12.25.2015

Today in 6 BC a Baby Was Born ...

And because a Roman emperor named Augustus ordered a census, that's why most Christians know who he was. For those that might want to know a little more, I can't recommend Adrian Goldsworthy's book enough.


Augustus: From Revolutionary to Emperor - hardcover at Amazon UK
Augustus: From Revolutionary to Emperor - Kindle at Amazon UK
Yale hardcover at Amazon US - Augustus: First Emperor of Rome

12.24.2015

Merry Christmas Everybody

Every archaeologist has at some point been mildly irritated at having to once again explain that archaeologists don't "do" dinosaurs, that's paleontologists ... but in the spirit of reconciliation, I present:



Merry Christmas to those that celebrate, and Happy Holidays to the rest of us.

12.23.2015

RIP Harry Hyams

Harry Hyams was buried this morning at Willesden. He'd been looking forward to his obituaries. Sadly, most are riddled with mistakes - although he would be amused to be sharing a page with Madame Claude in today's Telegraph.

Harry was born a Jew, and continued to be a Jew; he wasn't seemingly accidentally born "to a Jewish family" but rather he was proud that his mother's family had roots in this country going back to Cornwall in the 1700s. His father was an importer not a bookie, and he went to a technical college . He wasn't an only child; he had family who were there today. His first job was in advertising.

Most obituaries concentrate on Centre Point, and it amused him that there was a nightclub at the top of it these days. He loved collecting, and could be slightly obsessive: despite his treasures he liked to 'borrow' minor drawings of purely historical interest. He read voraciously. He liked Gilbert and Sullivan. He was looking forward to his 90th birthday party. The plan was to hold it at Spencer House, with a buffet not seated, as he didn't want to get trapped next to someone that bored him. He wasn't a recluse; he just disliked many people. He was a romantic, who wooed his late wife by driving his car onto the train station platform until she agreed to go out with him, and nursed her lovingly through her illness. People were very loyal to him, because he wasn't some pantomime villain.

He loved London, and he died in his own bed on Saturday morning. He was going to have roast pork for lunch. He liked crackling. He loved and he was loved.