7.31.2010

Tiffany Jenkins

http://www.routledge.com/articles/tiffany_jenkins_author_of_the_month_august_2010/?sms_ss=twitter
Tiffany is 'author of the month' at Routledge and I for one can't wait for her new book on human remains and cultural property - it's based on her PhD, and since her research papers are always brilliant, I'm betting it will be too.

7.29.2010

Ancient Egyptian Socks

Englishmen are notorious for wearing socks with sandals in summer. So, it seems, were Egyptians, if these c. 300 AD socks found in a tomb outside Oxyrhynchus are anything to go by. One major difference - the ancients went for bifurcate socks to accomodate the thong ... And some rather less conservative colours! I can just imagine Antony traipsing around Alexandria in a pair, although he probably would have chosen Imperial purple?

Warburg Institute, Saved From Nazis, Faces Bureaucratic Threat - Bloomberg

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-07-20/warburg-institute-saved-from-nazis-battles-bureaucrats-martin-gayford.html

7.28.2010

God is taking some time off ...

The Warburg Institute In Trouble - Again

The Warburg Institute is fighting for its life | The Art Newspaper

London University is causing problems for the Warburg again ...

This is the big that shocked me (my bold):
"In 2007 it squeezed the Warburg by raising its space charge by £500,000"
Not 'to' £500,000 but 'by' £500,000? This has to be a mistake, as even £500,000 a year in rent sounds excessive in terms of market rent for the area.

London University tried to in effect close down the Institute of Classical Studies by removing its library a few years ago. It's been tinkering with the Warburg, which is dying a death of a thousand budget cuts. And let's not forget that they managed to close down the Percival David Foundation, which once house one of the best collections of Chinese Ceramics anywhere in the world.

7.27.2010

Turkey must join EU (David Cameron)

Turkey must join EU, says Cameron: 'Those against are playing on fears of Islam' | Mail Online

Uh, no - fear of a border with places like Iraq, the possibility of having to bail out a huge country with an economy even shakier than Greece's, member countries being flooded with cheap labor (or the newly arrived unemployed who can claim benefits) ... there are 101 better reasons for not wanting Turkey to join the EU than mere Islamophobia!

7.26.2010

Is Curvy Christina Hendricks A Role Model?

A British Minister (government rather than religious), Lynne Featherstone, has spoken out against skinny women and said that Christian Hendricks, the curvaceous actress best known for playing Joan in Mad Men, is a much better role model for women.

Curvy Christina Hendricks is 'fabulous' role model says equalities minister - The Telegraph

True, but her body shape is as unrealistic and unattainable for most women as that of many models. The key to Hendricks' much admired figure is that her extra weight goes to her curves (not just her stomach and thighs), and that she remains in proportion. And where the weight goes on is more to do with genetics than anything else - one can starve oneself into 'thin' but one cannot control where fat is deposited ...

I think it's more natural for women to have bodies like Hendricks than Kate Moss, and larger sizes are to be encouraged, but ... I doubt the 'trend' will catch on.

A couple of years ago I blogged about dying my hair brown, a post which for some reason remains very popular, so I'm going to get personal and talk about my weight. My conclusion about the whole men date blondes but marry brunettes debate was that very few people noticed (and those that did were women, not men), and that it made no difference. My boyfriend at the time didn't even notice.

One can change hair color in an instant,  but not weight. My weight has however been all over the place recently. Last summer I checked myself in to be treated for PTSD, and I was a rake - dangerously underweight, unable to fit most clothes in shops (wearing 26 jeans at 5'9" is not normal, or at least it shouldn't be). I was told by doctors to put on weight, and I did. I regularly ate a whole banoffee pie, and not surprisingly I gained over 30 pounds ... which was probably excessive, although I'm lucky that like Hendricks it goes to my curves. At both weights I had in theory a 'normal' BMI, but I felt fat with the weight gain and was far too skinny with the weight loss, which suggests that the BMI tables are seriously flawed. I've since lost a bit of the gains my eating normally and hopefully will settle back to somewhere in between.

So did the way men treated me change? No. If anything, when I walk down the street I have far more builders call out greetings and compliments when I'm at my maximum weight than at my minimum. And far more men talk to my cleavage when I'm overweight ... But women were another story - the very back-handed compliments, the  'advice' and the general bitchy comments ... I've no idea if fat is a feminist issue, but it's one that works up the feminine of the species to spew venom.

7.09.2010

Adrian Goldsworthy's Antony and Cleopatra


I've gotten my hands on Adrian's new book, so I'm settling down with a glass of Pimms to read it. Just based on the 'Acknowledgements' I love the book already. Adrian and I have talked so much about it over the last year or two, and I know some of the contents already - but I can't wait to read the rest.

7.06.2010

The Oldest Illustrated Gospels?

Recent carbon dating of an illuminated Gospel in Ethiopia has revealed it - or at least the goat skin it's on - to be between 330 and 650 AD rather than the 11th century previously thought. The illustrations are clearly local, and the text is in Ge'ez, Classical Ethiopian. Ethiopia was one of the earliest countries to convert to Christianity, and has produced many lost religious texts over the years, such as the Book of Enoch which was re-discovered in the 18th century (fragments have since been found amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls). The book was found in the Abba Garima monastery, named after a monk who is said to have come from Constantinople.

The work was funded by the Ethiopian Heritage Fund, and the fullest account can be found here, in a 2008 article. Martin Bailey wrote a feature on the Gospel in the June 2010 Art Newspaper: PDF here.

Full selection of photos below, from the EHF.


7.03.2010

This still cracks me up ...

I know I've posted it before, but every American friend or relative that visits London wants to see this plaque to make sure it's real and not something I photo shopped ...

7.02.2010

King Tut's Missing Penis, Crucifixion and Other News

King Tut's penis is missing. Yup. Apparently there is a conspiracy ... (how could I not open with this story!) On the trail of Tutankhamen's penis - New Scientist

There is also an new theory about how he died. Tutankhamen 'killed by sickle-cell disease' - New Scientist

I should be ignoring this story as it's so very very silly (and not in a good way):  

Jesus did not die on cross, says scholar - The Telegraph

But I feel I have to link to it, to say that he is wrong.

Crucifixion and 'suspension punishments' are the same thing ... and there are plenty of ancient sources for crucifixion, though as with everything in the ancient world one would like more. Jesus may not have been crucified on a cross, since T-shaped structures were more regularly used, but to say ... also, and I admit to being a little unclear about this, but didn't he not die in Christian theology (the Koran also says he didn't die on the cross).

After JC, the man we most associate with crucifixion is Spartacus. I highly recommend Barry Strauss' account of Spartacus  (The Spartacus War: The Revolt of the Gladiators - Amazon.co.uk or The Spartacus War - Amazon.com) and summarised some of his crucifixion info in this blog post The Spartacus War: Crucifixion. Or for more info, just click on my 'crucifixion' tag.

Harold Bluetooth's palace has been found in Denmark! Also known as Harold I, he was the tenth century king that erected the Jelling Stones to honor his parents: his father, Gorm the Old, was the first king of Denmark; and his mother Thyra was a pretty formidable woman, she led the Danish army to fight the Germans. Apparently Bluetooth the technology is names after him.
Archaeologists uncover Harald Bluetooth’s royal palace - The Copenhagen Post

I'm going to ignore "Plato's Code" - from academic lists I can see that it has some support, but ...

If you're interested in ancient farming, when everything was done by hand, then check out this: Scythe festival: Blades of glory - Telegraph

 I really want a pair of these new Addidas trainers .... Info here, via a lot of people and David Meadow. I kinda wish they'd done them in gold though, with white wings ...

This isn't anything archaeology related, but whenever I read about these sorts of 'freak' animals I think of ancient myths and depictions of fantastical beasts in art:  
Two-headed albino snake goes on display - Examiner (via David Meadows on Facebook).

Just outside Maastricht archaeologists have found a 17th century mass grave. What makes this one more unusual is that it contains 51 horses. Perfectly preserved: The 51 horse skeletons buried side-by-side in mass grave - Daily Mail

With this one the headline says it all. But I've read so many similar claims, which rarely produce anything ...  
Archaeologists begin dig on buried stone circle TEN times bigger than Stonehenge - Daily Mail

In Cultural Property news, two Canadian Teachers 'arrested for stealing Auschwitz memento' - The Telegraph

And for those interested in iconoclasm. First it was the Saddam statues that were taken down, now it's Stalin's ...

The Telegraph had a nice feature about the Birley family and their three generations of work at Vindolanda, a Roman fort on Hadrian's wall which has yielded amazing information about the Roman military including a fabulous cache of letters telling us about the daily life of soldiers.  
All roads lead to Vindolanda Roman Fort - The Telegraph