Apoxyomenos Appropriations

This one’s just starting to hit the papers; apparently other fields learned from an Apoxyomenos discovery back in 1998 as well  … here’s Eurekalert’s take:

The restoration of a 2,000-year-old bronze sculpture of the famed ancient Greek athlete Apoxyomenos may help modern scientists understand how to prevent metal corrosion, discover the safest ways to permanently store nuclear waste, and understand other perplexing problems. That’s the conclusion of a new study on the so-called “biomineralization” of Apoxyomenos appearing in the current issue of ACS’ Crystal Growth & Design, a bi-monthly journal. Best known as “The Scraper,” the statue depicts an athlete scraping sweat and dust from his body with a small curved instrument.

In the report, Davorin Medakovic and colleagues point out that Apoxyomenos was discovered in 1998 on floor of the Adriatic Sea. While the discovery was a bonanza for archaeologists and art historians, it also proved to be an unexpected boon to scientists trying to understand biomineralization. That’s the process in which animals and plants use minerals from their surroundings and form shells and bone. Apoxyomenos was encrusted with such deposits.

“As studies of long-term biofouled manmade structures are limited, the finding of an ancient sculpture immersed for two millennia in the sea provided a unique opportunity to probe the long-term impact of a specific artificial substrate on biomineralizng organisms and the effects of biocorrosion,” the report said. By evaluating the mineral layers and fossilized organisms on the statue, the researchers were able to evaluate how underwater fouling organisms and communities interacted with the statue as well as how certain mineral deposits on the bronze sculpture slowed its deterioration.

From the Italian Press

… the last bit of the backlog! woohoo!

A piece of a Roman column was found in a drain during sewer work in Naples (I think):

Excavations in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence have revealed remains of a first century theatre:

… and bits from a Temple of Isis and a pile of other remains too:

Some funerary statuary from a first century necropolis near Naples:

Remains of a Roman villa from Albettone:

A section of Etruscan/Roman road from Perugia:

Evidence from a necropolis in Ischitella suggests (maybe) an Etruscan presence there:

Organic finds from Pompeii are going to be kept in a special climate-controlled space:

They’re talking (again) of an underpass between the Temple sites at Agrigento:

… and of an archaeological park for Selinunte:

Big hopes for a dig at the Vicus Martis Tudertium:

A statue of Minerva Tritonia has been restored and is on display:

The Domus Aurea will reopen within a couple of years:

Breviaria Miscellaneaque

I’m hoping to get the last of the backlog out of my system over the course of the day …  here’s a pile of items which, for various reasons, I didn’t really get a chance to get to (again, some might be a bit old):

How’s your Classical education?:

If you didn’t do well:

I can’t remember if I mentioned this report about Rome opening up assorted underground sites like the Ludus Magnus to the public, so just in case:

Similarly, I’m not sure whether I mentioned the vandalism attack on the Ara Pacis museum a while ago:

An update of sorts on the Oded Golan trial:

On the Roman contribution to comedy:

In case you missed the Astronomy Picture of the Day of the sun rising over the Parthenon … Robert Barron has a nice list of Classically-themed APODs at his blog …

Mary Beard stepped outside her blog to compare Silvio Berlusconi to a well-known emperor:

Tom Holland had an interesting review of the influence of Arthur Evans’ excavations on other branches of the humanities:

Plenty of Romans in a top ten list of extravagant emperors:

Rather less Classcon in a top ten list of literary shipwrecks:

… and since we’re doing Top Tens, we should alert folks to Mary Beard’s recent:

I’m still trying to figure out what, exactly, Examiner.com is (an open group blog masquerading as a newspaper?) but it turns up almost daily in my scans with articles of various interest … here’s a handful of recent ones:

Hercules’ thirteenth labour:

In case you’ve never heard/read Prairie Home Campanion’s Six Minute Iliad:

Daily Kos had a thing about Psyche:

A NASCAR blogger was looking at the Circus Maximus:

Folks will want to check out the Latin section of the Tar Heel Reader

The University of Queensland has acquired a nice funerary stele from Palmyra:

Back in May, CNN had a nice little slideshow about Rome:

Greece has come out against Google Streetview for some reason:

… while Rome is trying to get a dot Roma domain designation

Assorted links:

… as is Electronic Antiquity 12.1 (November 2008) …

… as is American Journal of Archaeology 113.3

The CAAS has an incipient archive for its newsletters …

TOC for Arethusa 42.2 (Spring 2009) …

TOC for TAPA 139.1 (Spring 2009) …

Latest CANE newsletter (May 2009) …

Latest CAMWS newsletter (Spring/Summer 2009) …

Rosetta issue 6 (all articles online) …

Latest HCA newsletter (June 2009) …

Papers from the APA panel New Approaches to the Political & Military History of the Greek, Roman, and Late Roman Worlds

A preliminary program for the 2010 APA shindig

The TES had an Ancient Greece wordsearch

ArtNet has been serializing Thomas Hoving’s memoirs online …

Multi-Spectral Imaging

Seems we get a report like this every year around this time … the incipit of a piece from PhysOrg:

It might simply look like a smudge, but even the slightest stain on the ancient writing surface of papyrus could obscure a revelation of a past civilization. Now, with the advent of high-tech imaging, some of those secrets could reveal fascinating insights into everyday life of early Egyptian, Greek and Roman societies.

For the last four weeks, a team of national researchers and scholars examined dozens of papyri among the thousands of papyrological pieces in the University of Michigan collection. Using multi-spectral imaging, the Ancient Textual Imaging Group—led by acclaimed papyrology expert Stephen Bay of Brigham Young University—examined ancient text written on papyrus that had become illegible because they are stained, discolored and faded. Recording through a range of filters, the technology captures high-resolution color images, making clear the layers of text hidden beneath words and letters written on levels of papyrus.

The Ancient Textual Imaging Group, based at Brigham Young, is conducting a two-year venture to record illegible papyrus documents from historically significant U.S.-based collections. The project is supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Throughout July, scholars and students at the Papyrological Institute, hosted by U-M, will examine the newly recorded images, aiming to piece together a picture of a world that until now has been hidden. Findings from the newly enhanced images of the papyri will be released as early as August.

“These new images give us insight into the writing and life of generations existing two, maybe three generations before the readable text was written,” said Arthur Verhoogt, U-M associate professor of papyrology and Greek studies.

CONF: Scientists and Professionals

… seen on the Classicists list:

SCIENTISTS AND PROFESSIONALS IN THE ANCIENT WORLD CONFERENCE
School of Classics, University of St Andrews
7-9 September 2009

Booking is now open for the ‘Scientists and Professionals in the Ancient World’
conference. Please visit the conference website:
http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/classics/science-and-empire/scipro.shtml

A booking form (bottom of the page) may be completed on-line, or printed out and
posted (together with payment) to Mrs Margaret Goudie
(classcon AT st-andrews.ac.uk).

Booking deadline: 29 August 2009
Venue: School of Classics, Swallowgate 11, Butts Wynd, St Andrews

Conference organisers: Dr Emma Gee (ergg AT st-andrews.ac.uk), Dr Jason Koenig
(jpk3 AT st-andrews.ac.uk), Dr Katerina Oikonomopoulou (ao40 AT st-andrews.ac.uk),
Professor Greg Woolf (gdw2 AT st-andrews.ac.uk)

The conference is part of the activities of the Leverhulme project ‘Science and
Empire in the Roman World’
(http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/classics/science-and-empire/)

The conference programme is available from the conference website:
http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/classics/science-and-empire/scipro.shtml

This Day in Ancient History

ante diem viii idus iulias

  • ludi Apollinares (day 3) — games instituted in 212 B.C. after consulting the Sybilline books during a particularly bad stretch in the Punic Wars; four years later they became an annual festival in honour of Apollo
  • rites in honour of Vitula, possibly honouring a divinity who supposedly presided over victory celebrations … or perhaps she had something to do with heifers
  • 1851 — birth of Arthur Evans (excavator of Knossos)