Aegean Archaeology Vol. 8

Seen on AegeaNet:

The editors of Aegean Archaeology are pleased to announce that vol. 8 (2005-2006) is out. For contents, please see below.

For any further details (abstracts of articles, contents of previous volumes, PDFs of selected articles, ordering info) please consult our website at

Contents of Vol 8:

M. Georgiadis, The Prehistoric Finds from the Halasarna Survey Project 2003-2006, Kos: A Preliminary Report, p. 7-19;

M.G. Clinton, S.. Martino, G.H. Myer, D.O. Terry, Jr., and P.P. Betancourt, Rapid Cooling Effects in Early Bronze Age Copper Smelting Slags from Chrysokamino, p.. 21-30;

E. Miller Bonney, A Reconsideration of Depositional Practices in Early Bronze Age Crete, p. 31-50;

L. Tyree, F.W. McCoy, A. Kanta, D. Sphakianakis, A. Stamos, K. Aretaki, and E. Kamilaki, Inferences for Use of Skotino Cave During the Bronze Age and Later Based on a Speleological and Environmental Study at Skotino Cave, Crete, p. 51-63;

M. Devolder, From the Ground Up: Earth in Minoan Construction. The Case of Building 5 at Palaikastro, p. 65-80;

E. Drakaki, The Ownership of Hard Stone Seals with the motif of a Pair of Recumbent Bovines from the Late Bronze Age Greek Mainland: A Contextual Approach, p. 81-93;

R.A.K. Smith, E. Pappi, M.K. Dabney, S. Triantaphyllou, and J.C. Wright, 2006–2007 Excavations of the Mycenaean Cemetery at Ayia Sotira, Ancient Nemea, p. 95-109;

R. Jung and M. Mehofer, A sword of Naue II type from Ugarit and the Historical Significance of Italian-type Weaponry in the Eastern Mediterranean, p. 111-135

Paul Faure 1916 – 2007 (Florence Driessen-Gaignerot), p. 137-139;

R. Koehl, Aegean Bronze Age Rhyta (Carl Knappett), p. 141-144;

C. Davaras and Ph.P. Betancourt, Hagia Photia Cemetery I: The Tomb Groups and Architecture (Krzysztof Nowicki), p. 144-146.

CONF: Fines imperii, imperium sine fine? Osnabrueck 14-18.9.09

seen on the Classicists list:

International Congress, Osnabrueck, 14th-18th September 2009:
Fines imperii, imperium sine fine?
Rome – Empire between resistance and integration

In celebration of the 2000th anniversary of the Varus battle of A.D. 9, University and City of Osnabrück, in corporation with the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen, are organising an international five-day congress to discuss questions on the interaction between Romans and natives in the frontier regions of the Roman empire in the early Empire.
Based on our archaeological, epigraphic and literary sources it is the aim to analyse both the diverse Roman policies aimed at controlling, pacifying and ‘civilising’ frontier regions as well as the various indigenous strategies to adapt to or resist Roman imperialism. Besides Roman military occupation and demonstrations of Rome’s power, we want to focus on civic aspects, such as the integration of indigenous elites in the socioeconomic structures of the Roman empire, the developments in rural and urban areas, aspects of ethnogenesis and the consequences of cultural interactions and core-periphery relationships. It is the aim of the conference to explore parallels and discrepant experiences in the various frontier regions of the Roman Empire.
There are three thematic sections: (1) Roman and indigenous strategies to consolidate power and secure peace. (2) Pax Romana – Development of civic structures. (3) Instruments to consolidate Roman dominance: military and ideology.

Speakers include: Kurt Raaflaub (Brown University), David Mattingly (Leicester), Michek Reddé (Paris), Angel Morillo Cerdan (Madrid), Moshe Fischer (Tel Aviv), Martina Minas-Nerpel (Swansea), Simon James (Leicester), Helmut Halfmann (Hamburg), William Van Andringa (Lille), Maaike Groot (Amsterdam), Hartmut Wolff (Passau), Francois Favory (Besancon), Ariel Lewin (Potenza), Sandrine Agusta-Boularot (Aix-en-Provence), Miroslava Mirkovic (Beograd), Marjeta Sasel Kos (Ljubliana), Stefanie Martin-Kilcher (Bern), Peter Herz (Regensburg), Ulrike Ehmig (Mainz/Klagenfurt), Günther Schörner (Jena), Yann Le Bohec (Paris), G.A. Lehmann (Göttingen), R. Wolters (Tübingen), and Siegmar von Schurbein (Frankfurt).

Conference fee: 40 euros including excursions to Kalkriese (site of the ‘Varus battle’), Haltern and Detmold
For further information and booking see or contact ralph.haussler AT

This Day in Ancient History: pridie kalendas septembres

pridie kalendas septembres

12 A.D. — birth of the future emperor Gaius (Caligula) at Antium

40 A.D. — Gaius (Caligula) celebrates an ovatio after his attempted military campaigns in Gaul and Britain

161 A.D. — birth of the future emperor Commodus (and his twin, Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus)

Holy Anachronism Batman!

The incipit of a piece in the apparently indicatively-named LocalIQ:

Have you ever imagined Cleopatra, in 26 BC, staring up at the sky at Polaris — the North Star and bright and pointy handle of the constellation called The Little Dipper — and wondered how different it looked to her than it does to you now?

… talk about your captatio malevolentiae

Burial in the Aigai Agora?

Excerpt from an interesting item about a burial from Aigai in the Associated Press:

The find in the ruins of Aigai came a few meters (yards) from last year’s remarkable discovery of what could be the bones of Alexander the Great’s murdered teenage son, according to one expert.

Archaeologists are puzzled because both sets of remains were buried under very unusual circumstances: Although cemeteries existed near the site, the bones were taken from an unknown first resting place and re-interred, against all ancient convention, in the heart of the city.

Excavator Chrysoula Saatsoglou-Paliadeli said in an interview that the bones found this week were inside one of two large silver vessels unearthed in the ancient city’s marketplace, close to the theater where Alexander’s father, King Philip II, was murdered in 336 B.C.

She said they arguably belonged to a Macedonian royal and were buried at the end of the 4th century B.C.

But it is too early to speculate on the dead person’s identity, pending tests to determine the bones’ sex and age, said Saatsoglou-Paliadeli, a professor of classical archaeology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

She said one of the silver vessels is “very, very similar” to another found decades ago at a nearby royal tumulus, where one grave has been identified as belonging to Philip II.

Alexander was one of the most successful generals of all times. In a series of battles against the Persian Empire, he conquered much of the known world, reaching as far as India.

After his death in 323 B.C., at the age of 32, Alexander’s empire broke up in a series of wars by his successors that saw the murder of his mother, half brother, wife and both sons.

Archaeologist Stella Drougou said the new find is “very important, as it follows up on last year’s.”

“It makes things very complex,” she said. “Even small details in the ancient texts can help us solve this riddle. We (now) have more information, but we lack a name.”

Drougou told The Associated Press that the fact the funerary urns were not placed in a proper grave “either indicates some form of punishment, or an illegal act.”

“Either way, it was an exceptional event, and we know the history of the Macedonian kings is full of acts of revenge and violent succession.”

A couple of photos in a slideshow accompany the article.

We should point out that last year at this time — almost to the day — we were reporting on a similar find involving a copper vessel and archaeologists were similarly mystified. Again, I’ll openly speculate whether we’re dealing with some sort of heroon …

Lapsus Calami?

Alas, this sort of thing is all too common … from a piece by Harry Mount on student howlers:

In 19th-century Oxford, Gladstone may have been studying algebra, hydrostatics and Herodotus but he had some pretty dim contemporaries; like the classicist who’d miscopied a friend’s essay on Greek tragedy.

“Who’s this Bophocles you keep referring to?” said his tutor. “Surely you mean Sophocles?”

“Well, it says Bophocles here,” said the student, pointing at the essay.

A lot of the modern mistakes are, like the Bophocles incident, just slips of the pen.

Equestrian Statue of Augustus — Followup

This just in … the Local seems to be the first off the mark with reports of the news conference mentioned in our previous post on this:

Hessian Science Minister Eva Kühne-Hörmann on Thursday presented fragments of a 2,000-year-old bronze equestrian statue of Roman Emperor Augustus found recently in a stream near Giessen.

“The find has meaning beyond Hesse and the north Alpine region due to its quality and provenance,” Kühne-Hörmann said during the presentation with state archaeologist Dr. Egon Schallmayer and Director of the Roman-German Commission Dr. Friedrich Lüth.

“We’ve rediscovered the remnants of early European history. The unique horse head is a witness to the broken dream of the Romans to create a united Europe under their rule,” she added.

On August 12, archaeologists pulled the gold-gilded, life-sized head of a horse and a shoe of the emperor – who ruled the Roman Empire between 23 BC and 14 AD – from a stream in what was once the Roman outpost Germania Magna. Experts there have uncovered several bits – including a horse hoof and a decorated chest strap – from the statue among some 20,000 artefacts uncovered at the site in recent years.

Scientists from the University of Jena believe it may have been destroyed by Roman soldiers retreating after the legendary Varusschlacht, or the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in 9 AD, when Germanic tribes ambushed and wiped out three Roman legions. As the remaining Roman troops retreated after the devastating defeat, they destroyed most of what they could not take with them.

The horse’s bridle is embellished with images of the Roman god of war Mars and the goddess Victoria, who personified victory.

Restoration and examination of more than 100 statue fragments is underway in Hessen’s state archaeology workshop.

There’s a nice photo accompanying the article:

The Local

The Local

There’s a little slideshow as well, but it is mostly images of this horse’s head from various angles (there is a photo of the hoof too) …

The photos from the various German-language sources are pretty much the same and as far as I can tell, all are repeating the line mentioned previously that the scholars believe Roman soldiers dumped this in the stream while retreating vel simm.. I continue to see a problem with that — it seems to make more sense to suggest that the victorious Germani dumped it in the river. I also continue to wonder why they are connecting this statue specifically with Augustus … it does make sense, given the apparent date and the like, but I see nothing from these pieces that suggests a positive Augustus connection. Why not Tiberius? Or maybe even Drusus?

From the German-language press:

Epigraphic Evidence from Perperikon

Interesting item from Radio Bulgaria, which seems to have lost a thing here and there in translation:

In the summer the ancient shrine of Perperikon in Southeastern Bulgaria is the source of hot archeological news. During this year’s digs the team of Prof. Nickolay Ovcharov has come across the first epigraphic (written) evidence about Perperikon. Evidence was found on two monuments with Latin inscriptions as well as on a lead stamp. Archeologists have also dug out a Roman road in Perperikon’s southern section, Prof. Ovcharov told a press conference.

“In early August local people told us about a fragment they had seen on the road. We checked into the case and found out that that this is the road from Roman times that connected Perperikon with the branch of the main road East-West-Europe-Asia, the famous Via Egnatia. Five kilometers from Perperikon it branches to reach the stone city. This branch was made especially to serve the city. We found a 30 m fragment from the road into the woods. There we also found an ancient smithy. Coins that we unearthed have been dated to the end 4, early 5 c. AD, the heyday of Perperikon. During digs on the road we were happy to find the first fragment from an inscription, and soon we found two other such fragments. Obviously, they come from different eras. The letters used are either Latin or ancient Greek.”

For deciphering the texts Nickolay Ovcharov referred to Prof. Vasilka Gerasimova, researcher from the National Museum of History and professor at New Bulgarian University, Bulgaria’s best expert in Latin epigraphy. She has dated the epigraphic monuments. The oldest one among them originated in 4-5 c. and the most recent one – in 16-17 c.

Dr. Zdravko Dimitrov, specialist in Antiquity archeology, confirmed this evidence and said: “These are the first pieces of epigraphic evidence in Perperikon. The first one is from a gravestone with a name of Syrian origin written on it. The deciphering of the name suggests that the Perperikon population included immigrants from Syria and Asia Minor. They were rich people and focused mostly on trade and crafts. The second inscription has a very low relief and is difficult to read.”

The last inscription found away from the Roman road in Perperikon has puzzled the team of Prof. Ovcharov. “The letters could be interpreted as recent, written by shepherds in 1950s, for instance”, Prof. Ovcharov explains.

“Later however the inscription was dated to 16-17 c. and for sure one of the names on it is the Christian name Cosmas. It is not clear whether it is Bulgarian or Greek, because in both cases the spelling would be the same”, Prof. Ovcharov added. The most recent find in Perperikon is a lead stamp from 11 c. On one side it depicts Virgin Mary with the Holy Infant and on the other side the name Museli Bakuriani is written.

The Radio Bulgaria piece includes several photos, including one which presumably are the inscriptions:

Radio Bulgaria Photo

Radio Bulgaria Photo

I’ve fiddled with the image in Photoshop but can’t really get a handle on the inscriptions; I think the top one is the one which mentions the ‘Christian’ name Kosmas, but that’s not at all certain. Whatever the case, are there really no Greek or Latin inscriptions from Peperikon (e.g. in IGBulg?)??

This Day in Ancient History: ante diem vi kalendas septembres

ante diem vi kalendas septembres

  • Volturnalia — rites in honour of a divinity associated with fountains/waters
  • 479 B.C. — Greek forces defeat Persian forces under Mardonius at Plataea (according to one reckoning)
  • 413 B.C. — lunar eclipse which caused hesitation amongst  Athenian forces under Nikias in Sicily; the subsequent delay  ultimately led to their destruction