Thursday, December 15, 2011

Robot cameras to go back into Great Pyramid

http://news.discovery.com/history/great-pyramid-secret-door-mystery-111209.html
Plans are still in the works (meaning: SCA in Egypt has to approve paperwork) to send a remote controlled camera into the "secret passages" inside the Great Pyramid. Stay tuned.
The article has a nice history of the previous attempts to get into the tunnels. Very cool.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Atlatl Anyone?

http://kykernel.com/2011/11/21/uk-club-practices-long-lost-tradition-creates-own-hunting-tool/
More from the hands-on historic reconstruction/reenactment files: The atlatl is a prehistoric hunting weapon, like throwing an arrow without a bow--I think. Students at Univ. of Kentucky have formed a club that practices with these things. People seem to like it. They performed at a fair where attendees could also practice flintknapping, hot-rock cooking, and other Stone Age fun.

Restoring the Colosseum: building contractors or restorers?

http://www.adnkronos.com/IGN/Aki/English/CultureAndMedia/Italy-Colosseum-work-pits-restorers-against-building-firms_312703498913.html
Companies experienced in restoring antiquities are complaining that regular ol' construction companies have been hired to do work on the Colosseum. The restorers are worried that 1) they won't have work and 2) the construction guys won't know what they're doing. Also--mirabile dictu!--it turns out the work on the Colosseum will take longer than expected. Duh.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tourist returns mosaic tiles to Hagia Sophia

Tourist returns mosaic tiles to Hagia Sophia
In 1956, an American lady was visiting Istanbul, where Hagia Sophia was under restoration. Some workers gave her 11 tiny mosaic tiles--just to be nice, I guess? (Darn that Turkish hospitality instinct!) She took them home in her purse (customs officials, anybody?), but over the years began to be freaked out by the thought that she had artistic contraband in her house. They even gave her nightmares. Recently, on a return trip to Istanbul, she brought them along and--being too chicken to face the Authorities at HS--gave them to a jeweler in a shop near HS, and HE, fortunately, Did the Right Thing and handed them over to the people who manage HS (who are presumably the Government). Now everybody is happy and the lady can sleep soundly. What will happen to the tiles?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The TLS blog: Humanities in the dock

The TLS blog: Humanities in the dock
This review of a new edition of Cicero asks the rhetorical question "Why read Cicero in the 21st century?" Focus is particularly on the Pro Archia.

Washington National Cathedral to reopen this weekend – CNN Belief Blog - CNN.com Blogs

Washington National Cathedral to reopen this weekend – CNN Belief Blog - CNN.com Blogs
After damage in the unusual earthquake and then a hurricane, the cathedral has lost some of its architecture, and repairing it will take "tens of millions of dollars."

Monday, November 14, 2011

More Findings, Uncertainty About Emperor's Birthplace : Discovery News

More Findings, Uncertainty About Emperor's Birthplace : Discovery News
Excavation of a house on the slopes of the Palatine, near the Arch of Titus. Excavators think this house may have belonged to Augustus' (real) father.

Looting of Libyan treasure highlights illicit antiquities trade - CNN.com

Looting of Libyan treasure highlights illicit antiquities trade - CNN.com
More on the theft of the treasure of Benghazi and the danger to other antiquities in unstable countries. It appears that things in Libya did not go as badly as they might have--no repeat of Baghdad, at least as far as anyone can tell at this point. There is also the scary point that the border between Egypt and Libya has become, as they say, "porous."

How to Wear a Toga the Ancient Roman Way | The Getty Iris

How to Wear a Toga the Ancient Roman Way The Getty Iris
Quick! Get yourself out of Malibu for College Night at the Getty Villa, Tues. Nov. 15. You are encouraged to wear a toga, and this handy video shows you how to put on one. Links inside the article take you to more webpages on this subject. Woo hoo!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Magical Viking stone may be real - Telegraph

Magical Viking stone may be real - Telegraph
Don't be put off by the stupid headline. Kind of a cool find, suggesting ways the Vikings may have been able to navigate at sea.

Ancient artefacts unearthed in Tisbury (From Salisbury Journal)

Ancient artefacts unearthed in Tisbury (From Salisbury Journal)
A British hobbyist with a metal detector came upon an ancient bronze spearhead and did NOT do what most people do (dig it up, along with the other 100 objects near it, put them in a shoebox and take them to the local antique dealer to see if they're worth anything); no, he left the site undisturbed and CALLED THE ARCHAEOLOGISTS, so that the objects could be excavated properly. Give this man a cookie! The site contains bronze objects from the late Bronze Age and early Iron Age, which will be taken to the British Museum to be studied. The location of the site is being kept secret, so less scrupulous people will stay away.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Italy: A modern prince fights for a Roman emperor's villa - Adnkronos CultureAndMedia

Italy: A modern prince fights for a Roman emperor's villa - Adnkronos CultureAndMedia
A garbage dump adjacent to the Villa Adriana at Tivoli? Not if Prince Urbano Barberini (his real name!) has anything to say about it! I got one word for you idiotic politicians who came up with this idea: Naples.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

BBC News - Looted Libyan treasure 'in Egypt'

BBC News - Looted Libyan treasure 'in Egypt'
The so-called "Treasure of Benghazi," a bunch of ancient coins and such, was retured to Libya from Italy in 1961. Then it sat in a bank vault in Benghazi, until the Libyans could get around to building a museum for the stuff. In 2011, it was still in the bank vault, with no museum in sight--since Mr. Gaddafy had other priorities--and then the revolution came and, in the chaos, Somebody made off with the artifacts. Some pieces may be showing up in markets in Egypt.
Again, DON'T BUY ANCIENT STUFF ON @#$% EBAY!

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Don's Life: In Pompeii-land

A Don's Life: In Pompeii-land
Welcome to the internet: posting a blog post on my blog. Mary Beard again contemplates Pompeii, and this time doesn't like what she sees: a revamped house of C. Julius Polybius with reconstructed furniture that smacks of Ikea and a holographic Roman projected on a curtain (which sounds really creepy). While I might pay extra to see this place just to help out the cause, it would indeed be nice if it could be less cheesy. We'll check it out next summer, perhaps, if the place is still standing.

Mummy Has Oldest Case of Prostate Cancer in Ancient Egypt - ScienceNOW

Mummy Has Oldest Case of Prostate Cancer in Ancient Egypt - ScienceNOW
CT scan of the spine of a mummy now in Lisbon find that he had lesions on his bones in a place where prostate cancer tends to spread. Some theories say that cancer has only become a common disease in modern times, but some people quoted in this article say that we just haven't had the technology until now to detect the signs of it in ancient people.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Rome, Flooded – Torrential Rainstorm – Roman and the Imperial Forums, Coloseum Valley and the Circus Maximus Underwater. Dott.ssa Astrid D’Eredita` / Fotos: Claudio Valletti / La Repubblica.it (20/10/2011). « Rome – The Imperial Fora (1995-2011).

Rome, Flooded – Torrential Rainstorm – Roman and the Imperial Forums, Coloseum Valley and the Circus Maximus Underwater. Dott.ssa Astrid D’Eredita` / Fotos: Claudio Valletti / La Repubblica.it (20/10/2011). « Rome – The Imperial Fora (1995-2011).
There was a giant rainstorm in Rome last week and the Colosseum, Forum, and Circus were inundated. Here are some pictures, with a few old photos of early 20th century floods, too. One picture of the Forum notes that this is what the Forum might have looked like fairly often before the building of the Cloaca Maxima. No wonder they built the Main Drain.

A Don's Life: Has another Pompeii wall collapsed?

A Don's Life: Has another Pompeii wall collapsed?
Mary Beard's blog ("A Don's Life") addresses recent news reports that another "wall has collapsed" at Pompeii. She is there and just says there was a rainstorm and some stones slid off a piece of wall. Not really a catastrophic collapse.

BBC News - Ardnamurchan Viking boat burial discovery 'a first'

BBC News - Ardnamurchan Viking boat burial discovery 'a first'
An intact Viking boat burial, with all its equipment stilll in it, was found at a site in western Scotland. Nice sword, axe head, etc. Plus, check out the awesome name of the place where it was found! Ardnamurchan.

Monday, October 10, 2011

An Ancient Tale Of War, An Ode To Epic Mythology : NPR

An Ancient Tale Of War, An Ode To Epic Mythology : NPR
A nice review of David Malouf's "Ransom," which retells the story of the encounter of Priam and Achilles over the body of Hector. I have not read "Ransom," but almost all this reviewer's passionate comments about the immediacy of emotions could apply to my feelings about Malouf's "An Imaginary Life," about Ovid in exile.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Friday, September 30, 2011

Stephen Greenblatt’s The Swerve: Did Lucretius’s Poem Really Bring Us Modernity? - Slate Magazine

Stephen Greenblatt’s The Swerve: Did Lucretius’s Poem Really Bring Us Modernity? - Slate Magazine
Yeah, I consider Slate and NPR to be "mainstream media," so DRN is now batting 2/2 for appearances in those venues. Having spent a good deal of my life with Lucretius, I don't think I am itching to read this book, but I wish other people would. Actually, I just wish they would read DRN!

A Don's Life: AD vs CE

A Don's Life: AD vs CE
Mary Beard weighs in on the BC/BCE and AD/CE problem, which has been in the news since the BBC appears to have made a policy statement on it. At the end of her article is a link to another one, by Boris Johnson, a colourful British politician, who disagrees with her.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

More Mycenaean Tablet

The Mycenaean Tablet: From the people who found it
Actually, it's Pylian, but I didn't think that would get people's attention. Here is an article from the UT website with an account from Cynthia Shelmerdine about the finding of the tablet, which is now described as the oldest readable writing from antiquity. (It says the number 1 and somebody's name; the back side says that something is "finished." Maybe.) She was my first-year Greek teacher, and she started the class off by explaining how to write Linear B.

Another article on the Mycenaean tablet

National Geographic on the Mycenaean tablet

(New) Tablet from the Mycenaean Hinterland

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/05/science/05archeo.html?_r=2&scp=1&sq=cosmopoulos%20iklaina&st=cse
This is not "new" in many senses of the word; I seem not to have been paying attention when the news came out last spring, and, of course, the thing itself isn't exactly new, either, being from the Late Bronze Age. This is the NYTimes article, where for some reason my Greek professor Cynthia Shelmerdine makes only a cameo appearance, although this little things does seem to be her baby.
I will also post another link to a National Geographic article about the tablet.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Archeological Sites in Ancient City of Apamea Vandalized and Pillaged- SANA, Syria

Archeological Sites in Ancient City of Apamea Vandalized and Pillaged- SANA, Syria
Don't believe I've ever posted a link to a Syrian website, until now. Enough news is getting out of Syria to suggest that the troubles there have created an opportunity for people to loot Apamea and its archaeological site. Who knows what other sites have been damaged? Precious little information on Syria has been seen.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Ice Mummy: Little-Known Facts : Discovery News

The Ice Mummy: Little-Known Facts : Discovery News
Sept. 19, 2011, marked the 20th anniversary of the discovery of the Iceman in South Tyrol. Here are 20 "facts" about him--or rather, educated guesses, in some cases.

BBC News - Sada Mire: Uncovering Somalia's heritage

BBC News - Sada Mire: Uncovering Somalia's heritage
Ms. Sada Mire is a native of Somalia who escaped as a refugee to Sweden and now studies in England. She has discovered several important prehistoric rock paintings in her native country, which is the part of Somalia which recently voted to become independent. Not surprisingly, archaeology is in its infancy in this place, and there are no museums. But UNESCO is considering listing the places she has discovered as world heritage sites.

Monday, September 19, 2011

"Virtual" Alhambra planned

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/09/02/world/europe/alhambra-sustainable-tourism/index.html?hpt=hp_bn6#
It appears that you will be able to "see" the closed-off-because-too-delicate-or-under-construction areas of the Alhambra thru a new app you can get when you visit. Weird. But there is also news of some physical restoration work at the palace.
Article include some lovely pictures of the palace, in a slide show.

ekathimerini.com | Shedding light on daily life and habits of ancient Greeks

ekathimerini.com Shedding light on daily life and habits of ancient Greeks
The ASCS in Athens has a lab where increasingly high-level forensic analysis can be done: they are now taking on the cache of 450 human infant skeletons from the 2nd c. CE found in a "well" many decades back. Seems to show practices of disposing of the remains of stillborn babies, babies who died in their first days, and perhaps deformed babies in ancient times. Oh, yeah, there are dog skeletons, too. Nobody quite knows what that's about.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Remains of Roman bath house found on Borough High Street [15 September 2011]

Remains of Roman bath house found on Borough High Street [15 September 2011]
Expanding the railroad across to the south bank of the Thames, construction workers came across remains of a Roman bath. Several nice pictures of the site.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

AFP: History brought to life as Battle of Marathon re-enacted

AFP: History brought to life as Battle of Marathon re-enacted
Only 50 people showed up! And the Greek government wasn't interested, although the city of Marathon was. Three pictures accompany the article: note the nice greaves.

City archaeologists make filthy find

City archaeologists make filthy find
Why archaeology--even more-recent-than-classical--is fun (for some people): work on a subway (what else?) in Copenhagen has turned up an 18th-century public toilet, in which the environmental conditions have conspired to preserve the, uh, contents in such good condition that they retain their original odor. Some archaeologists find this sort of thing very exciting--see the quotes from them in the article. They are quite cute as they exclaim over their discoveries: eighteenth-century Danes were eating rye, not just barley!

Controversy over Pompeii funding | The Art Newspaper

Controversy over Pompeii funding The Art Newspaper
More Italian managerial brilliance.

'Tatooine' gives first direct proof of 2-sun planet – Light Years - CNN.com Blogs

'Tatooine' gives first direct proof of 2-sun planet – Light Years - CNN.com Blogs
Ok, not classical, but very cool: a planet has been found 200 light years from Earth. It has two suns and is informally being called "Tatooine," after Luke Skywalker's double-sun homeland.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Damnatio memoriae in Tripoli

In Tripoli's museum of antiquity only Gaddafi is lost in revolution World news The Guardian
From Sunday, 9/11/11: the director of the museum in Tripoli reports that only Gaddafi's 1960s vintage VW Beetle and his Jeep were damaged when rebels came through the museum, looking for a secret passage into Gaddafi's headquarters.
Museum staff say they had moved a lot of the most precious classical pottery and sculpture out of the museum in the past few months, in preparation for the final chaos when Tripoli fell, so that stuff is safe in an undisclosed location (we hope). They also say that during his reign, Gaddafi forced the museum to take a lot of his crap into prime locations in its galleries, and they are happy to see it suffer damnatio memoriae.

Arizona church is house of prostitution, police say - CNN.com

Arizona church is house of prostitution, police say - CNN.com
In exchange for a donation, the Phoenix Goddess Temple will help you get in touch with the life force within you and provide a healing tantric experience. Or, you can pay them for sex.
Why is this on my blog? I am thinking of how totally legal this thing would be in classical Athens.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Ancient Egyptians used 'hair gel' : Nature News

Ancient Egyptians used 'hair gel' : Nature News
Some research on hair treatments found on mummies.

Flintknapping: The ancient art of making tools from stone - TehachapiNews.com

Flintknapping: The ancient art of making tools from stone - TehachapiNews.com
Have you ever wanted to learn flintknapping? Here is a guy who will teach you how!

Rabbi Indicted In Torah Scam - The Washington Post

Rabbi Indicted In Torah Scam - The Washington Post
Well, this was a bad thing to do. I remember reading about this guy a few years ago: he claimed to have criss-crossed Europe, digging up Torah scrolls that had been trashed or hidden during World War II. He then restored these scrolls and found homes for them in synagogues. He soliticed a couple of million dollars from donors to support this project. Trouble is, there was no project, no rescued Torahs, no Indiana-Jones-like exploits. Just money going into his bank account. (Unfortunately, a little research could have saved people a lot of money: He claimed to have found a scroll under the floorboards at Bergen-Belsen--but those barracks were burned at the end of the war. No floorboards exist.)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Black Death study lets rats off the hook | World news | The Guardian

Black Death study lets rats off the hook World news The Guardian
An archaeologist in London claims that if the plague of 1348-49 was spread by rats, he should be finding masses of rat skeletons. Since he isn't, he theorizes that the plague was spread human-to-human. This explains its extremely rapid movement, even in the super-cold winter that year, when fleas should have died. Somehow, I never imagined plague studies could get grosser when rats were taken out of the picture.

Ancient Roman Jar Riddled with Mystery | Roman Britain Artifacts & Museum of Ontario Archaeology | Archaeological Digs | LiveScience

Ancient Roman Jar Riddled with Mystery Roman Britain Artifacts & Museum of Ontario Archaeology Archaeological Digs LiveScience
A small jar, PROBABLY Roman, in the Ontario museum, has small holes all over it, at regular intervals. What would such a jar have been used for? No one knows. One problem: it was "excavated" by soldiers who were cleaning up a bomb crater in WWII, so its context is not really well documented.

Archaeologist digs into grandad's tale to uncover lost Yorkshire amphitheatre | Culture | The Guardian

Archaeologist digs into grandad's tale to uncover lost Yorkshire amphitheatre Culture The Guardian
A Cambridge archaeologist used to visit her grandfather in Aldborough and hear the "legend of the lost Roman amphitheater." Turns out there's one there after all. It is still buried, but scans have detected it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Photos: Quake damage to Washington National Cathedral - CNN.com

Photos: Quake damage to Washington National Cathedral - CNN.com
5 pictures, some quite detailed, of the earthquake damage to the towers and (a little bit) to the interior.

Cathedral Assessing 'Significant Damage' | NBC Washington

Cathedral Assessing 'Significant Damage' NBC Washington
This article has lots of detail about the damage to the National Cathedral in DC. I will also post a CNN story that has more pictures of the damaged towers, etc.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

BBC News - Roman dead baby 'brothel' mystery deepens

BBC News - Roman dead baby 'brothel' mystery deepens
A Roman villa in Britain, excavated 100 years ago, held the remains of over 100 infants. When these bones recently were rediscovered in storage, the current curator of the local museum theorized that the "villa" was in fact a brothel, and that the women working there disposed of their unwanted children. Skeptics point out that the villa is way out in the middle of nowhere, not prime country for walk-in brothel business. One guy suggests the place was a sort of sanctuary for some mother goddess, which doubled as a lying-in hospital, where ladies went to give birth under the goddess' protection. The bones would then be children who were stillborn or died at birth. But wouldn't the middle of nowhere also be a bad location for a maternity hospital?
Note that this "mystery" will be featured on a new BBC 2 TV show called "Digging for Britain." Link to the show's website at end of article.

BBC News - Italian police arrest 'gladiators' by Colosseum

BBC News - Italian police arrest 'gladiators' by Colosseum
This news is a few days old, but the video here is fun to watch. I'll bet these cops think they are badasses for handcuffing gladiators.
Seems the fake gladiators who urge you to get your picture took with them (for a price) are beating up other would-be gladiators who try to move in on their turf. Tourists also report that the glads like to take the picture with your camera and then hold the camera for ransom.
Personal experience shows that they hate it when you take their picture from afar, without paying; that's probably why the video with this story shows signs of having been shot clandestinely, from crotch level. Once the glads are being arrested, the photographer becomes bolder. There's something Mel-Brooks-esque about the image of gladiators being loaded into tiny Italian cars; I imagine someone saying "Drive me off this picture."
Also, not to quibble, but "by Colosseum" in the headline is misleading. That looks a lot like the Piazza Venezia. And what's this about undercover cops posing as garbage collectors (BBC: "dustbin men")? Those wouldn't stand out on the streets of Rome at all.

BBC News - Oxford Viking massacre revealed by skeleton find

BBC News - Oxford Viking massacre revealed by skeleton find
Apparently King Ethelred the Unready wasn't unready to kill Danes.

AFP: Bulgaria subway expansion digs up Roman city

AFP: Bulgaria subway expansion digs up Roman city
4th-cent. CE remains found underneath downtown Sofia. Subway station will eventually feature a museum.

Sunken Treasure Found in the Seas Of Sicily : Discovery News

Sunken Treasure Found in the Seas Of Sicily : Discovery News
Over 3000 identical bronze Punic coins were found at the bottom of the sea near Pantelleria, a tiny island SW of Sicily. The coins date to the time of the 1st Punic War between Rome and Carthage, around 250 BCE. Pretty coins, with picture of Tanit on one side and a horse's head on the other.

Human precursors went to sea, team says - BostonHerald.com

Human precursors went to sea, team says - BostonHerald.com
Tools dating to 130,000 years ago seem to have been found in Crete. Did Homo erectus make boats? Or has a mistake been made in dating these things?

3,000-year-old bog body is likely to be sacrificed Irish king | Irish News | IrishCentral

3,000-year-old bog body is likely to be sacrificed Irish king Irish News IrishCentral
Oh, Lord, the King Must Die! Also...gross.

Roman artifact helps nuclear storage research | KPLU News for Seattle and the Northwest

Roman artifact helps nuclear storage research KPLU News for Seattle and the Northwest
So if you turned nuclear waste into glass and stored it, say, at the bottom of the sea, what would happen to it after a couple of thousand years? I know, let's check out glass from a Roman shipwreck to find out. Cool. Not sure it's useful in the search for a place to keep nuclear waste...but cool.

Roman Vindolanda and Roman Army Museum, Hadrian's Wall, Northumberland National Park

Roman Vindolanda and Roman Army Museum, Hadrian's Wall, Northumberland National Park
For those of you asking "Vindo-what?"

Ancient Sartorialists: New Finds Point to Roman Fashion Craze - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Ancient Sartorialists: New Finds Point to Roman Fashion Craze - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
I wish this article had some references; I'm not sure about their interpretation of some of this stuff. The "news" is underwear with a gusset in it, which suggest more sophisticated tailoring than we thought Romans were capable of. (Not really ready to go with you on that one.) But it is good to know that bits and pieces of fabric continue to be found at Vindolanda. One more reason to go there!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Roman 'gladiators' arrested after clash of swords outside Colosseum | World news | The Guardian

Roman 'gladiators' arrested after clash of swords outside Colosseum World news The Guardian
Don't be giving your camera to these bastards to "take your picture." They'll try to hold it for ransom. They were also beating up other fake gladiators who tried to move in on their territory. Years ago, the city announced it was going to license these photo-op reenactors, but never got around to it. Give them a wide berth; don't even try to pirate a pic of them from afar, because they get mad at that.

Monday, August 1, 2011

NASA - The Giant Planet Story is the Story of the Solar System

NASA - The Giant Planet Story is the Story of the Solar System
The "Juno" mission to Jupiter will investigate the magnetic field and atmosphere of Jupiter. Why is it called "Juno"? See the section called "Juno's Mythical Connections." Very clever.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Bronze Age holy site studied in Italy - UPI.com

Bronze Age holy site studied in Italy - UPI.com
Mount Cimino near Viterbo in Lazio seems to have an Etruscan religious site dating to 1000 BCE. Cool. Small picture of the dig accompanies the article.

The U.S. and Greece Agree to Ban Imports of Most Antiquities, Despite Concerns Raised by Debt Crisis - ARTINFO.com

The U.S. and Greece Agree to Ban Imports of Most Antiquities, Despite Concerns Raised by Debt Crisis - ARTINFO.com
Hmm. Seems like grandstanding to me, if the Greek government can't actually protect ancient sites from looting or prevent smuggling from going on.

Xanthos excavations turned over to Turkish archaeologists - Hurriyet Daily News

Xanthos excavations turned over to Turkish archaeologists - Hurriyet Daily News
Some politics here..."due to the slow progress under the guidance of French teams." Also some sniping about the British stealing stuff in the 19th century. Actually, the article has some good background on the city of Xanthos and its ancient history. Note that, since this was (at one time) a Greek city in what is now Turkey, the comments section turns into racist sniping between Greeks, Turks, and (why not?) Macedonians.
[Once again, I would like to make it perfectly clear to the world that I take no position on the status of modern Macedonia.] Doesn't anyone want to speak up for the Hittites? Or Lycians? No Lycian nationalist movement out there?

Bit By Bit, Afghanistan Rebuilds Buddhist Statues : NPR

Bit By Bit, Afghanistan Rebuilds Buddhist Statues : NPR
Hey, I thought they weren't going to rebuild them. Guess I haven't been keeping up. Kind of a tough call.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Times Higher Education - Reading Aristotle can roll back the tide of relativism

Times Higher Education - Reading Aristotle can roll back the tide of relativism
Good grief, people. Stop politicizing Classics. Reading everything can roll back the tide of relativism (NOT that there's anything wrong with the tide of relativism), as long as you actually read Everything.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Stage at Hieropolis to go under restoration - Hurriyet Daily News

Stage at Hieropolis to go under restoration - Hurriyet Daily News
As reported earlier, Turkish tourism authorities are going to restore (rebuild?) some classical sites, the better to impress money-bearing tourists. Here, a theater of the 2nd? century CE will have its stage and tunnels rebuilt, perhaps so productions of Plautus can be staged there? Probably not. This theater looks to be in nice condition already; not sure it needs any "upgrade."

BBC News - Weary Herakles bust to be returned by US to Turkey

BBC News - Weary Herakles bust to be returned by US to Turkey
Boston MFA will return the top half of a statue (not really a bust--just a broken-off full-length guy) to Turkey, which claims to have the bottom half of the same statue from Antalya.
Aren't there lots of examples of this type of Herakles statue from antiquity? Are we sure this top goes with this bottom?

World Blog - Libya's ancient Greek ruins open for visitors

World Blog - Libya's ancient Greek ruins open for visitors
There is a video clip from Richard Engel's appearance on the Today Show, with footage of the classical ruins at Cyrene. (He is NBC's senior foreign correspondent--it's weird to see him in a studio rather than a war zone.) He assures us that Cyrene, which is on the far eastern side of Libya, in territory controlled by the "rebels," is safe and accessible. OK, if you're a seasoned international reporter, but still not ready for tourists. It is very depressing to see these places deserted, when they really need to be taken care of.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

All Non-Africans Part Neanderthal, Genetics Confirm : Discovery News

All Non-Africans Part Neanderthal, Genetics Confirm : Discovery News
Well, this looks conclusive, for the moment. Somebody in your family...way back...probably did it with a Neanderthal, unless all your ancestors from the dawn of time have been from Africa. Not really sure what this means, but it's kind of cool to have the DNA evidence.
Next question: After interbreeding with them, did we kill them off? Or did we let Mother Nature do it for us?

Monday, July 18, 2011

God's Wife Edited Out of the Bible -- Almost : Discovery News

God's Wife Edited Out of the Bible -- Almost : Discovery News
Edgy stuff for the nearly-mainstream media: coverage of a scholar in Britain who is popularizing the information about Asherah (Astarte/Ishtar/"Sacred Tree") and her role in a sacred pair along with Yahweh. You always knew He was up to something.
People will say, "It's bad enough that real women are edited out of history, but female deities, too?" Oh, those patriarchal monotheists and their red pencils!
Wonder if we'll see this scholar's documentary on Discovery Channel anytime soon.

Israel: Diggers unearth the Bible's bad guys - Story - Environment/Sci - 3 News

Israel: Diggers unearth the Bible's bad guys - Story - Environment/Sci - 3 News
And while on the New Zealand news site...news of a dig at the Philistine city of Gath. More evidence emerges of the possible Aegean origins of the Philistines. They ate lentils similar to those eaten in Greece. Goliath's name is Indo-European, not Semitic. And--most horrifying to their Hebrew neighbors--they ate dogs and pigs!
I just like the name "Gath."

Egypt's iconic antiquities chief fired - Story - World - 3 News

Egypt's iconic antiquities chief fired - Story - World - 3 News
More drama in the saga of Zahi Hawass. I guess this stage was inevitable. But the dust has not settled yet, I suspect.
No real reason to get this from a New Zealand news site, but there it is.

Caligula Statue Unveiled in Italy : Discovery News

Caligula Statue Unveiled in Italy : Discovery News
More smugglers!! These, too, got caught. They were smuggling a big hunk of marble out of Italy, and, once again, our heroes, Alert Cops, took notice. Where'd you get that big rock, they asked. Nemi, said the smugglers. Let's go look at Nemi for more pieces: check it out! Big hunk of marble seems to have been an over-life-sized statue of Emperor Gaius Caesar, wearing the booties (caligae) that gave him his more commonly-known nickname. OK, admittedly, the "colossal statue" now consists only of a leg, with boot, and a togate lap, sitting on a nicely carved throne with fringed stone pillow. Very regal, uh, imperial, though.
Click on the link in the article to see video (no audio) of the hunk being unloaded from a truck, cleaned off, and put on display in the museum in Nemi where Bootsie's wonderful Party Boats USED TO BE displayed, until Certain People (that means you, Hitler!) burned them. (The article recaps that sad episode at the end.)

Bones in a Broch

Iron Age Roundhouse in Scotland, with human burial
Now in Scotland, there isn't/wasn't a lot of wood, so Iron Agers had to build their roundhouses out of stone, not wattle-and-daub. Guess there was a wattle shortage, too. Anyway, a stone roundhouse is called a "broch," which you probably have to be Scots to pronounce. This one at Caithness turns out to contain some human remains, but they may have been put there long after the broch was built, because it was considered a sacred space even centuries after it fell into disuse.

Stolen Petroglyph Returned Home in Nevada

http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/cacc1291bcb34c50ac37b56ec2ab0c71/NV--Stolen-Petroglyph-Returns/
More people behaving badly with antiquities: a Nevada real estate agent stole a petroglyph from the desert (picture of some bighorn sheep) and used it to decorate his front yard. An alert sherrif's deputy was there to serve some unrelated papers and said, "Hmm, that thing probably isn't legal." Too bad the article gives no background on the petroglyph's actual origins, just the deputy's speculation that the thang is "well over a hundred years old." Good guess.

Feds bust group trying to smuggle Ancient Egyptian mummy coffins

Feds bust group trying to smuggle Ancient Egyptian mummy coffins
I saw this story in some other news outlets, but this one is written in the inimitable style of the NY Daily News, with cracks about the "curse of the mummy."
It's not just mummies and coffins, but an international ring of smugglers dealing in Egyptian antiquities, apparently active since 2005 or something.

Shabbat boundary rock w... JPost - Arts & Culture - Entertainment

Shabbat boundary rock w... JPost - Arts & Culture - Entertainment
I don't normally get around to reading the "Jerusalem Post," but it stands to reason that it would have some good articles about recent archaeological discoveries in the region.
You can't "work" on the Sabbath, right? And travel constitutes work. But how far can you walk before it's "travel"? Well, of course, there's a rule for that. And in the city of Jerusalem, there were markers that denoted the limits of Sabbath walking-around-which-is-not-technically-travel.
The discovery consists of a rock with the word "Shabbat" inscribed in Hebrew; the best date is between 1st and 7th centuries CE. Not too precise, but perhaps further discoveries of similar stones will narrow it down.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

How a Roman Ship Carried Live Fish: Photos : Discovery News

How a Roman Ship Carried Live Fish: Photos : Discovery News
How did all those exotic fish get transported to Rome without spoiling? Live tank on board ships, if we are to believe the interpretation of this Roman shipwreck. Gratias Max to M. Leeper for alerting us to this story.

Pyramid Hieroglyphs Likely Engineering Numbers : Discovery News

Pyramid Hieroglyphs Likely Engineering Numbers : Discovery News
New markings found inside the pyramid are interpreted as marks or measurements made by the builders. A link within this article takes you to an earlier article detailing the robot's exploration of the pyramid's tiny passageways and the use of the "bendy camera" to see around corners. ZH is apparently not lying low any more.

Iceman Had Bad Teeth : Discovery News

Iceman Had Bad Teeth : Discovery News
New analysis reveals that Oezti had bad teeth--cavities, periodontal disease, bone loss--although none of his teeth had fallen out. Blame falls on the sugars in his high-carb diet. Apparently the Neolithic Revolution was bad news for our dental health.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Leaning Tower of Pisa Stands Tall: Photos : Discovery News

Leaning Tower of Pisa Stands Tall: Photos : Discovery News
A nice picture essay on the LTP, now newly cleaned and restored. A project in the 1990s managed to straighten it up by 17 inches and make it stable for, supposedly, the next 300 years. It does look nice and white again (hover mouse over pictures to get captions). Like your teeth, the marble on the tower was damaged by the crookedness--pressure, stress, sun exposure.

Iraq's Ancient Ur Site in Danger : Discovery News

Iraq's Ancient Ur Site in Danger : Discovery News
Nothing much in the way of excavation has been done here since Woolley dug in the 1930s, for God's sake. Not much conservation, and what was done wasn't too great. There was also a nice article about Ur in Archaeology magazine a few months back, by an American soldier who was stationed near there; his report was also very depressing.
Good grief, people; this place is one of the earliest great human monuments on the planet. It has survived over 5000 years of weather, war, and usage. Stuff it has seen makes our current squabbles seem quite trivial.

Gladiator Chews Out Ref From Grave : Discovery News

Gladiator Chews Out Ref From Grave : Discovery News
Mala vocatio! Bad call by a gladiatorial ref. This gladiator's epitaph tells how he knocked down his opponent and presumably should have been given the victory then, but a corrupt official let the opponent get back up and continue the fight. I hate when that happens.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Speakers for Passages exhibit in OKC

Speakers for Passages exhibit
The Passages exhibit on the history of the Bible and its texts is at the OKC Museum of Art. There are some visiting scholars who will be speaking in connection with the exhibit. This is the schedule. Note especially Dirk Obbink on papyri Sept. 13.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Archaeologists Unscramble Ancient Graffiti In Israel : NPR

Archaeologists Unscramble Ancient Graffiti In Israel : NPR
Aramaic, it turns out, is the key to all other Semitic languages--the archaeologist in the article calls it "the little black dress" of the Semitic wardrobe. Maybe that explains why I've always had so much trouble reading Nabataean.
Note that there are 16 very nice photos of the tombs described, tombs from the Roman thru Byzantine period in Israel. And the archaeologist is right: graffiti are very wonderful sources, because they are written but not literary, so they are spontaneous, uncensored, and authentic. And sometimes they say funny things (like "Good luck on your resurrection").

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

With Roman Ruins Under Threat, Libya’s Ancient Past Presses Against Its Present - Global Spin - TIME.com

With Roman Ruins Under Threat, Libya’s Ancient Past Presses Against Its Present - Global Spin - TIME.com
!@#$ Gaddafi may hide military assets at Leptis Magna, and NATO won't promise not to bomb the site if he does. It hadn't occurred to me that Leptis is halfway between Tripoli and Misrata. This is bad. Bad flashbacks to the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003, when we had to worry about Saddam booby-trapping Ctesiphon.
This Libya thing had been get settled soon, because I really want to see Leptis some day!

Book Review: A Most Dangerous Book - WSJ.com

Book Review: A Most Dangerous Book - WSJ.com
A review of Christopher Krebs' new book about Tacitus' Germania. Gratias maximas to Dr. H.R. Nollert for the link.

Patrick Leigh Fermor, 1915-2011: scholar, writer, hero. - By Christopher Hitchens - Slate Magazine

Patrick Leigh Fermor, 1915-2011: scholar, writer, hero. - By Christopher Hitchens - Slate Magazine
Hello! Long time no blog. Finally, however, a nice article on scholars--especially classicists--playing heroic (if not always Homeric) roles in WWII. Our old favorites BMW Knox and NGL Hammond make cameo appearances here. (Also, Mr. Hitchens, I fear your Horace quote is misspelled. But I overlook that, as long as you say nice things about the classicists.)
BTW, last week Hitchens had an article on Slate.com with a cameo appearance by a naked Maurice Bowra! But most of the article was about Rep. Weiner, so I shall spare us all.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Turkey Cultivates Sites of Its Christian Heritage - NYTimes.com

Turkey Cultivates Sites of Its Christian Heritage - NYTimes.com
Turkey is promoting tourism to sites associated with early Christianity, including Laodicea and Isnik (Nicaea). This is a great idea and could make a lot of money, if foreign tourists start seeing Turkey as a place to tour for Christian history. But why no mention of Cappadocia?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Man Who Got Him

I don't usually write my own posts; I started the blog mainly to save links I didn't have time to read right away or links I wanted to share with people who might be interested in them. Honestly, links too nerdy for Facebook.
But I have been having some thoughts about a particular historical parallel, and I figure it's my blog and I might as well use it.
Apropos of capturing/killing enemy leaders, it occurs to me that we know the name—1905 years later—of the Roman cavalryman who captured the Dacian king Decebalus in 106 CE: Tiberius Claudius Maximus. We know about him because someone put this information (along with a lot of other details about his military career) on his gravemarker, which was found in Philippi, Greece, in 1965. Decebalus was captured by a team of exploratores, “scouts,” who must have been a crack unit sent out by the Emperor Trajan himself, who was in the field. Tiberius Claudius Maximus says he brought Decebalus’ head to the Emperor—no digital photos or DNA back then. (See Gwyn Morgan, 69 A.D.: The Year of the Four Emperors, p. 301, n. 2: “Romans cut off the heads of prominent enemies for two reasons. First, there was identification. Before photography, this was the easiest way to ensure that the man in question had been killed…Second, there was the humiliation of having one’s corpse mutilated.” This has got to rate as the best footnote ever written, by the way. It is even better if you read it in Gwyn’s voice.)
Now, Decebalus wasn’t exactly taken by surprise in his secret compound: he was chased down by cavalry after a battle and slit his own throat. This incident is illustrated rather dramatically in a scene on Trajan’s Column, where the tree suggests this incident took place in a forest. You can see a nice photo of it in the Wikipedia article on Tiberius Claudius Maximus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiberius_Claudius_Maximus). The book Apollodorus of Damascus and Trajan’s Column: from tradition to project, by Giuliana Calcani and Maamoun Abdulkarim (2003), describes the scene on this panel and says that TCM is probably the man on the right who has dismounted and is coming at Decebalus.
You can read a major article on the grave stele, with a transcription and commentary on the entire text, here: Michael Speidel, “The Captor of Decebalus: A New Inscription from Philippi,” Journal of Roman Studies 60 (1970) 142-53 (UCO fans: I was able to find this on JSTOR). Some more bibliography is at a rather fun site called RomanArmy.com: http://www.romanarmy.com/cms/component/option,com_imagebase/task,view/cid,121/Itemid,94/ Click on the larger picture of the grave stele and you can see/read the entire inscription. OK, you can see it. Way down the stone, about five lines above the bottom of the picture, maybe you can find Decebalus’ name.
I wonder if we will ever know the names of the people who are right now taking pride in having found and killed Osama bin Laden. They have got to be as proud of their accomplishment as TCM was, but they can’t take a bow in the spotlight. Actually, I wonder if we really want to know who the individual was: our society—and I would imagine especially groups like the SEALS—is big on “teamwork,” as opposed to individual glory. But I just can’t get over the fact that there’s a guy walking around today who wakes up in the morning and thinks, “I’m the guy who shot Osama bin Laden.”

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cavemen, Cave Bears Battled Over Turf : Discovery News

Cavemen, Cave Bears Battled Over Turf : Discovery News
This strikes me as a kind of "Man Bites Dog" story: it is possible that the cave bears died out because WE ate THEM. (They were vegetarians.) Also, someone points out (rather obviously), the bears and the humans had to have coexisted for at least some time, because the humans painted pictures of the bears on the cave walls: you don't paint pictures of animals that are already extinct! I'm not fond of the dual-use theory of the caves: bears sleep there in winter, humans in summer. Why do we need a cave in the summer? (And don't say, "Because the bears are up and about...")

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Obelisk in Central Park | drhawass.com - Zahi Hawass

Obelisk in Central Park drhawass.com - Zahi Hawass
I can't find when this was written--probably some time back, before Dr. H had a few other things on his mind. But it reminds us to look closer to home for antiquities that may need conservation: the Central Park obelisk ("Cleopatra's Needle") is indeed, as you can see from the pictures here, in terrible shape. Pollution, weather, etc., all conspire to eat away at it.

Evolution of Language Takes Unexpected Turn | Wired Science | Wired.com

Evolution of Language Takes Unexpected Turn Wired Science Wired.com
More on the computer analysis of linguistic evolution.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sands, not lights, cover Gaza archaeology sites - Yahoo! News

Sands, not lights, cover Gaza archaeology sites - Yahoo! News Another place not conducive to proper digging, due to political troubles: Gaza. Israel was cooperating somewhat to preserve things, until Hamas took over. UNESCO seems to be trying to preserve things, too, but with little progress. Another reason to settle the mess in this reason.

Who killed the hill fort nine? Mystery find shakes our iron age assumptions | Science | guardian.co.uk

Who killed the hill fort nine? Mystery find shakes our iron age assumptions Science guardian.co.uk More rewriting of British history: the Iron Age (pre-Roman) was apparently not all sweetness and light. (If it had been, why the need for hill forts? huh?)

Hope Amid Ruins: Clues To The Future In Libya's Past : NPR

Hope Amid Ruins: Clues To The Future In Libya's Past : NPR Report from Cyrene, in the midst of Libya's civil war (or whatever it is). Interview even with an aged archaeologist, who remembers back when they could do proper archaeology in Libya.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Phonemic Diversity Supports a Serial Founder Effect Model of Language Expansion from Africa

Phonemic Diversity Supports a Serial Founder Effect Model of Language Expansion from Africa Abstract of the article mentioned in the NY Times story.

Languages Grew From a Seed in Africa, Study Says - NYTimes.com

Languages Grew From a Seed in Africa, Study Says - NYTimes.com You know how geneticists can figure out how long ago a mutation occurred because they think they know the "rate" at which genes change? (I don't, really, but I've heard something about it.) What if you could do something like that with language? Mathematical models show that languages have fewer phonemes the farther away they are from SW Africa--does that mean all languages originated in that area? Can this sort of analysis really be done on languages? Hmm. It would interesting if it could. See the link within this article to the original article in Science magazine.

Exclusive: Early Christian Lead Codices Now Called Fakes | LiveScience

Exclusive: Early Christian Lead Codices Now Called Fakes LiveScience Wrong kind of lettering and things like that.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Don't talk to British tabloids

http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/europe/04/10/czech.republic.unusual.burial/index.html?iref=obnetwork#
That is the lesson drawn from the archaeologists who reported on a Neolithic male skeleton found buried (in the Czech Republic) facing the direction usually used for female Neolithics in that area. Could he have been a person in a "special category"? When the tabloids pick this up, they label him "Gay Caveman." Much huffing by angry archaeologists ensues.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The clinical nature of modern warfare - World - CBC News

The clinical nature of modern warfare - World - CBC News Getting political on you for a moment, but this commentary contains some instructive numbers comparing ancient and modern warfare, taking the Battle of Cannae as a starting point. Can we even imagine war on that human scale any more? 48,000 dead (on one side) in a day. He even brings in some similar figures from World War I and compares those to modern, automated, drone-based, long-distance "clinical" warfare. Note reference to Robert O'Connell's book, "The Ghosts of Cannae."

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Race to save Buddhist relics in former Bin Laden camp | The Art Newspaper

Race to save Buddhist relics in former Bin Laden camp The Art Newspaper The Taliban continue their destruction of very old Buddhist sites: here a site with remains from the 3rd-7th centuries is going to become a copper mine (leased to a Chinese company). Archaeologists have been scrambling to survey and excavate the place first, but Kabul doesn't control this area: it remains in Taliban hands.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Catacomb of secret tunnels packed with mummified remains of EIGHT MILLION dogs is excavated in Egypt | Mail Online

Catacomb of secret tunnels packed with mummified remains of EIGHT MILLION dogs is excavated in Egypt Mail Online Last week we heard about the "Dog Catacombs" of Egypt, near Saqqara. This article has more detail, and more pictures. (Warning to Dog Lovers: Some details and pictures may be distressing. Join the club: We cat people have been dealing with this problem in Egyptology for years.) It also has a picture of the cutest, most canine statue of Anubis I've ever seen.

Nanotechnology to protect rock tombs in southern Turkey - Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review

Nanotechnology to protect rock tombs in southern Turkey - Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review Very high-tech nanochemical methods will be used to clean and restore the surfaces of these cliffside sites in Dalyan, Turkey, a square centimeter at a time. The Roman theater at Telmessos will be similarly treated. I wonder if we'll ever hear how this project comes out?

Ancient metal plates found in Middle East | Deseret News

Ancient metal plates found in Middle East Deseret News Uh-oh. Those lead codices that made the news last week from Jordan? Maybe fakes. (I pass over the irony of the "Deseret News" reporting a story of forged "ancient" documents. I say absolutely nothing about it.) Actually, other sources are skeptical, too.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Santa Pudenziana, Rome - Smarthistory

Santa Pudenziana, Rome - Smarthistory "Smarthistory.org" is actually "smARThistory"--I haven't used it before, but it looks like it might be an interesting thing to browse. This is the article on Sta Pudenziana, a special church in Rome for me, because of 1) the 4th-cent. mosaic of Christ in a purple-and-gold toga, and 2) the Filipino faith-healing service I stumbled onto there in 2007, when all I really wanted was a photo of the mosaic. I seriously considered having Father Suarez lay hands on my aching foot, but I was afraid I would then feel compelled to buy his CD. (The Rest of the Story: I then proceeded to Sta Maria degli Angeli, where I found a Spanish-language [Filipino?] Mass going on, complete with guitars and bongo drums. Bizarre contrast with a church interior occupying the ruins of a Roman bath, redesigned by Michelangelo. But I was really proud of myself for being able to instantly tell Spanish from Italian!) The lesson from both sites: never go church-sightseeing on a Sunday!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Current news on sites and objects | drhawass.com - Zahi Hawass

Current news on sites and objects drhawass.com - Zahi Hawass Dr. Hawass reports on a dig near Saqqara, where Old Kingdom remains may have been damaged by unauthorized access to the site (looters). He also reports, however, on the recovery of a few more pieces stolen from the Cairo Museum: a bazaar merchant was offered some pieces, and told the police.

ekathimerini.com | Greek ruins of Cyrene draw goats, cows, few tourists

ekathimerini.com Greek ruins of Cyrene draw goats, cows, few tourists Cyrene is in eastern Libya, in the area that has been wrested from government control. A lot of good it does you to be a UNESCO World Heritage site, if people still let their goats and sheep graze all over the ruins. Best sentence from this article: "A school of Greek philosophy is said to have been started at Cyrene, but the only ruminating there now is done by cows." This is a beautiful site: one hopes that when the dust, uh, settles in Libya the people will be able to take better care of their cultural heritage sites and the rest of the world will be free to visit them.

Prehistoric Fossil May Have Inspired Greek Myths : Discovery News

Prehistoric Fossil May Have Inspired Greek Myths : Discovery News Wooly rhinoceros? Wow. The bone itself is not news, but its landing in the Ashmolean is. Adrienne Mayor interviewed.

Reunited Pompeii Couple Finds Permanent Home : Discovery News

Reunited Pompeii Couple Finds Permanent Home : Discovery News Woo-hoo! Discovery News reports on the exciting world of Roman epigraphy! How often does that happen?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Classics Professor Defends Middle School Latin Program | News | The Harvard Crimson

Classics Professor Defends Middle School Latin Program News The Harvard Crimson A sure sign of the apocalypse. If Newton, Mass., public schools put Latin on the chopping block, despite the testimony of Richard Thomas, what hope is there for the rest of us? I definitely did not need this today.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Italy offers to share disputed statue with Getty Museum - Telegraph

Italy offers to share disputed statue with Getty Museum - Telegraph This is the "Victorious Youth" bronze, of a young man adjusting what seems to be a wreath on his head. No wonder this thing's provenance is disputed: "The Italian fishermen who found it buried the statue in a cabbage field, then hid it in a priest's bathtub, before it went missing and reappeared in London." I love this statue; I would be sad if it went away from the Getty. However, in light of other recent problems, the Italian politician quoted here may be sarcastic when he says, "I trust that a museum as prestigious as the Getty will show the world that it is a cultural institution that behaves ethically."

BBC News - Jordan battles to regain 'priceless' Christian relics

BBC News - Jordan battles to regain 'priceless' Christian relics The weirdest "book" ever seen: lead sheets, bound together with lead rings. Stay tuned to see what these things turn out to be. Some are saying they are extremely early Christian texts.

8,000-year-old remains of early Anatolians discovered in Istanbul - Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review

8,000-year-old remains of early Anatolians discovered in Istanbul - Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Iron Age British brain found

2500 year old brain found at British archaeological site
Yes, this is super-gross! But it must have some significance, once I get over the nastiness factor. Note that article lists several other similar sites, where brains (or other soft tissues!) have been preserved.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What did the Romans ever do for us (if they didn't build our roads)? - This Britain, UK - The Independent####

What did the Romans ever do for us (if they didn't build our roads)? - This Britain, UK - The Independent####
Well, nothing's sacred. Seems the Iron Age Celts in Britain may have built nice paved roads WITHOUT ROMAN HELP. Wtf? Everybody knows the Romans were the only ancient people who knew how to make a paved road, right?

Ancient Buddhas Will Not Be Rebuilt – UNESCO - IPS ipsnews.net

Ancient Buddhas Will Not Be Rebuilt – UNESCO - IPS ipsnews.net
Should the Bamiyan Buddhas, blown up by the Taliban, be rebuilt? UNESCO thinks not: the result would basically be "a fake," because not enough of the original material survives, they say.

All bites are off - fleas did spread plague (From Worcester News)

All bites are off - fleas did spread plague (From Worcester News)
I think we heard about this earlier: DNA evidence from medieval (14th cent.) skeletons shows Yersinia pestis, the bug that causes bubonic plague. Apparently this "proves" that the Black Death was not some other disease: did anybody really think it wasn't Y. pestis? I've heard people float ideas like anthrax alongside Y. pestis, but is this really necessary? I guess it is cool to have DNA evidence, though.

Donny George, 60, Dies - Protected Iraq’s Artifacts - NYTimes.com

Donny George, 60, Dies - Protected Iraq’s Artifacts - NYTimes.com
Former head of the Baghdad museum, who tried to recover some of the material looted in 2003, Dr. George was supposed to give a lecture here a couple of years ago, but had to cancel due to bad weather. I am sad that we will never get a makeup visit.

BBC News - The Roman Ninth Legion's mysterious loss

BBC News - The Roman Ninth Legion's mysterious loss
More news related to the film "The Eagle." This one examines the Ninth Legion, whose "disappearance" forms the basis of the story.

Five historical clangers in Kevin Macdonald's The Eagle | Culture | guardian.co.uk

Five historical clangers in Kevin Macdonald's The Eagle Culture guardian.co.uk
A "clanger" seems to be what we would call a "blooper," although I take these more as misconceptions than as true goofs. A blooper, to me, is like stirrups on Roman horses (which this movie does have). These are bigger ideas, such as the concept that all Britons hated the Romans, or that Hadrian's Wall was built in response to the (non)loss of the 9th Legion. I did wonder about the language spoken by the Blue People in the film--again, a bigger issue that having the wrong kind of togas or sitting down at a table to eat. (WHY do people who make ancient Rome films seem so reluctant to let the poor Romans lie down to eat? Are we so married to the dining table that we can't imagine life without it?)

Agatha Christie: Archaeologist

Agatha Christie as Archaeologist
Not that we didn't know she went to Mesopotamia with Max Mallowan, but the part about cleaning the Assyrian ivories with her face cream is news to me. I also like the detail about why she was so devoted to her face cream: being 15 years older than Max, Agatha wanted to take care of her skin (out there in the dry climate) so she wouldn't look even older. Plus, I wonder about that other woman out there, the one Agatha didn't like.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Six Nations 2011: Stadio Flaminio dig to reveal Roman 'City of the Dead' | Sport | The Observer

Six Nations 2011: Stadio Flaminio dig to reveal Roman 'City of the Dead' Sport The Observer
1st-cent. BCE tombs under part of a modern rugby stadium on outskirts of Rome. Other fun details, such as part of a Roman wall inside an IKEA store. (Wait? IKEA in Italy? What's wrong with this picture?)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Buried with Secrets: Skeletons Likely Victims of Chemical Weapon | Rome, Persia and Ancient Warfare | Battle for Dura | LiveScience

Buried with Secrets: Skeletons Likely Victims of Chemical Weapon Rome, Persia and Ancient Warfare Battle for Dura LiveScience
Explanation for burnt bodies of soldiers found at Dura-Europos. Not what the original excavators in the 1920s imagined.

Cultivation of cereals by the first farmers was not more productive than foraging

Cultivation of cereals by the first farmers was not more productive than foraging
Here is the actual article on early farming, from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Why the switch from foraging to farming? - Yahoo! News

Why the switch from foraging to farming? - Yahoo! News
Report of a paper about the productivity of early human attempts at farming. Why stop being a hunter-gatherer and take up farming, when you don't know what you're doing? Early farmers wouldn't have been that good at it, and wouldn't have been able to produce as much as they had been able to get as hunter-gatherers. However, staying in one place has other survival advantages. A house! With a door! To keep the wooly mammoth out! Interesting.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Pictures: New Iceman Is Fit, Nearly Naked—And Too Old?

Pictures: New Iceman Is Fit, Nearly Naked—And Too Old?
The new model of Oetzi the Iceman at the Bolzano museum has been revealed. He is shown topless on the model not because anyone thinks he went around that way in the cold, but to show that he was muscular and fit. OK, if you say so. Still weird. No explanation of why he looks older than the previous hypothesis.

Rescued from the bonfire, the lost work of C S Lewis - News, Books - The Independent

Rescued from the bonfire, the lost work of C S Lewis - News, Books - The Independent
In an incident uncannily like the fiery near-death fate of Vergil's Aeneid, many of C.S. Lewis' papers were burned after his death. But a faithful secretary managed to salvage a bunch of them, and ONLY NOW (46 years later) has anyone realized that among the salvaged scraps are notes Lewis made toward a translation of the Aeneid. Apparently, we knew he read bits of it, in progress, to the gang down at the Eagle and the Child (Tolkien mentions the project in a letter), but the actual translation had never been seen. I'd imagine Lewis' take on Vergil would be serious, ponderous, and allusive. (Comment from peanut gallery: "You mean, like the original?")
I really love this article's account of how the faithful Tiro-like-person saved the bundle of random papers from the fire.
Really, has no one gone through Lewis' papers before now? Is he THAT out of fashion?

Classics makes it onto the life raft

Grand Valley Lanthorn :: STAYING AFLOAT IN THE LIFE RAFT DEBATE
Ain't none of us gettin' outta here without dead languages! Congratulations to Grand Valley State's classicist, Chuck Pazdernik, for convincing people that Classics is worth saving at the apocalypse.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Pompeii - ‘Life and Death in the Shadow of Vesuvius’ - Review - NYTimes.com

Pompeii - ‘Life and Death in the Shadow of Vesuvius’ - Review - NYTimes.com
An exhibit in Times Square (?!) featuring mostly plaster casts of the dead/dying from Pompeii, and some from Herculaneum, too. Sounds nasty, initially, but it seems the exhibit has more about Pompeii than just casts of writhing people. One hopes so, because tickets are $25.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Iraqi Tourism

Iraq is left wondering: Where are the tourists? - Travel - Destination Travel - Africa & Mideast Travel - msnbc.com
Why aren't tourists returning to Babylon? Maybe because most people don't think "Vacation" and "Iraq" in the same sentence. Also, same problem Libya has (had): lack of support infrastructure. Hotels, restaurants, etc., haven't really been a priority lately. Honestly, I think I'll get to Libya before Iraq.

What, you ask, is Leptis Magna?

Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna - UNESCO World Heritage Centre
Its Phoenician name was Lpgy (no vowels, of course). Anyway, here's the UNESCO page that describes why Leptis is a World Heritage Site: huge, magnificent Roman remains. On the Libyan coast; work on it ground to a halt during the isolation years of the 1980s and 1990s, until Libya opened back up again (somewhat) recently.

Libya's 'extraordinary' archaeology under threat : Nature News

Libya's 'extraordinary' archaeology under threat : Nature News
Now we must watch for the safety of antiquities in Libya--and news is much harder to come by. This report from the online branch of the scientific journal "Nature" seems to have made contact with someone who made contact with the Libyan archaeology boss, who says all is well. We shall see.
Just when I had begun to dream of seeing Leptis Magna some day...

Monday, February 28, 2011

Libya's Roman sites unscathed by unrest so far | Reuters

Libya's Roman sites unscathed by unrest so far Reuters
...as far as anybody can tell, given the weak state of communication with Libya. But this article does have some basic information about the Roman sites in Libya (and not just Leptis). We continue to keep our fingers crossed.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Child's 11,500-Year-Old Remains Unearthed In Alaska : NPR

Child's 11,500-Year-Old Remains Unearthed In Alaska : NPR
This is pretty cool, not just for the skeletal remains, but because it is a house. The broadcast story said that this was more extensive evidence about the living conditions of people in this era than they have from anywhere else. Their house, their hearth, bones from their food, their burial habits, etc. Not to mention ethnic clues from the teeth.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

SECRETS OF THE DEAD . Headless Romans | PBS

SECRETS OF THE DEAD . Headless Romans PBS
Yes, really! Headless Romans! But that's not all: damnatio memoriae, fratricide, Caledonians (sorry, no Mohawks), and tooth-enamel analysis. OMG. Does it get any better? Got to order this for the History class and the Latin class. Definitely the best Secrets of the Dead episode since the Herculaneum show.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Houston Museum District

Houston Museum District
"Titian and the Golden Age of Venetian Painting" (including the two big paintings mentioned in the last two entries)
MFAH, May 22-Aug 14, 2011.
I will try to find links to the other stops on this tour; this is just the one I'm most likely to make it to.

Two Titian Masterpieces Traveling Through U.S. : NPR

Two Titian Masterpieces Traveling Through U.S. : NPR
Another piece on the Diana and Actaeon and the Diana and Callisto; they are on tour on the US this year. Stay tuned for info about one of their stops.

The Surprising Tale Of Two Sexy, Titian Masterpieces : NPR

The Surprising Tale Of Two Sexy, Titian Masterpieces : NPR
Story about two Titian paintings--Diana and Actaeon & Diana and Callisto--and their history. Stay tuned: two more links coming about this topic.

Uplifting News | drhawass.com - Zahi Hawass

Uplifting News drhawass.com - Zahi Hawass
Dr. Hawass tells how several museums around Egypt have reopened. It is rather touching to hear of local Egyptians visiting the museums to see for themselves that everything is OK. (Well, almost everything.) Later in the update, ZH gets a leetle teeny bit defensive as he tries to explain why he can't hire everybody in Egypt who has a degree in archaeology--some of whom have been picketing outside his office. (What? The market for archaeologists is not good? OMG! Who knew?) Anyway, one hopes that the situation in the museums and digs around Egypt is settling down and getting back to normal, or perhaps even better than normal.

Some of Thomas Jefferson's Greek and Latin books discovered

74 of Thomas Jefferson’s books identified at Washington University library Newsroom Washington University in St. Louis
Some books in the archives at WUStL have been identified as originally coming from Thomas Jefferson's library at Monticello. Many of them are Greek and Latin books, including a volume of Plutarch's biographies of great Greeks and Romans; most unusually, inside one of the books is a small scrap of paper with Jefferson's own Greek handwriting on it! Scroll down in the article to see the picture of this scrap. (No, I don't know why this strikes me as so cool, but I once went far out of my way to see an exhibit in Washington DC that included the actual desk on which TJ wrote the Declaration, so maybe I'm obsessed with the actual process of his writing.)

Toyota decrees the plural of 'Prius' is 'Prii,' your Latin teacher looks on admonishingly -- Engadget

Toyota decrees the plural of 'Prius' is 'Prii,' your Latin teacher looks on admonishingly -- Engadget
Toyota actually had customers vote, and this is the pseudo-Latin they chose. See the note at www.rogueclassicism.com on whether "Prii" is even plausible Latin.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Prof. George Bass profiled on "This American Life"

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/399/contents-unknown
The episode of the radio program "This American Life" that aired on Jan. 22, 2011, features a story about Prof. George Bass, the father of the field of underwater archaeology, and his collaborator Fred van Doorninck, who worked for decades to reconstruct a Byzantine ship. You can download this episode for 99 cents, or you can just listen to it on the website above; the story should start about 23 minutes into the episode. It is a very cool profile of people who pulled off a true scholarly revolution. (And while you're at it, listen to the next story, about a man who forgot his own identity! Scary!) And yes, I admit to being a pretty serious fan of This American Life; without podcasts of it, I wouldn't get through much exercise.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Ousted Tunisian Dictator Accused of Looting and Despoiling Carthage - ARTINFO.com

Ousted Tunisian Dictator Accused of Looting and Despoiling Carthage - ARTINFO.com
Looting of antiquities from Carthage under the ousted Tunisian regime: worse than previously reported. Tapping into networks of Iraqi smugglers.

Further updates on the state of Egyptian antiquities | drhawass.com - Zahi Hawass

Further updates on the state of Egyptian antiquities drhawass.com - Zahi Hawass
The limestone statue of Akhenaten with the blue crown (the one that headlined the CNN story about a "King Tut statue") has been returned to the museum in Cairo. Story is that a teenaged protester "found" it near the museum, took it home, and was, uh, convinced by his parents to turn it in. (Similar stories abound from Baghdad.) Anyway, Akhenaten is back. Slightly broken, but fixable. Also more details on damage/looting at other sites in Egypt.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

AFP: Iceman Oetzi gets a new face for 20th anniversary

AFP: Iceman Oetzi gets a new face for 20th anniversary
Oetzi had brown eyes, apparently. Too bad the article can't show us the new mannequin.

Wroxeter house recreation adds colour to Roman site | Culture | guardian.co.uk

Wroxeter house recreation adds colour to Roman site Culture guardian.co.uk
This article details some of the technical aspects of building the place: heating system, tools, etc. And the project supervisor is most adamant: The Romans did NOT have wheelbarrows! The workmen were truly annoyed by his refusal to let wheelbarrows on site.

Opening Soon: Replica Roman Town House | English Heritage

Opening Soon: Replica Roman Town House English Heritage
Open to the public (at least those of us who can get to Wroxeter, England) as of February 19: a gorgeous replica of a Roman house. See the gallery at the right side of the page for a lot of photographs of the place. Beautiful.

Rome Wasn't Built in a Day - 4oD - Channel 4

Rome Wasn't Built in a Day - 4oD - Channel 4
Listen up, sports fans! This is fantastic! The British Channel 4 TV series "Rome Wasn't Built in a Day"--about the project to build a recreation of a Roman-style house in Wroxeter, England--can be watched online for free. The entire series. Ok, I haven't watched it yet because I have to grade these stupid quizzes this afternoon...but then as a reward to myself...woo hoo! Stay tuned to the blog for some other links on this project.-
UPDATE (2/17/11 3:43pm): Bah. The episodes are only available for 30 days after their original air date, so we can't watch the 1st one any more. Must put off grading quizzes and watch TV!

Restoring Ancient Artifacts: What Does it Take? | The Rundown News Blog | PBS NewsHour | PBS

Restoring Ancient Artifacts: What Does it Take? The Rundown News Blog PBS NewsHour PBS
Good to see PBS news shows addressing the archaeology side of the Egyptian mess. A short story about the modern philosophy and techniques of restoring artifacts: e.g., don't do anything that can't be undone. A couple of comments about what it may take to put King Tut back together again.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Archaeology Magazine Corrigenda

Archaeology Magazine Corrigenda « rogueclassicism
http://rogueclassicism.com is a classics blog that I enjoy reading every day. (Really. Shut up.) This entry consists of an email circulated by some Etruscologists, regarding the left/right orientation of several images in the recent Archaeology magazine story about the Etruscans. These are people who CAN TELL when they see Etruscan written backwards, and they don't like it. I understand, although I'm not in such a group.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cosmic Log - Games were big 4,000 years ago

Cosmic Log - Games were big 4,000 years ago
A Swedish dissertation studies evidence for games such as dice and board games at Mohenjo-Daro.

After the Revolution, Who Will Control Egypt's Monuments? - ScienceInsider

After the Revolution, Who Will Control Egypt's Monuments? - ScienceInsider
Science Magazine's analyst considers the possible future of Zahi Hawass in the new Egyptian political landscape. Will he fall victim to his longtime association with Mubarak? Or is he so established as the face of Egyptian archaeology around the world that no one can imagine the Antiquities authority without him and his hat?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Cairo's Cats Forgotten As Its Humans Rebel

Cairo's Cats Forgotten As Its Humans Rebel
Cats of Egypt! Arise and demand your rights! A sad sad story, about pets running from Mubarak's police, about demonstrators who never go home to feed the cats, about street cats who used to depend on handouts from tourists. Perhaps once Egypt gets human rights sorted out, animal right can get some attention, too. No sarcasm intended. Note that this situation came to light thanks to Gwen Cooper, author of "Homer's Odyssey"--no, not that one, but the other one, a book about her blind cat Homer. Homer has a Facebook page (of course) and it has been used to publicize the plight of Egyptian cats, now less worshipped than they used to be in ancient times. I cannot make fun of this woman, because I too used to own a kitty named Homer.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Eloquent Peasant » Blog Archive » Statues of Tutankhamun, Akhenaten, & Nefertiti stolen from the Egyptian Museum, Cairo

The Eloquent Peasant » Blog Archive » Statues of Tutankhamun, Akhenaten, & Nefertiti stolen from the Egyptian Museum, Cairo
Yes, yesterday Dr. Hawass listed on his blog (www.drhawass.com) several objects which, it turns out, are missing fro the Cairo museum, now that some of the dust has settled. And some of them are, if not the "crown jewels," pretty close. This blog here, "The Eloquent Peasant," is by an Egyptologist who tries to provide pictures of the objects based on Hawass' description of them. Most are easily identifiable, but some are a bit ambiguous (which "head of a princess"?). The Tut objects, of course, are quite familiar.
I'm going to editorialize here and say this has probably been a rather chaotic couple of weeks for the museum and its staff, so it's not entirely mysterious that it took them so long to ID the "missing" items. Like most people, their work schedules have probably been rather abnormal, due to the thousands of people, not to mention tanks and TV cameras, outside the very gates of the museum. (Shoot, we missed a few days due to snow here, and I'm completely off track. Can't imagine what a revolution would do to my concentration.) So I'm sure it took a while to get organized and figure out what was broken and what was truly gone. What a headache. Meanwhile, Hawass is probably pretty distressed on a personal level, since he's spent his whole career 1) working with (and/or constrained by) the Mubarak regime, and 2) trying to convince the international audience that Egypt is safe for antiquities. The question that is starting to nag me, though is this: why were there so few security guards on duty at the museum that night? Why were they so insistent on pinning the break-in of the museum proper (not gift shop) on this one lone criminal? It doesn't look good, at this point. I'm grateful that the rest of the Egyptian people seem to have banded together after this incident to protect their heritage, but there's still something fishy about what happened in that first incident.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Video of Lego model of Antikythera Mechanism

The Antikythera Mechanism in Legos

Andrew Carol Wired Science Wired.com
The Antikythera mechanism, ca. 2nd c. BCE, is a bunch of gears and doodads which are thought to have been used to compute eclipses. Now one Andrew Carol has replicated the thing in Legos (not, as I usually say, "Lego blocks," because there are a lot of non-block-like pieces involved in this). There is a short (2.5-minute) video showing how he built it and how it works. Lots of cool math, involving the fraction 5/19. Underneath the article, there are several links to other pages about the original and the replica.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Restoration continues at the Egyptian Museum, Cairo | drhawass.com - Zahi Hawass

Restoration continues at the Egyptian Museum, Cairo drhawass.com - Zahi Hawass
Today's report (2/11/11) from Dr. Hawass on his blog; note the absence of an update on 2/10/11! I imagine that was one busy day. There is a very nice picture on this post of the statue of King Tut with the panther; the king is standing back up, but is not yet remounted on his panther. Restoration work continues. The picture, lower down, of the smashed wooden boat is depressing. That one may take a while.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ancient Site of Carthage in Danger

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/feb/09/ben-ali-carthage-tunisia
This article, by an archaeologist who has excavated at Carthage, says that the recently-overthrown government of Tunisia did not respect or preserve the integrity of the archaeological site of Carthage. The ousted dictator allowed real estate developers to put up condos, etc., "near" (really near) Roman ruins. During his day, no one was allowed to complain about this violation, but now Tunisian archaeologists are sounding the alarm.
There is a link at the end of the article to a petition to save Carthage. Note that Carthage is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Carthago servanda est. (Had to say it.)

NBC News tour of Egyptian Museum, Feb. 10, 2011

What would Alexander do?

Guest opinion: What would Alexander do in Egypt today? The Des Moines Register DesMoinesRegister.com
What would Alexander do? Some lessons from 332 BCE. Professor Philip Freeman of Luther College muses on parallels between then and now.

No Venice-style mega-ads on the Colosseum during its sponsored conservation | The Art Newspaper

No Venice-style mega-ads on the Colosseum during its sponsored conservation The Art Newspaper
No shoe ads on the the Colosseum! Tod's (the shoe company that is putting up 25 million euros for the renovation) can call itself "sole (HA! No help from Darian on that one!) sponsor of the Colosseum restoration" or something like that, but it can't plaster its name all over the monument. We'll see. Hopefully, you won't enter the Colosseum and feel like you're at the TOSTITOS FIESTA BOWL.

Different Meanings Of Democracy For West, Middle East : NPR

Different Meanings Of Democracy For West, Middle East : NPR
Dr. J. Rufus Fears of the Univ. of Oklahoma interviewed by Scott Simon on the concept of democracy, in the context of Egyptian protests' calls for it. Whatever do they mean/want? I haven't listened to this one yet, but I think I may have heard this lecture in a different context before.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Stone Age Fertility Ritual Object Found : Discovery News

Stone Age Fertility Ritual Object Found : Discovery News
A "zigzag" carved on a piece of elk antler is interpreted to be "a woman with spread legs." Yes, I can see how you MIGHT interpret it that way, but is there any other evidence to support that? The only other evidence cited is "we have other zigzags that we also interpret that way." I'm going to need more.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The State of Egyptian Antiquities- 4 February 2011 | drhawass.com - Zahi Hawass

The State of Egyptian Antiquities- 4 February 2011 drhawass.com - Zahi Hawass
Dr. Hawass makes a very emotional plea that people not listen to rumors about looting, especially at Saqqara. He claims to be in a position to know the truth. I hope he is right. But the "rumors" also seem to be from people in a position to know. See the links at the Egyptology blog (http://egyptology.blogspot.com). I guess this is all just a lesson that, even in a world with easy worldwide communication, messages get scrambled and confused when people are panicked, emotional, and scared. I hope all this mess dies down soon, in a peaceful way.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

'Ravages of time' leave Auschwitz decaying - World news - Europe - msnbc.com

'Ravages of time' leave Auschwitz decaying - World news - Europe - msnbc.com
This is a different kind of "conservation" project. Not a place that is beautiful, or represents great accomplishments of a past civilization, but a nasty, horrific place that nevertheless needs to stay around. Must be a challenge to raise money for Auschwitz. It is actually sobering to remember that the other infamous camps do not exist any more; there should be one at least that remains for people to see, walk through, touch. It's real and as long as it is properly conserved the deniers can't wish it away.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Arts Post - Google Art Project: 'Street view' technology added to museums

Arts Post - Google Art Project: 'Street view' technology added to museums
Whoa. This could be interesting. As usual with Google's audacious projects, issues arise. But it goes a way toward further "shrinking" the world. Chances that I'll ever get a flight from Oklahoma City of St. Petersburg (Russia, not Florida) are slim.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

African soldier in Roman army? Settled in Britain?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-coventry-warwickshire-12280213
A skeleton found in Warwickshire, identified as a person of African origin, is thought to have been a Roman army veteran who chose (for whatever reason) to retire in Britain. The article notes that some legions from Africa were sometimes stationed along Hadrian's wall. Date seems around 300 CE. Very interesting evidence for the mobility of people of various origins and ethnicities around the Roman Empire.

"World's Oldest Temple"

Gobleki Tepe (Neolithic religious site in Turkey)
Article from Zaman about this site. (Comments suggest that the original picture published with the article was wrong, but I think it has been corrected.)
There have been other stories about this really cool, staggeringly old site:
http://www.archaeology.org/0811/abstracts/turkey.html
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/gobekli-tepe.html?c=y&page=3
The place is often touted as "the world's oldest temple."

Ancient church discovered in western Turkey - Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review

Ancient church discovered in western Turkey - Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review
A cryptic report from the Turkish government about discovery of the church of Laodicea. It is claimed that "this summer" the site may be opened to foreign press and scholars. OK. We'll see. This would be a nice site to know about, because it was a very early Christian site.

Ancient Transylvanians Rich in Gold, Treasure Shows

Ancient Transylvanians Rich in Gold, Treasure Shows
Ancient Dacia. Some enormous gold bracelets from the Dacians. Unfortunately, context and manner of discovery make the authenticity of these things dubious. But if they're real, they're pretty impressive. (Why no wear? Why so heavy?) Oh, Trajan; you weren't just out to spread Roman culture to the barbarians, were you?