Posts Tagged ‘antiquities’

Museum of Lost Objects Podcast

May 24, 2016

One year ago a man took a pneumatic drill to

Lamassu, Assyrian winged creature and protective spirit that guarded a gate along Ninevah's city walls before it was vandalized by ISIS.

Lamassu, Assyrian winged creature and protective spirit that guarded a gate along Ninevah’s city walls before it was vandalized by ISIS.  

the statue of a winged bull at the gates of the ancient city of Nineveh, near Mosul in modern Iraq. It’s one of countless treasures destroyed by vandals, militants or military action in the region in the past 15 years.” So begins the first in a series of stories about lost ancient art from Iraq and Syria.

These stories comprise the Museum of Lost Objects, a 10-part series and podcast produced by the BBC. Museum of Lost Objects follows looted, lost and destroyed antiquities or ancient sites, tracing the local histories, legends, personal stories surrounding Syrian and Iraqi antiquities from their creation to their demise.

Episode 1: Winged-bull of Nineveh
Episode 2: Palmyra: Temple of Bel
Episode 3: Tell Qarqur, Hama Province
Episode 4: Minaret of the Umayyad Mosque, Aleppo
Episode 5: The Lion of al-Lat
Episode 6: Mar Elian Monastery
Episode 7: Al-Ma’arri the Poet
Episode 8: The Genie of Nimrud
Episode 9: Armenian Martyr’s Memorial, Der Zor
Episode 10: Looted Sumerian Seal, Baghdad

Update on damage at the Mosul Museum

March 9, 2015

For everyone saddened by the events at the Mosul Museum in February, please take a look at Projislamic-state-2015-iraq-nineveh-cultural-heritage-political-violence-150226-00h02m39sect Mosul. Project Mosul is an action by the Initial Training Network for Digital Cultural Heritage that is looking for volunteers to help them virtually restore the Mosul Museum. They need to find photos, process data, contribute to the construction of their website and help them organize the effort to identify the artifacts in the Mosul Museum. If you are interested in joining their effort, email
If you are trying to keep up to date on the state of the Mosul Museum and the Assyrian archeological objects, here are a few blogs to follow:
Gates of Nineveh
Conflict Antiquities
Association for Research into Crimes Against Art (ARCA)
SAFE/Saving Antiquities for Everyone

Catacomb of Priscilla online

November 20, 2013

After 5-years of restoration work, the catacombs on Via Salaria in Rome have 1549c84c-6415-4805-acb4-0e9042c75845_RTX15KB6been re-opened to the public by the Vatican.  Using laser technology, the frescoes were cleaned and the sarcophagi fragments re-housed in a new museum.  Now you can take a virtual tour of the Catacombs of Priscilla.
For more information, including new research suggesting women served as priests in early Christianity, click here.

In-depth study of the Ara Pacis

May 4, 2011

The Ara Pacis Augustae (Altar of Augustan Peace), a famous Roman monument constructed in 13-9 BCE during the reign of Augustus, is the subject of a new, expansive web publication by Charles Rhyne. Rhyne, Professor Emeritus from Reed College, produced his site to make “available a more comprehensive body of images of the Ara Pacis than previously available in print or web publication.” His web publication includes high quality images as well as in-depth documentation on the altar, its restorations and now the recently constructed new museum — Museo dell’Ara Pacis — housing the monument (Richard Meier and Partners, 2006).

Buddhist relics in danger in Mes Aynak, Afghanistan

April 7, 2011

According to Art Newspaper, the world’s largest archaeological excavation is underway as archaeologist attempt to rescue ancient Buddhist monasteries in Mes Aynak, Afghanistan before the site is turned into an open-cast mine.  The site, a former training camp for Osama bin Laden, is now leased to a mining company in China and, at $3 billion, is the largest business opportunity in Afghanistan’s history.  The Buddhist monasteries date from the 3rd to 7th centuries. Archaeologists have uncovered a 260 foot walled complex with a stupa, a 25 foot reclining Buddha and wall paintings. Recovered artifacts are being moved to the National Museum in Kabul for conservation. Mining is scheduled for 2014.
For additional information on the excavations at Mes Aynak, visit Penn Museum Blog.

Japanese National Treasures damaged by tsunami

March 28, 2011


The Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs has released a list of cultural landmarks damaged by the recent Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. As of March 24, their list contained 353 vulnerable cultural properties. Among the damaged landmarks are Amida Hall (Iwaki, Fukashima Prefecture), Zuigan Temple (Matsushima, Miyagi Prefecture) and Matsushima, one of the worst hit areas and an officially designated Special Place of Scenic Beauty.

'Waves at Matsushima' by Tawaraya Sotatsu

Collection spotlight: Unreported Heritage News

February 2, 2011

In my effort to keep up with events in Egypt, I ran into Unreported Heritage News: Reporting on the heritage stories that are not in the media — yet. Owen Jarus, a correspondent for Heritage Key, a multimedia website that publishes history and archaeology articles, uses his blog to report on unreported or breaking world heritage news. A sample of his reportage includes his conversation with Dr. Gerry Scott from the American Research Center in Egypt on the crisis in Egypt and its impact on conserving Egypt’s cultural heritage; the discovery of a Greek coin from 210 BCE marking an eclipse in ancient Syria; and a study of a 3800-year old tablet from Larsa, Iraq revealing the business dealings of a tycoon.
A big thanks to my friends at UCSB’s Image Center for directing me to this great blog.

Egypt’s antiquities during mass protests

February 2, 2011

National Museum at Tahrir Square

While it is difficult to keep up with events in Egypt, according to the Associated Press (February 1), Egypt’s museums and antiquities are for the moment secured. Zahi Hawass, antiquities minister in Mubarak’s new Cabinet, reported that looters broke into the National Museum (Egyptian Museum) on Saturday, ripped the heads off 2 mummies and damaged 10 artifacts before they were caught and detained by soldiers. Fears of looting has resulted in the Egyptian military being dispatched to other archaeological monumenSoldiers in the National Museumts as well. Al Jazeera video stills, photographs and the latest updates of the damage to the museum and its antiquities are available at Hypoallergic: Sensitive to Art & its Discontents.

The latest from Associated Press can be viewed here.

The Dead Sea Scrolls go online

October 31, 2010

AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner

Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) and Google are collaborating to upload newly digitized images of the 2,000 year old biblical texts known as the Dead Sea Scrolls.  Dating from the third century B.C.E. to the first century C.E., the Dead Sea Scrolls contain the earliest known copies of the Hebrew Bible. Digital copies as good as or even clearer than the original texts will support continued scholarship and protect the original, fragile fragments of parchment and papyrus from further exposure. The project began over two years ago but the development of a new digital imaging process that captures various wavelengths in the highest resolution possible will be in IAA labs soon. IAA expects the first version to go online within six months. Read more and see the project in action.