Thanks to Evernote, I’ve been able to digitize most of the notebooks I’ve written on Dura Europos. I know take digital notes on the small city, but thumbing back through my Moleskine notebooks full of clippings and hand written notes makes me feel a bit like Indiana Jones with his father’s collected notebooks on the Holy Grail.
In many ways, Dura is like my holy grail.
I started studying the city while working as a curatorial assistant to Susan Matthews at the Yale Art Gallery while doing my graduate studies there in ancient religious art. In fact, my real first job was to spend time with the thousands of objects that Yale has in its warehouses and the gallery basement and lovingly “digitize” Yale’s collection of slides, objects and paintings from its involvement with the excavation of Dura Europos in the 1930’s. It was magical.
I still go back to those dark and stuffed basements and warehouses full of artifacts, beads, paintings, statues, detritus and debris in my mind and realize what a chance Prof Matheson allowed me to fall in love with a place.
Ten years later, I still want to go:
Dura-Europos, a Melting Pot at the Intersection of Empires – NYTimes.com: “As a city of extraordinary cultural diversity,’ said Jennifer Y. Chi, an archaeologist and the exhibition’s chief curator, ‘Dura-Europos has great resonance for the modern world, where multiculturalism shapes the very nature and quality of daily life.”
Here’s a nice interactive site on Dura that the Yale Art Gallery has put together with maps, images and descriptions. I highly recommend checking it out.
I would share my Evernote notebook with you all… but would Dr Henry Jones Sr share his holy grail notebook? Nah.