Wednesday, May 24, 2006

On a personal note...

I'll be out of town for over a month for fieldwork. That means I'll have minimal internet access.

I hope eveybody has a nice (and even productive) summer!

Arrest on Paros over artifacts

From ekathimerini

Police on the Cycladic island of Paros said yesterday that they had arrested a 56-year-old woman for allegedly possessing a number of illegal antiquities, including nine sections of ancient columns.

Officers from the Attica police antiquities department had been on the island to chase up leads from the discovery of a huge stash of illegal artifacts on the nearby island of Schinoussa.

Policemen searched the house of an archaeologist who had allegedly worked in the past with Marion True, the former director of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Illegal artifacts were confiscated from True’s villa on Paros last month. But officers did not find anything suspicious at the unnamed archeologist’s house.

During their investigation, however, they found a total of 11 illegal antiquities in the possession of the unnamed 56-year-old woman after searching her home and the hotel owned by her husband. The find is not thought to be connected with the Schinoussa case.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Minoan civilization survived tsunami

From ekathimerini

The tsunami that hit the islands of the southern Aegean and the southern shores of Asia Minor was created in two phases.

The second mechanism causing the final phase of the eruption was the collapse of the volcano’s cone.

“It is believed that after a large percentage of volcanic material was ejected, the volcano’s cone emptied and that’s why it collapsed, simultaneously creating the large caldera” — or crater — “which today can be seen on Thera (Santorini),” Papadopoulos says.

“The collapse of the cone into the sea drove out a large amount of water, which then receded back into the sea and crashed upon the walls of the caldera, creating a tsunami.”

According to data derived from scientific research, the height of the tsunami waves ranged between 15 and 30 meters on Santorini and in northern Crete, based on the offshore geomorphology.

“It was probably a very harsh and violent tsunami,” Papadopoulos says. “It is estimated that the waves reached northern Crete 30 to 45 minutes after they were created [by the eruption]. The large height of the waves likely provoked a vast array of catastrophes at coastal Minoan sites. However, we don’t believe that [the tsunami] provoked the collapse of the Minoan civilization, which should be attributed to another era.”

Scientists came to this conclusion in part because they examined similar events in modern history, such as the recent tsunami in Indonesia.

“This tsunami provoked great catastrophes in one lengthy zone which included several countries in Southeast Asia and also caused the death of hundreds of thousands of people,” Papadopoulos says.

“However, several kilometers further inland, in the interior of the countries that were damaged, life went on as normal. We believe something similar happened in northern Crete, in the neighboring islands and on the southern shores of Asia Minor.”

Also see: Scientists probe the most famous volcanic eruption ever to take place in Greece

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Ancient Greek and Roman Jokes

A misogynist was sick, at death's door. When his wife said to him, "If anything bad happens to you, I'll hang myself," he looked up at her and said: "Do me the favor while I'm still alive."

For more jokes from "The Laughter Lover", take a look here. Not enough? More jokes from Curculio and Diotima.

Monday, May 08, 2006

What on Earth? Survey of Geographic Literacy

Half of young Americans can't find New York on a map.

This is just one of the results of the 2006 Survey of Geographic Literacy undertaken by Roper on behalf of the National Geographic Society.

According to the research:
- Only 37% of young Americans can find Iraq on a map—though U.S. troops have been there since 2003.
- 6 in 10 young Americans don't speak a foreign language fluently.
- 20% of young Americans think Sudan is in Asia. (It's the largest country in Africa.)
- 48% of young Americans believe the majority population in India is Muslim. (It's Hindu—by a landslide.)

For more info, visit the official website.

Saturday, May 06, 2006


DAIDALIKA is a website dedicated to the study of the Aegean scripts (Cretan "hieroglyphics", the Phaistos Disk, Linear A and Linear B).

The site, created by Dr. Gareth Owens of the Technological Educational Institute of Crete, offers a valuable introduction to the subject, including small biographies of all the scholars involved in the discovery and decipherment (e.g. Sir Arthur Evans, Michael Ventris, John Chadwick and James Hooker).

A must see for all those interested in the study of ancient languages.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Getty Director on his way to Athens

From ekathimerini:

Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis said yesterday that he was due to receive the director of New York’s Getty Museum, Michael Brand, for talks in Athens on May 16 as police announced the discovery of a fresh cache of ancient artifacts at a villa on Paros belonging to the museum’s former curator.

“We are engaging in open dialogue as regards the museum’s Greek exhibits and issues of broader interest to Greece,” Voulgarakis told reporters yesterday, adding, “We are particularly interested in the return of Greek antiquities.”

Meanwhile, police said that 12 “illegally held” ancient artifacts — including two marble sarcophagi and a marble olive press — had been confiscated from a villa belonging to the Getty’s former curator, Marion True, who faces trial in Italy on charges of conspiring to trade in stolen antiquities. A raid on True’s villa last month yielded 17 ancient artifacts and led to a subsequent raid on a villa in Schinoussa, near Naxos — belonging to the late antiquities dealer Christos Michailidis — which yielded hundreds more illegal antiquities.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Replica of Pergamon Altar to be Erected...

The Turkish Culture Ministry will erect a replica of the Bergama (ancient Pergamum or Pergamon) Zeus Altar, which is now on display in the Berlin Pergamon Museum, and attach a sign indicating the original is held in Berlin.

Full Story