Wednesday, April 9, 2014

National Library Week - Oxford University Press Access

I know a lot of people outside academia feel that they miss out on so many of the online resources because ... well, the subscription costs are ridiculously high (I'm looking at you, JSTOR), and since so many libraries have put journals into storage assuming people have JSTOR access it's become a bit of a Catch-22 situation. So this is a bit of advance warning that OUP will be allowing everyone free access to their resources next week.

National Library Week - Oxford University Press:

All OUP Online resources are free April 13-19th

To celebrate National Library Week in the United States (April 13th-19th) and all the hard work librarians do to support their patrons, OUP is freeing up all of our online resources* for the week! Libraries are a vital part of many communities, whether it is a school, a town/city, the government, a corporation, or a hospital, and we have freed up this unprecedented amount of content to show our appreciation for these libraries.
Simply use the below login credentials!
No sign-ups are required!
Username: libraryweek
Password: libraryweek

Monday, April 7, 2014

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A New Direction For PhDiva

As some of you may be aware I've been a bit ill recently, and so have had time to do a lot of soul-searching. I've come to realise that archaeology may sound glamorous, but my heart yearns for true outer beauty and it's time to embrace my superficial side.

Therefore, I am re-branding PhDiva as purely a Lifestyle Blog. I'll be doing posts one the 10 best lipsticks to keep your smackers moist whilst excavating a pot hole, and giving out tips on how not to get dirt under one's nails whilst digging (soap).

I'd like to start by recommending a product sent to be by the lovely PR for Sachajuan* - their Leave in Conditioner. I've been spritzing it on my locks after towel-drying, and have never felt more like Princess Shiny Locks. Many products deliver miracles, few delivery them. It's my new go-to hero hair.

It's available in the UK from Selfridge's, Cult Beauty and, if you're so desperate you need same day delivery: - £ 21.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

More Research 101 ...

Translating scientific papers
Credit: Graham, CD. 1957. A glossary for research reports. Metal Progress 71: 75

via this brilliant Facebook Group about Science 

And yes, this is funny as it pretty much hits the mark ....

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ancient Crimean gold caught in legal limbo ...

Ancient Crimean gold caught in legal limbo - The Art Newspaper:

Dutch museum faces dilemma whether to return artefacts to Ukraine or Russia

Oops ...

Let's forget about that last post about the Hun grave ... whoops, apparently it was a fake site (just as I was realising David Meadows pointed that out) ....

Sevso Treasure: New Developments

All's been quiet on the Sevso front since it went on show at Bonhams a few years ago - the consensus guess was that the auction house were exhibiting the Hoard to see if the heat was off, and the items could be put up for sale ... or not. I know of no evidence for it's origins but like most scholars am dubious about it, assuming it was smuggled out of somewhere at some point.

Sevso Treasure - Bonhams Auction House - Report - New York Times (with a good slide-show of photos)

Several countries have claimed the Hoard over the years, and whilst I am dubious about their claims - I wonder if the "Hoard" was put together by a dealer to increase it's value - I am aware that people whose judgement I respect have supported some of those claims, particularly the one made by Hungary.

Then this news broke today:

Sevso Treasure, “Hungary's family silverware,” returned | The Budapest Business Journal on the web |

I am a little unclear about what exactly Hungary bought as the article says seven (7) items, and the Sevso Hoard is made up of 14 items:

It seems a bit odd if Hungary bought half the Hoard - let alone bought it if they felt they had a solid claim.

The Hungarian claim has two main points that I know of:

1) the name "Pelso" engraved on the Hunting Plate, which they say is the ancient name for Lake Balaton (photo source):

The other name inscribed, Sevso, may either be the owner or a deity: 
Hec Sevso tibi durent per saecula multa
Posteris ut prosint vascula digna tuis
2) the similarity to a 'tripod' - in fact a quadripod - excavated at Polgárdi in the 19th century:

I don't know enough about Late Antique silver to be certain, but the Hungarians feel that the 4th century stand is close to at least one item from the Hoard, and made by the same craftsman.

As an aside, the items that 'make up' the Sevso Hoard are mostly 4th and 5th century AD, and need not have all been made at the same time - in fact, such sets of silver were more likely to have been put together over the years, just as pre-Victorian silver tea services tended to be made up of items of differing designs and dates. And yes, there are rumours of spoons and other items from the Hoard around ... but again, these are rumours.


BUDAPES, Hungary: Hungary buys back 7 Roman-era silver trays, jugs | Entertainment News |
Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Tuesday that the artifacts were brought back to Hungary from London a few days ago after long negotiations with unidentified sellers.
So they presumably bought some of the pieces off Northampton or the Trust that owns them, not other newly surfaced items.

And this would be their unveiling in Hungary?

15 million Euros for the larger pieces of the Hoard sounds like a very good compromise - in theory they would be worth a lot more on the open market if anyone would buy them, but if Hungary couldn't substantiate their claim ... I assume the price is a reimbursement of the owner's cost?

For Hungarian speakers - or Google Translate users ;-) - this article gives more information -
Itthon: Magyarorsz�g visszaszerezte a Seuso-kincset - - including the fact that 15m Euros is a third of the asking price for the whole Hoard in 1990, that the items will be on display at the Parliament for three months, and the refusal to say whom they were bought off.

This Reuters photo shows the little box with a lid was amongst the 7 items:

A view of all the items now back in Hungary (the box is in the cabinet on the right? - photo source), which seem to be seven silver items (six seen in this photo plus the box) and the cauldron they were found in:

The silver items are shown one to a case, although there is also the cauldron and a (?) rhyton in the case with the vase on the left below (photo below):

BTW - this photo (source) to me clearly illustrates why I rather doubt that all the pieces could ever have fitted into the cauldron ....

re the Seller:
Lord Northampton did not own the Sevso Treasure, but rather a Trust did; the Trust in turn held no other assets, so presumably someone was paying it's legal fees ... One interesting detail is that after Lebanon abandoned it's claim, and the Croatian and Hungarian ones failed in New York too, according to the Hungarian Ministry of Culture (link dead, but copied here):
Although the trust now indisputably owned the treasure, it could not be sold even if a buyer came forward because Sotheby’s was demanding its costs, legal and otherwise, of GBP 7 million and placed a lien on it.

Presumably this issue was resolved as in 2006 it was at Bonhams, in whose vaults the items are said to have been since. And the Time Team special on the Sevso Treasure ...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Research 101: the Boolean Search

I go out of my way to answer any sensible questions colleagues or students email me but ... possibly because I've been getting a bit exasperated by some of them and I've answered a few recently by suggesting to the correspondent "just Google it" ...

Yes there's a lot of nonsense of Google, but there is also a lot of valuable information with just a few strokes of a keypad. The secret? Using a Boolean Search.

I feel that this is one of those very basic things that everyone should have picked up, but for those that did not, here is a simple Word guide from the University of Kent.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Band of Angels Bargain

I've been meaning to recommend Kate Cooper's brilliant and fascinating history of women in early Christianity, and then I noticed that Band of Angels: The Forgotten World of Early Christian Women is currently down to £1.09 in the Mother's Day sale on Kindle UK ... so snap it up here
(Those in the US can find it for $1.80 here).

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Ancient Coins Stolen March 2014

Stolen March 2014 - Numismeo

Many ancient coins were recently stolen from Joel and Michael Creusy - click on the link above for full details and photos of them all.

Syrian army captures Crac des Chevaliers

Syrian army captures Crac des Chevaliers

I was going to Tweet a throw-away 'did' they use crack forces? ... but having looked at the photos, this is no laughing matter. I learnt early on that the rebels were no angels, and I have no dog in this fight in that like most I find it hard to support either side. I more or less 'wrote off' Syrian heritage last year, but please click through on the link and read the story as it does make clear how bad things are there.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Dolce & Gabbana: The Ancient Collection

David Meadows reminded me that although I'd been tweeting Dolce's new collection (the dog keeps dragging me past their shop on her walks ...), I have not blogged it.

Dolce&Gabbana and the Ancient Greek Columns | Greek Reporter Europe

I can claim it's because I'm ill or too busy or too ... but the truth is that I don't like it as much as their Byzantine Ravenna collection from the Fall (blogged here). It's all a bit 'blah' ...

As always, Luisa via Roma is the best place to browse the new offerings from Dolce e Gabbana - here - but other than the over-size giant coin belt (second from right on woman in photo below), the collection feels like slightly better designed tourist tat.