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Articles on this Page
- 12/10/11--15:53: _Akhenaten, Tutankha...
- 12/10/11--19:53: _First analysis of M...
- 12/10/11--20:50: _Clowns Need to Chec...
- 12/10/11--21:31: _Essex Tekkie "Eagle1"
- 12/10/11--21:59: _Satius est...
- 12/10/11--22:50: _On This Day in Anci...
- 12/11/11--00:40: _Article on Sefer Ye...
- 12/11/11--00:48: _Graduate profiles i...
- 12/11/11--00:57: _Interview with J. Z...
- 12/11/11--01:17: _2011.12.27: Diccio...
- 12/11/11--01:17: _2011.12.25: A Lexi...
- 12/11/11--01:17: _2011.12.26: The An...
- 12/11/11--01:44: _Did You Catch These...
- 12/11/11--02:50: _That Euro Dinner
- 12/11/11--03:09: _Prehistoric artefac...
- 12/11/11--03:09: _Striking 'earth mot...
- 12/11/11--03:10: _Stone Age camp foun...
- 12/11/11--03:18: _Bollettino di studi...
- 12/11/11--03:59: _Vitruvius on Trees
- 12/11/11--04:32: _Herculaneum in Mexico
- 12/10/11--15:53: Akhenaten, Tutankhamun and Smenkhkare: New Perspectives?
- 12/10/11--20:50: Clowns Need to Check the Law
- 12/10/11--21:31: Essex Tekkie "Eagle1"
- 12/10/11--21:59: Satius est...
- 12/10/11--22:50: On This Day in Ancient History - Septimontium
- 12/11/11--00:40: Article on Sefer Yetsirah
- 12/11/11--00:48: Graduate profiles in Coptic Studies at Claremont
- 12/11/11--00:57: Interview with J. Z. Smith
- 12/11/11--01:17: 2011.12.25: A Lexicon of Greek Personal Names, Supplementary Volume
- 12/11/11--01:17: 2011.12.26: The Ancient Quarrel between Philosophy and Poetry
- 12/11/11--02:50: That Euro Dinner
- 12/11/11--03:09: Prehistoric artefacts unearthed on Scotland's Western Isles
- 12/11/11--03:09: Striking 'earth mother' figurine discovered in France
- 12/11/11--03:10: Stone Age camp found in Staffordshire
- 12/11/11--03:18: Bollettino di studi latini, XLI (2), luglio-dicembre 2011
- 12/11/11--03:59: Vitruvius on Trees
- 12/11/11--04:32: Herculaneum in Mexico
My thanks to CJB for the link to this paper. (He posted it in a comment, so I am promoting it so that readers don't miss it.)
It (http://kubaba.univ-paris1.fr/actualites/2010/akhenaton.pdf) is in French. Google translate isn't too awful with French but it mangles it somewhat and I can't persuade it to translate the whole article. When I have time, I will read it in French to try to catch the full sense of what they are suggesting.
One central theme is that Akhenaten was survived by a King (Smenkhkare) and Queen (Meritaten) who had similar throne names and therefore were easily confused so it isn't possible to say which partner outlived his/her spouse to rule alone, although they lean as usual towards the Queen. Smenkhare is seen as the occupant of KV55 and the son of Akhenaten, which is familiar territory. Less usual is their belief, if I am reading it correctly, that Smenkhare was the brother of Tutankhamun. That means the Amarna reliefs fail to show two sons of Pharaoh, but six daughters.
The Younger Lady is identified as Sitamun but they pose the question that the wife of Smenkhare might actually not have been Meritaten the daughter of Akhenaten but the daughter of Smenkhare himself. I need to re-read that section.
There is a lot more, with a lot of discussion of implications of the Amarna letters and foreign relations. The paper cites a lot of references. Since Google translate won't translate the second half for me, and skim reading something in French is a real stretch for me, I can't say too much more. I will try to spend time to read it carefully when I have time to translate it fully.
My thanks again to CJB for what is an interesting and thought-provoking paper.
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Dealer Dave has excelled himself, with one of the longest deranged comments on the doings of the preservationists in a long time, cross posted in several places. Mind you, most of it is, as is usual, cut and pasted from my blog with a bit of the traditional lowbrow vindictive coiney sniping and anti-gubn'mint rabble rousing (this time with a nautical theme) thrown in. I must have touched a nerve with the post about the first of the coiney comments on the Cyprus MOU renewal. As a result of the usual misdirection introduced by this particular blogging "Professional Numismatist", a number of matters of fact need to be straightened out:
I) Dealer Dave, counting on the fact that they are too lazy to check for themselves, tries to convince his coiney readers that Paul Barford:
does not understand the 1983 CCPIA, which essentially anticipated that nearly all MOUs would NOT be renewed and would instead be allowed to lapse unless very convincing evidence could be shown, to the effect that the proposed continuation of what was presumed to be a temporary emergency justifying extraordinary measures would be justified. Congress did not ever intend that MOUs should automatically be renewed unless some extraordinary situation intervened.[There is no question here of "automatic" renewal of course, this whole discussion is taking place because the process of the renewal of the Cyprus MOU is being referred to the CPAC].
But did the US Congress never intend renewals as Welsh asserts? The one-click approach to finding out the ACTUAL WORDING of the Act (as Public Law 97-446; or as 19 U.S.C. 2601 et seq. I'll use the latter, but the wording of the other is the same, note that Welsh cites no such references) pretty quickly reveals :
2606 (e) Extension of agreementsThat's actually completely the opposite of what Welsh asserts. How is it possible that a coin dealer in the US apparently gets so muddled about the wording of the main law which has any effect on what he does?
The President may extend any agreement that enters into force with respect to the United States for additional periods of not more than five years each if the President determines that --
(1) the factors referred to in subsection (a)(1) of this section which justified the entering into of the agreement still pertain, and
(2) no cause for suspension under subsection (d) of this section exists.
Most other nations when they became state party to the Convention did so with the intent of applying its measures permanently (or until they denounce the Convention as per its Articles 23 and 24). As far as I am aware [and I am sure Peter Tompa can provide the other examples if they exist] only the USA considers that it is something they can chose to abide by only when THEY please, and most of which they can choose to ignore except for temporary occasions when they might (perhaps), if you ask them nicely, and convince them that they really should, consider applying a few of the principles to their international trade in artefacts for a while before they stop.
II) Dealer Dave reckons that I am unaware that:
the title of the 1970 UNESCO Convention does not really describe what it is about,yes, I would indeed be surprised about that, because the title and the contents are quite clearly by the same hand(s) and the title describe the contents of the Convention. According to Dealer Dave the "actual" purpose of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property:
"is very clearly to control "looting" in all its forms, from stripping a nation of ethnological and historical artifacts that have never been buried, to smuggling antiquities that might once have been buried.No it is not. Just look at it, read it. It is about the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, in other words, smuggling. The reference to "looting" (actually "pillage") comes from the US legislation supposedly "implementing" it which refers to the single article (9 of 26) which mentions archaeological looting as PART of the problem of illicit trade. Again we see an attempt by the US to impose its own values on the rest of the world.
It is Mr Welsh who does not understand, the Convention covers movement of cultural property across international borders which a state party to the Convention wishes to regulate the passage of, and not just that which is looted and pillaged. It is the legitimacy of that movement (and not merely the origins of the objects themselves) which is the subject of that Convention (see Art. 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10-15, 17). "As any fule can see".
III) Dealer Dave asserts that the CPAC is "entitled to recommend to the US Government that the requests of the Cypriot government are not in the best interests of the USA". Is it? Is that its actual mandate? I thought that was what the CCPIA leaves up to the President to decide and the task of the CPAC is something else, that's what the CCPIA says.
Dealer Dave is confused (and showing his woeful ignorance on the matter) when he says that metal detectors must be regulated because:
"metal detectors can only be used to search for buried metal artifacts"Metal detectors are used in airports, schools, government offices and museums to check people entering the building, in food processing plants, sawmills, they are used by contractors to search for pipes and cables before using a mechanical excavator (or under plaster), they are used to search for lost change on beaches and fairgrounds (there are lots of You Tube videos of US detectorists getting excited by finding 1930s wheaties), they are used by meteorite hunters, gold prospectors. They can be used in token hunts on rallies, and childrens' games at English fairs, US exhibitions, and on the PAS website. All of which are archaeologically harmless (well, except - I would say - the PAS website one). This is one reason why I think the term "metal detectorist" is ambiguous and why when I am trying to be more lucid, I tend to speak of the problem I am concerned about as "artefact hunting".
V) Neo-colonialist Dave says "
nations such as the Republic of Cyprus must solve their own problems, and that it is unfair and unreasonable to create difficulties for US collectors because foreign governments are unable to control the behavior of their own citizens. A government that cannot do that, ipso facto stands indicted as being incompetent to be the steward and guardian of cultural property of any sort.Let's leave aside that obvious fact that (just as the looting of Iraqi sites when the country was under US/UK-led occupation), the problem of looting on Cyprus is not actually always a problem of the Cypriot government "not controlling" its OWN citizens; Mr Welsh apparently needs reminding that part of the island is under foreign occupation. Also I'd be interested to learn of a nation that has no criminals or ofenders - equally when it comes to making money out of ancient collectables.
Taking the sort of isolationist attitude expressed by Welsh above to its logical conclusion, Welsh would presumably then have the US withdraw from all international conventions involving international co-operation to achieve a common aim. For the rest of us, the illicit trade by culture criminals in items which form the world heritage is not the problem of any one government, but one of those problems that all thinking people should be concerned about and decent people should be joining in to do something about. That antiquity dealers and collectors see themselves as somehow above all that and even actively oppose it is a shame. I personally think they should indeed be shamed and ashamed of themselves for this and the way they go about it.
I leave it up to the reader to decide the degree of intellectual honesty revealed by this polemicist. The original coiney commentator had in a brief text written at the behest of the dealers quite clearly got it wrong in several places. ACCG spokesman Welsh could have agreed and written something addressed to coineys to avoid a situation where they are all repeating the same nonsenses, wasting their own time and that of everyone else. Instead of doing that, Welsh sets out to convince his readers (among other things) that both the US law (CCPIA) as well as the Convention say something other than what they mean, though he provides not a smidgen of evidence (still less any kind of a link to the original text) to substantiate his claims.
Vignette: Dealer Dave thought it necessary to explain to his US readers what an ovicaprid is, for their information, this is not an ovicaprid, just looks a bit like one.
On 8th December 2011, on a metal detecting forum in a topic " Re: The Twinstead Sovereign Hoard - Statement we find the information from member "Eagle1" that
"We are gradually getting all declared [....] We have identified people of have (sic) found these sovereigns and have not yet come forward".That is the coins - in fact a few days earlier it was reported that in the previous week just "47 and 3 halves" had so far been handed in. "Eagle1" assures list members that "the police are not looking to criminalise people needlessly. All I want is for the entire hoard to be declared, a decent article in the Searcher and the reputation of us detectorists to be restored". The interesting thing is that "Eagle1" signs himself "Andy Long, Essex Police Wildlife & Environmental Crime Officer". The policeman who should be policing "detectorists" is himself a metal detectorist.
"All I want is a sensible resolution to the whole situation. Please feel free to contact me. I am your friend not your enemy, I enjoy this hobby and do not want to see it needlessly tarnished!"Does PC Long use his metal detector to seek out and collect archaeological artefacts? How long has he been doing this and where, and how many PAS records does he have to his name? What contacts does he have after-hours with people who buy and sell archaeological artefacts on eBay, and does he buy and sell archaeological artefacts himself? Does he belong to any "metal detecting" clubs, if so which ones, and what d they stand for? Does he attend commercial artefact hunting rallies? Is he an NCMD member for example, abiding by the code of practice of that organization?
I would say this situation raises a number of questions and doubts.
"Its better out of the ground and in your hand for the history or monetary value rather than left in the ground to rot doing nothing for anyone".
Just being potential archaeological information about the past for future generations, eh? Is that the "best practice" the PAS is teaching them? And if it's not actively "rotting", what then?
Is that not a little like saying shoot the rhinos and release their horn onto the Asian quack medicine market where there is a need for it, because all of them will eventually die of old age in the end anyway?
This Day in Ancient History - December 11
The erudite Roman Varro (116-29 B.C.) says the name of Rome was once Septimontium. This would have been before the people living on ...
ARTICLE ON SEFER YETSIRAH by Marla Segol (Skidmore College) in Societas Magica Newsletter, Issue 21 (2009): Magical Letters, Mystical Planets: Magic, Theosophy, and Astrology in the Sefer Yetsirah and two of its Tenth-century Commentaries.
Introduction: In this essay I discuss the treatment of two important themes in the late antique work, the Sefer Yetsirah, and in two of its tenth-Century commentaries, Sa’adya Gaon’s Commentary on the Sefer Yetsirah, and Shabbetai Donnolo’s Sefer Hakhmoni. These themes are the effective power of symbols, and of the Hebrew letterform speciﬁcally, and theosophy, the belief that the created world can be used to learn about the divine. The Sefer Yetsirah expresses an effective view of symbols and a theosophic view of the universe. This theosophic view is intrinsic to the astrological outlook that informs the work. The commentaries on the Sefer Yetsirah take different positions regarding these themes, relying on non-Jewish sources and cosmological models to reinterpret the magical function of the Hebrew letterform, and the theosophic signiﬁcance of the created world. In so doing, the commentators reinterpret the Sefer Yetsirah in light of contemporary debate.The editor of the 2005 critical edition, Peter Hayman, thought that the original version of the Sefer Yetsirah could be as early as the first few centuries CE.
(Via Abu 'l-Rayhan Al-Biruni on FB.)
GRADUATE PROFILES IN COPTIC STUDIES at Claremont Graduate University School of Religion. There are some big names on the list.
(Via Alin Suciu on FB.)
INTERVIEW WITH J. Z. SMITH (Supriya Sinhababu, Chicago Maroon)
A word of advice for anyone hoping to contact Jonathan Zittell Smith before he returns to campus next fall: Use the mail slot. The religious studies professor— better known as J.Z.—doesn't pick up the phone and has never "seen the Internet." In a two-hour interview, Smith weighed in on chain smoking, dead religions, and the Babylonian Talmud.The interview is a few years old, but this is the first time I've seen it. I caught a glimpse of Jonathan Z. Smith at the San Francisco SBL/AAR meetings last month, so he's still active in the field.
(Via Nicola Denzey Lewis on FB. And yes, I know, Facebook is on a roll this weekend.)
Review of Rosario Moreno Soldevila, Diccionario de motivos amatorios en la literatura latina (siglos III a. C.-II d. C.). Exemplaria classica, Anejo II. Huelva: 2011. Pp. 529. €30.00 (pb). ISBN 9788415147190.
Review of P. M. Fraser, A Lexicon of Greek Personal Names, Supplementary Volume. Oxford; New York: 2009. Pp. xxi, 424. $80.00. ISBN 9780197264287.
Review of Raymond Barfield, The Ancient Quarrel between Philosophy and Poetry. Cambridge; New York: 2011. Pp. x, 278. $90.00. ISBN 9781107000322.
Assembly of the Gods with Leto, Artemis, Apollo, Athena, Zeus, and Hera on marble from the sanctuary of Eshmun in 350 B.C. CC Flickr User stevendamron
In principle, I'm all for a united Europe, a single currency and a fiscal union -- and feel dismayed at the Cameron stance. (Though I have to say that the appalling fates that have been predicted for the UK, outside the "real Europe", haven't so far sounded that dreadful to me "The New Switzerland", "The Singapore of Europe", "Norway without the oil". Could be worse, couldn't it?)
My problem is not the principle. It's how the vast superstate is organised and by whom? Thinking of this tends to bring out the rampant democrat in me. I can't say that I feel too keen on having a national budget "approved" by the European commissioners, and sent back for improvement if it doesn't come up to scratch on their view.
But there's also a giant questionmark, of course, over how you negotiate all this -- horribly brought out by the procedures this week.
I am in Italy right now, and I haven't been following what's been going on hour by hour -- so I'm only just catching up on that dinner and all night meeting.
I'm not sure, in any case, that it is a great idea for anyone to take big, long-term decisions over fiscal union with the pistol of Greek default and Italian collapse held to their heads. But, more to the point, how could anyone make sensible decisions in the way these leaders, elected and un-elected, were asked to do? (Clever as Mario Monti may be, do we really think it is OK for an entirely unelected leader to commit the Italians to a significantly new version of the EU treaty -- even if it IS to their short term advantage?)
OK, the whole public side of these discussions may only be a "staged" version; the real talking might well have been going on elsewhere. But is a nine hour late night dinner a good way of doing important business? The Italian papers are saying the Boyko Borisov (Mr Bulgaria) actually put his hand up a one point and asked to go to bed...and well he might have.
The other reports are equally dispiriting. David Cameron is reported to have drunk nothing but black coffee for 9 hours and to have complained about all the 'blah blah blah' of the technical discussions. Other leaders are said to have "knocked it back" a bit. I think, on balance, I would rather put my trust in the guys who put it away -- and if Cameron really did complain about the blah blah blah of technicalities, then I feel like saying "that blah blah blah is your job, mate".
Then there is all the hierarchy of dining. Apparently the leaders themselves ate in one room, with their EU ambassadors eating next door. They had same food (a slightly strange combination of soup, cod, chocolate cake and ice-cream) but the leaders got better wine (another reason why Cameron's coffee option seems duff one). The idea was presumably to give the leaders the opportunity to bond in private; but maybe it might have been a good idea for them to have had some expert advisors in the room with them (not just a blackberry away).
So think about it: the combination of serious exhaustion, encroaching tipsiness (or irritable sobriety), and too many calories. Is that a great way to rewrite the organisation of Europe?
Perhaps it has always been thus. Perhaps, underneath the formal programme, the conference at Versailles was organised no differently (and my guess is that there would have been rather more booze).
But look what a disaster that was.
New research is being carried out on artefacts recovered from a site at Udal (North Uist, Outer Hebrides, Scotland) where achaeology provides an 'unbroken timeline' of occupation from the Neolithic,...
Striking 'earth mother' figurine discovered in France French archaeologists have discovered an extremely rare example of a Neolithic 'earth mother' figurine on the banks of the river Somme. The 6,000-year-old...
Experts believe they have found evidence of a 4,000-year-old Stone Age camp in the Midlands - thanks to a dog walker. Roger Hall discovered a handful of strange-shaped rocks while...
Bollettino di studi latini, XLI (2), luglio-dicembre 2011
Éditeur : Loffredo Editore
Sommaire du numéro :
G. Polara - A. de Vivo, Aenaria - Pithecusa – Inarime
l. Fratantuono, Dirarum ab sede dearum: Virgil’s Fury Allecto, the dirae, and Jupiter’s Parthian defeat
M. Neri, sidonio Apollinare (epist. 9,9,10) e la possibile attribuzione del De ratione fidei a Fausto di Riez
P. Pleroni, digressioni nelle Variae di Cassiodoro: ancora qualche considerazione
P. Tomè, nevio, lucilio e il grammaticus Parthenius: due autentici ‘falsi d’autore’ nell’Orthographia di Giovanni Tortelli
Note e discussioni:
The important point to appreciate is that Vitruvius believes he has a rational perspective; today we would call it scientific. But that would be inappropriate in this context, and with the benefit of technical hindsight, we know just how wrong he turned out to be.
It is worth noting that a great deal of less valuable timber would be used in temporary scaffolding and the formwork required for the creation of masonry and concrete structures.
Alder: Alder is another familiar tree, which Vitruvius tells us was grown, then as now, close to riverbanks. He notes that it is of little value for buildings, but is exceptionally durable wood when used under water, and was widely used in his time for piles, notably in Ravenna.
Throughout, Vitruvius is fulsome of his praise of the larch.[left] Perhaps significantly, Vitruvius chooses this point in the narrative to push the idea of importing larch into Rome, to be used for fire resistant eaves to protect buildings and prevent fires from spreading. We will likely never know if this civic-minded innovation was in someone’s pecuniary interest, or if it was adopted.
Hornbeam is not a timber traditionally associated with building, but because of its toughness, was traditionally used for things like woodwork in machinery and pulley-blocks. This reminds us of Vitruvius background in military engineering and the wider field that ‘architecture’ embraced.
Feemster, Wilhelmina, and Frederick Gustav Meyer. 2002. The natural history of Pompeii. http://books.google.com/books/about/The_natural_history_of_Pompeii.html?id=3xfjyTqqR7IC [last accessed 13/10/11]
 For a discussion of wider uses of timber see; Ulrich, Roger Bradley. 2009. Roman woodworking. http://books.google.com/books/about/Roman_woodworking.html?id=DDh5yOgfnuoC [last accessed 13/10/11]
For our Mexican blog readers, there's a Herculaneum presentation during the celebrations for Monte Albàn's 24th anniversary as a World Heritage Site.
Herculaneum: Pasado, Presente y Futuro
Christian Biggi, Director de la Zona Arqueológica de Herculano, Italia
To see the full programme, click here