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Hadrian for Sale 6 July 2008

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In anticipation of the upcoming Hadrian exhibition at the British Museum, here’s your chance to own a portrait of the man himself. (HT: PhDiva)

Geopolitics of Archaeology 2 July 2008

Posted by Troels in : Archaeology, Ethics, Quick Notes , 1 comment so far

Here’s a very interesting series of radio programmes on the “Geopolitics of Archaeology” from Chicago Public Radio’s Worldview. They are downloadable for iPod or teaching use. I found the following particularly interesting:
- Global Market for Stolen Antiquities with Neil Brodie and Richard Leventhal
- The Origins of Western Civilization (2 parts) with Martin Bernal
- Archaeological Tourism’s Effect on People and Heritage with Lynn Meskell
- Creating a New Paradigm for Archaeology with Phil Duke and Yannis Hamilakis

A Mummy Returns… 1 July 2008

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…to the museum spotlight, that is. The Brooklyn Museum blog has been running a feature on the conservation of the mummy of a certain Demetrios, preparing him for the travelling exhibition “To Live Forever“. The mummy was found in Hawara, where Petrie unearthed a substantial assemblage of these funerary portraits known as ‘Fayum portraits’. In his excavation diary, he described the work of his team on 28 December 1910:

We have been doing well. Aly er Rahim got three portrait mummies, 1 very good yesterday…Hasan got 2 Portraits today…We seem to have tapped a region of them, buried several mummies in one grave. These alone are worth more than all we have spent so far. (Quoted from Roberts & Quirke 2007, p. 101).

This is quite a change in sentiment from an entry during his earlier work in 1888, when he lamented that “[f]or two days we have had but one rotten portrait” (Roberts & Quirke 2007, p. 97).

Amenemhat IIIs pyramide i Hawarra
Pyramid and necropolis at Hawara, Egypt. Photo: TMK, May 2008.


A Shield Portrait of Augustus in Toledo 7 June 2008

Posted by Troels in : Archaeology, Quick Notes , 1 comment so far

I won’t comment on the debate about the recent find of a new portrait of ‘Caesar’ from the Rhône (other than that the French media hype certainly worked). Instead, I’ll point to the news that the Toledo Museum of Art has recently acquired this rather spectacular shield portrait, a so-called imago clipeata, of Augustus. The inclusion of running animals is rather unique in this context. The shield is apparently from a private collection, but I see no information about its provenance on the TMA’s website? They also seem to know more about its findspot than what they’re telling (at least on the website): How else can they say that this is “diplomatic gift for a distant and provincial ruler, to remind him of the power and majesty of Rome”?

Exploring Giza Online 20 May 2008

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Tombs and the Pyramid of Khafre at Giza, Egypt. Photo: TMK, May 2008.

This post is little more than an excuse to point to one of the best archaeological websites out there: The Giza Archives Project. The site allows you to explore all of the monuments on the Giza plateau and has extensive documentation. I especially like the visual search. It really sets the standard of how online publishing of archaeological sites should be done.

D.M. Ross Scaife 18 March 2008

Posted by Troels in : Digital Classics, Quick Notes , add a comment

Professor Ross Scaife, founder of the Stoa Consortium, passed away on Saturday. This is indeed sad news. I was in touch with Ross when I contributed to the Stoa Image Gallery from 2005 to 2006 and on those occasions always found him to be enthusiastic about all things old and new. Byzantinists and Late Antique scholars should also appreciate his effort in putting the Suda online.

Religious Identity in the Roman Near East 6 February 2008

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Rubina Raja has recently begun a research project here in Aarhus on “Religious identity, ritual practice and sacred architecture in the late Hellenistic and Roman Near East, 100 BC – AD 400: Sanctuaries between culture, religion and society”, generously funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation. The project has recently launched its website. Future events include an international workshop on “Religious Identities in the Hellenistic and Roman Near East: Local, Regional, Imperial?” (Aarhus, 18-21 September 2008) and a series of guest lectures. It’s an interesting project investigating the intersections between archaeology and religious studies.

EliteForsk 26 January 2008

Posted by Troels in : Quick Notes , 3 comments

On Thursday, I was in Copenhagen to receive an “EliteForsk” Fellowship from the Danish Ministry of Science. This is a fellowship that comes with absolutely amazing funding for travel and research, so it was a great pleasure to accept, especially in the magnificient surroundings of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek that houses Denmark’s finest collection of Classical antiquities. 19 PhD students across all disciplines at Danish universities were awarded fellowships, and 31 senior scholars received other awards and fellowships. In attendance were Helge Sander, Minister of Science (seen in the photo above), and HRH Crown Princess Mary.

Official press shot of the recipients from the University of Aarhus and the Minister of Science, Helge Sander. It’s me on the top right.

Here’s everyone with Crown Princess Mary and Helge Sander.

Some media reports (all in Danish): University of Aarhus, Jyllands-Posten, Politiken, Billed-Bladet, Fyens Stiftstidende, Danish Radio P1, Bornholms Tidende. Image taken from the Politiken website.

Constructions of Memory 25 January 2008

Posted by Troels in : Conferences, Late Antiquity, Quick Notes , add a comment

Here’s the programme for a really cool seminar in March that I’ll take part in: “Erindringskonstruktioner – Erindring og glemsel i overgangsperioder” (“Constructions of Memory – Memory and Forgetting in Periods of Transformation”), hosted by the Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre for the Study of the Cultural Heritage of Medieval Rituals at the University of Copenhagen: (more…)

Greek Bathing Culture in Hellenistic Thebes? 20 December 2007

Posted by Troels in : Archaeology, Quick Notes , 6 comments

National Geographic brings exciting news from Karnak, one of my top 5 archaeological sites in Egypt. Excavations in front of the First Pylon of the Temple of Amun-Re have uncovered the Nile-side embankment and a royal ramp. But even more interesting in terms of post-Pharaonic archaeology is the find of several ‘ritual’ baths, dating to the Hellenistic period. The circular baths with minitubs (that surely don’t live up to the standards of modern day Luxor resorts) are seen in the photo on the right.

Judging from the photos, these baths at Thebes look very similar to other Hellenistic examples such as Gortys (Arcadia, Greece) and Gela (Sicily). Here’s what the National Geographic article has to say about the baths:

While excavating the embankment, archaeologists also discovered two public baths and a jar holding more than 300 coins dating to the era of Macedonian rule of Egypt, from the first to the fourth centuries B.C. One of the giant circular baths has been completely excavated, revealing an intricate mosaic tile floor and seating for 16 people. The other partially excavated bath has been found to have seats flanked by statuettes of dolphins. The baths were found just outside the wall, and experts believe they were built on the plateau of silt left behind after the Nile moved to the west. The jar of bronze coins, featuring the likenesses of Macedonian rulers Ptolemy I, II, and III, were discovered near the baths and are currently being cleaned to reveal their inscriptions. The baths may have served as purification sites where visitors could wash before entering the temple complex. Other experts suspect they may be the first signs of a much larger residential area that has yet to be explored.

The quote is a good example of the interpretative challenges that such baths pose. In the Hellenistic period, they are often found in close vicinity to temples. Did they then function as ‘purification sites’? Or were they part of the amenities of a residential/civic quarter? Are the categories of secular and sacred even applicable in this context? And to what degree do the baths reflect the appropriation of Greek bathing culture in Hellenistic Thebes?