Saturday, May 17, 2008

Harrison Ford Elected to AIA Board

Source: Archaeological Institute of America

"Indiana Jones" shows his commitment to real archaeology.

After years of being identified on screen as the legendary archaeologist "Indiana Jones," actor Harrison Ford has won election to the Board of Directors of the Archaeological Institute of America. With his Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull set to hit U.S. movie theaters on May 22, the film star commented on his real world dedication to archaeology, "Knowledge is power, and understanding the past can only help us in dealing with the present and the future."

The Archaeological Institute of America is North America's oldest and largest non-profit organization devoted to archaeology. With more nearly a quarter of a million members and subscribers and 105 local chapters, it promotes archaeological excavation, research, education, and preservation on a global basis. At the core of its mission is the belief that an understanding of the past enhances our shared sense of humanity and enriches our existence. As archaeological finds are a non-renewable resource, the AIA's work benefits not only the current generation, but also those yet to come in the future.

"Harrison Ford has played a significant role in stimulating the public's interest in archaeological exploration," said Brian Rose, President of the AIA. "We are all delighted that he has agreed to join the AIA's Governing Board."

In addition, the current May/June issue of ARCHAEOLOGY magazine, published by the AIA, features a cover story devoted to the mysteries surrounding the alleged crystal skull archaeological finds that inspired the new "Indiana Jones" film. For the complete article, go to

Harrison Ford is already helping to raise public awareness of the AIA and its mission as the news of his election to the Board has spread. Many media outlets have covered the story.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Israel Museum puts Dead Sea scroll on rare display

Source: AP via Yahoo! News

By MATTI FRIEDMAN, Associated Press Writer Tue May 13, 7:57 PM ET

JERUSALEM - One of the most important Dead Sea scrolls is going on display in Jerusalem this week — more than four decades after it was last seen by the public. The 24-foot scroll with the text of the Bible's Book of Isaiah had been in a dark, temperature-controlled room at the Israel Museum since 1967. It went on display two years earlier, but curators replaced it with a facsimile after noticing new cracks in the calfskin parchment.

The museum decided to put the scroll back on show for three months as part of Israel's 60th anniversary celebrations.

The priceless manuscript, written by a Judean scribe around 120 B.C., was in a long glass case Tuesday, its neat rows of Hebrew letters distinct and legible. President Bush, visiting Israel this week for the anniversary celebration, will be one of the first to view it.

The Isaiah manuscript was the only complete biblical book discovered among the Dead Sea scrolls, one of the great archaeological finds of the 20th century. The ancient documents, which include fragments of the books of the Old Testament and treatises on communal living and apocalyptic war, have shed important light on Judaism and the origins of Christianity.

The Book of Isaiah is traditionally attributed to a prophet who lived in the 8th century B.C.

In the book, he calls for repentance, warns of impending doom, and — in one of the most famous passages ever written — offers an idyllic vision of the future: "They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."

Curator Adolfo Roitman called the Isaiah manuscript the "gem of the Dead Sea scrolls." It is "one of the most important treasures of the Jewish nation, if not the most important," he added.

A far smaller fragment of another Dead Sea scroll will be on display at the Jerusalem convention center where Bush will be speaking along with other dignitaries.

The segment, also rarely shown, contains the text of Psalm 133, which reads: "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity."

Divers Find Ancient Bust of Caesar

Source: AP via AOL News

PARIS (May 13) - Divers trained in archaeology discovered a marble bust of an aging Caesar in the Rhone River that France's Culture Ministry said Tuesday could be the oldest known.

The life-size bust showing the Roman ruler with wrinkles and hollows in his face is tentatively dated to 46 B.C. Divers uncovered the Caesar bust and a collection of other finds in the Rhone near the town of Arles -- founded by Caesar.

Among other items in the treasure trove of ancient objects is a 5.9-foot marble statue of Neptune, dated to the first decade of the third century after Christ.

Two smaller statues, both in bronze and measuring 27.5 inches each also were found, one of them, a satyr with his hands tied behind his back, "doubtless" originated in Hellenic Greece, the ministry said.

"Some (of the discoveries) are unique in Europe," Culture Minister Christine Albanel said. "The bust of Caesar is in a class by itself.

"This marble bust of the founder of the Roman city of Arles constitutes the most ancient representation known today of Caesar," the ministry statement said, adding that it "undoubtedly" dates to the creation of Arles in 46 B.C.

Among other things, researchers are trying to uncover "in what context these statues were thrown into the river," said Michel L'Hour, who heads the Department of Subaquatic Archaeological Research, whose divers made the discovery between September and October 2007.

The site "has barely been skimmed," L'Hour told The Associated Press, adding that a new search operation will begin this summer.

He said the Arles region, in the Provence region of southern France, with its Roman beginnings, and the Rhone are "propitious" for discoveries.

Albanel called the find "exceptional" and said that the Caesar bust is "the oldest representation known today" of the emperor.