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Maia Atlantis: Ancient World Blogs - http://planet.atlantides.org/maia

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    In keeping with my end of the semester reflections on teaching, I’m starting to feel that my History 240: The Historians Crap Craft is tired. Part of this is because, like my Greek History class, students seem to increasingly struggle with lectures. More than that, students seem to be excited about spending time in the archives with historical documents and our colleagues in Special Collections seem eager to open their collections to students and classes. Finally, when I designed this class originally, it was only for history majors, but in recent years it has been required for minors and now for students majoring in Indian Studies. More than that, I am getting a steady stream of students who are just interested in history and are testing the waters to see if this is a major for them. In other words, this class is now a recruitment tool for majors as well as a foundational course for the degree.

    These considerations have shifted my priorities for the class. At present the class is taught as two courses. I dedicated the first seven weeks to the history of the discipline and practice of history from Homer to the present. The second seven weeks focus on a series of assignments designed to prepare students to write their capstone paper (and to introduce them to basic forms of writing used in other history classes like the book review or prospectus). I explain that seven weeks of the second part of the course simulate the first half of their capstone course and reinforce the need to work efficiently to discover sources, build bibliography, and articulate a research question.

    In the spring of 2020, I want to break the class into three courses. 

    1. Introduction to the Discipline of History (5 weeks). This course will devote a week to Ancient and Medieval historical practices, history in Renaissance and Reformation, 19th century history and the formation of the discipline, 20th century historical practices, and, finally, 21st century priorities. This will loosely chart the development of historical practices and the emergence of the professional discipline with an emphasis on explaining how certain fundamental characteristics of historical thinking developed over time: primary and secondary sources, citation, plagiarism, peer review, articles and monographs, and departments and associations. 

    2. Archives (4 weeks). Budgeting a week at the start of the semester for introduction and organization will cut into our time in the archives, but I think four weeks might be the perfect duration for a short, public facing archival process. The first week will be a general introduction to Special Collections, and this is something that our friends in the archives already offer. The next three weeks will focus on three things: a single document or (small) collection of documents, understanding its significance, and producing something public from it as a group (or a number of small groups). 

    3. Producing a Prospectus (5 weeks). One of the threshold concepts in our history program is understanding how to problematize a historical thesis. In fact, during our capstone presentation at the end of every semester, it is possible to draw a clear and distinct line between students who understand how their work fits into a scholarly conversation and those who do not. The former start with a brief sketch of historiography and the latter start with a description of events. While it is difficult to say that one approach is substantively better than the other, the former tends to reflect disciplinary practices more closely and the latter tends toward antiquarianism. In my experience, antiquarianism serves a useful purpose only when it is approached critically and this is a leap that students sometimes struggle to make. Framing the last 5 weeks of the class around writing a prospectus with a substantial bibliography and a clearly problematized thesis give students experience with this kind of thinking well in advance of their capstone paper. More than that, it serves as a kind of “live fire” drill in preparing a prospectus efficiently in 5 weeks which parallels the first five weeks in their capstone course. In my experience, students who are able to problematize their thesis in the first month of their capstone course are significantly more likely to be successful than those who take longer. 

    Students obviously struggle with both the abstraction of historiography and the complexities of the academic discourse, but these can’t be avoided if our goal is to produce thoughtful and critical students in the discipline. On the other hand, most students are drawn to history not because of the invigorating debates between distinguished scholars, but because they are curious about the past as the past. Giving them time in the archives to handle documents and explore collections feeds that sense of wonder and giving them a chance to put these collections in context allows them to see how their interest in the past and the discipline of history can mutually reinforce one another. This kind of gently introduction to the discipline might help us recruit some majors from our required class and make the course itself more enjoyable. 

     

     


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  • 11/29/18--06:44: FLO as the Last Resort

  • A member of a metal detecting forum near you has a problem, he or she needs help identifying an artefact they've found (mini armour suit ?Post by DingDong » Sun Nov 25, 2018)
    New to the hobby have managed to identify most bits so far but last dig got 3 bits i couldn't here is the 1st one, any help appreciated before i decide to clean it. When I dug this out back and front were in position but cleaning the dirt off showed they were no longer joined [...] any one got a clue please [?].
    The reply? (littleboot » Mon Nov 26, 2018 2:27 pm)
    I don't know myself but the patina looks nice and it has a pre-vicky look to it. If you don't get a positive ID this time then you can always FLO it.

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    A copper alloy ring bearing the inscription “of Pilatus” may have belonged to Pontius Pilate. The ring was discovered in excavations of the Herodium in 1968–69, and a new study of it was requested by the current excavation director Roi Porat. The results of the investigation were published in the Israel Exploration Journal, and popular articles have been written in Haaretz (premium) and The Times of Israel. The latter article concludes:

    As to whose ring it actually was, the authors offer a few suggestions, including other Early Roman period men called “Pilatus.” Likewise, the name may have referred to those under the historical Pilate’s command, a member of his family “or some of his freed slaves,” they write.

    “It is conceivable,” write the authors, “that this finger ring from a Jewish royal site might have belonged to a local individual, either a Jew, a Roman, or another pagan patron with the name Pilatus.”

    It did not, they conclude, belong to the Roman prefect himself.

    Porat offers another possibility, however. What if, maybe, Pilate had a gold ring for ceremonial duties and a simple copper ring for everyday wear?

    “There is no way of proving either theory 100% and everyone can have his own opinion,” said Porat. Regardless, “it’s a nice story and interesting to wrap your head around.”

    The Israel Exploration Journal article is not online (as far as I can tell), but its abstract reads:

    A simple copper-alloy ring dated to the first century BCE–mid-first century CE was discovered in the hilltop palace at Herodium. It depicts a krater circled by a Greek inscription, reading: ‘of Pilatus’. The article deals with the typology of ancient representations of kraters in Second Temple Jewish art and with the possibility that this ring might have belonged to Pontius Pilatus, the prefectof the Roman province of Judaea or to a person in his administration, either a Jew or a pagan.

    HT: Alexander Schick


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    Vlaams minister Geert Bourgeois kent een premie van 436.000 euro toe voor de restauratie van drie hoeves in Limburg. Het gaat om vakwerkhoeves in Alken en Hasselt, en een hoeve in Grote-Brogel (Peer). “Het zijn alle drie mooie voorbeelden van landelijke architectuur in Limburg uit de 19de eeuw,” aldus Bourgeois. “Na restauratie zullen trotse bewoners de hoeves als gezinswoning gebruiken.”

    De hoeve aan de Beckershofweg in Grote-Brogel is een langgestrekte hoeve, gebouwd aan het begin van de negentiende eeuw. Ze is een mooi bewaard voorbeeld van een Kempische hoeve met traditionele architecturale elementen en typische componenten van het boerenbedrijf.

    De vakwerkhoeve aan de Lindenstraat in Alken is een half-gesloten hoeve, gebouwd rond 1845. Rond 1856 werd het complex verder aangepast en uitgebreid met onder meer een bakhuis. De hoeve hoort bij een reeks vakwerkgebouwen in de wijk Ter Linden. De hoeve heeft nog authentieke elementen zoals een mestvaalt op het erf voor het woonhuis en een waterput tussen wagenhuis en schuur.

    De vakwerkhoeve aan de Melbeekstraat in Hasselt(foto) is ook een half-gesloten hoeve die in de Atlas van de Buurtwegen uit 1840 staat. Het complex bestaat uit een woonhuis, een koe- en paardenstal, een varkensstal, een schuur en een bakhuis.


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    Het veldwerk op de site ‘Hill 80’ in Wijtschate werd midden juli succesvol afgerond en de verwerking draait sindsdien op volle toeren. De aangetroffen gesneuvelden en hun persoonlijke bezittingen zijn intussen bij de juiste instanties terecht. Tijd dus voor een eerste overzicht. Vanwege de grote betrokkenheid van talloze mensen en sponsors presenteert het team van Dig Hill 80 op maandag 10 december de resultaten van het archeologisch onderzoek in ‘Het Perron’ te Ieper.

    Dat een internationale crowdfunding tot een succesvolle opgraving zou leiden, had tot voor kort niemand zien aankomen. Maar het voorbije jaar evolueerde een grote sprong in het onbekende tot een absoluut succesverhaal. Gewapend met schoppen, truwelen, pikhouwelen en engagement zette een heterogeen team van archeologen en vrijwilligers vanaf 16 april, met de bijhorende media-aandacht, hun tanden in het bedreigde terrein aan de rand van het dorp Wijtschate. Tot 1914 bevond er zich in het projectgebied een molenbedrijf dat in de oorlogsjaren als uitvalbasis is gebruikt en ook tijdens de opgraving de kern vormt van het omgewoelde landschap.

    Wijtschate bleek een vredig dorpje te zijn dat tijdens WO I werd uitgebouwd tot een stevig Duits bolwerk. In 1917 werd deze ‘stronghold’ volgens een minutieuze planning gesloopt en heroverd. Om nadien nog eens veroverd en uiteindelijk bevrijd te worden. Deze drukke bedrijvigheid op de Heuvelrug van Mesen liet op het opgravingsterrein uiteraard de nodige sporen na. Vooral uit Angelsaksische hoek maar ook uit andere uithoeken van de wereld bleek er een grote interesse te zijn om de woelige oorlogsgeschiedenis van deze morzel grond tot op de bodem uit te spitten. En zo geschiedde. De krachten werden gebundeld waarbij mensen via alle mogelijke middelen de opgraving tot een goed einde wilden laten brengen.

    Niet alleen de mecenassen die de crowdfunding steunden, maar alle geïnteresseerden die ook nog graag hun steentje bijdragen zijn welkom op deze ‘presentation of finds’ op 10 december om 19u. Tijdens deze presentatie worden de archeologische resultaten niet enkel voorgesteld maar ook gekaderd in de woelige geschiedenis van de site en de soldaten die er leefden, vochten en stierven. Gastspreker die avond is Professor dr. Tony Pollard, Directeur van het Centre for Battlefield Archaeology aan de Universiteit van Glasgow.

    De inkomsten van de ticketverkoop gaan rechtstreeks naar het project en zullen worden gebruikt voor de verdere verwerking en rapportage van de opgraving. Tickets zijn verkrijgbaar via dighill80.com.

    Wie de archeologische vondsten in levende lijve wil bewonderen kan vanaf 8 december tot en met eind december terecht op de gratis pop-up tentoonstelling over Dig Hill 80 in het bezoekerscentrum te Kemmel.


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    [First posted in AWOL 16 September 2018, updates 29 November 2018]

    Biblical Archaeology: The archaeology of Ancient Israel and Judah, Aren Maeir

    Join me for an introductory course on biblical archaeology of ancient Israel and Judah during the Iron Age (ca. 1200-586 BCE). 

    In this course, we will use cutting-edge, inter-disciplinary archaeological research to explore the fascinating field of archaeology, the history of this era, and it’s “players”(e.g. Israel, Judah, Philistine, Mesopotamia, Phoenicia, Aram, Moab, Edom, ancient Egypt etc.).

    Special focus will be given to complex relationship between archaeology, history and the bible, and how modern research interfaces between these different, and at times conflicting, sources. In particular, how can archaeology be used to understand the biblical text – and vice a versa.

    The course will combine short video lectures with extensive illustrative materials, on-site discussions at relevant archaeological locations, display 3D images and discuss relevant archaeological finds.

    In addition, it includes interviews with leading researchers in the field, both to discuss specific aspects, finds and sites, as well as to present different sides of debated issues.

    What you'll learn

    • How Archaeologists work
    • Recent archaeological discoveries and findings
    • The archaeology and history of ancient Israel and Judah
    • The meaning of Biblical Archaeology and its relationship with the Hebrew Bible
    • How to determine if archaeology - and biblical archaeology - is a potential career for you

    • Length:
       8 weeks
    • Effort: 3 to 4 hours per week
    • Price: FREE 
      Add a Verified Certificate for $49 USD
    • Institution: IsraelX
    • Subject: History
    • Level: Introductory
    • Language: English
    • Video Transcripts: English



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    November 29, 2018 19:00 - LECTURE Erika Weiberg

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    Israel Shivta paintingHAIFA, ISRAEL—According to a Live Science report, art historian Emma Maayan-Fanar of the University of Haifa has found a heavily eroded painting depicting Jesus Christ at his baptism in the Jordan River amid the ruins of a 1,500-year-old church at the site of the ancient city of Shivta, which is located in the Negev Desert. The painting was located on a fragment of ceiling in the baptistery, the area of the church where the rite of admission to the Christian faith was performed. The image is thought to be one of the oldest representations of Jesus Christ to have been found in Israel. To read about a hat bearing a depiction of Jesus that was found in a very different part of the world, go to “Mongol Fashion Statement.”


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    Dahshur royal necropolisCAIRO, EGYPT—Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities announced the discovery of eight mummies in the Dahshur royal necropolis, according to an Associated Press report. Dahshur, located on the west bank of the Nile River about 25 miles south of Cairo, is noted for Sneferu’s Bent Pyramid, which was built during the Fourth Dynasty, around 2600 B.C. The mummies, dated to between 664 and 332 B.C., were covered with painted cartonnage and placed in limestone sarcophagi. They were found near a pyramid built by the 12th Dynasty pharaoh Amenemhat II, who ruled from roughly 1919 to 1885 B.C. To read about the use of mathematics to study structures at Dahshur, go to “Fractals and Pyramids.”


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  • 11/28/18--01:51: Talking Walls
  • Aedilitian Inscriptions in the Iberian Peninsula and the Mediterranean


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    Earth scientists are able to travel far back in time to reconstruct the geological past and paleoclimate to make better predictions about future climate conditions. Scientists at the Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) and Utrecht University succeeded in developing a new indicator (proxy) of ancient CO2-levels, using the organic molecule phytane, a debris product of chlorophyll. This new organic proxy not only provides the...

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    Ancient wildfires played a crucial role in the formation and spread of grasslands like those that now cover large parts of the Earth, according to scientists at Penn State and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Outcrops in Pakistan provided paleosol, or fossil soil samples, used to test the role of fire in the spread of grasslands nearly 10 million years ago [Credit: Anna K. Behrensmeyer]A new study links a large...

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  • 11/28/18--05:20: Job Advertisement
  • on the ERC LatinNow project


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    The funerary complex of the first Chinese emperor of the Qin dynasty (3th century BC) is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. This is of course due to the discovery of the statues of the terracotta army, intended to accompany the emperor in the afterlife. Much less known than the statues is the fact that tomb proper (still not excavated) lies beneath a gigantic, artificial hill of rammed earth. This hill has a...

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    New Stone Age paintings have been found on a rock face by a sprawling lake system in eastern Finland. A colour-enhanced image of a red right hand [Credit: Ismo Luukkonen]The red-painted stripes and hand markings were partially hidden under lichen on Tikaskaarteenvuori hill near the village of Anttola, which lies on the shore of Lake Luonteri, the Yle public broadcaster reports. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});...

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    A recently-discovered seal stamp belonged to Elisabeth Buggesdatter, a key figure in rebellious movements in Jutland in the 1300s, according to experts. Credit: Arkæologi Vestjylland/Ritzau ScanpixThe seal, was recently found by an amateur archaeologist at Hodde, near Varde in western Jutland, was identifiable because Elisabeth is one of few women from the period who is referred to in written sources and other relics. She is...

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    Gazing across 300 million light-years into a monstrous city of galaxies, astronomers have used NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to do a comprehensive census of some of its most diminutive members: a whopping 22,426 globular star clusters found to date. This is a Hubble Space Telescope mosaic of the immense Coma cluster of over 1,000 galaxies, located 300 million  light-years from Earth. Hubble's incredible sharpness was used to do a...

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    In 1963, astronomer Maarten Schmidt identified the first quasi-stellar object or "quasar," an extremely bright but distant object. He found the single quasar, the active nucleus of a far-away galaxy known to astronomers as 3C 273, to be 100 times more luminous than all the stars in our Milky Way combined. Optical image of the quasar 3C 273 (the bright stellar-like object in the center) obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope. It was...

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    A supernova discovered by an international group of astronomers including Carnegie's Tom Holoien and Maria Drout, and led by University of Hawaii's Ben Shappee, provides an unprecedented look at the first moments of a violent stellar explosion. The light from the explosion's first hours showed an unexpected pattern, which Carnegie's Anthony Piro analyzed to reveal that the genesis of these phenomena is even more mysterious than...

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    From their laboratories on a rocky planet dwarfed by the vastness of space, Clemson University scientists have managed to measure all of the starlight ever produced throughout the history of the observable universe. Constructed using nine years of observations by Fermi’s Large Area Telescope, this map shows how the gamma-ray sky  appears at energies above 10 billion electron volts. The plane of our Milky Way galaxy runs along the...

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