Archaeology

I Made the Smithsonian

One of my bucket list ūü™£‚úÖ items finally got checked off! Asia Has Claims Upon New England is in the Smithsonian! Smithsonian Libraries and Archives

When you tell your daughters that you collect images of Jonah and they send you one from a Basilica

Pretty cool kids… It’s always been my conjecture that the Dura Europos Baptistry had images of Jonah present as a representation of the 3-day Resurrection event in a Jewish/Chritian context. There were depictions of Adam and Eve in the Baptistry area (along with Jesus as the Good Shepherd as well as other common representations from …

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Roman Earthquake Cloaking

I tend to agree with the physicist from UNCC here that the Colosseum and other buildings that exhibit these “metamaterial” designs were probably self-selecting (in that they didn’t fall down during earthquakes), but we definitely don’t give the ancients enough credit with their engineering and scientific prowess… Scientists are hard at work developing real-world “invisibility …

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New Reading of the Mesha Stele

Potentially huge (I appreciate Thomas R√∂mer‘s scholarship a great deal): A name in Line 31 of the stele, previously thought to read ‘House of David’, could instead read ‘Balak’, a king of Moab mentioned in the biblical story of Balaam (Numbers 22-24), say archaeologist Prof. Israel Finkelstein and historians and biblical scholars Prof. Nadav Na’aman and Prof. …

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Prehistoric Proto-Writing System

While studying some of the oldest art in the world found in caves and engraved on animal bones or shells, paleoanthropologist Genevieve von Petzinger has found evidence of a proto-writing system that perhaps developed in Africa and then spread throughout the world. Source: Stone Age Cave Symbols May All Be Part of a Single Prehistoric …

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Introducing the Assyrians

  Layard‚Äôs discoveries caused a media sensation and captured the public imagination. This had a major impact on painting and applied arts, in the UK and beyond, during the second half of the nineteenth century, which led to a brief phase of ‚ÄėAssyrian revival‚Äô. The Assyrian sculptures at the British Museum largely remain today where …

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Sumer and the Modern Paradigm

Modern artists discovered Sumerian art between the world wars, at a time when British and American archaeological missions were working in southern Iraq. But archaeologists like Leonard Woolley, head of the mission in Ur were less fascinated by their finds. They considered Mesopotamian art inferior to Egyptian and to Graeco-Roman art and thought Mesopotamian iconography …

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James C. Scott’s New Book

James C. Scott is one of the scholars I always enjoy reading. I was introduced to his work Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts while in a (wonderful) seminary class on the Parables. The insightful connection that our beloved professor made between Jesus’ acts and words in his performance of the parables with …

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Grain counting technologies

“The truth, Scott proposes, may be the opposite. What if early civilization was not a boon to humankind but a disaster: for health and safety, for freedom, and for the natural world? What if the first cities were, above all, vast technologies of exploitation by a small and rapacious elite? If that is where we …

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In honor of #nationalpetday here’s a fun piece on pets from ancient Greece and Rome

The ancient Greeks and Romans were more lavish than the modern world in their expressed affection for beasts. Theirs was a splendid opportunity to know animal life at first hand, not because there were more animals, but on account of the very close relationship effected by polytheistic principles and religious customs.1 Both literature and art …

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Digital Repatriation or Theft?

“I would point to some of the recent trends in 3D scanning as potential new sites¬†for digital colonialism, not just repatriation. ¬†Is prosecution of¬†stolen¬†code related to¬†contested heritage objects a form of digital colonialism?¬† Is¬†keeping the code private, accessible only to the museum or scholars who obtain access a form of colonialism? ¬†Is publicly releasing the …

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Dura Europos and Its Art

ÔĽŅÔĽŅ Just received my 1938 first edition copy of M. Rostovtzeff’s Dura Europos And Its Art today. I’ve now been able to secure every first edition of books about Dura (outside of the Final Reports, which I’m working on). Good day. 

Why We Should Care About Archaeological Destruction

This is terrible… The Islamic State group released a video on Thursday showing militants using sledgehammers to smash ancient artifacts in Iraq‚Äôs northern city of Mosul, describing them as idols that must be removed, according to the Associated Press. The destructions are part of a campaign by Islamic State, who have destroyed a number of …

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Bejeweled Skeletons of Forgotten Martyrs

That’s one impressive way to go out (despite being forgotten)… In his new book, art historian and author Paul Koudounaris elucidates the macabre splendor and tragic history of Europe‚Äôs catacomb saints via Meet the Fantastically Bejeweled Skeletons of Catholicism‚Äôs Forgotten Martyrs | History | Smithsonian.

Yale’s Religious Treasures

My masters degree in religion is from Yale, and it’s great to see the religious treasures there highlighted. However, I can’t believe the Dura Europos baptistry (from the earliest house church we’ve recovered and one of the first depictions of Jesus we have) didn’t make the list (the Mithraeum did, though… which is also spectacular). …

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