Excellent youtube video (tip o' the pileus to John McMahon on the Classics list):
... as JMM suggests, they do know their Catullus
... as JMM suggests, they do know their Catullus
Greece will dedicate a museum to Alexander the Great in the northern town of Pella, his birthplace and the seat of the Macedonian kingdom that ruled an empire from Europe to India, an official said yesterday.
Expected to be ready by late 2008, the new museum will house mosaics, weapons, jewelry and other finds from a 20-year excavation of the Pella archaeological site, an official at the Culture Ministry’s museums department told AFP.
“The finds, mainly from temples, show how these people lived... we even found a curse which shows that the Macedonians spoke Doric, an ancient Greek dialect, from the 5th century BC,” the official said. “This is very important, also in political terms,” she added.
In recent years, Greece has faced a challenge from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) over the “intellectual rights” to Alexander’s heritage and has been at pains to stress that the ancient Macedonians were Greek.
But the tiny Balkan nation, which became independent after the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, has staked a claim as it lies in what was once part of ancient Macedonia.
Greece has refused to recognize its neighbor under its constitutional name of Macedonia because that is also the name of the northern Greek province of Macedonia.
Athens has threatened to block Skopje’s bid to join the European Union and NATO unless it changes its name, and efforts by the UN to resolve the 15-year dispute have so far proved fruitless.
Skopje last year infuriated Athens by officially renaming its capital’s main airport after Alexander the Great.
Born in Pella in 356 BC, Alexander conquered the Persian Empire and much of the world known to ancient Greeks before dying in Babylon in 323 BC.
For artists of the Renaissance, the key to truth and beauty lay in the past. Renaissance artists assiduously studied the sculptures and monuments of Greece and Rome and emulated them in their own work. The inspiration they found in those ancient models has echoed down the centuries, influencing the appearance of Western art and architecture to this day.
If those 15th and 16th century artists had looked more closely, however, they might have found something that would have changed their vision of ancient art and had a profound effect on their own practice. That element was color.
We now know that the unblemished white surface of Michelangelo’s “David” or Bernini’s “St. Teresa in Ecstasy” would have been considered unfinished according to classical standards. The sculpture and architecture of the ancient world was, in fact, brightly and elaborately painted. The only reason it appears white to us is that centuries of weathering have worn off most of the paint.
So entrenched has the association become between classical art and the look of white, unblemished marble, that the idea of an Athenian acropolis as colorfully painted as a circus wagon is difficult to imagine if not downright blasphemous. But now an exhibition at the Sackler Museum can help us envision what a color-drenched classical world might have looked like.
“Gods in Color: Painted Sculpture of Classical Antiquity” features full-size color reconstructions that challenge the popular notion of classical white marble sculpture, illustrating that ancient sculpture was far more colorful, complex, and exuberant than is often thought.
The reconstructions are the result of more than two decades of painstaking research by a pair of married German archaeologists, Vinzenz Brinkmann and Ulrike Koch-Brinkmann. The exhibition was organized by the Stiftung Archäologie and the Staatliche Antikensammlungen und Glyptothek of Munich, Germany, and has already been shown in a number of European cities. The Sackler is its first U.S. venue.
The Brinkmanns used various methods to detect the almost invisible traces of paint on the surfaces of the sculptures they studied. Among these was the use of raking light to reveal incised details as well as subtle patterns caused by the uneven weathering of different paints on the stone surface; ultraviolet (UV) light to bring out slight surface differences; and techniques such as X-ray fluorescence and infrared spectroscopy to analyze the types of pigments employed.
While not the first to notice the traces of color on ancient sculpture — scholars were arguing the case for painted classical sculpture as early as 1815 — the Brinkmanns are the first to bring the full armament of scientific equipment to the task.
The results are spectacular and reveal much about the way ancient Greeks and Romans viewed their world. Take, for example, the life-size figure of a Trojan archer from the temple of Aphaia on the Greek island of Aegina (excavated in 1811 and acquired by King Ludwig of Bavaria). The figure wears a shirt and leggings covered all over with an intricate red, yellow, blue, and green diamond pattern. Over this he wears a bright yellow vest inscribed with lions and griffins. A tall yellow hat with a flower pattern completes the costume.
Lest one think that all this color and pattern may have come at least partly from the Brinkmanns’ imagination, photos on the wall show how UV light revealed each of these details on the weathered and faded original.
But why is the archer so elaborately clad? According to Susanne Ebbinghaus, the George M.A. Hanfmann Curator of Ancient Art and one of the curators for “Gods in Color,” the archer probably represents Paris, who started the Trojan War by running off with Helen, the wife of King Menelaus of Sparta, and who later killed the hero Achilles by firing an arrow through his heel.
As Ebbinghaus explained, the Greeks of the classical period often represented the Trojans as Persians, whose armies they had successfully repelled in the early fifth century B.C. Persian warriors were generally shown as exotic and a bit overdressed compared with the manly and largely naked Greeks.
The contrast between Greeks and Persians can be seen in another reconstruction, that of the so-called “Alexander Sarcophagus,” discovered in Lebanon in 1887. Here the Greek warriors fight entirely naked except for a bronze helmet (apparently taking precautions against head injuries did not reflect badly on one’s valor). The Persians, on the other hand, are garbed like Venetian revelers during Carnevale. Did the Greeks actually fight in their birthday suits? Ebbinghaus was asked. “Oh, no,” she replied. “They were armed to the teeth.”
Sculptures on the pediments of large buildings have perplexed scholars who wonder how people could have made out the details of such groupings from their vantage point on the ground. The use of color helps answer that question. The Brinkmanns’ study of sculpture from the “Treasury of the Siphnians” (c. 525 B.C.) has shown that not only was color used to emphasize the details of the figures, but their names were also inscribed on the wall behind them, allowing viewers to identify both the characters and the drama in which they took part.
The Romans too painted their statuary, including the marble portrait busts whose realistic features convey such a vivid sense of the appearance and even the personalities of upper-class Romans. With the addition of color, these busts take on an illusory realism comparable to the wax figures at Madame Tussaud’s.
A particularly striking bust the Brinkmanns have pointed to is one of the Emperor Caligula (37–41 A.D.). Even taking into account the probability that the artist felt under duress to flatter his imperial subject, it is hard to equate this fresh-faced, earnest young man with the prodigy of cruelty and perversion we read about in the history books.
There is much more to see in this eye-opening exhibition, including a room devoted to the earlier art of Egypt and Mesopotamia, which shows that, by coloring their buildings and sculptures, the Greeks were merely carrying on a tradition that had begun many centuries before the flowering of their own civilization. Throughout the exhibition, the Brinkmanns’ painted reproductions are juxtaposed with original Greek and Roman art from the museum’s own collection.
The exhibition runs until Jan. 20, 2008. Gallery talks are planned in which Ebbinghaus and others will discuss the use of color in the ancient world and its rediscovery by modern scholars. Accompanying the exhibition is an activity book featuring outline drawings of the sculptures, allowing young visitors to decorate the artwork with their own choice of colors.
Monmouth College is among only 14 schools in the United States cited in U.S. News and World Report's 2008 "America's Best Colleges" issue for offering Latin teacher education.
One of the few academic departments dating to the college's founding in 1853, Monmouth's classics department has continued to thrive in recent years, despite a downward national trend in the offering of Latin and Greek at the college level.
Thomas Sienkewicz, MC's Capron Professor of Classics, is one of a handful of academics working to address a nationwide shortage of Latin teachers at the K-12 level. In 2003, he helped organize the first annual National Latin Teacher Recruitment Week to raise awareness of the problem.
"There is a nationwide shortage of Latin teachers at the K-12 level," said Sienkewicz. "Every year, a Latin program dies because a school cannot find a qualified teacher. Also, thriving programs are told they cannot expand, and schools that want to add Latin are unable to do so."
Most of the 14 colleges listed by U.S. News are significantly larger than Monmouth. They include the University of Illinois, Brigham Young University and Western Michigan University.
"In recent years, Monmouth has been producing at least as many Latin teacher candidates as the University of Illinois," Sienkewicz noted.
Lisa Wolfe, a 1994 Monmouth graduate who teaches approximately 60 Galesburg students in Latin I through IV, said she got her position because of the national teacher shortage.
"They're few and far between," she said. "The previous Latin teacher retired and I sort of got drafted."
According to literature published in conjunction with National Latin Teacher Recruitment Week, "beginning salaries (are) often in the $30-40,000 range for just a nine- or ten-month contract. And Latin teachers have more fun than most: their students tend to be motivated and academically capable above the average, and the subject they teach is richly interdisciplinary, including not only the language and literature of the ancient Romans, but also their history and politics, philosophy and religion, myths and legends (and) art and architecture."
Wolfe certainly agrees.
"I tell people that I have the easiest job in the world," she said. "Latin students are highly motivated and are usually bright. They're taking Latin because they want to."
The J. Paul Getty Museum agreed to send back to Italy a statue known as Aphrodite along with 39 ancient artworks, ending a dispute over stolen relics that threatened the reputation of the world's richest art institution.
The agreement was signed today in Rome by Getty Museum Director Michael Brand and Giuseppe Proietti, general secretary for Italy's Culture Ministry, according to a statement posted on the ministry Web site.
``A long and complex negotiation comes to a close, and a season of transparency in the acquisition of archeological materials begins,'' Francesco Rutelli, Italy's deputy prime minister and culture minister said in the statement.
Today's agreement follows years of negotiations with Italy and Greece over the Getty collection. After the U.S. and Italy signed a cultural treaty in 2001 that required the U.S. to return artifacts illegally exported after that year, the Italian government targeted antiquities in several U.S. collections, including the Getty, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.
``Research conducted by our experts shows that their true home is Italy,'' Brand said in the statement.
The agreement has opened the way for ``broad collaboration'' between Italy and the Getty Museum on joint research, conservation and restoration projects, joint exhibits, and new loans of artworks, the Ministry said. The statue of the goddess Aphrodite, which the museum acquired in 1988 for $18 million, is made of limestone and marble.
The 40 pieces do not include the so-called Getty Bronze, or ``Statue of a Victorious Youth,'' which is the subject of a new legal hearing in the coastal city of Fano, Italy. ``Further discussions'' on the statue will be put off until the end of the hearing, according to the statement.
The Getty Bronze is a life-size Greek sculpture of a nude athlete made between 300 B.C. and 100 B.C. that the museum acquired in 1977 for $3.95 million. It's a highlight of the museum's collection, displayed in a special room of its own at the Getty Villa in Malibu.
Italy also charged two art dealers and former Getty antiquities curator Marion True with buying looted artifacts. One dealer has been convicted and the other remains on trial in Rome with True, who denies the charges. True resigned her position at the museum in 2005. The Getty continues to pay her legal bills for the Rome trial, which has not yet been resolved.
Italy will drop its civil charges against former J. Paul Getty Museum antiquities curator Marion True, now on trial here for allegedly trafficking in looted art, Italian authorities announced Tuesday.
The announcement came after a subdued ceremony in Rome's Ministry of Culture, where Getty officials confirmed their August pledge to return 40 of the 46 ancient artworks that Italy has claimed were looted and smuggled out of the country before being purchased by the Getty.
Maurizio Fiorilli, a state lawyer representing Italy, said he would announce his intent to withdraw from the trial when the proceedings resume today. But the more serious criminal trial against True, 58, will continue.
Details of the settlement were not released publicly, but a person familiar with its terms said it followed the broad outlines of earlier agreements reached between Italy and New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
In exchange for returning the contested objects, Italy has offered the Getty broad cultural cooperation and the loan of about 50 comparable antiquities to display in the Getty Villa near Malibu.
In returning the objects, the Getty did not admit to knowing the objects had been looted, and Italy did not forgo the option of raising additional claims for antiquities in the future.
The returns effectively render moot the civil aspect of True's trial, in which Italy sought damages for the loss of its cultural property. True faces criminal charges along with American antiquities dealer Robert Hecht, 88.
"The withdrawal significantly lowers True's exposure," said Luis Li, a Getty legal advisor. The Getty is paying for True's defense.
Paolo Ferri, the Italian criminal prosecutor in the case, said he hoped the agreement would accelerate the pace of the trial, which began in July 2005 and has hearings about once a month, when not delayed by strikes or holidays.
Ferri said the criminal trial, the first in which an American curator has been charged by a foreign county, was intended to be both punitive and preventive. "The preventive aspect was to say to museums: Please stop this buying in an illicit fashion, and please return the objects," Ferri said in an interview Tuesday. "This has now been achieved, and museums that are obliged to surrender objects won't be in the same trouble."
He expressed confidence in winning a guilty verdict in the conspiracy case but called its significance "virtual."
"True is an American citizen and will be able to evade my penal sanctions by going to the U.S. With Hecht, he is too old to have a real prison term," he said.
"For me, the trial has been won," he concluded.
True has maintained her innocence throughout the proceedings. Harry Stang, True's attorney, said, "Dr. True, together with her defense team, will continue to pursue all steps necessary to establish her innocence of the charges. Her defense team will address further matters when and if appropriate."
The 40 objects being returned include the Getty Villa's signature statue of Aphrodite, 10 other masterpieces and more than two dozen other important vases and sculptures, purchased for more than $40 million over 30 years.
Four of those objects have already been taken down from display and will arrive in Italy next week. An additional 35 will be taken off display and returned in the coming months.
The Aphrodite will not return to Italy until 2010.
The agreement reached in August ended what had become a de facto cultural embargo between the two parties, museum officials said.
Several Getty requests to borrow Italian art for upcoming exhibitions in Los Angeles had been delayed or ignored by Italian authorities during the months of heated negotiations over the artifacts.
"Italian curators and museum directors were not issuing their approvals or denials until they saw what happened," said David Bomford, associate director for collections at the Getty.
Soon after the August agreement, several Italian museums approved pending loan requests, in one case reversing an earlier denial.
The Getty had asked for eight drawings and seven paintings from Italy for an exhibition on Taddeo and Federico Zuccaro, which will open Oct. 2 at the Getty Center in Brentwood. The Italian works complement the museum's collection of 20 Zuccaro drawings acquired in 1999. When it received no response to its request, Getty curators planned for the exhibition without them. Notice of their approval came just two weeks ago, and the exhibition was redesigned to accommodate the additional works.
Similarly, a Getty request for an important sculpture of Costanza Bonarelli had been denied but was reconsidered after the August agreement, Bomford said. The exhibition of work by Gian Lorenzo Bernini will open next year, featuring the rare female bust from Italy.
"We could have survived without them," said Bomford of the loans, "but those exhibitions are immeasurably improved and enhanced by Italy."
Cabernet Sauvignon is a direct descendant of an obscure Greek wine grape known as Volitsa, a new book suggests.
In Desert Island Wines, Miles Lambert-Gocs proposes that Cabernet Sauvignon made its way to Europe via the coastal region of what is now Albania. He believes this link has never been explored.
Lambert-Gocs became convinced that Volitsa was the modern name for an ancient grape called Balisca. He then found relevant references in the Roman
classical texts of Pliny and Columella. When combined with visual comparisons to modern Cabernet Sauvignon, he believes this evidence is enough to merit exploring the DNA.
'I have pointed out a solid possibility of Cabernet's tie to antiquity and classical Greece,' Lambert-Gocs told decanter.com. 'It will be good to have DNA proof - sort of a “family tree” - and I have provided a jumping off point.'
However, wine boffins are sceptical.
'I'm not convinced that there's a close connection at all,' said grape geneticist Carole Meredith, Professor Emerita at University of California, Davis. In 1996, Meredith discovered that Cabernet Sauvignon is a hybrid of Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc.
She said comparisons of the DNA profiles of Volitsa Mavri and Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon did not reveal any notable similarity.
'If there is a connection, it's not a close one and is no closer than the connections that undoubtedly exist among dozens of European grape varieties.'
Lambert-Gocs says he wrote the chapter precisely to encourage further scientific exploration.
'Volitsa is not identical to Cabernet Sauvignon. Rather, it is one of Cabernet Sauvignon's ancestors, and definitely the one that can concretely tie the variety to ancient Greece,' he said.
'If this does not motivate ampelographers and geneticists to visit the areas of Greece and Albania that are involved, I don't know what would.'
A woman who helps students go to college with their "posse," a psychiatrist who treats combat veterans and a museum director on Alaska's Kodiak Island are among the 24 winners of this year's MacArthur Foundation "genius grants."
The $500,000 fellowships were to be announced Tuesday by the Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Recipients can use the money however they wish.
Another fellow is Dr. Jonathan Shay, a staff psychiatrist at the Department of Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic in Boston. His two books — "Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character" and "Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming" — employ ancient heroes to help understand the effects of war on individuals.
Shay, 65, is an advocate for choices he believes can be made before soldiers are deployed to aid their psychiatric well-being.
"War is war is war is war," Shay said. "... What's important about it is not what makes it unique, but what makes it a universal experience for the returning soldiers."
Doctor Who is looking toga-tastic as the Time Lord hurtles back to the Roman Empire in the fourth series.
The Doctor arrives in Pompeii with his new assistant, Donna, the night before the famous Mount Vesuvius volcano erupts - but should they warn everyone?
You'll have to wait and see, but TV insiders promise the episode is one of The Doctor's most adventurous yet.
Filming has been taking place in Rome in studios that were transformed to recreate the ancient city of Pompeii.
Doctor Who fans are being promised loads of new monsters and unexpected twists and turns in the new series.
We already know The Doctor's old enemy The Ood, which is a race of squid-like humans, are coming back and the Time Lord will also be paying a visit to the famous crime writer Agatha Christie.
"300," the tremendously violent film that smashed box-office records this spring, was shown Thursday night in a packed Salomon 001 to an audience that included both students and other members of the Brown community. The film, based upon a graphic novel by Frank Miller, fictionalizes the Battle of Thermopylae during the Persian War. The screening was followed by a series of discussions by Brown professors, which included selected readings of poetry on the events at Thermopylae.
Following the movie and an introduction from Professor of Classics Susan Alcock, scholars from a range of fields - classics, archaeology, religious studies, anthropology and international studies - weighed in on its historical validity, cultural assumptions and violent nature.
Deborah Boedeker, professor of classics, compared the film to the authoritative text on the Persian War, "Histories of Herodotus." The "Histories" are "many times removed from what is portrayed here," she said.
Boedeker argued that many of the film's inaccuracies stem from the need to tell a story based on modern notions of what comprises a narrative - with a beginning, middle and end. Additionally, the film, according to Boedeker, unfairly "draws a line between Spartan rationalism and Persian mysticism."
"('300') exhibited blatant tropes in Orientalism," said Ian Straughn, postdoctoral fellow in Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World. Like Boedeker, Straughn discussed the divisions the film draws between the Greek and Persian cultures and added that the creation of the Persians as a distinct other is rooted in Western conceptions of Eastern culture's "immense decadence."
Many of the scholars drew comparison between Spartan rhetoric against the Persians and that of leaders in the post-9/11 world. Lina Fruzzetti, professor of anthropology, noted the symbolism of glorifying Western society as good and noble, while pitting them against a vilified, evil East.
Keith Brown, associate professor of international studies, also likened the Spartan army to a facet of contemporary military culture: the U.S. Marine Corps. Both forces distinguish themselves from regular armies based on a set of values and beliefs emphasizing their exclusivity and discipline, Brown argued.
The event was co-sponsored by the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, the Archaeology Department Undergraduate Group, the Department of Classics and the Department of Modern Culture and Media.
By allocating a budget by Boushehr’s Governor Office, the fifth season of archeological excavations is going to be picked up in a near future in Borazjan palace which is denoted to Cyrus the Great, the founder of Achaemenid dynasty (550-330 BC).
Announcing this news, Hamid Zareie, archeologist, further said that the exact time for resuming the fifth season of excavations have not been clarified yet. However, since the weather of Boushehr province is still very hot, they have to postpone excavations until the weather make the attendance of archeologists in the region possible.
Based on archeological evidence, construction of this half-constructed palace was started by order of Cyrus the Great, and architectural evidence show that it was very similar to those implemented in Pasargadae palace. However the construction of the palace must have been stopped following the death of Cyrus the Great and it was never residential.
Prior archeological excavations conducted under supervision of Ali Akbar Sarfaraz, resulted in discovering some architectural remains including parts of the pedestals scattered over the area. Archeologists are determined to identify the origin place of the columns to reorganize them. However all these discoveries reveal the importance of this historical evidence and the necessity for continuing archeological excavations in the area.
Archeologists are also determined to increase security measures in the region in order to protect the area and what have been unearthed so far.
Discovery of such a magnificent monument which is unique in its own kind and the delicate artistic works implemented in it was never seen elsewhere even in Persepolis, which was the main seat of Achaemenid kings, have faced archeologists with new questions which have still remained unknown.
Anyway discovery of this wonderful palace in coastal area of Boushehr brings into light that the power of Iranians in Persian Gulf region goes back to 2500 yeas ago. However, despite all its importance this historic palace has been somehow neglected by cultural heritage authorities so far and was abandoned for centuries.
The palace covers a 50x50 square meters area and archeological researches indicate that the huge stones which were implemented in construction of the palace were brought from Tangjir quarry.
The transfer of artifacts from the old Acropolis Museum -- which stands atop the historic hill itself -- to the new ultra-modern and spacious museum will begin on Oct.14, Greek Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis announced on Monday during a tour of the under-construction new venue, which is in the final stages of completion.
The transfer is expected to take three months, as the new museum will be opened to visitors in stages -- beginning in early 2008 -- and starting with the third floor. It will be fully open to the public after roughly one year, the minister added.
"A great vision is being carried out; an ultra-modern museum that has a dialectical relationship with the Acropolis," Liapis said as he toured the new building with Acropolis curator Alexandros Mantis and the director of the organisation for the construction of the new Acropolis Museum, archaeologist Dimitris Pantermalis.
The new state-of-the-art museum directly faces the Acropolis and the Parthenon Temple atop the hill from the south.
In the first phase of the new museum's operation, possibly as soon as January, the public will be able to visit the top floor where the east and north metopes of the Parthenon will be on display after their transfer from the old museum.
In anticipation of the much-hoped for return of the Parthenon Marbles from the British Museum, meanwhile, copies of the friezes, currently in London, will be displayed on the same floor but will be covered with a transparent veil to indicate their continued absence.
The minister also underlined that Greece will continue to press for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Athens.
"We are all obliged to intensify our efforts for the return of the Parthenon Marbles from the British Museum because only then will we have fulfilled our historic duty," Liapis stressed.
The new building is dominated by the use of hi-tech glass that allows visitors to maintain visual contact with the structures on the Acropolis, while viewing the artifacts on display.
On the ground floor, visitors will have direct visual contact with subterranean archaeological remains of an ancient Athenian neighbourhood that were uncovered at a depth of seven metres, when the foundations for the new museum were being dug. This links the daily lives ancient Athens' residents with the temples directly opposite the museum.
To the right and left on this floor, artifacts found on the slopes leading up to the Acropolis will be on display, such as those from the theatre of Dionysus, the temple of Pan and the temple of the Nymphs.
The Caryatid columns taken from the Erechtheum Temple on the Acropolis -- now replaced with replicas -- and various archaic sculptures will be displayed on the ramps and the first floor. A cafeteria and restaurant will be located on the second floor, while the third floor will be devoted to the display of the Parthenon Marbles.
Regarding the controversy over the ministry's plans to demolish two 1930s-era art deco buildings on Areopagitou Street that partially block the view of the Acropolis from the museum's lower floors, Liapis said he would continue his predecessor's policy, namely, to advocate their expropriation and demolition.
According to the minister, the old museum on the Acropolis will be used to display items and materials to help visitors gain a better understanding of the site, such as illustrations by 16th and 17th century travellers, and before the Parthenon and the other buildings on the Acropolis suffered extensive damage from a 1688 siege. Other materials will describe archaeological digs around the site, photographs of brass and copper statues that were at the Acropolis and were only known through the copies and other information.
An ancient quarry where King Herod's workers chiseled huge high-quality limestones for the construction of the Second Temple, including the Western Wall, has been uncovered in Jerusalem, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Sunday.
The quarry, which is located four kilometers northwest of the Old City of Jerusalem in the city's outlying Ramat Shlomo neighborhood, was used 2,000 years ago by dozens of King Herod's workers at the site during the construction of the Second Temple walls, archeologist Yuval Baruch said.
"This unique and sensational find is the first Second Temple quarry ever found," he said.
The site, which spans at least five dunams, was uncovered by chance during a "salvage excavation" carried out by the state-run archeological body over the last two months following municipal plans to build an elementary school in the area, he said.
Dozens of quarries have previously been uncovered in Jerusalem - including ones larger than the present find - but this is the first one that archeologists have found which they believe was used in the construction of the Temple Mount itself, Baruch said.
Archeologists had previously assumed that the quarry which was used to construct the Temple Mount was located within the Old City itself, but the enormous size of the stones found at the site - up to 8 meters long - as well as coins and fragments of pottery vessels dating back to the first century CE indicated that this was the site used 2,000 years ago in the construction of the walls of the Temple Mount, including the Western Wall.
"We have never found any other monument in Israel with stones this size except for the Temple Mount walls," Baruch said.
During the Second Temple period, the rulers of the city selected top quality stone in the construction of national public buildings that originated in the hard layers of limestone, referred to in Arabic as malakeh (from the Hebrew word malkhut or royalty) owing to its beauty and quality.
The quarry's pristine white rock, which resembles marble, and its huge, five-to-seven-ton blocks "are unprecedented and similar to those of the Temple Mount," he said.
The huge stones were likely transported to the area of the Temple Mount by horses, camels, or masses of slaves, Baruch said, noting that part of an ancient main road to Jerusalem which was used for the immense operation was recently uncovered just 100 meters from the site of the quarry.
The use of these enormous high quality stones during the construction of the Temple Mount compound is what maintained the stability of the structure over thousands of years, without requiring the use of plaster or cement.
The quarrying of each stone block was done in stages, according to Irina Zilberbod, the excavation director.
First, deep narrow channels were hewn around all four sides of the block, thereby isolating it from the surrounding bedrock surface. Then, using a hammer, the stonecutters inserted a row of cleaving stakes in the bottom part of the block until a fissure was created and the stone was detached.
A 5-kg. iron tool which was used by King Herod's workers - probably Jewish slaves - and was likely forgotten at the site was discovered intact beneath large stones in the middle of the excavations, Baruch said.
The site, which was used for no more than 20 years, was abandoned after the Second Temple period, said archeologist Ehud Nesher, who also took part in the dig.
The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE.
The site where the quarry was unearthed is now surrounded by olive trees planted by Arab villagers, and a sprawling haredi residential neighborhood built over the the last decade.
The area of the quarry which has been uncovered is likely only 30 to 40 percent of its total size, but archeologists have no immediate plans to excavate the rest of the area because it is private property.
The discovery of the site comes as the state-run archeological body is immersed in a bitter controversy over recent Islamic infrastructure work on the Temple Mount itself, which independent Israeli archeologists say has damaged antiquities at Judaism's holiest site.
The work, which was authorized by the Prime Minister's Office, is meant to replace decades-old electrical cables at the ancient compound.
The Antiquities Authority, which has been repeatedly censured by the independent group of archeologists for failing to carry out proper archeological supervision on the Temple Mount due to the political sensitivites involved at the bitterly contested holy site, has repeatedly declined comment on the issue.
In a stunning aphorism the Roman lawyer and philosopher Cicero summed up the traditional problem of intellectuals in politics. "We have to work, not in the Republic of Plato but in the cesspit of Romulus."
In 10 A.D., Roman engineer Julius Sextus Frontinus said, ``Inventions have long since reached their limit, and I see no hope for further developments.''
In ancient Rome, famous Pliny the Elder wrote a piece called Natural History which attempted to give advice to horse breeders. Among his sage counsel was an explanation of how mares in Lithuania foaled.
He said they stand facing towards the west wind, which gives them the breath of life when birthing. He believed that a new born foal had a fig-sized love poison on its forehead, which the mother must eat or she refused to suckle. Pliny believed that if a man took the poison before the mare ate it, he would be driven mad by the scent. I can say with some authority that Pliny the Elder perhaps had one too many love poisons himself.
Another common misconception was that a pregnant mare exposed to a sudden fright might cause peculiar markings on the newborn foal. This explanation seemed to make sense of such little understood things as solar or lunar eclipses and how they might relate to an unusual star or crescent marking on a newborn's face or neck.
And then there is the quote that summarizes the value of all the advice (or lack thereof.) It is from the writer Publilus Syrus in 42 B.C.: “Many receive advice, few profit by it.”
It may be a folktale or a historic fact, but residents of this village believe that Alexander the Great, during his invasion in 326 BC, camped here. They say they have heard verbal sagas from their ancestors that Alexander had received a resistance from the local rulers and after camping here, he returned to his country, Greece, after crossing Indus, which now flows in Pakistan.
A bivalve mollusk, the oyster has been a favorite food for thousands of years. Oysters were craved by ancient Greeks and ancient Romans, who imported them from across the empire. Roman emperors paid for them by their weight in gold.
How best to worship the perfect breast? Men have long dreamed of sipping fine wine from their lovers’ busts cast in glittering crystal. In antiquity, a temple on the island of Rhodes displayed a goblet believed to have been modeled on the breasts of Helen of Troy by her paramour Paris.
While few of us depend on fermentation to preserve our foods today, some of the healthiest foods we eat are naturally fermented. One of them is sauerkraut. The original sauerkraut dates back to China 6,000 years ago. In ancient Rome, it was used for digestive problems. Tiberius carried sauerkraut on his voyages to the Middle East because he knew that it protected his men from intestinal infections.
The gesture of blowing a kiss to a lover is believed to have originated from a custom of the ancient Greeks and Romans. When entering or leaving the temple they would kiss their fingertips then throw the kiss toward a sacred object such as an altar or statue.
Apollo has formed a strategic relationship with fellow Australian resource company Artemis Resources Limited ("Artemis" ASX code: ARV) whereby Artemis will act as joint lead manager for the Apollo Offer and also provide management services and expertise in sourcing potential new tenements and investments for Apollo.
Rome, September 19 - Italian police have blocked a group of art traffickers poised to sell a huge haul of artefacts plundered from ancient sites around the country.
The looted property, bought from tomb raiders, comprises a thousand "priceless" objects including some 10,000 ancient coins, some of them pre-Roman, police said.
Their total value is estimated at 3-5 million euros.
Oil-lamps and other objects have been identified as coming from the workshops of one of Rome's most famous craftsmen, Caius Oppius Restitutus, whose works are particularly prized on the illegal art market.
Other included funerary objects from the tomb of a Roman child, probably taken from a tomb in Puglia (Roman Apulia). "This is an amazing haul and proof that we are intensifying our efforts to stamp out illicit trading in antiquities," said the head of the Carabinieri's special unit for protecting Italy's cultural heritage, General Ugo Zottin.
"We got to the traffickers as they were about to move the objects through various outlets in Verona, Bolzano and Rimini - some of them quite respectable establishments".
"It just goes to show that you have to keep an eye out everywhere," Zottin added.
The art cops said the coins, lamps and other artefacts were believed to have travelled through the Republic of San Marino, where they were provided with counterfeit documents attesting to a supposedly legal provenance.
Among 26 people arrested was a 60-year-old Italian dealer resident in England who was caught about to cross the Italian border into Austria.
Restitutus, who was active between 90 and 140 AD, had a huge business and is known to have exported his wares all around the Mediterranean from a large foundry on Rome's Janiculum Hill.
Among the coins recovered were some that for the first time attest to the use of bronze in money used before the first official Roman mint opened. Italy has stepped up its fight against tomb raiding and has forged deals where foreign galleries return allegedly plundered art in return for temporary loans of similar exhibits.
The first-ever trial of a US antiquities curator recently opened in Rome. She is charged with buying falsely certified artefacts allegedly stolen from various Italian sites.
Last month the Husky basketball team went to Greece together. They played some local teams but, also, since they are students too, got some in-depth instruction on Greek history from Dr. James Clauss of the UW Classics department. Dr. Clauss is also head of the UW Honors program, and a winner of the UW's Distinguished Teaching award.
The Huskies went 2-3 in basketball on the trip, but we thought it would be interesting to check up with Dr. Clauss on how it went from a learning perspective. We emailed him questions, he emailed back answers.
From what I read it seemed that you picked Socrates as sort of a focal point for your teaching during the trip. What made you choose Socrates?
You are on the money. Socrates is a figure that continues to attract, haunt, and often times enrage readers of Plato's dialogues and other Socratic literature. From what we can gather, he was a highly principled individual who felt that no one, himself included, should take what they know or think they know for granted. The starting point of wisdom for him was to admit ignorance, an admission people then and now are loath to make. He thus asked people to define concepts such as justice, moderation, piety, etc. and then proceeded to critique them with a highly aggressive Q&A session. He became unpopular for a number of reasons and ultimately was put to death, a death he freely accepted.
As such, he usually gets people's attention, and fast, and thus provides a wonderful starting point and useful approach for investigating universal topics, topics that are all too infrequently discussed nowadays.
Was there anything different about discussing this material with a group entirely made up of college athletes, as opposed to a group of regular students?
I presented this material as I would present it to any class I teach on campus, whether freshmen or graduate students: straight up. The participants in this class were indeed college athletes, but also students. And when we discussed the topics at hand, they stepped up to the academic plate and many were the hits I observed in class. Within one week, they had Socrates sized up perfectly: an idealistic thinker, concerned for the well being of his fellow Athenians, a martyr for the cause of intellectual honesty, but also a potentially annoying and irritating intruder.
They understood the need for a Socrates to wake us out of our mental stupor but also sensed the apprehension at what his kind of revealing questions might expose--an appropriately nuanced view of this remarkable figure in Western civilization.
Was there a place that you visited in Greece that the players really seemed to have a reaction to?
For all, seeing the heart of Athens was a moving experience. The minute detail that went into the Parthenon gave a clear idea of the attention to beauty and longing for perfection that characterized the fifth century BC at which time the philosopher lived. All of the students responded to what we saw and, appropriately, in different ways. Some articulated their reactions in words, others with their cameras. In speaking with each of the team members and the coaches and their families, it was clear: visiting Greece was transformative. I should add: I was not immune to the transformation. Coach Lorenzo Romar, together with his outstanding coaching staff, managed to create a strong sense of belonging to the group, and one that was not exclusive of an outsider like me.
Last year, the Huskies had high expectations and a disappointing season. They're hoping to rebound with a successful season this year. Is there any precedent in classical mythology for something like this?
To answer any questions regarding the upcoming season, I would want to consult the oracle at Delphi, an opportunity I unfortunately missed this time. Perhaps I might offer one insight. Many of the great heroes in ancient myths went on quests to distant places as part of, or in preparation for, their defining moments. Was this such a journey for the 2007-08 Huskies? Will they bring Seattle a golden fleece next March? Only the Fates know for sure.
An ancient stone coffin and sculpture of a lion's head have been returned to Greece after being handed over by two private owners in the United States, the Culture Ministry said Wednesday.
The artifacts were presented by new Culture Minister Michalis Liapis, who was sworn in Wednesday, after his conservative party won a second term in national elections Sunday.
Both items were voluntarily turned over to the Greek consulate in the U.S. city of Boston and returned to Greece in late July.
The undated marble sarcophagus bears the relief sculpture of a battle scene, while the lion sculpture is dated to Roman times.
Greece has mounted an aggressive campaign in recent years for the return of ancient artifacts from museums and private collections abroad _ including legally and illegally acquired items.
The campaign is part of an effort to recover Parthenon sculptures _ the Elgin Marbles _ from the British Museum in London, arguing that they are an integral part of the temple on the Acropolis hill.
The marbles were removed by Britain's Lord Elgin in the early 19th century.
There was enough vomit to fill a vomitorium from the late decadent decline of the Roman Empire.
‘The antiquities smuggled from Bulgaria are oftentimes brought to Germany, which is the most frequent final destination for them. Germany has the biggest market’, Rumen Danev, Head of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation to the Customs Agency told FOCUS News Agency in an interview.
In his words there are no practices for the valuables to pass Bulgaria as transit, so perhaps they are transported by other ways or there is another type of transport used.
The biggest seized package of antiquities consists of 5 cardboard boxes weighing over 50 kg that were seized at the Kalotina border checkpoint.
Antiquity smuggling is most frequently made by cars and buses. The cultural and historical valuables are concealed both in the drivers’ cabins and in the different holes of the motor vehicles, Rumen Danev, Head of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation dept. to the Customs Agency told FOCUS News Agency in an interview. In his words the most frequent case is the use of courier and mail parcels. Last year there were four attempts at illegal carriage of antiquities though the customs of the airports in Varna and Plovdiv, which is not typical, he noted.
Sometimes perpetrators throw the valuables at the customs areas. The value of the seized smuggled items is estimated by experts from the museums of history in Bulgaria. ‘Oftentimes the experts take the items at the respective regional museum by filling in a special document’, he explains.
Build Thracian tomb was found in saving excavations in the Chernichino village, (Ivailovgrad municipality, Eastern Rhodope mountain).
The team was leaded by Georgy Nehrizov, specialist on Thracian archeology of National Archeology Institute.
The tomb dates from 4-3 century, BC.
The tomb chamber is 2 m high and entirely preserved. The antechamber is destroyed by treasure hunters. Now the specialists are discussing the object's conservation.
Bulgarian archaeologists unearthed an ancient Thracian tomb during the weekend while making urgent excavations near the village of Cherniche.
The team of Georgi Nehrizov, a specialist in Thracian history and culture with the Bulgarian Archaeology Institute, stumbled absolutely accidentally on the tomb.
The sepulchre is dated back to the 4-3 century BC. The burial chamber with two-slope surface of the walls is completely intact. It is 2 metres long, 1,8 metres wide and 2 metres high.
The antechamber was destroyed by treasure hunters, which had obviously tried to penetrate the tomb with a digger.
Specialists from the Archaeology Institute have already arrived on the spot to make further research and discuss how to best preserve the finding.
On the first day of classes, Professor Alison Laywine told students in her PHIL 354 Plato class that it would be impossible for them to pass the course if they scored less than 100 per cent on the first test.
The test, which evaluated students’ knowledge of the lower and upper cases of the Greek alphabet and their ability to transliterate from Greek to English, is worth 10 per cent of the course’s final grade. It took place in class last Thursday.
Mystified by the intensity of the requirement, students were unsure whether to take the threat of failure seriously.
“It depends how strict she’s being,” said Benjy Sherer, U3 Honours Philosophy. “If it’s mostly an empty threat, there should be no issues here.”
Laywine, however, was unapologetic for the examination, explaining that knowledge of the Greek alphabet is essential for quality discussion of Plato’s works. She expected students who were serious about the class would put in the effort required to pass the test.
Additionally, Laywine reasoned that by placing the exam during the add/drop period, students could drop the course if they did not get 100 per cent on the test.
One impact of Laywine’s exam has been a steady decline in the number of students registered in PHIL 354 leading up to Thursday.
“I dropped the class because the syllabus terrified me,” said one philosophy student who asked to remain anonymous.
Laywine admitted that constructive class discussion can be difficult with the class’ maximum enrollment of 50 students. As of press time, about a dozen students had dropped the class since the first days, leaving only 34 registered.
Philosophy Department Chair Philip Buckley laughed at the idea that the test was used to limit student enrollment. He suggested instead that the test was serving student interests by ensuring they possess a skill required to succced in the course.
“We certainly would not drive students away from philosophy,” he said.
Although knowledge of the Greek alphabet is a useful tool when digesting ancient Greek philosophy, the design of Laywine’s test may not comply with Article 12 of the Charter of Students’ Rights, which states: “the evaluation of a student’s performance in a course shall be fair and reasonable, and shall reflect the content of the course.”
While it is widely believed that professors are not allowed to hold exams during the add/drop period, no guidelines in the Charter explicitly exist to prevent it and Buckley admitted that there are no systematic checks in the Philosophy department to assess the fairness of a course’s evaluation structure.
“I don’t go and check every syllabus,” he said, but stressed that regulations regarding syllabus design are common knowledge among faculty members.
Buckley maintained that if every student in the class is evaluated equally, he is comfortable with Laywine’s testing method.
“As long as professor Laywine does not prevent students from entering the class late, then she should be OK,” he said.
Students who feel the regulations concerning course fairness are not being followed can lodge complaints with the Senate Committee on Student Grievances; however, Buckley discouraged this. Instead, he said, the best way for students to find a resolution in a case like this would be to contact the chair of their department.
EXCITEMENT is growing over the discovery of a suspected Roman grave at Corfe Castle.
Corfe Castle was in the spotlight after a metal detectors' club event at Norden Farm uncovered the find.
Metal detector enthusiasts and archaeologists attended the annual event from around the world. Michiel Bil, a Government worker from Holland, came across the historic gem.
He said: "I found the large piece of lead and stone and I was very excited because I had my suspicions that it might be a coffin.
"I called the archaeologist over and they also were excited and now it will be properly dug up this weekend and filmed on TV."
The BBC TV programme the One Show showed a film about the discovery and will conclude the findings on Monday.
Previous searches at Corfe Castle discovered bronze Celtic coins and roman burial pots, which are now in Dorchester County Museum.
John Anthony Crook, ancient historian: born London 5 November 1921; Assistant Lecturer in Classics, Reading University 1948-49, Lecturer 1949-51; Fellow, St John's College, Cambridge 1951-2007, Tutor 1956-64, President 1971-75; Assistant Lecturer in Classics, Cambridge University 1953-55, Lecturer 1955-71, Reader in Roman History and Law 1971-79, Brereton Reader 1974-79, Professor of Ancient History 1979-84 (Emeritus); FBA 1970-80; died Cambridge 7 September 2007.
Though he would certainly have dismissed the idea, because he was invincibly counter-suggestible, as well as enjoying an international scholarly reputation and occupying the chair of Ancient History at Cambridge, 1979-84, John Crook occupied a unique place in the affection of colleagues, pupils and staff at St John's College, where for 55 years he occupied the same set of rooms, kept his oak permanently unsported, and, in the offices he successively held, came to symbolise the place for generations of old members whom he would welcome back as to their home. Every year, the weeks before Christmas were given over to the writing of letters to scores of former pupils.
A Balham boy and the only child of parents of limited means, Crook's early career provided a wonderful vindication of the old LCC scholarship system, which took him to Dulwich College, where his linguistic and musical gifts were nurtured, and in 1939 to St John's.
Having taken a First in Part I of the Classical Tripos, in February 1942, he was drafted into the 9th Royal Fusiliers, with whom he served in the Middle East and North Africa before being captured on landing in Italy and sent to Stalag Luft VIIIB in Silesia, where he acquired fluent German, taught languages to other prisoners, perfected his remarkable skill on the clarinet (the instrument his father, a military bandsman, played), and developed as a Shakespearean actor, a side of him later deployed at the lecturing dais and, memorably, when as President of St John's he descended Malvolio-like to disperse a group of roistering junior fellows at their cups.
After completion of the Tripos with another First, a year in Oxford and a spell at Reading, in 1951 he returned to Cambridge as a research Fellow of St John's. His Consilium Principis (1955) established him as a front-rank historian of antiquity, but with ancient history treated as an ancillary subject within Classics and as one which, he strongly believed, should be taught straight from the source material, one of the reasons why he was such a great admirer of A.H.M. Jones, his predecessor-but-one as professor. He was an expert on rhetoric and was a superb lecturer, using movement and facial contortion, as well as voice, gown and an impeccable sense of timing, to capture and hold an audience. He would invariably have a full house at 9am.
Apart from the respectful bowing of the head, it was the Crookian nose that was the principal prop: marvellously mobile, it maintained a Pat-and-Mike act with its sympathetic chin as he pretended to have forgotten the end of one of his endless fund of stories. Narrowing his eyes, his expression – calculating but also self-deprecatory – might as easily resolve itself into a jeremiad bewailing the latest manifestation of Crook's Law ("Everything is getting worse") as into the generous laugh, which was never exactly a laugh but was sometimes a murmur, sometimes almost a cackle, delivered with head thrust forward, gnathic gestures, and arms set back like rudders.
He was particularly in his element at college meetings ("Master, I have a difficulty"; "Master, the council has got this wrong") but was not one to rock the college boat unless he was certain it was rowing dead steady, which Crook's Law stated it rarely was. At gatherings of the College Classical Society, which for 50 years met in his rooms, he would reminisce and chat about anything under the sun. His particular passion was to get the society singing in Latin, the favourite being "Waltzing Matilda", with its chorus starting "ambiclitella! ambiclitella!" (Latin for swag).
Roman law was his main interest. His work was a model for Roman historians who shared this interest, and he stimulated others to work in the field. His Law and Life of Rome (1967) was his most important and influential work. At the same time he had an ambiguous relationship with "professional" Roman lawyers, as a tribe, as opposed to individuals who got to know him and appreciated his scholarship. This was partly his own doing. Law and Life has, instead of the usual dedication, a "warning" to the experts to stay away: "iuris consultus abesto". Perhaps this was tongue-in-cheek; perhaps he was laying down a challenge. For he was not always easy to fathom.
In his Legal Advocacy in the Roman World (1995) he vigorously championed the status and the calling of advocates (and rhetoric) as opposed to jurists (and jurisprudence), taking up a position not unlike that of Cicero, the great advocate himself, but with the additional goal of rehabilitating rhetoric in the eyes of modern scholars. To an unusual degree, the authentic voice, colloquial yet elegant, was audible in the printed word.
Crook was a demanding but sympathetic teacher of undergraduates. He took enormous trouble and time over graduate students and junior colleagues. He was especially good at working through difficult texts with them, and read their work readily and carefully. Although the arena of his own research was traditional, revolving around Roman political and constitutional history, and Roman law, he typically took a critical line, and encouraged the young to do the same. If they seemed to be edging towards a novel, even risky, interpretation, he would egg them on and urge them to state their case strongly.
He was a princely host – and a princely guest – a man of infinite courtesy, carefully indicating the architectural features of the college courts to passing strangers who had only stopped him to ask if there was a loo. His generosity was legendary, and secret. He could be generous because he was careful. "Two Coxes from the stall with the man with the funny leg," he would specify when I went to do his shopping. The blotting paper on his desk said a lot about him. It had a 1951-ish look about it, and its blottingness appeared marginal, but because some little areas of white remained, there it stayed. Only relatively recently did he capitulate to use of a fountain pen.
Sometimes grumpy ("I'm grumpy today"), he adhered to old-fashioned standards, being one of the small number of fellows of the British Academy to resign in protest at the failure of that body to expel Anthony Blunt. "Expert in law, expert in justice both", in the words of the translation of Guy Lee's dedication in Thinking Like a Lawyer, the "Crookschrift", as he called it, which he was delighted to receive on his 80th birthday. The most filial of sons, he had eschewed matrimony on account of his eccentricities, he said, but bitterly regretted bachelorhood. He was never happier than when crawling on the floor with small children; and as they grew up and showed an aptitude for languages in presenting them with dictionaries. Sharing with that other old Alleynian P. G. Wodehouse a strong liking for school stories, he rejoiced at the eventual triumph of Harry Potter. For him, the greatest change in the college in his lifetime had been the lowering of the age of majority, not the admission of women (which he had strongly championed).
While still capable of doing his own shopping, with plastic mac flying he was, as one of the local shopkeepers observed, "part of the furniture of Trinity Street". During an earlier stay in Addenbrooke's, where he died, the ex-POW had reasserted himself as self-appointed ward-orderly. While reading the Iliad in the original with a gentleman of the road (happily called Hector) whom he discovered to have had the beginnings of a classical education, he was kept busy restraining an elderly clergyman from pulling his medical moorings off the wall. "He doesn't know whether he's got his trousers on or not," he confided, "but he's still perfectly sound on the doctrine of the Trinity."
Michael Kremer, a Harvard economics professor with a track record of inventive ideas, and Tom Wilkening, a graduate student at MIT, published a possible solution earlier this year. Instead of flatly banning the export of antiquities, why not ban their sale but allow them to be rented?
The idea has a simple economic justification. Imagine a Malian sculpture, which is currently worth more to the British Museum than to the government of Mali. But it is possible that Mali will be much wealthier in a few decades than it is today and at that point will want the sculpture back. One of the easiest ways to arrange that pattern of possession is for Mali to lease the object to the British Museum for a few decades.
Beyond that smoothly plausible piece of textbook economics, the messy details also point in favor of leasing arrangements. If a poor country protects its antiquities with a blanket export ban, the government has to find cash to dig up, catalog, and store the things. Sensible governments would have other spending priorities, but that then leaves the artifacts in the ground, where they are difficult to protect from smugglers. A leasing arrangement would mean that an impoverished government could invite the Metropolitan Museum or the British Museum to go to all the trouble of excavating, researching, and protecting the treasures in exchange for, say, the right to exhibit them for 25 years.
The Colosseum, symbol of the Eternal City and one of the world’s most famous monuments, is at risk from vandalism and graffiti, Rome’s city authorities said yesterday.
Visitors to the 1st-century amphitheatre are taking away “chunks of stone” as souvenirs despite the presence of guards and surveillance cameras, according to Angelo Bottini, the Superintendent of Archaeology for Rome.
He said that most of the five million tourists who visited the Colosseum annually behaved responsibly. But others covered it in graffiti, left their rubbish behind and picked up bits of Ancient Roman wall or paving.
“Nothing surprises me any more,” said Professor Bottini. He said he had started an inquiry and was asking police to reinforce patrols and closed-circuit television surveillance at the Colosseum and the adjoining Roman Forum, where tourists also pocketed souvenirs.
At night, the sites are taken over by tramps sleeping rough in improvised shelters.
Professor Bottini said that funds allotted by central government for the restoration of the Colosseum had dried up two years ago and had not yet been renewed. He said that the authorities were drawing up plans to improve security measures at the entrance to the site.
They were also considering a clamp-down on unlicensed “fake centurions” who charge tourists for posing with them for photographs with the Colosseum as a backdrop.
The Colosseum, properly called the Flavian Amphitheatre, was begun in AD70 under Emperor Vespasian, the founder of the Flavian dynasty, and completed ten years later under Emperor Titus, Vespasian’s son. It seated 50,000 spectators and was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as wild animal hunts and naumachiae mock sea battles.
Once faced in marble, it was built over a drained lake in front of the Golden Palace of the widely detested Emperor Nero. It derives its name from the colossal statue of Nero, which stood near by, of which only the pedestal remains. The Colosseum was damaged by an earthquake in the 14th century and much of its stone was used to build mediaeval palaces and churches.
In the 18th century Pope Benedict XIV declared the Colosseum a sacred site because early Christians had been martyred there, and popes still lead Good Friday processions round the Stations of the Cross inside the amphitheatre. The crumbling and overgrown façade was repaired in the 19th and 20th centuries, with a big restoration project carried out in time for the 2000 millennium celebrations.
Last year, after the collapse of a wall on the Palatine Hill above the Forum and the Circus Maximus, Professor Bottini cautioned that many of Rome’s ancient monuments were crumbling. “We have a sick patient with many diseases,” he said.
A full-sized replica Roman galley was launched on Germany's Moselle river Friday near the city of Trier, once the northern capital of the Roman Empire. The 18-metre Stella Noviomagi (Latin for Star of Neumagen, a nearby town) was based on a Roman sculpture found in that town.
Galleys were Roman warships rowed by slaves to carry troop supplies. The German model will take up to 50 tourists at a time for rides. No slaves are required as it has two diesel engines.
Promoters, who raised 400,000 euros (555,000 dollars) to build the 14-ton oak vessel, said it was the first galley to navigate the Moselle river for 1,700 years and would make its maiden voyage on September 29.
Armenian archeologists have discovered the second pagan temple in Armenia after Garni.
The temple found 5.5 meters under ground not far from the modern town of Artashat about 30 kilometers to the south-east of Yerevan was devoted to Mihr – the God of the Sun in Armenian mythology. The temple – the symbol of sun-worship was built near Artashat which maintained its status the longest among the capitals of Armenia - from the 2nd century B.C. to the 5th century A.D.
“By discovering the remains of the temple we found out that the temple was even more gorgeous and beautiful than Garni. That means we have found a big historical wealth that needs being kept by all means,” says Zhores Khachatryan, 72 year old coordinator of the archeological expedition team.
The expedition comprised of 15 workers of the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography, National Academy of Sciences of Armenia had begun the excavations of the territory of capital Artashat in the 1970s. Before that large-scale excavations in the territories bordering Turkey were prohibited by Soviet authorities.
The findings reveal that Artshat occupied about 400 hectares of territory and had a population in 150,000 in its heyday. The fortification walls of the city stretched for more than 10,000 meters; 4,500 of them were unearthed by the scientists in 1970-80s.
The town founded on 12 hills in the neighborhood of Khor Virap built on the place of the temple devoted to the goddess of maternity and fertility Anahit used to be a big center of commerce, which is witnessed by more than 1,000 types of the found seals.
“All the studies show Artashat was built in accord with a regular and a planned design project. However, unfortunately, we cannot research all the hills: the heart of Artashat was built on the marble ore that has been blown up for many times and has equaled that part [of the city] to ground,” says archeologist Khachatryan with regret, who has been in the science for more than 60 years spending the greater part of the year on archeological sites. Khachatryan has also taken part in the excavations in Saint Petersburg (then, Leningrad), Crimea and Anapa. As he says he has passed the best Russian school.
The archeological team has also managed to find the public bath-house of Artshat with its 7 rooms 75 square meters each.
“There is a mosaic floor and a tiny brook, bases and pools with beautiful ornaments have been found. Also a toilet with sewage system with more than 2,000 years of history, something you can’t find even in modern-day villages, was found,” laughs the archeologist.
The archeological works and others like it, were interrupted by the Karabakh movement in 1988 and the crisis in the later years. The archeological life in the newly independent Armenia gained new momentum in the early 2000s.
An expedition team was formed again in 2003. However, it had only 5 members instead of the former 15 because of insufficient [financial] means to have a larger group.
“We knew from the very beginning there was a temple that was destroyed during the reign of King Tiridates in the 4th century, in times Christianity was spread. But we didn’t know where exactly it was and what was its size,” says Khachatryan.
It’s already five years the archeological team with small financial means excavates the old Artashat. The latest studies concluded: the temple devoted to god Mihr was built on a hill on the left bank of Arax River. The hill was surrounded by walls where the limestone holy place was erected. The excavations disclosed also the 23 staircases leading to the temple.
1,625,000 drams (about $4,800) were allotted by the state budget for this year studies. Khachatryan says the money will hardly suffice to excavate a mausoleum, when they must excavate a whole city.
The archeologist is proud of the work of his team, but picks on the work of community heads as a result of which lands of Artashat that bear one of the most important pages of Armenia’s history are sold today.
“They say exactly 6 hectares are sold, but what we see is a different size – about 60 hectares. Sooner or later they will build castles wrecking our past to the ground,” Khachatryan says with indignation hoping to save at least the remaining territories.
The archeologists think they may find at the end of the excavations that the temple may be reconstructed; however, they are unable to find whether it is possible to find financing for it.
The traditional Latin Mass will be celebrated in Roman Catholic parishes in Portsmouth and Nashua this month in response to the Pope's recent directive relaxing restrictions on the use of the pre-Second Vatican Council liturgy.
The pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Nashua will celebrate a Latin Mass this Sunday, making it the first time the extraordinary form of the Latin Rite liturgy will be used in the church in nearly 40 years.
"I don't know what to expect," the Rev. Martin T. Kelly, the pastor, said yesterday.
The Rev. Michael Kerper will celebrate a Latin Mass at Immaculate Conception Church in Portsmouth the following Sunday.
Kelly, a professional classicist who speaks Latin and taught it at Nashua High School in the late 1970s and early 1980s, said the initial Latin Mass will be celebrated in St. Patrick's at 4 p.m. He expects to continue offering the liturgy as long as parishioners ask for it.
"I've had requests for as soon as possible and as often as possible," Kelly said. "I think the presumption is the requests will keep coming."
Kelly said he is offering a Latin Mass as an accommodation to a group of parishioners who requested it. It will not disrupt regularly scheduled Masses currently celebrated according to the ordinary form of the liturgy in effect since the Second Vatican Council, Kelly explained.
Kerper, pastor of Corpus Christi Parish in Portsmouth, also said he will celebrate the Latin Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal in response to parishioners' requests.
"It's wonderful. The Holy Ghost has come in and blessed our parish," said Portsmouth resident William St. Laurent, who is president of Una Voce-New Hampshire, a group that seeks to restore the Latin Mass.
In his July 7 apostolic letter, Pope Benedict XVI said the Latin Mass should be made available in every parish where a stable group of parishioners asks for it without first having to get permission from their bishop. The directive takes effect tomorrow.
Before the Pope's directive, a local bishop had to grant special permission to allow a Latin Mass to be celebrated in his diocese. None were granted in New Hampshire, according to members of Una Voce-New Hampshire.
The Latin Mass at Portsmouth's Immaculate Conception Church will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Sept. 23.
Greece's Culture Minister signed a decree allowing the demolition of a historical landmark in central Athens to improve the view for a new museum a stone's throw from the Parthenon, the ministry said on Wednesday.
Despite protests from conservationists, minister George Voulgarakis signed a decree allowing the demolition of an art deco building and a neo-classical property owned by the Oscar-award winning composer Vangelis.
Voulgarakis signed the legislation on Aug 30 ahead of a Sept 16 election and while public attention in Greece was riveted by raging forest fires which destroyed whole villages and killed more than 60 people.
"The minister took this decision under pressure ahead of the snap election and because the central archaeological council (KAS) had already taken its decision," the culture minister's press officer Evgenia Migdou said.
The new Acropolis museum, expected to open its gates in 2008 after years of delays, has spurred renewed efforts to bring the Parthenon Sculptures, known in Britain as the Elgin Marbles, back to Greece from the British Museum.
Greece's archaeological council in July agreed that the two buildings could be demolished to improve the visual continuity between the museum and the ancient Greek ruins of the Parthenon.
"We were surprised that the minister had the peace of mind to make such a decision the week that the deadly forest fires raged in Olympia and across the country," said Marina Kouremenou, owner of one of the two buildings.
The ministry said opponents could still challenge the decision.
"The owners (of the buildings) can still appeal to the KAS and to the courts if they think that a wrong decision was made," Migdou said.
Based on existing evidence such as the cracks which exist on the body of Xerxes’ and the other tombs in Naqsh-e Rostam, and the close distance of Isfahan-Shiraz railway to this historic site, experts give a strong possibility that the rumbling of the trains would break the tomb of Xerxes in two halves.
Warning about this unpleasant fact with presenting a number of pictures as evidence, in the one-day seminar with the subject of Endangered Naqsh-e Rostam which was held yesterday by attendance of cultural heritage experts and archeologists, Mohammad Taghi Atayi, archeologist and expert of Pars-e Pasargadae Research Center said: “Most probably, the constructors of this tomb were aware about existence of these cracks on the body of the mountain during ancient times, which is why they devised a method to prevent the penetration of water in the tomb through directing the rain water into a pool through a canal above Xerxes tomb. However, today this pool has been filled up, therefore the rain water enter into the cracks and widen them.”
This fact brings into light the negative potential of the rail contruction on these cracks. The jolts caused by the train will worsen the situation of the tomb which might turn into a cultural heritage disaster.
While all cultural heritage enthusiasts presented in the seminar, voiced their concern over hearing these statements, one of the attendees in the seminar expressed his opposition in favor of Iran’s Ministry of Road and Transportation and called Atayi’s comments groundless. This opponent man, who didn’t introduce himself, claimed that the rail construction will pose no harm to Naqsh-e Rostam historic site and said that nothing has been approved yet. However, cultural heritage enthusiasts present in the in the seminar tried to calm down the summit to prevent any kind of tension.
It is also said that a number of authorities of Iran’s Railway Organization attended the seminar anonymously and showed no reaction to the statements of this man.
Recently the news about construction of Isfahan-Shiraz railway only in vicinity of Naqsh-e Rostam historic site have became a matter of controversy and has raised a lot of concern among cultural heritage experts who are worry about the negative consequences of this project on Naqsh-e Rostam. In addition to intruding the cultural landscape of this historic site, cultural heritage experts strongly believe that construction of the railway only in 550 meters of Naqsh-e Rostam would pose irrecoverable damages to this historic site. It would also reduce the chance of Naqsh-e Rostam’s world registration to zero. Parse Pasargadae Research Center is determined to prepare the ground for registration of Naqsh-e Rostam in list of UNESCO’s World Heritage site as annex of Pesepolis world heritage site.
The Iranian Ministry of Road and Transportation has officially been ordered to change path of the railway connecting Isfahan to Fars in an attempt to save this historic site. One of the solutions which have been proposed by experts of Pars-e Pasargadae experts for saving the cultural landscape of this Achaemenid site against railway construction and its aftermath harmful effects, is e of the Achaemenid site is to construct a 6-kilometer-long tunnel from Sivand to Shoul village and direct the train through the tunnel.
Naqsh-e Rostam is an archeological site located about 3 kilometers northwest of Persepolis in Iran’s Fars province. It contains seven tombs which belong to Acehemenid kings. In addition to tombs, there are also seven gigantic rock carvings below the tombs, belonging to Sassanian kings.
This one-day seminar was held by effort of Iran’s Association of Cultural Heritage Watch, in conjunction with Islamic assembly of Tehran University and scientific associations of archeology union. A number of well-known Iranian archeologists such as Kamyar Abdi, Mehrdad Malekzadeh, Mohammad Taghi Atayi, and Mohammad Taghi Rahnemayi gave lectures about introducing the Elamite, Achaemenid, Sassanian, and Islamic evidence of Naqsh-e Rostam historic site and focused on the importance for preserving this invaluable cultural heritage site in view of tourism attraction.
Encrusted with tiny shells and smelling strongly of the sea, a 2,400-year-old Greek jar lies in a saltwater bath in Durres Museum, on Albania's Adriatic coast.
Part of a sunken shipment of up to 60 ceramic vessels, the 67-centimeter (26-inch) storage jar, or amphora, was the top find from what organizers say is the first archaeological survey of this small Balkan nation's seabed, conducted by U.S. and Albanian experts.
"Touch it, touch it. It's luck," said mission leader George Robb of the Key West, Florida-based RPM Nautical Foundation. "You're touching something that was made before Plato was born."
Launched in July, the month-long survey was the first step in compiling an underwater cultural heritage map that could eventually plot the position of sunken fleets from ancient and mediaeval times believed to lie along Albania's 360-kilometer (220-mile) coastline.
Auron Tare, the project's local coordinator, said Albanian authorities were hoping to sign a deal with RPM, a non-profit foundation, late this year for a five-year survey.
"That would give a boost to a still nonexistent field of archaeological research in the country," Tare said. "It would be a great promotion for local tourism, especially diving tourism, and could possibly lead to the creation of an underwater archaeology museum."
Archaeologist Adrian Anastasi said the survey would help protect the country's marine cultural heritage from looters — an increasing problem since the collapse of the country's hardline Communist regime in 1990.
"(The survey) will help create the necessary legal and structural infrastructure to protect shipwrecks from looting," said Anastasi, Albania's only archaeologist specialized in underwater research.
Anastasi said the project — using state-of-the-art scanning technology — would likely have cost the Albanian government €3.5-4 million (US$4.7-5.4 million) if they did it by themselves. "RPM has all the necessary modern technology, and is doing it with its own funding," he said.
Linking the western Balkans and the East with western Europe, Albanian waters were busy with shipping during ancient and mediaeval times.
"In those times ships usually stayed near the shore, to maintain visual contact with land, and all our coastline was a very intensive route for commercial and other traffic," Anastasi said.
The light-brown clay amphora, probably used to store wine or oil, was found on the last day of the survey off the ancient town of Butrinti near Saranda, some 300 kilometers (186 miles) from Tirana and opposite the Greek island of Corfu. It was initially dated to the early 5th century B.C. but later research suggests a 4th century B.C. date — during the lifetime of the ancient Athenian philosopher Plato (427-347 B.C.).
The find will stay immersed in water at the museum in Durres, 33 kilometers (20 miles) west of Tirana. Museum workers will gradually reduce the water's salinity over the next year, to remove salt from the amphora ahead of its conservation.
"Based on what we can see on the surface, there is a high probability that (the amphora) is a sign of a shipwreck located deep there from that period," said Jeffrey G. Royal, archaeological director of RPM, whose Mediterranean operations are based in Valletta, Malta.
If so, it would be the first 4th century B.C. wreck to be located in Albanian waters, say survey organizers, who are keeping the find's precise location and depth secret for fear of looting. Only a handful of wrecks from that period have been excavated in the Mediterranean.
Anastasi said 50-60 amphorae were located on the seabed. Once the finds are assessed, an effort will be made to uncover the wreck, which would give information on the ship's destination and ancient naval architecture of the period.
Albanian officials also plan to ask permission from neighboring Montenegro for the RPM's Hercules research vessel to continue its exploration north of Albania.
The ship also located 14 other shipwrecks from the 19th and early 20th centuries, in the survey that ended Aug. 13.
On that first day of the fire in Ancient Olympia, August 26, “just a few trees” were destroyed. As the days went by, when the fire had reached the entrance to the museum, the list had grown – the Hill of Cronus, the stadium, the storeroom of the German Archaeological Institute, the site of the Olympic Academy. Slowly the Culture Ministry began to make announcements about the damage caused by the flames. Every day there were more. On Tuesday of last week, it was found that 3,000 of the architectural structures at the site had suffered damage. A week later, the archaeological site was reopened to the public. Where once was green forest is now gray ash, with the charred remains of the Olympic Academy site and the Hill of Cronus, the blackened bed of the Kladeos River, and the burnt-out watershed above the stadium providing a tragic background.
In the first few days after the fires it appeared that there was something wrong with the way ancient sites are being protected. A state-of-the-art, very expensive fire-extinguishing system took the brunt of the criticism, as if that alone was to blame for the fire that reached as far as the door to the new museum.
Ten days after the fire, the Culture Ministry has begun to announce new fire-prevention measures for Ancient Olympia – a case of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.
The Elgin Marbles in the British Museum are marvellous - but they're a bit, well, colourless , aren't they?
That isn't how it was for the ancient Greeks. The sculptures were painted in vivid colour. High up on the sides of the Parthenon temple in Athens, they had to be.
Now a new film on permanent show in the room next to the Marbles adds the colour - and the fear and the violence.
"When we started to apply the colour it brought a lot of the emotion to life," says Dyfri Williams, Keeper of Greek and Roman Antiquities at the British Museum.
The film reconstructs one of the metopes - the 92 carved fight scenes that ran around the outside wall - using computer technology.
"What you probably hadn't been able to see" in the scene of a centaur hitting a youth with a pot has finally come alive, says Mr Williams.
"The madness of the centaur comes out and the terror of the youth comes out.
"We hope to put that little film into our internet site - the message about colour on the sculpture is so important; it changes people's perception so much that we should have it there."
The subject of the film, south metope no. 4, mirrors the troubles that all the Parthenon sculptures have gone through.
Most of the metopes were defaced by Christians from the 6th Century AD on, when the Parthenon was turned into a church. Those on the south side, depicting a battle between centaurs and humans, escaped - presumably they were thought to convey some suitable Christian message.
But the Parthenon was damaged catastrophically in 1687 when a Venetian army shelled the Acropolis and the Parthenon blew up - the Turkish garrison was using it as a powder magazine.
From that time on the temple was a ruin, and fragments were taken by souvenir hunters, ending up in some 10 European countries, or lost altogether.
Moritz Hartmann, a Danish officer in the Venetian navy, bought the two heads from south metope 4 in a street in Athens in 1688 and they are now in the Danish National Museum.
The rest of south metope 4 was removed from the Parthenon by Lord Elgin's agents in 1802 and - with 14 other metopes and many other Parthenon sculptures - acquired by the British Museum in 1816.
The Greek authorities and campaigners in Britain and elsewhere continue to call for their return to Athens to be reunited with other Parthenon sculptures there.
But the British Museum points out that about 50% of the sculptures are lost forever and the damaged remnants which are left are divided, not just between London and Athens but a handful of other European museums too.
"It is no longer possible to recreate them in any real sense," says the BM. "It must be done 'virtually'."
The restored metope is part of this process. The project began with three-dimensional laser scanning of the metope in the BM, and of casts of the two Copenhagen heads, by the National Museums Conservation centre in Liverpool and fitting the images together.
More can be added from a drawing done by the Frenchman Jacques Carrey in 1674. But still a lot of details are entirely lost.
Dyfri Williams's department developed a story board for the film, which Mark Timson of the British Museum's New Media Unit translated into a series of computer-generated models.
Drawings of the missing pieces were developed based on other metopes in the museum.
Fixing-holes in the sculptures show that metal pieces were once included - for this metope, a headband and sword for the boy were added.
The 3-D scanning enabled some things about the carving to be understood which had been a mystery before, says Mri Williams.
Since the scanning, some ridges of the youth's thigh are now thought to mark the folds of his cloak. The museum now thinks the cloak was finished off in plaster, probably after some accident in the carving of the marble.
"This is quite amazing, what you can see with the scan," says Mr Williams.
"You go up and round - and we hadn't noticed that bit about the drapery on top of the thigh beforehand; we knew that there was a roughened patch though it had never really been explained."
And then, the colour. Few traces remain of paint on ancient sculpture, and those that have survived have often changed colour over the centuries. So the British Museum's film shows alternative colour schemes.
But it favours a white background and blue surround, matching the colour scheme found on tombs unearthed in Macedonia.
Accessible to all
"I think that real progress can be made in understanding the fragments scattered all over the world. We can, with the aid of this project, make a lot of progress on that," says Mr Williams.
The British Museum has said the ultimate aim should be to create a "multi-level, interactive educational resource accessible to all" on the internet and elsewhere.
That is still the aim, says Mr Williams, but "it's a matter of assembling the finances for it and the resources to do it - the British Museum has many different things it tries to do."
"This has got to be a collaborative process; it's got to be a sharing of our knowledge.
The Greeks have to be involved, we have to be involved, the Germans have to be involved, the Danes, the French, the Italians - because it involves everybody. Such special sculpture's for everyone."
It's not often that one person can lay claim to a Lannan Literary Award, a Pushcart Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a MacArthur Grant, the Griffin Poetry Prize, and the T.S. Eliot Poetry Prize – and alongside these accolades spearhead a successful professorial and writing life. Yet Anne Carson, currently a professor of classics and comparative literature at the University of Michigan and a Fall 2007 Anna-Maria Kellen Fellow at the American Academy, may do so.
Over the course of her 20-year literary career, Carson's characteristic melding of forms – fiction, epitaphs, love poems, verse-essays, commemorative prose, translation, criticism, and interpretive analysis – has provided the writer ever greater versatility. Yet this, along with her numerous translations of Greek and Latin classical texts, has done little to exhaust her desire for art's ever-widening circles of expressive power. "I know that I have to make things," she once told Publisher's Weekly, "And it's a convenient form we have in our culture, the book, in which you can make stuff… But I've never felt that it exhausts any idea I've had."
Carson's yearning for further forays into uncharted literary territory, specifically using classical forms, began in her Ontario high school, when a Latin instructor offered her entry into the world and language of ancient Greece with extracurricular tutoring over lunch hours. Thereafter, Carson enrolled at St. Michael's College at the University of Toronto, departing the university twice, having become disconcerted with the constraints of academia. Defecting to the world of commercial art, Carson returned again to the University of Toronto, where she completed a B.A. in 1974 and a M.A. in 1975. After a year in Scotland studying for a degree in Classics from the University of St. Andrews, she returned to her native Toronto for her Ph.D. in 1981.
In 1987 the international poetry scene welcomed Carson's long poem "Kinds of Water," published in Grand Street. The work subsequently appeared in The Best American Poetry of 1990 and put Carson's name on the tips of many a literary tongue, including that of Harold Bloom, Susan Sontag, and Alice Munroe, all of whom praised the author's simultaneous inventiveness and basis in classical literature. Thereafter, "in the small world of people who keep up with contemporary poetry," wrote Daphne Merkin in the New York Times Book Review, "Anne Carson has been cutting a large swath, inciting both envy and admiration." For Merkin, Carson's trajectory was "unclassifiable, even by today's motley, genre-bending standards. Was she writing poetry? Prose? Prose poems? Fiction? Nonfiction?"
No matter. Carson's books, regardless of genre, began with Eros the Bittersweet: An Essay, published by Princeton University Press in 1986; the work established Carson's voice and reputation for stylizing in the manner of Greek literature. Thereafter, several books followed in rapid succession throughout the 1990s: Short Talks (1992), Plainwater: Essays and Poetry (1995), Glass, Irony, and God (1995), Autobiography of Red: A Novel in Verse (1998), and Economy of the Unlost: Reading Simonides of Keos with Paul Celan (1999).
Of these, it was Autobiography of Red: A Novel in Verse that brought the author wide attention in periodicals throughout the US and Canada. Recasting the story of Herakles in the present, the book sees two teenage boys-a sensitive, thoughtful Gerydon and a roughneck Herakles – enter an affair that is unequally matched: where Gerydon overwhelmingly adores, Herakles endlessly recoils, leading to the ultimate break-up of the tryst – and to The Nation's literary critic calling Carson the "philosopher of heartbreak."
As in Autobiography, the theme of love lost would return in Carson's 2001 book, The Beauty of the Husband: A Fictional Essay in Twenty-nine Tangoes, about a middle-aged woman facing a now loveless marriage. The New York Times Book Review wrote that the book navigates "the waywardness of lust and the disaffection of the heart as seen through a marital breakup." The resonance of Beauty of the Husband, led to Carson's receiving a MacArthur grant-a $500,000 prize distributed over five years.
Anne Carson's work spans the world of what Germans would call Belletristik. Her project at the American Academy this fall will be a new translation of Aeschylus's Prometheus Bound, an author who is, she says, "perhaps the hardest of the Greek tragedians to convey to a modern audience, due to the wildly original enterprise of his language combined with an extreme archaic brutality of thought." Her audience lays in wait.
While Carson's oevre has proven expansive and encompassing, and her accolades match the power of her literary promise, the author's humility about her private life is noteworthy for its groundedness: she rarely gives interviews, shuns literary celebrity, and prefers her biography to read, simply, "Anne Carson lives in Canada."
This, while humble, is not entirely surprising from a woman who told Publisher's Weekly shortly after receiving the MacArthur prize that recognized her beautifully restless output, "I never did think of myself as a writer."
Bronze vases, lead and clay objects, weapons, iron tools and figurines are among the harvest of finds from an archaic-era sanctuary on the hill of Spartia, Sesklo, in the prefecture of Magnesia.
One outstanding find was a bronze, navel-shaped flask bearing the inscription “Tilephilos dedicated me to Herakles.” This rare discovery identifies the sanctuary with the altar to the mythical hero. In any case, the cult of Herakles is directly linked to the ancient city of Pherae, and is documented in the area by commemorative inscriptions from the Hellenistic era. It is also linked, as Ephor Argyro Doulgeri-Intzesiloglou said, with the myth of Alceste and Admetos which we know from the work of Euripides.
Written in the local archaic alphabet, from right to left – which enhances its value – the inscription and flask were discovered in excellent condition, to the delight of the archaeologists. This will make it the prime unpublished find that the ephorate presents, along with other objects, at the Fifth International Pherae-Velestinos-Rigas Conference being held October 4-7 in Velestinos.
The bronze flask was found some years ago during work on a natural gas pipeline at the hill of Spartia near the ancient Pherae-Pagasses road, now the Volos-Velestinos-Larissa highway. Doulgeri-Intzesiloglou, who was jointly in charge of the excavation along with Evangelia Stamelou, explained to Kathimerini how it came to light along with scores of other rare finds in 1999. As the XII Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities had a heavy workload at that time, the finds were put in storage awaiting study. The surprise came when the flask was cleaned during conservation work.
The Spartia-Latomeio archaeological site was made known in 1922 by the first Ephor of Thessaly, A. Arvanitopoulos, who showed that it was a prehistoric settlement that was also inhabited in the Archaic, Classical and Byzantine eras. As Stamelou explained, Arvanitopoulos had hypothesized on the basis of a small excavation he conducted that there was a 5th- or 4th-century temple on the site which revealed black-figured roof tiles and ceramics with black tin.
Other finds – clay metopes with yellow veneer, bronze commemorative vases, spearheads and part of the arm of a marble statue – were among other discoveries that he attributed to the existence of an earlier phase of the same temple.
In 1999, a rescue dig by the ephorate confirmed his hypothesis, revealing part of a plate made of large limestone slabs. “It was 3 meters wide and around 4 meters of its length was visible. It probably continued beneath the Volos - Larissa road,” she said.
Around the base was a dense layer of stones that covered the spaces where the objects were found. Burnt animal bones found nearby were another confirmation that this was an altar.
Stamelou added that observation of the layers uncovered during the excavation, the presence of a lamp, Hellenistic pottery and an Istiaian coin (3rd century-146 BC), were indications that the monument was built during that period on top of the ancient temple.
Elsewhere on the site, excavators found pottery dating from Neolithic to Ottoman times, and part of the road linking Pherae and Pagasses.
The ancient city of Hasankeyf is perched on rock, towering above the river Tigris.
It is a spectacular setting filled with monuments to multiple civilisations.
The caves at the very top are 3,000 years old.
More recent sandstone mosques in the valley below testify to a time when Hasankeyf was among the richest cities in Mesopotamia.
Soon the entire valley is to be flooded with a dam. The controversial project was first conceived in 1954 and abandoned six years ago.
Now a new funding deal from an international consortium including Austria, Germany and Switzerland means it is on the brink of realisation.
Environmental activists are horrified.
"The castle of Hasankeyf is a million years monument made by nature, the Tigris and the rocks. Can you imagine all this will sink for only 50 years economic benefit?" asks Nuri Ozbagdatli.
"You can transport the dam plans to wherever suitable. But you cannot carry nature and the archaeological heritage from here."
The 1.2bn euro (£816m) Ilisu dam is part of Turkey's vast GAP project - a network of dams and hydroelectric power plants along both the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
It will flood more than 300 sq km (116 sq miles) of land to create the second largest reservoir in the country.
The aim is to generate electricity to feed rapidly rising demand and fuel Turkey's economic development.
Dam supporters also argue it will help develop the neglected south east of Turkey, racked by years of conflict with Kurdish separatists.
Many locals migrated away from the violence and the poverty. Now some are starting to come back because of the dam.
At least 4,000 jobs should be created.
In the small, dusty town closest to the dam site - but out of the flood zone - a new restaurant has just opened, in anticipation of hungry construction workers and their families.
Other locals are building additional floors on their houses to rent out.
"I wish Hasankeyf wasn't flooded. But most people here can't find jobs," says teacher Benjamin Alp, playing backgammon in the shade on a side street.
"There's no industry, nothing. So people do want the dam to find work."
"This region has a lot of economical problems," his friend Ridvan agrees.
"The economic benefits of the dam will help people improve their situation and prevent them choosing other ways," he says - referring to support for the outlawed Kurdish separatist PKK.
But the cost to history will be high.
The dam consortium plans to create a culture park on the edge of the reservoir and transfer key monuments from Hasankeyf there.
That includes the remains of a 900-year-old bridge, built when Hasankeyf was the capital of the Artukid Empire - and now the symbol of the city.
Most experts argue the sandstone much of Hasankeyf is built from will crumble if it is moved.
They scorn the notion the city can be recreated in a culture park.
Archaeologists also believe there are layers rich with history beneath ground they will not have time to reach before the flood.
So they are working against the clock to recover whatever possible.
This month the dig team uncovered fragments of the first Roman wall mosaic ever found here.
"For an archaeologist who has been working here for years nothing can be so painful as seeing all these artefacts flooded," says excavation leader Abdusselam Ulucam, as he brushes the dust of centuries from his new discovery.
"We are constantly bringing things to light here from the smallest stone to big walls. Knowing that all this will vanish far from human eyes is deeply upsetting."
Fifty-four thousand people will be displaced by the dam in total.
Those who live in Hasankeyf will be offered new apartments nearby. Others will get compensation.
But it is another major upheaval in the mainly Kurdish-populated region, where tens of thousands have already been forcibly displaced during the worst years of fighting here.
The man in charge of the dam says his project will leave those people better off and he is convinced he is doing no harm to history.
"Nine sites will be transported to a culture park. The new appearance will be marvellous!" Yunus Bayraktar enthuses.
The project co-ordinator has a vision of caves converted to villas, crowds of tourists - and jet skis.
He points out that the uppermost part of Hasankeyf will remain above water and suggests any monuments that cannot be moved can be rebuilt - leaving the originals as an underwater paradise for divers.
"The cultural heritage in Hasankeyf is collapsing in any case. It only has eight or so years left to survive," he argues.
"This project will transfer it to the next centuries."
The dam consortium says this is the only viable location for their reservoir.
They want to generate tourist revenue here as well as electricity.
Opponents insist they are drowning at least 3,000 years of history in the process.
calcarea a forma di parallelepipedo, alto un metro e 70, che presenta intatta l'iscrizione, la cornice e le decorazioni laterali.
L'importante ritrovamento è avvenuto a pochi metri dalla Via Emilia Est, all'altezza del sottopasso della ferrovia Modena-Sassuolo, durante gli scavi per la realizzazione di interrati.
Il tetto dell'ara è stato rinvenuto ad una profondità di poco più di un metro e mezzo dal piano di campagna mentre il basamento a gradoni su cui è collocata non è ancora stato messo in luce. Dall'iscrizione si evince che il monumento sia stato eretto, quand'era ancora in vita, da una liberta di origine greca, Vetilia Caia Egloge, che lo volle per sé, per il suo patrono Lucio Valerio Costante, decurione di Mutina, e per suo figlio, un liberto che ricopriva la carica di Apollinare e Augustale, una funzione sacerdotale legata alla celebrazione del potere imperiale documentata anche in altri monumenti modenesi. L'epigrafe è incorniciata da un elegante motivo vegetale ed è coronata da due pulvini decorati; lungo i lati minori dell'ara, spiccano le decorazioni rituali di una patera (piatto) e di un urceus (brocca), simboli delle libagioni in onore dei defunti.
Per quanto notevole, comunque, questo ritrovamento è tutto fuorché una sorpresa. Le necropoli romane si distribuivano lungo le strade consolari e gli archeologi sanno che qualsiasi scavo nei pressi della via Emilia può intercettare delle sepolture, a maggior ragione in questa zona di Modena che già in passato aveva restituito altri importanti monumenti funerari.
Per questo il cantiere, posto in un'area sottoposta a vincolo di controllo archeologico preventivo nel PRG di Modena, è stato controllato fin dall'inizio dalla Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici dell'Emilia-Romagna e i lavori di scavo, sotto la direzione scientifica del Soprintendente Luigi Malnati e dell'archeologo Donato Labate, sono stati coordinati sul campo da Cristina Palazzini, della ditta Archeosistemi di Reggio Emilia.
Nel prossimi giorni si completerà lo scavo del monumento e delle relative sepolture mentre per la collocazione finale del monumento si valuteranno le possibili destinazioni. La proprietà dell'immobile ha già richiesto di poter esporre nell'area del rinvenimento una riproduzione dal vero dell'ara funeraria, come fu fatto per il monumento del centurione Clodio, ubicato a poca distanza.
Across the country, editors and publishers continue to experiment with a controversial practice of allowing readers to post unedited comments directly below news stories on newspaper Web sites.
About once a month, we hear of a newspaper that tried it, got “fed up” and then discontinued the practice.
At its best, the practice is an unprecedented celebration of free speech and freedom of the press. It gives the masses a chance to individually comment on a wide range of topics and issues. It opens up the public forum in ways unimagined just a few decades ago.
At its worst, newspapers have found, it breeds hate.
That’s the top reason given when newspaper Web sites discontinue the practice. Software can eliminate “four-letter” words, but technology cannot develop a filter for bad taste and hate.
The Daily News and its naplesnews.com, bonitanews.com and marconews.com Web sites are approaching the two-year mark on our experiment. We have a journalist devoted full-time to reviewing reader postings that are flagged by other readers, then judging whether a posting complies with our user-agreement policy. If it doesn’t, it’s removed. If it does, it stays. Our decisions usually upset someone, but if we err we have decided to err on the side of free speech.
Many comments are upsetting and meant to inflame. Some are illogical and inaccurate. Others are insightful and important.
At times, the posters comprise something of a Greek chorus. In ancient Athens, tragedies and comedies performed on the stage featured up to 50 masked chorus members who expounded on the action for the benefit of the audience.
“The chorus rejoiced in the triumph of good; it wailed aloud its grief, and sympathized with the woe of the puppets of the gods,” according to essayist Lauchlan Maclean Watt.
That’s an apt and flattering description of our posters, when they are on their game.
Often they are predictable and contribute little, if anything, to the dramas that play out in our communities.
Our newsroom staff has a standing joke that no matter what a news story is about, eventually the commentary posted below the story by readers will get around to three things: illegal immigration, spelling ability and someone else’s IQ.
Take the first four postings beneath a recent story about the capture of an 8-foot boa constrictor that was seen sliding down a residential street in San Carlos Park:
First poster: “Another day, another invasive exotic species in Florida.”
Second Poster: “They make the nicest pets. For idots (sic).”
Third Poster: “You spelled idiot wrong! Idiot.”
Fourth Poster: “Deport all illegals … hurry!”
Eventually, the comments got around to a more pertinent discussion about giant snakes in area subdivisions. When that happens, the chorus has performed well.
We will wrap this up with another passage from Mr. Watt’s essay on a Greek chorus:
“It was the ideal spectator, the soul being purged … flinging its song and its cry among the passions and the pain of others. It was the Vox Humana amid the storm and thunder of the gods.“
Our experiment continues.
Recent excavations in the ancient city of Pompeiopolis, a Roman city located in Kastamonu's Taşköprü district, uncovered a forum and the temple of Roman Emperor Augustus.
A team including renowned German geophysicist, Jörg Fassbinderm, who calls the discovery quite promising has carried out the excavation work at the site.
While other Temples of Augustus also exist in Ankara and İzmir's Bergama region, the recent temple found in the ancient city of Pompeiopolis is the best preserved, said excavation team leader, Latife Summerer, of Munich University in Germany. He added that no other sample existed in the Black Sea region and that they hoped to find other items such as inscriptions and coins in further excavations at the site.
Pompeiopolis was a Roman city-state in ancient Paphlagonia, situated today in Kastamonu's Taşköprü district. Pompeiopolis is believed to have been established by a Roman general and politician, Pompey (Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus), in 64 B.C.
The first excavations in the area, which uncovered some columns and mosaic tile panels were conducted in 1910, however a devastating fire that broke out in 1927 in the nearby residential area greatly harmed the ruins. Many of the artifacts that were revealed in early excavations are currently being exhibited in the Kastamonu Archaeology Museum.
In addition to recent findings, the remains of the city today also consist of an acropolis, rock-cut tombs, tumulus, a bridge and remains of houses with mosaic tile floors. Archaeological works indicate that many more artifacts and remains may be uncovered with further archaeological digging.
It is believed that Pompeiopolis was shortly deserted in the late sixth or early seventh centuries A.D. after attacks by Persian or Arab tribes. The Turks conquered the region in the 11th century.
Under threat from Romans ransacking Jerusalem 2,000 years ago, many of the city's Jewish residents crowded into an underground drainage channel to hide and later flee the chaos through Jerusalem's southern end unnoticed.
The ancient tunnel was recently discovered buried beneath rubble, a monument to one of the great dramatic scenes of the destruction of the Second Temple in the year 70 A.D.
The channel was dug beneath what would become the main road of Jerusalem, the archaeology dig's directors, Ronny Reich of the University of Haifa and Eli Shukron of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said Sunday. Shukron said excavators looking for the road happened upon a small drainage channel that led them to the discovery of the massive tunnel two weeks ago.
“We were looking for the road and suddenly we discovered it,” Shukron said. “And the first thing we said was, 'Wow.'”
The walls of the tunnel – made of ashlar stones 3 feet deep – reach a height of 10 feet in some places and are covered by heavy stone slabs that were the road's paving stones, Shukron said. Several manholes are visible, and portions of the original plastering remain, he said.
Pottery shards, vessel fragments and coins from the end of the Second Temple period were also discovered inside the channel, attesting to its age, Reich said.
The discovery of the drainage channel was momentous in itself, a sign of how the city's rulers looked out for the welfare of their citizens by developing an infrastructure that drained the rainfall and prevented flooding, Reich said.
The discovery “shows you planning on a grand scale, unlike other cities in the ancient Near East,” said Joe Zias, an expert in the Second Temple period who was not involved in the dig.
But what makes the channel doubly significant is its role as an escape hatch for Jews desperate to flee the conquering Romans, the dig's directors said.
The Second Temple was the center of Jewish worship during the second Jewish Commonwealth, which spanned the six centuries preceding the Roman conquest of Jerusalem. Its expansion was the most famous construction project of Herod, the Jewish proxy ruler of the Holy Land under imperial Roman occupation from 37 B.C.
As the temple was being destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D., numerous people took shelter in the drainage channel and lived inside it until they fled Jerusalem through its southern end, the historian Josephus Flavius wrote in “The War of the Jews.”
“It was a place where people hid and fled to from burning, destroyed Jerusalem,” Shukron said.
Tens of thousands of people lived in Jerusalem at the time, but it is not clear how many used the channel to escape, he said.
About 100 yards of the channel have been uncovered so far. Reich estimates its total length will reach more than a half-mile, stretching north from the Shiloah Pool at Jerusalem's southern end to the disputed holy shrine known to Jews as Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Al Aqsa Mosque compound. The shrine is the site of the two biblical Jewish temples.
Archeologists think the tunnel leads to the Kidron River, which empties into the Dead Sea.
Because you weren't going into botany, the priesthood, or coin manufacturing, you thought you were safe to dismiss Latin as a dead language. Obviously, you didn't graduate cum laude.
Latin is about as dead as Elvis (who, by the way, made $54 million in 2004).
Whether you're deciphering a cryptic state seal or trying to impress your Catholic in-laws, knowing some Latin has its advantages. But the operative word here is "some."
The ability to translate The Aeneid probably isn't going to come in handy anytime soon, so we'll start you off with 9 phrases that have survived the hatchet men of time (in all their pretentious glory).
Caveat Emptor: (KAV-ee-OT emp-TOR): "Let the buyer beware"
Before money-back guarantees and 20-year warranties, caveat emptor was indispensable advice for the consumer.
These days, it'd be more fitting to have it tattooed on the foreheads of used-car salesmen, infomercial actors, and prostitutes.
For extra credit points, remember that caveat often makes solo appearances at cocktail parties as a fancy term for a warning or caution.
Oh, and just so you know, caveat lector means "let the reader beware."
Persona Non Grata: (puhr-SOH-nah non GRAH-tah): "An unacceptable person"
Remember your old college buddy, the one everybody called Chugger? Now picture him at a debutante ball, and you'll start to get a sense of someone with persona non grata status.
The term is most commonly used in diplomatic circles to indicate that a person is unwelcome due to ideological differences or a breach of trust.
Sometimes, the tag refers to a pariah, a ne'er-do-well, a killjoy, or an interloper, but it's always subjective.
Michael Moore was treated as a persona non grata at the Republican National Convention. Bill O'Reilly would experience the same at Burning Man.
Habeas Corpus: (HAY-bee-as KOR-pus): "You have the body"
When you wake up in the New Orleans Parish Prison after a foggy night at Mardi Gras, remember this one.
In a nutshell, habeas corpus is what separates us from savages. It's the legal principle that guarantees an inmate the right to appear before a judge in court, so it can be determined whether or not that person is being lawfully imprisoned.
It's also one of the cornerstones of the American and British legal systems. Without it, tyrannical and unjust imprisonments would be possible.
In situations where national security is at risk, however, habeas corpus can be suspended.
Cogito Ergo Sum: (CO-gee-toe ER-go SOME): "I think, therefore I am"
When all those spirited mental wrestling matches you have about existentialism start growing old (yeah, right!), you can always put an end to the debate with cogito ergo sum.
René Descartes, the 17th-century French philosopher, coined the phrase as a means of justifying reality. According to him, nothing in life could be proven except one's thoughts. Well, so he thought, anyway.
E Pluribus Unum: (EE PLUR-uh-buhs OOH-nuhm): "Out of many, one"
Less unique than it sounds, America's original national motto, e pluribus unum, was plagiarized from an ancient recipe for salad dressing.
In the 18th century, haughty intellectuals were fond of this phrase. It was the kind of thing gentlemen's magazines would use to describe their year-end editions.
But the term made its first appearance in Virgil's poem "Moretum" to describe salad dressing. The ingredients, he wrote, would surrender their individual aesthetic when mixed with others to form one unique, homogenous, harmonious, and tasty concoction.
As a slogan, it really nailed that whole cultural melting pot thing we were going for. And while it continues to appear on U.S. coins, "In God We Trust" came along later (officially in 1956) to share the motto spotlight.
Quid Pro Quo: (kwid proh KWOH): "You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours"
Given that quid pro quo refers to a deal or trade, it's no wonder the Brits nicknamed their almighty pound the "quid."
And if you give someone some quid, you're going to expect some quo.
The phrase often lives in the courtroom, where guilt and innocence are the currency. It's the oil that lubricates our legal system.
Something of a quantified value is traded for something of equal value; elements are parted and parceled off until quid pro quo is achieved.
Most recently, Arizona Senator John McCain co-opted the phrase to describe campaign finance and influence pedaling because he believes that one doesn't give major milk to a campaign without expecting major cheese in return.
Ad Hominem: (ad HAH-mi-nem): "To attack the man"
In the world of public discourse, ad hominem is a means of attacking one's rhetorical opponent by questioning his or her reputation or expertise rather than sticking to the issue at hand. Translation: Politicians are really good at it.
People who resort to ad hominem techniques are usually derided as having a diluted argument or lack of discipline. If pressed, they'll brandish it like a saber and refuse to get back to the heart of the matter. Who said the debate team doesn't have sex appeal?
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam: (ad-MA-yor-em DAY-ee GLOR-ee-um): "All for the Greater Glory of God"
Ad majorem dei gloriam is often shortened to AMDG. In other words, it's the WWJD of the Jesuits, who've been drilling the mantra into their followers since (Saint) Ignatius of Loyola founded the Catholic Order in 1534. They believe all actions, big or small, should be done with AMDG in mind.
Remind your Jesuit-educated buddies of this when they seem to be straying from the path. (Best used with a wink and a hint of irony.)
Sui Generis:(SOO-ee JEN-er-is): "Of its own genus," or "Unique and unable to classify"
Frank Zappa, the VW Beetle, cheese in a can, that feeling you get when the Red Sox win the World Series: Sui generis refers to something that's so new, so bizarre, or so rare that it defies categorization.
Granted, labeling something "sui generis" is really just classifying the unclassifiable. But let's not over-think it. Use it at a dinner party to describe Andy Kaufman, and you impress your friends. Use it too often, and you just sound pretentious.
Cyprus is to launch sea surveys in an area where dozens of vessels led by warring successors to Alexander the Great are believed to have sunk in battle for control over the island in 306 BC.
Encouraged by the discovery of one wreck from a later Roman era, the survey slated for the summer of 2008 will extend into deep waters from the south-east tip of the island, known as Cape Greco, the island's Antiquities Department said.
"Cyprus is a crossroads and is very rich in ancient shipwrecks," said Pavlos Flourentzos, director of Cyprus's Department of Antiquities.
Historical accounts suggest that the Cape Greco region -- a rocky outcrop between the now popular tourist resorts of Agia Napa and Protaras, saw one of the biggest naval battles of the ancient world.
According to the ancient Greek historian, Diodorus of Sicily, in 306 BC Demetrios the Poliorketes (Besieger) triumphed over Ptolemy I of Egypt in a naval engagement off Cyprus, with dozens of vessels sunk as the result of combat.
"It is well known that there was a naval engagement in the region in 306 BC, so there is a potential of finding wrecks, or parts of wrecks, in deeper waters," Flourentzos told Reuters on Thursday.
Ptolemy I, one of the generals of Alexander the Great, lost control of Cyprus for a period of 10 years after his defeat at the hands of Demetrios Poliorketes. Demetrios was son of Antigonus, a Macedonian nobleman who later ruled Asia Minor.
The Cypriot Antiquities Department announced on Thursday that an ancient Roman shipwreck, dated the 1st century AD, had been found in the same area.
The extensive wreck, dating from the early Imperial Roman era, carried a mixed cargo of several amphora, predominantly jars from the southeast Aegean area.
Further mapping of the wreck would take place in 2008. Searches for better preserved shipwrecks would extend to the deeper sandy seabed which was suited to remote sensing techniques, the antiquities department said.
Authorities said the projects were financially and logistically supported by the Institute of Nautical Archaeology, Texas A&M University, the University of Pennsylvania and the RPM Nautical Foundation.
Producer Scott Rudin has picked up the film rights to Robert Graves' Roman Empire-set novel, "I, Claudius."
Leonardo DiCaprio and screenwriter William Monahan, who worked together on "The Departed," are circling the project, though no offers have been made.
"I, Claudius," published in 1934, recounts the internecine plots and counterplots surrounding the fourth emperor of Rome, who ruled from 41-54 A.D.
The novel previously was adapted into the 1937 film of the same name, directed by Josef von Sternberg and starring Charles Laughton as the beleaguered emperor. But it is best known as the basis for the 1976 BBC miniseries, "I, Claudius," which starred Derek Jacobi, Sian Phillips and John Hurt.
"Claudius" is not yet set up at a studio, though sources said it likely will land at Walt Disney Studios, where Rudin's production company is housed. In that case, the adult-oriented project most likely would land at the studio's specialty films division Miramax or its Touchstone Pictures label.
Rudin's recent films include "Venus" and "Notes on a Scandal" as well as the upcoming "The Darjeeling Limited" and "Margot at the Wedding."
ARCHAEOLOGISTS have found a Roman wreck dating from the first century A.D. off Cape Greco towards the Protaras area, it emerged yesterday.
During late July and early August, a small international team of archaeologists and students undertook a brief season of underwater diving survey along the island’s east coast.
The project followed four seasons in and around Episkopi Bay on the south coast, and was financially and logistically supported by the Institute of Nautical Archaeology, Texas A&M University, the University of Pennsylvania, and RPM Nautical Foundation, with the additional support of a research vessel and equipment from the Thetis Foundation of Limassol.
Three weeks were spent at sheltered inlets and dangerous promontories in the area of Cape Greco and north towards Protaras area, in collaboration with the Department of Antiquities in an effort to determine the area’s long-term maritime history in advance of eventually locating well-preserved shipwrecks, an announcement said.
“A total of six stone and metal anchors recorded through the area, testify to a long history from antiquity through at least the mediaeval period of merchants stopping at the numerous natural and manmade ports that dot these shores,” it added.
It said that among the more important findings was an extensive wreck site dating to the early imperial Roman era, around the 1st century AD, which carried a mixed cargo of several amphora types, predominantly jars from the southeast Aegean area.
“Though the wreck is in shallow to moderate waters and thus disturbed by the environment, the site can still be recognised as one of some importance for understanding the region’s maritime trade during the period of Cyprus’ early incorporation into the Roman Empire,” according to the statement.
Next year, the team plans returning to several large ceramic concentrations for more extensive documentation, as well as more intensive mapping of the early Roman wreck.
“The search for cultural material, including better preserved shipwrecks, will also be extended to the deeper sandy seabed, well suited to remote sensing techniques, especially sonar but potentially also magnetometry,” the statement said.
It said the area’s prominent maritime history was evident not only by the ceramic deposits recorded at ports, anchorages and promontories, but also through reports from local divers and specific events in the historical record.
According to Diodoros, it was somewhere in the area, where in 306BC the Macedonian Demetrios the Poliorketes triumphed over Ptolemy of Egypt in one of the largest naval engagements of antiquity.
Although Ptolemy eventually victoriously returned, thus controlling the island through the rest of the Hellenistic period, nearly a hundred warships were reported as sunk during the combat.
“Hence, the course of the survey of archaeologists working in deeper waters offshore, far from the coastline appears to be hopeful,” the archaeologists concluded.
The Greek Olympic Committee said Wednesday it had accepted an offer from Israel for experts and 10,000 trees to help repair damage caused by fires on Olympia, the birthplace of the ancient Olympic Games.
Greece's President Karolos Papoulias also accepted a proposal from the German city of Munich to reforest the Cronius hill above Olympia which was sacred to ancient Greeks.
Singed by a 12-day fire inferno that killed 65 people around the country, Olympia needs to spruce up ahead of the lighting ceremony of the Olympic flame for the 2008 Games in Beijing.
"(There is) an international effort to restore beauty to the landscape of ancient Olympia ahead of the lighting ceremony in March," the Olympic committee said.
The blaze burned trees behind the Olympia archaeological museum and grass on the slopes of the ancient stadium where thousands attend the lighting ceremony of the torch for the Summer and Winter Games.
Extensive damage was also caused to the Olympic Academy grove where the heart of Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics, is buried.
Olympia is a UNESCO world heritage site and the birthplace of the ancient Olympic Games, first recorded to have been held here in 776 BC until 393 AD.
The local archaeological site still contains the remains of the stadium, temples, administrative buildings and training halls.
Signifying the spiritual moment of the Games' launch, the Olympic flame has been an integral part of the competition since 1928, and the ceremony conducted every two years in Olympia by young women dressed as ancient Greek priestesses is an eagerly-anticipated element of every Olympics.
Archaeologists have unearthed a Roman coffin and skeletons at the Prince of Wales's model village, a charity said.
The Wessex Archaeology team discovered the coffin, thought to be made of Portland Stone and which has now been removed, in Poundbury, Dorset.
It was found on a Christian cemetery for Roman Dorchester, along with Neolithic tools and Bronze Age pottery.
The archaeologists were working on Duchy of Cornwall land near Poundbury Hillfort, ahead of further development.
Damian de Rosa, project manager for Wessex Archaeology, said: "We found iron hobnails in the coffin.
"These show that a pair of shoes had been put into the grave to help the dead person make their final journey."
The "poorly preserved" skeleton will be examined at Wessex Archaeology's laboratory in Salisbury, Wiltshire, to "determine the age and sex of the dead person".
Some rubbish pits unearthed at the site are thought to date back to Neolithic times, more than 4,000 years ago.
The remains of ditches, drainage systems and field layouts also give a glimpse of Bronze Age farming in the area 3,500 years ago.
Bronze Age pottery, including cooking pots, were also uncovered as well as the Neolithic flint tools.
The archaeological survey was part of investigation of the land before it is developed.
Research shows most burials were in wooden coffins - some in lead - with the wealthiest residents making their coffins from stone.
The heavy stone coffin would usually be delivered by the mason to the grave and the body lowered in on the site.
A Roman boat in near-immaculate condition has been dredged up from the bay of Cartagena. Archaeologists say the find dates back to the first century B.C.
The team from Cartagena’s natoinal archaeological museum and underwater investigation centre (MNAM-CNIAS) reveals that this exciting discovery comes just after two boats and a number of anchors thought to be more than a hundred years old were found on the seabed.
The team worked in conjunction with the Aurora SP Trust, a US-led non-profit-making foundation based in Malta, which provided equipment and funds.
More underwater investigations are expected to be carried out in a bid to bring Cartagena’s maritime history, which dates back more some three thousand years, to the surface.
They believe the boat could have been used to transport wine, oil and various perishables, and had space for up to 1,500 amphorae – Roman bottles – in the hold. This suggests it was a ship of considerable dimensions.
It was discovered at a depth of about a hundred metres off the coast of Cartagena and is said to have similar characteristics to a vessel found off the coast of La Vila Joiosa a year ago.
Archaeologists reveal that wine was drunk in Rome in huge quantities over 2,000 years ago. The annual consumption for the city was in region of 1.5 million hectolitres.
Nove anfore risalenti al I e II secolo d.C. sono state sequestrate dai finanzieri della Compagnia di Marsala in collaborazione con i colleghi della Tenenza di Mazara del Vallo nel corso di un’attività coordinata dal Comando Provinciale di Trapani rientrante nell’ambito dell’ intensificazione dei servizi di controllo del territorio.
La Guardia di Finanza ha rinvenuto le anfore, di rilevante interesse storico-archeologico, all’interno di due abitazioni private dove erano detenute in assenza di alcuna autorizzazione ed in violazione delle norme del Codice dei Beni Culturali e del Paesaggio.
I reperti illecitamente detenuti risultano essere stati rinvenuti, verosimilmente, nel corso di ricerche in mare, in quanto caratterizzati da numerose concrezioni oltre che da sedimenti presenti in superficie, a testimonianza di una prolungata permanenza nei fondali marini.
Le due persone trovate in possesso delle anfore sono state segnalate a piede libero alla competente Autorità Giudiziaria per il reato di impossessamento illecito di beni culturali appartenenti allo Stato, punito, in caso di condanna, con la reclusione fino a tre anni e per violazione in materia di ricerche archeologiche (ex D.lgs. 22 Gennaio 2004, nr. 42)
Al termine delle indagini, tuttora in corso, i beni di interesse storico-archeologico in sequestro saranno affidati alla Soprintendenza per i Beni Culturali ed Ambientali di Trapani.
L’attivita’ di servizio portata a termine dalle “Fiamme Gialle” rientra in un piano di interventi coordinati dal Comando Provinciale di Trapani, con finalità non solo di natura repressiva ma anche preventiva. Infatti l’attività operativa nel particolare settore, oltre che colpire i soggetti responsabili di tali condotte illecite costituisce un sicuro deterrente per altri detentori di materiale storico-archeologico, al fine di farne denunciare il possesso così da offrire all’intera collettività la possibilità di fruire culturalmente di detti beni presso i numerosi musei provinciali.
Two prized ancient Greek sculptures currently on display at the University of Virginia Art Museum are at the center of an international art scandal.
The artifacts in question, which date from the sixth century B.C., are known as acroliths. They currently consist of two marble heads, three separate hands and three separate feet. Originally, the acroliths may have also featured a wooden trunk, but this trunk has since been lost. Evidence suggests the sculptures were looted from Morgantina, an ancient Greek settlement near Aidone, in Sicily.
According to Carla Antonaccio, co-director of the ongoing U.S. archaeological program in Aidone and chair and professor of archaelogogy and classical studies at Duke University, the acroliths are exceptional examples of a rare type of sculpture found in the ancient world.
Since the late 1980s, Italian investigators and authorities have claimed that the acroliths were illegally excavated.
Antonaccio added that she did not know who completed the excavation of the University's acroliths or how they arrived in the University's possession. She noted, though, that the acroliths were not found during professional excavations.
"They were not excavated in a normal fashion," Antonaccio said.
According to a recent New York Times article, Giuseppe Mascara, a former tomb robber and antiquities dealer, testified in a 1988 deposition that the acroliths had been offered for sale as early as 1979. An investigation, conducted some years after 1979 by Italian prosecutor Silvio Raffiotta, determined the acroliths to have later been in the possession of London antiquities dealer Robin Symes, having reached England by way of Switzerland.
The article states that Symes, who is currently being investigated by the Italian government for art theft, then sold the acroliths to Maurice Tempelsman for a reported $1 million in 1980. Tempelsman, a Belgian-American diamond merchant -- more commonly known as the long-time companion of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis -- is a noted collector of art and other archaeological artifacts, as well as the last recorded owner of the acroliths.
In 1988, according to the article, the acroliths were briefly on display at Los Angeles' J. Paul Getty Museum thanks to an anonymous donor until allegations of illegal acquisition caused the museum to return the acroliths to the donor.
For the past five years, however, they have been on display in the University's museum.
University Associate General Counsel Richard Kastsaid the artifacts were also given to the University by an anonymous donor.
Kast added that the University entered into an agreement with the donor to neither publicize the acroliths nor reveal the identity of the donor.
"Under the agreement that is in place, the University is not supposed to openly publicize the fact that they have the acroliths," Kast said.
Kast also said, however, that the University is "obviously" in the possession of the marbles.
"There is an agreement, and the agreement has been in place for a while," Kast said.
Several Italian news outlets have reported that the acroliths will be returned to the Aidone region in 2008. The New York Times article quoted Beatrice Basile, the art superintendent for the Italian province of Enna, as saying "We're happy they're coming back."
According to Malcolm Bell, III, University professor of art history and director of ongoing University excavations in Morgantina, the museum will display the artifacts until the end of this calendar year.
Bell added that he is "eager to see them returned" and "optimistic" about the possibility of their return to Italy. Bell also said the Times article was accurate.
Kast declined to comment on the possibility of ongoing inquiries from the Italian government to the University in reference to the acroliths.
"All I can say is they are aware of what's going on," Kast said.
Policemen in Blagoevgrad found a treasure-hunters’ warehouse in the town.
Coins and artefacts were stored in the apartment of a Bulgarian citizen, Novinar daily reported.
According to field specialists, the artefacts were worth more than a million euro.
Police confiscated nearly 10 300 Roman and ancient Greek coins from various eras, as well as nearly 400 fragments of brooches, metal rings, parts of jewels, ceramics, Byzantine gold coins, and bronze and copper figures.
The police has launched an investigation of the owner of the apartment, Novinar said.
A society of Christians has filed an unprecedented case in Kenya seeking a constitutional interpretation of the trial, sentencing and punishment or death of Jesus Christ.
On August 29, 2007, the Friends of Jesus, acting through Mr Dola Indidis, a Christian, lawyer and also the spokesman for the Judiciary, filed a petition in the Constitutional Court in Nairobi against the States of Italy and Israel and a host of characters featured in biblical accounts of the events leading to Jesus’ crucifixion.
Among the respondents listed are Tiberius, the Emperor of Rome at the time; Pontius Pilate, the Governor of Judea; the Jewish Chief Priest; Jewish Elders; Jewish Teachers of the Law and King Herod. The Kenya Civil Liberties Union has joined the proceedings as amicus curiae (friend of the court).
Certificate of urgency
The advocate for the plaintiff, Michael Chemwok from Chemwok & Co Advocates, Nairobi, filed a certificate of urgency on August 30 in the Constitutional Court.
He justified the urgency of the matter by arguing that the application seeks to challenge the abuses used in criminal prosecutions. He also seeks to show that the origin of these abuses, which if unresolved to date, undermine the propriety and dignity of courts worldwide and condone, without redress, malicious prosecution and judicial misconduct in the trial, conviction and sentencing of Jesus Christ as portrayed in the books of Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy in the Holy Bible, the Holy Torah and/or existing Roman laws.
The Petitioners are challenging the mode of questioning used during the trial, prosecution, hearing and sentencing of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the form of punishment meted out against him and the substance of the information used to convict him. They also challenge the law that was used to convict him and claim that the trial was a nullity in law because all proceedings in the Roman Courts in 42 BC-37 AD “did not conform to the rule at the material time”.
Urgency of petition
The urgency of the petition is founded on the need to establish that a wrong was meted out to Jesus Christ of Nazareth and address it since it is an issue of utmost importance to all Christians and which has sparked a fervent religious debate in and outside of the country. They add that it is also an issue that affects all courts, parliaments and sanctifiable places where the Bible is sworn by.
The petitioner applied for a constitutional redress of the judicial misconduct, malicious prosecution, abuse of office, fabrication of evidence and human rights abuses during the trial, prosecution, hearing and sentence of Jesus through a three judge bench, and requested that the Republic of Italy and the State of Israel be served through their respective consuls and ambassadors to Kenya.
They added that these groups were being cited in these proceedings for their failure to intercede and correct these matters, and for their incorporation of the laws from the Roman Empire, laws which were applied during the trial of Jesus, into their current laws.
The petitioners request that in the alternative, all documentation be forwarded to the International Criminal Courts registry for their determination under the Roman Statutes.
The records of the Bible have stood for more than 2007 years.
The festival includes the tying of rakhi, a holy thread, on the brother’s wrist. It defines and determines the love and relationship between a brother and sister. It is said that the frail thread is even stronger than iron chains since the rakhi bonds brother and sister. It is a festival that expresses love and protection. The brother is supposed to accept the rakhi and show his love by gifts and money. He is also bound by his sister’s love and pledges to protect her from danger. [...]
Rakhi can be traced historically too in the following two incidents:
1. When the Rajputs were fighting the Muslim invaders. Rani Karnawati, the widow of then king of Chittor, realised that she could not resist an invasion from Bahadur Shah, the Sultan of Gujarat. She sent a rakhi to Humayun for protection from Bahadur Shah. Humayun accepted the rakhi and immediately turned his vast troops to defend Chittor and fulfil his duty as a brother.
2. This incident traces back to 300 BC when Alexander the Great was invading India. At the first attempt he was shaken by King Porus. Alexander’s wife, who had heard of “rakhi” approached King Porus and tied one around his wrist. He accepted her as a sister. During the war when Alexander fell from his chariot and King Porus was about to slay him, he remembered the rakhi given to him and drew his sword away.
Pliny once wrote, "Home is where the heart is." and over the past month or so our hearts have been at home in many distant places.
The ancient Roman and Greek gazebos were the central fixtures of every home.
"Boys throw stones at frogs in sport," Plutarch wrote. "But frogs do not die in sport, they die in earnest."
When Alexander ‘the Great’ arrested some dacoits, the latter impudently observed that they only robbed a few people, whereas Alexander robbed entire nations and was therefore called ‘the Great.’
Apart from manufacturing methane, and grazing while moving backwards (because, as Pliny the Elder noted in his Natural History of AD77, the moose’s upper lip is so large that “by moving onwards, the lip would get doubled up”), the moose has little to pass its time
The handshake is said to have originated from the days of Julius Caesar in ancient Rome. Caesar made it a rule to shake only with the right hand. You don't have to worry if somebody's going to attack you if you're gripping his right hand. But left-handers use their swords with their left hands. That means they shake hands with their right and wield their weapon with their left, hence lefties were regarded as untrustworthy. So the Romans used to call left-handers "sinister" in Latin, which means "unlucky" or "ominous."
"Access control was always used as a measure to disallow intellectual property from being distributed without the consent of the author/owner. The [[Library of Alexandria]] (aka "The Kings Library") wasn't a place that an average person could walk into and lend a book from. Ptolemy III paid the sum of fifteen talents of silver to be allowed to copy the works of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides."
One of the world's oldest art forms is utilizing some of the latest industrial-engineering technology to recreate the long-lost architectural pinnacle of the historic state Capitol.
A team of design engineers last week set up scaffolding around the state's popular, imposing, winged "Genius of Connecticut," a nearly 18-foot-tall, 129-year-old plaster statue inside the Capitol's first floor.
They took millions of measurements, using three-dimensional laser scanners, and will develop computer-assisted plans and molds for a new, bronze version of the artwork that topped the Capitol for 70 years, before it was loosened from its bolts in the infamous hurricane of 1938.
The historic, 6,600-pound sculpture, created by Randolph Rogers, a Rome-based American, to symbolize the "protector" of the state of Connecticut, was ordered melted down for World War II munitions by Gov. Robert A. Hurley, a Bridgeport Democrat, in 1942.
Connecticut was left with the full-size, but fragile 1,200-pound plaster model of the work, which has been on display in the Capitol since its opening in 1878 and reinforcement in the early 1970s. Now, a New York state art foundry will painstakingly recreate it, right down to the individual feathers in the wings and the oak leaves in the crown around her head.
The new, bronze version of the "Genius," could be back on top of the dome, guarding the spirit of Connecticut, within a year, said Eric Connery, facilities administrator for the Capitol complex.
During the 2005 legislative session, lawmakers led by Speaker of the House James A. Amann, D-Milford, announced support for the return of a new "Genius" to the gold-leafed Capitol dome. The lawmakers budgeted $330,000 for the effort, which was to recreate the "Genius" in a durable poly resin statue weighing a ton.
But engineers later said that such an artwork could not withstand the high winds that sweep the Capitol and could literally send the "Genius" flying off the dome.
"The engineers then told us the statue needs to be as heavy as possible," Connery said last week.
So the plans were revised and the budget was increased another $360,000, which has yet to be approved in the proposed state bonding package that is pending before the General Assembly in its current special session. Without more funding, the project stops once the molds are made, Connery said.
The House of Representatives has tentatively scheduled a session for Sept. 10 to approve a bond package. Back in 1878, the bronze statue and the plaster model cost the state a total of $14,000. Majority Democrats and Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell remain at odds over the total of long-term funding, but the plans for pouring sections of the statue in bronze and then welding them together will move forward. The work stalled early last week when a team of movers, contracted to pull the "Genius" away from a wall inside the north entrance of the Capitol, was unable to do it. The plaster statute was eventually given a bronze finish and cemented to a waist-high marble block when it was moved from under the dome's 257-foot-high rotunda to the north side in 1988.
The industrial engineers from the Direct Dimensions Inc., an Owings Mills, Md.-based high-tech company, were able to find a hydraulic lift narrow enough to fit behind the "Genius" to take precise, laser-guided calculations along every inch of the statute.
The accuracy of each measurement, called a point, is within the thickness of a human hair.
"We collect millions and millions of points very quickly that measure the contour of the surface very accurately," Abramson said, adding that the latest technology they're using is less than a month old. One night last week the team marked more than 16 million points on about 20 percent of the statue, he said.
The points on the statue's surface are converted into data for Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and appear on the design computers as three-dimensional sections of the statue.
"Our job is to capture the form and detail of this accurately, build it into a 3-D CAD model, which is a virtual model that has the dimensions built into it, then take that data to manufacture a replica," he said. "Three years ago, this just couldn't be done."
The team, subcontractors for the Tavern Rock, N.Y.-based Polich Tallix LLC fine-art foundry, worked late into the night several days last week, using powerful laptop computers and the still-emerging technology to record surfaces of the "Genius" that will be used for the molds.
Harry Abramson, director of the art division of Direct Dimensions, which has contracts with the defense industry, including the manufacture of submarines at Electric Boat in Groton, said that different parts of the "Genius" will warrant different types of designs for molds, depending on the resolution.
"To cut all the detail all you see in the wreaths and the crown will be very expensive, so we'll go ahead and rapid prototype those very high-detail areas, which will provide us a really solid, high-detail model for those pieces," he said. "The rest, all this body here and the wings, will be milled out of foam."
Abramson's engineering squad will complete its work over the next four months. "There will be a lot of head scratching, you know, how are we going to cut this up digitally to make the pieces?" he said. "How are we going to make this so it'll look perfect?" There may be as many as 25 "puzzle" pieces when it comes to melting ingots of silicone bronze at 2,000 degrees to create the parts of the new statue in the foundry, near Newburgh, N.Y.
Marissa Lomonaco, project manager for Polich Tallix, said in the Capitol that the process of creating bronze statues dates thousands of years.
"It goes back to ancient Greece, ancient Rome," Lomonaco said. "There have been very technological advances that have made it easier for us now, but it's pretty much the same process — that's been around for a very long time." The process may be even more appropriate for the "Genius," which was done in the style of an ancient-Roman copy of a Greek Daemon, a protective spirit guarding over a person, group, or in this case, state.
Different sections of the eventual rubber molds will be fit together with a series of registration marks and keys. The rubber mold will be put inside plaster to keep it sturdy, then a layer of wax about three sixteenth of an inch thick will be sprayed into the molds to create a hollow replica.
"It's a lot of negative and positive reversals, so once we have the wax positive again, that gets pieced together and we finish where the seams were, where the mold sections came out and put it together assemble it, then cut it apart again for casting," Lomonaco said.
A ceramic mold is then fired, including pipes to assure an even flow of the bronze, heated to 2,000 degrees, evenly into each part. When the pieces are cooled, the ceramic shell is broken, leaving pieces of the statue that will then be welded together.
That should be done over the next eight months, Lomonaco said, adding that the new statue will weigh about 4,000 pounds.
The foundry, which started in 1970, specializes in art and architectural work and current projects include huge bronze doors in a wavy pattern for the Harry Winston jewelry store chain.
"Before we pour the metal, according to the square footage we'll calculate how many pounds of bronze we're going to need to pour each piece," she said. "We're just really excited to do this project and work with Connecticut and make her beautiful in metal."
Th original statue was affected by high winds as far back as 1903, when loose bolts were first noticed, then tightened and the statue held in place, high above the capital city, until the 1938 storm. Then its head was cut away and the rest of the statue was taken down in sections, then Gov. Hurley decided to make melting it down a public-relations maneuver for the early home-front effort of World War II.
Rogers, the sculptor named the original piece "The Angel of the Resurrection" with her open arms presenting the state flower, Mountain Laurel in her left hand and the Immortalis flowers in her right hand signaling long life. It was renamed "The Genius of Connecticut." Visitors to the Capitol from Germany have said the statue is similar to one that stands in a famous Munich square, where it is called "Bavaria" in honor of that region of the country. That piece is 60-feet tall and was finished in 1850 in the same foundry where the Rogers piece was cast. Jill Cromwell, director of the daily Capitol tours, said last week that a recent survey among the thousands of fourth-graders who visit the Capitol each year found that the "Genius" is among the most-popular sites, along with the Nathan Hale statue and the soaring rotunda.
"When we talk about the Genius, it gives us a chance to talk about the history of Connecticut, the patriotism in the war effort when it was melted down and now, about art and history as we explain about the new statute that'll be made," Cromwell said.
Michael J. Cardin, a former Democratic state representative from Tolland, a history teacher and Capitol expert who was the chief proponent of the 2005 legislation, said last week that the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism deserves credit for keeping the project moving in a positive direction.
"I'm so excited that it's on track in terms of getting done," he said in a phone interview. "I was a little surprised with the bronze, but that's why it was important to get the architectural specialists in the process. I'm still looking forward to the day the crane lifts the Genius back into place."
"The Genius of Connecticut is a very meaningful treasure of our state's history, not dissimilar to the Liberty Bell on a national level, and its preservation is an important part of keeping our heritage alive," Amann said last week.
"The Genius legend denotes her as a guardian spirit watching over and protecting its citizenry," Amann said. "I imagine it will make her job a lot easier when she is finally returned to her rightful perch atop the Capitol."
A week after its narrow escape from the fiery inferno that engulfed southern Greece, the town of Olympia faces a race against time to prepare for its biennial moment of fame, the lighting of the Olympic flame for the Beijing 2008 Games next March.
Signifying the spiritual moment of the Games' launch, the Olympic flame has been an integral part of the competition since 1928, and the ceremony conducted every two years in Olympia by young women dressed as ancient Greek priestesses is an eagerly-anticipated element of every Olympics.
But for the time being, the birthplace of the ancient Olympics has had its fill of flames after barely escaping an eight-day inferno that killed at least 63 people, mainly in the surrounding Peloponnese region.
Priceless sculptures stored inside the archaeological museum -- such as the 4th century BC statue of Hermes by ancient Greek master Praxiteles -- and the ancient stadium complex were untouched.
But the courtyard statues were a few metres away from the enormous flames that got as far as the museum's outer enclosure on August 26 before being beaten back.
"The museum's water cannons and fire hydrants had been working all day but it wasn't enough," said Panagiotis Moutzouridis, an Early Bronze Age specialist who was inside the museum with another dozen employees when the fire arrived.
"The cannons only shoot up to five metres but the flames were 20 metres (66 feet) high, far above the treetops...and the fire-fighting planes only arrived ten minutes after the fire," the archaeologist told AFP.
The flames burned trees behind the museum and the grass on the slopes of the ancient stadium, where thousands attend the lighting ceremony of the Olympic Games torch for the Summer and Winter Games.
They also caused extensive damage to the Olympic Academy grove where the heart of Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics, is buried.
Two days after fires in the immediate area were finally extinguished, workmen outside the Olympia archaeological museum swept fallen leaves and sprinkled water on the marble statues situated in the courtyard.
"The grass will regrow in a month," Moutzouridis said. "But without the fire-fighting planes the fire might have gotten into the ancient site."
Olympia is the birthplace of the ancient Olympic Games, first recorded to have been held here in 776 BC until 393 AD, and the archaeological site still contains the remains of the stadium, temples, administrative buildings and training halls.
It is also a UNESCO world heritage site inhabited since prehistoric times, and in the 10th century BC became a centre for the worship of Zeus, the ancient Greeks' leading deity.
But when the flames neared last Sunday, and with villages also burning in the vicinity, firemen had a difficult choice to make.
"The question faced that day was whether to save people or monuments," Moutzouridis said.
Residents of Olympia have heard complaints in the past week from local villagers who say their farms were sacrificed to save antiquities.
"Villagers who lost their property were angry because they thought that all the emphasis was put on Olympia," said Ilias Zounis, a town resident.
"But that was not true. I did not see any major forces around Olympia...the fire brigade knew the fire was burning in our area for two days, they should have been better prepared."
The authorities must now take preventative steps against soil erosion as many of the trees surrounding the town have been lost.
"The hills in the area are very soft, which is why Olympia was covered by soil until the 18th century," said Dr Reinhardt Senff, second director of the German Archaeological Institute in Athens, which has conducted extensive excavation on the site since 1875.
"There won't necessarily be a spectacular landslide, but there definitively is a danger," Senff told AFP.
Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday announced that cleaning and restoration work on Olympia's antiquities has already begun and will be completed by December.
Moutzouridis said the reforestation initiative will include mature oaks and poplars, which are more fire-resistant than pine.
Fighting with his bare fists, and massively outnumbered, France's cockiest Gaul, Asterix, led a brave rebellion against the Roman occupier.
Not only was his little village encircled by Julius Cæsar's troops, it was up against an expanding empire - unequalled in the art of warfare and determined to civilise a backward people who worshipped druids and believed in magic potions. Or so it was thought until now.
But a discovery in central France has led to a significant reassessment of the Gauls, who were, it transpires, much more advanced than previously thought.
Rather than the random gatherings of rudimentary thatched huts illustrated in the Asterix books, first published in 1961, archaeologists now believe the Gauls lived in elegant buildings with tiled roofs, laid out in towns with public squares or forums.
They also crafted metalwork just as complex as anything produced by the Romans, even before the Roman invasion in 52BC.
The findings have been made at a dig in Corent, near Lyon, where archaeologists have uncovered what they believe is the palace of Vercingetorix, the last military leader of all Gaul.
After the Romans arrived, Vercingetorix, a prince who also appears in the Asterix volumes, was taken prisoner, held in a prison in Rome and garroted several years later to celebrate Caesar's triumph.
"What we have found here proves that the Gauls were much more civilised than we thought," Matthieu Poux, the archaeology professor who is heading the dig, told The Sunday Telegraph.
"The Asterix albums will need to be completely rewritten, as they are based on the typical image of the Gauls which has been passed down through the centuries, one of a prehistoric man who lives in the forest. We have discovered that they had not only complex military structures, but civilian and trading structures too.
"Until now Gauls for the French were people who lived in huts among the trees, frightening people. Parents would threaten to send their children to the Gauls if they did not go to sleep.
"But we have discovered large buildings and public spaces which prove there were Gauls of considerable social standing.
"Very high magistrates or nobles lived here, possibly even Vercingetorix. We think we are working on the site where he was given leadership over all of Gaul in order to fight the Roman invasion."
Mr Poux's team has uncovered previously unknown building techniques, elaborate foundations and tiled roofing which together suggest that the architecture in Gaul was just as advanced as that in Rome around 80 to 70BC.
Evidence of a Roman-style forum for public gatherings and a gallery housing boutiques and workshops has also been discovered, together with ironmongers' tools, coins and scales. The dig, which has until now concentrated on small, localised sites, will now be expanded by several miles in the hope of unearthing an entire city.
Gaul's leaders, it would seem, were a far cry from the buffoon cartoon character Abraracourcix (Vitalstatistix in the English version), the chief of Asterix's tribe. His main worry, other than finding food, was that the sky would fall on his head.
However, perhaps not surprisingly, there is resistance to the idea of revising the Asterix stories to reflect the new historical findings.
"I have read about the new discoveries, but to be honest I don't think we will be reworking the Asterix stories," said Florence Richaud, a spokesman for Albert René, publishers of the series of albums. "The illustrator Albert Uderzo did try to make it authentic, but rather than educational material these are stories designed basically to make children laugh."
Mr Uderzo, 80, who has illustrated all of the Asterix adventures, is working on his memoirs and has no plans to give new life to his ferocious, moustached creation.
Rome (www.lanottebianca.it) is trying to capitalize on the all-night party’s potential tourism draw by planning a full program of events for the weekend. These include a concert by the Italian pop icon Lucio Dalla at the Villa Borghese and a reading from “The Aeneid” — in Italian — on the Piazza del Campidoglio (City Hall) on Friday evening, Sept. 7, as a sort of curtain raiser.
A modest archaeological museum in Aidone, Sicily, is heralding the return of two sixth-century B.C. marble sculptures that have haunting smiles and a somewhat mysterious past. The artifacts are believed to have been looted from Morgantina, an ancient Greek settlement whose ruins lie next to Aidone.
The acroliths — statues usually made with wooden trunks but stone heads and extremities — were once owned by the New York businessman Maurice Tempelsman. For the last five years they have been on exhibit at the University of Virginia Art Museum in Charlottesville.
Officials at the university declined to comment on Italian news reports that the acroliths would be returned in 2008.
The university is “very grateful to the Italian authorities for their support of the University of Virginia’s excavations at Morgantina,” it said in a statement, “and we strongly endorse the return of any antiquities that have been illegally removed from Morgantina.”
The university recently returned to the Sicilian art authorities a terra cotta antefix, or roof ornament, in the shape of a leopard. The antefix, purchased two years ago at an auction of the antiquarian Leo Mildenberg’s collection, is expected to be exhibited eventually at the Aidone museum.
Beatrice Basile, the art superintendent for the province of Enna, which includes Aidone, called the acroliths crucial pieces in understanding the area’s history.
“We’re happy they’re coming back,” Ms. Basile said. “Reconstruction of context is always the important thing — for us, but equally for, say, native populations in America.”
Over the next few years the archaeological museum in Aidone will become the home to some remarkable objects that museums in the United States have agreed to return to Italy. In 2010 the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is to send back 16 pieces of silver dating from the third century B.C. that were illegally excavated from Morgantina. That same year the J. Paul Getty Trust is to return a cult statue of a goddess, usually identified as Aphrodite, as a result of negotiations last month with the Italian authorities. (There is some debate about whether the statue comes from Morgantina, but studies suggest it is Sicilian.)
“It is a great victory in civilization to admit that illicitly gotten goods should return to their place of origin,” said Nicola Leanza, Sicily’s minister of culture. “Having all these pieces under one roof will be extraordinary.”
Silvio Raffiotta, the Italian prosecutor who for more than a decade investigated the two acroliths, has said they were illegally excavated by tomb robbers in Morgantina in the late 1970s. They are believed to represent the goddesses Demeter and Persephone, whose cult was deeply rooted in Morgantina, which fell to the Romans in 211 B.C.
In all, two heads, three feet and three hands were found; the body, most likely made of wood, might not have survived the centuries underground.
In a 1988 deposition, Giuseppe Mascara, a former tomb robber and antiquities dealer, told Mr. Raffiotta that in the spring of 1979 a young man had offered to sell him the two marble heads, which he said had been excavated in Morgantina.
“They were in the trunk of a car,” Mr. Mascara said in the deposition, and of “exceptional make.” But he did not buy them “because I didn’t know the man offering them to me and because of the asking price, which was enormous.”
Vincenzo Cammarata, another antiquities dealer who has been investigated for handling looted objects, also testified that he had been shown the acroliths, in the summer of 1979.
Mr. Raffiotta’s investigations began some years later and tracked the acroliths to the London showroom of the antiquities dealer Robin Symes, who is being investigated in Italy for dealing in looted art. Before arriving in London, the objects moved through Switzerland, a typical route used to disguise provenance.
In 1980 Mr. Symes sold the pair to Mr. Tempelsman, reportedly for $1 million. No evidence suggests that Mr. Tempelsman was aware that the statues might have been illegally excavated.
Mr. Raffiotta first made a claim to the statues in 1988, while they were on exhibit at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. The museum immediately returned them to their anonymous lender.
In news reports Mr. Tempelsman later emerged as their owner. In 1994, upon the death of his companion, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, schoolchildren in Aidone sent Mr. Tempelsman a condolence note that also asked him to return the acroliths to their hometown.
Italian officials began quietly negotiating with Mr. Tempelsman, and Forbes magazine has reported that a deal was reached in which Mr. Tempelsman would give the acroliths to an institution, which would then return them to Italy after a specific period.
Mario Bondioli Osio, who was involved in those negotiations, said this week that he could not comment on the details until next year. “But I am convinced they will return home,” he said.
The Italian Culture Ministry would not discuss the return, and Mr. Tempelsman could not be reached for comment.
Mr. Raffiotta, who no longer investigates looted antiquities, called the return of the acroliths “a victory for Italy.” He gave credit to the Italian investigations, which have led to a high-profile trial in Rome. There, Marion True, the former curator of antiquities at the Getty, is being tried on charges of dealing in stolen antiquities. Her co-defendant is Robert Hecht, an American antiquities dealer. An Italian dealer, Giacomo Medici, is appealing a conviction on related charges.
Mr. Raffiotta said prosecutions like these had put pressure on museums and collectors. “It’s made collectors have greater respect for our cultural patrimony,” he said.
Archaeologists working on Scotland’s Gask Ridge Frontier, which dates to the early 70s AD, have discovered evidence that part of the visible monument is in fact 70 years younger than previously believed and dates from the Antonine period. The Gask frontier is the oldest Roman frontier anywhere in the Empire and predates Hadrian’s Wall by 50 years
The Gask Ridge Frontier is a combination of forts, watch towers and a road. It stretches from around Dunblane in Perthshire to north of Perth itself, mainly running on the low Gask Ridge. Work this summer, by the Roman Gask Project, University of Liverpool, indicates that the visible Roman road is younger than the watch towers that are arranged along it. The towers date from around 70 AD and would have been linked by a road or track, however the visble road is Antonine in date (around 140 AD).
During the Antonine period Hadrian’s Wall was abandoned and a new frontier of wood and turf – the Antonine Wall – was built between the Clyde and Forth. At the same time some of the forts that made up the Gask system were rebuilt as outposts of the Antonine Wall.
“The archaeology of the Gask is becoming more complex than originally believed and shows that it played an active part in the military history of Roman Scotland for a considerable time,” said Dr David Woolliscroft co–Director of the project.
“The watch towers must have been linked by a road or track, to allow the tower teams to reach their posts from the nearby forts, but that road remains to be found. The wonderfully engineered road we see today was built later when the forts came back into use in the mid 2nd century.”
The combination of road and watch towers that was first created in Scotland was used as a model by the Roman army in Germany 20 years later when they built their frontier from the Rhine to the Danube.