Nuntii Latini | Nuntii Latini mensis Septembris 2013 (Bremen)

@ Radio Bremen: Monatsrückblick auf Latein

Latein-Monatsnachrichten: Nuntii Latini mensis Septembris 2013

Angela Merkel victoriam magnam consecuta +++ Mursi in ius vocatus +++ In bello civili gasum mortiferum adhibitum +++ Electiones in Bavaria atque Hassia habitae +++ Costa Concordia erecta +++ Lugete, o Veneres +++ Dominus circulorum +++ Mutatio loci inexspectata +++ Notabilia: Musica in Colonia Agrippinensium Romana

{category nuntii latini graecique]

Sourcing Trireme Lumber

From Greek Reporter:

Scientists from Greece and the US believe they are close to tracing the wood from which ancient triremes were made.  The scientists are searching in Pieria (one of the regional units of Greece, located in the southern part of Macedonia, in the Region of Central Macedonia) for the Macedonian fir and the pine tree of Olympus and Pieria, locally known as “liacha.”

According to Aristotle’s successor Theophrastus, this tree was used for the laborious process of constructing paddles and ships. Prints on the earth of this particular kind of wood, which has no knots but great resistance to salt water, were discovered during the archaeological excavations that started in 2003 in Methoni of Pieria.

This fact, after the announcement of the results of the findings at a scientific conference that took place in Thessaloniki in 2011, mobilized scientists from different sectors in Greece, Los Angeles in the USA, Britain and Ireland, who have ever since been working together to discover pure pieces of wood from the 8th century at the excavation site in Methoni that will continue its work in 2014.

“At this moment a big cooperation is in process, which started at the end of 2011 between the 27th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classic Antiquities, which is based in the capital of Pieria, Katerini, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) and the Archaeology Department of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA),” the President of the Philology Department of AUTH, Ioannis Tzifopoulos, explained.

He also explained that on the American side, the Greek-American professor John Papadopoulos, who for many years has led excavations in Toroni of Chalkidiki, in Epirus, as well as in Albania, shows particular interest in the object of the excavations in Methoni of Pieria.

RTI at Antiochia ad Cragum (Cragnum)

We mentioned the finds at Antiochia ad Cragum (maybe Cragnum really not sure of the spelling any more)the other day  (Head of Aphrodite from Antiochia ad Cragnum ) … Here’s an interesting bit of technology used there via a St Olaf College press release:

A group of St. Olaf College students working on an archaeological dig in Turkey became some of the first researchers in the world to use a new technology that could change how scholars study artifacts.

And one of the first artifacts they documented using the technology was a life-sized marble head of the goddess Aphrodite that their group helped unearth. The find, which has attracted attention from national media outlets including NBC News , is important because it sheds new light on the extent of the Roman Empire’s wide cultural influence, which scholars previously argued didn’t reach as far as southern Turkey.

The new technology, called reflectance transformance imaging (RTI), takes about 70 photos of an artifact from an array of angles and artificially inserts various lighting on the object. In a sense, it takes the normal 2-D images and creates a composite 3-D image.

Associate Professor of History Tim Howe led the monthlong program to southern Turkey, where 10 students participated in a dig as part of his Archaeological Methods course and another four students used RTI to document artifacts as part of a project through the college’s Collaborative Undergraduate Research and Inquiry (CURI) program.

RTI is the future of archaeology, says Howe, noting that the St. Olaf team is the first to use the technology on an active excavation site. Because RTI reveals writing, dates, and images on objects that aren’t visible to the human eye, looking at an object through the technology can be even better than handling it in person — a feature that the St. Olaf team learned firsthand.

“We were able to determine the date of a fallen milestone by demonstrating that there were no additional lines of text above the mile numbers and confirm that it was established during the reign of Marcus Aurelius, rather than his son Commodus as previously assumed,” explains Howe.

His next goal is to create a digital museum of artifacts using RTI. The site would have the raw 3-D images, data collected for each object, and a GPS link so people will know where and how it was found. Researchers around the world would have the ability to look at these objects without ever traveling to Turkey.

“RTI is really poised to become the new way of archaeology,” Howe adds.

Tackling new technology
Howe first learned about RTI at a conference. St. Olaf purchased the relatively low-cost technology thanks to a digital humanities grant from the Mellon Foundation, as well as support from the Dean’s Academic Innovation Fund, the CURI program, and the college’s Office of Information Technology.

Jason Menard, an instructional technologist with the IT Office who holds a doctorate in Roman archaeology and geographic information systems from the University of Minnesota, worked closely with the members of Howe’s team and provided field support that made their work possible.

Students taking part in this summer’s program in Antiochia ad Cragum, Turkey, worked to uncover an ancient marketplace and a massive bath complex, both of which included mosaics.

They documented many of their finds — which included an arrowhead from the first century B.C. and a number of coins in addition to the Aphrodite statue — using RTI.

Because they were the first group to use RTI on an active archeological dig, there were few references or manuals to refer to when a problem arose.

“If we encountered a problem, often there was no place we could turn to for a ‘correct’ answer; rather, we had to creatively come up with solutions and critically think about the process and technology we were using,” says Nicole Wagner ‘15.

Members of the team were fascinated by the level of detail from the RTI images, which allowed them to see inscriptions no one had seen for thousands of years.

“We would take a completed RTI image to one of the professors and they would discover something new about the object they had studied for years,” says Seth Ellingson ‘15. “That was the greatest reward.”

This RTI technology seems to be the next big (and useful) thing, especially in epigraphy … Bill Caraher has a post on its application in that sort of context: Linear B in 3D . For a more technical sort of look, here’s a link that came up during a discussion on Aegeanet a week or so ago (tip o’ the pileus to Peter Campbell): Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI).

CFP | APA Committee on Classical Tradition and Reception: Call for Panel Proposals

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The Committee on Classical Tradition and Reception (COCTR) of the American Philological Association invites proposals for a panel to be held under the Committee’s sponsorship at the 146th Annual Meeting of the APA (New Orleans, January 8-11, 2015).

Submissions, which should not exceed 500 words in length, should include:

(a) the title of the proposed panel;

(b) a general outline of the proposed topic, with a reasoned justification of its significance in the context of contemporary work in the field of classical tradition/reception studies.

Proposers of panels should bear in mind that a panel will comprise either four 20-minute papers in a two-hour session, or four 20-minute papers plus short introduction and response in a two-and-a-half-hour session. Proposals need not indicate the names of envisaged participants in the panel; indeed, the Committee anticipates that the process following selection of the panel topic will include a call for papers.

Panel proposals should be sent via e-mail attachment (in Word format) to David Scourfield, Chair of the Committee on Classical Tradition and Reception (david.scourfield AT, by no later than November 15, 2013. All submissions will be subject to double-blind review by two referees, whose reports will inform the Committee’s decision.

It should be noted that selection and sponsorship of a panel topic by the Committee does not in itself guarantee final acceptance of the panel by the APA Program Committee.

It should be noted further that the organizer of any panel selected by the Committee will have to be a fully paid-up member of the APA for 2014.

Layoffs at Nemea … Stephen G Miller Weighs in

From eKathimerini:

The possible dismissal of seven temporary guards from the archaeological site of Ancient Nemea as part of government plans to streamline the Greek civil service, may force the closure of the site, Dr. Stephen G. Miller, director of Nemea excavations, has warned.

In an open letter addressed to the general public recently, Miller lamented the consequences of such a decision, citing Nemea’s importance to ancient Greek culture and the modern Greek tourism industry.

“The firing of seven guards would leave active only three permanent guards, which would not even be sufficient to leave the site and museum open to the public. This means that visitors will now find it closed,” wrote Miller.

In antiquity, the sanctuary at Nemea hosted ancient Greek athletics and poetry competitions once every four years, rotating with Delphi, Isthmia and, most famously, Olympia. Today the site attracts more than 50,000 visitors a year.

Miller, a University of California archaeologist who first began digging at Nemea in 1973, is responsible for uncovering much of what remains of the ancient sanctuary and stadium. He has also spearheaded the Society for the Revival of the Nemean Games, a movement intended to resurrect the competitive and egalitarian spirit of ancient Greek athletics.

“I always welcomed the chance to use my research as a basis for educational experience,» noted Miller, “one that provided every visitor to Nemea a chance to learn more about their roots in ancient Greece.”

The decision to cut back on security comes at a time when Greece’s understaffed museums have become increasingly vulnerable to thieves and the illegal antiquities trade. An armed robbery last February at the Museum of Ancient Olympia, Nemea’s sister sanctuary, for example, resulted in the theft of 70 ancient artifacts.

“If this [the lay-offs] happens, I will look at myself in the mirror and realize how mindless, how deluded I was. I will have wasted my entire life’s work,” Miller wrote.

Speaking later to Kathimerini English Edition, the archaeologist reiterated these sentiments.

“Forty-five years ago I fell in love with Greece and decided not only to move here, but to devote every ounce of my energy to its excavations. Was that decision ultimately a mistake? We fought hard for what the foreign visitor now sees at Nemea. But when will the Greek state take care to attend to its most valuable possessions – its archaeological parks and museums?”

One wonders why the powers that be aren’t remembering Olympia (Theft at Olympia)

The Golden Beer of Danish … Sussita??

Actually … this is an item about the dig season at Sussita … the inicipit of Ha’aretz’ coverage:

An unexpected discovery awaited a team of Israeli archaeologists in a drainage canal dating from roughly 2,000 years ago: an aluminum bottlecap. From a beer bottle.

No, the good people of ancient Sussita weren’t producing aluminum metal. The meaning of the startling discovery is that millennia after its construction, the drainage canal was still working, centuries after the city’s final destruction by earthquake

Made of aluminum and feather-light, the bottle-cap floated on rainwater that washed into the canal, says Dr. Michael Eisenberg, head of an Israeli archaeological team digging the site.

This canal, or less romantically – a sewer, passed beneath the floor of the public bathhouse being excavated in the city, which the Greeks called Antiochia Hippos. Its end was discovered several hundred meters away by Eisenberg and his team.

The archaeologists believe this remarkably robust sewage system drained effluent from a postulated public toilet near the bathhouse. If the sewer’s upper opening is found, the public toilet will be found as well, Aizenberg postulates.

Happily for historians, the Sussita sewer system contained not only a beer bottlecap but much more. For instance several hundred bronze coins, swollen and rusted from eons of exposure to urine, were also found inside.

Ten dice made of bone found near the coins provided further evidence of the sewer’s function: Eisenberg believes that the city’s inhabitants gambled with dice as they sat in the bathroom. Just as latter-day man accidently drops his phone into the john, thus the people of yore apparently let coins and dice fall into the sewer.

Now these artifacts are helping researchers to learn about the inhabitants’ customs.

Serious about exercise at Sussita

In this last summer digging season, the team unearthed a palaestra — a plaza surrounded by columns, where the city inhabitants exercised and which was part of the bathhouse.

The sewage canal passed beneath the floor of the bathhouse’s small pool, whose location shows the ancients also appreciated a good view: it overlooks the low-lying Sea of Galilee and the city of Tiberias on its western shore.

The pool was tiled with high-quality limestone tiles. Some of its walls were decorated with tiles of limestone and marble, and in other places the pool walls were plastered in bright shades of red. [...]

… only Arutz Sheva seems to have identified the brand of beer (Beer Cap Found Embedded in Archeological Excavation), hence my title.  That said, I’m not sure why we haven’t heard more from this dig:

JOB: Early Christianity@Tufts

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Assistant Professor of Early Christianity

The Tufts University Department of Religion seeks a specialist at the rank of Assistant Professor in Early Christianity. Applicants should possess a PhD or equivalent and should demonstrate a solid grounding in and critical understanding of the historyof early Christianity as well as of interactions among Judaism, Christianity, and Greco-Roman religion. The successful candidate must be able to teach courses in early Christianity, the New Testament and the early Church in addition to courses in her/his specialty. Beyond contributing to the core curriculum in the Department of Religion, we seek candidates whose research has the potential to expand approaches to the digital humanities at
Tufts as well as to augment the strengths of its Perseus Digital Library in Greek, Latin, or other languages complementary with the successful candidate’s research program.

In addition to an active research program, candidates must demonstrate a commitment to excellence in teaching and advising. The Department of Religion confers the B.A. degree, and individual faculty members also sometimes advise students majoring in related interdisciplinary programs. Opportunities exist for the successful candidate in this position to advise the research of students pursuing the master’s degree in the graduate
programs housed in the Department of Classics.

Applicants should submit a cover letter, CV, and three confidential reference letters to Interfolio [] Review of applications begins
October 1, 2013, and will continue until the position is filled. Tufts  University is an Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity Employer. We are committed to increasing the diversity of our faculty. Members of underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

Questions about the position should be directed to Brian A. Hatcher, Chair, Department of Religion, Tufts University at brian.hatcher AT For help with Interfolio, please email help AT or call (877) 997-8807.