Maia Atlantis: Ancient World Blogs

1 hour 27 min ago New Late Roman Sarcophagus found in Iznik, Turkey << Byzantine News

A late-Roman era sarcophagus thought to be belonging to the Late Roman Empire was unearthed and transferred to a museum in Iznik, Bursa. The sarcophagus weighing nearly 7 tons.
2 hours 48 min ago Ten Commandments of Debating and Logic << James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Ten Commandments Debate Logic

Via Chris Spinks. It has some typos, and awkwardly places the period before the end of the sentence (I have a lot of students who do that when ending with a parenthetical citation, too). But it still seems useful.

3 hours 50 min ago The Danubian Lands between the Black, Aegean and Adriatic Seas << Thibaut Castelli (Spartokos a Lu) Tsetskhladze,G. R., A. Avram et J. Hargrave, éd. (2015) :  The Danubian Lands between the Black, Aegean and Adriatic Seas (7th Century BC-­10th Century AD), Proceedings of the Fifth International Congress on Black Sea Antiquitie (Belgrade – 17-­21 September 2013), Oxford. La 5e édition du congrès pontique propose comme toujours des articles sur des thèmes variés qui concernent tout l’espace pontique. La plus grande partie des articles est … Lire la suite
4 hours 10 min ago Review of Spiró, Captivity << Jim Davila ( <img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
4 hours 14 min ago Di Segni et al., The Onomasticon of Iudaea << Jim Davila ( <img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
4 hours 32 min ago Zfatman, Jewish Exorcism in Early Modern Ashkenaz << Jim Davila ( <img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
4 hours 52 min ago Review of Cumont, Les mystères de Mithra << Jim Davila ( <img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
5 hours 9 min ago Smith's Jerusalem online << Jim Davila ( <img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
5 hours 31 min ago NEWS: ’90 percent chance of hidden rooms in Tut tomb’, Egypt says << The Egyptiana Emporium


Japanese radar specialist Hirokatsu Watanabe stands with his equipment outside King Tutankhamun’s burial chamber in the Valley of Kings in Luxor, Egypt (Source: Ahram Online).

“Egypt said there is a 90 percent chance that hidden chambers will be found within King Tutankhamun’s tomb, based on the preliminary results of a new exploration of the 3,300-year-old mausoleum.

Researchers say the discovery of a new chamber could shine new light on one of ancient Egypt’s most turbulent times, and one prominent researcher has theorized that the remains of Queen Nefertiti might be inside.
Egypt began the search for the hidden chamber last week. Announcing the results of three days of testing in the southern city of Luxor, Antiquities Minister Mamdouh Eldamaty said the findings will be sent to Japan for a monthlong analysis before the search is resumed” – via Ahram Online.

Read more here.

10 hours 55 min ago Sam Hardy on Verona Museum Theft << Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

It is worth taking a look at Sam Hardy's discussion: 'Were Verona Civic Museum’s paintings stolen to fund terrorism, stolen to order to supply a collector, or just stolen?':
Seventeen paintings have been stolen from a museum in Italy. They are theoretically worth €15 million/$16 million/£10.5 million though, whether they were stolen to be sold or stolen to be kept (then sold), any black market value may be far lower. The bigger question, right now, is why they were stolen…

15 hours 32 min ago NEWS: Tutankhamun unmasked? << The Egyptiana Emporium


Did the iconic funerary gold mask of King Tutankhamun belong to his stepmother Queen Nefertiti as Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves wrote in a scholarly work on the mystery? (Source: Ahram Online).

“Before being published in a scientific journal in December, British Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves, from Arizona University, sent Al-Ahram Weekly an advance copy of his article on the original name inscribed on Tutankhamun’s mask.
Entitled “The Gold Mask of Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten” Reeves relates that an essay was behind his first doubts about King Tutankhamun’s possession of his iconic gold mask, now under restoration at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square.

In the paper Reeves wrote several years ago, in an essay which is yet to appear, he sought to demonstrate that the famous gold mask from King Tutankhamun’s tomb (KV 62) had been created not for the boy king but for the use of a female predecessor named Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten (Queen Nefertiti) who was King Akhenaten’s co-regent.

“The evidence in favour of this conclusion was, and still is compelling,” Reeves said, adding that he was able to muster for it no inscriptional support. Detailed scrutiny, both of the mask itself and of photographs, furnished not the slightest hint that the multi-columned hieroglyphic inscription with cartouche might pre-date Tutankhamun’s reign.

“Happily, this reluctant presumption of the mask’s textual integrity may now be abandoned,” Reeves pointed out in the paper, asserting that “a fresh examination of the re-positioned and newly re-lit mask in Cairo at the end of September 2015 yielded for the first time, beneath the hieroglyphs of Tutankhamun’s prenomen, lightly chased traces of an earlier, erased royal name.”

With the kind cooperation of former director of the Egyptian Museum Mahmoud Al-Halwagi and the museum’s photographer Ahmed Amin, it proved possible to secure an exceptionally clear image of this palimpsest.

Drawing by Gabolde illustrating:(upper) the present, Tutankhamun-era inscription(green)with visible portions of the earlier,underlying text (red); (Lower)the original name(yellow) as reconstructed on the basis of these still-visible traces (red) (Source: Ahram Online).

Given its significance, Reeves was keen to share this discovery with specialist colleagues, from whom he also sought input. “For, although the opening signs of the underlying text were obvious enough, those traces close to the cartouche’s ‘tie’ were proving difficult to disentangle,” Reeves wrote. He added that his request for aid evoked responses from both Ray Johnson and Marc Gabolde. “I am extremely grateful for their contributions to this note,” he said, confirming that “not only has our collaboration resulted in a reasonably definitive reconstruction of the name-form originally borne by the mask, but this name indeed confirms the conclusion I had reached previously on non-inscriptional grounds — namely, that Tutankhamun’s headpiece had been prepared originally for the co-regent Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten.”

The changes to which the mask’s cartouche had been subjected are presented in a drawing by Gabolde. “Above, in green, we see the present, Tutankhamun-era inscription, with visible portions of the earlier, underlying text highlighted in red; below, in yellow, is the agreed reconstruction of this original name.””- via Ahram Online.

Read more here.

15 hours 32 min ago Lehrfilm zum Schreiben von Keilschrift << Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online) Lehrfilm zum Schreiben von Keilschrift

Lehrfilm zum Schreiben von Keilschrift

Das Institut für Altorientalistik hat einen kurzen Lehrfilm zum Thema Schreiben von Keilschrift mit dem Titel

"Am Anfang war der Keil -- Schrift und Schreiben im Alten Orient"

produziert, den Sie unter folgenden Weblinks aufrufen können.

15 hours 35 min ago Prehistoric monument in Golan Heights fuels mystery << Paola Arosio and Diego Meozzi (Stone Pages' Archaeonews) One of the most mysterious structures in the Middle East is easy to miss. The prehistoric stone monument went unnoticed for centuries in a bare expanse of field on the...
15 hours 36 min ago Mining in the Alps dates back to the Bronze Age << Paola Arosio and Diego Meozzi (Stone Pages' Archaeonews) Mining in the Alps dates back much further than previously thought - in the Austrian region of Montafon since the Bronze Age. Thanks to C14 dating, a group of researchers...
15 hours 41 min ago NEWS: Radar scans in King Tut’s tomb suggest hidden chambers << The Egyptiana Emporium


Hirokatsu Watanabe, a radar specialist from Japan, pushes his specially modified Koden-brand machine along the north wall of Tutankhamun’s burial chamber (Source: National Geographic).

“After two days of radar scans in the tomb of Tutankhamun, archaeologists have concluded that preliminary examination of the data provides evidence that unopened sections lie behind two hidden doorways in the pharaoh’s underground burial chamber.

The results, announced Saturday morning at a news conference in Luxor, bolster the theory of Nicholas Reeves, a British archaeologist who believes that the tomb contains another royal burial. The hidden tomb, he has speculated, belongs to Nefertiti, King Tut’s mother-in-law, who may have ruled as a female pharaoh during Egypt’s 18th Dynasty. If so, this would be only the second intact royal burial site to be discovered in modern times—and it would, in the words of Mamdouh Eldamaty, the Egyptian antiquities minister, represent “one of the most important finds of the century.” At the press conference, he said he was “90 percent positive” that another chamber lies behind the north wall of the tomb.
On Friday, Eldamaty stood next to that wall, which is painted with a scene depicting the burial rituals of the boy pharaoh, who ruled in the 14th century B.C. “The radar scan tells us that on this side of the north wall, we have two different materials,” he said. “We believe that there could be another chamber.”

The scans—conducted by Hirokatsu Watanabe, a Japanese radar specialist— also provide evidence of a second hidden doorway in the adjoining west wall.

Together these features lend credence to Reeves’s theory, which he made public in July. Since then examinations of the physical features of the burial chamber have added support. But until the tests began on Thursday, the evidence ran no deeper than the surface of the walls. Radar scans had never previously been conducted in the tomb, and they represent a crucial step in the investigation. For the first time, specialists have collected data about both the material structure of the walls and the open spaces behind them. It’s these spaces that are most intriguing—they could contain artifacts and possibly even burial goods that rival those found with Tutankhamun.

“Everything is adding up,” Reeves, a National Geographic grantee, told me on Thursday evening, immediately after a suspenseful examination with the radar. We were standing next to the north wall, whose painted scene has been visible since 1922, when Howard Carter rediscovered the tomb. But after observing the scans, I found that the wall looked different to me—I couldn’t help but imagine what may lie beyond. “The tomb is not giving up its secrets easily,” Reeves continued. “But it is giving them up, bit by bit. It’s another result. And nothing is contradicting the basic direction of the theory.”

The first scans in the tomb happened to be scheduled for Thanksgiving, and they began at dusk, after the tourists had left and the Valley of the Kings had fallen silent. Watanabe had last worked in the Valley 15 years ago on another Reeves project. Those scans revealed a number of features that appeared to be underground chambers, one of which turned out to be a tomb. (The others have yet to be investigated further.) Watanabe has also used radar to identify previously hidden ancient monuments in South America. Both of these projects involved radar machines that pointed downward. Such equipment is generally used by engineers; the radar can locate rebar in bridge decks, for example, or find structural weaknesses.

In 2009, a Madrid-based team of conservators and artists called Factum Arte began conducting high-resolution laser scans of the tomb.
After [an] aborted scan, Watanabe tinkered with the radar machine […]. The room hushed, and he began to push the cart along the wall once more. After moving a little more than half of the distance, he broke the silence: “They changed the material here.”

This was exactly the point at which there seemed to be a doorway on the Factum Arte scans. Watanabe is not an Egyptologist, and he had not studied Reeves’s ideas closely, but what he observed on the radar matched up. He did one more scan of the west wall, and then he proceeded to the north. “It’s just a solid wall,” he called out, at the beginning. He reached the section of the wall that Reeves had proposed was a blocked-over partition. “There is a change from here,” Watanabe announced.

After he was finished, he studied the multicolored bars that ran across the computer screen. “Obviously it’s an entrance to something,” he said through a translator. “It’s very obvious that this is something. It’s very deep.”

The next day, Eldamaty and Reeves confirmed that the initial analysis of the data was extremely encouraging. It showed at least two materials: bedrock and something else. “The transition from solid bedrock to non-solid bedrock, to artificial material, it seems, was immediate,” Reeves said, speaking of the north wall. “The transition was not gradual. There was a strict, straight, vertical line, which corresponds perfectly with the line in the ceiling. It seems to suggest that the antechamber continues through the burial chamber as a corridor.” He continued: “The radar people tell me that we can also recognize that behind this partition there is a void.” Eldamaty has said that Watanabe will spend another month analyzing the data, and then he will give final, detailed results” – via National Geographic.

Read more here.

16 hours 1 min ago NEWS: ‘Well-preserved’ sarcophagus of 22nd dynasty nobleman unearthed in Egypt’s Luxor << The Egyptiana Emporium


An anthropoid sarcophagus of a 22nd dynasty nobleman was discovered in El-Assassif necropolis on Luxor’s West Bank (Source: Ahram Online).

“During [Thursday’s] inspection tour in Luxor’s West Bank around the tomb of the 22nd dynasty’s Amenhotep-Hwi (TT28), Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh Eldamaty announced the discovery of the sarcophagus of a 22nd dynasty nobleman named Ankh-If-Khonsu.
Eldamaty explained that the sarcophagus was found to be well preserved and in excellent condition after being unearthed from a niche carved in the tomb’s rock. The find was made early this week by a Spanish mission from the Institute of Ancient Egyptian studies in collaboration with an Egyptian mission from the ministry of antiquities. 

(Source: Ahram Online).

 Head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities department Mahmoud Afifi said that the sarcophagus is in the very distinct style of the 22nd dynasty and it is carved from wood that is covered in a layer of plaster.

The sarcophagus depicts the facial features of the deceased wearing a wig and a crown made of flowers. His chest is decorated with a necklace and he is holding papyri flowers. Afifi added that the sarcophagus is decorated with hieroglyphic texts and scenes depicting the deceased in different positions before deities Osiris, Nefertem, Anubis, and Hathor.

Sultan Eid, head of the central administration of Upper Egypt, told Ahram Online that the sarcophagus contains a mummy, but it has not been yet studied” – via Ahram Online.

16 hours 37 min ago online book chats << Irene Hahn and Bingley Austin (Roman History Books and More)

Exlibris logo, click for website This blog is an adjunct to The Roman History Reading Group which meets on the first and third Wednesday of each month except August in our chat room from 9:30 to 11:00 p.m. US EST (UTC/GMT -05).  This means that in Asia and Australia/Pacific, it's daytime. Here is a world time clock as a general assistance for non-USAns.

Chat room location (with instructions) at Skype IM.

2015 Reading Schedule
2016 Reading Schedule

9781616953874December is Mystery Month!

December 2 
The Marathon Conspiracy
by Gary Corby / author chat
al9780312582432so as eBook

December 16
Last Seen in Massilia
by Steven Saylor
9780312582432also as eBook


January 6 & 20,
February 3
First Man in Rome
by Colleen McCullough

Join us!
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19 hours 2 min ago Gold hairpin (showing a woman’s head and hairstyle)Made in... << Ancient Peoples

Gold hairpin (showing a woman’s head and hairstyle)

Made in Northern France, 3rd–4th century AD (late Roman), 9 cm long.

From the Metropolitan Museum of Art

20 hours 17 min ago Oil Patch Photos << Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

I had to pull together some of my photographs from the oil patch. 

IMG 2543










IMG 2539



21 hours 3 min ago Open Access Journal: Klesarstvo i graditeljstvo - Building and Stone-masonry << Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)  [First posted in AWOL 10 February 2010, updated 28 November 2015]

Klesarstvo i graditeljstvo - Building and Stone-masonry
ISSN: 0353-7897
Časopis Klesarstvo i graditeljstvo je zamišljen kao mjesto sučeljavanja i razmjene znanstvenih spoznaja koja zalaze u područje arheologije, povijesti umjetnosti i graditeljstva, povijesti tehničkih znanosti, očuvanja i zaštite kulturne baštine i kulturnog identiteta sredine, arhitekture i urbanizma, tehnologije branja, obrade, ugradbe i zaštite kamena, petrologije, geologije, rudarstva, područja umjetnosti i klesarstva, kiparstva i dizajna u kamenu. Izuzetno je značajna i njegova didaktička vrijednost za najširi krug građana, ljubitelja kamena i klesarskog umijeća, učenika, studenata akademije i postdiplomaca različitih usmjerenja. Časopis je pokrenut kao realizacija ideje izrečene tijekom proslave 80-te obljetnice osnutka Klesarske škole u Pučišćima. Opseg časopisa obuhvaća sva područja koja s bilo koje strane osvjetljavaju tematiku kamena.

Building and Stonemasonry journal is intended as a meeting point for the exchange of scientific knowledge, and the discussion of that knowledge, reaching into areas of archaeology, art history, construction, technical science history, the preservation and protection of the cultural heritage and cultural identity of a certain region, architecture and urbanism, the technology of harvesting, treatment, installation and protection of stone, petrology, geology and mining, as well as the fields of artistry, stone masonry, sculpture, and stone design.

Its didactic value is also extremely relevant for a wide group of people; stone and stonemasonry craft lovers, pupils, academy students and post graduates of various orientations. This journal was launched as an implementation of the idea presented during the celebration of the 80th anniversary of the foundation of the Stonemasonry School in Pučišća, on the island of Brač.

The volume of the journal encompasses all areas, thus illuminating all the various aspects of stone themes.

  Vol. XXV   No. 1-4
  Vol. XXIV   No. 1-2
  Vol. XXIII   No. 1-4
  Vol. XXII   No. 3-4
  Vol. XXII   No. 1-2
  Vol. XXI   No. 3-4
  Vol. XXI   No. 1-2
  Vol. XX   No. 3-4
  Vol. XX   No. 1-2

21 hours 3 min ago BASP 52 (2015) << G.W. Schwendner (What's New in Papyrology) In Memoriam Leslie S.B. MacCoull
Roger S. Bagnall and James G. Keenan     5

A Hexameter Fragment in the Beinecke Library
Mark de Kreij     7

Letter about pentarouroi machimoi (and Another Ptolemaic Text)
Nicola Reggiani     15

School and Documentary Texts from Kharga Oasis at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Michael Zellmann-Rohrer     27

Papontos and the Hermaion Amphodon of Oxyrhynchus
Brice C. Jones     39

List of Payments (P.Mich. inv. 3935a)
Jaclyn Neel     45
(note that it should be διπλᾶ where it says διπλῆ)

A Labor Contract from the Dossier of Flavius Eulogius and His Descendants
C. Michael Sampson     59

A Byzantine Monastic Letter at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Michael Zellmann-Rohrer     69

Un contrat de prêt copte du monastère d’apa Apollô à Baouît conservé à la collection Palau-Ribes
María Jesús Albarrán Martínez et Alain Delattre     79

Papyri, Archaeology, and Modern History: A Contextual Study of the Beginnings of Papyrology and Egyptology
Paola Davoli     87

Papyri, Ethics, and Economics: A Biography of P.Oxy. 15.1780 (
21 hours 56 min ago A translator's thoughts on making a new Iliad << Tom Matrullo (Classics in Sarasota)
Arline shared this interview with Caroline Alexander, whose new translation of the Iliad recently was released to high expectations, including her own:
“I know this sounds arrogant,” Ms. Alexander said, but she couldn’t imagine taking on the project “unless you believed you could do a better job.” She spent five years on her translation. Her goal is for her version to become the “translation of record.”
Alexander's discussion of her decisions in this translation are worth reading. Some have to do with diction (lexis):
I worked hard for restraint, and my mantra was “trust Homer, trust Homer.” I knew that if I could find the simple English word for his simple Greek, work for cadence—spoken cadence, not the cadence of “high” poetry—it would work.
Asked about a recent Hollywood treatment featuring Brad Pitt, she moves to another level of the work of the translator -- this not so much on the lexical level as on the level of thought (logos):
I didn’t watch the whole film. But I did see his first big kill in the opening 10 minutes. A stunning bit of stunt-work, very athletic and adroit, and totally un-Achillean. It implied that Achilles’ greatness as a warrior lay in his skill. Having just finished working on a documentary about tigers, I would venture that confronting Achilles would be more like coming face-to-face with a tiger than with a tricky swordsman.
This too is reading -- translating lived experience and that of the poem into a new vernacular of living images.

22 hours 8 min ago Dara << Turkish Archaeological News

When travelers visit the south-eastern Anatolian province of Mardin, they usually feel that they need to see just one place - the capital of the province. Meanwhile, in the area there are relatively little known but very interesting ruins of the ancient city of Dara. In the early Byzantine times, Dara was an important fortress, located in northern Mesopotamia, near the border with the Persian Sassanid Empire. Because of this strategic location, in the 6th century AD Dara witnessed many military conflicts, of which the most important was the famous Battle of Dara, fought in 530 AD. So if you get to Mardin, then try also to go to Dara, and certainly you will not regret this trip.

Ancient City of Dara, Mesopotamia
22 hours 25 min ago Woodhenge sign stolen << David Gill (Looting Matters)
Source: Historic England
The site of Woodhenge in Wiltshire was discovered in the 1920s through aerial observation and it was excavated in 1928. It was placed in state guardianship and metal plaques erected by the Ministry of Works to interpret the site for visitors.

This important part of the heritage of the site has now been stolen.

Woodhenge lies some 2 miles from Stonehenge.

Phil McMahon, inspector of ancient monuments for Historic England is quoted ("Historic prehistoric monument Woodhenge plaques stolen", BBC News November 28, 2015):
The sad theft of these historic plaques has deprived us of an important aspect of the story of Woodhenge. 
They represent a key part of one of the earliest attempts to interpret and present to the public the complex and internationally-significant prehistoric monuments of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site. 
We very much hope that the plaques can be recovered and restored to their rightful place at Woodhenge.

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