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Saturday, 31 October 2015

Types of Viking Axes and Swords

Here are Petersen's well known  typologies (and chronologies) of Viking Age axe and sword types.


And Swords:

Tin and Oil

The Archaeology Reading Group has been running at the University of Melbourne for quite awhile now. The numbers of attendees, mainly postgraduate students and early career researchers can vary based on the topic, readings or guest presenter. There is nonetheless always something interesting to read every month with this group, and often even more interesting things said in discussion.

We were fortunate enough to have Dr. Giorgi Bedianashvili of the Georgian National Museum to discuss some food for thought in an article on the Bronze Age Collapse. The paper was called "Tin and Oil: Can we Forsee the Future through the Remote Past?" by Mikheil Abramishvili, Illia State University and the Georgian National Museum. It comprised the opening lecture of the 4th Eurasian Archaeology Conference (11/10/2012) and will be published in the forthcoming "Fitful Histories and Unruly Politics: The Archaeology of Eurasia from Past to Present."

It gave us all pause to see to the comparison drawn between  the internationalism of complex societies of the Near Eastern Bronze Age, revolving around the economy of access to tin to produce bronze, prior to the collapse, and our own complex international economies  so heavily focused on that other resource - oil. Are we too headed for collapse and will new societies rise from the ashes?

One thing that we kept coming back to was the nature of the transition to the Iron Age. While iron would come to replace bronze, iron was certainly widespread naturally and iron smelting technology and iron objects were still in use before the dawn of the Iron Age. We noted that the Hittite Empire collapsed at the same time, despite already having a growing population and having already developed Iron technology for use in warfare, so "new" technology in the form of Iron, nor demographic expansion is likely to have been a substantial cause of the collapse of Hittite power. Giorgi noted that in the Caucasus region too, we see no direct disruption of power reflected in the archaeological record. Instead there is just a more gradual transition from Bronze to Iron Ages.

So renewable energy technology may or may not to spell the beginning of the end for our fossil-fueled age today, but is that a cause or a result of declining supplies of a finite resource? Does it reflect cultural and demographic shifts. The extent to which such things co-occur in the same socio-economic climate rather than preceded each other is still not well understood, but is nonetheless worth giving some future thought to when considering what can the remote past teach us about our future.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Indiana Jones Hat

Where would Indiana Jones be without his trademark hat? You may have noticed my own hat, one that has quite a few stories of it's own - but that is perhaps best for another time...
My brother recently got back from a holiday, and what did he get his archaeologist brother - why a tiny Hollywood Indiana Jones hat souvenir of course! Haha!

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Disney's "Let it Go" in Ancient Greek with Lyrics

A creative effort from Classics students at Auckland University, that is just too good not to share! 

Disney's hit song from the film Frozen, "Let it Go" in (Classical Ionic) Ancient Greek.

Lyrics in Ancient Greek and English


Friday, 9 October 2015

Between Artefact and Text Exhibition at the Ian Potter Museum of Art

A quick catch up post for you all, good reading folk of this blog.

Last year I went to the opening of The Ian Potter Museum of Art's Exhibition 'Between Artefact and Text.' The exhibition was designed as a public, schools and undergraduate educational and informative display. Objects were drawn primarily  from "the Potter's" own collections, many of which have come as generous gifts over the years, on top of the core founding donation collection of the museum and various other pieces acquired by the University of Melbourne over time. 
The concept was to explore three well known ancient cultures through a mythic text and then display artefacts which depicted, represented, were described in or otherwise reflected something about the mythic text and the society that recorded it. Ancient Egypt was explored through the Tale of Sinhue, the gripping tale of an exile's adventures and new life in Canaan only to have lived along adventourous life and return to his beloved homeland. Mesopotamia was examined through the Epic of Gilgamesh about the legendary king of Uruk described as 'two parts god and one part man' (meaning he was viewed as both a demigod hero and a priest-king mortal - but with just a bit more of the divine in him than the man) and he has often been claimed as the world's first superhero. The Classical worlds of Greece and Rome was explored through Homer's the Iliad and Virgil's Aeneid in turn.

A great teaching and learning exhibition that highlighted how we can make the best use of useing texts and artefacts together to better understand past societies (and as a mirror of our own), which urges the observer to question how and where text and artefacts might tell different perspectives of even the same story, and how and why might that be so.