In Explorator 17.35

I’ve done this sporadically in the past and honestly don’t know why it isn’t a weekly thing, especially now that I’m generally swamped at school and have neglected the blogging in favour of tweeting of late … in any event, here are some items from my Explorator newsletter’s edition du jour which might be of interest (some of this has appeared on Twitter, but there are some items that haven’t):

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ANCIENT NEAR EAST AND EGYPT
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Interesting implications/suggestions from an oddly-decorated Egyptian coffin:

http://news.discovery.com/history/ancient-egypt/ancient-egyptian-coffins-odd-art-hints-at-brain-drain-141212.htm#mkcpgn=rssnws1
http://www.livescience.com/49059-ancient-egyptian-coffin-odd-art.html

http://www.livescience.com/48984-ancient-egyptian-coffin-photos.html

Some antiquities smugglers were caught at Cairo’s airport:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/9/40/117451/Heritage/Ancient-Egypt/Ottoman-coins,-Roman-map-of-Palestine-recovered-fr.aspx

An 1800 years b.p. Jewish inscription in a 19th century Muslim mausoleum:

http://www.haaretz.com/archaeology/.premium-1.631190

In case you missed it last week, there’s a ton of coverage this week of the indictment of a ‘gang of six’ who were illegally excavating in the area where the DSS were found:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-30366842
http://www.antiquities.org.il/Article_eng.aspx?sec_id=25&subj_id=240&id=4088
http://news.discovery.com/history/religion/alleged-dead-sea-scrolls-looters-indicted-141209.htm
http://www.livescience.com/49046-dead-sea-scroll-looters-indicted.html
http://artdaily.com/news/74924/In-a-dramatic-operation-on-the-cliffs-of-the-Judean-Desert–Antiquities-robbers-caught-red-handed
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/12/07/369198542/6-arrested-for-looting-antiquities-from-israels-cave-of-the-skulls
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/Flash.aspx/311049
http://nhpr.org/post/6-arrested-looting-antiquities-israels-cave-skulls
http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Israel-Antiquities-Authority-accuses-gang-of-thieves-of-trying-to-plunder-Dead-Sea-Scrolls-383898
http://www.timesofisrael.com/six-busted-for-plundering-artifacts-from-dead-sea-cave/
http://www.i24news.tv/en/news/israel/53704-141207-6-arrested-on-suspicion-of-stealing-antiquities-such-as-dead-sea-scrolls
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/israel-accuses-palestinians-looting-antiquities-27423966
http://www.omaha.com/news/world/israel-accuses-palestinians-of-looting-antiquities/article_3521dbfd-6c03-59e9-9d97-31eff9e23516.html
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/12/08/men-charged-with-stealing-israeli-artifacts-caught-red-handed-with-odd-ancient-tool/#038;%23038;%23038
http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=21979
http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/12/2014/antiquity-thieves-caught-at-cave-of-skulls-searching-for-dead-sea-artefatcs

Drought reveals Ottoman structures in Lake Van:

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/drought-in-lake-van-exposes-long-submerged-ottoman-structures.aspx?pageID=238&nID=75569&NewsCatID=340

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ANCIENT GREECE AND ROME (AND CLASSICS)
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A late Bronze Age settlement and necropolis from Platamonas:

http://greece.greekreporter.com/2014/12/13/after-amphipolis-new-ancient-burial-ground-found-in-platamonas/

Polish archaeologists believe they have found the ‘heart’ of Nea Paphos:

http://www.thenews.pl/1/11/Artykul/190076,Polish-archaeologists-in-Cyprian-breakthrough

A pile of artifacts emerge from the British Ambassador in Rome’s garden:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/11285587/Ancient-Roman-statues-emerge-from-British-ambassadors-garden-in-Rome.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2868864/Ancient-artifacts-buried-garden-Rome-s-British-embassy.html

Feature on the dig at Capitolias (Jordan):

http://www.naukawpolsce.pap.pl/en/news/news,403058,polish-archaeologists-in-the-ancient-city-of-jupiter-capitolinus.html

Cyprus’ ‘Elgin Marbles’ is the Cesnola Collection:

http://cyprus-mail.com/2014/12/14/silence-over-looted-treasure/

Nice overviewish things on what was found at Elveden:

http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/how_the_a11_work_uncovered_secrets_of_norfolk_and_suffolk_s_past_1_3883579

Studying the role of water in the rise of the Roman empire:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141211090608.htm
http://theconversation.com/what-did-the-romans-ever-do-for-us-they-left-a-water-warning-35339
http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/12/2014/water-and-the-rise-and-fall-of-the-roman-empire

Plenty of coverage of the Lego Acropolis getting into the Acropolis Museum:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-30443933
http://greece.greekreporter.com/2014/12/14/lego-acropolis-exhibited-in-athens/
https://metro.co.uk/2014/12/12/lego-parthenon-is-proving-more-popular-with-tourists-than-the-real-thing-4984375/

Feature on the Meroe head of Augustus:

http://blog.britishmuseum.org/2014/12/11/the-mer%D3%A7e-head-of-augustus-statue-decapitation-as-political-propaganda/

cf.:

http://www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=11&int_new=75013
http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwart/article/British-Museum-Displays-MEROE-HEAD-OF-AUGUSTUS-20141212

A Danubian horseman relief from Viminacium:

http://inserbia.info/today/2014/12/serbia-relief-of-danubian-horseman-found-in-viminacium/
http://www.b92.net//eng/news/society.php?yyyy=2014&mm=12&dd=12&nav_id=92558

Flood waters engulfed the Temple of Artemis at Vavrona:

http://greece.greekreporter.com/2014/12/12/temple-of-artemis-in-vavrona-flooded/

Another feature on Heracleion:

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/1134068-real-life-atlantis-lost-ancient-egyptian-city-sunk-underwater-centuries-ago/

Suggestion that ‘slow compensation’ in Greece for antiquities finds isn’t a good thing:

http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite6_1_11/12/2014_545275

More hype for Antikythera shipwreck finds:

http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite4_1_09/12/2014_545247

Pink Floyd and the Pope are spurring a Latin comeback, apparently:

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/latin-language-makes-comeback-thanks-pink-floyd-pope-n262201

Honours for Timothy Winters:

http://www.theleafchronicle.com/story/news/education/schools/2014/12/12/apsu-professor-timothy-winters-receives-prestigious-teaching-award/20321705/

Recognition for a Roman dig in Cumbria:

http://www.newsandstar.co.uk/news/roman-dig-in-cumbria-nominated-for-national-award-1.1180696

There’s a new PhD program at WashingtonU St Louis:

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/12/12/new-classics-program-launched-washington-u-st-louis

Feature on Pompeiian graffiti:

http://news.artnet.com/in-brief/ancient-romans-of-pompeii-loved-street-art-too-195643

Feature on MU’s cast gallery:

http://www.columbiamissourian.com/a/181632/from-readers-mus-cast-gallery-provides-students-with-a-link-to-the-past/

Umbria wants to cash in on its archaeological heritage:

http://www.ansa.it/english/news/lifestyle/arts/2014/12/12/umbria-opens-up-underground-treasures_ffdcd8bc-af6c-4786-89f0-ca12b1427123.html

… and everyone seems to have an opinion on the Elgin/Parthenon Marbles:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/13/opinion/the-odyssey-of-the-greek-marbles.html
http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/the-british-museum-has-lost-its-marbles/16341
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/4c18fd70-7fb8-11e4-b4f5-00144feabdc0.html
http://www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=11&int_new=74966
http://www.straitstimes.com/news/world/europe/story/only-quarter-britons-think-uk-should-keep-elgin-marbles-poll-20141209
http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite4_1_09/12/2014_545284
http://www.heraldscotland.com/comment/letters/sharing-elgin-marbles-is-fair.114296511
http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-british-museums-poor-judgment-on-display-1417978633
http://www.spectator.co.uk/books/9395122/german-history-is-uniquely-awful-thats-what-makes-it-so-engrossing/
http://gulftoday.ae/portal/a9356538-1342-4c9b-8c39-c132262ca350.aspx
http://rbth.com/international/2014/12/10/keeping_abreast_of_naked_news_42123.html
http://english.alarabiya.net/en/life-style/2014/12/08/Boris-Johnson-mocks-George-Clooney-s-call-to-return-Greek-Elgin-Marbles.html
http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/letters/article4291453.ece?CMP=OTH-gnws-standard-2014_12_08
http://www.euronews.com/2014/12/08/priceless-statue-loan-to-russia-by-britain-riles-greece/
http://neoskosmos.com/news/en/British-Museums-loaning-of-Marbles-statue-to-Russia-an-affront
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/11278604/Sending-Putin-the-Elgin-Marbles-is-barmy-but-its-what-makes-Britain-great.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/theodora-clarke/should-the-elgin-marbles-stay-british-museum_b_6280250.html
http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/arts/firstnightreviews/article4290623.ece?CMP=OTH-gnws-standard-2014_12_07
http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/dec/07/squalid-saga-of-parthenon-marbles-loan-to-russia
http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article.php?id=512695
http://eu.greekreporter.com/2014/12/07/british-museum-to-loan-more-parthenon-marbles/
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-backs-greek-fight-for-elgin-marbles.aspx?pageID=238&nid=75294&NewsCatID=375
http://news.artnet.com/in-brief/most-britons-dont-even-want-the-elgin-marbles-193795

… and the occupant speculation continues at Amphipolis:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/12/12/ancient-greek-tomb-still-hoards-its-secrets.html

More on those shackled Roman burials in France:

http://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk/news/11657302.Key_archaeological_discovery_in_twin_city_Saintes/
http://www.foxnews.com/science/2014/12/08/at-ancient-burial-site-5-skeletons-found-bound-in-shackles/

More on recent Zeugma mosaic finds:

http://www.zmescience.com/science/archaeology/mosaic-greece-zeugma-turkey-09122014/

More on Roman and Pictish coins (etc.) from an Aberdeenshire field:

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-30316388

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OTHER ITEMS OF INTEREST
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More Greek manuscripts online:

http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/digitisedmanuscripts/2014/12/an-early-holiday-present-forty-six-new-greek-manuscripts-online.html

Big bucks for Rosetti’s Venus Verticordia:

http://www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=11&int_new=74984

Pagan connections to Christmas:

http://theconversation.com/harking-back-the-ancient-pagan-festivities-in-our-christmas-rituals-34309

Review of Lepore, *Secret History of Wonder Woman*:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/14/books/review/jill-lepores-secret-history-of-wonder-woman.html

Review of Johnson, *Lives in Ruins*:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/book-review-lives-in-ruins-archaeology-and-human-life-by-marilyn-johnson/2014/12/11/e7b84f4e-74e4-11e4-bd1b-03009bd3e984_story.html

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MUSEUM MATTERS
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The Greeks:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/travel/destinations/ancient-greece-two-ways/article22066682/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/justine-frangouliargyris/the-greeks-agamemnon-to-a_b_6293778.html
http://montrealgazette.com/entertainment/local-arts/visual-arts-ancient-greek-treasures-at-pointe-a-calliere-museum
http://montrealgazette.com/entertainment/local-arts/what-youll-see-at-the-greeks-agamemnon-to-alexander-the-great
http://canada.greekreporter.com/2014/12/08/ancient-greece-exhibition-opens-in-canada/

Greece of Origins:

http://www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=11&int_new=74904

Thracian Gold:

http://www.bta.bg/en/c/DF/id/971737

In case you missed it among the Elgin Marbles thing, the Hermitage is celebrating its 250th anniversary:

http://rt.com/news/212255-hermitage-museum-anniversary-250/

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CRIME BEAT
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Germany wants to ‘crack down’ on antiquties theft:

http://www.dw.de/germany-to-crack-down-on-antiquity-theft/a-18124850

Latest Anonymous Swiss Collector Culture Crime News:

http://www.anonymousswisscollector.com/2014/12/culture-crime-news-1-7-december-2014.html

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NUMISMATICA
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A Roman hoard from Shropshire has been declared treasure:

http://www.shropshirestar.com/news/2014/12/11/the-claverley-hoard-roman-coins-found-in-shropshire-are-declared-treasure/
http://www.shropshirestar.com/news/2014/12/12/shropshire-detectorists-delight-as-roman-coins-are-declared-to-be-treasure/

Hopes that another hoard will stay at the Aethelstan Museum:

http://www.wiltsglosstandard.co.uk/news/11657949.Almost___10_000_needed_to_bring_Roman_coins_back_to_Malmesbury_s_Athelstan_Museum/
http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/county_news/11652910.__10k_appeal_to_bring_Roman_coin_hoard_back_to_Malmesbury/

Rethinking Achilles and PTSD

From Manchester Metropolitan University comes a challenge to Dr Jonathan Shay’s work:

AN HISTORIAN from Manchester Metropolitan University has refuted one of the most long-standing theories about the link between Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Ancient Greece.

In his book chapter Beyond the Universal Soldier: Combat Trauma in Classical Antiquity, Dr Jason Crowley argues against the commonly-held idea that sufferers of PTSD can be found as far back in history as Achilles and Odysseus.

The article will be published in the Palgrave Macmillan book Combat Trauma and the Ancient Greeks, in September.

Dr Crowley said that the roots of this belief in the universality of PTSD can be traced back to the end of the Vietnam War.

Universalist view

He said: “There is the view – and I think it’s quite appealing – that people are generally good. Generally good people, when they see horrible things, are upset and traumatised – that idea has an obvious human appeal.

“This idea was sharpened by the Vietnam War when a lot of men came back from South East Asia having lost the war and no longer able to function in society.

“When they came back, some veterans of World War Two unjustly ridiculed them because they won their war – a bigger, nastier, hotter war – and they put about the view that America lost this smaller war because the men fighting were morally weak.

This view of a morally weak generation was understandably rejected by the Vietnam veterans and those involved in their treatment, and they set out to prove that they were no different from any other soldier, and one of the first places they looked for proof was ancient Greece.

Achilles’ suffering

Scholars initially looked at the Illiad, the account of the doings of the “biggest, bravest soldier of them all” Achilles, and saw there what they believed to be evidence that the Greek hero suffered from PTSD.

This led to a wave of “retrospective diagnoses” on everyone from Greek heroes to bloodthirsty Spartans.

Dr Crowley said: “It seems harmless enough until you realise that the people treating our soldiers believed this and so treated everyone the same. I wanted to refute that idea so I modelled the cause of PTSD and what I noticed was that all the causes of PTSD are cultural.”

He said that unlike modern soldiers, Greek men believed that enemies existed simply to be killed and that a man’s worth could be valued by the number of enemies he had slain.

Protective factors

In addition, soldiers in ancient Greece didn’t suffer from social isolation, prolonged artillery bombardment or exhaustion in the way that their modern-day counterparts do.

He said: “One of the causes of PTSD is when you have no ability to take direct action – you can’t evade or remove a threat,. For example, sitting under shellfire is psychologically malignant. For ancient Greeks that wasn’t a problem – they could take direct action, they could either run away from their enemy or they could kill him.”

He added that there were also factors in the ancient world that could actually protect soldiers from PTSD, particularly the normalcy of killing created by living in an ultraviolent society.

He said: “They were surrounded by violence and death in their daily life. You were conditioned to deploy violence and that wasn’t seen as transgressive, it was seen as the morally right thing to do. Modern soldiers, if they kill an enemy soldier have the unjust feeling of doing something wrong. That feeling, that ‘I’ve done something I shouldn’t have’, was entirely absent in ancient society.”

Dr Crowley concluded by saying: “PTSD is not universal – it’s historically and culturally specific and when we treat soldiers we should do so on that basis, not that everyone is the same. The people who compared the Vietnam veterans to Achilles meant well, but they are doing the soldiers a disservice.”

So which came first, PTSD or ultraviolence?

News from Pompeii: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Catching up with what’s been happening at Pompeii … first, from ANSA, we read of 10 ‘new’ houses being opened to the public:

From the sumptuous frescoes of the Hunting Lodge (Casa della Caccia) to the exquisite decorations of the House of Apollo (Casa di Apollo) and vivid reliefs of the Trojan War, Pompeii is seducing visitors this summer with 10 newly restored houses, some of which had never been open to the public before. After long controversy regarding the lack of personnel at Pompeii, the ministry of culture has dispatched 30 new keepers for the holiday season, a State exam to select new janitors is in the works, and extended opening hours on Friday mean the public can stroll through the ruins after sundown. Tourists are enjoying the new sites: more than 13,000 visitors flocked to Pompeii on the August 15 national religious holiday, bringing proceeds in excess of 114,000 euros, while 122 people decided to explore the city preserved in lava during night visiting hours.

The 10 new houses include the Thermopolium (Latin for restaurant) of Vetutius Placidus, where people could buy cooked food to go. It boasts shrines to Mercury and Dionysus (the gods of commerce and wine, respectively), a dining hall, and an adjoining mansion with a vestibule, a garden, and a dining room.

The Ancient Hunting Lodge (Casa della Caccia Antica) is another must-see at Pompeii. According to experts, it had just undergone renovation when it was buried under meters of ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. An extensive hunting scene is still visible on one of its garden walls, and its interiors are luxuriously decorated with beautiful paintings and marble-like coverings.

Also noteworthy are the Domus Cornelia and its exquisite sculptures, the House of Apollo adorned with images of the god to which it owes its name, and the House of Achilles with its impressive reliefs of the Trojan war.

… but then we hear of a French tourist being caught trying to take some tiles home as a souvenir (this is the Bad) … from the Local:

A French tourist was arrested on Tuesday after stealing a relic from the ancient ruins of Pompeii. It is the latest in a string of thefts from the site which one tour guide told The Local “is all too easy to steal from”.

The 51-year-old was arrested for theft while trying to escape from the site in southern Italy, Articolo Tre reported.

He had taken pieces of red plaster and fragments from an amphora handle as a “souvenir”.

The latest theft comes just a few months after a tourist from Georgia was caught trying to steal tiles from a mosaic at the site, also to take home as a keepsake.

Giorgio Melani, from Guide Pompei, told The Local that the vast site is easy to steal from because there are few custodians guarding the relics.

But Giuseppe Galano, a tour guide at Visit Pompeii, believes some tourists visit the site specifically to leave with some of its “treasure”.

“I question whether they would do the same thing at home. They know Pompeii is famous and they want a piece of it,” he said, adding that the summer is peak season for theft.

“Especially on the first Sunday of each month when the entrance is free. About 14,000 people passed through the gates last Sunday; how can you control that?”

While the relics from the latest thefts are now back in safe hands, others from Pompeii have made it as far as eBay.

Just last week an Australian auction advertised a mosaic from the site, but the advert was quickly removed after it caught the attention of the Italian police

In January, a brick supposedly taken from the ruins in 1958 was also put up for sale on the online retail site for just $99, or a little over €70. The listing, which included four photos of the brick, soon caught the attention of online surfers and, eventually, the police.

As for the Ugly (in the sense it’s probably something you don’t want to see), here’s the Telegraph coverage of a story that’s been making the rounds over the past week:

Among the most popular attractions in the ancient city of Pompeii are the colourful frescoes which depict the lurid sexual fantasies of those who lived there 2,000 years ago.

Inspired by the images, a French tourist and two Italian women decided to make their personal fantasy a reality. They were caught climbing the walls of the UNESCO World Heritage site late on Tuesday night, heading for the city’s Suburban Baths.

The communal baths were once a lively meeting place for wealthy merchants and political leaders before the city was wiped out in the devastating volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD.

The bath walls were vividly decorated with explicit sex scenes, including group sex, for patrons who were looking to visit the prostitutes nearby.

The trio – a 32-year-old French man from Lyon and his companions – were seeking to bring those images to life when they were caught by custodians in a Pompeii piazza and handed over to police.

One Italian report said they were semi-naked and confessed to police that they were looking for the baths to fulfil their desires.

Pompeii officials said the three had neither damaged nor stolen anything from the historic site and police said they were only charged with trespassing.

But their escapade has provoked plenty of debate in an Italian press more accustomed to writing about tourists stealing souvenirs or etching their names in the walls of the country’s ancient treasures.

“There is fornication and fornication,” said commentator Pietro Treccagrioli from the daily, Il Mattino. “If it is done for art, it deserves applause.”

Experts say six frescoes in the apodyterium or changing room of the Pompeii bath house offer an “erotic catalogue” of the era and many of the villas in Pompeii also display the remnants of erotic images and statues.

Will Rogers on Romans and Pilgrims?

Did Will Rogers really say this? It doesn’t quite work, does it?

The only difference between the Roman gladiators and the Pilgrims was that the Romans used a lion to cut down their native population, and the Pilgrims used a gun.” – April 27, 1930

.. I have images of a gladiator swinging a lion against some Samnite guy …

New List: Ancient Food Technology

Julie Hrubey of Dartmouth posted this to various lists:

It seems that culinary technologies have been emerging as a subfield
within archaeology for some time now, and that it would be a good time
for those who approach culinary technologies from different scholarly
angles, whether ceramics, palaeoethnobotany, zooarchaeology, fuel
studies, etc., to have a dedicated discussion space. I have initiated
an email mailing list (there will probably also be a Facebook page
shortly, but I’m not quite there yet).

To sign up, go to
<http://listserv.dartmouth.edu/scripts/wa.exe?A0=ANCIENT-FOOD-TECH>
and click on the “subscribe or unsubscribe” link in the bottom right
corner; it should be self-evident from there. The list is conceived
quite broadly, as “a forum for the discussion of the cooking
technologies (including cooking vessels, fuels, etc.) of ancient
Mediterranean and neighboring cultures,” with the hope that
interesting collaborative approaches and pictures of broad culinary
trends will emerge.