Friday, December 21, 2007

The Dig Cook

If you are looking for a cook for your next dig or survey, take a look at the website of Mrs Annie Evans The Dig Cook.

Annie has been cooking for fieldwork projects in the Mediterranean and the UK since 1998...and she even comes with references.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Συνέδριο της UNESCO για τις επιστροφές αρχαιοτήτων τον Μάρτιο στην Ελλάδα


Διεθνές συνέδριο της UNESCO για τις επιστροφές αρχαιοτήτων θα διοργανωθεί το Μάρτιο στο Νέο Μουσείο της Ακρόπολης, ανακοίνωσε ο υπουργός Πολιτισμού Μιχάλης Λιάπης από τη Βουλή, λέγοντας ότι εντείνονται οι προσπάθειες για επιστροφή των κλεμμένων αρχαιοτήτων στην Ελλάδα. Ο κ. Λιάπης αναφέρθηκε επίσης στα σχέδια του υπουργείου Πολιτισμού για τη νέα χρονιά.

Το 2008 «είναι η χρονιά του Νέου Μουσείου της Ακρόπολης» δήλωσε ο Μιχάλης Λιάπης από τη Βουλή, όπου διεξάγεται η συζήτηση για τον προϋπολογισμό.

Όσον αφορά το υπόλοιπο έργο του υπουργείου Πολιτισμού ο κ. Λιάπης δήλωσε ότι ξεκινά ο σχεδιασμός της υπόγειας έκτασης του Αρχαιολογικού Μουσείου, ότι διοργανώνονται νέες εκθέσεις και ότι θα ολοκληρωθούν οι εργασίες στο Μέγαρο Τσίλερ του Εθνικού Θεάτρου, ώστε «η επόμενη χειμερινή θεατρική σεζόν να βρει τους ηθοποιούς του Εθνικού ξανά στην ιστορική τους βάση».

Δήλωσε επίσης ότι νέα κτήρια αποκτούν η Εθνική Βιβλιοθήκη και η Εθνική Λυρική Σκηνή, καθώς και ότι μέσα στις επόμενες ημέρες συστήνεται επιτροπή για τον εκσυγχρονισμό του νομοθετικού πλαισίου για τον κινηματογράφο, η οποία θα αποτελείται από σημαντικές, διεθνούς εμβέλειας προσωπικότητες του χώρου.

Ως πρώτη προτεραιότητα του υπουργείου Πολιτισμού ανέφερε ότι είναι η αποκατάσταση του φυσικού περιβάλλοντος στην Ολυμπία, με την αντιπλυμμηρική θωράκιση να έχει ολοκληρωθεί έως τις 15 Ιανουαρίου.

Υπενθυμίζεται ότι τη Δευτέρα ο πρωθυπουργός Κώστας Καραμανλής επισκεπτόμενος το Νέο Μουσείο της Ακρόπολης επανέλαβε το αίτημα για επιστροφή των Γλυπτών του Παρθενώνα στην Ελλάδα και πρόσθεσε ότι οι συνθήκες έχουν ωριμάσει και όλα τα επιχειρήματα κατά του ελληνικού αιτήματος έχουν καταρριφθεί.

Το Βρετανικό Μουσείο αρνήθηκε για ακόμα μια φορά να επιστρέψει τα Γλυπτά στην Ελλάδα, λέγοντας ότι αν και το Μουσείο είναι μεγάλο επίτευγμα δεν αλλάζει τη στάση του Μουσείου.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Early peak at Acropolis Museum

Source: ekathimerini

A section of the New Acropolis Museum will open to the public from Friday until Easter time to give people a first glimpse of the artifacts that will go on permanent display in the building, it was revealed yesterday.

The ground floor of the museum will be open for two hours every day over the next few months to allow visitors to see the antiquities that were discovered during the construction of the impressive building.

The news was made public during a visit by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, who renewed Greece’s call for the Parthenon Marbles to be returned from the British Museum in London.

“The construction and operation of the New Acropolis Museum destroys the final argument of those who refuse to satisfy a just demand,” said the premier.

“The conditions are now ripe to demand the return of the Parthenon Marbles to their rightful home. This can and must become a reality for this generation.”

Karamanlis’s call, however, was immediately rebuffed by the British Museum.

“The Acropolis Museum, although it is a great achievement, does not change the [British] museum’s position, because for us it has never been about the display of the sculptures in Athens,” spokeswoman Hannah Boulton told Agence France-Presse.

“The fundamental purpose of the British Museum is to present all world cultures, to enable all those who come here or see the collections on loan around the world to experience and compare the civilizations.”

Funding for the establishment of the "Alexandria Center for Hellenistic Studies"

Source: Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation

The President of the Alexander S. Onassis Foundation, Mr. Anthony S. Papadimitriou, the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and member of the Board of Directors of the Library of Alexandria Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyanni, and the Director of the Library of Alexandria Dr. Ismail Serageldin, held a common press conference announcing the establishment of the Center for Hellenistic Studies in the Library of Alexandria.

The initiative for the establishment of the Center belongs to the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation, the Vardinoyannis Foundation and the Library of Alexandria. The Onassis Foundation and the Vardinoyannis Foundation, have commonly decided to fund the Center, in the framework of their activities for the promotion of Greek culture abroad and for the promotion of the history of the Hellenistic era, during which the ancient library was created.

The center for Hellenistic Studies in the Library of Alexandria will be named "Alexandria Center for Helllenistic Studies" and will comprise academic departments for the study of History, Philosophy, Literature and the Arts. The Center will be housed in the Library of Alexandria, which is academically affiliated with the University of Alexandria and will grant diplomas and degrees at the Master and Ph. D. levels. The Library of Alexandria will provide the Center with the classrooms, lecture rooms and meeting rooms required for the needs of the Center and students will have free access to the Library premises for their research. All lessons will be conducted in the English language.

The Center will be managed by a Board of Directors comprising seven persons and chaired by the Director of the Library of Alexandria, and an Academic Council made up of eminent academic personalities specialized in the fields of the Center. The Council will be responsible to advise the Board with regard to the operation of the center, the designing of the academic curriculum, the setting of criteria for the selection of students, the selection of academic staff, the review and approval of the operational plans of the different departments, as well as the monitoring of the progress of students.

Ώριμο αίτημα η επιστροφή των Μαρμάρων, είπε ο πρωθυπουργός από το Μουσείο Ακρόπολης


Επίσκεψη στο Νέο Μουσείο της Ακρόπολης πραγματοποίησε το πρωί της Δευτέρας ο πρωθυπουργός. Ο κ. Καραμανλής συνοδευόμενος από τον υπουργό Πολιτισμού Μ.Λιάπη ενημερώθηκε για την πορεία της μεταφοράς των αρχαιοτήτων από τον Ιερό Βράχο και ξεναγήθηκε στους χώρους του μουσείου από τον πρόεδρο του ΟΑΝΜΑ, Δημήτρη Παντερμαλή και τον έφορο Ακροπόλεως Αλ.Μάντη.

Σε δηλώσεις του, αφού συνεχάρη όλους όσοι δούλεψαν για το δύσκολο εγχείρημα της μεταφοράς, ανέφερε πως μέχρι το τέλος Ιανουαρίου αναμένεται να έχει ολοκληρωθεί η φάση αυτή των εργασιών.

Ακολούθως έκανε αναφορά στο αίτημα επιστροφής των Μαρμάρων του Παρθενώνα, τονίζοντας ότι πλέον οι συνθήκες έχουν ωριμάσει και όλα τα επιχειρήματα κατά του ελληνικού αιτήματος έχουν καταρριφθεί.

«Το νέο Μουσείο της Ακρόπολης υπενθυμίζει κατ' εξοχήν, και μάλιστα με ηχηρό τρόπο, το χρέος της επανένωσης των Γλυπτών του Παρθενώνα, του κορυφαίου αυτού μνημείου της παγκόσμιας πολιτιστικής κληρονομιάς. Με την κατασκευή και λειτουργία του νέου Μουσείου Ακρόπολης καταρρίπτεται και το τελευταίο επιχείρημα εκείνων που αρνούνται την ικανοποίηση ενός δίκαιου αιτήματος» είπε.

Πρόσθεσε πως το αίτημα της επιστροφής, «το αίτημα που ο Κωνσταντίνος Καραμανλής όρισε μεταπολιτευτικά ως εθνικό στόχο και η αείμνηστη Μελίνα Μερκούρη, ως υπουργός Πολιτισμού, έκανε σκοπό ζωής και συνέβαλε καθοριστικά, ώστε να γίνει απαίτηση οικουμενική, μπορεί και πρέπει να γίνει πράξη στη γενιά μας».

Από την πλευρά του, το Βρετανικό Μουσείο, με αφορμή τις δηλώσεις του Έλληνα πρωθυπουργού, επανέλαβε την Δευτέρα την άρνησή του να επιστρέψει στην Ελλάδα τα Μάρμαρα του Παρθενώνα.

«Το Μουσείο της Ακρόπολης, αν και αποτελεί μια μεγάλη επιτυχία, δεν αλλάζει στο παραμικρό τη θέση του Βρετανικού Μουσείου» δήλωσε στο Γαλλικό Πρακτορείο η εκπρόσωπος του Μουσείου Χάνα Μπούλτον.

«Για μας το θέμα ουδέποτε αφορούσε τον τρόπο έκθεσης των Γλυπτών στην Αθήνα, αλλά αφορούσε πάντα το ιδεολογικό επιχείρημα που συνίσταται στο ότι το Βρετανικό Μουσείο εκθέτει έργα από όλους τους πολιτισμούς του κόσμου και ότι τα Γλυπτά του Παρθενώνα αποτελούν ένα πολύ σημαντικό τμήμα της συλλογής» πρόσθεσε.

* Από την Παρασκευή 21 Δεκεμβρίου και μέχρι το Πάσχα το ισόγειο του νέου Μουσείου Ακροπόλεως θα είναι ανοιχτό καθημερινά για ένα δίωρο. Την Παρασκευή θα ανοίξει τις πόρτες του για τους μικρούς και μεγάλους επισκέπτες του, που θα θαυμάσουν την έκθεση με παιδικά αντικείμενα της αρχαιότητας και ευρήματα από την ανασκαφή κάτω από το Μουσείο της Ακρόπολης.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Excavations in the East Jordan Land

Source: AlphaGalileo

This year Thomas Pola, professor for theology at TU Dortmund, and his team have continued the excavations in the East Jordan Land. With their findings on the mountain Tall adh-Dhahab (West) in the Jabbok Valley the archeologists could substantiate one assumption: everything points to the fact that the building remains from the Hellenistic and Roman era, found in 2006, were part of a yet unknown monumental building of Herod the Great (73-4 BC).

This assumption is based on the floors of one of the discovered peristyle yards (yards enclosed by continuous columns) which the archeologists were able to excavate. Prof. Pola sees the parallels with the architecture of Herod’s West Jordan Alexandreion as prove that there also was a monumental building of Herod the Great on the plateau of the mountain Tall adh-Dhahab. That would mean that in addition to his reign over the West Jordan Land, the Jewish king had a security system with which he could have controlled the ancient long-distance traffic in the middle Jordan Valley and the access ways to the plateau of the East Jordan Land.

Above that, the team of Prof. Pola for the first time discovered a layer from the late Bronze Age or the Early Iron Age on a natural terrace directly underneath the plateau. The ruins of a tower from the city wall at least show three building phases. “On the level of the oldest building phase we took samples from a burnt layer. A C14-analysis carried out by Prof. Manfred Bayer (Physics at TU Dortmund) showed that the charcoal originates from the time 1300 to 1000 BC. At this location we will continue to work in 2008.”

Finally Prof. Pola’s team discovered the purpose of the monumental military facility half way up the mountain: it is a casemate wall. It is supposed to have been finished in Roman times. This is yet another argument for the identification of the mountain with the stronghold Amathous mentioned in the ancient world. The historian Josephus (37 to 100 AD) described Amathous as the biggest stronghold in the East Jordan Land.

Even reworking the campaign 2006 revealed a sensation: the carve-drawings which had been discovered by Dr. Batereau-Neumann, a sponsor of the project, at that time, were dated to the ninth or tenth century by the internationally renowned specialist for Middle East iconography, Prof. Othmar Keel (Universität Freiburg). According to him the two pictures, the head of a lioness and the fragment of a cultural scene, belong together. The sensation: they point to the existence of a temple on the mountain plateau in the New-Assyrian time.

The project is sponsored by Technische Universität Dortmund and the Gesellschaft der Freunde der TU Dortmund. For the time from the end of July until the end of August Prof. Pola is again looking for sponsors of the project as fellow travelers. “They can join the team or just enjoy the beautiful landscape”, says Prof. Pola. The requested 3,000€ include flight, transport, food and simple accommodation.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Στο Νέο Μουσείο της Ακρόπολης μεταφέρθηκε η πρώτη από τις πέντε Καρυάτιδες


Πραγματοποιήθηκε το Σάββατο η εναέρια μεταφορά της πρώτης από τις πέντε Καρυάτιδες στο νέο Μουσείο της Ακρόπολης. Η όμορφη κόρη τοποθετήθηκε στο πρώτο επίπεδο του Μουσείου σε εσωτερικό «μπαλκόνι».

Η επιχείρηση έγινε με το σύστημα των τριών γερανών, από το παλιό Μουσείο της Ακρόπολης στον Ιερό Βράχο, στο θέατρο του Διονύσου και από εκεί στο Νέο Μουσείο.

Η όμορφη κόρη αποχαιρέτησε τον Ιερό Βράχο μετά από 2.500 χρόνια. Το ίδιο θα γίνει τις επόμενες ημέρες και με τις υπόλοιπες Καρυάτιδες, εκτός από μία -όπως υπενθύμισε και ο υπουργός Πολιτισμού Μ.Λιάπης-, αυτή που βρίσκεται στο Βρετανικό Μουσείο του Λονδίνου.

Υπενθυμίζεται ότι η μεταφορά των γλυπτών από το παλαίο στο Νέο Μουσείο ξεκίνησε τον Οκτώβριο. Τα κιβώτια μεταφοράς είναι μεταλλικά με ξύλινους σκελετούς στο εσωτερικό και αφρώδες υλικό, προκειμένου να μην υπάρξουν ζημιές.

Για πιο ευαίσθητα αντικείμενα χρησιμοποιούνται άλλα κιβώτια με ενισχυμένη προστασία. Συνολικά θα χρησιμοποιηθούν έξι ειδών κιβώτια για τα 154 γλυπτά που θα μεταφερθούν με τους γερανούς.

Το συνολικό βάρος των 246 γλυπτών που θα μεταφερθούν στο νέο Μουσείο φτάνει τους 113 τόνους ενώ άλλους 184 τόνους ζυγίζουν χιλιάδες άλλα αντικείμενα, πολλά από τα οποία βρίσκονται στις αποθήκες του παλιού Μουσείου.

Inner sanctum of first Roman emperor to go on show

Source: Reuters

ROME, Dec 10 (Reuters Life!) - Four frescoed rooms in the eastern wing of the house of Augustus, where he lived before becoming Rome's first emperor, will open to the public for the first time next year after three decades of restorations.

Italian archaeologists said on Monday the rooms dated from around 30 B.C. and had been buried -- which may explain why some of the paintings are so well preserved -- after Augustus moved to another residence on a higher level of the Palatine Hill.

The tiny rooms, first discovered in the late 1970s, are mostly painted in vivid red, blue and ochre. They include a cubicle on an upper floor known as the "studiolo", or small studio, where Augustus was thought to withdraw for privacy.

The decorations on the walls and vaulted ceilings were found almost intact in some parts of the building, while in others they had to be pieced back together from a myriad of fragments.

"The level of preservation of the frescoes and the colors is extraordinary," said Rome's Mayor Walter Veltroni during a presentation of the rooms to journalists.

"It bears witness to the wonders of a city which is like a box of hidden treasures," he said.

The rooms will open to the public on March 2 together with the house of Livia, Augustus' wife, but visitors will only be allowed to enter in small groups to avoid damaging the delicate frescoes.

Excavations on the Palatine in recent decades have turned up a steady stream of precious archaeological finds, but preserving the ruins of ancient Rome is costly.

Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli said some 12 million euros ($17.59 million) would be devoted to the conservation of the site, an amount that some experts say is a third of what is needed every year.

(Reporting by Silvia Aloisi, editing by Paul Casciato)

Friday, December 07, 2007

Glue used by the Romans has stuck around for 2,000 years

Source: The Independent

By Tony Paterson in Berlin
Published: 06 December 2007

German archaeologists claim to have found traces of a glue they say was made by the Romans more than 2,000 years ago and used to mount silver laurel leaves on legionnaires' battle helmets.

Researchers at the Rhineland historical museum in Bonn said they had found remnants of the glue on a legionnaire's iron helmet unearthed near the town of Xanten. It had lain on what was once the bed of the Rhine for at least 1,500 years.

Frank Willer, the museum's chief restorer, said researchers came across the glue by surprise while removing a tiny sample of metal from the helmet with a fine saw. The heat from the tool caused silver laurel leaves decorating the helmet to peel off leaving thread-like traces of the glue behind.

"It is a sensational find and a complete stroke of luck that we were still able to find traces of the substance on the helmet after 2,000 years," Mr Willer said.

The museum's team of archaeologists maintains that, as the helmet lay on the river-bed for so long, its glue was not exposed to the destructive effects of the atmosphere and therefore did not lose its adhesive power.

Mr Willer said that other Roman remains, including ancient battle masks, kept by the museum bore traces of silver decorations and had probably been glued in the same way. Their condition has deteriorated too far to find evidence of glue.

Analysis shows that the Roman glue was made of bitumen, beef tallow and pitch. But researchers said they had failed so far to recreate the adhesive and that sawdust, soot or sand might have to be added to complete the process.

"When we finally manage to remake the superglue, it will easily compete with its modern equivalents," Mr Willer said. "After all, which of today's glues stick for 2,000 years?"

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Archaeologists find 2,000 year-old palace in east Jerusalem

Source: Yahoo! News

JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israeli archaeologists said on Wednesday they have unearthed a palace complex dating back to the first century AD in an Arab neighbourhood just outside the walls of Jerusalem's Old City.

Archaeologists discovered a structure that is "relatively big in size and subdivided into main halls," said Doron Ben-Ami, the project director, adding that coins on site dated the structure to the time of the Jews' Second Temple.

Ben-Ami said more work was necessary but that there was a "high probability" that the structure was a palace built by Queen Helena, a wealthy Iraqi aristocrat who converted to Judaism and moved to Jerusalem around 40 AD.

The structure was destroyed 30 years later, when Roman troops violently suppressing a Jewish revolt razed much of Jerusalem to the ground, including the Second Temple of which only the Western Wall remains today, he said.

The excavation is being carried out in a car park just opposite the City of David, the site of Jerusalem in ancient times and now an outdoor archaeological museum in the densely populated Palestinian suburb of Silwan.

The suburb is part of Arab east Jerusalem, which Israel occupied in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed soon thereafter, a move not recognised by the international community.

Palestinians, who see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, have long accused Israel of confiscating land in the Arab suburbs and of using archaeological projects to bolster Jewish claims to the area.

The site includes remains from the Islamic and Byzantine eras as well, including a large Byzantine structure built atop the ruins of the palace that incorporated some of the debris left behind from its destruction.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Remains of 4,000-year-old dam found in Upper Egypt

Source: Xinhua News Agency

CAIRO, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- Remains of an ancient dam dating back some 4,000 years have been discovered in Upper Egypt, local English daily The Egyptian Gazette reported Sunday.

Secretary-General of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities Zahi Hawass said Saturday that the ancient dam was found a few meters away from the Karnak Temple in Luxor, some 500 km south of Cairo.

The finding was made by an Egyptian-French archaeological team, which has been working in Luxor since March, Hawass was quoted as saying at a press conference.

"The 230-meter long dam was built during the age of the Middle Kingdom (of ancient Egypt) to protect the temple from the Nile flood," said Hawass.

The Egyptian archaeology supremo stressed the importance of the finding, saying it proved that the ancient Egyptians were good at building dams.

The discover will also revive interest in the ancient Egyptian city, which was believed by some archaeologists that nothing of great importance would be found again, said the report.

The team had also unearthed the relics of a Roman bath built in the first century AD and a clay jar containing 316 coins from different historical periods, said Hawass.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Elusive biblical Jerusalem wall finally found, Israeli archaeologist says

Source: International Herald Tribune

JERUSALEM: A biblical wall that has eluded archaeologists for years has finally been found, according to an Israeli scholar.

A team of archaeologists in Jerusalem has uncovered what they believe to be part of a wall mentioned in the Bible's Book of Nehemiah.

The discovery, made in Jerusalem's ancient City of David, came as a result of a rescue attempt on a tower which was in danger of collapse, said Eilat Mazar, head of the Institute of Archaeology at the Shalem Center, a Jerusalem-based research and educational institute, and leader of the dig.

Artifacts including pottery shards and arrowheads found under the tower suggested that both the tower and the nearby wall are from the 5th century B.C., the time of Nehemiah, according to Mazar. Scholars previously thought the wall dated to the Hasmonean period (142-37 B.C.).

The findings suggest that the wall is actually part of the same city wall the Bible says Nehemiah rebuilt, Mazar said. The Book of Nehemiah (chapters 3-6) gives a detailed description of construction of the walls, destroyed earlier by the Babylonians.

"We were amazed," she said, noting that the discovery was made at a time when many scholars argued that the wall did not exist.

"This was a great surprise. It was something we didn't plan," Mazar said.

However, another scholar doubted whether the wall was biblical.

The first phase of the dig, completed in 2005, uncovered what Mazar believes to be the remains of King David's palace, built by King Hiram of Tyre and also mentioned in the Bible.

Ephraim Stern, professor emeritus of archaeology at Hebrew University and chairman of the state of Israel archaeological council, corroborated Mazar's claim. "The material she showed me is from the Persian period," the period of Nehemiah, he said. "I can sign on the date of the material she found."

Another scholar disputed the significance of the discovery.

Israel Finkelstein, professor of archaeology at Tel Aviv University, called the discovery "an interesting find," but said the pottery and other remains do not indicate that the wall was built in the time of Nehemiah. Because the debris was not connected to a floor or other structural part of the wall, the wall could have been built later, Finkelstein said.

"The wall could have been built, theoretically, in the Ottoman period," he said. "It's not later than the pottery — that's all we know."

Bill aims to protect artifacts

Source: ekathimerini

Culture Minister Michalis Liapis yesterday unveiled a draft law which aims to curb a growing illegal trade in antiquities by intensifying patrols of archaeological sites and appointing a special prosecutor to handle certain cases.

The bill, to be submitted in Parliament next month, foresees the creation of a database of antiquities and the application of Greek law in cases of alleged trafficking of domestic artifacts abroad.

Liapis said the proposed crackdown «is a top priority,» noting that the illegal antiquities trade had grown «enormously» in recent years and is now the third most lucrative illicit trade after arms and drug trafficking.

The legislation had been prepared by Liapis's predecessor Giorgos Voulgarakis but its tabling in Parliament had been delayed due to September's general elections.

Liapis's announcement yesterday came two days after an Athens court acquitted a former curator of the Los Angeles J. Paul Getty Museum of illegally acquiring an ancient Greek golden wreath, which has since been returned.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Η ανέγερση νέου μουσείου στην Βεργίνα στις προθέσεις του Μ.Λιάπη


Το πρόγραμμα ανάπτυξης για την ενοποίηση του αρχαιολογικού χώρου και τη σύνδεση του με το σύγχρονο οικισμό βρίσκεται σε πλήρη εξέλιξη τόνισε ο υπουργός Πολιτισμού Μιχάλης Λιάπης κατά την επίσκεψή του στους αρχαιολογικούς χώρους της Πέλλας και της Βεργίνας το πρωί του Σαββάτου.

Παράλληλα, ο κ. Λιάπης συμπλήρωσε ότι η ανέγερση του νέου μουσείου στην περιοχή θα ολοκληρωθεί μέσα στο ερχόμενο έτος και το μουσείο θα είναι έτοιμο να υποδεχθεί τους πρώτους επισκέπτες του στα μέσα του 2009.

Τον ίδιο χρόνο θα έχουν ολοκληρωθεί και τα υπόλοιπα έργα στην περιοχή όπως και ο δρόμος που συνδέει τον αρχαιολογικό χώρο με τον σύγχρονο οικισμό.

Επιπρόσθετα, ως έναν από τους πέντε δημοφιλέστερους αρχαιολογικούς χώρους ολόκληρης της χώρας χαρακτήρισε ο υπουργός Πολιτισμού τη Βεργίνα, επικαλούμενος την επισκεψιμότητα και του ενδιαφέροντος των πολιτών.

«Υπάρχει ένα τεράστιο αρχαιολογικό έργο στην ευρύτερη περιοχή της Μακεδονίας (Δίον, Πέλλα, Βεργίνα, αρχαία Μίεζα κα) . Ο ευρύτερος αρχαιολογικός χώρος των Αιγών αποτελεί σημείο αναφοράς για ολόκληρο τον Μακεδονικό χώρο υπερτόνισε ο κ. Λιάπης ο οποίος δεν παρέλειψε να αναφέρει πως πρόκειται για μία αρχαιολογική περιοχή «τεράστιας αξίας».

Χρέος αποτελεί η ανάδειξη της Μακεδονία της πολιτιστικής κληρονομιά δήλωσε ο κ. Λιάπης συμπληρώνοντας πως ως το τέλος του 2008 θα έχει ολοκληρωθεί η ανάπλαση ανακτόρου των Αιγών, ενώ επίκειται η κατασκευή του μουσείου της ευρύτερης περιοχής Βεργίνας .
Ο κ. Λιάπης ο οποίος πραγματοποιεί από την Παρασκευή, επίσκεψη στη Θεσσαλονίκη και την ευρύτερη περιοχή της Μακεδονίας θα συναντηθεί το απόγευμα του Σαββάτου με εκπροσώπους φορέων από το χώρο του κινηματογράφου και το βράδυ θα παραστεί στην τιμητική εκδήλωση που πραγματοποιεί το 48ο Φεστιβάλ Κινηματογράφου Θεσσαλονίκης.

Ancient Olympia...

Source: ekathimerini


A newly planted olive tree stands in front of a group of Greek and international scientists at Ancient Olympia on Saturday. The scientists visited the site to deliver funds for the reconstruction of the area, which was hit by a wildfire in August. Meanwhile, hundreds of volunteers took part in a replanting drive in Kalyvia, east of Athens, yesterday. The aim of the project, supported by SKAI TV and Radio, was to plant some 15,000 trees to replace the ones that were burned this summer. About 400 volunteers also took part in a replanting scheme in Thessaloniki’s Seikh-Sou Forest.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Στο Αρχαιολογικό Μουσείο Θεσσαλονίκης επέστρεψε το χρυσό μακεδονίτικο στεφάνι


Στο Αρχαιολογικό Μουσείο της Θεσσαλονίκης εκτίθεται από την Παρασκευή το χρυσό μακεδονίτικο στεφάνι, το οποίο επεστράφη στην Ελλάδα από το Μουσείο Γκετί. Ο υπουργός Πολιτισμού Μ.Λιάπης λέει ότι το ΥΠΠΟ θα συνεχίσει να διεκδικεί από ξένα Μουσεία. Αντιδρά ο νομάρχης Σερρών για την παραχώρηση του στεφανιού στο Μουσείο Θεσσαλονίκης.

«Το μήνυμα που στέλνουμε σήμερα από εδώ είναι σαφές. Όταν τα αρχαία αντικείμενα αποκόπτονται από το ιστορικό και φυσικό τους περιβάλλον καθίστανται αντικείμενα διακοσμητικά, αποστειρωμένα» δήλωσε ο Μιχάλης Λιάπης κατά τη διάρκεια ομιλίας του.

«Στόχος είναι να εκτίθενται εκεί που ανήκουν ιστορικά, έτσι ώστε να δηλώνεται ξεκάθαρα η προέλευση, η ταυτότητα και η διαχρονική τους αξία.

» Η διεκδίκηση από ξένα Μουσεία και συλλέκτες κάθε ελληνικού αρχαίου αντικείμενου, για το οποίο διαθέτουμε στοιχεία ότι αποτελεί προϊόν αρχαιοκαπηλίας, λαθρανασκαφής ή παράνομης διακίνησης, βρίσκεται στην πρώτη γραμμή της πολιτικής μας στο Υπουργείο Πολιτισμού» εξήγησε ο υπουργός.

Ο υπουργός τόνισε ότι τις επόμενες ημέρες κατατίθεται στη Βουλή το νομοσχέδιο για την προστασία των πολιτιστικών θησαυρών.

Επιστολή διαμαρτυρίας έστειλε στον υπουργό Πολιτισμού ο νομάρχης Σερρών Στέφανος Φωτιάδης, όπου εξέφρασε τη δυσαρέσκεια των Σερραίων πολιτών για την παραχώρηση του στεφανιού στο Μουσείο Θεσσαλονίκης και όχι σε εκείνο της Αμφίπολης, παρ' ότι δεν έχει αποσαφηνιστεί που ακριβώς βρέθηκε το χρυσό στεφάνι -πιθανό θεωρείται να βρέθηκε στην ευρύτερη περιοχή των Σερρών.

Σε συνέντευξη Τύπου που παραχώρησε, ο νομάρχης Θεσσαλονίκης δήλωσε ότι η Νομαρχιακή Αυτοδιοίκηση Σερρών κατανοεί τον ρόλο του Αρχαιολογικού Μουσείου Θεσσαλονίκης στην ανάδειξη των ευρημάτων της κλασικής εποχής.

«Δεν μπορούμε, όμως, να κατανοήσουμε τη διεθνή διεκδίκηση για την επιστροφή των αρχαιολογικών ευρημάτων στον τόπο τους και ταυτόχρονα τη χωροθέτησή τους στο εσωτερικό της χώρας, με αυθαίρετο τρόπο» πρόσθεσε.

Ο νομάρχης δήλωσε ότι οι Σερραίοι θα επιδιώξουν την υποστήριξη του Προέδρου της Δημοκρατίας Κάρολου Παπούλια και του πρωθυπουργού Κώστα Καραμανλή.

*Επίσης ο υπουργός Πολιτισμού Μιχάλης Λιάπης συναντήθηκε με το ΔΣ του Κρατικού Θεάτρου Βορείου Ελλάδος. Ο κ. Λιάπης τη χορήγηση έκτακτης οικονομικής ενίσχυσης 700 χιλιάδων ευρώ στο ΚΘΒΕ και 300 χιλιάδων ευρώ στην Όπερα, προκειμένου να αντιμετωπιστούν τα τρέχοντα προβλήματα.

Ex-Getty Curator Is Now on Trial in Greece

Source: New York Times

A former antiquities curator for the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles went on trial yesterday in Athens on charges of conspiring to acquire an ancient gold funerary wreath that Greek officials say was illegally removed from Greek soil about 15 years ago.

The former curator, Marion True, did not attend the hearing. Her lawyer, Yannis Yannides, submitted a motion for dismissal, citing a California state law that sets a three-year statute of limitations for prosecution once a stolen artifact’s whereabouts have been made known. (The Getty acquired the wreath in 1993 and agreed to return it nearly a year ago, citing concerns about its provenance.) Greek investigators assert that the gold wreath was illegally excavated from an archaeological site in the northern province of Macedonia. Ms. True is also on trial in Italy on charges of trafficking in stolen antiquities acquired for the Getty. She has denied wrongdoing in both cases.

In a related development The Associated Press reported that a judge in Pesaro, Italy, yesterday dismissed a local prosecutor’s legal claim to a bronze statue of a youth that is in the Getty’s collection. (The statue has also been claimed by Italy’s national government.) After long negotiations, the museum agreed in August to return 40 other artifacts to Italy. Italy said it would consider whether to press its case on the bronze after the case in Pesaro was resolved.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Digging biblical history, or the end of the world

Source: EurekAlert!

Some come to dig the Tel Aviv University-directed archeological site at Tel Megiddo because they are enchanted by ancient stories of King Solomon. Others come because they believe in a New Testament prophecy that the mound of dirt will be the location of a future Judgment Day apocalyptic battle. Hence the second, rather more chilling name for the site: "Armageddon."

Tel Megiddo has been the subject of a number of decisive battles in ancient times (among the Egyptian, Hebrew and Assyrian peoples) and today it holds a venerated place in archaeology, explains site co-director and world-renowned archeologist Prof. Israel Finkelstein.

Says Prof. Finkelstein, from the Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures at Tel Aviv University, "Megiddo is one of the most interesting sites in the world for the excavation of biblical remains. Now volunteers and students from around the world can participate in the dig which lets them uncover 3,000 years worth of history -- from the late 4th millennium B.C.E. to the middle of the first millennium C.E."

Prof. Finkelstein, who belongs to the Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University, has been co-directing the site with Prof. David Ussishkin, also of Tel Aviv University, since 1994.

Prof. Finkelstein has co-authored a best-selling book on archaeology and biblical history (The Bible Unearthed, 2001). Earlier this month he released a book (written with A. Mazar) that contains surprising commentary on biblical archaeology and history, The Quest for Biblical Archeology, published by the Society of Biblical Literature in the United States. He is also the recipient of the prestigious international Dan David Prize in the category of Past Dimension (2005).

Likened to a "lightening rod" by the journal Science (2007), Prof. Finkelstein is famous for his unconventional way of interpreting biblical history: he puts emphasis on the days of the biblical authors in the 7th century B.C.E. and theorizes that ancient rulers such as David and Solomon, who lived centuries earlier, were "tribal chieftains ruling from a small hill town, with a modest palace and royal shrine."

Yet, "new archaeological discoveries should not erode one's sense of tradition and identity," he states.

Prof. Ze’ev Herzog, who heads the archaeology institute at Tel Aviv University, says, "There has been an important revolution in biblical history in the last decades. We are now uncovering the difference between myth and history, and between reality and ideology of the ancient authors. This is the role of our generation of archaeologists -- to unearth the real historical reality to find out why and how the biblical records were written."

The archeologists aren't the only ones looking for answers. More than one hundred volunteers come from all corners of the world to dig Megiddo alongside Prof. Finkelstein every year. They are teachers, journalists, actors, construction workers, professors and housewives, as well as archaeology, history and divinity students who dig for credit.

The Megiddo dig is offered as a three-week, four-week or seven-week program. As part of the experience, volunteers live in a nearby kibbutz and are exposed to lectures and debates about their findings. The dig is partnered with the George Washington University, represented by Prof. Eric Cline, the American associate director of the dig. This makes it an ideal stomping ground for Americans who want a hands-on education in archaeology.

"Team and staff members come from all around the world for many reasons: the adventure of foreign travel in a safe yet educational environment, intellectual stimulation, and -- yes -- even a love of digging in the dirt,” notes Prof. Finkelstein.

And those with no prior knowledge or degrees are welcome, he stresses. "We cater to all of the volunteers' backgrounds and teach them field methods, archeological techniques as well as the history of biblical archeology. It is truly a wonderful experience."

Monday, November 19, 2007

Turkish archaeologists harshly criticised Israeli excavation: report

Source: AFP via Yahoo! News

ANKARA (AFP) - A team of Turkish experts harshly criticised a controversial archaeological dig in Jerusalem undertaken by Israel, according to a report published Friday in the Turkish daily Today's Zaman.

Turkish experts visited the site because the Ayyubid, Mameluke and Ottoman dynasties ruled in the area successively between the 12th century and the beginning of the 20th century.

According to the Turkish team, "the ongoing activities give the impression that they are a planned and systematically implemented effort which aims to destroy the values associated with cultural assets and the sources of information of these cultures," the English-language daily said, citing the actual report.

In February, Israel began excavation work on a pathway leading from the Western (Wailing) Wall to the compound of the Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's third holiest site, eliciting outrage in the Muslim world and prompting UNESCO to call for an immediate halt to the work.

Published in July but kept secret by Turkish authorities in order not to irritate Israel, according to Today's Zaman, the document was written by the team of architects and archaeologists who visited the site last March.

"It is clearly seen that if appropriate measures are not taken in the excavations performed by the Israeli authorities, no data or remains (from the Ayyubid, Mameluke and Ottoman periods) will survive," according to the report.

The Jerusalem mayor's office decided to suspend work on the project on February 12, but failed to appease Muslim authorities, which asserted that the dig, while not under the Al-Aqsa mosque itself, could harm its foundation.

Israel put off resumption of the dig again last month.

The site of Al-Aqsa mosque is also revered by Jews as the location of their ancient temple, destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

Από τις αποθήκες... στις αίθουσες του ΕΑΜ σπουδαίες αιγυπτιακές αρχαιότητες


Οι μούμιες που βρίσκονται στο Εθνικό Αρχαιολογικό Μουσείο βρίσκουν επιτέλους τη θέση που τους αξίζει. Μέσα σε ένα χρόνο θα έχει ολοκληρωθεί η ανακαίνιση αιθουσών του μουσείου, οι οποίες θα φιλοξενήσουν μόνιμη έκθεση αιγυπτιακών και ανατολικών αρχαιοτήτων.

Σύμφωνα με την εφημερίδα Το Βήμα, η Ελλάδα διαθέτει μία από τις εντυπωσιακότερες συλλογές αιγυπτιακών και ανατολικών αρχαιοτήτων, μιας και τα έργα τέχνης που την αποτελούν προέρχονται από δύο ιδιωτικές συλλογές που δωρίθηκαν στο Μουσείο.

Πρόκειται για τις συλλογές δύο ομογενών, του Ιωάννη Δημητρίου, ο οποίος διέμενε στην Αλεξάνδρεια, και του Αλέξανδρου Ρόστοβιτς που διέμενε στο Κάιρο και το 1904 δώρησε στο ΕΑΜ 2.237 αντικείμενα.

Η ελληνική συλλογή από αιγυπτιακές αρχαιότητες αποτελεί την τέταρτη στην Ευρώπη, αυτή τη στιγμή όμως βρίσκεται σχεδόν στο σύνολό της στις αποθήκες του Μουσείου.

Σύντομα όμως έργα που απεικονίζουν τη μικρή πριγκίπισσα Τακουσίτ, τον θεό Όσιρι και τη θεά Ίσι, καθώς και τον φαραώ Ψαμμήτιχος Α' θα βρεθούν στις αίθουσες του ΕΑΜ, μιας και οι αίθουσες του μουσείου ανακαινίζονται.

Προς το παρόν η Τακουσίτ βρίσκεται στο Μητροπολιτικό Μουσείο της Νέας Υόρκης για τις ανάγκες της έκθεσης «Δώρα για τους θεούς. Εικόνες από τους αιγυπτιακούς ναούς», η οποία θα διαρκέσει μέχρι τον Φεβρουάριο του 2008.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Rome adds a 'final jewel' to its archaeological crown


London - In Rome, you never know what you find underneath your home once you start digging. For Enrico Gasbarra, President of the Provincial Administration of Rome, his curiosity to find what Roman treasures might be hiding in underground spaces below his office headquarters, the Valentini Palace, has resulted in one of the most exciting finds of recent years in the ancient city.

Presenting the result of two years of excavations at the World Travel Market (WTM) fair in London Wednesday, Gasbarra described the discovery of a splendid and affluent Roman home (domus) directly underneath his offices as the "final jewel" in the array of historical treasures his administration has to offer.

More than 187 lorry loads of waste and rubble, including office debris and old photocopying machines, had to be removed from the "trash dump" in the courtyard of the Valentini Palace to reveal a new archaeological site consisting of splendid rooms, marbled baths and exquisite mosaics.

"Of course, in a city like Rome it is not unusual to make such discoveries, but this find is of extreme historical significance," Gasbarra said in London.

"It shows that, at the time of the Roman Republic, this area was the political centre, as it is today, where senators and judges lived who worked nearby," he added.

"It was a bit like the Washington of its day," Gasbarra said about the find, which is 300 metres away from the Roman Forum.

With the expert assistance of Piero Angela, Italy's foremost writer and commentator on archaeology, and the help of engineers, historians, archaeologists and computer experts, a museum space of 1,200 square metres has been created underground, linked by a pathway to the Roman Forum into which visitors will be discharged at the end of their tour.

"It is the magic of the cave, of darkness and light that makes this site a special experience," Angela said in London.

With the help of graphical reconstruction and advanced computer technology the visitor will be taken on a virtual reality tour, marvelling at the ancient finds below through a glass floor while reconstructions of the original rooms are being projected onto the walls of the museum.

Film projectors and cameras have been "hidden" throughout the structure to reflect images of what the villa would have looked like in Roman times.

"Visitors will walk over the recovered remains as the ancient domus comes back to life before their eyes," Angela said.

"You enter a virtual reality atmosphere where the smells and sounds of the time, and the virtual structures, will be recreated to give you an extremely exact idea of what it was like," he added.

Only small groups of visitors will be allowed into the museum at any given time after it opens on December 20.

For Gasbarra, the new finds and their reunification with the ancient urban spaces simply are a "new reason to visit Rome at Christmas."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Archaeologists discover ancient cemetery in Syria

Source: Pravda

2,000-year-old cemetery was discovered in the ancient city of Palmyra that used to be the center of Middle East trade routes.

The National Archaeological Expedition discovered an underground cemetery that dates back to the 2nd century, al-Baath newspaper said, quoting Khalil al-Hariri, the head of the expedition.

He said archaeologists found a stone door and two engraved statues of a family. The limestone sculptures depict them as wearing clerical hats, the ancient traditional clothes in Palmyra, al-Hariri said.

Palmyra, which is located in central Syria and is said to have been founded by King Solomon, was a trade center that boomed with the decline of ancient Petra in modern-day Jordan.

The city, 240 kilometers (150 miles) northeast of Damascus, emerged to become a powerful state after the Romans took control of it, serving as a link between the ancient Orient and Mediterranean countries.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mummy's curse unwrapped

Source: The Scotsman


ON 26 November 1922, archaeologist Howard Carter broke through the sealed wall of a miraculously undisturbed pharaonic tomb in Egypt's Valley of the Kings and was struck dumb for several minutes by the riches within.

"Can you see anything?" Carter's sponsor, the fifth Earl of Carnarvon, eventually blurted, unable to bear the suspense. "Yes," Carter whispered. "Wonderful things."

In fact, the gilded couches and animal sculptures glinting in the antechamber represented a mere fraction of the riches buried with the boy king Tutankhamun, whose mummified body, complete with the dazzling gold and lapis-lazuli death mask, was finally revealed two years later. By then Lord Carnarvon, two of his relatives, and several others involved in the dig were dead, giving rise to rumours of a mummy's curse on the families of those who had opened the tomb.

As archaeologists in Luxor this weekend revealed the face behind the golden death mask and London prepares for new exhibition of Tutankhamun artefacts, I have come the library of the Carnarvon family seat, Highclere Castle in Berkshire, to talk to the eighth earl, Geordie Herbert, about his ancestor's discovery.

Νέο εύρημα «βλέπει το φως» 30 χρόνια μετά την ανακάλυψη των τάφων της Βεργίνας


Νέα στοιχεία για τον βασιλιά Φίλιππο φέρνει στο φως η αποκάλυψη ήδη γνωστού ψηφιδωτού δαπέδου στο ανάκτορο των Αιγών, η οποία ανακοινώθηκε κατά τη διάρκεια εκδήλωσης για τα 30 χρόνια από την ανακάλυψη των βασιλικών τάφων στη Βεργίνα από τον καθηγητή Μανόλη Ανδρόνικο.

Σύμφωνα με την αρχαιολόγο της ΙΖ' Εφορείας Κλασσικών και Προϊστορικών Αρχαιοτήτων Αγγελική Κοτταρίδου, το ψηφιδωτό δάπεδο βρίσκεται σε συμποσιακό δωμάτιο στο ανάκτορο των Αιγών και αναπαριστά την αρπαγή της Ευρώπης.

Το φόντο του απεικονίζει θάλασσα, στις τέσσερις γωνίες του υπάρχουν θαλάσσια τέρατα και μικροί έρωτες ενώ στο κέντρο του απεικονίζονται ίχνη ψηφίδων στα πόδια του ταύρου που αρπάζει την Ευρώπη.

Σύμφωνα με την κ. Κοτταρίδου η αποκάλυψη του ψηφιδωτού σε συνδυασμό με άλλες ιστορικές και μυθολογικές πηγές οδηγεί στο συμπέρασμα ότι ο βασιλιάς των Μακεδόνων Φίλιππος ο Β' θεωρούσε τον εαυτό του ως «εν δυνάμει Ευρωπαίο ηγέτη».

Η εκδήλωση για τα 30 χρόνια από την ανακάλυψη των βασιλικών τάφων της Βεργίνας έγινε στην αίθουσα δοκιμών της Κρατικής Ορχήστρας Θεσσαλονίκης, παρουσία του γενικού γραμματέα του υπουργείου Πολιτισμού Χρήστου Ζαχόπουλου, με ομιλητές καθηγήτριες που συνεργάζονταν με τον Μανόλη Ανδρόνικο και αρχαιολόγους.

Την Παρασκευή θα δοθεί συναυλία στο Μέγαρο Μουσικής Θεσσαλονίκης, αφιερωμένη στην επέτειο της ανακάλυψης του βασιλικού τάφου, με έργα Ντβόρακ και Τσαϊκόφσκι που θα ερμηνεύσει η Ρωσίδα βιολοντσελίστρια Νατάλια Γκούτμαν. Διευθυντής της ορχήστρας θα είναι ο Ρούντολφ Μπαρσάι.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Combat Archaeology Research Project

The Combat Archaeology Research Project (CARP)

The primary objectives of this project are to elucidate ancient and medieval martial arts (and their social functions), the technological evolution of weaponry, and the experience of the individual warrior or soldier from the perspective of the human body and mind in a combat environment.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Bad Science II

In an earlier post (Bad Science!!!!), I mentioned the "new" decipherment of the middle section (i.e. the one written in Demotic) of the Rosetta Stone. The study, which was undertaken by Professors Boshevski and Tentov from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), has tried to prove that the text was actually written in "Macedonian", the language of the then rulers of Egypt (i.e. the Ptolemies).

Although I don't wish to go into detail about the numerous shortcomings and flaws of the methods and techniques used in the so-called decipherment, I would like to make a simple point which immediately debunks their argument. The two aforementioned scholars seem to not know that the Demotic script was in use from ca. 650 BCE down to the third century AD, something that clearly shows that it wasn't used exclusively by the Ptolemies.

Of course, no mainstream archaeologists or ancient historians have taken the new decipherment seriously. The whole endeavour is just another attempt by FYROM scholars and politicians to construct a new national identity, an identity connected to Alexander the Great and his legacy.

In a similar tone, another study has recently claimed that mythical Orpheus was also "Macedonian"! For more info on that, take a look at Focus-Fen.

I wonder what's next...

Excavations to continue in Bitlis

Source: Turkish Daily News

Significant archaeological findings have been unearthed during this year's excavations in the eastern Anatolian province of Bitlis.

Head of excavations, Kadir Pektaş, from Denizli-based Pamukkale University said a number of coins, ceramic pieces and tobacco ringlets were found during excavations which focused on the bath, city walls in the East of the city and İç Kale (palace) region, speaking to the Anatolia news agency.

This year we conducted the digs at three points in the region. We unearthed the rectangular shaped structures belonging to the 18th and 19th century in the bath area. The tandoor, a cylindrical clay oven, as well as some other findings here indicate that these structures used to be houses, he said.

Noting that during excavations near the city walls in the eastern part of the city an irregular structure was uncovered, and the millstones and kitchen pots found there also showed that the structures served as houses in ancient times.

He said they came across similar structures in the İç Kale region. However, lower parts of the walls feature a different technique. We assume that these particular structures were built in the 15th century, he said.

Ceramic pieces and tobacco ringlets and coins belonging to the Roman, Byzantium and Ottoman period were also among the findings excavated in the area, according to him. All findings were handed over to the Bitlis Ethnography Museum after they are cleaned, restored and listed.

Pektaş said they planned to excavate in the same areas next year. We will try to obtain more evidence about the structures and settlement with further excavations to be held in 2008, he said.

The Culture and Tourism Ministry, Bitlis Governorship and the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBİTAK) jointly financed the excavations.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Rice University professor debunks National Geographic translation of Gospel of Judas

Source: EurekAlert!

A new book by Rice University professor April DeConick debunks a stunning claim by National Geographic's translation of the Gospel of Judas. According to that translation, Judas was a hero, not a villain, who acted on Jesus' request to betray him. DeConick disagrees.

Before releasing her book "The Thirteenth Apostle: What the Gospel of Judas Really Says," DeConick was intrigued by the original release of the Coptic Gospel of Judas and as a scholar wanted to read it for herself. While researching and translating it, she discovered that National Geographic's translators had made some serious errors.

"Once I started translating the Gospel of Judas and began to see the types of translation choices that the National Geographic team had made I was startled and concerned," DeConick said. "The text very clearly called Judas a 'demon.'"

DeConick contends that the Gospel of Judas is not about a "good" Judas or even a "poor old" Judas. It is a gospel parody about a "demon" Judas written by a particular group of Gnostic Christians who lived in the second century.

"The finding of this gospel has been called one of the most important archaeological discoveries in the past 60 years," DeConick said. "It's important that we get this right."

DeConick said many scholars and writers have been inspired by the National Geographic version.

"It appears to have something to do with our collective guilt about anti-Semitism and our need to reform the relationship between Jews and Christians following World War II," she said. "Judas is a frightening character. For Christians, he is the one who had it all, and yet betrayed God to his death for a few dollars. For Jews, he is terrifying, the man whom Christians associated the Jewish people, whose story was used against them for centuries."


DeConick is the Isla Carroll and Percy E. Turner Professor of Biblical Studies at Rice University in Houston. To read more about her teachings, visit,c,38,1

"The Thirteenth Apostle" (Continuum International Publishing Group) is available to purchase on

April DeConick is available nationwide for media interviews. To book an interview, contact David Ruth at 713-348-6327 or

Exhibition on antiquities theft by Hellenic Culture Foundation in Trieste

Source: ekathimerini

‘History Lost’ currently on display at the Castello San Giusto in Trieste, Italy.

The Hellenic Foundation for Culture recently unveiled a major exhibition in Trieste, titled «History Lost: The Illicit Antiquities Trade and its Impact on Civilization,» held at the city's historical Castello San Giusto.

Jointly organized with the City of Trieste, the exhibition presents the effects of the illicit trade of antiquities on our culture and civilization. It features copies of archaeological finds that have been returned to Greece over the past few years, after ongoing claims. These include a golden wreath from Macedonia and a marble head of the god Dionysus from Corinth, among others.

The display takes travelers on a journey from the looting of Baghdad's archaeological museum and the destruction of statues in Cambodian temples to the sale of ancient artifacts from various Mediterranean countries to auction houses in the United States.

Its aim is to demonstrate that ancient finds are absolutely useless as knowledge of the past when they are cut off from the information on their homeland. The foundation's president, Professor Georgios Babiniotis, noted that the display is a contribution to the international society of culture, as illicit trade is worldwide and the loss of historical knowledge affects all of humanity.

The Hellenic Foundation for Culture has undertaken the initiative to present the exhibition in different cities abroad, namely in Lisbon, Paris, London and Berlin, among others.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

The volcano that buried a library

Source: Athens News


Archaeologists have resumed their search for a library of Greek and Latin masterpieces that is thought to lie under volcanic rock at the ancient Roman site of Herculaneum.

The scrolls, which have been called the Holy Grail of classical literature, are thought to have been lost when Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD79, burying the wealthy Roman city of Herculaneum and neighbouring Pompeii.

Previous digs have unearthed classical works at a building now known as the Villa of the Papyri, thought to have belonged to Julius Caesar's father-in-law, Lucius Calpurnius Piso, who was known to be a lover of poetry.

The villa was found by chance in the 18th century by engineers digging a well shaft. Tunnels bored into the rock brought to light stunning ancient sculptures - now in the National Archaeological Museum of Naples - and 1,800 carbonised papyrus scrolls. The writings were mainly works by the Epicurean Greek philosopher Philodemus, who was part of Piso's entourage.

Ten years ago two floors of the villa were discovered, as well as the remains of nearby gardens, ornamental ponds, a bathhouse and a collapsed seaside pavilion. The excavation was halted in 1998 as funds ran out and archaeologists protested at the use of mechanical diggers by a private builder to smash through the rock.

The site was opened to the public four years ago, but has now been closed again so that archaeologists using picks and trowels can dig out the frescoed corridor or cryptoportico on the lower ground floor. They are also conserving mosaics and frescoes already found on the top floor to protect them from damp and erosion.

"Work can resume because we are combining archaeology with responsible conservation, which was not the case in the 1990s," said Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, the director of the British School at Rome and head of the Herculaneum Conservation Project, which is funded by the Packard Humanities Institute to the tune of 3 million dollars a year.

Maria Paola Guidobaldi, the director of excavations at Herculaneum, said that the new Villa of the Papyri dig was backed by a further 3 million euros from the EU and the Campania region, and would last a year and a half. "We will proceed cautiously - and if we find more papyri or statues, we will be delighted," she said.

Some historians believe that the papyri, which may have included lost masterpieces by Aristotle, Euripides or Sophocles, were being packed to be taken to safety when the eruption occurred. The scrolls would have been scattered throughout the 2,800sqm of the villa by the violent force of the 160kmh "pyroclastic flow" of ash, gas and mud.

Professor Wallace-Hadrill said that next year work would also begin on excavating the basilica, the great hall housing Herculaneum's legal and administrative centre. It lies beneath a rubbish-strewn wasteland that was covered until recently by dilapidated modern housing, some of it built illegally with the connivance of the Camorra - the Naples Mafia. The local authorities have bought and demolished some of the buildings.

In the past some scholars have insisted that the priority at Herculaneum should be conservation rather than excavation. But campaigners led by Robert Fowler, Professor of Greek at Bristol University, and the novelist Robert Harris have argued passionately that the search for the "lost library" must go on.

The villa captured the imagination of the American billionaire J Paul Getty, whose museum at Malibu, California, the Getty Villa, is a replica. The carbonised scrolls recovered so far were deciphered by computer-enhanced multispectral imaging.

DNA shows ancient ship carried olive oil, oregano

Source: Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - DNA scraped from inside clay vessels show that a ship that sank off the coast of Greece 2,400 years ago was carrying a cargo of olive oil, oregano, and probably wine, researchers reported on Friday.

The new research may offer a way to analyze the long-gone contents of hundreds of containers, said Brendan Foley of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Writing in the Journal of Archeological Science, Foley and colleagues at Lund University in Sweden said they were able to get DNA sequences from the insides of two amphoras recovered in 230 feet of water in 2005.

The clay containers appeared empty, but the researchers decided to try testing for DNA anyhow. To their surprise, they got some -- and not the DNA they were expecting.

The island of Chios where the shipwreck was found was well-known in the ancient world as a major exporter of highly prized wines. But the two amphora in fact carried DNA from olives and oregano.

They also found evidence of wine and perhaps pistachios, they said.

Foley hopes to use the technique to find out more details about the ancient shipping trade.

"Imagine if you were asked to analyze the American economy just by looking at the empty shells of 40-foot (12-metre) shipping containers," he said in a statement.

"You could say something, but not much."

Friday, November 02, 2007

A New Blog:

Joint Library of the Hellenic & Roman Societies / Institute of Classical Studies Library

The Library is maintained jointly with the Societies for the Promotion of Hellenic and Roman Studies and in association with the Institute of Classical Studies (University of London). It contains over 100,000 volumes, 18,250 bound volumes of periodicals and has an international reputation as one of the world’s foremost Classics libraries.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Stanford acquires a ‘world-class’ Egyptology library

Source: Stanford News Service


Stanford has acquired the library of one of the foremost Egyptologists of the 20th century.

The collection of Wolja Erichsen (1890-1966), now at Stanford's Green Library, documents more than 1,500 years of Egyptian history, ranging from about 650 B.C. to about A.D. 1000. It includes Egypt's important transition from paganism to Christianity.

"The Erichsen library is one of the most significant and perhaps the last great Egyptology library in private hands," said Joe Manning, associate professor of classics. "It is difficult to overestimate the importance of acquiring this collection. Stanford's acquisition adds great momentum to our research and strengthens our profile as one of the very best places in the world to study ancient Mediterranean civilizations."

Manning, speaking at an Oct. 15 reception to celebrate the acquisition, emphasized that this contribution from the "heroic age" of Egyptology, which peaked between 1880 and 1920 and was centered in Berlin, is "a huge deal."

"The gift of a library is not the sexiest thing in the world—people prefer to build buildings—but this is much more important," he said, to laughter and scattered applause.

Erichsen, a professor at the University of Copenhagen, was a specialist in demotic Egyptian, the script and language of Egypt from 650 B.C. to A.D. 200, and Coptic, the last stage of the ancient Egyptian language that has particular importance for the study of early Christianity, especially since Egypt was the location of the earliest organized church.

Erichsen, for many years based in Berlin, is perhaps most famous for his important dictionary of demotic, Demotisches Glossar (1954), which is still fundamental in the field, and his Demotische Lesestücke (1937-39), a collection of demotic Egyptian texts used for teaching the language even today.

After Erichsen's death, heirs were divided about where the library should go. At one point it was considered by the universities of Würzberg and Chicago, but the collection stayed in Copenhagen until Stanford acquired it.

"The breadth of text editions and studies of demotic and Coptic text editions represented in this library is unmatched," Manning said. Many of the volumes are extremely rare text editions published in Germany before 1940. These editions often have large folio photographic plate volumes. "They are often better than working with digital photos, and simpler and easier to use," Manning added. "They are the next best thing to being there."

In many cases, they provide high-quality 16-by-20-inch photographs of texts that no longer exist because the original papyri were lost or destroyed during World War II.

The collection also contains "beautiful volumes of Egypt and Nubian temples and site plans, a lot of them now gone," Manning said. War wasn't the only enemy: The Aswan Dam flooded some historic sites, other temples were removed from original sites and reestablished in museums, and still other sites have been rifled since books about them were written in the 18th and 19th centuries.

"Arabs were not exactly keen on the ancient monuments—nor were the early Christians," Manning said. "They saw them as potential quarried stone." Hence, old stone from ancient sites was reassembled into new buildings, obliterating ancient history.

It's commonly believed that modern technology and techniques have antiquated the research of an earlier area, but the assumption does not necessarily hold in late Egyptology, a history that is very much a work-in-progress, according to Manning.

"There's a dialogue between the new and old material," he said. "Half of the known demotic texts are not even published. There are still papyri coming up out of the ground." Manning noted that, for instance, 8,000 new papyri of Greek and demotic texts were discovered in the last few seasons at a single site in Egypt. It shows that the available knowledge of the era is far from complete, and scholars are still playing catch-up. Much of the older work has not been revised or updated.

The new acquisition will be the "basis of history-building about this period. It gives great momentum to our work," Manning said. "With this gift, Stanford Libraries have gone from having an average holding of Egyptology to world class."

He said that Egyptology is "a small field, but an important field in human history." Some of its importance, however, may be lost on the uneducated eye.

For example, Coptic, a language that never truly died and is still preserved in the liturgies of the Coptic churches, is a critical language for decoding ancient Egyptian. In fact, Coptic is the last stage of ancient Egyptian, using a Greek alphabet, with an important difference: Ancient written languages don't use vowels, but Coptic does. Hence, it has provided clues to how the ancient Egyptian language was pronounced, and also indicates the dialects of ancient Egyptian, corresponding to Coptic dialect up and down Egypt.

The story behind Stanford's acquisition of Erichsen's library is an appealing one: Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Tutankhamen in 1922, the same year that young Edna Kumpe (later Upton) graduated from college. Carter's discovery inaugurated her lifelong interest in Egypt and the Bible, rooted in early Coptic translations of biblical texts.

Upton's granddaughter, Stanford alumna Chele Chiavacci, made a donation in the name of her late grandmother. Chiavacci is managing director of Mistral Capital International and also on the advisory board of the Stanford Archaeology Center.

The donation, augmented with a contribution from the Classics Department and matching funds from the Provost's Office, was used to purchase the Erichsen collection.

The Edna Kumpe Upton Memorial Erichsen Library will be housed and available for study partly in the Department of Special Collections and partly in the Green Library general collection stacks.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Επαναπατρίστηκαν 94 νεολιθικά αντικείμενα που εκλάπησαν το 1985 στη Λάρισα


Στην Ελλάδα επέστρεψαν 94 αντικείμενα της νεολιθικής εποχής που είχαν κλαπεί από συλλέκτη το 1985 στη Λάρισα. Προσωρινά βρίσκονται στο Εθνικό Αρχαιολογικό Μουσείο, μέχρι να προγραμματιστεί η μεταφορά τους στο Αρχαιολογικό Μουσείο της Λάρισας όπου ανήκουν.

Οι αρχαιότητες είχαν κλαπεί πριν από 22 χρόνια σε ένοπλη ληστεία στην οικία του συλλέκτη Κωνσταντίνου Θεοδωρόπουλου και στη συνέχεια προωθήθηκαν σε μουσείο του Μονάχου.

Πρόκειται για λίθινες και πήλινες σφραγίδες, λίθινα εργαλεία και φιάλες και 63 μαρμάρινα και πήλινα νεολιθικά αγγεία, εξήγησε ο διευθυντής του Εθνικού Αρχαιολογικού Μουσείου Ν. Καλτσάς στην τελετή παράδοσης την Τρίτη.

Ο Μιχάλης Λιάπης, ικανοποιημένος από την εξέλιξη της υπόθεσης, τόνισε πως η αντιμετώπιση της κλοπής και παράνομης διακίνησης αρχαιοτήτων βρίσκεται στον πυρήνα της πολιτικής του υπουργείου Πολιτισμού.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Ικανοποίηση Λιάπη από την εξέλιξη των εργασιών στην Αρχαία Ολυμπία


«Οι εργασίες αποκατάστασης στην Αρχαία Ολυμπία προχωρούν βάσει του χρονοδιαγράμματος που είχαμε σχεδιάσει και προσωπικά είμαι ιδιαίτερα ικανοποιημένος. Σε λίγο καιρό θα αποδώσουμε στη διεθνή κοινότητα την Αρχαία Ολυμπία αποκαταστημένη» δήλωσε ο υπουργός Πολιτισμού Μιχάλης Λιάπης, ο οποίος επισκέφθηκε για δεύτερη φορά την περιοχή.

Η τελετή αφής της Ολυμπιακής φλόγας θα γίνει στις 24 Μαρτίου «κατά τον καλύτερο τρόπο» είπε χαρακτηριστικά ο κ. Λιάπης.

Ο υπουργός Πολιτισμού δεν στάθηκε μόνο στην αποκατάσταση της περιοχής από την πυρκαγιά, αλλά αναφέρθηκε και στην εκτέλεση έργων για περαιτέρω ανάδειξη της Αρχαίας Ολυμπίας. Όπως σημείωσε, «θέλουμε με μακρόπνοα έργα να αναδείξουμε ακόμη περισσότερο αυτό το μνημείο - σύμβολο της πολιτιστικής μας κληρονομιάς».

Πρόσθεσε ότι «η πολιτική βούληση είναι δεδομένη, χρήματα υπάρχουν και η παρακολούθηση των έργων θα είναι άμεση και διαρκής, διότι δεν δικαιολογούνται καθυστερήσεις».

Επίσης, ο υπουργός Πολιτισμού ζήτησε από τον περιφερειάρχη Δυτικής Ελλάδας Σπύρο Σπυρίδωνα, να ολοκληρωθούν μέσα στην επόμενη εβδομάδα οι πληρωμές των εργαζομένων που απασχολούνται στα έργα αποκατάστασης.

Εν τω μεταξύ, σύμφωνα με Τα Νέα, 20 χρόνια και 30.000 δέντρα και θάμνοι, σε πρώτη φάση, θα χρειαστούν για να αποκατασταθεί το τοπίο στον αρχαιολογικό χώρο της Ολυμπίας.

Με τα 30.000 δέντρα, μόλις το 1/3 όσων κάηκαν στην πυρκαγιά του Αυγούστου, επιχειρείται να βελτιωθεί η αποκαρδιωτική εικόνα της Αρχαίας Ολυμπίας εν όψει της τελετής της Αφής της Ολυμπιακής Φλόγας στις 25 Μαρτίου για τους Αγώνες του Πεκίνου.

Οι επεμβάσεις στην αποκατάσταση της εικόνας του αρχαιολογικού χώρου θα είναι ριζικές, καθώς τη θέση των πεύκων που κυριαρχούσαν θα πάρουν κυρίως πλατύφυλλα δέντρα, που αν καούν να μπορούν να ξαναβλαστήσουν με στόχο την αποκαστάση του αρχαίου δρυοδάσους.

Για τον λόγο αυτό θα χρησιμοποιηθούν 26 διαφορετικά είδη δένδρων και θάμνων -ανάμεσά τους βελανιδιά, δρυς, ελιά, κυπαρίσσι, πουρνάρι, κουτσουπιά, κουμαριά, δάφνη, λυγαριά, μυρτιά, πικροδάφνη, αγριοτριανταφυλλιά, σφενδάμι- για να καλύψουν τις καταστροφές σε συνολικά 255 στρέμματα του αρχαιολογικού χώρου και των γύρω λόφων.

Το βάρος προγραμματίζεται να πέσει στο σήμα κατατεθέν του τοπίου της Αρχαίας Ολυμπίας, τον Κρόνιο Λόφο. Κουμαριές και σπάρτα, που δεν θα έχουν μεγάλο ύψος για να μην κρύψουν τη γραμμή του ορίζοντα, θα φυτευτούν με υδροσπορά (ειδικό σύστημα φύτευσης διά ψεκασμού) πάνω σε ειδικό (βιοδιασπώμενο μέσα σε τέσσερα χρόνια) γεωΰφασμα.

Στο μέσον του λόφου θα φυτευτούν δρυς και κουτσουπιές, ενώ στο κάτω μέρος τον ρόλο «κουρτίνας» θα παίξουν δάφνες, ελιές και κουτσουπιές με ύψος έως και 2 μ. Απαραίτητη προϋπόθεση να γίνει διασκόπηση του εδάφους καθώς ο Κρόνιος Λόφος έχει ανασκαφεί ελάχιστα.

Λυγαριές, πικροδάφνες, κυπαρίσσια και αγριελιές από την Κρήτη θα βρουν τη θέση τους σε δυο λωρίδες που θα διαμορφωθούν εκατέρωθεν του μήκους 80 μ. διαδρόμου προς το μνημείο του Πιερ Ντε Κουμπερντέν. Μικρές συστάδες δέντρων θα τοποθετηθούν κατά μήκους του οδικού δικτύου εντός του αρχαιολογικού χώρου, ενώ οι ξένοι προς την τοπική χλωρίδα ευκάλυπτοι και οι τριανταφυλλιές που βρίσκονταν έξω από το μουσείο προβλέπεται να αντικατασταθούν με αγριοτριανταφυλλιές, δάφνες και πλατάνια.

Προβληματισμός ωστόσο προέκυψε για την προέλευση των υπεραιωνόβιων ελαιοδέντρων που θα ταξιδέψουν από την Κρήτη, καθώς θεωρήθηκε «προβληματικό» το έπαθλο των Ολυμπιακών Αγώνων, το στεφάνι ελιάς, να προέρχεται από ελαιόδεντρα Κρήτης!

Ωστόσο, η μυθολογία «που θέλει την πρώτη ελιά να φτάνει στην Ολυμπία από την Κρήτη» φαίνεται να δίνει το πράσινο φως για το ταξίδι των 170 δέντρων. Τα υπόλοιπα φυτά έχουν δεσμευθεί ήδη στην πλειονότητά τους από φυτώρια της Πάτρας, ανάμεσά τους κάπου 4.200 κυπαρίσσια, το ύψος των οποίων κυμαίνεται από 50 εκατ. έως 3 μέτρα.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Job at Dartmouth College

Seen at AegeaNet


The Department of Classics at Dartmouth College anticipates an opening for a one-year visiting professor to teach courses in introductory archaeology, Greek archaeology and elementary Latin from September 2008 through March 2009. In addition, the candidate should be prepared to assist a Dartmouth faculty member in Greece during the Spring quarter of 2009 (late March through early June) for the department's off-campus program (extensive travel required). Ph.D. is expected at the time of appointment (July 2008).

Please send a letter of application, a curriculum vitae, transcript, and three letters of recommendation to: Robin Donovan, Department Administrator, Classics Department, 6086 Reed Hall, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755.
Review of applications will begin on December 1, 2007, and continue until the position is filled. Electronic submissions are encouraged. Inquiries may be directed to or 603-646-3394. Dartmouth College is an Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Employer.

Next Aegean Seminar in Zagreb

Seen at AegeaNet

The next Aegean Seminar in Croatia will take place on 05 November 2007 at 18.30 at the lecture hall of the Croatian Journalists’ Association, Perkovčeva Street 2, Zagreb. It will host Professor Emeritus Christos Doumas with a lecture titled "The volcanic eruption of Thera and the fiction of Atlantis".

In addition to this, prof. Doumas will give a University lecture "Aegean islands – cradle of civilisation" on 06 November 2007 at 11.15. The venue of this lecture is the Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Lecture Hall VI, Ivana Lucica Street 3, Zagreb.

For any further information, please contact Helena Tomas on

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A 3,000-year-old mystery is finally solved: Tutankhamun died in a hunting accident

Source: The Independent

By Steve Connor, Science Editor

The mystery behind the sudden death of Tutankhamun, the boy king who ruled Egypt more than 3,000 years ago, may have been finally solved by scientists who believe that he fell from a fast-moving chariot while out hunting in the desert.

Speculation surrounding Tutankhamun's death has been rife since his tomb was broken into in 1922 by archaeologist Howard Carter. X-rays of the mummy taken in 1968 indicated a swelling at the base of the skull, suggesting "King Tut" was killed by a blow to the head.

More recent studies using a CT medical scanner, however, revealed he suffered a badly broken leg, just above his knee just before he died. That in turn probably led to lethal blood poisoning. Now further evidence has come to light suggesting that he suffered the fracture while hunting game from a chariot.

The new findings are still circumstantial but one of Egypt's leading experts on Tutankhamun will say in a television documentary to be screened this week that he believes the case is now solved on how the boy king met his sudden and unexpected end.

"He was not murdered as many people thought. He had an accident when he was hunting in the desert. Falling from a chariot made this fracture in his left leg and this really is in my opinion how he died," said Zahi Hawass, general secretary of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities.

Until now, many historians had assumed that he was treated as a rather fragile child who was cosseted and protected from physical danger. However, Nadia Lokma of the Cairo Museum said that a recent analysis of the chariots found in the tombs of the pharaohs indicated that they were not merely ceremonial but show signs of wear and tear. Hundreds of arrows recovered from the tomb also show evidence of having been fired and recovered. "These chariots are hunting chariots, not war chariots. You can see from the wear on them that they were actually used in life," Dr Lokma said.

A cache of clothing found in Tutankhamun's tomb, which was stored in the vaults of the Cairo Museum, suggest that he was accustomed to riding these chariots himself. They include a specially-adapted corset which would have protected the wearer's abdominal organs from any damage from an accident or the heavy jostling of a chariot ride.

A final piece of evidence comes from a garland of flowers placed around the neck of Tutankhamun's mummy. Botanists found it included cornflowers and mayweed that were fresh at the time the decoration was made.

"The cornflower and mayweed on the garland around the mummy were in flower in March and April, which tells us the time of year he was buried," said Nigel Hepper of the Royal Horticultural Society at Kew Gardens.

Because the flowers could have been collected only between the middle of March and the end of April, and as the complex process of mummification lasted 70 days, this meant Tutankhamun probably died in December or January. That timing coincided with the middle of the winter hunting season.

The results of the latest research into Tutankhamun, which are to feature in a Channel Five documentary tomorrow evening, come just a few weeks before Britain hosts the first exhibition of his tomb's artefacts in 35 years at The O2 centre, formerly the Millennium Dome, in south-east London.

When the first Tutankhamun exhibition in London was held at the British Museum in 1972, some 1.5 million people made the pilgrimage to see his fabulous solid-gold facemask. This time, however, the mask will remain in Egypt because of fears it might not withstand the trip.

The present-day Lord Carnarvon, whose ancestor paid for Howard Carter's 1922 expedition, said the latest findings indicated that Tutankhamun was an active young man who took risks with his life.

"I thought he was an over-cosseted child, but I think he was really out there in the field and taking part in things towards the end of his short life," Lord Carnarvon said. "His chariots could have reached considerable speeds, up to 25mph. If a chariot turns over at that speed, you could easily break your leg very seriously."

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Turkish Dam May Leave Mosques, Mosaics to Tigris Scuba Divers


By Ben Holland

Oct. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Hasankeyf in southeast Turkey has been home to Assyrians, Romans, Byzantines and Ottomans over the past 3,000 years, and has the monuments to prove it. Visitors may soon need scuba gear to see them.

Turkey plans to build a $1.7 billion dam to generate power from the Tigris River, which flows through Hasankeyf en route to Iraq. Archaeologists are fighting the project so they don't have to choose between moving fragile structures like Hasankeyf's Silk Road bridge or seeing them submerged under 100 feet (30 meters) of water.

The town's history unfolds down the sandstone cliffs that line the Tigris. On the plateau above the river lie the ruins of a castle built by Byzantine emperor Constantine the Great. Caves carved into the sheer walls three millennia ago were inhabited until the 1960s. Near the river, archaeologists have uncovered a complex of medieval mosques, palaces and shops.

``It's tragic and it's outrageous'' to flood the valley, says Tom Sinclair, a history professor at the University of Cyprus. ``You can just walk in there and immediately get the idea of a medieval city.''

Archaeologists and environmentalists last year asked the European Court of Human Rights to stop the dam, known as the Ilisu project. The court in April rejected the case because European human rights laws don't protect cultural heritage, says Murat Cano, the lawyer who filed the action.

The government sidelined an earlier project six years ago after protests by environmental and human rights groups. In response, planners agreed to build a new town for Hasankeyf residents and move some of the monuments.

`Already Collapsing'

``These structures are already collapsing,'' says Yunus Bayraktar, who oversees the project for Turkish builder Nurol Holding AS. ``If there wasn't a dam project, they'd all be going to hell.''

Unfurling maps and plans across the table in his Ankara office, Bayraktar describes the future Hasankeyf: marinas, an open-air museum and a steady flow of tourists drawn to the monuments and water sports on a lake six times the size of Manhattan. The caves can be transformed into luxury apartments, and ``the world's billionaires will come and buy them,'' he says.

Present-day Hasankeyf straddles the Tigris. Above the town rise the minarets of the 15th-century El-Rizk mosque, which has a twin spiral staircase leading up the tower. Children compete to tell visitors how the architect escaped down one stairway as his angry master, sword in hand, pursued him up the other.

Three pillars survive from the stone bridge once used by travelers on the Silk Road from China to Constantinople. On the river's north bank sits an onion-domed tomb inlaid with blue tiles that was built for the son of the Turkmen King Hasan the Tall in the 14th century.

`Stone Would Crumble'

``I don't think they can be moved,'' says Abdusselam Ulucam, the Turkish archaeologist in charge of excavation at Hasankeyf. ``The stone would crumble to dust in your hands.''

There is probably more to be found. Last month, a security guard stumbled across a Roman mosaic on a wall buried behind the rubble inside a chamber at the base of the cliffs.

``It just shows you what else could be discovered,'' says Sinclair, author of a four-volume study of east Turkey's antiquities published by Pindar Press.

The dam's builders and financial backers, including Societe Generale SA and export credit agencies in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, say they'll pay for archaeologists to keep digging until the waters rise.

Turkey has made ``fundamental improvements'' in the project, with social and environmental criteria to be monitored by independent experts, Paris-based Societe Generale said in an e-mailed response to questions.

Creating Jobs

Some locals welcome the project because it will create jobs.

Sait Tekin, a local shopkeeper, says there is now work in Hasankeyf because investment dried up after the dam was first proposed half a century ago.

``It's better that it should be flooded than stay like this,'' Tekin says as he chats with friends at his general store on the city's main street. ``We just want to know what's going to happen.''

Others aren't convinced.

``This is my home. Of course I don't want to leave it,'' says Cigdem Kayalar, 16, as she milks goats in the shade by the river's edge. Kayalar admits life in Hasankeyf isn't easy: her father can only find work when archaeologists are in town, paying locals about 1 lira (81 cents) an hour to dig for them.

Ilisu is one of 13 dams planned for the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, as Turkey strives to meet the needs of its growing economy. When completed in about seven years, the project will generate 3,800 gigawatt-hours of power annually, or 2.4 percent of Turkey's current output, according to Energy Ministry figures.

Lawyer Cano recognizes that Turkey needs power and that the latest Ilisu project will relocate or compensate the 55,000 people who'll lose their homes.

Still, he says, Hasankeyf shouldn't be flooded.

``Each civilization has a duty to pass on what has survived from its predecessors,'' he says. ``Invest, for sure, but also protect.''

To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Holland in Istanbul at .

When, not if, the marbles return...

Source: ekathimerini

A crane transferring a crate of antiquities from the old to the new Acropolis Museum.


The Acropolis is “missing the Marbles,” was the headline of a story in the Christian Science Monitor by Nicole Itano, in a report on the beginning of a large-scale operation last week to move tons of antiquities from the Acropolis to the new museum at its foot. At 9 a.m. sharp last Sunday, a 2.3-ton marble sculpture was the first of 4,500 works of art that will be moved over the next three months. The new museum, however, will be better known for what is missing from it rather than for what it contains. For when it opens to the public next year, the celebrated Parthenon Marbles, also known as the “Elgin Marbles” after the British member of the nobility who made off with them in the 19th century, will still be missing. Nearly 200 years later, the British Museum still has about half of the extant Parthenon sculptures. Greece hopes that the new museum will put more pressure on London to return them. The latest battle to have the marbles returned dates back to 1982, when the then culture minister, actress Melina Mercouri, speaking at a UN conference, called for their return. The Christian Science Monitor quoted Anthony Snodgrass, a retired professor of classical archaeology at Cambridge University and chairman of the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles. “One of the arguments in the past that was always used was, if only Athens had a proper exhibition space for the marbles and if only the Greeks showed themselves able to look after and exhibit the marbles satisfactorily, it would be a different matter,”... “Now everybody will be able to see for themselves what is being perpetuated by keeping the two halves of the marbles apart. And this will be graphically displayed in the new museum.” The US-based Swiss architect who designed the museum, Bernard Tschumi, said the missing marbles were “central to his design.” As for the British Museum, its spokesperson Hannah Boulton, told the newspaper that “the very purpose of the British Museum is to present a unique overview of world civilization, and the Parthenon Marbles are an integral part of that.” Germany’s Deutsche Welle press review, and Austria’s daily Die Presse both carried extensive reports on the importance of the new museum. It is clear that Greece is not alone in seeking the return of its cultural treasures. Meanwhile, Jules Dassin, the president and soul of the Melina Mercouri Foundation, which was instrumental in realizing the new museum, said nothing can stop an idea whose time has come.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Italian experts to explore parts of ancient Patliputra

Source: m&c

Patna, Oct 18 (IANS) A three-member Italian archaeologist team, in a joint collaboration with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), will explore the undiscovered parts of the ancient Patliputra, near moder-day Patna.

'Our thrust will be to study, explore and identify new sites related to ancient Patliputra,' Giovenni Veradi, an internationally acclaimed archaeologist, told IANS here Thursday.

'The team will seek financial assistance from Italian government to go ahead with its joint collaboration and to explore the sites,' he said.

Giovenni Veradi's latest excavation work at Gotinava in Nepal was lauded for its discovery of tracing the spread of Mauryan empire beyond India to Nepal and China.

The ASI is also upbeat to join hands with Italian archaeologists. 'It is going to be a big move to explore many more new facts about Patliputra,' said P.K. Mishra, superintendent archaeologist of the Patna circle.

It is widely believed by the experts that Patliputra was much bigger than what has been discovered till date.

'It is a hard fact that Patliputra remains one of the least explored of the ancient sites in India, ' Mishra said.

Mishra said that the fresh explorations assume much significance in view of the satellite images taken by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) last year.

Italian archaeologists are planning to study stone slabs and Arogya Vihar or hospital-cum-monastery at Kumrahar, six km from Patna.

Chinese scholars Hieun Tsang and Fa Hien have accounted the size and grandeur of the ancient Patiliputra. Megasthenese, the celebrated Greek ambassador in the court of Chandragupta Maurya, gave vivid accounts of Patilputra in his book 'Indica'.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Job at UCL

Research Assistant
Arts and Humanities
UCL Museums and Collections

Scale 6 (£23,002 - £24,403 per annum) plus London Allowance of £2,572 per annum
Full time, 9 month contract due to funding.

E-Curator: 3D colour scans for remote object identification and assessment

This project draws on UCL's expertise both in curatorship and in e-Science. It takes advantage of the presence at UCL of world class collections across a range of disciplines and of a state of the art colour scanner, the quality of which is unequalled in the UK. The project aims to apply e-science technologies to museum work and artefact analysis, exploring the potential to capture and share in a secure and repeatable manner very large, detailed datasets about museum artefacts, thereby enhancing international scholarship and facilitating the safe movement of artefacts. The ability to share validated 3D colour data could facilitate object-tracking and condition checking, enabling curators and conservators to compare records collected at different institutions and stored remotely, or collected over a period of time under different conditions, in order to assess and monitor change. The project is jointly funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC).

We are seeking a Research Assistant with a background in the Arts and Humanities, who will be responsible for organising formative, interim and summative evaluation of the project with curators and conservators. S/he will be trained in 3D colour scanning with Arius equipment and software in order to undertake object scanning with curators, will organise workshops, and will play a key role in publishing and disseminating the findings in appropriate professional contexts within the museum and heritage sector. S/he will work closely with a Research Assistant from a Computer Science background who is developing software tools for the project.

A full job description, person specification is available at
Application forms can be downloaded from

Please email completed applications to Hannah Parton or post to Room 118, Chorley Institute, Pearson Building, UCL, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT.
Telephone enquiries - 020 7679 2462.
Interviews will be held on 26 November.

We regret that due to administration costs we are only able to respond to applicants whom we wish to interview. If you have not heard from us within one month after the closing date please assume you have been unsuccessful in your application for this post.

UCL Taking Action For Equality.

The closing date for applications is Friday, 9th November 2007.

Jobs at University of York

The Archaeology of the last 2000 years
Department of Archaeology

Ref: BA07434

Applications are invited for two lectureships to complement and consolidate existing departmental strengths. You should be specialists in the archaeology of historic or protohistoric periods, of Europe or beyond. You should also be able to demonstrate academic leadership, interest and ability in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, and possess a clear research vision.

Both posts will be appointed on the lecturer scale, with a starting salary of £32,796 pa. Informal enquiries may be made to the Head of Department, Prof. Julian Richards (tel 00 44 (0)1904 433930, e-mail

One post is available from 1 January 2008 or as soon as possible thereafter; the other from 1 October 2008.

Closing date for applications: 12.00 noon on Thursday 15 November 2007.

For further particulars and details of how to apply, please see our website at: or write to the Personnel Office, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5DD, quoting reference number BA07434.

The University of York is committed to diversity and has policies and developmental programmes in place to promote equality of opportunity.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Συνεχίζονται στην Ολυμπία τα γυρίσματα της ταινίας της Νία Βαρντάλος


Στην Ολυμπία θα συνεχιστούν τα γυρίσματα της ταινίας My Life in ruins με πρωταγωνίστρια την Νία Βαρντάλος. Μαζί της συναντήθηκε ο υπουργός Πολιτισμού Μιχάλης Λιάπης εκφράζοντας την στήριξή του.

Τα γυρίσματα της ταινίας έγιναν τη Δευτέρα στη Ρωμαϊκή Αγορά, ενώ τα επισκέφθηκε και ο κ. Λιάπης. Ο υπουργός Πολιτισμού ενημερώθηκε για την εξέλιξη των γυρισμάτων και την παραγωγή και ευχαρίστησε την Νία Βαρντάλος για την προβολή της Ελλάδας με τις ταινίες της. Την προσκάλεσε επίσης να κάνει την πρεμιέρα της ταινίας στην Αθήνα.

Από την πλευρά της, η ηθοποιός δήλωσε ενθουσιασμένη που κάνει γυρίσματα στους αρχαιολογικούς χώρους της Ελλάδας.

Ο σκηνοθέτης Ντόναλντ Πέτρι δήλωσε, σύμφωνα με Τα Νέα, ότι «η ενέργεια, ο πολιτισμός που μεταδίδουν αρχαιολογικοί χώροι όπως η Ακρόπολη, οι Δελφοί, η Ολυμπία, σπάνια μπορούν να 'μεταδοθούν' στον θεατή μέσω μιας ταινίας, γι' αυτό εύχομαι η δική μας να καταφέρει να μεταδώσει έστω και μια αύρα της δύναμης που εκπέμπουν αυτοί οι τόποι».

Στην ταινία η Βαρντάλος υποδύεται μια ξεναγό, που «παρουσιάζει» την Ελλάδα σε ομάδα Αμερικανών τουριστών και ερωτεύεται τον Αλέξη Γεωργούλη.

Aswan Obelisk Quarry more than meets the eye

Source: EurekAlert!

The unfinished Obelisk Quarry in Aswan, Egypt, has a canal that may have connected to the Nile and allowed the large stone monuments to float to their permanent locations, according to an international team of researchers. This canal, however, may be allowing salts from ground water to seep into what has been the best preserved example of obelisk quarrying in Egypt.

"Working deposits and surfaces exposed during excavation are being damaged by accumulation of salts," the researchers said at the Second International Conference on Geology of the Tethyr at the Cairo University. "These unique artifacts document quarry methods and should be preserved."

The granite quarry, located on the east bank of the Nile in the center of Aswan City, contains a very large unfinished obelisk that was not completed because of latent cracks. While the cracks were bad for the ancient Egyptian stone carvers, the unfinished monument provides the opportunity for archaeologists to understand how people worked hard stone quarries.

Excavations by the Aswan Office of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Egypt, began in 2002 to prepare the site for tourists. Among the discoveries made were a trench at least 8.25 feet deep. Archaeologists were unable to reach the bottom because of groundwater incursion.

"Some researchers suggested that this trench linked the quarry with the Nile," says Dr. Richard R. Parizek, professor of geology and geo-environmental engineering at Penn State. "Transporting huge granite monoliths by boat to the Nile during the annual flood would appear to be easier than having to transport these blocks overland from the quarry to the Nile."