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archaeology

28 June

What is one looking for in these cases, anyway? One could find an object lesson, an unexpected symbol, but one is unlikely to find what it all meant; it is a void, then, and scholarship a waste of time? Perhaps. One little thing, this fixation on an object, whether worthy or no; wisdom and understanding […]

capital

capital

Lustral Basins, or the Archaeology of Remembrance

We stood in the sun, which was sharp and swimmingly white, though not quite directly overhead. The only thing brighter than the sunlight was the dust, which swirled and eddied low around our feet, stirred by the rare breezes. The olive trees and other low, scrubby plants were soaked in this dust, and seemed nearly […]

The Topless Towers of Ilium

Archaeologists are a fiesty bunch. Take, for instance, this argument about Troy. How many people, really, would exchange insults about the size of ancient Troy? How big was Troy, really? Huge? Perhaps. Just the citadel? Maybe. Can we say? Depends about what era you’re talking about, I suppose. Like most cities, what once was Troy […]

Lavatory

Palace of Nestor, Pylos, July 2001

Loot

Such dim-conceived glories of the brain Bring round the heart an undescribable feud; So do these wonders a most dizzy pain, That mingles Grecian grandeur with the rude Wasting of old Time—with a billowy main— A sun—a shadow of a magnitude. – John Keats (‘On Seeing the Elgin Marbles’) Allow me to sound heartless for […]

of doubtful origin

The hipster (who aspires to archeologist street-cred because she worked one summer at Petra) was talking about a scandal involving the Met Museum, a fracas she had heard about while working as a law clerk in New York. An eccentric gentleman had, it seems, written a book pointing out that many of the ancient artifacts in said museum ‘have no provenience’ and that the trustees, curators, & co. were, if not actually hushing the matter up, at least not proclaiming this ‘truth’ in large letters on billboards for the edification of the public…

Citation (42)

derring-do among the philologists

added too freely

In his ‘History of Ancient Art,’ of which the first edition appeared in 1764, Winckelmann gave to the study of the antique an impulse along a line which it has never wholly deserted; his theory of the ‘beautiful’ as manifested even in these Græco-Roman copies to which his imagination often added too freely the missing […]

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