Friday, August 29, 2008

Amazonian "Cities"

Nothing to do with the Mediterranean, but the BBC story on newly-reported "cities" in the Amazon is very cool. Defensive walls, roads with shared orientation, farming, pottery... All relevant to debates on the origins of agriculture and other big topics in archaeology.

You'll note that I link to the BBC version and not the Science Magazine original. You have to pay for that, an annoyance that will cost them hits and influence.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Profile Photo of ARS Hayes 87b

Gebhard Bieg took terrific photographs of the late 5th/early 6th century AD African Red Slip plate found at Troia last year. I've added his profile shot and preview it here:

Monday, August 18, 2008

An African Red Slip Hayes Form 87b

Last year the Troia Project excavated and published via GRBPIlion an African Red-Slip Hayes form 87b of the late fifth to early sixth centuries AD. The vessel was conserved this summer and I've now added photos. Here's a description with links to high-res images:
P.H. .063. Est. diam. rim .44. Th. .074.
P18.0093:1. Almost completely preserved plate, twenty-six joining sherds leave two gaps and missing sections at rim and base. There is some chipping of the interior surface, though in general the slip is very well preserved; patches of plaster adhere to the interior of one group of joining sherds, to exterior of another. Vessel has been conserved.
Broad sloping walls with thickened rim and short triangular foot. Slightly granular fabric, fired red throughout (btw. 2.5YR 6/8-5/8) with occasional lime inclusions and some reddish bits. Smooth slip on interior surface is slightly darker red (10R 5/8), drip marks over rim, exterior largely plain.
From deposits associated with the aftermath of the early sixth century AD earthquake.

I'll work on getting in situ images of the piece up on the site .

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Saturday, August 9, 2008

2008 Preliminary Report from Tel Kabri, Israel

Excavations at Tel Kabri took place from July 6th to July 31st. The preliminary report just now published is admirable for both its timeliness and detail.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Munsell 1954 and 2000

Picking a Munsell color for the fabric and surfaces of one's sherds is a staple of ceramic studies. Here's a quick comparison shot of a 1954 edition, at left and courtesy of one of my colleagues here at Troy, next to a 2000 edition. It's of the 5YR page. The top row (hue 8/) has shifted, but many chips on the older edition have held their color well. Note also the layout changes, e.g. 5YR 4/8 is missing at the right. That's the major concern between editions: they are different in the details and that can influence perception. But if the goal is to communicate the general appearance of a sherd, either one would do just fine.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Whither Archer Huntington's Coins?

The Hispanic Society of America is withdrawing its coins from the American Numismatic Society; a decision that has drawn only limited press coverage, mostly in specialized numismatic publications. Here is an energetic telling of the story from Inner City News. The authors seem to have very up to date information.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Late Roman Amphora 1

I have added photographs of the neck, handles and upper body of a Late Roman Amphora 1 to the GRBPIlion catalog of Roman amphoras (scroll down to near the bottom or search for 'I17.0181:1'). Gebhard Bieg kindly photographed the vessel today and I uploaded his images shortly after he was done. Here are two direct links to an overview and detail of the rim:

There's a good description of the form on the Digital Amphorae website. Once you click past the annoying interstitial, you can read Paul Reynolds' up to date text. Here's a passage from it:
Sixth century examples (Egoff 164) differ by having a more cylindrical body and a rounded, plain base. The neck is also cylindrical, ending with a marked concave band. Handles are large and thick. The walls are ‘turned’ to create stepped wide flat sections separated by a narrow ridge. This ridge is in fact a spiral from the base to the neck. The same ribbing is found on later fifth century AD examples, but is not stepped. Narrow convex ribbing is characteristic of shoulder and base sections of fifth century AD and some early sixth century AD examples.
The Ilion example comes from the deposits we associate with an early sixth century earthquake but doesn't yet have the 'stepped wide sections'. A date sometime in the later fifth century or early sixth fits this vessel well.

FYI, the British Museum has an LRA1 with wide stepped flat sections. Click on 'Larger image' for useful detail.

Regarding that Digital Amphorae insterstitial, read this from Tom Elliott.