Robin Osborne on Phaleron and Rewriting Early Athenian History

Following up from yesterday’s post on the extraordinary finds from Phaleron, here’s an online lecture from Robin Osborne placing the mass graves (containing c.3% of the contemporary male population in Athens!) into the much larger context of archaic Greek political history and interpreting them as an expression of Athenian state power: “Archaeology and the Rewriting […]

Violence and the Archaeology of Internal War

A recurring theme in my work on ancient iconoclasm is the social meaning of violence and especially “mirror effects” in the treatment of stone and flesh-and-blood bodies, a topic that I am once again pursuing as part of the DFG network on internal war. For this reason, I was very much intrigued by the discovery […]

The Death of Spolia? Roman Re-Use Cultures

Scholarship on reuse in the Roman (and late antique) world is growing at great speed. I have recently reviewed this large volume on “La sculpture et sesames reemplois”, edited by Vassiliki Gaggadis-Robin and Nicholas de Larquier (forthcoming in Latomus, 79.4): The volume compiles plenty of interesting new material, especially from the western Mediterranean, both in […]

Earthquakes, Sculpture and the Archaeological Record

Archaeoseismological research typically focuses on urban landscapes (see, for example, Andrew Wilson’s recent piece on Aphrodisias, or my own humble contribution on the Lykos Valley). Late antique assemblages of earthquake rubble at sites, such as Scythopolis (above), indeed show very nicely how earthquakes could affect urban life in devastating ways. What is much less systematically […]

Graphs, Statues and Social History

I first became aware of this graph of the chronological distribution of confederate monuments last year when Jen Trimble gave a virtual paper for our sculpture seminar. Not all of these monuments are statues, but many are…..The graph has since then appeared in Alexander Bauer’s JSA paper, “Itineraries, iconoclasm, and the pragmatics of heritage“. It […]

Safeguarding Statues in WWII

With colleagues, I am doing work on a group of sculptures now in the small archaeological museum in Agrinio. The sculptures were excavated in the 1920s, long way before the current Agrinio museum opened, and for fifty years or so they were housed in Athens. While looking into their history of display (and restoration), I […]

Cross-Marked Ancient Sculpture: A New Case from Patras

Very long ago, I published a paper based on data from my dissertation, a small corpus of ancient sculpture on which one or more crosses had been carved or incised somewhere on their body. I have recently posted an update to this corpus on my Academia page, including the above naiskos in the very nice […]

Omphalic Obsessions

Where is the centre of the ancient world? This is not only a question for globalisation, network or core-periphery debates in archaeology and ancient history, but is also relevant to the study of ancient conceptions of sacred geography. Specifically, the idea of Apollo’s sanctuary at Delphi as the “centre of the ancient world” is a […]

Jen Trimble on Iconoclasm and the Modern Materialities of Ancient Sculpture

Back in June last year, in the aftermath of the fall of Colston and US debates about confederate statues, we had Jen Trimble (Stanford) talking to us via Zoom about “Carving, Recarving, Deforming, Destroying: Modern Materialities of Ancient Sculpture.” The recording of her lecture is available here: