Maia Atlantis: Ancient World Blogs

0 sec ago La rive orientale de la mer Rouge, d'Aqaba aux Îles Farasan durant l'Antiquité << Laboratoire Orient et Méditerranée

Conférence donnée par Laila Nehmé dans le cadre du Séminaire "Techniques et économies de la Méditerranée antique" dirigé par Jean-Pierre Brun.

Pour en savoir plus sur ce séminaire

0 sec ago L'hittitologie aujourd'hui : études sur l'Anatolie hittite et néo-hittite à l'occasion du centenaire de la naissance d'Emmanuel Laroche << Laboratoire Orient et Méditerranée

Organisé par Alice Mouton et Jean-François Pérouse

Ces rencontres se tiendront à l'occasion du centenaire de la naissance d'Emmanuel Laroche

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0 sec ago L'Anatolie de l'époque archaïque à Byzance << Laboratoire Orient et Méditerranée

Journée d'étude de l'école doctorale 1 : Mondes anciens et médiévaux

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0 sec ago Journée d'études à la mémoire de Pierre Bordreuil << Laboratoire Orient et Méditerranée


9h15 : accueil par Corinne LANOIR, doyenne de la Faculté de théologie protestante de Paris

introduction par Françoise BRIQUEL CHATONNET et Marion FÉVRIER BORDREUIL

9h30 : Première session, présidée et introduite par Dennis PARDEE

9h 40 :Robert HAWLEY et Hedwige ROUILLARD BONRAISIN : « A la recherche du sens perdu des mots ougaritiques : un savoir gourmand et gourmet »

10h10 : Jean MARGUERON et Béatrice MULLER : « Questions sur le temple palatial d'Ugarit »

10h40 : Leila BADRE : « Les pays d'Amurru et les pays d'Ugarit ne font qu'un »

11h10-11h40 : Pause

11h40 : Carole ROCHE-HAWLEY : « Milieux lettrés syriens au XIIIe siècle »

12h05 : Arnaud SÉRANDOUR et Sophie CLUZAN : « Baal, Yahweh et les étoiles »

12h35-14h30 : repas

14h30 Deuxième session présidée et introduite par Rolf STUCKY

14h40 : Maria-Grazia MASETTI-ROUAULT : « Le monde syro-mésopotamien à l'Âge du Fer I-II : cultures locales et culture impériale, entre Assyriens et Araméens »

15h10 : Frédérique DUYRAT : « Comportements monétaires en Syrie à l'époque achéménide »

15h30 : Françoise BRIQUEL CHATONNET : « Migraines d'épigraphiste »

15h55-16h20 pause

16h20 : Annie CAUBET et Marguerite YON : « Tubal Caïn, Kothar Khasis et le pseudo Bès »

17h10 : Eric GUBEL : « Bon oeuf – Bon poussin ? Une enquête de Pierre menée à bien »

17h 40 : Felice ISRAEL : témoignage d'amitié

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4 hours 16 min ago Hoiking Matters << Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

On the back of a retrospective look at correspondence on the stolen Icklingham bronzes currently in a US collection, David Gill ('Does Britain "condone systematic looting"?') asks:
the present proprietor of the Icklingham bronzes has yet to return these objects to Suffolk. She has returned material to Greece and to Italy, so why not the UK?Second, does the "private excavation of antiquities" continue in the UK? (I am not sure about the word "excavation" here.) This is exactly the point that I made in the Papers of the Institute of Archaeology in 2010 ... eleven years after Brodie's letter. And have there been any changes in the last four years? Is it time that we heard more about the protection of unrecorded archaeological sites in the UK and less about the recording of portable stuff that has been hoiked out of the ground?
Nice to see the requisite terminology being adopted. There is a contrast between evidence excavated or retrieved and what artefact collectors do with their spades, pinpointers and digging tools.
5 hours 41 min ago Syria: "Virtually Nothing is Left" << Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

 Michel al-Maqdissi, former director of the Syrian Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums' Archaeological Excavations department from 2000 to 2012 now works as a researcher at the Department of Oriental Antiquities in the Louvre in Paris. He has been talking to Mona Sarkis about the degree to which  Syria's cultural heritage is under threat, it now seems clear that the destruction of Syria's cultural heritage is far worse than anyone expected. The article is titled tellingly: "Virtually nothing is left" (, 29the October 2014). It is not stated where al-Maqdissi has been obtaining information about what is happening in the country since he left. The interview begins with pointing out that much of the damage has been done by Syrian Army bombing and shelling rebel positions in ancient sites ("The results can be seen in Aleppo, Bosra, the crusader castle Crac des Chevaliers or the columns in Palmyra. In some places, such as the old town in Homs, virtually nothing is left").
As for looting, it seems that so far, nothing can surpass Apamea. The ancient site of the Seleucids on the Orontes today consists of 4,000 craters. Some are three metres deep; some are even deeper. The brutal and systematic methods the looters used is clearly illustrated by satellite images from April 2012. They must have used drills. Dura Europos and Ebla-Tell Mardikh have also been severely affected. Since the former is in the north-west and the latter in the south-east of Syria, one has to assume that the whole country is being looted. It is mainly gangs who are responsible for this: they gathered sufficient experience in Iraq and are now supplying an international antiquities mafia.
The phrase "they must have used drills" is inexplicable. With reference to recent reports the interviewer asks Maqdissi whether he thinks the artefacts are being stolen by rebel groups in order to buy weapons. He is rather dismissive of the whole idea and replies:
I think that the majority of looters are professionals. You must remember that the antiques trade is not a quick business; the rebels hardly have the time to wait for their share of the revenues. What's more, armed groups – some of them are certainly not rebels, but real terrorists, such as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) or Jabhet al-Nusra – control the oil fields in northern Syria. For them, this is financially much more effective than the antiques trade. In addition, they regard the artefacts as blasphemous idols. ISIS, for example, recently smashed a one-and-a-half-metre high, approximately 3,000-year-old Assyrian statue from the site Tell Ajaja in north-east Syria on camera.
The rest of the article is critical of UNESCO as a means of dealing with the threat (actually ignoring the fact that this is not at all what the organization was set up ever to do). He considers that UNESCO is
a tired institution that operates in a framework that is far too narrow. This starts with their experts, who have remained unchanged for decades and apply the same procedures from Iraq to Afghanistan. But the cases vary from country to country and require more than just the same old pattern. [...] Unfortunately, it becomes ineffective, is always late, is blocked by its own experts and increasingly burdened by the weight of its own bureaucracy. 

He criticises them for too little, too late and not in the areas where it would help, he says UNESCO should be training activists on the ground (nota bene exactly the direction the Americans have been going in their aid programme). Other topics discussed is the lack of payment for site guards and the exodus of experts from the country after the civil war broke out.

6 hours 13 min ago pennmuseum: This is Matt the mount maker at the Penn Museum.... << All Mesopotamia


This is Matt the mount maker at the Penn Museum.  He is carrying Puabi’s earrings safely in his fancy blue basket.  Puabi goes on loan soon to the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at NYU

Queen Puabi’s earrings are going to be in New York soon!

6 hours 16 min ago proofthatimtrying: The importance of the code of Hammurabi << All Mesopotamia


The importance of the code of Hammurabi

6 hours 45 min ago Latin Proverbs and Fables Round-Up: November 1 << Laura Gibbs (Bestiaria Latina Blog) Here is a round-up of today's proverbs and fables - and for previous posts, check out the Bestiaria Latina Blog archives. You can keep up with the latest posts by using the RSS feed, or you might prefer to subscribe by email.

HODIE (Roman Calendar): Kalendae Novembres, the Calends of November.

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


TINY MOTTOES: Today's tiny motto is: Vincit labor (English: Hard work is victorious).

3-WORD PROVERBS: Today's 3-word verb-less proverb is Ad Graecas calendas (English: On the Greek calends - which is to say "never," since the Greeks did not have a day called the calends as the Romans did).

AUDIO PROVERBS: Today's audio Latin proverb is In idem flumen bis non descendimus (English: We do not go down into the same river twice). To read a brief essay about this proverb and to listen to the audio, visit the Latin Via Proverbs blog.

PUBLILIUS SYRUS: Today's proverb from Publilius Syrus is: Quam miserum est, cum se renovat consumptum malum (English: How wretched it is when a problem which had run its course comes back!).

ERASMUS' ANIMALS: Today's animal proverb from Erasmus is Mus non uni fidit antro (English: A mouse cannot entrust itself to just one hole; from Adagia 5.1.4).

BREVISSIMA: The distich poster for today is Pro Patria Cara. Click here for a full-sized view.

And here are today's proverbial LOLcats:

Lege totum si vis scire totum
Read it all if you wish to know it all.

Cum audace non eas in via.
Do not travel with a bold companion.


FABULAE FACILES: The fable from the Fabulae Faciles widget is Cervus et Hinnulus Eius, a story about inward and outward power (this fable has a vocabulary list).

MILLE FABULAE: The fable from the Mille Fabulae et Una widget is Struthiocamelus et Gallina, the story of the ostrich who wanted to fly.

Struthiocamelus Volans

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

Equus et Leo Medicus
11 hours 28 min ago What does Eutychius’ Annals contain? << Roger Pearse (Thoughts on Antiquity, Patristics, putting things online, and more)

Arabic Christian literature is little known.  There is no English-language handbook, and even the “big histories”, the works in which Arabic-speaking Christians recount their own history, are mostly not translated into English; or, indeed, sometimes even edited.

Eutychius – also known as Sa`īd al-Bitrik -, Melkite Patriarch of Alexandria between 877-940 AD, wrote one of the five histories; and indeed was one of the first Christians to adopt Arabic, the language of the conquerors.  This is commonly known by its 17th c. Latin title, the Annals.  A partial German translation exists – of value to that tiny part of the world who speak German – and a full Italian translation by Bartolomeo Pirone.  The latter was published in Cairo in 1987 by the Franciscan Centre, thereby ensuring that few copies were distributed.  My own copy came over the internet from the Franciscan bookshop in Jerusalem and is, to the best of my knowledge, the only copy in England.

I thought that it might be useful to give the table of contents here.  Note what was known in the 10th century, as passed down by (mainly ecclesiastical) writers.

Note that Pirone has decided to give proper names as transliterated from the Arabic, except in exceptional cases, so I have done likewise.

Part I – From the Creation to Heraclius

Cap. I.  The Creation of Adam and Eve - Cain, Abel and their sisters - The descendants of Shīt and those of Cain - Noah, his descendants, and the Flood - Noah leaves the Ark - The calling of Malshīsādāq - The commencement of the spread of the cult of images - The confusion of tongues in Bābil and the division of territories among the peoples of the earth - The origin of magic - Abraham came out from Harran and went to live in Kan’ān - More on Malshīsādāq - Ishmael and Isaac - Jacob and his sons - Joseph in Egypt (p.33)

Ch. II.   The Israelites become slaves of the Egyptians - The killing of every newborn Jew - Moses is forced to leave Egypt and goes to Midian - Pharaoh allows the children of Israel to leave - Moses on Mount Sinai - Death of Moses, Aaron and Maryam - Joshua becomes leader of the people - Joshua’s battles and alliances with nations and cities - Partition of the conquered territories among the children of Israel (p.63)

Chap. III.   Israel gives itself to the worship of idols - Judges appear - The prophetess Deborah - Judge Gideon - Abimelech rules the nation three years - Israel returns to the worship of the idols Baalim, Ashtarot and Bael - Yefte, judge of Israel - Samson frees the people from the slavery of foreign tribes - Samson gives himself to Delilah, is taken, blinded, killed. (p.73)

Chap. IV   The priest Ali governs the people - The Prophet Samuel in the Temple in Shīlūn - The Ark and the misadventures of foreign tribes - Samuel governs the people of Israel - The people demand a king - Saul is made ​​king over the children of Israel - Samuel anoints the young David King - David fights, by order of Saul, against foreign tribes - Death of Saul and his sons Gloriata, Abbiadati and Malhīsh (p.83)

Chap. V    David, king of Israel, faces various types of opposition and civil unrest - The ark in the house of Abinadab - David wars against the enemies of IsraelSolomon succeeds David - Hiram, king of Tyre, and the origin of purple - Measurements of the Temple built by Solomon - Two women ask for the judgment of Solomon - the Queen of Sheba in Jerusalem - Kingdom of Jeroboam and Rehoboam - the kings of Judah and Israel - Akhab and the prophet Elijah - Akhab and Yosafat. (p.91)

Chap. VI    King Ocozia and the prophet Elijah - Reign of Yoram, son of Akhab - Yoram fights against the king of Damascus - Prophecies of Elisha - Ocozia and his mother Athaliah reigned over Judah - Elisha sent to anoint king Yehu - Yehu becomes King of Israel - Yoash reigns over Judah - Akhaz returns to worship of idols - Yoash king of Israel - was followed by the kings of Judah: Amaziah, Azariah, Yotam, Akhaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amori, Josiah, Yoakhaz, Yoakim, Yahunakim - Sennacherib invades Judah - the pharaoh Necho fights against the king of Mosul (p.111)

Chap. VII    Nebuchadnezzar and the three young men in the furnace - Daniel interprets and explains the king’s dream - Prophets in Babylon - Nebuchadnezzar’s conquest of Egypt, then he dies - Reign of his successors - Daniel explains to King Belshazzar the meaning of the three words on the wall - the reign of Darius and the appearance of the Persians - Daniel and the idols of Babil - Daniel in the den - Sequence of Persian kings - Ezra rebuilds the Temple - War between Darius and Alexander the Great: exchange of Letters - Death of Darius and campaigns of Alexander - Death of Alexander and panegyrics of the sages of the time, before the body of the hero, humbled by death - Dismemberment of the empire: the Ptolemies - Simeon the Just receives the grace of seeing the Messiah (p.127)

Chap. VIII   Caesar and Augustus rule Rome - Death of Cleopatra - Herod terrorizes Jerusalem and the region - Augustus orders a census in the territories of the Empire - The Birth of Christ - The Magi looking for Jesus - Jesus is baptized by John - Death of John and death of Christ - Joseph of Arimathea places the body in a tomb - the Resurrection and Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ (p.147)

Chap. IX      Reign of Tiberius and Herod Agrippa - Arcadius first Patriarch of Antioch - Death of Agrippa - The apostle Mark in Alexandria: founding of the Patriarchate of Alexandria - Nero, the persecutor of Christians - Luke writes the Gospel and the Acts - The Crucifixion of Peter head down - Vespasian, Titus and the destruction of Jerusalem - in Rome Titus, Domitian, Nerva, Trajan, and Hadrian succeed one another - Hadrian destroys Jerusalem and builds a new city called Aelia - Successions of popes, patriarchs and emperors - question of the calculation of Easter, when it should be celebrated (p.157)

Chap. X    Under the rule of Ardashir the Persians reappear - In Rome Pertinax, Julian, Severus follow one another: new persecutions against Christians - Sequence of kings of Persia: rule of Sapor - Maximinus Caesar persecutes the Christians - The persecution of Decius - Legend of the Seven Sleepers - Sequence of Persian kings and Roman emperors (p.173)

Chap. XI   Reign and persecution of Diocletian - Arian heresy arises - Phenomenon of the Tetrarchy - persecution suffered by Christians at the hands of Maximian and Galen - Constantine becomes emperor and took over the command of his father Constantius - Galerius contracts a nasty disease - Sapor secretly visits the Roman lands - Constantine‘s vision of the Cross - the Martyrs of Sebastia - Schism caused in the church by Arius and Meletius - the Council of 318 - Helena in the Holy Land: the discovery of the Cross - Constantine gives instructions to rebuild the churches of Jerusalem - Synod of Tyre and consecration of the church of Jerusalem - Constantine persecutes the Jews (p.187)

Chap. XII    Murder of Constantine - Apparition of the Cross on the Mount of Olives - Cyril of Jerusalem interprets the meaning - Dissemination of the doctrine of Arius - Heresy of Macedonius - Reign of Julian the Apostate: persecution of Christians and attempt to re-establish the worship of gods - the monastic movement in Egypt and Palestine - Reigns of Valentinian and Valens - Cycle of Theophilus and Theodosius (p.209)

Chap. XIII Reign of Theodosius the Great - Still more Arianism - Council of 150 on the teaching of Macedonius, Apollinaris and of Sabellius - Of the Manichaeans: their habits and customs - Theophilus, former friend of Theodosius, became patriarch of Alexandria - Arsenius, tutor of Arcadius and Honorius, emperors, one of the East , the other in the West - Still more on Arsenius - Disagreement between John Chrysostom and Theophilus, Patriarch of Alexandria - The Queen Eudoxia - Epiphanius and John Chrysostom - Third ecumenical Council - Nestorius and his heresy (p.223)

Chap. XIV   Refutation of Nestorius and Nestorianism by Sa`id ibn Batrīq - Against Nestorius, Eutyches, Dioscorus, Severus, Jacob Baradaeus and their followers - On the various types of union - The person, two natures, two wills of Christ (p.239)

Chap. XV    End of Yazdagard and reign of Bahram Gor - Heresy of Eutyches - The Synod of 8 November 448 against Eutyches - The robber-synod of Ephesus: August 449 - Eudoxia, wife of Theodosius - Marcian reigns in Constantinople - the Council of Chalcedon in 451 against the heretic Eutyches and Dioscorus - Repercussions within the realm (p.259)

Chap. XVI    Reign of Firuz over the Persians - The coming to the throne of Leo the Great - Rioting in Alexandriathe murder of the patriarch Proterius - Basilicus usurps the throne - Succession of Patriarchs in the various locations - The figure of Patriarch Elias I - Firuz at war with the king of Hephthalites - Death of Firuz and the kingdom of Qabād - Anastasius, king of the Byzantines, abandons the doctrine of the Melkites and embraces that of the Jacobites - Opposition of the monks of Laurium, supported by Elias and guided by their superiors Theodosius, Chariton, Saba - the heresy of Severus and the support given to it by the king Anastasius - the monks of Palestine against the king - Eutychius refutes the doctrine of the Jacobites - A famine at Jerusalem - Justin becomes emperor of Constantinople (p.269)

Chap. XVII   Justinian vanquishes the Jacobite heresy using Apollinaris and monitors the Samaritans of Nablus. - St. Saba at the court of Constantinople - Construction of the Basilica of the Nativity of the monastery of Sinai, and the houses for the keepers of the monastery - The heresy of Origen and the synod of Constantinople II on May 5 553 - Mazdak preaches in Persia and implements the equal distribution of property - The coming to the throne of Anūshirwān - Anastasius, Patriarch of Antioch - Doctrine of Maron - The robber of the city of Ifrīqiyah - War between the Persians and Khaqan - Kisra Abarwīz, king of Persia - Kisra marries the daughter of Maurice and becomes a Christian - Phocas Emperor of Constantinople - the Persians invade Palestine and Egypt - John the Almoner - The Jews of Tyre plot to annihilate the Christians - Heraclius becomes Emperor of Constantinople (p.291)

Part II – From Heraclius to ar-Rādī  (p.317)

Cap. XVIII    Heraclius break the siege of Constantinople, Heraclius and kisra - Heraclius to Jerusalem - Heraclius and Maronites - Death of Muhammad - the Caliphate of Abū Bakr — Caliphate of ‘Umar — Caliphate of ‘Uthman — Caliphate of ‘Alī— Caliphate of Mu‘āwiya — Caliphate of Yazīd b. Mu‘āwiya — Caliphate of Marwān b. al-Hakam — Caliphate of ‘Abd al’Malik b. Marwān — Caliphate of al-Walīd b. ‘Abd al-Malik — Caliphate of Sulaymān b. ‘Abdal-Malik — Caliphate of ‘Umar b. ‘Abd al-‘Azīz — Caliphate of Yazīd b. ‘Abd al-Malik — Caliphate of Hishām b. ‘Abd al-Malik — Caliphate of al-Walīd b. Yazīd — Caliphate of Yazīd b. al-Walīd — Caliphate of Marwān b. Muhammad al-Gā‘dī  (p.319)

Cap. XIX    The Abbasid Caliphs.   Caliphate of Abū l-Abbās as-Saffāh — Caliphate of Ga‘far al-Mansūr — Caliphate of al-Mahdī — Caliphate of Mūsa al-Hādī — Caliphate of Hārūn ar-Rashīd — Caliphate of Muhammad al-Amīn —Caliphate of al-Ma’mūn — Caliphate of al-Mu‘tasim — Caliphate of al-Wāthiq — Caliphate of al-Mutawakkil — Caliphate of al-Muntasir bi’llāh — Caliphate of al-Musta‘īn — Caliphate of al-Mu‘tazz — Caliphate of al-Muhtadī — Caliphate of al-Mu‘tamid e nascita di Sa‘īd Ibn Batrīq — Caliphate of al-Mu‘tadid — Caliphate of al-Muktafī — Caliphate of al-Muqtadir — Caliphate of al-Qāhir: Sa‘īd Ibn Batrīq is made Patriarch of Alexandria — Caliphate of ar-Rādī  (p.391)

It might be interesting to translate some of this material.

11 hours 44 min ago Greek philosopher Socrates (ca. 470–399 BC): a bust of him, and... << Ancient Art

Greek philosopher Socrates (ca. 470–399 BC): a bust of him, and a few quotes from him.

"There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance."

"Remember that there is nothing stable in human affairs; therefore avoid undue elation in prosperity, or undue depression in adversity."

"The shortest and surest way to live with honour in the world, is to be in reality what we would appear to be; and if we observe, we shall find, that all human virtues increase and strengthen themselves by the practice of them."

"True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us."

I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing.”

I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.”

Shown bust courtesy of & currently located at the Glyptothek, Munich. Photo taken by Bibi Saint-Pol, via the Wiki Commons.

12 hours 23 min ago Does Britain "condone systematic looting"? << David Gill (Looting Matters) I have been doing some work on the Icklingham bronzes that were apparently removed illegally from a Suffolk field. Neil Brodie, then in Cambridge, wrote a rather good letter in response to Peter K. Tompa (Washington Post 9 November 1999; with response 5 December 1999). Brodie talks about the Icklingham bronzes that "were illegally excavated and smuggled out of the United Kingdom and now are owned by an American collector". Brodie contrasted the Italian approach to that adopted in Britain: "At a recent conference held to discuss these issues, delegate after delegate from around the world expressed amazement at the British system, which allows the private excavation of antiquities and which, in the words of one participant, condones systematic looting."

Tompa did respond to Brodie (Washington Post 23 December 1999) and accepted that the Icklingham bronzes was indeed an "incident".

There are several things to note looking back at this exchange in 2014.

First, the present proprietor of the Icklingham bronzes has yet to return these objects to Suffolk. She has returned material to Greece and to Italy, so why not the UK?
Second, does the "private excavation of antiquities" continue in the UK? (I am not sure about the word "excavation" here.) This is exactly the point that I made in the Papers of the Institute of Archaeology in 2010 ... eleven years after Brodie's letter. And have there been any changes in the last four years?

Is it time that we heard more about the protection of unrecorded archaeological sites in the UK and less about the recording of portable stuff that has been hoiked out of the ground?

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13 hours 14 min ago The Big Circles of the Middle East << Archaeology Magazine

PERTH, AUSTRALIA—Jordan’s “Big Circles” were first spotted from airplanes in the 1920s, but little has been learned about them since then. The low walls, often made from uncut stones, would not have kept animals in or enemies out. New aerial images of the structures, which generally measure more than 1,300 feet in diameter, have been taken by David Kennedy of the Aerial Archaeology in Jordan Project and the Aerial Photographic Archive for Archaeology in the Middle East (APAAME), located at the University of Western Australia. “Most are crude circles, but many are clearly intended to be geometrically precise, although often slightly distorted,” he told the Daily Mail. Kennedy hopes the photographs will bring attention to the rings. Excavation could tell scientists more about their construction and purpose.

13 hours 44 min ago Preserved Grains & Trade Goods Unearthed in Indonesia << Archaeology Magazine

YOGYAKARTA, INDONESIA—Rice and maize grains dating to sometime between the eighth and tenth centuries have been found in a bamboo basket on the slope of Mount Sindoro in Central Java. Joko Siswanto, head of the Yogyakarta Archaeology Agency, says that the maize and other imported artifacts such as Chinese vases from the Tang Dynasty suggest that Indonesia was part of an international trade network at this time. “The finding is also crucial to help us trace the history of food cultivation and technology in Indonesia, especially in Java,” he told The Jakarta Post. To read more about contemporary sites on Borneo, see ARCHAEOLOGY's "Letter From Borneo: Landscape of Memory."

14 hours 14 min ago Second Leaf of Marble Door Uncovered in Amphipolis << Archaeology Magazine

AMPHIPOLIS, GREECE—According to the Greek Reporter, a second leaf of the marble door has been found in the tomb's third chamber, along with a sand-filled trench. The marble door is estimated to weigh one and a half tons. Tracks carved in stone on the floor to guide the pivoting doors have also been uncovered. Archaeologists are continuing to dig in an effort to reach the tomb's fourth chamber. To read about the search for Alexander the Great's tomb, see ARCHAEOLOGY's "In Search of History's Greatest Rulers."  

14 hours 24 min ago Torso of Akhenaten 18th Dynasty, New Kingdom Amarna... << Ancient Peoples

Torso of Akhenaten

18th Dynasty, New Kingdom

Amarna Period

c.1353-1336 BC

This torso from a statue of Akhenaten was found in the Sanctuary of the Great Aten Temple or in the dump south of the Sanctuary area of the temple. The heavy breasts and sagging belly of the king are typical of his representation, a feminized body that may suggest his fertile receptiveness to life and divine inspiration from the Aten.
The statue appears to have been standing with its arms held naturally so that they hung slightly forward, a realistic pose developed by Amarna artists. Like all images of the king and queen, but not the princesses, the torso is inscriped with pairs of Aten cartouches on its chest. In addition the names of the god appear on the preserved upper arm (and would have appeared also on the missing arm and on both wrists), on the king’s belt, and at the top of the backpillar and .

(Source: The Met Museum)

14 hours 32 min ago Open Access Archaeology Digest #588 << Open Access Archaeology A nice batch of Open Access (free to read) articles:

Notice of a Leaf-shaped Bronze Sword, found at Leannan Buidhie (Yellow Hollow) Farm of Lower Coiabus, Oa, Islay.

Direct Dating of Botanical Samples in an Archaeological Context – Plant Remains from the Prehistoric Site of Kaptol-Gradci near Požega (Croatia)

Excavations in Passage-Graves and Ring-Cairns of the Clava Group, 1952-3.

Nazeingbury 20 years on or ‘where did the royal ladies go?’

Medieval Britain in 1959

Learn more about Open Access and Archaeology at:

14 hours 44 min ago Open Access Journal: Scriptura << Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online) Scriptura
ISSN 2305-445X (online)
ISSN 0254-1807 (print)
Scriptura is an independent journal which publishes contributions in the fields of Bible, Religion and Theology refereed by peers. It is international in scope but special attention is given to topics and issues emerging from or relevant to Southern Africa. Scriptura publishes contributions in English but also in other languages relevant to the Southern African region (such as Afrikaans, Xhosa, Sesotho, Zulu, French and German).


14 hours 45 min ago 17th-Century Luxury Goods Discovered in Irish Castle << Archaeology Magazine

DUBLIN, IRELAND—The Irish Times reports that workers installing an elevator shaft at Rathfarnham Castle found a cache of seventeenth-century artifacts sealed between two stone floors at the bottom of one of the castle towers. The damp environment yielded well preserved objects, including a foldable toothbrush, clay pipes, jewelry, porcelain, coins, chamber pots, an intact drinking glass and early wine bottles, ointment jars, and a stoppered perfume bottle. “Most of the material here was imported. The family had a lot of contacts with the royal courts in England so they would have gone to London, seen the fashion, and brought it all back to show off to all of their neighbors and friends,” said Alva MacGowan, find supervisor with Archaeology Plan. Food remains indicate that the family, the descendants of Lord Adam Loftus, who built the cast in 1583, enjoyed shellfish, cherries, apricots, peaches, and tea leaves. “Tea was only introduced in England in 1650. They correspond with the porcelain tea sets imported from China. The family were importing high luxury goods from all over the world, which shows Ireland wasn’t as cut off and unfashionable as we might think,” MacGowan added.

15 hours 10 min ago Speaking with Authority on Syria << Peter Tompa (Cultural Property Observer) Michel al-Maqdissi, former director of  Syria's Archaeological Excavations Department, has spoken with authority about severe threats to Syria's cultural heritage.

Al-Maqdissi places most blame on the Syrian government and military which has "destroyed a lot with its incessant bombing."  And even if Assad ultimately prevails, Syria's cultural heritage will remain at risk from a government more interested in grandiose building projects (that will no doubt enrich the dictator's cronies) than in caring for its cultural heritage.  As an example, al-Maqdissi mentions longstanding plans for a hotel and tourist center to be built right over the ruins of an important Phoenician site.

In response to a question, Al-Maqdissi states that looting is a serious problem, particularly at Apamea. However, al-Maqdissi rightly notes that rebels and the "real terrorists" of ISIS are far more likely to make quick cash from easy to sell commodities, like "hot oil."  Simply, antiquities are not very "liquid"-- it's hard to sell them fast and for top dollar. And then there is the real question whether the iconoclasts of ISIS would rather smash than sell what they find anyway.

Revealingly, al-Maqdissi has little good to say about UNESCO and its tired group of experts who use the same cookie-cutter approach to every "cultural heritage crisis."

Instead, what's needed is outside funding for site guards (which would be difficult given international sanctions) and more realistically, effective policing of Turkey's border, something CPO suggested awhile ago.
15 hours 11 min ago Notes on a Sacrifice Scene << David Stuart (Maya Decipherment)

by David Stuart, The University of Texas at Austin

The Late Classic cacao vase K8719 (from Justin Kerr’s The Maya Vase Database) depicts one of the more grisly scenes of human sacrifice known from Maya art. (Happy Halloween!). The surrounding imagery and texts provide some interesting tidbits of information about the timing and setting of such events, and also how they related to the pomp and circumstance of royal performance in the courts of the Classic era.

Figure 1. Rollout of vase K8719  (Photograph by Justin Kerr).

Figure 1. Rollout of vase K8719 (Photograph by Justin Kerr).

In the scene we see a king seated upon what looks to be a portable throne and looking on a scene of decapitation sacrifice.  The victim, perhaps a war captive, lies prone upon a stone altar and before a small stela. His head lies atop the stone monument, placed on a surface of amate paper-cloth (huun) and suggesting some sort of corporeal metaphor involving the upright stone (see Stuart 1996 for a further discussion of steel-body symbolism). Judging by similar scenes (see K8351), the familiar stela-altar pairing one so often see at Maya sites was often a formal place for human sacrifice. Indeed, I suspect that most stelae-and-altars erected in the plazas (Figure 2) were conceived as settings for the execution of prisoners, much as we see on this vase. To the left of the dead victims are two performers in fantastic animal costumes, wearing red scarves. As Elliot Lopez-Finn points out to me, similar portly animal performers are depicted on other vessels (see K1835, K4947. K4960). And elsewhere many similar clawed figures with red scarves are explicitly identified as wahy beings, who I have interpreted as the spooky embodiments of witchcraft and dark forces wielded by Maya rulers and elites (Stuart 2005). On this vessel the costumed figures are performing in an extraordinary setting of courtly sacrifice, perhaps as executioners that embody the animated forces of the king’s power and control over life and death.

Figure 2. Uncarved stelae and altars at Tikal.

Figure 2. Uncarved stelae and altars at Tikal.

Figure 3. Main text caption from K8719. (Photograph by J. Kerr)

Figure 3. Main text caption from K8719. (Photograph by J. Kerr)

A lengthy text runs down the middle of the image above the slain victim (Figure 3). Unfortunately it shows considerable modern repainting and “touching up” by someone who knew nothing of hieroglyphs. Nevertheless, we can see that it is a complex name caption for the seated king, opening with a CR date and then perhaps the possessed noun u baah, “the person of…” (A2 and B2). The date looks to me to be 4 Ahau 13 Yax, correspond to the k’atun ending (August 16, 731 A.D.). The royal name and accompanying titles extend down into the vertical column. At B3 we see the well preserved sequence CHAN-na-K’INICH, after an initial name glyph that is largely illegible. This may well be the name Tayel Chan K’inich, in reference to the Late Classic king of the Ik’ polity who is named on a number of other vessels (Just 2012:102-123, Reents-Budet, Guenter, Bishop and Blackman 2013, Tokovinine and Zender 2013). A possible Ik’ emblem glyph might be at block A7, though again much garbled by the vase’s “restorer.”

A date of 731 A.D. agrees well with Tayel Chan K’inch, who we know from other sources to have been in power by 726 and seems to have ruled for at least a decade afterwards, perhaps a good deal more (Tokovinine and Zender 2012: 43). The k’atun ending would have been among the major ceremonial event of his reign, and I suggest that the scene on this vase depicts at least one of the ceremonies from that very day.

Ascribing this vessel to the Ik’ polity and its workshops also is in keeping with the general style and color palette of the scene. Orange-colored glyphs are known from other pots of this style. We also see elaborate animal costumes worn by rulers and other performers on many other Ik’ vessels (K533, 1439, among others). As already noted, I suspect that this pair of weird-looking performers are the sacrificers responsible for the beheading. The white color here, also worn by the king, may be significant, as we find white sacrificers also shown on K2781 and K8351.


Figure 4. The glyph aj laj, “finished one,” near the victim. (Photo by J. Kerr)

Placed near the stela and just above the legs of the sacrificial victim is a lone hieroglyph (Figure 4) readable as AJ-la-ja, for aj laj. This presumably is an agentive noun based on the root laj, meaning “end, finish, die,” found throughout lowland and highland Mayan languages (Kaufman [2003] reconstructs the common Mayan form as *laj or *laaj). The connections of this word to death are widespread, and are particularly acute in colonial Tzotzil, where we find laj meaning “be dead” and the nominalized form lajel, “death” (Laughlin 1988,I: 241). There can be little doubt that here we are meant to read the glyph on the pot as a somewhat obvious descriptor of the slain figure as “the finished one, the deceased.” As far as I am aware this is a unique example of such a title used to refer to a sacrificial victim.

Overall this vessel offers a remarkable and maybe even surprising look into the nature of Maya calendar ceremonies. Written records of k’atun endings, for example, feature the ritual acts of kings who “bind the stone” or “cast the incense.” They never directly mention human sacrifices nor the bloody anointing of stelae, and why they don’t raises an interesting issue worth pondering further. The wider canvas of a portable cylindrical vase perhaps allowed for such grisly displays, more so than the stiff and narrow face of a stone stela set in a plaza. For whatever reason, cacao vases that circulated at the courts of the Late Classic period were deemed a more appropriate media for the display of some darker subject-matter, including the gorier aspects of royal ceremony and performance.

Sources Cited:

Just, Bryan. 2012. Dancing into Dreams: Maya Vase Painting of the Ik’ Kingdom. Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton.

Kaufman, Terrence. 2003. A Preliminary Mayan Etymological Dictionary. PDF ms.

Reents-Budet, Dorie, Stanley Guenter, Ronald L. Bishop and M. James Blackman. 2013. Identity and Interaction: Ceramic Styles and Social History of the Ik’ Polity, Guatemala. In Motul de San Jose: Politics, History, and Economy in a Classic Maya Polity, edited by A. E. Foias and K. F. Emery, pp. 67-93. University Press of Florida, Gainesville.

Stuart, David 2005. Glyphs on Pots. Sourcebook for the 2005 Maya Meetings. Department of Art and Art History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Tokovinine, Alexandre, and Marc Zender. 2013. Lords of Windy Water: The Royal Court of Motul de San Jose in Classic Maya Inscriptions. In Motul de San Jose: Politics, History, and Economy in a Classic Maya Polity, edited by A. E. Foias and K. F. Emery, pp. 30-66. University Press of Florida, Gainesville.

15 hours 16 min ago Pirate Blackbeard's Newly Recovered Cannon to be Shared with Public << Archaeological News on Tumblr GREENVILLE, N.C. — Just in from the Atlantic Ocean, the 23rd cannon recovered from the Queen...