Category Archives: news

NYU archaeologist claims Parthenon was a monument to human sacrifice

“Deep Frieze,” by Daniel Mendelsohn, The New Yorker, 4/14/14
The_Parthenon_in_AthensSince the mid-eighteenth century, when Greece and its ruins were being popularized by British and European intellectuals, the Parthenon appeared designed to represent everything we have wanted both ancient Athens and our own liberal democracies to be: the pure expression of a rational, humanistic world view. Now, in “The Parthenon Enigma,” New York University archeologist Joan Breton Connelly argues that the temple was designed to commemorate a human sacrifice.  Read article…

Landmark Antiquities Case Settled

iran(from USA Today and AP) — Survivors of a 1997 terrorist bombing blamed partly on Iran can’t seize thousands of relics from U.S. museums to pay a $412 million judgment against the Iranian government, a federal judge in Chicago ruled Friday.

The case targeting the Persian antiquities at the Field Museum of Natural History and the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute was closely watched nationwide by other museum officials, who feared a ruling against the Chicago museums could set an alarming precedent that might put their own collections at risk.

“I am very pleased,” said Matt Stolper, who oversees Persian collections at the Oriental Institute. “I’m happy these (artifacts) don’t need to be surrendered to be turned into money.”  Read more…

New Cornell-Heidelberg-NBU Excavations at Bresto, SW Bulgaria

Bresto diggers“Producing and Consuming the Transition: Incorporating Animal Resources at the Turn from Late Bronze to Early Iron Age in SW Bulgaria”  [see page for full description].  Dates: July 21-August-24th

Contacts: John Gorczyk (Cornell), Project supervisor:; Nerissa Russell (Cornell), co-PI: ; Bogdan Athanassov (New Bulgarian University), co-PI ; Philipp Stockhammer (Heidelberg), Project supervisor:                        

The larger goal of the project is to understand the transition from the LBA to EIA in the Mesta Valley where the site of Bresto is located. Previous work has shown that changes to settlement patterns were driven in part by increased communication with Aegean polities through major river valleys like the Struma. Large stone structures were built on prominent places in the landscape, positioned to provide the greatest vision of the surroundings or to control movement through river corridors and mountain passes. Among the many artifacts recovered from these structures were Mycenean ceramics, indicating a connection with the LBA polities further south. The most well studied of these, Kaimenska Chuka, was excavated by Mark Stefanovich and his team in the 1990s. Continue reading

New Open Access Journal Taking Submissions

arts-logoDear colleagues, I am editor of Greek and Roman Art and Archaeology for the relatively new open access, peer reviewed journal ARTS. We are working on an issue on “Archaeology and its Media” (see attachment). I would like to invite you to submit contributions from your fields or to circulate this email among colleagues and students, who you feel might be interested. 

The journal covers a very broad range of fields in Art History. Feel free to explore (vol. 2, for examples, is on Rock Art): 

Thanks a lot,

Annetta Alexandridis
Associate Professor of Classical Art and Archaeology
Department of History of Art and Visual Studies
Cornell University
GM 01 Goldwin Smith Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-3201

Wadi al-Jarf Site Rewrites History of the Pyramid Age

Jarf neareastarch.3 14 fig14As reported by Pierre Tallet and Gregory Marouard in Near Eastern Archaeology 77.1 (Mar 2014), a joint French-Egyptian team has discovered the oldest inscribed papyri and the oldest harbor complex in Egyptian and world history, dating to ca. 2550 BCE. The harbor site at Wadi al-Jarf not only illustrates the energy and complexity of Egyptian shipping that connected the capital to mining operations in the Sinai, but the 2013 discovery of an inspector’s ‘diary’ reveals the name of Khufu’s last overseer of works (Ankh-haf), lengthens Khufu’s reign by about 3 years, and provides invaluable insights into the construction of the Pyramids of Giza.

Punic Child Sacrifice Debate Heating Up

What follows is an essay by Hélène BENICHOU-SAFAR, UMR 8167, Orient et Méditerranée Chercheur associé, Paris. [re-posted on AGADE e-list]

Deux groupes d’auteurs ont récemment mis à profit les résultats d’un nouvel examen ostéologique pour réaffirmer dans deux articles réunis sous la même bannière dans Antiquity. 87, 2013[i] et prétendant clore le débat, qu’en dépit de l’incrédulité d’un grand nombre de spécialistes, les cendres enfantines découvertes par milliers dans les tophets puniques correspondaient à autant de sacrifices humains (les tophets, rappelons-le, sont ces enceintes si singulières qui sont constituées de lits superposés d’ex-voto et d’urnes cinéraires emplies d’ossements d’enfants mêlés ou non d’ossements d’animaux). Ces articles ont été signalés, présentés et/ou commentés dans The Guardian[ii], dans le Journal de l’Université d’Oxford[iii] mais surtout dans la présente tribune[iv] qui leur a servi de caisse de résonance et qui a pu laisser croire à un « scoop » : que l’on tenait désormais la preuve que « Ancient Carthaginians really did sacrifice their children », comme le titrait résolument l’un de ces organes de presse. Face à une telle situation, les chercheurs qui soutiennent au contraire que les cendres des tophets sont, dans leur très grande majorité au moins, celles d’enfants morts naturellement, se devaient de réagir et de faire entendre leur voix. Pour être l’un d’eux, je m’y emploierai ici. Read more…

Egypt Asks U.S. to Impose Sharp Curbs on Importing of Antiquities

[from NYTimes] By TOM MASHBERG

WASHINGTON — Egypt’s antiquities minister is asking the Obama administration to impose emergency restrictions on the importing of ancient artifacts from his country, saying that the looting and smuggling of such treasures has been “catastrophic” since the Arab Spring revolt of 2011.

In a meeting on Tuesday at the State Department, the minister, Mohamed Ibrahim Ali, pushed for fast action on the restrictions, a measure that the United States can take only after a nation submits a complex formal proposal. The State Department said that it was open to such a request. Read more at NYTimes

Empowering Jordanian women in archaeological management

256-jordan-women-From <>:
Jordan women in archaeology management plan UN funds project to help women manage local archaeological site and attract tourists
By Garry Shaw

Members of the co-op society discuss plans during the January launch for the Empowering Rural Women Project, a collaborative program joint funded by UN Women and Unesco
The village of Umm el-Jimal, which dates back to the first century AD, is in the poorest and least developed regions of Jordan. Women are particularly disenfranchised: they have traditionally played little role in the area’s economy, and unemployment among women is twice the rate of men. Continue reading