love, vodka, or the sea
"You wonder what I am doing? Well, so do I, in truth. Days seem to dawn, suns to shine, evenings to follow, and then I sleep. What I have done, what I am doing, what I am going to do, puzzle and bewilder me. Have you ever been a leaf and fallen from your tree in autumn and been really puzzled about it? That's the feeling." --T.E. Lawrence


Werner Bischof - Caryatids, Acropolis, Athens, 1946

Archaeologists Excavate Lower City of Mycenae



Mycenae — the ancient city of the legendary King Agamemnon, best known from Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey and its iconic Lion Gate and cyclopean defensive walls, has long fascinated scholars and site visitors alike with the epic proportions of its imposing citadel remains. Located about 56 miles…

Tut’s Tomb: A Replica Fit for a King



The thing to understand about archaeology is that it’s a science of destruction. The moment an ancient site is discovered, its physical condition immediately begins to deteriorate. Every dig removes a layer of the archaeological record that can never be replaced, and once humans are allowed to visit, with their hot breath and sweat and backpacks, walls start crumbling, pigments start flaking, and before you know it the site has to close down to “rest,” or close for good—a victim of its own celebrity.

Now, a practice is gaining traction that may save us from inadvertently wrecking the very cultural treasures we most want to see: the creation of high-tech copies of ancient archaeological sites. We’re not talking sized-down Las Vegas knockoffs of the Pyramids but forensically analyzed, 3-D copies so minutely detailed that the naked eye can’t distinguish them from the originals. Read more.


The Rescuing of the Abu Simbel in 1968. They where moved to a new site to save them from being swallowed up by the Nile River, because of the construction of the Aswan High Dam.

A Point of View: Is the archaeological dig a thing of the past?



Archaeological discoveries are more likely to be found by technology than with a trowel and a torch, writes classical historian Mary Beard.

If you want a vivid glimpse of ancient Roman life, the best place to go - after the more famous Pompeii - is the town of Ostia, a 30-minute train ride from the centre of Rome, near the coast. It’s one of my very favourite sites. Beautifully peaceful, surrounded by shady umbrella pines, and, quite unlike Pompeii, you often have it almost to yourself.

It wasn’t so peaceful 2,000 years ago. From the end of the 1st Century AD, Ostia was one the two main ports of the city of Rome. It’s where many of the supplies needed to keep the million or so inhabitants of the capital alive were hauled ashore. And it had then the seedy reputation that most big ports have even now. Read more.

I love digging but it is a destructive process. no matter how precise we think we are and how good we think or recording is, 100 years from now we’ll probably look as bad as we think of Schliemann. looking forward to a world of field archaeology that doesn’t involve digging!


Cranes lift the face of a statue from the Abu Simbel Temples in Egypt, May 1966.Photograph by Georg Gerster, National Geographic


Ancient Puppy Paw Prints Found on Roman Tiles

The Colosseum’s Badly Needed Bath



Rome’s Colosseum will soon look a little more like it did in the bad old days two millennia ago, when it first hosted gladiator fights, mock naval battles and public executions carried out by wild animals.

The $35 million project—the first full cleaning in the Colosseum’s history—aims to return it to its former splendor, while also strengthening the overall structure. Earthquakes, the pillaging of pieces of its outer frame, heavy car traffic and Rome’s nearby subway have damaged key parts. The scrubdown should also reveal secrets of how one of the world’s most famous, and often neglected, monuments remained standing for 20 centuries.

Some surprises have already emerged during the project’s first six months. The restorers expect to uncover the first five arcades this summer. Visitors will find that the monument’s Travertine limestone is once again a vibrant dark ivory— Read more.

Egyptologists identify tomb of royal children



Who had the privilege to spend eternal life next to the pharaoh? Close to the royal tombs in the Egyptian Valley of the Kings, excavations by Egyptologists from the University of Basel have identified the burial place of several children as well as other family members of two pharaohs.

Basel Egyptologists of the University of Basel Kings’ Valley Project have been working on tomb KV 40 in the Valley of the Kings close to the city of Luxor for three years. From the outside, only a depression in the ground indicated the presence of a subterranean tomb. Up to now, nothing was known about the layout of tomb KV 40 nor for whom it was build and who was buried there. Read more.

Under The Streets Of Naples, A Way Out For Local Kids : NPR


Teens in Naples collaborate on the restoration of early Christian catacombs in their city.

When Don Antonio Loffredo arrived here about a decade ago, he found three levels of frescoes, chapels and cubicles beneath the neighborhood’s trash-strewn streets. It’s a burial ground that dates to the 2nd century, the largest of its kind in southern Italy. But back then, tourists only wound up in this part of town by mistake.

Loffredo saw an opportunity. “We took kids with one foot in the streets and one foot in the church, so to speak,” he says. Some of them even came from mafia families. “I can say this because your audience is far away,” he adds. “It could easily be the case that the sons of a boss are here, and one of them has nothing to do with the mafia”.

Loffredo says crime families often feel trapped by a life they were born into, and are eager to find alternatives for their kids. So he put them to work fixing up the seriously neglected catacombs. Mud and dirt covered much of the floor; an old lighting system left much of the artwork in shadows; and a store room had been stuffed with waste and old equipment from a nearby hospital. All of it had to go.

"When we started they were 16-year-olds. Now they’re in their 20s, and they’re paid because they are entrepreneurs. It’s not hard to offer alternatives to crime if you’re creative and available," he says. And after fixing up the Catacombs, they went to work in management, the ticket office, and as guides.