Weekly Roundup of Archaeology, History and Historical Fiction April 1-7

Here are some posts I enjoyed this week:

image of Ishtar's Lion from Niumrud

Ishtar’s Lion from Niumrud

“Do you get to keep what you find?” Eric Cline, a leading archaeologist, discusses looting and preservation in the world of antiquities today. An excellent ASOR blog post. Click here for the ASOR blog “Do you get to keep what you find?”

That idea to “build a wall and charge it to the people we’re trying to keep out”? Apparently it’s been tried before and didn’t work—in Sumer, a long time ago. At a time when Sumer was strained in many ways, financial and respect-wise, the king ordered a wall built to hold out the Amorites, and then tried to exact tribute from the Amorites to pay for it. It didn’t work. The language in the cuneiform inscription’s translation sounds remarkably familiar. How history does repeat its mistakes, over and over. Especially for those who pay no attention to history. Here’s a bit of the translation from a short, scholarly paper, link below:

“…Šu-Suen, king of Ur, king of the four quarters, received the tribute of the Amorite land in order to build the wall to hold back the Amorites and make Sumer great again”

Click here for the paper on Academia.edu “Making Sumer Great Again New Insight into How the Sumerians Made the Amorites Pay for the Wall to Hold Back the Amorites”

photo image of Colossal Head of Amenhotep III in British Museum

Colossal Head of Amenhotep III in British Museum

Alabaster statue of Queen Tiye found by the right leg of a colossus of her husband, Amenhotep III. Somehow that only seems a possible sentence coming out of Egypt, the land of huge Pharaoh statues and much smaller, much rarer statues of queens. But this one is lovely and even has some of the ancient paint on it. Click here for Archaeology News Network “Alabaster statue of Queen Tiye found in Egypt’s Luxor”

In New York a group of actors are using ancient Greek drama to process modern war with the likes of Reg. E. Cathey (House of Cards) and Amy Ryan (Love, Love, Love) reading Ajax, one of my favorite plays about the hidden psychological costs of war. Sophocles had a lot of it figured out, those untidy details like PTSD that societies love to ignore. (Although, clearly, the term PTSD hadn’t been coined.) Projects like this make me hope that we might find our way through. Click here for Time OUt “Let the Ancient Greeks help you process modern war in Brooklyn” 



Caligula photo by Saforrest on Wikimedia

Caligula photo by Saforrest on Wikimedia

The Roman Emperor Caligula and his orgies and excesses are always fun to learn more about. Now the effort is to bring up another of his luxury pleasure ships sunk in Lake Nemi. This article has lots of intriguing details, including the pipes on the ships that carried hot and cold running water. Those clever Romans, if only authoritarian rule was not so susceptible to being commandeered by crazy men with overblown egos. Click here for The Washington Post “Divers to Scour Lake for Emperor Caligula’s 2000 year old pleasure ship”  

Ancient Greek ship excavated from the sea and reconstructed in Haifa Israel. Maiden Click here for The Times of Israel “Replica of 2,500 year old ship found off Israel christened ahead of maiden voyage”

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