Minoan Shipyard From Crete

Not sure if I mentioned this one before as my mailbox is suddenly messed up in a big way … from back in the beginning of March from Greek Reporter:

The first Minoan shipyard where big ships were constructed will be presented in a conference on Ancient Greek Technology, which will be held in Heraklion, Crete on March 21. Researcher Dr. Minas Tsikritsis and geologist Stelios Manolioudis will be the speakers.

The major shipyard was found near the Minoan palace at the location Niros Hani, Heraklion. This discovery comes to illuminate all the past information on Minoan sailing. “For the development of the Minoan shipping until now we have relied on pictorial representation showing seagoing ships with 50 oars corresponding theoretically to vessels 40 to 50 meters. This view is supported by the finding on the coast of St. Theodore near the Minoan palace of Niros Hani (Hani Kokkini), a large yard,” Tsikritsis noted.

According to the research, in the area there are carvings and bases of Minoan buildings both on land and in the sea. In the north part of the beach two large rectangular carvings were found, which are now submerged in the sea. Based on these findings, Tsikritsis maintains that “It is probably a Minoan ship construction area of about 45 meters and less than 15-25 meters.”

Archaeologist S. Marinatos was the first to speak about the Minoan shipyard.

A Roman Brick … in Fort Vancouver?

… and not just any brick … one with little footprints on it.  From KGW:

A brick unearthed decades ago at Fort Vancouver is back in the spotlight.

The brick was first discovered buried in the ground on the site around 1950, but a recent analysis of its make-up now shows the brick dates back some 2,000 years, all the way back to the Roman Empire.

One of the most interesting aspects of the brick is what was likely not supposed to be on it.

If you look closely at one of its corners you’ll see two tiny paw prints. Archaeologists suspect it’s the work of an ancient Roman kitty cat.

“We kind of jokingly call it the ‘Celtic Kitty,’ jumped up on this wet brick probably close to 2,000 years ago and memorialized itself for all eternity,” said Bob Cromwell, an archaeologist at Fort Vancouver.

The big question: How in the world did this ancient brick end up in Vancouver?

Cromwell says it likely came over on an English ship where it was used as ballast, basically just weight to help balance the ship.

“Somebody in England basically recycled, or took apart, a Roman ruin or maybe a cobblestone road and it probably ended up as a ballast load in a Hudson’s Bay Company ship,” said Cromwell.

The ancient brick is on display inside the Fort Vancouver National historic site.

Visitors can see the brick, but because it’s being stored in a special climate-controlled room, they must make a viewing appointment.

… and I can’t resist including one of the two photos from the original article:


The original article also has a video news report. Folks interested in ancient footprint impressions might like to check out our post from a couple years ago: Footprints in the … Well, Lots of Stuff … although a couple of the photos seem to have expired.

Undoing Berlusconi’s Damage

Back in 2009, there was a bit of an uproar because Silvio Belusconi took it upon himself to get some statues of Mars and Venus ‘restored’ … I could have sworn I blogged it, but it seems to have been missed. Anyhoo, the BBC coverage from the time is still available if you want to see how it was covered back then: Italian PM ‘enhances’ ancient Roman statues … today, however, we read that his restorations have been undone … Here’s France24’s version:

Two marble statues adorning the official prime minister’s residence have lost extra appendages added by former PM Silvio Berlusconi in a 2010 attempt to restore portions that had been lost over time.

An ancient statue of Mars was given a new penis, shield, hand and a new tip for his sword, while the Venus statue was given hands in a move that left the art world aghast, the Italian daily Il Messaggero reported.

The €70,000 ($90,000) cost of the enhancements also sparked anger at the time among Italy’s opposition.

Berlusconi’s ‘whim’

“This is an aesthetic surgery carried out on the personal whim of the prime minister,” said Manuela Ghizzoni of the then-opposition Democratic Party.

The 6-foot-high statues, representing Emperor Marcus Aurelius as the war god and his wife Faustine as the goddess of love, date back to 175 A.D. and were discovered in 1918 in Ostia near Rome.

The pair had been lent to the premier’s Palazzo Chigi, the seat of the Italian government, but upon Berlusconi’s departure in May 2012 they returned to the National Roman Museum.

Historian Giovanna Bandini oversaw the removal of the enhancements, which had been attached by a magnetic system, and said the statues had not been damaged in the process.

“These reconstructions do not comply with our principles of restoration, based on the appearance that history left us,” Bandini told Il Messaggero. But he added that while restoring the statues to their previous form was “an experiment”, it was also “a complete success”.

Veiling the ‘Unveiled’

It was not the first time Berlusconi had tampered with works of art that offended his sensibilities.

In August 2008 he asked that a painting that was visible behind him during press conferences be retouched so that a bare breast would not be visible in photographs or TV footage.

“That breast, that nipple … ends up right inside the frame captured by TV news,” Berlusconi’s spokesman, Paolo Bonaiuti, said at the time.

The painting, a copy of “La Verita Svelata dal Tempo” (The Truth Unveiled by Time) by 18th-century Venetian master Giambattista Tiepolo, was subsequently altered to include a draped cloth that hides the offending breast.

“It was an initiative by those on the presidential staff who look after Berlusconi’s image,” Bonaiuti said.

Classical Words of the Day