Tuesday, April 26, 2011

42 foot tall statue of Amenhotep III excavated

As reported in the news today:

Archaeologists unearthed one of the largest statues found to date of a powerful ancient Egyptian pharaoh at his mortuary temple in the southern city of Luxor, the country's antiquities authority announced Tuesday.

The 13 meter (42 foot) tall statue of Amenhotep III was one of a pair that flanked the northern entrance to the grand funerary temple on the west bank of the Nile that is currently the focus of a major excavation.

The statue consists of seven large quartzite blocks and still lacks a head and was actually first discovered in the 1928 and then rehidden, according to the press release from the country's antiquities authority. Archaeologists expect to find its twin in the next digging season.

Excavation supervisor Abdel-Ghaffar Wagdi said two other statues were also unearthed, one of the god Thoth with a baboon's head and a six foot (1.85 meter) tall one of the lion-headed goddess Sekhmet.

Archaeologists working on the temple over the past few years have issued a flood of announcements about new discoveries of statues. The 3,400-year-old temple is one of the largest on the west bank of the Nile in Luxor, where the powerful pharaohs of Egypt's New Kingdom built their tombs.

Amenhotep III, who was the grandfather of the famed boy-pharaoh Tutankhamun, ruled in the 14th century B.C. at the height of Egypt's New Kingdom and presided over a vast empire stretching from Nubia in the south to Syria in the north.

The pharaoh's temple was largely destroyed, possibly by floods, and little remains of its walls. It was also devastated by an earthquake in 27 B.C. But archaeologists have been able to unearth a wealth of artifacts and statuary in the buried ruins, including two statues of Amenhotep made of black granite found at the site in March 2009.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hell Fire Club, Caves at West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire

What a walk through the caves is like on a typical tourist trip. A small LED torch was used to help the camera focus due to low lighting. The visit was edited down for time, but all the major tunnels are included, as shown on the map.

Amazing Animals: Roman Mosaic from Lod, Israel

First unearthed in 1996 in a rescue excavation in Lod, ancient Diospolis, Israel, a large and extraordinarily detailed floor mosaic was recently lifted from its site and conserved. Found in a large villa believed to belong to a wealthy Roman, the exquisitely preserved floor dates to about AD 300. This glorious mosaic is in the United States for a limited time before it returns to Israel to become the focus of the Shelby White and Leon Levy Lod Mosaic Center. The Legion of Honor is one of only four museums to display this treasure before its final and permanent installation in Lod.

Exhibition curator Renée Dreyfus says, “Other Roman mosaics have been found in Israel, but this one is exceptional in its lively imagery and its excellent state of preservation. We are thrilled to be able to display such an amazing work of art in our museum and think about what a great city Lod must have been in Roman times. Each excavated work in the Holy Land reveals so much about the history and people who lived in this remarkable land.”

Read more here

Friday, April 22, 2011

More super survey (team)work

Laying out some lines for Resistivity Survey:

There have been a few days of survey at Medmenham and a trip out the Hell-Fire Caves at West Wycombe - the data is being processed at present - here are some images, courtesy of James Ashwell, one of the volunteers who has so kindly helped me out (along with Tiffany and Lindsay - thanks to you all!)

Here's James, hard at work in the blazing sun:

Just another day on the river - I call shenanigans

I highly recommend clicking the link and checking out the full series of images that accompany some of the most ridiculous tugboating shenanigans you will ever see

Flip out over this Fantastic Ship

While this has nothing to do with archaeology, it is just so amazing I had to share (plus, I love all things maritimey)!

FLIP (Floating Instrument Platform) is the US Navy's oldest, and most unusual, research vessel.

Commonly referred to as the FLIP ship, it is actually a 355ft long, spoon-shaped buoy which can be flipped from horizontal to a vertical position by pumping 700t of seawater into the 'handle' end whilst flooding air into the 'cradle', causing it to rise up out of the sea.

Once the 28 minute transformation from horizontal to vertical has taken place, 300m of the buoy are submerged underwater, keeping the 700 long-ton mass steady and making it perfect for researching wave height, acoustic signals, water temperature and density, and for the collection of meteorological data.

Read more here

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Another day of survey

Thanks to James and Lindsay, pictured, for helping me out on another great day at Medmenham and the Hell-Fire Caves!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Rip Off Journal: limited offer of free publication

Back in January, I had a bit of a whinge about Antiqua who are trying to extort huge sums of money from budding academics needing to publish. Just got an email update from them..... see the below text highlighted in bold.

Since January, nothing has been published. This limited offer of free acceptance of submissions, rather than their usual €300, indicates the uptake has been low. Wonder why!?

You can even get "Fast Track Review", your article processed within 4 weeks for €500!


Promotional submission free of charge

Looking for publication quality? Fair peer-review? Rapid indexing? Submit your paper to our journal!

ANTIQUA is a new, peer-reviewed, Open Access journal intended to archaeologists and scientists having particular interests in the application of scientific techniques and methodologies to all areas of archaeology. Our journal publishes Original Research papers as as well as Rapid Communications, Case Histories, Editorials, and Letters. The journal seeks to provide an international, rapid forum for archaeologists to share their own knowledge.

Open Access journals are an ideal platform for the publication of your research enabling you to reach the widest available audience of professionals in your field of expertise. Publication in our journal means that your research articles will be available for free access online being immediately citable. Our journal shorten the time needed before publication, offers a high quality peer-review system, highly-professional scientific copyediting, DOI assignment, and submission to many online directories.

Open Access publishing does have its cost; anyway, as a startup promotional activity, all articles submitted to Antiqua before the 30th of June 2011 are completely exempt from any charge. All published articles are immediately distributed to CrossRef, DOAJ, and other available online indexes.

Reopened Abbey of San Clemente a Casauria

I now have a renewed interest in Abbeys, so expect a few more updates on the subject!


Two years after a devastating earthquake hit the Abruzzo region of Italy, an important historic structure damaged in the tremor has been returned to its community fully restored.

Following the earthquake, Bertrand du Vignaud, President of World Monuments Fund Europe, in coordination with the Italian Ministry of Culture, identified the twelfth-century Abbey of San Clemente a Casauria as a priority project. World Monuments Fund (WMF), the foremost independent, nonprofit historic preservation organization, and the Fondazione Pescarabruzzo, the most important local benefactor, agreed to cover the total cost of the conservation program. WMF supported this project through the Robert W. Wilson Challenge to Conserve Our Heritage and the Rudolf-August Oetker Stiftung.

At the inauguration ceremony on April 8, Gianmarco A. Marsili, Mayor of the municipality of Castiglione a Casauria; Bertrand du Vignaud; and Nicola Mattoscio, President of the Fondazione Pescarabruzzo, welcomed On. Gianni Letta, Undersecretary to the Italian Prime Minister; On. Francesco M. Giro, Undersecretary for Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities; Gianni Chiodi, President of the Abruzzo Region; and Luciano Marchetti, Vice-Commissary for the protection of cultural heritage.

Abbey of San Clemente a Casauria
The Abbey of San Clemente a Casauria was founded by Holy Roman Emperor Louis II in 871. The following year, the abbey received the remains of Saint Clement, a late-first-century pope and martyr. During the twelfth century the church was rebuilt, with a remarkable Romanesque façade that includes a sculpted tympanum depicting the building’s history, as well as Saint Clement in papal dress receiving a model of the rebuilt abbey. This type of façade, with an oratory above the portico, is rare in Italy.

The main doors of the church, created in 1191, are fine examples of medieval bronzework with a strong Byzantine influence. The doors are divided into square panels containing religious iconography, decorative patterns, and images of abbots and castles.

The earthquake of April 6, 2009, caused the collapse of a tympanum into the nave, damaging an ambon (pulpit) and a large medieval stone candlestick used to hold the Paschal candle. This collapse occurred over the grave of Pope Saint Clement, but his relics were retrieved from the rubble.

Macedon, Greece: Archaeology at the Ashmolean Museum

In the first major archaeological exhibition in the new temporary exhibition galleries, the Ashmolean Museumshowcases over five hundred treasures made of gold, silver and bronze, recently found in the royal burial tombs and the palace of Aegae, the ancient capital of Macedon. These extraordinary new discoveries are on display for the first time outside Greece. They re-write the history of early Greece and tell the story of the royal court and the kings and queens who governed Macedon, from the descendents of Heracles to the ruling dynasty of Alexander the Great. On view from April 7 through August 29, 2011.

“This exhibition is a very important cultural event for Greece. From the astounding finds made by the late Professor Manolis Andronikos in the ‘70s to the recent discoveries of the past twenty years, this is groundbreaking work that tells the story of life in the ancient kingdom of Macedon, northern Greece. The artistry, skill and foresight with which these objects were made represent a truly sophisticated dynasty about whom there is much more to learn,” Dr Angeliki Kottaridi, Director of the 17th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities.

Read more here (Artdaily.org)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Medmenham Abbey Survey

What a fantastic week:

  • Graffiti recording
  • Res. survey (image above)
  • Site photography
Thanks a million to Debbie and Jim for helping out, and to all the site staff for providing us with a warm reception.

More volunteers needed for next week's activities!

Email: aislingtierney@gmail.com