, health, life-cycles and overarching cosmologies—were perceived, explained and dictated by the principles of the four elements (earth, air, fire and water) and their corresponding humors (melancholy, sanguine, choler, and phlegm). Detailed evidence for these belief systems is found everywhere, from the Vedas of India through pre-Socratic Greek philosophy and the later works of Pliny and Galen, to medieval and post-medieval agricultural, culinary and medical treatises. Living traditions remain fundamental to practice and belief across large parts of Asia and the New World; while many indigenous and First Nations peoples follow cognate cosmologies.
The near total neglect in current archaeological dialogue of the centrality of elemental and humoral theories to so many cultures past and present is thus astonishing. Even phenomenologists, who explicitly seek to engage with lived experience and environmental immersion (both ideas foundational to elemental and humoral theory), have been very slow to ask about the actual philosophies that informed past experience. The discipline’s general failure to acknowledge the importance of elemental and humoral theory appears to be the result of timing: the birth of archaeology and the demise of elemental philosophy both belong to the ‘Age of Reason’. Because of this coincidence, and perhaps also because of the historical legacies of British empiricism which privileged substantiated facts over unsubstantiated popular lore, archaeology has neither explored nor rejected the paradigm of elemental philosophy; it has simply looked forward not back, perhaps viewing any return to pre-Enlightenment ideas as retrograde.
This session challenges this stance. It will suggest that elemental philosophy and humoral theory represent the intellectual paradigm that archaeologists have been striving to invent since the discipline’s creation—one that considers entanglement, agency, materiality, object biographies, individual identities and life course; one that sees no separation between nature and culture or religion and daily practice, and one through which arts- and sciencebased archaeologists can best converse.

Session organisers: Richard JONES, Holly MILLER and Naomi SYKES (University of Leicester, University of Nottingham and University of Nottingham)

Elemental theory: a dummies’ guide for archaeologists

In recent months, as we have showcased our thoughts on the value of elemental theory in archaeological interpretation, it has become apparent that few practitioners in our discipline are aware of elemental theory and fewer still understand its guiding principles. As an introduction to this session, therefore, the fundamentals of elemental theory—at least as it was understood in the Greek, Roman, and medieval European worlds—will be presented. It will be demonstrated how elemental theory was implicated in every aspect of human experience: its foundational role in humoral theory; how the months and seasons were reckoned in elemental terms; how elemental theory mapped on to the human life-style; how it guided thoughts about the planets, meteorology and even terrestrial geography. It’s cosmic man!

@archaeoelement represented here by Richard JONES (University of Leicester)

Getting a sense of humors in zooarchaeology

Archaeologists often go to great lengths devising complex theoretical models about social practice (often developed from anthropological ideas) without considering the evidence provided by the ancient societies under consideration. Textual and iconographic evidence make clear the centrality of humoral principles to Roman and medieval minds: not only did all living things possess their own humors but these could be transferred to ‘consumers’ through any of the bodily senses. Yet there is little mention of the humors in discussion of Roman and medieval archaeology; this is an astonishing oversight. Using a variety of zooarchaeological case-studies, this paper will explore how new interpretations and insights concerning human-animal-landscape interactions might be gained if we consider senses and humors.

Naomi SYKES (University of Nottingham)

The slightest elements of material culture

Artefact analyses have been long dominated by studies of typology and technology. Only in recent decades have we begun to look beyond ‘form’ and ‘function’ for more esoteric meaning in the archaeology of material culture, yet there are categories of artefacts that are still under-studied and under-theorized in this way, such as beads. Understanding the sociocultural- economic significance of beads is obscured by their general classification as ‘ornamentation’, which implies an outward-looking, visually driven, social practice, with decorative purpose. Conversely, ethnographic studies show us that beads, with their physical closeness to the human (or other) body, often have an important role in sympathetic magics that are invoked to counteract the ill effects of elemental imbalances. In this paper, we will attempt to trace a continuity of ideas, if not practices, through modern pastoral and Bedouin groups into the prehistoric record of bead related practices in Anatolia and the Near East. In this way we highlight how our current, post-enlightenment approaches to these items may be inadequate and how viewing these items with the aid of an elemental lens may enhance their interpretation.

Emma BAYSAL (Trakya University, Turkey) and Holly MILLER (University of Nottingham)

The Medicine Tree: pollen analysis as a window into the elemental world of Tibetan Buddhism

The (re)turn to elemental philosophies and using interpretations that are based on the cosmologies of the people who are being studied, potentially offers a fresh and invigorating way of reinterpreting environmental data. Approaches based more broadly in a posthumanism perspective are also attracting greater archaeological attention, but these have been primarily within the realms of period-based studies, zooarchaeology and osteoarchaeology (e.g. Fredengren 2013; Garcia-Rovira 2013; Sykes 2014). Arguably, these sub-disciplines offer either a theoretical or a direct link between people and the past; whether it is through the artefacts they made, the food they ate, and the animals they raised. Can we apply a similar approach to proxy palaeoecological data such as pollen analyses, whereby we attempt to de-centre our western anthropocentric, positivistic perspective and offer equally valid interpretations based on alternative frames of reference? This paper presents an example of how an elemental perspective can provide a reinterpretation of a pollen diagram from a Buddhist dominated area in the Himalaya of Nepal. In particular, we draw on the deeply complex elemental philosophy and knowledge of an Amchi (medicine man) to posit an interpretation focussed on potential entangled meaning within the landscape, rather than purely as an ecological ‘reading’ of the diagram following a ‘conventional’ disciplinary framework. We will also propose that such dominant, avowedly apolitical modes of academic enquiry may be anything but and will consider how we might foreground and negotiate these and related concerns.

Suzi RICHER (Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service) and Benjamin GEAREY (University College Cork, Ireland)

Scientific fields? Medieval peasants, sustainable farming and elemental theory

Our current understanding of the medieval rural environment is largely based on scholarly writings focusing on the landscape policies pursued by the social elite. This study reexamines manorial sources from the perspective of local peasants to reconstruct the physical—and in some respects, metaphorical—environment of the lower orders in two contrasting English villages between 1086-1348, and to determine how this led to the development of the local economic strategies that can be pieced together from the records of the medieval manor. Maintaining soil quality was fundamentally important since peasants’ survival was closely linked to their agricultural success. Local peasants clearly understood that the land needed nourishment, but they also had to decide where and how best to deploy their limited fertiliser stocks, and this required a thorough understanding of the land they worked. Nothing emphasises this more than the wide variety of local fieldnames coined by the peasants themselves. Many field-names were selected and retained over a long period, and describe the specific qualities of individual cropping units. This paper argues that some of the most enduring field-names survived as part of a collective mnemonic system used by local farmers in conjunction with commonly held scientific ideas, from which they determined how best to treat their fields. It suggests that, although uneducated in any formal sense, some peasants nevertheless had a strong grasp of contemporary scientific thought, and there is evidence to suggest that elemental and humoral scientific theory informed their approach to the sustainability of soil quality.

Susan KILBY (University of Leicester)

Bodiam Castle and Longthorpe Tower: elemental readings of later medieval building design

The interpretation of Bodiam Castle (East Sussex) has been hotly contested. Was Bodiam designed as a functioning defensive structure or was it an old soldier’s conceit, a dream house and nothing more? Much of this debate stems from consideration of Bodiam’s position in the landscape, the role of the moat, consideration of the fields of fire afforded by its gunports and arrow loops, levels of fenestration, and analysis of the internal arrangement of, and lines of movement through, its rooms and services. Here medieval rather than contemporary landscape theory is applied for the first time to the reading of Bodiam. Since the basis of good medieval landscape design lay in the application of elemental theory, foregrounding elemental (and humoral) theory brings critical insights that help us to understand Bodiam’s design and the thought processes of its architect. Longthorpe Tower (Peterborough) contains some of the best surviving late medieval wall paintings to be found in a secular context. The scheme depicts key ideas of medieval natural philosophy. The elements are subtly integrated into the scenes, providing an unique opportunity to examine how they were used as part of interior décor at the beginning of the fourteenth century.

Richard JONES (University of Leicester)

Food, identity and humoral theory in early modern England: a case-study from Leicestershire

Archaeological studies of food have generally taken an isolationist approach: they have tended to consider animal and plant remains separately; and have largely failed to integrate written sources fully into their discussion. Furthermore, interpretations have tended to focus on the economics of production (e.g. an increase in the consumption of calves can be explained by a rise in dairy production) or on identifying aspects of dietary identity (most commonly social status). A major omission in current scholarship is consideration of humoral theory as a framework that guided contemporary attitudes to diet and good health. This was particularly true for the early modern period. My research will attempt to address this problem through an interdisciplinary case-study of an early modern aristocratic household at the forefront of cultural change—the home of the Grey family at Bradgate House, Leicestershire. In this presentation, I will outline and exemplify how I will integrate and interrogate archaeobotanical and zooarchaeological evidence alongside household accounts within a humoral framework to reconsider the role of humoral theory in influencing consumption behaviour and its influence on the construction and negotiation of group identities.

Rachel SMALL (University of Leicester)




Thibaut Castelli (Spartokos a Lu)

Histoire et archéologie de la Crimée. Vol. II

Maïko, V. V., éd. (2015) : История и археология Крыма. Вып. II. Сборник статей, посвященный памяти А.Е. Пуздровского / Istorija i arheologija Kryma. Vyp. II. Sbornik statej, posvjashhennyj pamjati A.E. Puzdrovskogo, Simferopol [Histoire et archéologie de la Crimée. Vol. II. … Lire la suite

The Archaeology News Network

Model predicts a universe crowded with black holes

A new study published in Nature presents one of the most complete models of matter in the universe and predicts hundreds of massive black hole mergers each year observable with the second generation of gravitational wave detectors. Astronomers have presented one of the most complete models of matter in the universe and predict hundreds of massive  black hole mergers each year observable with the second generation of gravitational...

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Bryn Mawr Classical Review

2016.06.30: La révélation finale à Rome: Cicéron, Ovide, Apulée. Étude sur le “Songe de Scipion” (De republica, VI), le discours de Pythagore (Métamorphoses, XV) et la théophanie d’Isis (Métamorphoses, XI). Rome et ses renaissances

Review of Nicolas Lévi, La révélation finale à Rome: Cicéron, Ovide, Apulée. Étude sur le “Songe de Scipion” (De republica, VI), le discours de Pythagore (Métamorphoses, XV) et la théophanie d’Isis (Métamorphoses, XI). Rome et ses renaissances. Paris: 2014. Pp. 537. €26.00. ISBN 9782840509455.

The Archaeology News Network

Astrophysicist probes theory of black-hole accretion

Utilizing the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), one of the most powerful telescopes in the world, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) astrophysicist Dr. Tracy Clarke and an international team of researchers have peered into the feeding habits of a supermassive black hole and witnessed the first evidence of a new diet. The black hole, whose mass is nearly 300 million times that of our sun, is on the verge of gulping...

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Astronomers find the first 'wind nebula' around a magnetar

Astronomers have discovered a vast cloud of high-energy particles called a wind nebula around a rare ultra-magnetic neutron star, or magnetar, for the first time. The find offers a unique window into the properties, environment and outburst history of magnetars, which are the strongest magnets in the universe. This X-ray image shows extended emission around a source known as Swift J1834.9-0846, a rare ultra-magnetic neutron  star...

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Archaeology Magazine

Korea Silla skullSEOUL, SOUTH KOREA—Scientists have studied a rare skeleton from the Silla culture, which ruled over part of the Korean Peninsula from 57 B.C. to A.D. 935. “The skeletons are not preserved well in the soil of Korea,” bioanthropologist Dong Hoon Shin of Seoul National University College of Medicine told Live Science. The skeleton, of a woman in her late 30s, was found in a traditional coffin that had been buried near the historic capital of the Silla Kingdom, Gyeongju. Analysis of her mitochondrial DNA suggests that she belonged to a genetic lineage that is present in East Asia today. Carbon isotopes in her bones indicate that she ate a vegetarian diet. The reconstruction of her facial features and head shape from skull fragments suggests that the woman had an elongated skull. Physical anthropologist Eun Jin Woo of Seoul National University thinks that the skull grew that way naturally, since it does not display the shape changes usually seen when heads are deliberately deformed. “In this regard, we think her head should be considered as normal variation in the group,” Woo said. For more, go to "Mysterious Golden Sacrifice."

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: Virtual Archaeology Review

[First posted in AWOL 31 December 2010. Updated 22 June 2016]

Virtual Archaeology Review
ISSN: 1989-9947
The Virtual Archaeology Review (VAR) is an international web-based, open-access, peer-reviewed scholarly journal. Its focus is a mix of arts and engineering that research on the new field of virtual archaeology. The journal is broadly interdisciplinary, publishing works by scholars in the fields of conservation, documentation, 3D surveying, computer science, dissemination, gaming and other similar disciplines related to heritage and archaeology.
VAR targets archaeologists, information scientists, engineers, art historians, restorers, architects and professionals linked with the use of new technologies in the field of archaeological heritage. Full original research articles are welcomed. Since March 2016, it is published quarterly mainly in English, although Spanish is also accepted.



    Open Access Journal: Jewish Bible Quarterly

     [First posted in AWOL 19 January 2011. Updated 22 June 2016]

    Jewish Bible Quarterly
    ISSN: 0792-3910
    The Jewish Bible Quarterly provides timely, authoritative studies on biblical themes. As the only Jewish-sponsored English-language journal devoted exclusively to the Bible, it is an essential source of information for anyone working in Bible studies. The Journal publishes original articles, book reviews, a triennial calendar of Bible reading and correspondence.

    June 21, 2016

    AIA Fieldnotes

    International Archaeology Day at Pueblo Grande Museum

    Event Type (you may select more than one): 
    Start Date: 
    Saturday, October 15, 2016 -
    9:00am to 4:45pm

    Celebrate the 6th Annual International Archaeology Day on October 15 at Pueblo Grande Museum in collaboration with the Central Arizona Society of the Archaeological Institute of America. Demonstrations on archaeological preservation, children’s archaeology dig programs, tours, and artifact interpretation will be available throughout the day! New this year, attend an AIA sponsored lecture and try your hand at some fun archaeology related activities and crafts! Visit to learn more about the event and print a ticket for two free admissions to the Museum for the day!


    Renee Aguilar
    Call for Papers: 

    Andras Zeke (Minoan Language Blog)

    Reconstructing the family tree of ancient Aegean writing systems

    Before going astray and heading straight into Cypro-Minoan matters, I would like to discuss a small but important topic. This post will be about the evolution of the Aegean writing systems: Here, we will attempt to reconstruct their intimate historic connections as accurately as possible based on a rather fragmentary set of evidence available today.

    Writing appeared rather suddenly on Crete, at the beginning of the so-called "Middle Minoan period" at the turn of the 2nd millenium BC. It coincided with profound changes in society and culture as well as the accelerated urbanization of the island. These changes are best exemplified by the architectural innovations (such as the ashlar masonry) leading to the construction of the so-called "Old palaces". There can be little doubt that the sudden surge in Minoan technology, arts and culture was triggered by the establishment of regular trade contacts with the advanced Middle Eastern civilizations. With Egypt being the single most influential empire of the region, it is no wonder that the earliest Minoan writing was clearly modelled after the Middle Kingdom Egyptian hieroglyphs.

    Although superficially indeed similar to Egyptian symbols, Cretan Hieroglyphs are clearly distinct in both form and phonetic value. Yet the biggest difference lies in the underlying system itself. Egyptian Hieroglyphs are part of a complex writing system, where most signs have more than one possible reading, dependent on context (similarly to the Japanese Kanji characters). Signs could have both a phonetic (single consonant or syllable) value or an ideogrammatic (word) reading, but could even be utilized as phonetic complements or logograms, "reinforcing" the reading of words they were attached to. As many of these duplicities could only be interpreted by a native speaker of Old Egyptian, this system was very difficult to utilize for speakers of foreign languages. Also, the Egyptian system had over 800 different signs, which is an extremely large inventory of symbols compared to Cretan Hieroglyphs (roughly 85 or so different signs are known). Minoan scribes apparently took only the concept of writing from Egypt, creating their own signs and simplifying the system so that it became almost fully phonetic. Such a low number of individual characters is uncharacteristic of the complex writing systems of the ancient Near East, but it is fully compatible with a simple syllabary (reminiscent of the modern Japanese Hiragana or Katakana writing). Thus we can safely assume that Cretan Hieroglyphs, similarly to all later Aegean writing systems, were already syllabic in nature.

    Fig. 01: Family tree of Aegean writing systems.

    Hieroglyphic Cretan script is mostly preserved on sealstones, but was also used on short clay tablets, bars and labels for the explicit purpose of administration. Other uses were rare; the longest contiguous Hieroglyphic text is found on the altarstone of Malia (in a religious context). As seals might have been used by several generations, it is difficult to judge when the use of the Hieroglyphic script came to an end. One thing is clear: After the rebuilding of the palatial complexes on Crete (with the advent of the so-called "New Palace Period") the Hieroglyphic script fell out of regular use. A new script has taken its place, called Linear A. The relationship of Linear A and Hieroglyphics is probably comparable to the relation between Egyptian Hieroglyphic and Hieratic/Demotic script. All currently available evidence suggests that the underlying system remained essentially the same; it is the shape of signs that suffered profound change due to graphical simplification.

    Linear A was used much more extensively than Hieroglyphs. Hundreds of clay tablets, inscribed vessels, statues, altarstones and even jewelery testifies its daily use. The triumph of Linear A is also striking in a geographical sense: Wherever Cretan traders went, Linear A followed. Perhaps due to the simplicity of the syllabary, it quickly spread to other regions surrounding Crete. While regularly used on many Aegean islands, sporadic finds suggest that it also reached the Greek mainland as well as the island of Cyprus and the Syrian coast. In the Aegean region, Linear A eventually evolved into the much better known Linear B. Apart from a few newly introduced signs, the difference between the two linear scripts is merely stylistic; anyone skilled in reading the Linear B inscriptions can still read Linear A with relative ease. Their key difference lies not in the form, but in the language these scripts record: While Linear A inscriptions are evidence of a now-extinct bronze age language of Minoan Crete and the Aegean islands, most Linear B phrases are clearly Greek, an archaic dialect now termed as "Mycenaean Greek". Linear B was used at every important Mycenaean polity on the Greek mainland, yet the largest cache of clay tablets have been uncovered at Knossos, at the final destruction layer of the palatial complex (contrary to Evans, they more likely date to around 1200 BC, contemporary with the Pylos tablets). This is also the latest evidence of the use of Linear B: Knowledge of writing was apparently lost with the collapse of the Mycenaean civilization and the immigration of Doric tribes into southern Greece and the Aegean islands.

    Fig. 02: Characteristic signs in Festive Linear A

    Some enigmatic findings have also been uncovered on Crete that do not fit into the above, simple model of evolution. This mainly concerns two famous artifacts with inscriptions, the Phaistos disk and the Arkalochori axe. Although their signs are perfectly picture-like, thus reminiscent of Cretan Hieroglyphs, these are NOT written in Hieroglyphic. In fact, they constitute a poorly-recorded variant of Linear A, that I will here term as "Festive Linear A". It is very clear from several signs these inscriptions feature (namely, the "hairy head", the "cat head", the "flying eagle" and the "dotted column" signs) that they cannot be Hieroglyphic. There are no signs that would depict a flying bird in Cretan Hieroglyphic, but there is a clear Linear A sign (with phonetic value KU) with this exact shape. While a cat or a cat head is occasionally seen as a decorative element on sealstones, it is never used as a phonetic sign in any Hieroglyphic inscription; At the same time, the Linear A sign representing the syllable MA very closely resembles a cat's head.

    Although it is difficult to read the earliest Cretan inscriptions, it is more-or-less clear that the linear A sign with the phonetic value I evolved from a Hieroglyphic sign depicting a hand with fingers. In Linear A, this sign is not just hand-like, it also resembles a hairy head. On both the Phaistos disc and the Arkalochori axe, the "hairy head" character very likely represents a vowel, and could essentially be identical to the Linear A "I" sign.  Judged by these examples, it seems that Festive Linear A was a throwback to the more picture-like representations seen in Hieroglyphics. Yet by the time these inscriptions were written, Cretan Hieroglyphs were probably already extinct. The mnemonics the scribes used to learn Linear A symbols could have been changed over the centuries, and many of the Linear A characters clearly lost their original shape (see my example of the evolution of the "NA" sign). Therefore their "reversal" to a detailed graphical image sometimes created anachronistic depictions, and these can be quite confusing to even experts of Aegean writing systems. A good example from present time could be the mnemonics used by Japanese students to learn certain characters. The Hiragana sign ね representing the syllable "NE" may be compared to a cat figure (and by pure chance, it does even abbreviate the Japanese word for "cat" [neko]). Yet we know that this sign probably originated from a Chinese predecessor 禰 with honorific meanings "god" or "ancestor" (and obviously not depicting a cat, but rather a sanctuary or shrine).

    Fig. 03: Appearance of "NA" sign in different scripts.

    While Linear A never managed to gain popularity in any region of the ancient Near East, it has been adopted on Cyprus from early on. Since the languages spoken on Cyprus differed from that of Crete, the script also underwent changes; giving rise to the so-called Cypro-Minoan syllabary (its earliest evidence stems from around 1500 BC.). It might be somewhat surprising that Cypro-Minoan actually consists of less signs than Linear A. Voiced and voiceless stop consonants were no longer distinguished (as a result many D- T- P-series signs and the entire Q-series fell out of use), but an entirely new series of signs was also introduced for syllables beginning with R-. While the main language recorded by Cypro-Minoan inscriptions is still poorly known, a few clay tablets found at Ugarit contain words of undoubtedly Western Semitic origin. This enables us to read a handful of (but not all) Cypro-Minoan signs with some certainty. Unlike Linear B, the latter writing system survived the bronze age collapse, and eventually evolved into the classical Cypriot script. The Cypriot syllabary represents the latest stage in the millenia-long evolution of Aegean writing. Its signs lost all image-like appearance, becoming abstract lines and curves reminiscent of classical Greek letters. Nevertheless, the Cypriot script is still a syllabary, thus very different from the true Greek alphabet (that evolved from the family of Semitic writing systems). Most Cypriot inscriptions are clearly Greek, yet there are still a number of documents that were written in an extinct, local minority language called Eteocypriot. With all likelihood, it is related to the language of Cypro-Minoan inscriptions, becoming extinct only in the classical era. But that is a story for another time...

    Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

    Open Access Journal: Symbolae Philologorum Posnaniensium Graecae et Latinae

    Symbolae Philologorum Posnaniensium Graecae et Latinae
    ISSN: 0302-7384
    Journal Homepage Image
    „Symbolae Philologorum Posnaniensium Graecae et Latinae” powołano do życia w roku 1973 w ówczesnej Katedrze Filologii Klasycznej UAM jako pismo periodyczne poznańskiego środowiska naukowego filologów klasycznych, otwarte również dla innych ośrodków filologicznych w Polsce oraz dla przedstawicieli pozostałych dyscyplin naukowych, zajmujących się antykiem greckim i rzymskim. Założycielem czasopisma i redaktorem pierwszych tomów był prof. Jan Wikarjak. Redaktorami prowadzącymi „Symbolae” byli i są stale profesorowie filologii klasycznej UAM. Artykuły w SPhP są drukowane w języku polskim, a także, od samego początku, część z nich ukazuje się w językach zachodnioeuropejskich oraz w języku łacińskim. Pojawiają się także autorzy z zagranicznych ośrodków naukowych. Wszystkie artykuły zaopatrzone są w abstrakty oraz summaria w językach obcych. Drukowane są tylko prace oryginalne, które przejdą pomyślnie proces recenzji.


    Shawn Graham (Electric Archaeology)

    I love the people

    I came across this corpus of Trump speeches today. So naturally, I fed it into Karpathy’s RNN.

    Can a computer write an article? Probably no, not yet. But it certainly can do a Trump speech. Behold:

    MACPA406-SG:rnn shawngraham$ th sample.lua cv/lm_lstm_epoch18.09_0.9175.t7 -temperature 0.5 -primetext "I'm Donald Trump"

    I’m Donald Trump. I don’t want to do it.

    I want to thank you. I have a very sad the guy with the last time his one of the great respect for the Second Amendment. And they were supposed to be because they were saying that we have to do it.

    And by the way, I think it’s really been to be able to do it. But he was a real wall. It’s going to be a second person. We can’t get any country. We don’t even know what they’re doing. We get the people of Losing of Trump. And I just want to see how to be in the world. I want to take over Iraq. You know, the whole statement, I’ve seen some real numbers. And the press that they say “We are going to get rid of the problems. We’re going to win. We’re going to win. We’re going to make it make our money like that. I mean, they said “He got the first than that. I said, “That was a lot of money that we have to do it. But they didn’t want to be the greatest people and I will never even say a lot of people that are doing really well in the highory of the United States, which was a great state of our political story. They don’t even know what they’re doing.

    And it’s going to be a country and we will say that we have a big plant on a speech of all the time. So I want to do a great job. I don’t know what the hell is state because they want to go out. They don’t want to run the table and they want to take away the money and they were because of the same thing that we’re going to have done by the way. It’s so good. They are going to really do anything. We don’t know what the hell is what we’re doing. We spent $2 trillion. We have to be tough and so thanker all of the people that don’t know what’s going on. They’re going to pay for the wall. We’re going to start a country and they want a lot. They’re going to go into the hardest to the banks. They would have never had here and I said “If you say it’s in the history of this country. And I said, “What are you going to do?”

    I think it’s done and I love the people.


    James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

    John the Jew and Torah Observance: Enoch Seminar Day 2

    Today was even more thrilling than yesterday, as we began to move beyond stating the views that we brought with us to the conference, to a deeper interaction that is causing us to think new thoughts.   One example is the discussion we had of whether the author and community behind the Gospel of John [Read More...]

    Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

    Rare 'Anglo-Saxon Helmet' on Sale in US

    Anglo-Saxon helmets are not what one would call a 'common' metal detecting find. But here's what purports to be one:  Ancient Anglo-Saxon Iron HelmetLot 51 sold by Artemiss Galleries

    Anglo-Saxon England, ca. 6th to 8th century CE. An exceedingly fine iron helmet comprised of two wide iron bands attached with rivets supporting an iron "crown." [...] Size: 8" L x 7.6" W x 6" H (20.3 cm x 19.3 cm x 15.2 cm) [...] The Saxons were fierce bearded warriors who fought with a ruthless, surprise attack style that intimidated many, even the Romans. Anglo-Saxon society revolved around warfare. [...] The need to obtain more land for distribution encouraged policies of conquest, and the kings of Wessex were particularly successful because they were able to expand into Cornish territory. Provenance: Ex-private United Kingdom collection, acquired in the early 1980's. All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back. A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany all winning bids. [...] Condition Intact save one small area, near choice.
    There's that "All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14" excuse again. So that means that the collector who obtained it obtained a UK export licence for it then? Can we see it? Can we see inside the helmet, is there any trace of a lining or the attachment of additional metal or organic elements? What does the other side of the riveting look like? What about the edges of the sheet elements making it up, why are they so rough and not cut straight if they were fresh metal when the object was assembled? Can we also see a helmet 20x 19cm displayed actually on Bab Dadge's actual dolichocephalic head - that is a rather strange hat measurement - especially if the thing had a leather lining. The description is hardly very precise.

    I'd also like to ask the proprietor of this antiquities shop which Romans did the Anglo-Saxons fight in Cornwall in the eighth century? Instead of an extensive crap narrativisation from the Ladybird Book of British History, why do we not get a professional description of the object itself, its actual technology of manufacture, current state and collecting history? Like, was it shown to a museum in Britain when it was found?

    There are only five other AS helmets known - why is this a sixth if the typology is completely different from the others? Or is it too cynical to ask whether "United Kingdom" is used here to launder a find made somewhere else, because walking off with archaeological objects found while metal detecting is legal there and illegal just about everywhere else? Will the British authorities intervene in this auction, or will they just judge this item to be a crude pastiche or fake (for example created by assembling elements cut from excavated WW2 helmets with false rivets) and not bother?

    But this is the  second one (at least) that Mr Dadge has sold recently to some collector or other.... with the same spiel and the same method of being put together. Odd, that. But hey, "antiquitity dealer" eh?

    Archaeology Magazine

    CLa Belle conservedOLLEGE STATION, TEXAS—The restoration of La Belle, a seventeenth-century French ship discovered in 1995, has been completed at Texas A&M University’s Conservation Research Laboratory. La Belle was one of four ships sent to explore and colonize the Gulf Coast area under the command of Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle. La Salle and 300 settlers missed the mouth of the Mississippi River, however, and La Belle ended up grounded during a storm in 1686 in Matagorda Bay, around 100 miles southwest of Houston, heavily laden with supplies. The Guardian reports that archaeologists recovered a wide range of artifacts, including cannons, long guns, swords, Jesuit rings, combs, clothing, glass bottles and beads, brass tins, casks, and pewter plates, along with the ship’s hull, which had been heavily damaged by burrowing worms. “The La Belle herself is just the largest artifact that came out of the excavation,” said archaeologist Peter Fix. He explained that the fragile timbers were removed from the Gulf, transported in tanks of water to the lab, and freeze dried so that the conservators could carefully remove the water. Then the timbers were cleaned with brushes and chisels. The remains of La Belle are now on display at the Texas State History Museum in Austin. For more on the archaeology of shipwrecks, go to "Is it Esmeralda?"

    red orange ochreNOVOSIBIRSK, RUSSIA—The Siberian Times reports that more than 20 pictographs estimated to be 4,000 years old have been found in a remote area of the eastern Transbaikal region. Scientists learned of the red and orange ocher paintings, discovered by hunters, about three years ago. Sergei Alkin of Novosibirsk University described one of the images as a circle with a cross inside it. He thinks it may represent a shaman with a drum. Other images feature points, which may have been used for counting, and lines. “As for the number of vertical lines above the horizontal line, it is quite possible that these show dugout canoes with people sitting in them,” he said. He adds that the members of the research team have not found any evidence of ritual activity at the site, but they think the artists may have lived nearby, on the estuary of the Largi River. For more, go to "Letter from Siberia: Fortress of Solitude."

    Great Pyramid edgesCAIRO, EGYPT—Engineer Glen Dash of the Glen Dash Research Foundation and Egyptologist Mark Lehner of Ancient Egypt Research Associates (AERA) took new measurements of the Great Pyramid of Giza to try to determine its original size and orientation. The 4,500-year-old pyramid, constructed for the pharaoh Khufu, is the largest of the three pyramids on the Giza Plateau, but most of its smooth limestone casing was removed and reused in antiquity. The scientists looked for surviving casing stones on the pyramid’s platform, and marks that suggest where the edges of the casing stones once rested. They found 84 points along the original edges and marked them on a grid system developed by AERA to map the Giza Plateau. Statistical analysis of the new measurements indicate the west side is longer than the east by between 0.25 and 5.6 inches to a 95% probability, with the best estimate of the error being 2.9 inches. “The base is not quite square,” Dash told Live Science. He suspects that the pyramid builders laid the structure out on a grid oriented on the cardinal directions, with just a slight degree of error. Additional research could reveal how the ancient Egyptians accomplished this feat. For more, go to "Egypt’s Immigrant Elite."

    The Archaeology News Network

    Pompeii's Villa of Mysteries at risk of collapse

    The Villa of Mysteries, considered the ‘crown jewel’ of the ancient city of Pompeii, is at risk of collapse due to vibrations from nearby trains mainly used by tourists and seismic activity in the Bay of Naples, a new report has warned. Villa of the Mysteries in Pompeii [Credit: WikiCommons]The report, issued following a hi-tech study with state-of- the-art equipment by ENEA, Italy's national agency on sustainable development, comes...

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    Ancient Peoples

    Marble Statue Group of the Three Graces, 1.23 m high (48″)...

    Marble Statue Group of the Three Graces, 1.23 m high (48″)

    Imperial Roman, 2nd century A.D.

    These young girls, linked in a dance-like pose, represent The Three Graces: Aglaia (Beauty), Euphrosyne (Mirth), and Thalia (Abundance). They bestow what is most pleasurable and beneficent in nature and society: fertility and growth, beauty in the arts, harmonious reciprocity between men. They enjoyed venerable cults in Greece and Asia Minor. 

    Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Dienekes' Anthropology Blog

    Panorama of African admixture

    I remember how in the early days of online discussions of anthropology a constant topic of contention was whether African variation was the result of admixture, some of it within Africa, some of it from Caucasoids, or whether it was the result of climatic adaptation manifested in gradual clines (as opposed to clusters corresponding to physical types).

    Well, I won't dismiss the role of climate altogether, but it's hard to argue for it much anymore now that we know that the two big fish in the African ocean of human diversity were the spread of Niger-Congo languages (from the west), and of Caucasoids (from the east) over the last few thousands of years, with a healthy seasoning of minor admixtures before and after. Once again it seems that old-style anthropology was right and the more fashionable and trendy attempts to dismiss it as "typology", "imposition of European colonialism through science" and the like were wrong.

    eLife 2016;5:e15266

    Admixture into and within sub-Saharan Africa

    George BJ Busby et al.

    Similarity between two individuals in the combination of genetic markers along their chromosomes indicates shared ancestry and can be used to identify historical connections between different population groups due to admixture. We use a genome-wide, haplotype-based, analysis to characterise the structure of genetic diversity and gene-flow in a collection of 48 sub-Saharan African groups. We show that coastal populations experienced an influx of Eurasian haplotypes over the last 7000 years, and that Eastern and Southern Niger-Congo speaking groups share ancestry with Central West Africans as a result of recent population expansions. In fact, most sub-Saharan populations share ancestry with groups from outside of their current geographic region as a result of gene-flow within the last 4000 years. Our in-depth analysis provides insight into haplotype sharing across different ethno-linguistic groups and the recent movement of alleles into new environments, both of which are relevant to studies of genetic epidemiology.


    The Archaeology News Network

    Did Moianès witness Neanderthal extinction?

    Nowadays, the international scientific community believes that the Neanderthal extinction took place in Western Europe between 38,000 and 35,000 years ago. The archaeological site at Cova de les Teixoneres in Moianès could have witnessed this disappearance. The excavation at Cova de les Teixoneres 2015  [Credit: IPHES]This is suggested by a study recently published in Radiocarbon written by members of Leipzig’s Max Planck...

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    Archaeological News on Tumblr

    Earliest Limb Transplant ID'd in Painting

    Italian researchers have identified the earliest representation of limb transplant in an ancient...

    ArcheoNet BE

    Gezocht: projectmedewerker religieus erfgoed bij zuidwest

    In 2016 en 2017 begeleidt erfgoed zuidwest lokale kerkfabrieken, vrijwilligers, gemeentes en andere betrokkenen in de zorg, registratie en waardering van het roerend en immaterieel erfgoed in de vele kerken van de streek. Voor dit project versterkt zuidwest het erfgoedcelteam met een projectmedewerker (m/v). Als projectmedewerker begeleid je concrete lokale pilootprojecten, ben je het aanspreekpunt voor vragen in verband met religieus erfgoed, bouw je aan een netwerk en leg je de basis voor een publieksproject rond het thema.

    – Je begeleidt en coördineert concrete lokale projecten van registratie en/of waardering van publieke religieuze erfgoedcollecties, voornamelijk in kerken. Je doet dit in samenwerking met lokale projectgroepen en met andere partners. De werkwijze en aanpak baseer je op handleidingen en ervaringen van collega’s.
    – Je neemt een eerstelijnsfunctie op. Je adviseert, biedt expertise, bundelt kennis en werkt zo ook aan een set duurzame ondersteuningsmaatregelen vanuit de erfgoedcel voor dit specifieke thema (bv. uitleenmateriaal, subsidies, good practises,…).
    – Je werkt aan een netwerk en organiseert netwerkmomenten (“erfgoedlabo”) rond het thema religieus erfgoed, dit afgestemd op initiatieven van partners. Je onderhoudt nauwe contacten met o.a. Leiedal, Provincie West-Vlaanderen, CRKC, bisdom,…
    – Je legt de basis van – en onderzoekt de mogelijkheden voor – een breder publieksproject rond religieus erfgoed in de streek.

    Het volledige vacaturebericht vind je op

    Jim Davila (

    GJW: Goodacre roundup

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

    The Archaeology News Network

    Medieval hunting lodge unearthed in England's New Forest National Park

    Archaeologists have been excavating the site of a medieval forester's lodge to learn about the New Forest's royal hunting ground history. The site at Denny Inclosure, east of Lyndhurst, is a protected monument. The excavation is part of a wider project to study a number of related sites  [Credit: University of Winchester]Researchers are trying to find out if it was one of a number of foresters' lodges converted in the 14th...

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    Archaeological News on Tumblr

    Iraqi Kurdistan site reveals evolution towards the first cities of Mesopotamia

    Researchers from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona have revealed the latest archaeological...

    The Archaeology News Network

    Roman temple's raised platform unearthed in ancient Nicomedia

    Excavation works in the northwestern Turkish province of Kocaeli’s İzmit district have revealed 17-stepped platform of a temple that is believed to date back to the Roman era. The stepped platform of a Roman era temple unearthed in ancient Nicomedia  [Credit: AA]“As part of work in the region, we found a 17-step temple stairs,” Provincial Culture and Tourism Director Adnan Zamburkan said. “We see that the stairs continue upwards....

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    Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

    GLAM and cultural heritage in Italy – La cultura libera al tempo di Wikipedia

    In occasione della manifestazione Wikimania 2016, dodicesimo raduno mondiale della comunità di Wikipedia, Wikimedia Italia promuove un incontro per discutere di cultura libera. L'evento si svolgerà a Varenna mercoledì 22 giugno 2016 dalle ore 14:00 alle 17:30.