Maia Atlantis: Ancient World Blogs

Tom Elliott (

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

March 23, 2020

Noel Tan (The Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog)

Colonial reservoir gate repairs to be complete before New Year

Repair of French water gate. Source: Phnom Penh Post 20200323via Phnom Penh Post, 23 March 2020: Water gate built by the French in the 1930s, north of Ta Nei temple.

Portable, Pocket-Sized Rock Art Discovered in Ice Age Indonesian Cave

Portable art from Sulawesi. Source: Griffith University 20200317via Smithsonian Magazine, 20 March 2020: Another story about the recently-discovered portable rock art discovered in Sulawesi. Twenty thousand years ago, humans probably didn’t have much in the way of pockets. But they were still keen on manufacturing and carrying pocket-sized trinkets—including some petite engraved artworks honoring the wonders of the natural world, as new […]

Cooperating to Save Laos’ Plain of Jars

Plain of Jars workshop. Source: The Diplomat 20200320via The Diplomat, 20 March 2020: Developing a disaster risk management program for the Plain of Jars, a project done by some of my colleagues in Unesco Bangkok and SEAMEO SPAFA.

March 22, 2020

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

The Biblical Toolkit: Collecting Resources for Biblical, Classical, and Near Eastern Studies

The Biblical Toolkit is a simple site for collecting useful digital resources relevant to Biblical and Jewish Studies, Ancient Near Eastern, and Eastern Mediterranean studies, all broadly speaking, aimed at most academic and research levels. It developed out of my own bookmarks, which I wanted to offload from my browser. Hence I do not really provide advice, review, or commentary, and try to just collate. I have put it on the web for use by others in the hopes that it might declutter digital lives and expand existing interests.

Rob Cain (Ancient Rome Refocused)

The Robiad (Book 1) Note 1

In researching his podcasts Rob Cain kept a notebook. In it he wrote odd facts and speculative thoughts about life in the ancient world. Each notebook was titled: The Robiad. Each title had a sequential number. He has agreed to share his Robiad (meaning his adventure). You do not have to decipher his scribbling. We have done the work.

It is written that Julius Caesar recited a magic formula 3 times before starting any journey.

Note# I say the Lord’s Prayer repeatedly during the take off on any aircraft.

Thibaut Castelli (Spartokos a Lu)

Pseudo-Skylax : le périple du Pont-Euxin :

Counillon, P. (2004) : Pseudo-Skylax : le périple du Pont-Euxin : Texte, traduction, commentaire philologique et historique. Nouvelle édition, Bordeaux. L’auteur publie et commente la petite partie du Périple du Pseudo-Skylax consacré à la mer Noire. Les commentaires sont nombreux … Lire la suite

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Online teaching help kit for Classics colleagues from the Department of Classical Studies at The Open University

Online teaching help kit for Classics colleagues from the Department of Classical Studies at The Open University
In the current health crisis, Classics colleagues all over the world are being asked to rapidly switch to online teaching. There is already a great deal of help out there, and we don’t want to replicate that, but the following is a list of resources that the Open University and FutureLearn has that might be useful to you. NB: some of the Classical material is pretty old – we’re hoping it still has paedagogical value nonetheless; this list was put together in a hurry so please excuse any formatting errors.

General guidance and help with distance learning:

OU advice page on taking your teaching online
Free course: Take Your Teaching Online
Advice on how to be an online student

Online Classical resources you can use in your teaching:


Introducing Greek and Latin: short course with various materials
Introducing Ancient Greekshort unit on the alphabet, pronunciation, using letters to form words and using words to form simple sentences.
Greek Vocabulary Tester: OU/Eton collaboration based on Reading Greek 
Reading Classical Greekinteractive quizzes based on Reading Greek
Introducing Classical Latin: short unit on basic vocabulary, basic principles of Latin word order and sentence structure
Interactive Latinquiz on Latin noun, verb and adjective endings
Getting started on Classical Latin: free online course with beginners’ materials
The development of the Latin language: discussion of how Latin developed into modern Romance languages
Continuing Classical Latin: short online course


Plato on Tradition and Belief: free online course with usable structured content
Iliad and Odyssey: animated videos
Aeschylus’ Persians: short animated summary
Aristophanes’ Lysistrata: short animated summary
Oedipus: The message in the myth: online text
Encountering a Greek Vase: video
Introduction to Antigone: video
Greek Theatre: podcast
Greek Comedy: podcasts and videos
Acropolis and Parthenon: podcast
Herodotus: various materials
Greek Myth and Dr Who: article
Icarus Myth: free online course with various materials
Introduction to the Iliad: short online course with various materials


Myth at the heart of the Roman Empire: podcast
Introduction to Virgil’s Aeneid: free online course with various materials
Buildings of ancient Rome: podcast
Mosaics at Brading Villa: videos
Hadrian: The Roamin’ Emperor: online game
Learning from human remains: an Etruscan skeleton: podcast
Power and People in Ancient Rome (a study of the arena, baths etc.): podcast
Roman funerary monuments: podcast
Hadrian’s Rome: free course with lots of materials
Ovid and Holkham Hall: podcast
Graffiti in Pompeii: video
Thugga: Romano-African City: free course with various materials


Introducing the Classical World: free course with lots of material on sourcework
Exploring the classical world through the texts of Homer, Catullus, Horace, and Juvenal: podcast
Health and Wellbeing in the Ancient World: short course
The Graeco-Roman city of Paestum: podcast
Myth in the Greek and Roman Worlds: the Temple of Diana at Nemi: podcast
The Library of Alexandria: short online course with usable material
The Body in Antiquity: short online course with usable material
Reception: Pygmalion meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer: podcast

CLASSICS CONFIDENTIAL: 150 free videos of interviews with leading scholars on a variety of Classics topics

(including Greek drama, ancient food, medicine and dress, reception of ancient myth and literature, Roman Egypt, Greek democracy, ancient philosophy, Winckelmann, Greek vases, Sparta, Pompeii, gardens and lots more!)

Audio discussions on Ancient Religion on the Baron Thyssen Centre webpage

Jim Davila (

Zeini, Zoroastrian scholasticism in late antiquity

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David Meadows (rogueclassicism)

#Thelxinoe ~ Classics News for the Weekend of March 21-22, 2020

Hodie est a.d. XI Kal. Apr. 2772 AUC ~ 28 Anthesterion in the third year of the 699th Olympiad

In the News

In Case You Missed It

Classics and Classicists in the News

Greek/Latin News

Fresh Bloggery

Fresh Podcastery

NT Pod 89, “How was the Forgery of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife Proved?”, is the third of four podcasts on the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife. It is just over eighteen minutes long. NT Pod 89: How was the Forgery of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife Proved?

In this episode, we discuss the year 413 BC of the Peloponnesian War, including the rise of Archelaus to the Macedonian throne, the Athenian attack on the Laconian coastline which technically broke the peace treaty, the defeats by the Athenian army and navy at Syracuse, and the retreat and ultimate surrender of the Athenians, which brought the Sicilian Expedition to an end.

Tres amici de pestilentia late divulgata loquuntur.


‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it thunders today, it portends the destruction of birds but an abundance of daily needs.

… adapted from the text and translation of:

Jean MacIntosh Turfa, The Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar, in Nancy Thomson de Grummond and Erika Simon (eds.), The Religion of the Etruscans. University of Texas Press, 2006. (Kindle edition)

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Heritage Action: "Britain abandons recording finds due to COVID19 yet metal detecting continues!"

There are lots and lots of archaeologists in Britain, most of them worried about their own arBritain abandons recording finds due to COVID 19 yet metal detecting continues!' Heritage Journal 22/03/2020)?
ses at the moment with "the Virus" lurking out there. But why is it again Heritage Action that does their thinking for them ('
PAS has stopped accepting finds for recording. No-one can blame them as many detectorists haven’t been social distancing. They’ll resume recording sometime “in the future” which signals a bleak outlook for recording: most finds don’t get reported already, even fewer will be after a year. So Britain is back to where it was more than 20+ years ago with an army of artefact hunters combing the fields and all the knowledge being destroyed. Except that now Britain’s laissez-faire policies have allowed the army to grow three times larger.
The responsible thing to do in such a situation is to desist, but, facing the closure of offices and workplaces to allow self-isolation through home confinement like in the rest of Europe, metal detectorists seem to be treating this as a hobby, using their extra leisure to rip up even more of the past in an entirely unmitigated fashion ("asked on the largest detecting forum if the virus would curtail their activities scores of them have just said no and that they’ll go out detecting far more!"). HA concludes:
Scandalous doesn’t begin to cover it, it’s legal unmitigated knowledge looting and it should be prohibited while PAS is inoperative – let PAS, Rescue, CBA, BAJR, ALGAO, EH, HE, APPAG et al publicly say so if they agree, which they surely do. And straight away please. They should ask the Government to instruct detectorists to stay at home.
But will they?  If last year 1300 Treasure finds were found, that's 3.56 of them daily. Each day that detecting goes on in England and Wales, the more it costs the public purse to pay the blighters a Treasure Ransom (to STOP them flogging them like the Leominster gang did). Cumulatively it's millions of pounds a year - though I have yet to see official figures on precisely how many. That's millions of quid of public money that could be spent elsewhere, and as the Coronavirus Crisis hits the British economy and society in the coming weeks and months, that money could be better spent elsewhere.

Christopher Ecclestone (Antiochepedia - Musings Upon Ancient Antioch)

More Recent Work on the Hippodrome

We have previously introduced the subject of the Hippodrome here.

The remains today consist of sixteen in situ pieces of opus caementicium cores/foundations (see below) of destroyed stairs on the eastern (long) side, and the northern side, which make up the semicircular sphendone. 

Excavations were carried out in the middle of this decade under the direction of Hatice Pamir and the results were published in ANADOLU AKDENİZİ - Arkeoloji Haberleri 2016-14: News of Archaeology from ANATOLIA’S MEDITERRANEAN AREAS in an article entitled "Antakya Hipodrom ve Çevresi Kazısı - Excavations at and around the Hippodrome of Antakya". 

The exploration was carried out in an area of 190 m2 in the north-western part of the hippodrome, from 85m to 82.34m elevation. Four settlement levels were identified, three levels were outside of the western side of the hippodrome, two levels were identified on the foundations. 

The first level contained poor quality foundations of dwelling spaces and terracotta water pipes crossing the trench from north to south. The structure has at least four parallel rooms, reminiscent of a house. Pottery finds belong to daily-use wares from Late Antiquity. The second level contains remains of a house with small rooms whose walls were built with rubble stones and mud. Under a deposit containing architectural brick fragments and architectural block fragments, here and there were stone blocks in situ. Pottery finds have a mixed character, but mainly reflect Late Roman A-C phases. The third level identified on an ash layer in the east but directly on the opus caementicium ground of the hippodrome foundations. In this level blocks were found belonging to the hippodrome either reused or incorporated in situ.

Furthermore, a layer 0.30m thick of ash indicated the remains of a fire. Thus, this layer was settled after the hippodrome fell out of use due to a fire. 

The earliest coin found belonged to the reign of Trajan and uncovered on the ground of the hippodrome’s foundation. We would note here that Trajan was in Antioch at the time of the earthquake in AD115 and escaped from the palace into the Hippodrome. The coin thus tallies with the versions that have Trajan as the driving force behind the (re-)building of the Hippodrome in its most splendid version.

Pottery finds of the third level were more homogeneous than the finds from the other two levels, and vessels of the 4th-6th centuries A.D. constitute the majority. The fourth level is defined as the foundations of the hippodrome. The level with thick ash layer and rubble brick fragments seats directly on this level. 

The hippodrome’s foundation, built in opus caementicium using pebble stones and cement mortar, was attested at the 83.1m elevation. To the west of the foundation a sondage measuring 1x2m was excavated to -1m, but the excavations had to be halted due to swampy ground although the foundations continued.

In the 2015 campaign, a filling layer of agricultural soil 1.40m thick was removed. Right under this filling was a layer of poor quality wall remains, and lime flooring beneath it was also uncovered. Under this layer there are no other traces of a settlement down to the hippodrome’s foundations. On the foundations in situ blocks possibly belonging to the arches that once supported the rows of seats were exposed. On the outer edge of the western side and parallel to them on the eastern side were the hippodrome’s foundation remains measuring 2.40m in width. The distance between these two foundation remains is 7.67m at the south and 7.88m at the north.

The foundations uncovered comprise a north-south wall for the outer side, and five walls extend perpendicular to that, forming four chambers (below). The parallel walls are 2.80 m. wide where they join the outer foundation wall, but 2.30 m. wide on the interior side of the monument. 

In the fourth layer a coin of Diocletian was found on the floor beneath the ash layer, and coins of Trajan and Maximian (A.D. 290-294) found at the 82.84m level indicate that the fire took place after Maximian’s reign. The earliest coin, from Trajan’s reign (A.D. 114-117), was found on the foundations.

As is evident, this was one of the largest hippodromes in the whole Roman empire and it was by all accounts a very substantial and solid structure. The mind somewhat boggles at how so much stone was eventually redeployed for so little effect in the rather mediocre city that Antioch became in the Christian era. 

The Plague at Antioch

Usually we are not partial to relating events in the Christian era of Antioch as the city was a mere shadow of its greatness and the sheer mediocrity of the regimes that ruled after the time of Julian do not give us much solace.However it seems somewhat pertinent in the current moment to circle back to the experience of Antioch in the plague of Justinian. At the time, an account of the travails visited upon the city was written by Evagrius Scholasticus in his Ecclesiastical History (AD 431-594), translated by E. Walford (1846).  Book 4

Here is his record of the events:



I WILL also describe the circumstances of the pestilence which commenced at that period, and has now prevailed and extended over the whole world for fifty-two years; a circumstance such as has never before been recorded. Two years after the capture of Antioch by the Persians, a pestilence broke out, in some respects similar to that described by Thucydides, in others widely different. It took its rise from Aethiopia, as is now reported, and made a circuit of the whole world in succession, leaving, as I suppose, no part of the human race unvisited by the disease. Some cities were so severely afflicted as to be altogether depopulated, though in other places the visitation was less violent. It neither commenced according to any fixed period, nor was the time of its cessation uniform; but it seized upon some places at the commencement of winter, others in the course of the spring, others during the summer, and in some cases, when the autumn was advanced. In some instances, having infected a part of a city, it left the remainder untouched; and frequently in an uninfected city one might remark a few households excessively wasted; and in several places, while one or two households utterly perished, the rest of the city remained unvisited: but, as we have learned from careful observation, the uninfected households alone suffered the succeeding year. But the most singular circumstance of all was this; that if it happened that any inhabitants of an infected city were living in a place which the calamity had not visited, these alone were seized with the disorder. This visitation also befell cities and other places in many instances according to the periods called Indictions; and the disease occurred, with the almost utter destruction of human beings, in the second year of each indiction. Thus it happened in my own case--for I deem it fitting, in due adaptation of circumstances, to insert also in this history matters relating to myself--that at the commencement of this calamity I was seized with what are termed buboes, while still a school-boy, and lost by its recurrence at different times several of my children, my wife, and many of my kin, as well as of my domestic and country servants; the several indictions making, as it were, a distribution of my misfortunes. Thus, not quite two years before my writing this, being now in the fifty-eighth year of my age, on its fourth visit to Antioch, at the expiration of the fourth indiction from its commencement, I lost a daughter and her son, besides those who had died previously. The plague was a complication of diseases: for, in some cases, commencing in the head, and rendering the eyes bloody and the face swollen, it descended into the throat, and then destroyed the patient. In others, there was a flux of the bowels: in others buboes were formed, followed by violent fever; and the sufferers died at the end of two or three days, equally in possession, with the healthy, of their mental and bodily powers. Others died in a state of delirium, and some by the breaking out of carbuncles. Cases occurred where persons, who had been attacked once and twice and had recovered, died by a subsequent seizure.

The ways in which the disease; was communicated, were various and unaccountable: for some perished by merely living with the infected, others by only touching them, others by having entered their chamber, others by frequenting public places. Some, having fled from the infected cities, escaped themselves, but imparted the disease to the healthy. Some were altogether free from contagion, though they had associated with many who were afflicted, and had touched many not only in their sickness but also when dead. Some, too, who were desirous of death, on account of the utter loss of their children and friends, and with this view placed themselves as much as possible in contact with the diseased, were nevertheless not infected; as if the pestilence struggled against their purpose. This calamity has prevailed, as I have already said, to the present time, for two and fifty years, exceeding all that have preceded it. For Philostratus expresses wonder that the pestilence which happened in his time, lasted for fifteen years. The sequel is uncertain, since its course will be guided by the good pleasure of God, who knows both the causes of things, and their tendencies. 

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

What Does The Bible Say About Coronavirus?

Coronavirus. Covid-19. SARS. Pandemic. Many people are troubled by events that are unprecedented in their lifetime, with unfamiliar names and obscure terminology just making things more puzzling. Some will naturally turn to the Bible looking for answers, as well as comfort and guidance. ”What does the Bible say about Coronavirus?” is a question that is […]

March 21, 2020

Forum for Classics, Libraries, and Scholarly Communication

Challenges and Changes in Publishing, Spotlight on Classical Studies Part II: Multi-modal Publishing in the Humanities

Read Part I

Multi-modality is unavoidable when researching the ancient world. Scholars rely on primary evidence derived from multiple physical and virtual formats. How can we represent this cornucopia of possible evidence in a way that makes it intuitive for an audience and that is affordable for publishers?

Libraries offer one solution through their institutional repositories (IRs). IRs can handle multiple media formats from music samples, to 3D imagery, to video, to interactive maps. IRs notably provide permanent links and DOIs for digital artifacts, and their best practices include long-term storage, accessibility, and portability. Scholars and publishers can work with their libraries to take advantage of this service. IRs are highly discoverable via Google and Google Scholar searches, and discovery of your supporting media will raise the discoverability of and direct the public to your published work even if the final version is not openly accessible.

Multi-modal Sites To Explore

Open Context, founded by archaeologists Eric and Sarah Whicher Kansa, is funded by the NEH, IMLS, Hewlett Foundation, and the NSF. Exploring Open Context will introduce you to a different paradigm for publishing. Open Context’s goals resonate with traditional publishing, but they emphasize replication and reusability, sharing, and an open path for enriching and fostering future research. Open Context publishes documents, field notes, diaries, images and maps, vocabularies and typologies, artifact and “ecofact” data. Items receive stable identifiers for online and offline citation. Open Context strives to interlink its data to other research repositories in order to raise discoverability and use across the wider universe of information. Publishing services do come with a fee. Significantly, Open Context creates partnerships with academic presses to provide the printed text with the data and evidence that support arguments and findings. Additionally, Open Context’s editorial board assists contributors with the cleaning and organizing of their data.  The Digital Archaeological Record, tDAR, is a not-for-profit that provides similar services for small fees. tDar allows you to “identify digital documents, data sets, images, and other kinds of archaeological data for a number of uses, including research, learning, and teaching.” Both Open Context and tDar are committed to long term preservation.

The Humanities Commons began as an initiative of the Modern Language Association (MLACommons).  It expanded to incorporate three other humanities associations, Association for Slavic, Eastern European, and Euroasian Studies (ASEEScommons) the Association for Jewish Studies (AJScommons), and the visual arts association, College Art Association (CAAcommons). Any individual can engage with the materials in the HumanitiesCommons, although association members have additional privileges. The site provides a venue for a professional presence, discussion of common interests, and development of scholarly works in a system that facilitates collaboration and comment. Unlike some of the other academic sharing sites that we’ve become familiar with during the past decade ( or ResearchGate, for instance), HumanitiesCommons is open-access, open-source, and not-for-profit. HumanitiesCommons just received a $500,000 challenge grant from the NEH, which will support the project’s long-term sustainability. Kathleen Fitzpatrick was the Director for Scholarly Communication at the MLA at the inception of the Commons and largely responsible for the early development and concept of the MLACommons. She is still the project director. Fitzpatrick has experimented with these new approaches with her own work. She blogged extensively about the content for her recently released book, Generous Thinking, while it was in progress. Fitzpatrick also arranged with her publisher, Johns Hopkins UP, to have an open peer review of her book. Fitzpatrick is a co-founder of MediaCommons, which supports scholarly innovation in media studies.

While there may be challenges due to departmental or institutional policies and politics, there is also a certain inevitability about this new face of publishing. The highly commercialized and profit centered practices that have grown up around science publishing are not compatible with the very different set of resources, priorities, and needs in the humanities.  Disciplines working with ancient philology, texts, and archaeology are set to lead the way – because of the inter- disciplinary-multi-disciplinary nature of the field, the multi-modal nature of the evidence scholars rely on, and the broader field’s history of applying and experimenting at the cutting edge of technology.

Part I: Challenges and Changes in Humanities Publishing with a spotlight on Classical Studies

This post originates from my contribution to the 2020 SCS Panel on Humanities Publishing organized by Deborah Stewart and sponsored by the FCSLSC

I have spent the entirety of my career in collections. My first position was at the University of Kansas. I had a typewriter to produce order slips and I remember hauling around the volumes of the German books in print. Our collections were in print, we worked from card catalogs, and we had a microfiche catalog for journals. We had one dedicated OCLC terminal, and we offered mediated database searching at cost, with no screen, a printer, thermal paper, and dial-in access. The US dollar was weak against European currencies, and European journal prices were beginning to escalate. Today, our libraries provide access to multi-formatted resources, and we work with publishing environment that is increasingly disrupted. 

I began librarianship as German languages and literature bibliographer, and today I work with multiple European languages, Greek, and Latin as a classical studies librarian. I find it exhilarating to work with the extremely interdisciplinary classical studies field. It is a field that  embraces the future along with the past. Scholars in the field have been leaders in the development of digital publishing.

Ancient studies, broadly speaking, can boast the Bryn Mawr Classical Review as the oldest continuously open-access online resource – predating arXiv by one year—as well as long-lived openly accessible platforms such as Perseus Digital Library, TOCS-IN, and Nestor and newer groundbreaking platforms such as Open Context, tDAR, and Dickinson College Commentaries, to name just a few.

These long-lived and newer projects do not privilege the new. The published record for ancient studies does not become obsolete. The monograph remains an important publication format, and research collections represent primary evidence in multiple languages and formats, including printed text, inscriptions, physical and represented artifacts, all of which cross multiple disciplines including economics, history, philosophy, art, architecture, archaeology, numismatics, philology, and literature. Many of these projects made their contents openly accessible before the phrase “open access” was in use.

A growing number of open access initiatives promote a sustainable environment that supports scholars, publishers, and libraries. The Penn Libraries, my home institution, supports many open access initiatives, including, among others, Open Library of the Humanities, a grant and library supported effort primarily for journals. Its model takes into consideration the limited funding available to scholars in the humanities. Peerj is a platform for biological sciences and computer science. It posts pre- and post-peer reviewed work and facilitates an open-peer review process. Knowledge Unlatched works with libraries and existing publishers (including Brill, DeGruyter, and US and European university presses) to provide sustainable, open access monographic publishing, especially for subjects which may target smaller audiences.

Our current publishing environment includes fewer and fewer publishers. This consolidation effectively erodes the competitive market, which translates into growing costs for libraries. Ultimately, this means that libraries trend away from purchasing scholarly monographs, which are still central to humanities scholarship. University presses have seen expected sales to libraries drop significantly over the past years. With fewer publishers, bargaining power is diminished, and even the scholarly community’s control over its own production is eroded.

Publishing is essential for the success of the humanities scholar. Libraries have a mission to share and preserve the scholarly record. It then follows that it is within a research library’s mission to work toward a solution for a sustainable publishing ecosystem in order to serve scholarship across all disciplines. Humanities scholars, who have a unique set of goals and needs, can see their library as a partner in the challenges and changes ahead. Libraries are already pursuing different approaches to resolve the challenges within an increasingly complex and unsustainable publishing ecosystem. 

Scholars can work with publishers, libraries, and other entities in order to develop their aspirations for open and/or multimodal scholarship

Open access publishing is an experimental area of publishing, developing in large part to counter some of the more hegemonic and costly publishing practices that have become dominant.

If you are considering publishing in an open access journal, you can take a couple of steps to determine the viability of your chosen journal.  While many open access journals are peer reviewed, others are not. You do want to verify that you are choosing the right publication, and there are ways you can do this.

One obvious solution is to confer with your colleagues, but there are also tools available that can help you with this process. The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is a Creative Commons licensed platform. The DOAJ has a thorough review process (recently revised to address the rise of opportunistic publications). Each journal meets criteria for inclusion. DOAJ also awards a “seal” for a high level of openness and high publication standards (both defined at the site), including long term preservation and archiving and allowing the author to retain their copyright. Each journal’s editorial information is clearly presented, including the journal’s method of peer review, its aim and scope, its submission charges, if any, and more. You can easily review a journal’s articles to see which scholars are publishing with the journal.

Ulrichsweb, a subscription database, is a journal directory that is available at most academic libraries. There, you can limit your journal search to scholarly, peer-reviewed status. Each Ulrichsweb journal entry notes whether the journal is open access or subscription based. It also provides a link directly to the journal or publisher site. Journals have to be well established, to be included in Ulrichsweb. For instance, Archivio d’Annunzio (AA) is listed in DOAJ and it is also listed in Ulrichsweb. Ulrichsweb confirms that AA is an academic, open access journal that is both refereed and peer-reviewed, with a start year of 2014.


Regardless of whether the journal with which you are publishing is open access or not, you will want to secure your ability to promptly post your work in (usually your library’s) institutional repository (IR)–whether or not you are posting the “version of record.” Materials in IRs are highly discoverable via Google searches, which means you will reach a wide audience, going well beyond the readers of the journal or those in your immediate discipline.  (For an example of a journal’s guidelines to self-sharing of published research, see Cambridge Core on social sharing.)

It cannot be over-estimated how important it is to read and consider your contract with your publisher. You may find that its terms limit your ability to freely reuse elements of your work without permission from the publisher. Look at alternative model author contracts to help you understand what you can reasonably ask for even if you are not prepared to replace the publisher’s contract completely. The SPARC Addendum is a good place to start. SPARC, an international scholarly coalition, worked with Creative Commons and Science Commons to develop the contract. You can download the addendum, a one page legal document, which is intended to “supplement and modify” a publisher’s contract.

Why go to this extra effort? Making your work open access means that you make your work available to the largest possible audience. Your work will be discoverable and accessible beyond those who share your specialization. Undergraduates will be more likely to come across your work, high school students and their teachers will come across your work, and curious people – who will never have heard of and likely have no access to discovery tools that are used by the discipline – will benefit from your scholarship.

PART II : Multi-modal Publishing in the Humanities IN NEXT POST

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Publications of the Centre Jean Bérard

[First posted in AWOL  26 September 2017, updates 21 March 2020]

Publications du Centre Jean Bérard Open Access
Publications du Centre Jean Bérard
Depuis plus de quarante ans, Les Publications du Centre Jean Bérard ont pour vocation de faire paraître des ouvrages scientifiques d’archéologie de l’Italie du Sud. Dans ses différentes collections, elles proposent essais, thèses, comptes rendus de fouilles, actes de colloques et de séminaires, bibliographie topographique. Les Publications se sont également dotées d'une collection de récits de voyageurs français du « Grand Tour » et d’études sur des peintres de cette époque.
72 volumes

And see See AWOL's Alphabetical List of Open Access Monograph Series in Ancient Studies 

Of marks and meaning : a palaeographic, semiotic-cognitive, and comparative analysis of the identity marks from Deir el-Medina.

Of marks and meaning : a palaeographic, semiotic-cognitive, and comparative analysis of the identity marks from Deir el-Medina.
Type:Doctoral Thesis
Title:Of marks and meaning : a palaeographic, semiotic-cognitive, and comparative analysis of the identity marks from Deir el-Medina.
Author:Moezel, K.V.J. van der
Issue Date:2016-09-07
Deir el-Medina
Workmen's marks
Marking systems
Abstract:De dissertatie analyseert de aard en structuur van een oud-Egyptisch merktekensysteem en onderzoekt de relatie van deze niet-linguïstische vorm van visuele communicatie tot het linguïstische systeem van schrift. Ook worden merktekensystemen als universeel fenomeen, waar in onze eigen maatschappij nog volop gebruik van wordt gemaakt, geanalyseerd.
Promotor:Supervisor: O.E. Kaper Co-Supervisor: B.J.J. Haring

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application/pdfFull text21.95MbView/Open
application/pdfTitle page_Contents608.0KbView/Open
application/pdfPart I Palaeographic analysis120.4KbView/Open
application/pdfChapter 12.125MbView/Open
application/pdfChapter 24.838MbView/Open
application/pdfChapter 3349.4KbView/Open
application/pdfPart II Semiotic and cognitive analysis290.1KbView/Open
application/pdfChapter 1344.6KbView/Open
application/pdfChapter 23.357MbView/Open
application/pdfChapter 32.262MbView/Open
application/pdfPart III Comparative analysis425.1KbView/Open
application/pdfChapter 11.821MbView/Open
application/pdfChapter 21.165MbView/Open
application/pdfTables 13_1 Classification and metadata3.047MbView/Open
application/pdfTable 13: 2 Specimina21.27MbView/Open

Ostraka in Amsterdam Collections (O.Amst.)

Ostraka in Amsterdam Collections (O.Amst.)
Type:Book (monograph)
Title:Ostraka in Amsterdam Collections (O.Amst.)
Author:Worp, K.A.Bagnall, R.S.Sijpesteijn, P.J.
Publisher:Terra Publishing
Issue Date:1976

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Turkish Archaeological News

Eternal Stone of Troy

Eternal Stone of Troy

Just beyond the Pithos Garden, also on the right side of the main sightseeing path, there is a small square. Its main attraction is a monumental stone block, called the Eternal Stone of Troy. It is a symbolic monument brought to Troy in 2002, funded by a private sponsor. It commemorates the most important people from the past who contributed to the development of the ancient Troy and its modern-era excavations. After this point, you will start the walk around the hill where the layers of Troy settlement have been unearthed.

This text is a fragment of a guidebook to Troy "The Secrets of Troy (TAN Travel Guide)".

BiblePlaces Blog

Weekend Roundup, Part 1

David Moster gives a 5-minute overview of “Quarantine in the Bible.”

Coronavirus: What We Can Learn from the Bible and the ANE: Reflections of an expert in ancient Near Eastern contagious diseases living through a modern one, by Dr.Yitzhaq Federt.

A new Facebook group: ANE Researcher Quarantine ‘Library’

For shopkeepers and tour operators in the Old City of Jerusalem, COVID-19 is worse than all the wars.

H-Net has created a couple of new resources for scholars affected by the coronavirus:

Wayne Stiles has appropriately re-posted “Where is God in all the chaos?”

Lois Tverberg, one of my favorite authors, has a PhD in biology and she explains why COVID-19 is serious and what followers of Jesus can do about it.

A plague of locusts the likes of which have been unseen for over 30 years is about to hit Africa and the Middle East.”

“Fearing the end of the world, an Israeli returned a 2,000-year-old catapult stone to the City of David National Park — 15 years after he’d absconded with it.”

John DeLancey will be sharing “Stories from Israel about God’s Sovereignty & Care” in a Zoom session on Sunday, March 22, at 11 am Eastern Time. Pre-registration is required.

Free ebook: The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived, by Andreas J. Köstenberger and Justin Taylor

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Joseph Lauer

Jim Davila (

Schott, Zechariah 9:14

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Eric Sowell (Archaic Christianity Blog)

Fabulae Syrae Study Group

I have read some of Fabulae Syrae, but would really like to work through it with other people. Sometimes studying is easier with others. If you would like to practice your Latin with someone else, join the google group that I setup. We will work out the details of meeting times in the group, but I am shooting to start sometime Wednesday through Friday (March 25 through March 27). In our first meeting, we will see how much of the first chapter (which is chapter 26) we can get through. We will use Zoom for the meetings.

We will try to conduct as much of this in conversational Latin as possible. I am not that great at conversational Latin, but I will try my best. If you aren’t good at conversational Latin either, then please come practice with me. We will get better together. When our Latin fails us, we will use some other language. If you are good at conversational Latin, you are obviously welcome too!

Since Fabulae Syrae is a companion volume for Familia Romana capitulum XXVI and on, it is best if you have worked through Familia Romana up to that point. If you haven’t but want to give it a try anyway, feel free to join. If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email at or hit me up on Twitter.

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

The Not-From-Nazareth Inscription

A chemical study has determined the place of origin of the so-called “Nazareth Inscription.” Although in theory it is possible that the marble came from Cyprus and was used for an inscription in Nazareth, it is more likely that this artifact never actually had anything to do with Jesus. Plundering, robbing, desecrating, reusing, and doing […]

March 20, 2020

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

THE IRANIAN PLATEAU DURING THE BRONZE AGE: Development of urbanisation, production and trade.

THE IRANIAN PLATEAU DURING THE BRONZE AGE: Development of urbanisation, production and trade.
The Iranian Plateau during the Bronze Age
L’ouvrage rassemble une partie des contributions présentées lors du colloque «Urbanisation, commerce, subsistance et production au iiie millénaire avant J.-C. sur le Plateau iranien» qui s’est tenu à la Maison de l’Orient et de la Méditerranée à Lyon les 29 et 30 avril 2014. Les vingt articles réunis livrent un état récent de la recherche archéologique dans cette région du Moyen‑Orient pour l’âge du Bronze. Le développement socio-économique entre le mode de vie rural et la formation des vi...

 Lire la suite

Note de l’éditeur

Cover art: © Nasir Eskandari.
  • Éditeur : MOM Éditions
  • Collection : Archéologie(s) | 1
  • Lieu d’édition : Lyon
  • Année d’édition : 2019
  • Publication sur OpenEdition Books : 19 mars 2020
  • Nombre de pages : 356 p.
mmanuelle Vila, Marjan Mashkour, Michèle Casanova et al.

The global context of the Bronze Age on the Iranian Plateau

Jan-Waalke Meyer
Early urbanisation in Iran

A view from the west – some considerations about the theory of urbanisation

Urbanisation in Eastern Iran

Julie Bessenay-Prolonge et Régis Vallet
Tureng Tepe and its high terrace, a reassessment
Ali A. Vahdati, Raffaele Biscione, Riccardo La Farina et al.
Preliminary report on the first season of excavations at Tepe Chalow

New GKC (BMAC) finds in the plain of Jajarm, NE Iran

Nasir Eskandari
Regional patterns of Early Bronze Age urbanization in the southeastern Iran

New discoveries on the western fringe of Dasht‑e Lut

Production and trade

Henri-Paul Francfort
Iran and Central Asia

The Grand’Route of Khorasan (Great Khorasan Road) during the third millennium BC and the “dark stone” artefacts

Holly Pittman
Bronze Age interaction on the Iranian Plateau

From Kerman to the Oxus through seals

Babak Rafiei-Alavi
The biography of a dagger type

The diachronic transformation of the daggers with the crescent-shaped guard

The transition to Iron Age

Hamid Fahimi
The Bronze Age and the Iron Age on the Central Iranian Plateau

Two successive cultures or the appearance of a new culture?


Jan‑Waalke Meyer, Emmanuelle Vila, Régis Vallet et al.
The urbanisation of the Iranian Plateau and adjacent areas during the Bronze Age

Concluding thoughts

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Ancient Maya kingdom with pyramid discovered in southern Mexico

After searching for more than a quarter century, archaeologists may have finally located the capital...

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

Further thoughts on translating St Cuthman’s “Life”

While translating the Latin text of the Life of the anglo-saxon Saint Cuthman, I have taken to googling for fragments of the Latin, or even whole sentences.  The results are often interesting, and not infrequently important.

One reason that I do this is to identify biblical references.  Often a tortured phrase turns out to be an allusion.  Indeed I came across a reference to Tobit 10:4 half an hour ago.

Strangely Google does not prioritise the Latin bible in a search for Latin text, although it is hard to see why not.  What you DO get back is endless 16th and 17th century texts, most of which I have never heard of.  I don’t know why this should be so.  Occasionally these are useful; usually they are not.

One such search produced a snippet result in a journal called Sussex Archaeological Collections.  Looking at the handful of words, I gained the impression that whatever paper this was might be a modern edition of the Latin text.  So far I have been working with the Bollandist text of 1658.  I have, indeed, found some suspect text in the Latin text.  At one point there is reference to trabale unicum where I wonder whether it should be trabale iugum.  There is, otherwise, no noun in the sentence.  The reference would be to a ridge-beam.

Of course I was unable to see what the paper was, but it proved to  be John Blair, “Saint Cuthman, Steyning and Bosham” in SAC 135 (1997), 173-92.  I was unable to access this; but an offprint was for sale on Amazon, at a high price, but rather less than the cost of the petrol to get a copy; and this arrived today.

The Blair paper does indeed contain an edition of the text – indeed a critical edition, with apparatus of the two extant manuscripts, plus the Bollandist edition.  It also contains what the author describes as a “paraphrase” translation.  This is nearly full length, and, had I known that it existed, I might not have troubled to make a translation myself.

Why paraphrase?  Well, it’s considerably easier to get the sense of the text than it is to identify each and every Latin construction and pin down precisely what that last word means.  It also avoids the risk of some snooty person critiquing your translation!   Since the precise wording is generally less important than the idea, these kinds of things are quite serviceable and they seem very common in modern versions of hagiographical literature.  But all the same, they are an abomination.  The reader should be given a proper translation.

I’ve been learning a great deal about Latin syntax from struggling with Cuthman.  I’ve been processing much of it into context-sensitive help-materials in QuickLatin 2, which is a double benefit: I learn the stuff, and there are reminders for the future.

I’ve worked harder on Cuthman than any Latin text that I have ever translated.  I’ve been proceeding as follows:

  1. Create an electronic text.
  2. Split it into chapters, each in a separate file.
  3. Split each chapter into sentences, translate this in Google Translate and interleave the two in the document.  The Google translation is generally useless, but it can sometimes highlight that the words are a set phrase of some sort, which you can therefore search for.  This is most obvious when the Google output drops into Jacobean English!
  4. Now skim-read the text in PDF, to get a sense of what the chapter says.  Ignore any difficult bits.  Speed is all.  At the head of the chapter, write down this skim-read synopsis.  This acts as a kind of guide when doing the detailed translation.
  5. First pass.  Now translate each sentence in the chapter, one by one, looking out for correlatives like vel… vel, etc.  Leave difficult bits.  Highlight in bold and red stuff of which you are uncertain.  Add a note of any Latin constructions that you recognise, and say why you chose those words.  Wherever the text feels “stiff”, then you need to document what you did.  Pay lots of attention to the verb tenses, etc.
  6. Go through the whole text until you have done the first pass.  Then copy this to a folder for later.
  7. Second pass.  Now go through the chapters again, making sure that you understand the Latin construction in every single case.  Google for them!  There’s a huge amount of information out there on syntax.  Fix whatever you can.  By the end of this, you should have satisfactory translations of the lot, with a huge amount of notes, quotes, links to external websites, and changes of mind marked with strike-out.  At this stage I tend to make most the notes grey, if I have finished with them, but want to be able to refer to them.  Then copy all these files to a new folder.

This is where I am at the moment.  The next stage will be:

  1. Third pass.  Go through the files again, removing the grey stuff, writing real footnotes; but also rechecking.  Harmonise common words.  Then save copies of this lot.
  2. Fourth pass.  Combine the sentences into groups, then into paragraphs.  Read the lot and see if it makes sense.  Sometimes you will realise that two sentences together each mean something rather different to what you thought.
  3. Create a single file with the whole translation in it.

It’s a lot of work; but it’s like solving a jigsaw puzzle.  It’s quite rewarding really!

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Egyptian textiles and their production: ‘word’ and ‘object’

Egyptian textiles and their production: ‘word’ and ‘object’
Egyptian textiles and their production: ‘word’ and ‘object’
These essays present the results of a workshop that took place on 24 November 2017 at the Centre for Textile Research (CTR), University of Copenhagen. The event was organised within the framework of the MONTEX project—a Marie Skłodowska-Curie individual fellowship conducted by Maria Mossakowska-Gaubert in collaboration with the Contextes et Mobiliers programme of the French Institute for Oriental Archaeology in Cairo (IFAO), and with support from the Institut français du Danemark and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Twelve essays are arranged in 4 sections: I. Weaving looms: texts, images, remains; II. Technology of weaving: study cases; III. Dyeing: terminology and technology; IV. Textile production in written sources: organisation and economy.

Contributors include: Maria Mossakowska-Gaubert, Johanna Sigl, Fleur Letellier-Willemin, Lise Bender Jørgensen, Anne Kwaspen, Barbara Köstner, Peder Flemestad, Ines Bogensperger & Helga Rösel-Mautendorfer, Isabelle Marthot-Santaniello, Aikaterini Koroli, Kerstin Dross-Krüpe, Jennifer Cromwell, and Dominique Cardon. Essays include 66 full-colour illustrations. 
Volume published by Zea Books, Lincoln, Nebraska


Frontmatter for Egyptian textiles and their production: ‘word’ and ‘object’. (Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods), Maria Mossakowska-Gaubert
A new kind of loom in early Roman Egypt? How iconography could explain (or not) papyrological evidence, Maria Mossakowska-Gaubert
Egyptian pit-looms from the late first millennium AD — attempts in reconstruction from the archaeological evidence, Johanna Sigl
Tackling the technical history of the textiles of El-Deir, Kharga Oasis, the Western Desert of Egypt, Fleur Letellier-Willemin
Textiles from a Late Roman/Byzantine ecclesiastical centre at Abu Sha’ar, Egypt, Lise Bender Jørgensen
Reconstruction of a deconstructed tunic, Anne Kwaspen
What flaws can tell: a case study on weaving faults in Late Roman and Early Medieval weft-faced compound fabrics from Egypt, Barbara Köstner
Ancient Greek dyeing: a terminological approach, Peder Flemestad
Dyeing in texts and textiles: words expressing ancient technology, Ines Bogensperger and Helgo Rösel-Mautendorfer
Flax growing in late antique Egypt: evidence from the Aphrodito papyri, Isabelle Marthot-Santaniello
Textile production in the papyri: the case of private request letters, Aikaterini Koroli
How (not) to organise Roman textile production. Some considerations on merchant-entrepreneurs in Roman Egypt and the ἱστωνάρχης, Kerstin Droß-Krüpe
Domestic Textile Production in Dakhleh Oasis in the Fourth Century AD, Jennifer Cromwell
Conclusion: Egyptian Textiles and Their Production, Dominique Cardon

The Polychrome Hieroglyph Research Project

The Polychrome Hieroglyph Research Project

Welcome to the polychrome hieroglyph research project!

This website displays the preliminary results of ongoing research currently carried out at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium, into the use and meaning of colour in Egyptian hieroglyphic inscriptions.
It is powered by a database of polychrome hieroglyphs which at present contains over 3500 occurrences of individual signs.
Uniquely amongst the earliest writing systems, the Egyptian hieroglyphic script was sometimes enhanced by colouring the signs. This was not done in an arbitrary fashion, but was conventional, with each colour used in a conscious attempt either at materialism, naturalism, semi-naturalism or as a metaphor. This study aims to shed some light on the processes involved in writing in colour. The project clearly shows that a polychrome canon was in use, in a remarkably coherent and stable fashion, during some two thousand five hundred years, from the Old Kingdom right through to the Ptolemaic period.

The University of California Press is making all of its journal available online without charge through June 2020

The University of California Press is making all of its journal available online without charge through June 2020. The announcement is here.

Their Classics journals are:

Classical Antiquity
 Classical Antiquity

Journal of Medieval Worlds
Journal of Medieval Worlds

Rhetorica: A Journal of the History of Rhetoric

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Come ti rivoluziono il survey archeologico intensivo: immagini da drone ad alta risoluzione e machine learning su Google Cloud

Due studiosi spagnoli hanno sperimentato con risultati molto promettenti la possibilità di poter individuare in modo automatico la dispersione sul terreno di frammenti fittili archeologici, il rinvenimento più comune nelle operazioni di prospezione archeologica intensiva, utilizzando immagini ad alta risoluzione da drone, fotogrammetria e una combinazione di apprendimento automatico (machine learning, branca dell’Intelligenza Artificiale) e analisi geospaziale eseguite nella piattaforma di open cloud computing geospaziale di Google Earth Engine. Si tratta di H.A. Orengo, ricercatore dell’Istituto Catalano di Archeologia Classica, e A. Garcia-Molsosa, Curie Fellow all’Università di Cambridge,e il loro studio innovativo compare sul Journal of Archaeological Science 112 di dicembre 2019.

I termini per l'analisi autoptica del territorio a fini archeologici sono numerosi: survey, prospezione archeologica, ricognizione, perlustrazione, fieldwalking. Tutti per indicare, con differenze semantiche tra loro a volte veramente sottili, una delle tecniche più note e diffuse insieme a telerilevamento e geofisica per pervenire a una conoscenza quanto più organica ed integrale possibile del territorio, del suo assetto antico e alla ricostruzione dei suoi paesaggi passati con l’individuazione di siti, insediamenti, infrastrutture e altri segni lasciati dall’attività umana nello spazio geografico nel corso del tempo. Momento imprescindibile della ricerca storico territoriale costituisce una delle modalità operative per l’elaborazione della Carta Archeologica che ricompone tutte le informazioni acquisite da fonti e metodi diversi in quadro organico e stratificato. A sua volta la Carta Archeologica è lo strumento fondamentale per ogni attività di tutela, di conservazione, fruizione e di valorizzazione del patrimonio culturale.

Sicuramente il survey archeologico è un protagonista di primo piano della ricerca archeologica.

Nel survey i “ricognitori” percorrono il territorio seguendo linee parallele o una griglia, intervallati tra loro secondo distanze prestabilite costanti, a seconda dell’intensità che si vuole dare all'indagine. Individuano e localizzano su una base cartografica, oggi tramite i dispositivi GNSSS/GPS, la persistenza e sopravvivenze di elementi antichi, monumenti, infrastrutture, tracce di attività, e dispersioni di elementi della cultura materiale del passato. Il ritrovamento prevalente è costituito dalle aree di dispersione di frammenti fittili e di materiale edilizio. A volte la prospezione viene condotta dai fieldwalker a tendenziale copertura totale, sistematica, capillare, su spettri cronologici e culturali molto ampi oppure avendo in mira periodi storici ben delimitati. Altre volte i camminatori procedono indagando aree campione secondo transetti anch'essi distanziati tra loro ma per centinaia di metri. A volte determinate aree ristrette vengono quadrettate e analizzate con estrema cura. Per pianificare le operazioni di ricognizione ma anche per analizzarle e rappresentarne i risultati del sistema informativo che grazie a esse si realizza sono impiegate abitualmente le piattaforma GIS.

Questa modalità di lavoro archeologico non va intesa in maniera totalizzante. Bisogna avere sempre coscienza dei suoi limiti. Non sempre le aree che vengono individuate in superficie corrispondono per esempio alla presenza nel sottosuolo nello stesso punto di altri oggetti o resti di edifici antichi e questo perché i processi di deposizione e di dispersione di materiale ceramico in superficie sono i più vari e complessi.
Molte poi le difficoltà che i “ricognitori” incontrano. Vanno dall'accessibilità ai fondi privati, alla copertura vegetale che ostacola o impedisce del tutto la visibilità, alla necessità di disporre per la sua effettuazione di un survey di competenze specialistiche e della capacità di vedere e di discriminare. I GIS aiutano ma l’occhio del topografo dell’antichità, la sua esperienza costituiscono un aspetto irriducibile e fondamentale per le analisi successive. Il survey va condotto poi in finestre temporali ottimali che spesso sono brevi, a volte coincidono con l’aratura ma anche insieme con le piogge che rendono i campi impraticabili per giorni, esige vegetazione ridotta al minimo, assenza di temperature elevate. E poi le difficoltà poste dai terreni compattati o dal bosco o da specificità geomorfologiche. Spesso le prospezioni si svolgono nel contesto della cosiddetta archeologia preventiva con tempi accelerati determinati dalle esigenze dei cantieri. Non da ultimo i tempi e conseguentemente i costi per sostenere le operazioni. Per ricognire un km2 sono in genere necessari non meno di 18 giornate/uomo con un orario di lavoro che non può in genere eccedere le cinque ore dopodiché cala drasticamente l’attenzione. Ancora, la necessità di conservare grandi quantità di frammenti di ceramica e la post-elaborazione e lo studio per l’analisi e la classificazione di così grandi quantità di materiale raccolto. A volte la valutazione e interpretazione dei frammenti fittili è stata legata da alcuni studiosi a metodi quantitativi controversi. In sostanza tanto tempo, tanta fatica, tante controversie metodologiche, tante difficoltà.

Il territorio italiano vanta esperienza importanti nella Carta Archeologica, e nella prospezione di superficie, che partono da Nibby a Tomassetti e che nella seconda metà del XIX secolo vedono la pionieristiche impresa in Etruria di Gamurrini, Cozza, Pasqui e Mengarelli, lucida per criteri ispiratori, ricognizione diretta dei luoghi e volontà di copertura completa e sistematica dell’intero territorio nazionale. E poi Lanciani e Ashby. Imprese proseguite con aggiornamenti metodologici e innovazioni da Lugli e da Castagnoli con la Forma Italiae e da tanti altri eminenti studiosi nel secondo dopoguerra. Numerose le ricognizioni di Quilici, Quilici Gigli, Belvedere, di molte università e scuole archeologiche straniere come la Scuola Britannica e poi con assunti metodologici, approcci e obiettivi parzialmente diversi da quelli delle scuole di topografia antica italiana gli apostoli italiani dell’archeologia dei paesaggi,swlla landscape archaeology e in generale della New Archaeology, Cambi, Terrenato, e ancora Carandini, Manacorda, Francovich e molti altri. 

Tuttavia i territori investiti in vari decenni da questo tipo di indagine non sono tantissimi, meno di cinquanta volumi per la Forma Italie ognuno dei quali corrispondenti a una tavoletta IGM scala 1 :25.000, base cartografica assunta per le ricerche, rispetto alle varie centinaia in cui è suddiviso il territorio nazionale. Ovvero siamo ben distanti dalle stime ottimistiche di studiosi come Alcock e Cherry che stimano all’inizio del XXI secolo in milioni di ettari i territori indagati nel solo bacino del Mediterraneo. 

Adesso i due studiosi Orengo e Garcia-Molsosa offrono una prima sperimentazione di un’idea che al dire il vero da tempo circola fra gli studiosi: poter individuare su grandi aree grazie al remote sensing, da piattaforme satellitari, era lo strumento che si immaginava di utilizzare, in modo automatico, poi da perfezionare manualmente,la dispersione sulla superficie dei campi di frammenti fittili. E’ quello che proprio si sono proposti di fare due studiosi utilizzando però immagini ad alta risoluzione da drone, fotogrammetria e una combinazione di apprendimento automatico e analisi geospaziale eseguita nella piattaforma di open cloud computing geospaziale di Google Earth Engine. 

La loro proposta è intrigante e si propone di incorpora nel lavoro archeologico tutta l’innovazione tecnologica del momento: il machine learning utilizzato comunemente da varie app e social media per il data mining e l'analisi. A seguire vengono integrati i droni soprattutto quelli aerei divenuti economici e con capacità tecnologiche sino a poco tempo fa impensabili, dal tempo di volo, alla sua pianificazione, alla stabilità, alla qualità e risoluzione dell'immagine adatta ora alle esigenze della ricerca archeologica, all'elusione degli ostacoli. Poi i software di fotogrammetria digitale a basso costo o open source con gli algoritmi structure from motion con le loro procedure semi-automatizzate di co-registrazione, nuvola di punti, generazione di superfici e mesh e  la diffusa distribuzione di software di fotogrammetria a basso costo e open source. Infine lo sviluppo dei servizi di cloud computing ampiamente accessibili tra cui Amazon AWS e Google Cloud Platform. Questi offrono la possibilità di utilizzare la potenza di calcolo necessaria per lo sviluppo di analisi approfondite e su larga scala.

La novità di questo studio è proprio nella definizione di un flusso di lavoro che combina una serie di recenti sviluppi tecnologici tra loro indipendenti e li integra nel lavoro archeologico.

Una scelta innovativa, coraggiosa che certamente aprirà un dibattito tra gli specialisti del settore e nuovi orizzonti per il survey archeologico.I risultati pubblicati mostrano le potenzialità sul campo di questa metodo, certamente in determinate circostanze, per produrre mappe di distribuzione accurate di frammenti ceramici sul terreno.

Lo studio mette con molta onestà in luce i limiti e sottolinea anche i possibili auspicabili sviluppi futuri di questo metodo che, va sottolineato, gli autori ritengono debba rimanere complementare anzi, diciamo noi ausiliario, alla prospezione diretta a piedi dell’archeologo, con l’intento di passare alla gestione delle macchine gran parte del lavoro non specialistico che accompagna il survey. Nelle intenzioni esso mira a migliorare le tradizionali strategie di raccolta dei dati e fornisce nuovi modi per affrontare alcune delle carenze della registrazione delle evidenze archeologiche basata sui fieldwalker. Certamente le aree di frammenti fittili che il metodo da loro messo a punto promette di rilevare in maniera automatica non sono il survey.

Il Caso di studio è costituito dall'indagine in corso sviluppata dal Progetto Archeologico di Abdera e Xanthi (APAX) in cui gli autori sono attualmente coinvolti, diretto dall'Ephoria (Soprintendenza) di Xanthi nella Grecia nord-orientale in collaborazione con ricercatori dell'Università nazionale e Capodistriana di Atene, dell'Università di Salonicco e dell'Università della Catalogna. L’obiettivo generale del progetto è quello di studiare i cambiamenti dei modelli di occupazione della città arcaica e classica di Abdera (ca. dal VII al III a.C.). La prospezione intensiva di superficie è stata considerata come lo strumento più adeguato da impiegare allo scopo. Una ricognizione del genere, ne sono consapevoli gli autori, non potrà essere replicata per questioni di tempo e di costi in territori molto vasti.
La prospezione è però servita ai due studiosi per confrontare i dati e validare la loro soluzione automatizzata con i migliori risultati possibili ottenibili dal rilevamento tradizionale. Pertanto sono state selezionate all’interno del progetto per il loro studio pilota due aree rappresentative delle condizioni dei campi durante una tipica stagione di lavoro archeologico ad Abdera. Dopo la sperimentazione le due aree sono stati suddivise con una griglia 5 × 5 m e tutti i frammenti di ceramica in ciascuna griglia sono stati registrati in modalità ultra intensiva, ben oltre la pratica standard.
Circostanza interessante è che i ricercatori invece di una buona visibilità del terreno ideale per il rilevamento della ceramica, abbiano selezionato quelli in cui la visibilità era relativamente bassa e le condizioni di rilevamento non erano le migliori disponibili, non campi dunque arati di recente ma con un'alta presenza di vegetazione, pietre e ombre, elementi che inficiano l'efficacia del rilevamento, con sedimenti che presentassero tonalità simili a quelli della ceramica. Questa selezione intendeva valutare il successo della tecnica testandola in circostanze tutt'altro che favorevoli per garantire la sua applicazione alla più ampia gamma possibile di condizioni del terreno. Inoltre lo studio pilota mirava a esplorare le possibilità di risposta agli obiettivi di un progetto come APAX. 

Veniamo ad alcuni punti del metodo messo a punto rimandando all'articolo per i particolari della procedura spiegata in dettaglio dai due ricercatori che hanno allegato un algoritmo sviluppato per l'estrazione automatica..

Al posto del ricognitore il drone che vola a 3 m dal suolo per acquisire le immagini. E’ stato utilizzato un DJI Phantom 4 Pro v.2.0 modello economico, di qualità, un tempo di volo di 30 minuti, molto stabile grazie al suo GPS e ai sensori, capacità di evitare gli ostacoli, fotocamera con un'ottica di buona qualità, otturatore meccanico e una risoluzione di 20 MP. Software di pianificazione del volo Litchi, altezza di 3 m dal suolo come si è detto, sufficiente per identificare chiaramente i frammenti di ceramica al suolo. velocità di volo di 0,61 m /s, foto scattate automaticamente ogni 2 sec, traiettoria di volo secondo linee parallele. Per l’elaborazione fotogrammetrica delle immagini acquisite dal drone con creazione dell’ortofoto (file tiff non compresso) si è utilizzato il programma Agisoft PhotoScan Professional v. 1.2.6.

Quindi la fase complessa dell’elaborazione computazionale delle immagini. Le immagini ortometriche sono state caricate in Google Earth Engine (EE), la piattaforma dove è stato possibile combinare le analisi geospaziali con gli algoritmi di apprendimento automatico. Basata sul Web da accesso gratuito alle risorse e ai servizi di calcolo in parallelo di Google Cloud. Dopo la registrazione, EE è libera e chiunque disponendo di ortofoto può riprodurre, modificare e utilizzare l'algoritmo. EE ha alcune limitazioni tra cui la dimensione massima di 10 Gb per ogni immagine caricata. Tuttavia, molte immagini possono essere caricate fino al limite di archiviazione corrente di 250 Gb. Tra i passi importanti di questa fase la generazione delle analisi di texture e/o del gradiente e quindi la generazione di un’immagine composita. Scelto un classificatore di apprendimento automatico Random Forest (RF) e addestratolo lo si è utilizzato per classificare l'immagine composita. Ciò ha prodotto un primo risultato di classificazione dell’immagine. La classificazione è stata confrontata con l'ortomosaico per valutare la sua risposta in presenza di frammenti ceramici visibili. Sono stati generati nuovi poligoni di addestramento ed eseguita una nuova iterazione dell'algoritmo RF che ha prodotto un tasso di identificazione molto elevato. L'ultimo processo dell'algoritmo è stato la vettorializzazione dei risultati del filtro, applicato che ha generato un layer vettoriale poligonale in cui ogni elemento rappresentava un frammento di ceramica, trattabile successivamente con software GIS ai fini per esempio della generazione di più mappe a partire da quella di densità.

Quindi i due ricercatori passano a una valutazione in termine di analisi costi benefici delle due tecniche utilizzate, quella della ricognizione a piedi e quella automatica con un risultato apparentemente sbalorditivo: il metodo automatizzato è stato in grado di documentare quasi cinque volte più frammenti di ceramica 9,5 volte più velocemente rispetto al metodo standard.

Orengo e Garcia-Molsosa non nascondono alcuni aspetti come le grandi risorse computazionali necessarie per condurre l'analisi fotogrammetrica e di apprendimento automatico, le competenze necessarie in Machine Learning, l’inadeguatezza dei droni attuali in alcuni contesti, l’incidenza delle condizioni di luce e la presenza di ombre,l’esclusione dalla riconoscibilità di alcuni elementi della cultura materiale diversi alla ceramica cui non può sopperire del tutto l’analisi della texture.Tra gli sviluppi futuri i due ricercatori scorgono come assai promettente l'utilizzo di immagini multispettrali e, soprattutto, termiche comporterà anche un aumento qualitativo del rilevamento ceramico data la differenza nelle firme termiche tra ceramica, pietre, terra e vegetazione. La risoluzione delle telecamere termiche è ancora approssimativa rispetto alle telecamere ottiche e multispettrali, ma importanti miglioramenti sono in vista.


Promozione corsi TerreLogiche: segui ORA il corso live streaming e ritorni DOPO GRATUITAMENTE in aula. Iscrizioni aperte con posti limitati.

Nel rispetto delle misure ministeriali per il contenimento della diffusione del Covid-19, TerreLogiche ha momentaneamente sospeso le attività formative in aula previste nelle sedi di Milano, Pisa, Roma e Venezia.

Jim Davila (

Hoffmann, Exodus

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Sarah E. Bond

Working Together to Transcribe Ancient Documents During COVID-19

As the pandemic known as COVID-19 grips the globe, thousands of instructors in the United States and elsewhere have been asked to transition their courses online for the remainder of the semester. To some instructors, such as the superb Classics professors at the Open University, distance learning has become a normalized pedagogy. To many others facing teaching online: this is uncharted territory. Although the SCS has compiled helpful lists of open access (i.e. freely available) resources for classicists migrating their courses into the digital realm, we might also consider the value in allowing our students to contribute to a number of online digital humanities projects that outsource the work of manuscript or documentary transcription to members of the public. In the process, students can acquire paleographical and linguistic skills; work directly with archival documents; and ultimately engage in a collaborative online space centered on enriching the public data available across the world. 

There are a number of projects focused on the ancient Mediterranean which have opened their doors to contributions from the public as digital volunteers. Although the Dirk Obbink helmed Ancient Lives Project, which had sought to solicit public aid in transcribing the Oxyrhynchus Papyri at Oxford, is now on hiatus until at least July, another Zooniverse project, Scribes of the Cairo Geniza, welcomes public participation from those interested in learning to transcribe Hebrew and Arabic scripts. As they note, “Hidden for centuries in an attic in Cairo, over 300,000 fragments of pre-modern and medieval Jewish texts—from everyday receipts to biblical works—have yet to be fully deciphered.” Helpful tutorials and instructional tools guide users in learning about these ancient scripts and gently quizzes them on what they have learned.

Figure 1: Screenshot of the Scribes of the Cairo Geniza project, which asks volunteers to help transcribe and engage with the scripts of Hebrew and Arabic manuscripts. 

Accessibility and open data are pivotal objectives (and ideologies) embedded within these projects. Papyrologist and Duke classicist Ryan Baumann has a digital project for generating an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) coded edition of Evgenios Voulgaris’ Greek translation of the Aeneid, which is newly launched and available on GitHub. The OCR coding makes handwritten or analog texts machine readable by a computer, accessible to those with disabilities (e.g. with machine text to audio generators), allows it to be searchable, and can also make it easier to be reused by other digital projects. It is notable that students can practice adding annotations in order to increase accessibility for others. Users are asked to link and annotate ancient maps at, to contribute to geographic data at, and to make women in Classics more visible on the Women’s Classical Committee Wikipedia Project. There are 22 crowdsourcing classics projects listed at The Digital Classicist Wiki which solicit public participation.

Digital papyri, inscriptions, and other epigraphic documents are of great value when attempting to teach about material culture online––without being able to safely touch an object with students. The extensive papyrological databases linked at allow students to view papyri through high resolution images. It then encourages its users to sign up to edit papyrological documents, submit them for publication, publish new documents, and collaborate with papyrologists near and far. There are thousands of papyri to engage with on the site, and graduate students in particular can often get their first “micro-publication” from learning to edit and publish papyri within the collaborative environment fostered at the Duke Databank of Documentary Papyri (DDbDP).

Figure 2: Screenshot of the Homer Multitext project’s manuscript section dedicated to Venetus A.

Transcription and engagement with manuscripts is another way that Classics professors can help students to (safely and securely) gain a hands-on experience with premodern documents in Latin, Greek, Syriac, Coptic, Hebrew, and many other ancient languages they may be teaching. The Folger Library has a good list of manuscript transcription projects, and it is notable that the Homer Multitext project from the Center for Hellenic Studies was one of the early adopters of methods that engaged undergraduate students in groups to transcribe the various textual traditions of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. The Suda Online has benefited greatly from crowdsourcing its editing, and dozens more projects allow students to view, transcribe, and then translate manuscripts online.

Figure 3: Katherine H. Tachau, Professor Emerita of medieval history at the University of Iowa, instructs students in medieval paleography and transcription at the launch of Iowa’s early manuscripts into DIY History back in March of 2016 (Photo by Sarah E. Bond). 

Some of the most extensive crowdsourcing projects may not be explicitly focused on Classics, but are still of great worth within classical civilization, history, and archaeology courses which are taught in translation and can focus on reception. The Library of Congress invites “digital volunteers” to transcribe documents addressing women’s suffrage, Walt Whitman, and Latin documents concerned with Spanish law. Helpful instructional documents and handouts teach users about Latin orthography and also provide the historical context for the document. The Smithsonian similarly solicits “digital volunteers” to help with the transcriptions of hundreds of thousands of texts, images, and maps in its rich archives.  

Figure 4: Screenshot of the free PDF on “17th Century Printed Latin Orthography” via the Library of Congress’ “By the People” transcription project. 

What is the pedagogical benefit of incorporating these digital projects into our new online courses and when we one day return to the classroom? Tom Keegan, Head of the Digital Scholarship & Publishing Studio at the University of Iowa, notes the pedagogical benefit of transcription and other participatory archives projects: 

The work of transcription lets students in some way participate in the crafting of these primary source materials. Transcribing a letter or a diary entry puts the student in touch with that particular writer and that particular moment in time. And in that way, students aren’t simply reading about historical moments, they’re a part of them. They see history differently and can engage with people often invisible in the historical record. 

In the spirit of sharing and working together within the digital cosmos, the code for many such projects, such as the University of Iowa’s DIY History, are often free for reuse by other digital projects that may want to develop their own site. The goal of most of these projects from universities and libraries is not to abuse the goodwill of the public or to make a profit from their free labor, but rather to harness the power of the public to democratize information.  

Figure 5: The Early Manuscripts open for transcription and translation within the University of Iowa’s digital transcription DIY History project. 

UCL’s participatory Transcribe Bentham project notes that in 1793, Jeremy Bentham wrote that “Many hands make light work. Many hands together make merry work.” Today, this quotation applies especially to the myriad projects that remain open online, even as libraries across the country close their physical spaces. Homerist Elton Barker perhaps said it best when he noted these “citizen science projects” as important areas for engagement and fostering intellectual openness and collaboration: “[They] help to collapse the distinction between the humanities researcher and their audience, allowing the general enthusiast and student to  become much more involved in humanities thinking.” Even as COVID-19 causes social distancing in the real world, there is still a digital space for us to learn, to teach, and to work together in the humanities.

Header Image via the Twitter of Eyob Derillo, curator of Ethiopian manuscripts at the British Library. The image is of medieval Ethiopian scribes.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

CORE: The world’s largest collection of open access research papers

CORE provides access to 24,936,921 free to read full text research papers with 19,383,285 full texts hosted directly by CORE
It's the biggest collection of open access full texts, making it an unparalleled research tool. It's over 45 terabytes (TB) of textual data.

Faculty of Classics, Cambridge

Building Closure

The Faculty Building is closed from 5 pm on Friday 20 March until further notice.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

'Cutting Edge British Archaeological Literature' Reviewed: When will British Archaeology Grow Up?

"The overriding theme of the book is the
fascinating relationship between  Roman 
and Iron Age communities and the unique  
Romano-British material culture that this produced." 
Eine Hervorragend Nationale Wissenschaft,

Amy Brunskill has written a review for Current Archaeology of the PAS fluff-book: John Pearce and Sally Worrell, '50 Roman Finds from the Portable Antiquities Scheme'. I've not got the book and am unlikely to get it, but this review tells me all I need to know about it. It all sounds very 1930s/Mortimer-Wheelerish.

We are told the book's got "a range of carefully selected artefacts in a well-illustrated, brief volume, which highlights the way in which the material record vividly reflects life in the past". In other words, the PAS "data" (sic) are used merely as illustrations of the "history" that we know of from other sources, rather than being used as a source in their own right (the latter is, is it not, what archaeology is, innit?).

We learn "the authors have chosen a wide variety of both exceptional and everyday objects that reflect the interactions between Roman and Iron Age cultures in Britain [...] Some of the objects chosen encapsulate the conflict, both cultural and physical, between the different cultures present in Britain". Cultures? In other words, this brand of British archaeology is still stuck in the culture-historical mould of Kossinna and his ilk? What sophisticated post-processual theories and buzz words do they apply to the "data" to investigate these interactions from these loose geegaws?

Look at this:
the Crosby Garrett helmet, a stunning and unusual example of military equipment used in parade drills (see CA 287), represents a clear ceremonial display of Roman power. This contrasts with the linchpins belonging to Iron Age chariots of the sort reported to have been used by the Britons against Caesar, which reflect the opposition with which the Romans were met
Is this archaeology or 'Jackanory'? With reference to the above, first of all, I wonder if this fluff book for the PAS considers the very real questions about the findspot of the so-called Crosby Garrett Helmet. This does not “represents a clear ceremonial display of Roman power” in the context in which it seems to have been found, quite the opposite. Also by the fourth century (the date of the layer through which the pit in which it was allegedly buried was dug) was there a need to demonstrate "Roman power”?

The next irritatingly text-driven (and text-illustrating) comment is also vacuous claptrap. Well, when Caesar venit, vidit, and vici-ed in his four-week second invasion, there was not much of a resistance, by his account, they submitted to him.

Now, who is this "Roman history in fifty PAS-recorded Finds" for? Take for example the book A History of Britain in Thirty-six Postage Stamps, who was that written for? Is that not a book written, first and foremost for stamp collectors? So who is "50 finds" written for, if not artefact collectors? The latter are a mere minority of the public that finance the PAS. And is there arnything in "fifty finds" that would convert a collector to an archaeologist or is it all just a jumble of object centred glib narrativisation? What archaeological aims lie at the basis of its conception? Any?

British archaeology, surely you can do better than this in your (public-funded) archaeological outreach. No?

And the cover design is crap.

"A History of Britain in Thirty-six Postage Stamps"

Chris West 2013 A History of Britain in Thirty-six Postage Stamps
Stamps tell a story―and Chris West's book is the unique, fascinating tale of Great Britain told through its stamps.
Hailed by The Times of London as "a splendid reminder of the philatelic glories of the past," A History of Britain in 36 Postage Stamps tells the rich, layered, and breathtaking history of England through thirty-six of its fascinating, often beautiful, and sometimes eccentric postage stamps. West shows that stamps have always mirrored the events, attitudes, and styles of their time. Through them, one can glimpse the whole epic tale of an empire unfolding. From the famous Penny Black, printed soon after Queen Victoria's coronation, to the Victory! stamp of 1946, anticipating the struggle of postwar reconstruction―A History of Britain in 36 Postage Stamps is a hugely entertaining and idiosyncratic romp, told in Chris West's lively prose.
On their own, stamps can be curiosities, even artistic marvels; in this book, stamps become a window into the larger sweep of history.

The author apparently also produced "A History of America in Thirty-Six Postage Stamps"

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

Friday Quick Hits and Varia

It’s still winter here in North Dakotaland, which I suppose is good because it keeps people from going out and spreading COVID-19. It also helped me stay focused on the stack of books begging to be read and the need to find effective and interesting ways to move my classes online. The entire experience so far has been a bit surreal. 

To make it more real, The Digital Press moved up the release of their latest book: DATAM: Digital Approaches to Teaching the Ancient Mediterranean edited by Sebastian Heath. While hardly a how-to guide, it provides some practical and critical reflections on cutting edge teaching on the ancient Mediterranean. As always, it’s free and open access to download.  

That being said, the internet has not stopped, so I can offer some quick hits and varia:

IMG 4819

IMG 4810

David Meadows (rogueclassicism)

#Thelxinoe ~ Classics News for March 20, 2020

Hodie est a.d. XIII Kal. Apr. 2772 AUC ~ 26 Anthesterion in the third year of the 699th Olympiad

In the News

… slow news day for Classics …

Classicists and Classics in the News

Public Facing Classics

Fresh Bloggery

Fresh Podcasts

Caligula plans his invasion of Britain. It would have been the first time any Roman solider had been there since Julius Caesar. What motivated his plans? Was he even serious? It’s often portrayed as a stupid stunt. But we discover there may be more to it. How did it fit into his German campaign and the conspiracies against him? And how does it factor into Claudius’ later invasion?

In ancient Rome, Fulvia was a mighty force of nature. She’s also one of the scariest and least appreciated badasses that Rome is ever going to see. She marries three times, each time becoming her husband’s champion, building him (and herself) up to grasp a kind of power that few women ever found. Fulvia IS the flame emoji. Grab some good walking sandals, your sharpest hairpins, and a flint, because we’re about to light this place up. Let’s go traveling.

Book Reviews

Professional Matters


‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it thunders today, it portends humans living together well and prosperously.

… adapted from the text and translation of:

Jean MacIntosh Turfa, The Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar, in Nancy Thomson de Grummond and Erika Simon (eds.), The Religion of the Etruscans. University of Texas Press, 2006. (Kindle edition)

Doug's Archaeology: Investigating the Profession and Research

Global Perspectives on British Archaeology

This part of my series of posts on conference presentations, that I have filmed. This is another one from the TAG conference:

Session Info

With the exception of a small number of world-renowned examples (Stonehenge, Hadrian’s Wall), the majority of British archaeological sites receive very little attention on the global stage. Occasionally some achieve momentary celebrity status as ‘globally important’, the result of significant fieldwork discoveries, but then sink back below the topsoil, real or metaphorical. Is there a way to escape this temporality – the archaeological ‘five minutes of global importance’ – and to transcend the miasma of localism to create a more sustained global engagement with British archaeology? Would it be desirable to do so? This session examines wider relationships between local, national and global archaeologies, approached through the lens of British Archaeology. Within an increasingly globalised world of education and research, there appears a pressing need to engage the British archaeological agenda as fully as possible with developing global currents. World Archaeology is a hugely active field of research for British archaeological institutions. In contrast, research on British archaeology sees little involvement of non-British research institutions. Surely a necessary component of the pursuit of World Archaeology is a World/Global Perspective on British archaeology. Key questions investigated by this session are as follows: What role does British archaeological heritage have beyond our borders?; How is it perceived and presented, and what is its impact within global educational and economic arenas?; How is the perception of the past amongst British communities informed by or reconceived through engagement with international perspectives on the past? The session relates to an ongoing AHRC-funded research project investigating innovative new ways to connect British archaeological heritage and associated timelines to a broader history of humanity. The session will include case studies from this project and present the findings of a survey of attitudes towards internationalising British archaeological heritage. We also welcome other contributions relevant to the session theme.

Organisers: Simon Kaner (University of East Anglia) and Sam Nixon (University of East Anglia)

Global Perspectives on British Archaeology

ver the summer and autumn of 2017, we toured our Archaeoglobe pop-up intervention to a series of important East Anglian archaeological sites with the aim of raising awareness of the international significance of these sites. This paper presents the results of the accompanying survey of attitudes to the need to internationalise British archaeology, results which have informed the formulation of guidelines for setting local archaeological findings in a globalised context. One major challenge has been to develop an appropriate theoretical framework for this endeavour, avoiding overly simplistic comparisons, and at the same time being sympathetic to concerns about globalisation. Revisiting earlier discussions of this theme and adopting a critical stance to global themes in archaeology as present (cf Lozny 2011, Hodos 2016), we propose a new framework for comparative archaeology that works at various different scales, and for varied audiences.

Simon Kaner (University of East Anglia) and Sam Nixon (University of East Anglia)

Globalizing Caistor Roman Town: Challenges and approaches

Archaeological sites in the UK are understandably most often considered and presented to the public in terms of relevant historical narratives that have resonance for a local and national audience. This paper uses the example of the Roman town of Venta Icenorum in Norfolk to examine some of the issues associated with presenting nationally important archaeological sites to an international audience. The Roman town has been traditionally viewed in the context of ‘Roman Britain’ (with its accompanying 19th and 20th century imperial baggage) and the Boudican revolt, which, although on many junior school curricula in the UK, has little relevance beyond these shores. This paper explores ways of bringing the site to wider global audiences (as physical and virtual visitors), through new technologies and new narratives. It also examines how trying to reach audiences from very different historical traditions forces us to challenge our own perspectives. Can we make a case for the importance of a regional Roman town that cuts across barriers of geography and historical tradition and can this also help us to cross boundaries of age, education and social class in more local audiences?

Will Bowden (University of Nottingham)

Digital Experimentation and Developing Innovative Digital Tools for Global Engagement in Archaeology

How can we use digital technology to make connections in global heritage? Increasingly archaeological projects and heritage institutions are using digital technology to both disseminate knowledge and connect with researchers and audiences. This paper will examine and review the achievements as well as the technical challenges of various recent digital heritage projects connected to the British Museum (MicroPasts, African Rock Art Image Project, Global Perspectives) and how they offer propositions for contextualising British and Global heritage using innovative digital tools. By experimenting with innovative digital tools, including 3D modelling, 3D printing, and AR/VR technology, we have been finding new ways of using and engaging with the data available in archaeological archives, museums, and cultural heritage projects. Using these digital techniques has widereaching implications for the way museums and cultural heritage agencies use their historical data and make it accessible to both communities and researchers globally. Archival resources are not only key educational and research resources, but also increasingly play an important role in possible reconstructions of endangered or destroyed heritage sites using digital technologies, focusing on gaining a first-hand experience of exploring archaeological sites virtually, particularly in connection to its endangered nature, artistic heritage, and importance to local communities.

Jennifer Wexler (British Museum)

Site Development and Utilization in Japan and the UK

This presentation examines site development and utilization practices in Japan and compares them to the United Kingdom. In particular, this presentation looks at sites that have reconstructed prehistoric architecture that is based upon site remains. Focused largely on Japan, this presentation will introduce some of the results of the author’s database project cataloguing sites and buildings throughout Japan (900 buildings at 350 sites). There are many different types of reconstructions, use of materials, and motivations for developing sites. These range from rebuilding monumental prehistoric structures to weekend archaeology experiences for school children to build houses. They may be made from chestnut and thatch or made out of concrete and steel. These buildings may serve an educational function in relating past lifeways or built as temporary structures to be burnt down at festivals. For the UK, the presenter has conducted fieldwork at West Stow and Flag Fen and will include additional examples from archive study. Comparatively, there are many more reconstructed buildings in Japan but there are very few examples in Japan where these buildings are being utilized for demonstrations or other interactive experiences for visitors, something that is much more common in the UK.

John Ertl (Kanazawa University)


Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

PAS Recording Artefacts from Home

In the thread on a metal detecting forum near you: 'Important advice from the Portable Antiquities Scheme on arrangements to reduce CV19 risk (Thu Mar 19, 2020), we read the tekkies' concerns
BAMBAM » Thu Mar 19, 2020 10:26 pm
What about finds we have left for recording ... when do we expect to get them back? Regards. Brian
and got the reply that 'returns may take a few months till things return to normal' (Wuntbedruv: "I wouldn't expect until all this is over, which could be 12 weeks").
Spearhead » Fri Mar 20, 2020 8:07 am
It's understandable and on the positive side I am hoping my FLO will now be able to catch up their back-log whi[l]st working from home with no new finds to record. Previously standard finds recording have been taking 4 to 6 months and I have been limited to recording less than 30 items a year.
This (a) means that they've been finding more than 30 recordable items a year (significance: this is close to the figure that lies at the basis of the HA Artefact Erosion Counter that everybody denies represented what tekkies can find in a year) and (b) we have gone from "tekkies show us all but we can't record all", to "artefact hunters are judging what's important". That probably explains why the PAS database is in general skewed towards coins and pretty pieces. The "data" are not of archaeological characteristics, but of what a collector judges significant...
hat tip: Nigel Swift

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Academics and Skeptics

In a blog post about the discovery that all the supposed Dead Sea Scrolls at the Museum of the Bible are fakes, Steve Wiggins wrote: Biblical scholars often get accused of taking the life out of things.  Would it be better to believe in something that is exposed as a fake?  Not exactly debunkers, scholars are those who […]

Compitum - publications

Pseudo-Apulée (Hermès Trismégiste), Asclepius

Pseudo-Apulée (Hermès Trismégiste), Asclepius, éd. Matteo Stefani, Turnhout, 2019.

Éditeur : Brepols
Collection : Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Mediaevalis (CCCM 143)
264 pages
ISBN : 978-2-503-58477-5
205 €

A new critical edition of the foundational text of the Latin Hermetic tradition
Il dialogo ermetico Asclepius, composto da un anonimo madrelingua greco in uno dei primi secoli dell'era cristiana, è un'opera latina che condivide la stessa tradizione testuale degli opuscoli filosofici di Apuleio (De deo Socratis, De Platone et eius dogmate, De mundo). Essa costituisce, insieme alla silloge del Corpus Hermeticum greco, la più ampia esposizione della teosofia ermetica in nostro possesso.

Lire la suite...

Archaeology Magazine

Study Examines Food and Gender in Bronze Age China

DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND—According to an Otago Daily Times report, an analysis of isotopes in teeth suggests that boys and girls living in China’s Central Plains during the Eastern Zhou Dynasty some 2,500 years ago were fed different foods. Bioarchaeologist Melanie Miller and her colleagues found that children were breastfed until they were between the ages of two-and-a-half and four years old, when they were weaned onto foods made from wheat and soybeans. The girls, however, were weaned slightly earlier than the males, Miller said. Females continued to eat more wheat and soy as they grew up, while males ate more millet, she added. Miller and her team think these dietary differences could reflect the social inequality that emerged in China's Bronze Age. Read the original scholarly article about this research in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology. To read about hominin teeth that belonged to individuals living at least 80,000 years ago in southern China, go to "An Opportunity for Early Humans in China."

Archaeologist Creates 3-D Blueprints of Historic Yukon Structures

Canada Blubber HouseYUKON, CANADA—CBC News reports that archaeologist Peter Dawson of the University of Calgary and his colleagues are using a drone and a terrestrial laser scanner to create 3-D replicas of historic sites at Pauline Cove, which is located on Herschel Island, in the Beaufort Sea off Yukon’s northern coast. The sites are in danger of being destroyed by wild animals, polar tourism, and erosion. The island has lost about 65 feet of coastline in the past 20 years, Dawson explained. The sites include structures built by Inuvialuit, American whalers, Anglican missionaries, and the Northwest Mounted Police, he added. “It’s giving us a really, really good record of the outside of the buildings and the inside of the buildings and an overview of the historic settlement area,” Barbara Hogan, manager of historic sites for Yukon Tourism and Culture, said of the project. When completed, the images will be stored in an online archive with historic information for public use. To read about a 900-year-old barbed arrow point recovered from the ice in southern Yukon, go to "Time's Arrow."

Neolithic Artifacts Unearthed in Slovakia

TRNAVA, SLOVAKIA—According to a report in The Slovak Spectator, decorated ceramics, tools made of antler, and stone tool fragments made by members of the Lengyel culture have been unearthed in western Slovakia by a team led by archaeologist Andrej Žitňan. The artifacts, estimated to be more than 6,000 years old, were excavated near a medieval fortification wall in the town of Trnava. “Its existence until these days is a matter of lucky circumstances because it was preserved in the narrow area between the wall and the filled town ditch,” said Peter Grznár of the local Regional Monument Board. The town is also known for Neolithic figurines called the Trvana Venuses, which have been dated to about 6,700 years ago. Žitňan said the new discovery suggests the Neolithic settlement that once stood on the site was larger than previously thought. To read about a cache of Roman-era artifacts uncovered near Bratislava, go to "World Roundup: Slovakia."

Noel Tan (The Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog)

Cambodian Museum doors close nationwide amid coronavirus concerns

Cambodian museums close. Source: Khmer Times 20200320via Khmer Times, 20 March 2020: All Cambodian museums to close for the foreseeable future in the light of the Covid-19 crisis.

Tan See Bock PhD Studentship at Northumbria University

northumbria university logovia Louise Tythacott / Northumbria University: A PhD scholarship opportunity to study Chinese bronzes in the Woon Collection of Asian Art at the Northumbria University Gallery. Deadline for applications is 1 June 2020.

[Project website] The ports and harbours of Southeast Asia – Human-environment entanglements in Early Modern maritime trade networks

The Ports of Southeast AsiaIntroducing this new project website by Veronica Walker Vadillo and team from the University of Helsinki. Looking forward to seeing their research progress!

March 19, 2020

Projekt Dyabola Blog

Using the Internet for Academic Research. Some online-reads for you


Von Diliff - photograph by Diliff, edited by Vassil, CC BY 2.5, httpscommons.wikimedia.orgwindex.phpcurid=2151500

New York Public Library. Photograph by Diliff /wikipedia

The work of the “Archaeological Bibliography, Projekt Dyabola” goes on in this difficult times, as your research surley does. Research is part of life, and therefore important to maintain.  Those who have to work from home these days have nevertheless access to new publications. The World Wide Web is an extraordinary resource for gaining access to information of all kinds, including historical, and each day a greater number of sources become available online. In regular intervals we will post lists with links to online publications, which may be of interest for. Perhaps you will even find some new and interesting information. Your bibliographical research by means of “Archaeological Bibliography, Dyabola” gets you (in many cases) via DOI link directly to the full text. Our intention citing DOI links is to create a sort of full-text-bibliography by links.  If you need a demokey for “Archaeological Bibliography”, please mail to

Università degli Studi di Milano

  • Aristonothos. (This serial celebrats the Mediterrenean).
  • ACME. Annali della Facoltà di lettere e filosofia dell’Università degli studi di Milano.
  • DIKE. Rivista di storia del diritto greco ed ellenistico.  (Dike is the first magazine dedicated specifically to the study of Greek and Hellenistic law: it therefore publishes articles relating to the law and institutions of the Greek world from the Mycenaean age to the Roman conquest, and thus contributes in an internationally recognized way to the knowledge of an fundamental aspect of Greek civilization)
  • LANX. Rivista elettronica della Scuola di Specializzazione in Archeologia. (LANX collects the articles of students and professors of the Scuola di Specializzazione, and of scholars who have collaborated on its projects. It also displays the results of their archaeological excavations and research. LANX objective is to share and diffuse the results of the strong research activity of the Scuola di Specializzazione)
  • Consonanze. Collana del Dipartimento di Studi Letterari Filologici e Linguistici” dell’Università degli Studi di Milano. (The title, “Consonances”, intends to suggest the plurality of scientific interests and methodological approaches, but at the same time the consistency among themselves, , be they philological, literary, linguistic or historian).


  • GAIA. Revue interdisciplinaire sur la Grèce archaique.
    (GAIA is meant as a crossroads of discussions concerning Archaic Greece in an original manner. It publishes articles by authors coming from different but complementary fields)
  • Kentron. Revue pluridisciplinaire du monde antique. (Kentron, as a multidisciplinary journal about ancient world, welcomes submissions from researchers in literature, philosophy, linguistics, history and archeology. It focuses on European, Mediterranean and Near Eastern worlds.)
  • Pallas. Revue d’études antiques (Journal specialised in Classical studies)
  • Mélanges de l’École française de Rome – Antiquité (MEFRA).  (Journal on Italy and the Mediterranean from Prehistory to the end of Anquity, in the fields of history, archaeology and epigraphy)
  • Cahiers des études anciennes. (A thematic journal promoting research on all aspects of Antiquity)
  • Annuaire de l’École pratique des hautes études. Section des sciences historiques et philologiques. (Ephe conference proceedings in the field of history and philology)
  • Bulletin de correspondance hellénique. (Archaeological and historical studies of the ancient Greece and Byzantine world)

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Explorers find Cold War-era submarine wreck off the coast of Oahu

A team of explorers have found the wreck of a United States Navy submarine that sank more than 60...

The Archaeology News Network

Global human genomes reveal rich genetic diversity shaped by complex evolutionary history

A new study has provided the most comprehensive analysis of human genetic diversity to date, after the sequencing of 929 human genomes by scientists at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, the University of Cambridge and their collaborators. The study uncovers a large amount of previously undescribed genetic variation and provides new insights into our evolutionary past, highlighting the complexity of the process through which our ancestors...

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Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Egypt Exploration Society: New online events launched

Egypt Exploration Society: New online events launched
Following the successful trial of online webinars from the EES, we will be launching a programme of online lectures during our closure due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

These lectures will be provided for free over the next two weeks in order to ensure that our supporters around the world have a good reason to stay at home, stay motivated, and stay active. We hope that this stimulates responsible online socialising focused around topics that we are all passionate about. Each webinar has a chat facility so you can participate in the lecture and ask questions of the presenter and other attendees.
ART.212, Arab tombs near Siout by Amelia Edwards, 1877The first lectures will focus on the EES, its history, and collections
Webinars have a maximum attendance capacity of 100, so please only sign up if you’re confident that you can attend. We will repeat webinars, rather than record them, so that people can experience greater engagement with other participants. They will be repeated at different times during the day (including early morning and evening in the UK) so that supporters around the world can choose a time that suits them.
Lectures will also cover recent archive projects and fundraising appeals
Don’t forget, if you know people around you that might be interested in these webinars then feel free to share the links with them.

During this difficult time of self-isolation, we would like to thank you for your patience if any technical problems happen and want to reassure all of our supporters that we are here to help where we can.

Visit our events listings to see which webinars you can register to attend.

AMIR: Access to Mideast and Islamic Resources

Free access to online content from some publishers

Due to COVID-19 emergency some publishers are now offering free access to their content. These publishers offer some content for the study of Islam and the Middle East.
AMIR will update this list as new information becomes available.

"Cambridge University Press is making higher education textbooks in HTML format free to access online during the coronavirus outbreak. Over 700 textbooks, published and currently available, on Cambridge Core are available regardless of whether textbooks were previously purchased."
[Update 3/19/2020 : Due to unprecedented demand and reported misuse publisher temporarily removed the free access to textbooks. They are  working to address these concerns plan to reinstate free access as soon as possible.

"Project Muse: Free Resources on MUSE During COVID-19"

"Access to the digital Loeb Classical Library will be free to schools and universities impacted by COVID-19 until June 30th. From Harvard University Press International @HarvardUPLondon In these uncertain times, sometimes you need to look back at the classics. 
Access to the digital Loeb Classical Library will be free to schools and universities impacted by COVID-19 until June 30th.  Librarians: email for access.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

The gold and silver coinage of Philip II published to PELLA

The gold and silver coinage of Philip II published to PELLA
After considerable effort by ANS curator Peter van Alfen, the gold and silver coin types of Philip II of Macedon have been published to PELLA. This typology, based on Georges Le Rider's 1977 Le monnayage d’argent et d’or de Philippe II frappé en Macédoine de 359 à 294, has been numbered 1-382. Le Rider's corpus is actually a die study, and the numbering system is based on die combinations rather than types. As such, there are about 2,200 or so die combinations that correspond to the 382 types. These types were given a new numbering scheme, pella.philip_ii.1 to 382, but all of the Le Rider numbers are also URIs in order to establish a concordance between Le Rider and the new scheme so that collections that cataloged their coins with Le Rider numbers can submit their RDF with those URIs or map the Le Rider to the PELLA type number.

Le Rider numbers as subtypes or deprecated types

The correspondence between PELLA and Le Rider numbers is either 1:n or 1:1. When a typology has multiple possible die combinations, the Le Rider number is considered to be a subtype of the PELLA super type. For example, there are three die combinations for PELLA Philip II no. 1, Le Rider 1.1 to 1.3. If a museum has cataloged one of their coins to Le Rider 1.1, that coin will show up on the subtype page for that combination as well as the page for PELLA Philip II 1, which gathers all of the physical specimens linked directly to that URI or any possible subtype URI (via's SPARQL endpoint).
Philip II 125 with the first specimen from a Nomisma partner.

The other category in which a PELLA and Le Rider number might correlate is 1:1. In these cases, the Le Rider URI still exists, but is not a subtype (linked in the RDF as skos:broader). Instead, the Le Rider Linked Open Data is dcterms:isReplacedBy the PELLA URI, which forces an automatic semantic HTTP 303 redirect in the browser (e.g., Le Rider 5.120). The underlying RDF for the Le Rider URI is still accessible through content negotiation or appending .ttl, .jsonld, or .rdf onto the URI. These two URIs are still linked together by skos:exactMatch, which facilitates the display of coins linked to Le Rider URIs on the PELLA page.

Uploading spreadsheets in Numishare

The publication of this typology represents a breakthrough in another way. Last summer, I spent several weeks developing a spreadsheet import mechanism in the Numishare back-end. I detailed it here (along with recommendations for structuring numismatic data in Google Sheets). After some further tweaking this week, the Philip II typology is the first spreadsheet data imported into Numishare in production. Out of all of the typology projects we have published online in the last 8 years (since the OCRE prototype developed in 2012), this is the first one that did not require me to write an intermediate PHP script. I cannot overemphasize how important this is. Curators can now formulate their own data, according to the specifications above, and publish new projects without technical intervention. After the conclusion of the Hellenistic Royal Coinages project in May, I will turn my attention to refactoring older spreadsheets from OCRE into this new format, and major updates in OCRE can be made directly by curators. I have essentially coded myself out of a repetitive task, saving myself a lot of time and the ANS a lot of money in the long term.

What's next for PELLA?

Now that the URIs for Philip II are activated, I imagine that our colleagues in Berlin and Paris will begin cataloging with them. Peter has updated our curatorial database with these new IDs, but the data have not been pushed from our [terrible] FileMaker database to Mantis, but you should expect to see the ANS's coins of Philip II online in the coming days. In the mean time, a single tetradrachm from the Fralin Museum at the University of Virginia is the first contributor to the new corpus, for Philip II 125.

The Archaeology News Network

Fine-tuning radiocarbon dating could 'rewrite' ancient events

Radiocarbon dating, invented in the late 1940s and improved ever since to provide more precise measurements, is the standard method for determining the dates of artifacts in archaeology and other disciplines. A human femur, thought to be from medieval times, being sampled for carbon dating [Credit: James King-Holmes/Science Photo Library]"If it's organic and old - up to 50,000 years - you date it by radiocarbon," said Sturt Manning,...

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The Archaeology News Network

Bone analyses tell about kitchen utensils in the Middle Ages

Clay pots? Wooden spoons? Copper pots? Silver forks? What materials has man used for making kitchen utensils throughout history? A new study now sheds light on the use of kitchen utensils made of copper. Credit: Adrian Stvorecz/FlickrAt first thought, you would not expect hundreds of years old bones from a medieval cemetery to be able to tell you very much—let alone anything about what kinds of kitchen utensils were used to prepare...

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Archaeological News on Tumblr

Ancient teeth reveal Bronze Age gender inequality

Analysing 2500-year-old teeth has thrown open a window onto life and gender inequality during Bronze...

Jim Davila (

van Oort, Mani and Augustine

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

The Archaeology News Network

Ancient teeth reveal gender inequality in Bronze Age China

Analysing 2500-year-old teeth has thrown open a window onto life and gender inequality during Bronze Age China. Credit: Chinanews.comThe University of Otago-led research has cast light on breastfeeding, weaning, evolving diets and the difference between what girls and boys were eating, lead researcher Dr. Melanie Miller, a postdoctoral fellow in the University of Otago's Department of Anatomy, says. (adsbygoogle =...

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Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

Three Thing Thursday: Greeks, Roads, and Oil

For whatever reason, I’m having trouble getting myself into gear over spring break and have been jumping from one thing to the next all week. It’s predictable, then, that today blog post will be a dreaded “three things” rather than a more sustained consideration of one issue, topic, question, or publication. What’s the biggest bummer is that I wanted to write more about each of these three things. Maybe I can next week, but for now, here’s a sampling of what I’ve been up to.

Thing The First

If I had all the time and energy into the world, I’d publish a little volume featuring the work of Byzantine and Late Antique archaeologist outside of the Mediterranean basin. David Pettegrew and Kostis Kourelis would appear in it, of course. This week, I was really happy to receive a copy of Pennsylvania History 87.1 (2020) which is co-edited by Pettegrew and includes an article by Kourelis and Pettegrew on the Greek communities of Harrisburg and Lancaster, Pennsylvania in the early 20th century. 

The article draws primarily from census data to paint a picture of the changing Greek communities in those towns and their divergent trajectories. The broader argument is that the tendency to emphasize Greek communities in major urban areas (Chicago, New York, et c.) obscures the fact that most Greek communities were small. More than that, these small Greek communities developed according the vagaries of these locales. The city of Harrisburg with its higher rents and involvement in the City Beautiful movement saw a very different kind of Greek community than the city of Lancaster. The Greek community in Harrisburg was more male-dominated and slower to include families although perhaps slightly more affluent, and these features most likely delayed the organization of a Greek church in the city which further slowed the development of this community.

Pettegrew and Kourelis construct their images of these two communities from the scrappy evidence provided by the census and their broad understanding of trends in these two cities. Their ability to paint vivid pictures from fragmentary evidence almost certainly derives from their years of patient work with the fragments of the Late Roman and Byzantine periods in Greece. 

(I couldn’t find the article online yet, but a few of the articles from the special issue are available here for free!).

Thing the Second

A good bit of our work on the Western Argolid Regional Project has focused on roads through our region. As a result, I’ve been trying to digest anything that drifts across my desk about roads in the Eastern Mediterranean. A couple of weeks ago, I spied Peri Johnson and Ömür Harmanşah’s “The Political Ecology of Roads And Movement: The Yalburt Yaylası Archaeological Landscape Research Project 2018 Season” from The Archaeology of Anatolia, Volume III (2019). Ömür Harmanşah has quietly established himself as one of the most insightful readers of the Mediterranean landscape and this article with Peri Johnson reflects his careful sophistication.

Johnson and Harmanşah consider the roads through their survey area in Central Anatolia from both a diachronic and decentralized perspective. In other words, they were not as concerned with the well-known roads through their area in particularly well documented periods and more interested in the ways in which local communities in their area interacted with one another and the wide region. By decentering their research and engaging with local communities, they were not only able to discover neglected roads and routes, but also associated sites. 

Their work and the situation in their survey area has close parallels with ours in the Western Argolid where in the Inachos valley formed the major route through our area throughout the ancient and into the modern period. At the same time, it has become clear that a number of significant routes linked sites in our survey area in ways that did not follow the dominant interregional road along the valley bottom. 

Thing the Third

I read John Sayles’ new book Yellow Earth this weekend. I really want to write a more substantive review of it, in part, because I really wanted to like it more than I did. Here are a few quick observations.

First, a colleague of mine mentioned once that most novels these days are really just short stories cobbled together. This book is that with plots and characters that come and go, intersect obliquely, and sometimes just fade away.

Second, Sayles does some interesting things with time. The book begins in the early days of the Bakken boom and ends just as the bust begins. For the characters, however, time passes at different rates. For two of the characters, their final year in high school traces the trajectory of the boom. For another, it occurs over the course of her pregnancy. For another still, it follow the construction of a house, the life span of a strip club, or the travels of a Mexican migrant from the border to North Dakota. The varying times at play during a boom is fascinating.

Third, the book navigates a difficult space in that one of the main characters is modeled after Tex Hall, the well-known and controversial former chairman of the Three Affiliated Tribes. This means Sayles spends much of the novel writing a number of Native American characters. While I don’t necessarily want to imply that his depiction of these characters was somehow inappropriate, instead, I’d like to acknowledge the ethical complications associated with this move and with depicting and understanding the complex attitudes among the Native American community to the oil boom.

Fourth and finally, for now, I still rankle at the depiction of the Bakken as the Wild West. I understand and appreciate the drama and the moral ambiguity latent in the concept of the Wild West, but I worry that this depiction somehow naturalizes the situation in the Bakken and undermines a reading that recognizes a series of very deliberate choices that allowed corrupt practices to prevail. 

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Bloomsbury Bloomer

In Mark Brown's cop-out article ('British Museum says metal detectorists found 1,311 treasures last year' , Guardian Tue 17 Mar 2020 ).
The British Museum on Tuesday announced that [...] In total, 81,602 finds were recorded with the Portable Antiquities Scheme. [...]”
But then, that's not what their own search engine says, so what is the truth, and why are there two of them? 

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Two new epigraphic volumes announced

Two new epigraphic volumes announced
Dear Members of the AIEGL Community,
we are happy to announce that two new epigraphic volumes have just been published. The volumes stem from the papers presented in Venice in October 2018 in the course of two conferences sponsored by our Association, to which several other contributions have been added. We attach the front page and the Table of Contents of both volumes. Their full digital content is available online in Gold Open Access format at the following links, from which you can also download the pdf versions of the whole volumes, as well as of each single article:
Altera pars laboris. Studi sulla tradizione manoscritta delle iscrizioni antiche, a cura di L. Calvelli, G. Cresci, A. Buonopane, Venice, Edizioni Ca' Foscari, 2019
La falsificazione epigrafica. Questioni di metodo e casi di studio, a cura di L. Calvelli, Venice, Edizioni Ca' Foscari, 2019
Buona lettura!

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Responsible Detecting Diktat from Bloomsbury

PAS to its partners on Responsible Detecting:
Important Advice on Coronavirus
Following government advice, Portable Antiquities Scheme staff are unlikely to be able to meet in person with finders to take in finds or undertake other outreach work. Most Portable Antiquities Scheme staff, including Finds Liaison Officers, will remain contactable by email, so therefore can advise on the recording of finds or the reporting of Treasure. It might be that we ask finders to hold on to their finds (keeping a good record of the findspot in accordance with the Code of Practice for Responsible Metal-Detecting in England and Wales) for full recording at a later date.

For new finds of potential Treasure, finders should notify their local Finds Liaison Officer and/or British Museum treasure team (in England) by email, with photographs of the object and full details of the findspot, finders' and landowners' details, and await further instruction.[...]
But what this should actually read is
Important Advice relating to the present situation.Following government advice, and in order not to create dangerous situations and avoid spreading disease, Portable Antiquities Scheme would like to notify you that staff are unable to meet in person with finders to take in finds, react to Treasure discoveries needing action or undertake other outreach work. Therefore we respectfully ask our responsible partner metal detectorists not to go out unnecessarily, travel around the country and refrain from any digging up of archaeological artefacts that it is impossible in the present situation to record. Stay at home and label all your finds and get their documentation in good order. Read some archaeology books. Please await further instruction.
and it should be on the PAS home page not the front page of the database. 

The Archaeology News Network

Fossil snake with infrared vision: Early evolution of snakes in the Messel Pit examined

Together with his Argentinian colleague Agustin Scanferla, Senckenberg scientist Krister Smith studied the early evolution of snakes in the Messel Pit. In the study, recently published in the scientific journal Diversity, the team was able to show that around 48 million years ago, the ecosystem of the modern-day UNESCO World Heritage Site was home to a wide diversity of snakes. According to their results, a species of snake previously...

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David Meadows (rogueclassicism)

#Thelxinoe ~ Classics News for March 19, 2020

Hodie est a.d. XIV Kal. Apr. 2772 AUC ~ 25 Anthesterion in the third year of the 699th Olympiad

In the News

In Case You Missed It

Fresh Bloggery

Fresh Podcasts

I, Podius ain’t your daddy’s I, Claudius-based podcast! On Episode 5 hosts John Hodgman and Elliott Kalan recap “Some Justice” and present the backdoor pilot to the Piso and Plancina show!

“As long as there has been warfare, there have been warriors willing to offer their services to the highest bidder. In this issue, we look at ancient mercenaries across the Mediterranean.” It’s a lively discussion with a full ancient warfare magazine team.

In our last episode we talked about the journey Dionysus took to become a god. We followed his travels across the Mediterranean as he went on an epic quest to spread the cultivation of wine. In this episode, we’ll focus on what happened after Dionysus won his place as a god on Mount Olympus–how people worshiped him on earth, and what made him so dangerous to the Roman status quo.

In this episode, we discuss the year 413 BC of the Peloponnesian War, including the rise of Archelaus to the Macedonian throne, the Athenian attack on the Laconian coastline which technically broke the peace treaty, the defeats by the Athenian army and navy at Syracuse, and the retreat and ultimate surrender of the Athenians, which brought the Sicilian Expedition to an end.

Book Reviews

Professional Matters


‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it thunders today, it portends a very dry and destructive summer.

… adapted from the text and translation of:

Jean MacIntosh Turfa, The Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar, in Nancy Thomson de Grummond and Erika Simon (eds.), The Religion of the Etruscans. University of Texas Press, 2006. (Kindle edition)

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Pilferers form Mutant Groups

Readers might remember that a group that was out to loot an important Iron Age site - on being challenged by an alert FLO - decided to change their name to escape the bad publicity being associated with their group (Southwest Metal Detectorists, Gone Overnight: Changes Name to "The Detectorists Metal detecting uk" [UPDATED]). Well, I do not know what the latter has been up to, but they seem to feel the need to take on yet another identity. 

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

#CFP International Conference #DHJewish – Jewish Studies in the Digital Age

International Conference “#DHJewish – Jewish Studies in the Digital Age”, Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C²DH), University of Luxembourg, 12-13 January 2021. In all humanities disciplines, scholars find themselves confronted with the rapidly increasing availability of digital resources (data), new technologies to interrogate and analyze them (tools), and the question of how to engage with […]

Javier Andreu (Oppida Imperii Romani)


[Inscripción, procedente de Valentia, y reutilizada en la iglesia de Santo Tomás de la ciudad del Turia -CIL II2/14, 13- con alusión a Tito como conueruator Pacis. La foto, magnífica, se la debo a Engracia, del blog Arqueología en mi Jardín y a nuestro buen amigo Daniel]

Siempre he pensado que, aunque, quizás, en Hispania, el interés por la época flavia, se disparó en los años ochenta gracias a la editio princeps de la lex Irnitana, por Julián González (Journal of Roman Studies, 76, 1986), y a los ejemplares trabajos, sobre epigrafía flavia, de Armin Stylow (por ejemplo Gerión, 4, 1986), en el resto de Europa fue la magistral identificación y lectura de la inscripción constructiva, en Roma, del anfiteatro flavio, con litterae aureae, por Géza Alföldy, en los años noventa (AE, 1995, 111b=Zetitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik, 109, 1995), la que intensificó el interés por un Principado, el de los Flavios, dotado de muchos y diversos atractivos. Lo cierto es que desde mediados de los 90 se han publicado, de forma continúa estudios sobre la política arquitectónica, en Roma, de estos emperadores; análisis interdisciplinares de la lex de imperio Vespasiani (ver más bibliografía en Cahiers Gustav Glotz, 16, 2005); monográficos de revistas consagrados al emperador Domiciano, quizás el más controvertido del periodo; o misceláneas orientadas a, sobre todo desde las fuentes literarias, trazar un panorama de la Roma flavia o de la capacidad de estos emperadores para entroncarse entre la tradición y la innovación. La celebración, entre marzo de 2009 y enero de 2010 de la muestra Divus Vespasianus, en Roma, comisionada por Filippo Coarelli no ha hecho sino intensificar el ritmo de esas publicaciones que han dado lugar a companions exclusivos de actualización dedicados a la época, a concienzudos manuales universitarios o a obras de recopilación con algunos de los temas más sugerentes de un periodo subsiguiente a la primera guerra civil, la del 68-69 d. C., del Principado Romano. La próxima celebración, en junio de este año, de un coloquio sobre The Flavian Empire, en la Maynooth University, en Irlanda, sólo demuestra el extraordinario atractivo del periodo y sus posibilidades investigadoras.

Es cierto que en todos esos trabajos -excelente complemento de los que en España se han dedicado a la extraordinaria transformación de las provincias hispanas en época flavia (ver este antiguo post de nuestro blog)- quizás no se han tenido suficientemente en cuenta las fuentes epigráficas. Existen, de hecho, más de 600 inscripciones en todo el Imperio inequívocamente fechadas en este periodo que pueden, desde luego, aportar mucha información a la política de obras públicas, provincial, territorial, y de imagen, de estos emperadores. No en vano, las propias fuentes antiguas -pensemos, por ejemplo, en Suetonio- dedicaron algunos pasajes a exaltar el esfuerzo de Vespasiano por la restauración de edificios (Suet. Vesp. 16 y 17), la extraordinaria popularidad de Tito, en materia de imagen, en algunas provincias (Suet. Tit. 4) especialmente intensificada tras su muerte -como recuerda Aurelio Víctor (Aur. Vict. Epit. 10, 11)-, la desmesura en el manejo de la imagen por parte de Domiciano (Suet. Dom. 13) y algunos otros tópicos que, siempre, han resultado interesantes y sugerentes y que el estudio de esas fuentes epigráficas puede contribuir a confirmar o a desmentir.

La invitación, el pasado 10 de marzo, a la Universität Zurich (Alte Gescchicte/Historische Seminar), para impartir una charla titulada "Flavian epigraphy: building an imperial identity" -cuya presentación os dejo más abajo, cerrando este post- nos ha permitido ordenar algunas ideas sobre esta cuestión, en la que llevamos trabajando algunos años. Las resumiremos en tres que, además, darán entrada aquí a algunas publicaciones previas, quizás poco conocidas, sobre el periodo, fruto de ese trabajo de varios años conectado -pero también independiente- de nuestra antigua dedicación a la municipalización flavia, la "flabitis", como la llama con cariño nuestro buen amigo Ángel Ventura, de la Universidad de Córdoba, de quien, siempre, tanto aprendemos. 

[1]. Obsesionadas por una gradación moral Vespasiano/Tito us. Domiciano, las fuentes literarias transmiten una imagen ejemplar de los dos primeros en la oportunidad, frugalidad y necesidad -siempre de positivo juicio moral- de su apuesta por las obras públicas pero totalmente desmesurada y egoísta para el segundo. El templum gentis Flauiae o el Coliseo, por ejemplo, se contraponen, en el juicio de los textos, a la atención prestada por Domiciano a su residencia imperial en el Palatino. Las fuentes epigráficas nos ayudan, de hecho, a contextualizar muchas de esas alusiones y a discutir si, efectivamente, en la política romana y en la política provincial, hubo esa apuesta por asentar, antes que por adornar, que Suetonio atribuye a Vespasiano (Suet. Vesp. 8). Tratamos el tema hace algunos años en un trabajo publicado en Classica Boliviana, 10, 2014 en el que cada noticia en las fuentes literarias, sobre obras públicas flavias, es analizada en lo que, de ella, nos transmiten las epigráficas.

[2]. Al igual que sucede en Roma, donde la documentación epigráfica disponible sobre el periodo, demuestra cuáles fueron los grandes proyectos edilicios de estos Principes y, también, lo crucial que resultaron los primeros cuatro años de su gobierno -desde el aduentus de Vespasiano a Roma en junio del 70 a la censura conjunta entre Vespasiano y Tito en el 73-74 d. C.- así como los valores dinásticos de Victoria y Pax (objeto de estudio actual, entre otras cuestiones flavias, en una prometedora tesis por David Gordillo, de la Universidad de Salamanca, dirigida por Manuel Salinas) que el fundador de la dinastía transmitió, en provincias pueden seguirse, muy bien, algunas actitudes de estos emperadores, distintas todas ellas, que muestran sus fijaciones en la política provincial. Así, su preferencia por favorecer la conectividad invirtiendo en materia de infraestructuras, su interés por cooperar con entes de la administración -ejército y gobernadores provinciales- para extender el modo de vida romano en provincias de reciente creación, sus "alardes" cooperando con algunos espacios públicos simbólicos de todo el Imperio, su mayor preferencia -en el caso de Vespasiano y de Tito- por Occidente antes que por Oriente -más atendida por Domiciano-, etcétera. Algunos de esos valores de la edilicia pública flavia los sistematizamos, en su día, en nuestra contribución al 1er Tarraco Biennal (Tarragona, 2013) -para Roma- y en otras, más extensas, alusivas a la política provincial de Vespasiano y de Tito -publicada en una miscelánea alemana de la editorial De Gruyter: Tradition und Erneuerung: Mediale strategien in der zeit der Flavier, Berlín, 2011) y a la de Domiciano -en Dialogues d'Histoire Ancienne, 34-2, 2008, para las provincias y Florentia Iliberritana, 20, 2009, para Roma- a las que remitimos. La eventual conexión entre la popularidad de estos emperadores en provincias y las atenciones prestadas a aquéllas en su política edilicia también la abordamos hace algunos años en una contribución al  monográfico Storie delle Religioni e Archeologia. Discipline a confronto, Roma, 2010

[3]. Es evidente, y las fuentes así lo señalan, que la dinastía flavia tuvo que hacer frente a una situación política inédita -la primera dinastía de proclamación militar del aun joven Principado- y, también, a una bancarrota notable si, realmente, era ése el estado de cosas en que quedaron las arcas imperiales tras la muerte de Nerón. En este sentido, y como se percibe bien en la documentación hispana, se constata, a través de las inscripciones, un notable esfuerzo de estos tres emperadores -en particular de Vespasiano y de Tito pero también, en algunas intervenciones concretas en Oriente, por parte de Domiciano- por "ordenar" la administración en todas aquellas cuestiones en las que Roma pudiera perder recursos bien acercando la administración a esos espacios, bien gravando con nuevos impuestos, bien devolviendo al control de Roma espacios que, antes, habían caído en manos de particulares. África -de la que nos ocupamos en L'Africa Romana 17, 2008 y 18, 2010- y Creta/Cyrene, por ejemplo -que estudiamos en Latomus, 69, 2010- son dos escenarios geográficos -aunque no los únicos- en los que esa preocupación se muestra a las claras con documentos epigráficos concretos que darían razón de ser a esa pecuniae cupiditas que Suetonio censuró como único vicio público achacable a Vespasiano (Suet. Vesp. 16).

Obviamente, hay más temas implicados en esta cuestión que, tentativamente, hemos denominado como Liberalitas Flauia. Algunos, con ejemplos concretos, se glosan en la presentación con que cerramos este post. Otros quedan para otras ocasiones que, seguro, no se harán esperar... Mientras, seguimos escudriñando la información que nos aportan esos 625 tituli de época flavia repartidos de Oriente a Occidente del Imperio Romano. 

Archaeology Magazine

“Little Foot” Fossils Examined with High-Tech Tools

Little Foot SkullJOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA—According to a statement released by the University of the Witwatersrand, Amélie Beaudet and her colleagues examined high-resolution microcomputer tomography scans of a 3.67 million-year-old fossilized skull and first cervical vertebra recovered from South Africa’s Sterkfontein cave system. The bones are part of a nearly complete Australopithecus skeleton known as “Little Foot.” The study suggests that the hominin moved its head in a manner consistent with tree-climbing ability. The well-preserved fossils also offer information about the size of arteries that passed through the vertebra, and thus the amount of blood flow to the brain. Little Foot’s blood flow is estimated to resemble the blood flow observed in modern chimpanzees, or about three times lower than in modern humans. Beaudet said the low blood flow to the brain could reflect the individual’s small brain size, a poor-quality diet, or a need for energy in another part of the Australopithecus anatomy. Increased blood flow to the brain is thought to have emerged much later in human evolution, she added. To read about another Australopithecus cranium found in Ethiopia, go to "Artifact."

Noel Tan (The Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog)

Covid-19: Malaysian museums and galleries closed amid coronavirus fear

Source: The Star, 20200316via The Star, 16 March 2020: Malaysian museums to close until the end of the month amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

American School of Classical Studies in Athens: Events

Stephen Greenblatt: Religious Tolerance and the Twilight of the Ancient World

March 19, 2020 7pm - Stephen Greenblatt, Harvard University

39η Ετήσια Διάλεξη Walton

March 19, 2020 7:00μμ - LECTURE Stephen Greenblatt, Cogan University Professor of the Humanities, Harvard University

March 18, 2020

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

AFEAF Gijón 2021 – Appel à communication / Call for papers

Cher(e) collègue, Le prochain colloque international de l’Association Française pour l’Étude de l’Âge du Fer (AFEAF) aura lieu à Gijón (Asturies, Espagne) du 13 au 15 mai 2021. Vous trouverez, ci-joint, l’appel à communication en français, espagnol, anglais, portugais, italien et allemand. La date limite pour l’envoi des propositions de...

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

LOPODVNVM VI: Die 3D-Rekonstruktion des römischen Forums von Ladenburg Beschreibung und Begründung der Nachbildung

LOPODVNVM VI: Die 3D-Rekonstruktion des römischen Forums von Ladenburg Beschreibung und Begründung der Nachbildung
Jürgen Süß und Brigitte Gräf 
Forschungen und Berichte zur Archäologie in Baden-Württemberg
Das Zentrum der römischen Stadt Lopodunum beherrschte ein Baukomplex aus Forum und Basilika, der sich durch eine enorme Fläche und ein großes Volumen auszeichnete. Von den Gebäuden blieb allerdings bis auf Reste der Fundamente nur wenig im mittelalterlich geprägten Kern der heutigen Stadt Ladenburg erhalten. Die vorliegende Abhandlung erläutert die Überlegungen, die zur virtuellen 3D-Rekonstruktion des antiken Forums geführt haben, wie sie heute im Lobdengau-Museum in Ladenburg präsentiert wird. Neben der Darlegung der Rekonstruktionsansätze werden dabei auch Perspektiven für die weitere wissenschaftliche Beschäftigung mit dem historisch so bedeutsamen römischen Baukomplex aufgezeigt.

Vorwort der Autoren
1 Einführung
2 Basilika
3 Apsis
4 Nebenbauten im Rückbereich der Basilika
5 Hof
6 Innere Portiken
7 Tabernen
8 Eingangshalle
9 Äussere Portiken
10 Ausstattung
11 Umgebung
12 Schluss
13 Literaturverzeichnis / 14 Abbildungsnachweis

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

BM, One of the Highlights of a year of British Metal Detecting, Provenance: "dumper truck"

If dealers Grebkesh and Runn tried to use
"from a dumper truck" as a provenance...
David Sanderson, 'Treasure island: metal detectorists enjoy bumper year' Telegraph March 17 2020
A 1,100-year-old brooch wrenched from history by a tipper truck and dumped as part of a landscaping scheme is one of the highlights of a year of British metal detecting. The early medieval silver brooch decorated with zoomorphic beasts was discovered by a metal detectorist near Great Dunham in Norfolk during 2019. It was then established, however, that the soil it was found in had been transported from another, as yet unknown, part of the region. “The circumstances of the discovery are odd,” Michael Lewis, who is in charge of the Portable Antiquities Scheme on behalf of the British Museum, said. “It is an interesting brooch though and could have links with the Pentney brooches in the museum’s collection.”
So the PAS records artefacts said to have been found in Palestine, 1847-1915 coins in a piano, and a loose object rattling round in a dumper truck that - like an artefact on eBay - could have come from anywhere. So whatever happened to the dream of the Founding Fathers that this expensive Scheme for puffing artefact hunters and collectors was supposed “to raise awareness among the public of the educational value of archaeological finds in their context and facilitate research in them”? What context is a dumper truck?

Virus 'could cost millions of tourism jobs'

global tourism
Virus 'could cost millions of tourism jobs' BBC 13 March 2020
The global coronavirus outbreak means millions of travel and tourism jobs are at risk, says a leading industry body. The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) says up to 50 million jobs could be lost because of the pandemic. Its chief executive, Gloria Guevara, said the outbreak "presents a significant threat to the industry". The news comes after thousands of international flights were cancelled and some insurance firms suspended travel cover for new customers. New figures from the WTTC suggest that the travel sector could shrink by up to 25% in 2020. 
 This means that all the arguments for protection of cultural heritage that are predicated on the value of the latter in attracting the tourist trade to a region (and thus creating jobs) crumble.

Brent Nongbri on the MoB's Fake Scrolls

Holey mss
Further on the MoB's fake Dead Sea scrolls: Brent Nongbri "Report: All the "Dead Sea Scrolls" at the Museum of the Bible Are Fakes", Variant Readings March 13th 2020,
 First, National Geographic reports that these findings have been known for many weeks [...] So, the results of the investigation have been known since November. By coincidence they have been made public months later when the world is in the grip of an unprecedented pandemic.
The discovery are pretty damaging to a museum that is apparently built for the express purpose of demonstrating that 'the Bible is true, here in our nation's capital are the objects to prove it', when the objects turn out to be fakes. Another point:
when it comes to the dealers selling the fakes, there are a lot of names that will be familiar to people who have been following other manuscript stories in the news. One of the sellers of the fakes is California collector Andrew Stimer, chairman and CEO of Hope Partners International (HPI), “a Christ-centered international ministry,” who also
bought stolen Oxyrhynchus papyri. Other Museum of the Bible fakes also passed through the infamous collection of Bruce Ferrini. The article also mentions the fakes that were part of the collection of William Noah, the force behind the Ink and Blood travelling exhibition. The origin of [all] these forgeries remains a mystery. So, there is still more work to be done.   
I think the problem this highlights is that a so-called "collection history" (aka "provenance") is not enough. The items in question had (some sort of) collection pedigree. What is important is that none of them was 'grounded' any more than a rumour that they had originated "with" the Kando family (whether or not that is true or not remains to be seen), but that is no confirmation that they'd come from a certain group of ancient jars in a certain set of ancient caves.

Schøyen Collection Dead Sea Scrolls?

Schøyen with his trophies

100% - all 16 Dead Sea Scrolls fragments - held by the @museumofBible have now been conclusively shown to be modern fakes. This likely means that all the fragments held in the Schøyen Collection are also faked. This is a gigantic multimillion dollar fraud.

Social Responsibility and UK Metal Detectorists

I wonder what effect implementation of measures to halt the spread of the coronavirus Covid-19 will be having on metal detecting rallies, club meetings and PAS-recording in the UK.  Foot-and-Mouth all over again?

Will the PAS be issuing a statement regarding contacts between FLOs and their grubby handed metal detecting 'partners'?

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Resources for Online Teaching (from the SBL)

Resources for Online Teaching (from the SBL)

General Considerations

Your university will likely have resources and staff expertise to help you transition to a virtual classroom. Be sure to take advantage of them.

Pivoting to Online Instruction
Jessica Tinklenberg

Tips for Teaching Online
Amy Hale and the AAR Teaching and Learning Committee

Bringing Your Course Online
Modern Language Association

Teaching in the Context of COVID-19
Jacqueline Wernimont and Cathy N. Davidson

How to Be Present Online amid COVID-19
J. David Star

Moving Online Now: How to Keep Teaching during Coronavirus (downloadable guide)
The Chronicle of Higher Education

Some Resources for Online Learning from the Wabash Center Resource Collection
The Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)
These are some online courses brought to our attention by members. Staff have not reviewed the courses in their entirety. Viewer discretion is advised. If you offer an online course that might benefit other members, please email us at

The Bible in Light of the Ancient Near East
Nili Samet

Introduction to New Testament
Christine Hayes

Virtual Tours

The Ultimate Guide to Virtual Museum Resources

Virtual World Project

Ancient Near East and Biblical Studies Online Resources
SBL Online Teaching Weekly Newsletters

16 March Newsletter
*Recognizing the increased need for online resources, SBL staff has chosen these external resources because we feel they may be useful for those who teach the Bible. The Society is committed to providing as many resources as we are able, and staff make every effort to vet external resources, but please be aware that the nature and availability of these resources change on a daily basis. Inclusion on the SBL site does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, warranty, or favoring of products or services by the Society or constitute or imply an exclusive arrangement with the Society. The views and opinions of external resources do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Society. The Society neither controls nor endorses the content of external sites or the product promoted therein.

“He Inscribed Upon a Stone”: Celebrating the Work of Jim Eisenbraun

Eisenbrauns is a veritable household name for scholars of the Bible, archaeology, and Near Eastern studies. The retirement of Jim and Merna Eisenbraun (the reason for the plural Eisenbrauns) and the transition of the imprint to Pennsylvania State University Press is an opportunity to celebrate and pay tribute. When SBL asked authors, editors, and staff associated with Eisenbrauns if they would contribute to a volume celebrating Jim’s legacy, over one hundred responses resulted in this tribute.
[Text from  the  announcement, which you can read here]

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

The Forger of the Marzeah Papyrus

Professor Rollston's discussion of the identity of the MoB Dead Sea Scrolls Forger recalls another documentary forgery, the so-called Marzeah Papyrus. Like one of the MoB DSS fragments this toured the US as part of a larger exhibition ("Ink and Blood") touted as the "earliest Hebrew writing on papyrus" (aka the "Elohim papyrus").
Where was it discovered? No one knows. When was it discovered? No one knows. It was first published in 1990 in the journal Semitica by Pierre Bordreuil and Dennis Pardee, two highly respected experts in the North-West Semitic languages. In their article, the authors describe how photographs of the document came to them from other scholars seeking their views on the authenticity of the papyrus, but the ultimate source of the photographs and the owner of the artifact was not named. They stated only that the text is "now in the hands of persons wishing to sell it at a high price."
[...] it seems to us that this text shows sufficient internal coherence to dispel the hypothesis of forgery and to present it without prejudice to the attention of specialists.
They base their conclusion of authenticity primarily on the sophistication of the language in the papyrus, concluding that a putative forger must have been a highly trained specialist in the Semitic languages, with a sophisticated understanding of dialectology, as well as a master of paleography. They consider this combination of talents an unlikely one in a forger and conclude in favor of the authenticity of the document.
(Edward M. Cook, 'Thoughts on the Marzeah Papyrus' Ralph the Sacred River Tuesday, January 25, 2005).
Cook himself is sceptical: "its unknown provenance, uncertain history, unavailability for technical protocols, and association with the big-money antiquities trade, especially in the wake of the recent forgery indictments, should make scholars demand a closer examination and more exacting tests before putting any further confidence in the document". Consensus now is that the document was a forgery. Cook's post contains more information on that Ink and blood travelling exhibit that is reported to begin again touring the US (apparently without this document).

The MoB Duped: All the 'Dead Sea Scrolls' at the Museum of the Bible are Forgeries

First it was 'Five of Museum of the Bible's Dead Sea Scrolls are forgeries' (Michael Greshko National Geographic Oct 22, 2018). Now the unsurprising results of further testing 'Exclusive: 'Dead Sea Scrolls' at the Museum of the Bible are all forgeries' (Michael Greshko Nat Geog March 13, 2020).
“The Museum of the Bible is trying to be as transparent as possible,” says CEO Harry Hargrave. “We’re victims—we’re victims of misrepresentation, we’re victims of fraud.” In a report spanning more than 200 pages, a team of researchers led by art fraud investigator Colette Loll found that while the pieces are probably made of ancient leather, they were inked in modern times and modified to resemble real Dead Sea Scrolls. “These fragments were manipulated with the intent to deceive,” Loll says. [...] the report’s findings raise grave questions about the “post-2002” Dead Sea Scroll fragments, a group of some 70 snippets of biblical text that entered the antiquities market in the 2000s. Even before the new report, some scholars believed that most to all of the post-2002 fragments were modern fakes.
Mind you, several of us were pretty sure that is how this was going to turn out (see Candida Moss here). Play the victim the MoB might, but who misrepresented the fragments to them? None other than the collector that bought them, Steve Green.
Around 2002, as antiquities dealers and collectors began showing biblical fragments that looked like long-lost pieces of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Many of them reportedly "traced back to the Kandos, who were rumoured to be selling pieces they had long ago spirited away to a vault in Switzerland".
By decade’s end, the trickle of post-2002 fragments turned into a flood of at least 70 pieces. Collectors and museums jumped at the chance to own the oldest known biblical texts, including Museum of the Bible founder Steve Green, the president of Hobby Lobby. Starting in 2009, Green and Hobby Lobby spent a fortune buying up biblical manuscripts and artifacts to seed what would become the Museum of the Bible’s collection. From 2009 to 2014, Green bought a total of 16 Dead Sea Scroll fragments in four batches, including seven fragments he bought directly from William Kando, the elder Kando’s son.
Initially, some Dead Sea Scroll experts thought the post-2002 pieces, including Green’s, were the real deal. In 2016, leading biblical scholars published a book on the Museum of the Bible’s fragments, dating them to the time of the Dead Sea Scrolls. But months before that book’s publication, doubt had started to creep into some scholars’ minds.
In 2016, researchers including Justnes and Kipp Davis, a scholar at Canada’s Trinity Western University who co-edited the 2016 book, began discussing signs that some post-2002 fragments in Norway had been faked. Davis then published evidence in 2017 that cast doubt on two Museum of the Bible fragments, including one that was on display when the museum opened in 2017. One fragment’s lettering squeezed into a corner that wouldn’t have existed when the writing surface was new. Another appeared to have a Greek letter alpha where a 1930s reference Hebrew Bible used an alpha to flag a footnote.
Ooops. "Despite being purchased at four different times from four different people, the report finds that all 16 of the Museum of the Bible’s Dead Sea Scroll fragments were forged the same way—which strongly suggests that the forged fragments share a common source". There is one common source, the antiquities market.

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

Things and Assemblage: Codex in Retrospect

Because my trip to the UK was cancelled, I’m back to working on my book on archaeology of contemporary American culture. When last I left it, I was wrestling with a chapter on things, agency, and materiality. This chapter, in turn, was part of the first part of the book which sought to unpack and generalize some of the lessons that I learned from the Alamogordo Atari Excavation. This section involved three chapters: (1) garbology, (2) things, materiality, and agency, and (3) media archaeology as archaeology.

Right now, I’m wrapping up chapter two with a section on assemblages and a concluding case study drawn from Micah Bloom’s Codex project (and the resulting book that The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota published in 2017).

Here’s what I say.

The final part of this chapter will reflect on a recent multimedia project developed by the artist Micah Bloom in Minot, North Dakota. His work, which was not archaeological in a proper sense, documented the aftermath of the Souris River flooding which devastated the small city of Minot in 2011. The floods caused the evacuation of over 4000 homes, the construction of almost 2000 shelters by FEMA, and a final cost of over $1 billon. Bloom’s work captured the tremendous impact of these floods by photographing the books left behind by the receding waters over the course of 2011. He also collected some of the books and created an instalation that traveled to several venues across the U.S. In this exhibit, he arranged some of the waterlogged and disintegrating books on shelves annotated with a series of inventory numbers. He also displayed the Tyvek suits, masks, and plastic gloves and scientific paraphernalia that his team used when collecting and examining the recovered books. Finally, his installation featured a graveyard where Bloom arranged books in neat rows on a carpet of earth awaiting burial. On the walls surrounding this cemetery hang photographs showing the find spots of books with forensic clarity. The published book associated with this project includes essays from a range of scholars who respond to his work. These essays make explicit many of the

Bloom is hardly the only artist approaching books with archaeological sensibilities. In fact, a number of municipal waste disposal centers developed artist residency programs (San Francisco, Philadelphia) as a way to capitalize on the long standing recognition that everyday objects take on new meanings when discarded as waste and repurposed as art. Bloom’s photographs of books abandoned by the retreating Souris River and disintegrating emphasizes the materiality of paper slowly returns to pulp when exposed to water. Their unnatural entanglement with the wooded banks of the river further suggests that the flood reversed the process of book manufacturing by returning the books to pulp and then to vegetation. The status of books as treasured objects (Prugh 2017; Sorensen 2017), carefully curated in libraries, in homes, and in institutions, made these images of regression even more haunting. By playing on books as personal things, always in the process of construction and decomposition (Liming 2017; Haeselin 2017; Kibler 2017), the disembodied state of the decaying books makes the absence of humans all the more visible. The absence of clear human intervention in the fate of these books offers a salient reminder that agency is not limited to individuals. The interplay between the books, the flood, and their post-deluge deposition reveal evidence for the work of insect, animals, microbes and the inherent fragility of any single material state.

Finally, Thora Brylowe’s contribution to the book dedicated to the Codex project recognized in this assemblage of books the interplay of forces on the global scale. The weather patterns, for example, that produce the 2011 Souris flood occurred as part of the larger El Niño-Southern Oscillation when the cooling waters of the equatorial Pacific produced a La Niña weather pattern which caused wetter than normal winter and spring in the Northern Plains as well as the East Asian drought. Climate change will likely make El Niño and La Niña events more intense, and the 2011 La Niña was the warmest on record. Brylowe notes that industrial practices, including paper production which both removed old growth trees from the landscape at a massive scale and relied upon fossil fuels not only allowed for the emergence of books as an affordable, personal commodity, but also spurred global climate change. The entanglement of books, climate, humans, microbes, weather, and history demonstrate the dispersed character of agency across assemblages. These assemblage not only spanned continents, but also centuries emphasizing the immediacy of Bloom’s photographs and installation as interventions which, like archaeology, seeks to provide some limits on how we see the interplay between objects.

News, Blogposts and Jobs on (Association Internationale d’Épigraphie Grecque et Latine: AIEGL)

Deadline for applications for epigraphic training courses / workshops

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

the deadline (March 31) for applications for epigraphic training courses/workshops is approaching (
We are looking forward to receiving your application.

David Gill (Looting Matters)

TEFAF Update

Following identifications made by Associate Professor Christos Tsirogiannis, two antiquities were seized at TEFAF, Masstricht last week (Theo Toebosch, "Twee oudheden in beslag genomen op kunstbeurs Tefaf", 17 March 2020). 

A Roman head of Apollo had formerly passed through the hands of Gianfranco Becchina and Palladion Antike Kunst in 1976. It is reported that it was displayed in the Merrin Gallery in New York from 1978–81, before passing into the hands of a Beverly Hills collector. It was auctioned in New York in 2008. This head had been displayed by the Chenel Gallery in Paris.

An Egyptian alabaster vase had passed through the hands of Robin Symes. This was displayed by the Merrin Gallery.

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News, Blogposts and Jobs on (Association Internationale d’Épigraphie Grecque et Latine: AIEGL)

Two new epigraphic volumes announced

Dear Members of the AIEGL Community,

we are happy to announce that two new epigraphic volumes have just been published. The volumes stem from the papers presented in Venice in October 2018 in the course of two conferences sponsored by our Association, to which several other contributions have been added.

Current Epigraphy

Two new epigraphic volumes published online in Open Access

Dear Colleagues,
I would like to announce that two new epigraphic volumes have just been published. Their full digital content is available online in Open Access at the following links, from which you can download both the pdf versions of the whole volumes and of each single contribution:
Altera pars laboris. Studi sulla tradizione manoscritta delle iscrizioni antiche, a cura di L. Calvelli, G. Cresci, A. Buonopane, Venice, Edizioni Ca’ Foscari, 2019
La falsificazione epigrafica. Questioni di metodo e casi di studio, a cura di L. Calvelli, Venice, Edizioni Ca’ Foscari, 2019
Attached are the Tables of Contents of the two volumes. Hard copies will soon be available for purchase through the publisher’s website.
Thank you and buona lettura,
Lorenzo Calvelli
LORENZO CALVELLI, GIOVANNELLA CRESCI MARRONE, ALFREDO BUONOPANE (curr.), Altera pars laboris. Studi sulla tradizione manoscritta delle iscrizioni antiche, Edizioni Ca’ Foscari (Antichistica 24, Storia ed epigrafia 7), Venezia 2019 (ISBN (print): 978-88-6969-375-5 / ISBN (ebook): 978-88-6969-374-8). 

ALFREDO BUONOPANE, LORENZO CALVELLI, GIOVANNELLA CRESCI MARRONE, La parte più difficile del mestiere di epigrafista
SIMONA ANTOLINI, Il Museo Nani in un manoscritto di Aurelio Guarnieri Ottoni
FRANÇOIS BERARD, L’apport du Lugdunum priscum de Claude Bellièvre à la connaissance de l’épigraphie lyonnaise
ROLAND BEHAR, GWLADYS BERNARD, ‘Dans les pierres, il ne peut y avoir de fiction’? Authentiques, faux et pastiches dans l’oeuvre érudite et poétique de l’humaniste sévillan Rodrigo Caro (1573-1647)
MARCO BUONOCORE, Bibliotheca epigraphica manuscripta: dal 1881 a oggi
ELIZABETH DENIAUX, L’orientaliste Antoine Galland et la découverte des inscriptions de la cité des Viducasses en Normandie
DONATO FASOLINI, Le iscrizioni dell’album del Louvre di Jacopo Bellini Una fonte attendibile per epigrafia e iconografia?
ANNAROSA GALLO, La tradizione manoscritta delle epigrafi latine di Tarentum
PIERRE LAURENS, Certissimo argumento aeternitati plus conferre tenuissimas membranas quam praedura marmora. De la plausibilité de quelques restitutions
NICOLAS MATHIEU, Les inscriptions relatives à Vaison-la-Romaine (Vaucluse, France) à la lumière de Joseph-Dominique Fabre de Saint-Véran
FARA NASTI, Tradizione giurisprudenziale manoscritta dei Digesta e tabulae ceratae da Londinium: TLond. 55 e 57
SILVIA ORLANDI, Una nuova dedica a Ercole da un manoscritto di Bonifacius Amerbach
GIANFRANCO PACI, Da Vid a Venezia: due reperti antichi tra collezionismo ed interessi eruditi nel sec. XVIII
ANNE RAFFARIN, Fortune de l’inscription du temple d’Isis des manuscrits épigraphiques du Quattrocento aux Antiquités de la Ville d’Andrea Fulvio (1527)
BERNARD REMY †, L’apport des manuscrits de Joseph-Marie de Suarès à l’élaboration du Corpus des inscriptions latines de Vaison-la-Romaine et de son territoire
BENOIT ROSSIGNOL, Épigraphie en révolution. La visite du Père Dumont à Vaison (1790)
UMBERTO SOLDOVIERI, L’Abate Galiani epigrafista
Indice delle fonti manoscritte
Indice delle iscrizioni
Indice dei nomi di persona e di luogo

LORENZO CALVELLI (cur.), La falsificazione epigrafica. Questioni di metodo e casi di studio, Edizioni Ca’ Foscari (Antichistica 25. Storia ed epigrafia 8), Venezia 2019 (ISBN (print): 978-88-6969-387-8 / ISBN (ebook): 978-88-6969-386-1).
LORENZO CALVELLI, La ricerca sulla falsificazione epigrafica oggi. Dove siamo e dove andiamo
MICHELE BELLOMO, SILVIA GAZZOLI, Monsignor Luigi Biraghi e i falsi di Cernusco
PIERANGELO BUONGIORNO, Vicende di un falso senatoconsulto. Il decretum Rubiconis fra Ciriaco de’ Pizzicolli, Antonio Agustín e Eugen Bormann
SILVIA BRAITO, ALFREDO BUONOPANE, ‘Falsi epigrafici’ in Internet: una fenomenologia
MARIA LETIZIA CALDELLI, Iscrizioni falsae nelle collezioni inglesi. Il caso del Fitzwilliam Museum di Cambridge
LORENZO CALVELLI, Lineamenti per una storia della critica della falsificazione
ANTONIO MARIA CORDA, ANTONIO IBBA, La (cattiva) coscienza del falsario. Ricerca e produzione di iscrizioni latine in Sardegna fra XVI e XIX secolo
SILVIA GIORCELLI, Falsari piemontesi del XVI secolo: Monsù Pingon e gli altri
GIAN LUCA GREGORI, ALESSANDRO PAPINI, Mariangelo Accursio and Pirro Ligorio. The Possible (and Interesting) Genesis of CIL VI 990* and CIL VI 991*
FULVIA MAINARDIS, Per uno studio dei falsi nel manoscritto inglese di Jacopo Valvasone di Maniago (1499-1570)
SILVIA MARIA MARENGO, La città e i suoi falsi
VIVIANA PETTIROSSI, I falsi epigrafici di Giuseppe Francesco Meyranesio. Ispirazioni e modelli
ANTONIO PISTELLATO, Digitalizzazione e intelligenza del falso epigrafico. Il caso di un titulus atestino
ANTONIO SARTORI, Falso quando?
CARLO SLAVICH, Il falsario Sententiosus
GINETTE VAGENHEIM, Pirro Ligorio et « l’histoire secrète » de la restauration de l’Acqua Vergine sous le pontificat de Pie IV (1559-65)
Indice delle fonti manoscritte
Indice delle iscrizioni
Indice dei nomi di persona e di luogo

The post Two new epigraphic volumes published online in Open Access appeared first on Current Epigraphy.

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Come Internet of Things diventa Internet of Tutankhamon.

Un gruppo di geologi sta sperimentando con successo la tecnologia Internet of things (IoT) per monitorare e garantire la stabilità strutturale delle formazioni rocciose che sovrastano le Tombe dei Faraoni nella Valle dei Re in Egitto.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

ASOR MEMBER RESOURCES: Online Resources for Teaching Ancient Near Eastern Studies and Cognate Fields

ASOR MEMBER RESOURCES: Online Resources for Teaching Ancient Near Eastern Studies and Cognate Fields

[Please be patient, the page load slowly]

Page under construction. Main page. Information on online teaching resources and other resources here. Links to sub-pages.

Online Resources

During this initial phase, we are asking our members to share online resources, websites, teaching aids, guidelines, or advice that they feel could be useful. We recognize that many have been forced into a position of teaching online, and ASOR wants to provide a portal where we can share ideas and help each other. Please email Marta Ostovich at with any resources you would like to share with your colleagues. We also welcome your suggestions and offers to volunteer in helping us set up these resources.
Stay tuned for more to come!
Much of the content for these online resources came from H.Dixon, “What’s Already Out There? Online Resources for Teaching Ancient Near Eastern Studies and Cognate Fields,” Creative Pedagogies for Teaching the Ancient Near East and Egypt session (M. Ameri and H. Dixon, chairs), 2019 ASOR Annual Meeting, San Diego.”

The Archaeology News Network

Late Cretaceous dinosaur-dominated ecosystem

A topic of considerable interest to paleontologists is how dinosaur-dominated ecosystems were structured, how dinosaurs and co-occurring animals were distributed across the landscape, how they interacted with one another, and how these systems compared to ecosystems today. In the Late Cretaceous (~100-66 million years ago), North America was bisected into western and eastern landmasses by a shallow inland sea. The western landmass...

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Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

A lot at Stake: The £26 000 Metal Detecting Rally STILL Going Ahead [UPDATED: No it is not, but You're Not Getting Your Money Back]

Detectival 2020 Tickets. SOLD OUT - Spring Detectival UK Rally April 2020. 'Bringing the world of Metal Detecting Together'. Up to 450 acres of ground to detect. Some tekkie discussion here,
(and an international interview here):
The Detectival Metal Detecting 2-day tickets are for Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th April 2020 [...] Full 2-day event tickets are £52.50 per person with a £2.50 booking fee (excluding VAT). Camping is £15 (excluding VAT) for all 3 nights (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), camping is a set price regardless of how many nights you are staying.
Please be sure to read, understand and agree to our Terms and Conditions on the payment page before you commit to buying your ticket/s. Details on cancellations and refunds are in our Terms and Conditions also under the title 'Terms of Advance Payment'.
So that's £81 per head in fact. The Facebook page suggests that 321 people will be attending (that's  £26 000 the organisers are going to make from ticket money alone). In the terms, we find:
Cancellation by us:
Detectival reserves the right to modify the programme of any event up to the day of the event. If unforeseen circumstances cause Detectival to cancel an event, we shall inform you as soon as possible and offer you a refund or a ticket date transfer.

Cancellation by you:
If you wish to cancel a booking please note the following cancellation conditions:
4 months or more prior to the event – 100% refund minus any booking fees
2-4 months prior to the event – 50% refund minus any booking fees
0-2 months prior to the event – no refund

If you need to cancel within the 0-2 month period, tickets are non-transferable as they are purchased in the attendee’s name, however, we may be able to re-sell your ticket to another customer (only if the event attendee capacity is full), please contact us by email [...].com and we will get back to you to let you know if this is possible.
So basically, if any detectorist has cold feet about attending, the organisers get to keep the cash anyway. But if the organisers cancel it at the last minute, they have to give all the money back  or transfer the ticket to the next Detectival event - but they've already started selling tickets (July 4th) for that one. Awkward. Presumably the EU participants have cancelled - and will the UK borders be open in July?

There is a lot at stake. For tattooed Mark Becher of Hanson's Auctioneers and his partners, it's a lot of dosh. For the participants and their families, its their health.

Update 18th March 2020
It seems that the organisers finally saw sense: Heritage Action  Detectival rally canceled at last!. The website however does not say that. They said Spring Detectival UK Rally April 2020 - POSTPONED (and Summer Detectival UK Rally July 2020, for which they'd already started taking money, - CANCELLED). There is an update to the website:
'We are aware of the financial implications cancelling this event would have on attendees, traders, volunteers and our supported charity, who have all already made arrangements for attending this event, and the implications to any third party businesses associated with that too. This is why we are postponing this event rather than cancelling it'. [...]  We whole-heartedly apologise to all our attendees, traders, charities, staff and volunteers for this decision, we feel that it is the best decision we can make at this time.
It is being "postponed" exactly a year. The rationale for that is not clear, if only to avoid giving people the money back for a service that was promised and now is not available. The customer paid for a service on a particular day, that was the contract. In the same way, it sounds like they had a contract with traders and service suppliers for the event that possibly have also paid for their presence there. If the organisers are breaking that contract, they should refund the money at once and leave it up to the consumer to decide if - in their possibly changed circumstances - they want to invest that money in an event a year in the future or not. In global pandemic times, a year is a long time, many of those detectorists and businesses may not be around after this is all over. Surely, the organisers would have been properly insured against the possibility that the event would have to be cancelled, and traders and attendees should get their money back without further delay. If many of them are prevented from working by the coronavirus crisis, they and their families will need that money.

And how interesting it is to see that the thread on a metal detecting forum near you, the thread was locked immediately after the announcement was posted up there... could it be they wanted to deprive members a chance of saying what they thought about that, or could it be that they wanted to avoid comments on the arrangements made for them (not) getting their money back?

[It is disturbing to see that in their advice to their comrades, the organisers adopt the UK stance that I observed when I visited the UK at the end of February, focused on 'what to do when you get coronavirus', whereas here in Europe, the advice is geared firmly to 'how to avoid getting it'... ]

Any metal detectorists who have any comments on the cancellation of 'Spring Detectival' and the organisers scarpering with their 81 quid that the moderators of the MDF will not allow are welcome to share their views here. No swearing please. 

The Archaeology News Network

Ancient fish fossil reveals evolutionary origin of the human hand

An ancient Elpistostege fish fossil found in Miguasha, Canada has revealed new insights into how the human hand evolved from fish fins. Artists reconstruction of Elpistostege fish fossil found in Miguasha, Canada  [Credit: Katrina Kenny]An international team of palaeontologists from Flinders University in Australia and Universite du Quebec a Rimouski in Canada have revealed the fish specimen, as described in the journal Nature,...

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David Gill (Looting Matters)

The Reinstallation of the Getty Villa

Elizabeth Marlowe has written a review article on 'The Reinstallation of the Getty Villa: Plenty of Beauty but Only Partial Truth',  AJA 124.2 [online]. Sections include: 'Opportunities missed and stories not told', and 'Why context matters'.

Earlier this month I had listened to one of the Getty curators talking at a Cambridge conference on the "provenance" section of the Getty online catalogue. He was using examples that had a history that went back to the period before the 1970 UNESCO Convention. Marlowe's essay is a reminder of some of the histories that need to be told in more detail. Indeed, some of the stories may mean that the Getty will need to return further objects to Italy.

I was pleased to see my review of the Getty's Masterpieces cited:
Gill, D. W. J. 1998. Review of Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Antiquities (Los Angeles 1997). Bryn Mawr Classical Review. [BMCR]

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The Archaeology News Network

'Wonderchicken' fossil from the age of dinosaurs reveals origin of modern birds

The oldest fossil of a modern bird yet found, dating from the age of dinosaurs, has been identified by an international team of palaeontologists. Three-dimensional image of the skull of the world's oldest modern bird, Asteriornis maastrichtensis. The fossil is 66.7 million years old and is close to the most recent common ancestor of duck-like  birds and chicken-like birds [Credit: Daniel J. Field, University of Cambridge] ...

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David Meadows (rogueclassicism)

#Thelxinoe ~ Classics News for March 18, 2020

Hodie est a.d. XV Kal. Apr. 2772 AUC ~ 24 Anthesterion in the third year of the 699th Olympia

In the News

In Case You Missed It

Public Facing Classics

Fresh Bloggery

Fresh Podcasts

“Sing, O muse, of the rage of Achilles, son of Peleus, that brought countless ills upon the Achaeans.” It begins: the Greek army marches on Troy

Book Reviews

Professional Matters


‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it thunders today, it portends a period of severe rain and disease, an outbreak of locusts, and a very poor crop.

… adapted from the text and translation of:

Jean MacIntosh Turfa, The Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar, in Nancy Thomson de Grummond and Erika Simon (eds.), The Religion of the Etruscans. University of Texas Press, 2006. (Kindle edition)

Jim Davila (

Diesel still hopes to direct Hannibal trilogy

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Israel's museums going virtual

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Review of Joel Marcus Festschrift

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Doug's Archaeology: Investigating the Profession and Research

Periodization, Time and Fault Lines: The Fifth Century AD

This part of my series of posts on conference presentations, that I have filmed. This is another one from the TAG conference:

Session Info

Most archaeologists and historians would agree that the fifth century AD is a fundamental time in the history of Britain and Western Europe. It marks the break between Classical Antiquity and the Middle Ages. As such it is a fundamental fault-line, a rupture that divides both material culture and people. Collingwood (1927, 324) argued that ‘a “period” of history is an arbitrary fabrication, a mere part torn from its context, given a fictitious unity, and set into fictitious isolation, yet by being so treated, it acquires a beginning, and a middle and an end’. The fifth century stands both as an end (of the Roman period) and a beginning (of the early Middle Ages). It lacks an identity and coherence, falling between its academic parents in a lacklustre divorce, condemned as a difficult and uninteresting child. Much of the research on this period is focussed on empirical concerns: if only we had more sites, radiocarbon dates, objects or texts this time would somehow resolve itself and the scales would fall from our collective eyes. In this session we hope to explore how linear time and nineteenth-century periodizations have constrained our understanding of the ‘long fifth century’. For instance, Lucas (2005, 100) has dismissed the fifth century and its sometimes acrimonious debates as ‘a largely fictitious problem’, the result of our failure to reconcile an ordinal system of chronology with an interval system. We hope to build on this perspective and develop theoretical discussions that allow us to look anew at the fifth century as a time worthy of analysis in its own right.

Organisers: James Gerrard (Newcastle University) and Elliot Chaplin (Newcastle University)

Time and the Fifth Century

The over-arching concern of early archaeologists and antiquarians was chronology: the correct temporal sequential ordering of the physical remains of the distant and not-so-distant past. For those archaeologists objects and monuments became proxies for periods that divided up humanity’s linear past. Today we continue to reap the benefits of this scholarship and refine the detail. The fifth century AD/CE is often presented as a fissure that separates the world of Classical Antiquity from the early Medieval period. Between AD 400/410 (the end of the Roman system) and c. AD 470 (the widespread adoption of Salin’s Style I in lowland Britain) there is almost nothing. Some see this as a consequence of the catastrophe that was the Fall of the Western Roman Empire, others perceive this gap as an empirical problem: one to be solved by the application of better methods, or the recovery of more data. In this paper (and session), we argue – following the approaches of Collingwood, Lucas, Witmore and others – that just as important are our views of periods, time and how ordinal and interval chronologies are reconciled with the residues of the past.

James Gerrard (Newcastle University) and Elliot Chaplin (Newcastle University)

Britain and the Transformation of the Roman World: Rethinking rupture, ideology, and time

The treatment of the fifth century in lowland Britain as a rupture, rather than a period worthy of its own analysis, is a consequence of unique material conditions derived from the end of Roman rule over the diocese, and opens a gap in our interpretive framework for its material culture. This gap privileges high-status Roman material and leads us to identify a bipolar set of visible `elite’ material cultural groups, separated by both putative cultural and chronological boundaries. Yet this interpretive framework relies entirely on frameworks questionable in terms of both historiography and epistemology. This paper combines Harland’s challenge to the ability to infer ethnic identity from material culture and Fliegel’s reconsideration of the gendering of fifth-century grave kits. It calls for interpreting fifth-century lowland Britain as a region not isolated from the former Western Empire by the end of formal Roman rule, but rather undergoing transformations of authority, ideology, and normative values that tie it inextricably to continental trends. Through reconsidering the material conditions responsible for Britain’s regional idiosyncrasies, we show that changes in burial costume need not be signs of ‘rupture’, but show Britain’s inhabitants to be participants in questions about status, belonging, and civilization that troubled the entire Roman West.

James Harland (University of York) and Katherine Fliegel (University of Manchester)

Romans, Britons or Anglo-Saxons in Fifth Century Britain: How do we know, why should we care?

The ongoing deconstruction of Anglo-Saxon typology in metalwork and the identification of local variations in pottery representing intermediate points between Roman and Anglo-Saxon types present the possibility of a chronological spectrum rather than the definitive end or the absolute genesis of the Roman and Anglo-Saxon periods respectively. If we step away from notions of the fifth century representing the end of one period and the beginning of another and historiographically derived ideas of who the actors involved in each locality were, their ethnicity and the culture they ascribed to, what does the evidence actually show us? Taken from a purely economic point of view, are the changes we see merely local responses to new economic circumstances and are they part of the ebb and flow of urban life in Britain in the middle of the first millennium? These questions will be considered using a series of case studies to highlight the potential of seeing general trends in action if we move away from our attachment to periodisation, ethnicity and the notion that there was a fault line at the beginning of the fifth century.

Paul Gorton (University of Leeds)

Hopes, Fears and Eating Cake: Brexit in the fifth century?

One of the most enduring legacies of nineteenth century historical scholarship is the linear narrative that drives almost all historical thinking – familiar as the popular ‘Timeline’ that explains what happened and when. Key personalities and events populate history and compartmentalise time into different periods and themes (attracting specialists whose expertise does not necessarily extend beyond their particular box). The unfortunate fifth century, a ‘dark age’ of myths and legends, falls between Roman Britain and the early Medieval period and, traditionally, has been seen as the end of the former and the beginning of the latter. If we abandon, however, the primacy of the linear historical account, the fifth century does not have to be only an End or a Beginning and can ‘exist’ in its own right. Archaeologists study real people, their societies and cultures, so the absence of historical events in the fifth century should not be a problem for archaeologists. In reality, the fifth century is seen as largely devoid of evidence for occupation or material culture, but is this a consequence of how archaeological thinking has been bound to a particular linear narrative rather than contemporary social and cultural realities?

Peter Guest (Cardiff University)

Is the Fifth-century Fault-line a Hallucination?

The role of migration as the stimulus for catastrophic changes in material culture, language, and political organisation in fifth-century England has a long historiography reaching into the early nineteenth century. It remains a fundamental premise for contemporary models and explanations for the emergence of ‘Anglo-Saxon’ England including the replacement of a Romano-British aristocracy by a Germanic warrior elite, and the development of cultural identities from a core of imported beliefs (ethnogenesis). This paper takes an alternative view, framed by the work of Braudel, Ostrom, Bourdieu, and Holling. Its premise is that all aspects of a stable, sustainable, farming economy depend on rights of property over land: they enable an individual to make a reasonably predictable living, provide opportunities to generate a surplus or acquire goods, and allow personal interaction with elites through tribute, gift-giving or taxation. Focusing in particular on shared property rights, the paper explores the development of new models for explaining the fifth century. It suggests that stabilities in underlying social-economic systems, visible in the landscape, provided a safe foundation for post-imperial invention and experimentation with new political forms and social relationships; and that migration, material culture and language may be less significant than previously supposed.

Susan Oosthuisen (University of Cambridge)

Human Nature Plus Bias Persistence Equals an Obscure Fifth Century

Many of the general issues of the fifth century are present in Northern Gaul: it lacks a clear understanding of how people lived, what materials they used, who they were and where they came from. Pressing issues are no longer the absence of evidence as much, but rather its identification and interpretation, beyond pointing to barbarians. This paper wishes to focus on why undifferentiated and outdated notions still are able to persist after four decades since the development of the Romanization debate, emphasizing local agency, and the transformation approach in Late Antiquity, studying continuity across the fourth to sixth century ‘gap’. In part, the nineteenth century periodization and the twentieth century ethnic discourse are responsible, but they alone do not explain the persistence of these issues until today. This paper aims to argue that more basic human principles, such as regarding time as a linear progression or the need for classification to process and understand information, are as responsible for obscuring the fifth century as the scholarly biases following Gibbon’s work in the eighteenth century. Finally, a consideration on how to address ‘invisible materials’ would be suggested as a constructive experiment for the archaeology of the fifth century.

Vince Van Thienen (Yale University)

The Archaeology News Network

Beetles changed their diet during the Cretaceous period

Like a snapshot, amber preserves bygone worlds. An international team of paleontologists from the University of Bonn has now described four new beetle species in fossilized tree resin from Myanmar, which belong to the Kateretidae family. They still exist today, with only a few species. As well as the about 99 million years old insects, the amber also includes pollen. It seems that the beetles helped the flowering plants to victory,...

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Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Britain's Wibby-Wobbly Treasure Results

A couple of months ago, the British Museum refused to say how many Treasure finds had been reported in 2019 when I asked in connection with the series of posts that I made on some observations of the dropping numbers of Treasure finds being reported in relation to the increased numbers of metal detectorists. Now we have those figures and we can see why. First the posts to which I refer, check them out:
Saturday, 11 January 2020: 'PAS and Ixelles/Helsinki supporters, You REALLY need to Explain This!'

Sunday, 12 January 2020: 'PAS's Preliminary Figures for 2019 Treasure Finds Shockingly Low [UPDATED: Don't Worry, It's Just a Lack of PAS Transparency]' (the search facility of the PAS database gave a false result - see the post of 14th Jan)

Tuesday, 14 January 2020: ' Treasure Trace: Why does it go Wibble-wobble-blip?

Tuesday, 14 January 2020 'Speculation on 2019 Treasure case Numbers' (and, see below, I got it RIGHT - ha!).
and what was it they were hiding? Only this (a bit of a cop-out article, this): ' British Museum says metal detectorists found 1,311 treasures last year' (Mark Brown, Guardian Tue 17 Mar 2020 ).
The British Museum on Tuesday announced that 1,311 finds which are defined as treasure had been found by members of the public across England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2019. In total, 81,602 finds were recorded with the portable antiquities scheme. [...] The culture minister, Caroline Dinenage, said it was brilliant so many were going on display in local museums. “Each one of these valuable discoveries tells us more about the way our ancestors lived and I want to congratulate all those who played a part in helping uncover more about our shared history.”
But of course when you put those numbers in their context, they tell a tale of destruction. But who gives a tinkers about that when you've got so many glittery bits?

I am sure the metal detectorists are going to say "but it's oop on larst yeer, M8!" but I'd draw attention to the phrase in the third post cited above, a technical term used in statistics, its a "wibble-wobble-blip" that suggests that going out with a metal detector and just finding a Treasure is not the "shooting fish in a barrel' activity that it once was. The treasure is running out. It remains to be seen if the coronavirus epidemic will have much of an effect on depressing Treasure find numbers in 2020, even if it does not, it really seems that there ARE questions to be asked about current UK 'policy' (I use the term loosely) on Collection-Driven Exploitation of the archaeological record. The longer it goes on  the longer that totally ignoring the evidence that it is already severely depleting the resource becomes a scandal.What are British archaeologists playing at?

The Archaeology News Network

Study finds bird evolution shaped by Tibetan Plateau

Elizabeth Scordato, an assistant professor of biological sciences, is the lead author of a study that found the evolution of barn swallows in Asia is shaped by the Tibetan Plateau. Credit: Matthew WilkinsThe results, published in the journal Ecology Letters, provide the most convincing evidence yet for the long-held hypothesis that the plateau is an important factor maintaining the vast diversity of birds found in Asia. ...

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Jim Davila (

Duggan et al. (eds.), Cosmos and Creation

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James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Copycat Anti-Religion

Religions borrow from one another. So do scientific theories, political ideologies, musicians, and all human cultures and their expressions. We also have a great many shared symbols as human beings, which means that not every similarity indicates borrowing. Failure to recognize the last point is what Sandmel famously called “parallelomania.” One instance of borrowing and […]

Compitum - publications

E. Dell' Elicine et C. Martin (éd.), Framing Power in Visigothic Society


Eleonora Dell' Elicine et Céline Martin (éd.), Framing Power in Visigothic Society. Discourses, Devices, and Artifacts, Amsterdam, 2020.

Éditeur : Amsterdam University Press
Collection : Late Antique and Early Medieval Iberia
224 pages
ISBN : 9789463725903
99 €

This volume examines how power was framed in Visigothic society and how a diverse population with a complex and often conflicting cultural inheritance was thereby held together as a single kingdom. Indeed, through this dynamic process a new, early medieval society emerged. Understanding this transformation is no simple matter, as it involved the deployment of an array of political and cultural resources: the production of knowledge, the appropriation of Patristic literature, controlling and administering rural populations, reconceptualizing the sacred, capital punishment and exile, controlling the manufacture of currency, and defining Visigothic society in relation to other polities such as the neighbouring Byzantine state. In order to achieve an analysis of these different phenomena, this volume brings together researchers from a variety of disciplines. This interdisciplinary approach therefore expands the available sources and reformulates topics of traditional scholarship in order to engage with a renewal of Visigothic Studies and reformulate the paradigm of study itself. As a result, this volume rethinks frameworks of power in the Peninsula along not only historical and archaeological but also anthropological terms, presenting the reader with a new understanding of Iberian society as a whole.


Source : Amsterdam University Press

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

So we've got the Collecting History, but....

Museums. A provenance researcher at a German museum after she says she lost faith in its commitment to return works with tainted provenances (Catherine Hickley, 'She Tracked Nazi-Looted Art. She Quit When No One Returned it' New York Times 17th March 2020)
"I got the impression they didn’t want me there — they really made things difficult for me," Ms. Ehringhaus, 60, said at a meeting in a Berlin cafe. "They needed me for appearances. I felt as though I was being used as a fig leaf."

Archaeology Magazine

Early Artworks Discovered in Southeast Asia

Indonesia Portable ArtBRISBANE, AUSTRALIA—According to a report in Cosmos Magazine, researchers led by archaeologists Michelle Langley and Adam Brumm of Griffith University have discovered two small carved stones in Leang Bulu Bettue Cave in central Indonesia. One of the stones is etched with an image identified as an anoa, a dwarf buffalo unique to the region. Prehistoric peoples are known to have hunted anoa for food and to have used its bones and horns for making tools. The other stone is carved with an image thought to resemble a sunburst, or an eye surrounded by lashes. The two figurative artworks, thought to date to between 14,000 and 26,000 years ago, may have been carried from place to place by the artists, but the researchers do not know why they were made or how they were used. “They were seemingly discarded amidst all the other refuse of day to day domestic life,” Brumm said. Burnt animal bones, beads, and ochre have also been recovered from the cave. To read about early cave art found in Sulawesi, Indonesia, go to "The First Artists," one of ARCHAEOLOGY's Top 10 Discoveries of 2015.

Noel Tan (The Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog)

Explore Southeast Asia through these virtual galleries

Virtual SEAArchSince the best advice now is to stay indoors, here is a list of Southeast Asian archaeological sites and collections that you can explore in the comfort of your own room. These links can also be found in my newly-revamped Resources page which has more links to other sites and resources for archaeology in Southeast Asia. Please leave a comment if you know of any other sites not on this list!

Laura Gibbs (Bestiaria Latina Blog)

Special DOMI MANENDUM Edition

I hope you are all doing well out there in the world! Are you staying home? Stay home; save lives!

Domi manendum.
Home is where you should stay.

Domi manere convenit felicibus.
Staying home is what lucky people do.

Omnis est rex in domo sua.
Each man is king in his own home.

Beatus ille homo qui vivit sua domo.
Blessed is the person who lives in their own home.

Archaeology Magazine

Massive Mammoth-Bone Structure Found in Kostenki, Russia

Russia Mammoth HouseEXETER, ENGLAND—Haaretz reports that a circular structure measuring about 41 feet in diameter has been found near western Russia’s Don River by an international team of researchers led by Alexander Pryor of the University of Exeter. Two smaller mammoth-bone circles have been found nearby. Made of the bones of at least 60 mammoths, the newly uncovered bone circle is thought to be 25,000 years old. Traces of scattered wood fires, burned bones, food remains, and a few stone tools have been found within it, but the researchers suggest Paleolithic people did not consume daily meals at the site. It had been previously thought that bones were the only fuel available to people who built such Ice Age shelters. “The growth ring widths in the charcoal we recovered are mostly very narrow, suggesting that trees were clinging on at the edge of their tolerance limits,” Pryor explained. He added that some of the bones in the ring were articulated, indicating they had been added to the structure along with their cartilage and fat, making the dwelling a smelly draw for wolves, foxes, and other scavengers. Future research will investigate if the structure could have been used for food storage or as a winter gathering place. To read about a mammoth skeleton discovered on a Michigan farm, go to "Leftover Mammoth."

Noel Tan (The Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog)

[Job] Position in Biological Anthropology, University of the Philippines

The Department of Anthropology at the University of the Philippines – Diliman seeks applications for a full-time position as faculty member at the Assistant or Associate Professor level.

Archaeology Magazine

Donkeys in 1,100-Year-Old Chinese Tomb May Have Played Polo

China Donkey CraniumSHAANXI PROVINCE, CHINA—A team led by Songmei Hu of the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology analyzed animal bones recovered from the looted ninth-century A.D. tomb of a Chinese noblewoman named Cui Shi, and determined that she was buried with at least three donkeys, according to a Science Magazine report. Fiona Marshall of Washington University in St. Louis said donkeys were not usually buried in such high-status graves, even in northwest China’s Tang Dynasty capital of Xi’an, which was located at one end of the trade route known as the Silk Road. The donkey bones found in Cui Shi’s tomb, however, were too small to represent useful pack animals, and they also showed wear similar to that found on animals who run and make frequent turns, Marshall added. Ancient texts indicate that Cui Shi was married to a skilled polo player who won the favor of Emperor Xizong. Cui may have also played the popular, fast-paced game, which was usually played on horseback, while riding a slower, safer donkey, Marshall explained. To read about a tomb unearthed in Shaanxi that is decorated with paintings depicting a sumptuous family feast, go to "Underground Party."

Thibaut Castelli (Spartokos a Lu)

Histria – ghid album

Angelescu, M. V. et A. Suceveanu (2005) : Histria – ghid album, Constanta. Ce petit ouvrage se présente comme un guide à la visite du site archéologique d’Histria, en Roumanie. Après une courte histoire du site, les auteurs présentent secteur … Lire la suite

Noel Tan (The Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog)

Tracing the More Than Century-Old Dream of Building a Myanmar-China Railway

Railways in Myanmar. Source: The Irrawady 20200317via The Irrawady, 17 March 2020: Plans to build a railway between Myanmar and China are over 150 years old. This story traces the history of attempts to connect the two regions by rail - there's an industrial archaeology project in here somewhere.

[Paper] Portable art from Pleistocene Sulawesi

Portable art from Sulawesi. Source: Griffith University 20200317via Nature Human Behaviour, 16 March 2020: A new an exciting paper from Langley et al. in Nature Human Behaviour demonstrates that ancient people living Indonesia not only made wall paintings, but portable art as well. Two small stone ‘plaquettes’ incised with figurative imagery are found from Leang Bulu Bettue in Sulawesi, dating to 26–14 ka years ago.

March 17, 2020

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

FREE ONLINE ACCESS to all textbooks that constitute the "Cambridge Core"

Cambridge University Press is offering FREE ONLINE ACCESS to all textbooks that constitute the "Cambridge Core"  
 This includes 61 books in Classical Studies, 71 in History and many others


FINAL REPORT | NOVEMBER 2019: Museum of the Bible Dead Sea Scroll Collection Scientific Research and Analysis

FINAL REPORT | NOVEMBER 2019: Museum of the Bible Dead Sea Scroll Collection Scientific Research and Analysis

The Results

“After an exhaustive review of all the imaging and scientific analysis results, it is evident that none of the textual fragments in Museum of the Bible’s Dead Sea Scroll collection are authentic,” concluded Colette Loll, founder and director of Art Fraud Insights, in a detailed report about the findings. “Moreover, each exhibits characteristics that suggest they are deliberate forgeries created in the twentieth century with the intent to mimic authentic Dead Sea Scroll fragments.”
In 2016,13 of the museum’s fragments were published by a team of scholars in Dead Sea Scrolls Fragments in the Museum Collection. Since publication, scholars have expressed growing concern about the authenticity of some of these fragments — especially since all were purchased after 2002 when suspected forgeries entered the market. Extensive appraisals of the scribal features revealed inconsistencies with authentic DSS. Pending further analysis, Museum of the Bible displayed, upon opening in November 2017, five of its DSS fragments with exhibit labels indicating that authenticity had not yet been verified.
“Notwithstanding the less than favorable results, we have done what no other institution with post-2002 DSS fragments has done,” Museum of the Bible Chief Curatorial Officer Dr. Jeffrey Kloha said. “The sophisticated and costly methods employed to discover the truth about our collection could be used to shed light on other suspicious fragments and perhaps even be effective in uncovering who is responsible for these forgeries.”

Access to the digital Loeb Classical Library will be free to schools and universities impacted by COVID-19 until June 30th.

From Harvard University Press International @HarvardUPLondon
In these uncertain times, sometimes you need to look back at the classics. Access to the digital Loeb Classical Library will be free to schools and universities impacted by COVID-19 until June 30th.  
Librarians: email for access.

The Archaeology News Network

The life and death of one of America's most mysterious trees

A majestic ponderosa pine, standing tall in what is widely thought to have been the "center of the world" for the Ancestral Puebloan people, may have more mundane origins than previously believed, according to research led by tree-ring experts at the University of Arizona. The north wall and room block of Pueblo Bonito, the largest of the great houses in Chaco Canyon. Pueblo Bonito is considered widely as the center of the Chaco...

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'Little Foot' skull reveals how this more than 3 million year old human ancestor lived

High-resolution micro-CT scanning of the skull of the fossil specimen known as "Little Foot" has revealed some aspects of how this Australopithecus species used to live more than 3 million years ago. Pictures of the 'Little Foot' skull. The view from the bottom (right) shows the original position of the first cervical vertebra still embedded in the matrix [Credit: R.J. Clarke]The meticulous excavation, cleaning and scanning of the...

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The Heroic Age

Dear medievalists,

your are interested in persons? The ACDH-CH at Austrian Academy of
Science invites you to participate in a Summer School on Digital
Prosopography. It will take place in Vienna, 06-10. July 2020 and
include courses on data creation, modelling with CIDOC-CRM, network
analysis, linked open data, text encoding in the work with historical
persons. Interested people should sent a CV (max. 1 page) and a brief
description of their prosopographical project (max. 500 words) to, which will help us to decide on
eligibility. Places on the summer school will be allocated on a
first-come-first-serve basis. The participation at the summer school is
free of charge. Please find details on the event at

Looking forward to your application!


Prof. Dr. Georg Vogeler, M.A.

Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage
Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften | Austrian Academy of Sciences
Sonnenfelsgasse 19, 1010 Wien, Österreich | Vienna, Austria
T: +43 1 51581-2200

Chair for Digital Humanities at Zentrum für Informationsmodellierung,
University of Graz

Institut für Dokumentologie und Editorik <>
ICARus <>
Digital Medivalist <>
Data for History <>


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

How papyrus rolls lost their tops and bottoms – from Oxyrhynchus

A truly fascinating post at Papyrus Stories tells us what happened when an archive of papyrus rolls was neglected in the early 2nd century.

“The documents shown to me by the clerk Leonides (…) were in some cases deprived of their beginning, or damaged, or moth-eaten (…). Since the books have been hastily moved from one place to another repeatedly, lying on top of each other and unattached (…). Some were eaten away at the top because of the dry heat (…) and since they are being handled daily, and their material is brittle, it happened that some were destroyed in parts, others were without beginnings, and some had even fallen apart.”

This was only part of the story.  There was a position, Keeper of the Fayum archives, but by 107 AD Leonides was the man responsible for day to day care.  The rolls were already in a mess.  Over the next 50 years all those concerned were involved in endless bureaucratic argument and appeals to the prefect over whose fault this was and what should be done, and who should pay for it.

I recommend reading the whole article.  It is an interesting insight into the disfunction of the administration at that period, from the Prefect down.  But more, it explains how it is that we get so many texts which are missing the beginning.

For the last year I have myself been trying to obtain access to a document in an archive near me, where petty bureaucrats simply won’t solve the problems they themselves create.  I’ve had to give up, in fact.  So I have quite a bit of fellow-feeling for the poor souls caught up in this mess!

Some notes on St Alnoth

A correspondent was looking for the Life of St Alnoth in the Acta Sanctorum, and found himself confused by the series, as most of us are initially.

The Acta Sanctorum is confusing to the casual visitor, because all the lives of the saints are given on their saints’ day, the day in the Catholic Church on which they are commemorated.  For Alnoth this is February 27.  There is no overall numbering of volumes.  Instead the numbering is within each month – January vol 1, etc.

The material for St Alnoth is in February, vol 3, under the material for February 27th.  In the 1658 original edition, it’s on p.684.  I’m not sure if there is a standard way to reference this, but I might give it as something like:

Acta Sanctorum, Februarii III, Feb.27,  p.684 (1658)

This volume is online in a hard-to-read form here.  An electronic transcription is here.  (If you are on Windows, just do a ctrl-F in your browser for Alnoth)

Most people find the 19th century reprint easier to use.  There it’s on p.689, here (which is p.736 of the PDF).

There does not seem to actually be a “vita” for St Alnoth.  This item is instead a “sylloge”, which seems to be a collection of snippets from other hagiographical sources.  It was written in 1658 by the Bollandist editor: in this case, none other than Johannes Bolland (“I.B.”) himself.

Bolland quotes for St Alnoth the “Life” of St Werburgh, which is in February vol 1.  He also gives another couple of snippets from elsewhere.  I did look to see if the vita of St Werburgh had been translated, but if it has, it eluded me.

Alnoth himself was a 7th century anglo-saxon saint, who lived first as a herdsman.  He suffered from the attentions of an  unfair bailiff, and then he moved to become a hermit.  He was eventually murdered by robbers.

One day I ought to sit down and compile a “finder’s guide” for anybody wanting to work with the lives of the saints.  Maybe it already exists, I do not know.  Like most people, I wandered into the world of hagiography more or less by accident!

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

DATAM: Digital Approaches to Teaching the Ancient Mediterranean

DATAM: Digital Approaches to Teaching the Ancient Mediterranean
Edited by Sebastian Heath
DATAM: Digital Approaches to Teaching the Ancient Mediterranean provides a series of new critical studies that explore digital practices for teaching the Ancient Mediterranean world at a wide range of institutions and levels. These practical examples demonstrate how gaming, coding, immersive video, and 3D imaging can bridge the disciplinary and digital divide between the Ancient world and contemporary technology, information literacy, and student engagement. While the articles focus on Classics, Ancient History, and Mediterranean archaeology, the issues and approaches considered throughout this book are relevant for anyone who thinks critically and practically about the use of digital technology in the college level classroom.

 DATAM features contributions from Sebastian Heath, Lisl Walsh, David Ratzan, Patrick Burns, Sandra Blakely, Eric Poehler, William Caraher, Marie-Claire Beaulieu and Anthony Bucci as well as a critical introduction by Shawn Graham and preface by Society of Classical Studies Executive Director Helen Cullyer.
The book is a free, open access download and will be made available as a low-cost paperback by the middle of next month.

The Archaeology News Network

Mysterious ancient sea-worm pegged as new genus after half-century in 'wastebasket'

When a partial fossil specimen of a primordial marine worm was unearthed in Utah in 1969, scientists had a tough go identifying it. Usually, such worms are recognized and categorized by the arrangement of little knobs on their plates. But in this case, the worm's plates were oddly smooth, and important bits of the worm were missing altogether. The new specimen of the worm Utahscolex ratcliffei, which preserves the everted mouthparts...

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Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

New Book Day and Teaching Tuesday: DATAM: Digital Approaches to Teaching the Ancient Mediterranean

As the coronavirus has continued to disrupt higher education in the US and globally, The Digital Press accelerated the release of Sebastian Heath’s edited volume, DATAM: Digital Approaches to Teaching the Ancient Mediterranean as a way to contribute to the ongoing conversation about digital and online teaching not only in Classics, Ancient History, and Mediterranean Archaeology but across the entire humanities. 

The book is a free, open access download and will be made available as a low-cost paperback by the middle of next month.

We’re calling this version, the “Digital First, Alpha Version” because it sounds cool. You can download it here.

Here’s the description of the book:

DATAM: Digital Approaches to Teaching the Ancient Mediterranean provides a series of new critical studies that explore digital practices for teaching the Ancient Mediterranean world at a wide range of institutions and levels. These practical examples demonstrate how gaming, coding, immersive video, and 3D imaging can bridge the disciplinary and digital divide between the Ancient world and contemporary technology, information literacy, and student engagement. While the articles focus on Classics, Ancient History, and Mediterranean archaeology, the issues and approaches considered throughout this book are relevant for anyone who thinks critically and practically about the use of digital technology in the college level classroom.

DATAM features contributions from Sebastian Heath, Lisl Walsh, David Ratzan, Patrick Burns, Sandra Blakely, Eric Poehler, William Caraher, Marie-Claire Beaulieu and Anthony Bucci as well as a critical introduction by Shawn Graham and preface by Society of Classical Studies Executive Director Helen Cullyer.

Here’s the cover:

DATAM Cover AlphaVersion2

For those of you working to bring your classes online, you might also find useful insights and ideas in Shawn Graham’s recent, award winning, book: Failing Gloriously and Other Essays and the journal that he edits Epoiesen (which can be found here in PDF and on the web here).

Archaeological News on Tumblr

This gnarled pile of fossils was once a giant structure—made of Ice Age mammoths

Some 25,000 years ago, a circular wall of bone and ivory rose like a macabre mirage from a snowbound...

The Archaeology News Network

Giant clam shells: Unprecedented natural archives for paleoweather

Paleoclimate research offers an overview of Earth's climate change over the past 65 million years or longer and helps to improve our understanding of the Earth's climate systems. Giant Clam shell [Credit: YAN Hong, et al. 2020] (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Unfortunately, our knowledge of weather-timescale extreme events (i.e., paleoweather occurring in days or even hours and minutes), such as tropical...

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David Meadows (rogueclassicism)

#Thelxinoe ~ Classics News for March 17, 2020

Hodie est a.d. XVI Kal. Apr. 2772 AUC ~ 23 Anthesterion in the third year of the 699th Olympia

In the News

Fresh Bloggery

Professional Matters


‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it thunders today, it portends something unexpected which will bring disaster to both humans and animals.

… adapted from the text and translation of:

Jean MacIntosh Turfa, The Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar, in Nancy Thomson de Grummond and Erika Simon (eds.), The Religion of the Etruscans. University of Texas Press, 2006. (Kindle edition)

Archaeological News on Tumblr

‘Polo-obsessed’ Chinese noblewoman buried with her donkey steed

History records the deeds of faithful horses, whereas it relegates their equine cousins, the...

Jim Davila (

Resources for remote teaching and conference presentation

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Chief Rabbis declare Western Wall closed

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Liebermann on Collective Identity and the Body in the Book of Ezekiel

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Detecting refugees from the Great Revolt of 70 CE.

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

Parution : Gallia rustica 2. Les campagnes du nord-est de la Gaule, de la fin de l’âge du Fer à l’Antiquité tardive

REDDÉ M. dir. (2018) : Gallia rustica 2. Les campagnes du nord-est de la Gaule, de la fin de l’âge du Fer à l’Antiquité tardive, 2018, 716 p. Le premier volume de Gallia Rustica (référence 49812) était consacré aux études régionales sur les campagnes du nord-est de la Gaule, entre le...

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Academics and Freedom of Speech

An interesting exploration of the significance and freedom of speech. Here’s an excerpt: Consider science. I think that science has been more successful than anything else at dragging us closer to the truth. And I think in certain ways science is a model of a kind of market place of ideas. The core idea is […]

Noel Tan (The Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog)

West Mebon workers protest unemployment

Protest at EFEO. Source: VOA Khmer 20200316via VOA Khmer, 16 March 2020: Protest at the Siem Reap EFEO as former workers on the West Mebon restoration project protest over work that has been suspended for two year. There are other nuances in the story - the West Mebon project was handed back to the APSARA Authority in 2018. Article is in Khmer.

Archaeology Magazine

Possible Insect Rock Art Found in Iran

Iran Mantis PetroglyphTEHRAN, IRAN—According to a statement released by Pensoft, a five- and one-half-inch petroglyph in central Iran has been described as a possible part man, part praying mantis by entomologists Mahmood Kolnegari of Islamic Azad University of Arak, Mandana Hazrati of Avaye Dornaye Khakestari Institute, Matan Shelomi of National Taiwan University, and archaeologist Mohammad Naserifard. Mantises have bulging eyes, flexible necks, elongated bodies, and enlarged forelegs for gripping prey such as flies, bees, and sometimes small birds. The image depicts a creature with six limbs, including grasping forearms, and middle limbs that end in loops or circles. It also has a triangular head topped with an extension resembling that found on the local species of mantis. The artwork is estimated to be between 4,000 and 40,000 years old. To read about a medieval Islamic empire in Iran, go to "Minaret in the Mountains."

Study Suggests Hominins Grew Faster Than Modern Humans

Spain Hominin TeethBURGOS, SPAIN—According to a statement released by Spain’s National Center for Research on Human Evolution, paleoanthropologist Mario Modesto-Mata and his colleagues suggest that the hominins who lived in northern Spain’s Sierra de Atapuerca reached adulthood several years earlier than modern humans. The researchers analyzed the hominins’ tooth enamel, which is set down in layers at regular intervals which are specific to each species, after they developed a technique to estimate the amount of tooth enamel lost through wear and tear. Modesto-Mata said the hominins from Sima del Elefante, who lived some 1.2 million years ago; Gran Dolina-TD6, who lived some 850,000 years ago; and Sima de los Huesos, who lived some 430,000 years ago, may have grown up to 25 percent faster than modern humans. Read the original scholarly article about this research in Scientific Reports. To read about the most complete hominin cranium older than 3 million years ago ever discovered, go to "Artifact."

Noel Tan (The Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog)

West gate of Angkor Thom undergoing restoration

Restoration of Angkor Thom west gate. Source: Raksmei News 20200316via Rasmei News, 16 March 2020: The elephant gate of the Angkor Thom is currently being restored by the Apsara Authority. Article is in Khmer.

Archaeology Magazine

Possible Maya Capital City Explored in Mexico

Mexico Maya TabletBOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS—According to a statement released by Brandeis University, a team of researchers including Charles Golden of Brandeis University and Andrew Scherer of Brown University has uncovered a Maya site in southeastern Mexico that may have been the capital of Sak Tz’i’, a kingdom mentioned in inscriptions uncovered at other Maya sites. Translated as “white dog,” Sak Tz’i’ was a small state founded in 750 B.C. and surrounded by more powerful states. The city was protected on one side by steep-walled streams, while masonry walls were built around the rest of the site, but the researchers suspect the city’s leaders must have engaged in political maneuverings with the kingdom’s stronger neighbors in order to survive for more than 1,000 years. The team members have found evidence of pyramids, a royal palace, a ball court, sculptures, and inscriptions describing rituals, battles, a mythical water serpent, and the dance of a rain god. The researchers will continue to work to stabilize the site’s ancient structures and to use light detection and ranging technology to map the area. Read the original scholarly article about this research in the Journal of Field Archaeology. To read about conflict between Maya centers, go to "Maya Total War."

Graves of Ottoman Soldiers Unearthed Near Istanbul

ISTANBUL, TURKEY—Hurriyet Daily News reports that the remains of 30 Ottoman soldiers have been unearthed in a suburb of Istanbul. Rahmi Asal of the Istanbul Archaeology Museums Directorate said the men had served in the 86th Regiment of the Ottoman Army during the Balkan War. More than 650 Ottoman soldiers were killed near the site where the graves were found by advancing Bulgarian soldiers on the evening of November 17, 1912. The excavation recovered uniform buttons, belts, belt buckles, spoons, pouches, a compass, cigarette holders, bayonets, mirrors, and two rings. Collar numbers and seals allowed researchers to identify five of the men, Asal added. To read about an archaeological survey conducted at the World War I battlefied of Gallipoli, go to "Letter from Turkey: Anzac's Next Chapter."

Noel Tan (The Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog)

Kingdom works to return artefacts looted during war

Source: Phnom Penh Post 20200315via Phnom Penh Post, 15 March 2020: Interview with Cambodian Minister of Culture and Fine Arts about the ongoing effort to repatriate looted artefacts from the US. The memes about looting in the previous story is very topical.

Southeast Asian Archaeology memes that will tickle your funny bone and also make you ponder

via @alisonincambo, 16 March 2020: A bit of levity in these dire times. Dr. Alison Carter of the University of Oregon is one of my oldest friends made through this website, and she posts about her work in Cambodia (you should definitely follow her on Facebook and Twitter). She's posted a series of memes produced by her students in the Archaeology of Southeast Asia course as part of a student assignment. They are both funny and profound - what a great way to summarise nuance!

Marinduque’s centenary celebrations

Marinduque's Moriones Festival. Source: Philstar 20200315via Philippine Star, 15 March 2020: The Philippine island of Marinduque has a personal family connection. Its cathedral was recently bestowed Important Cultural Property status and has a number of natural and cultural draws.