Sunday, January 18, 2009

From the Italian Press

A bunch of Italian news over the past few days; since we're still catching up, I'll just direct you to David Meadows' list at Rogue Classicism, "From the Italian Press."

Thursday, January 15, 2009

One Steak with Catchup

Finally made it home from that little AIA/APA shindig in Philadelphia... here's a wrap-up of what happened while we were conferring.

The Soprintendenza di Bari is digging at S. Severo near Foggia in the Apulian Tavoliere, in an area previously targeted by tombaroli. Among the finds was a 4th century BCE tomb containing a lower jawbone, a bit of an upper jawbone, and two bronze spearpoints -- the 'Daunian warrior' of the headlines. (ANSA, TeleRadioErre)

Three "Crime Beat" Stories thanks to SAFE:
  • The Palermo Carabinieri have arrested a man for attempting to sell on Ebay more than 500 artifacts looted from sites of numerous periods in Sicily. (Business Week)
  • The Italian crackdown on looting is having an effect: the value of stolen or looted objects recovered in 2008 was more than double the value of such objects recovered in 2007. But the number of illegal digs in Italy increased by 15 percent, to a total of 238. (ArtInfo) ...of course, it's hard to say whether in fact the actual number of clandestine excavations increased, or whether the Carabinieri are just getting better at finding them.
  • And, finally, the repatriations go both ways: Italy will return 3800 artifacts, mostly coins, stolen from Bulgaria and recovered in Verona (Sofia Echo). Nathan T. Elkins adds much more to the story at Numismatics and Archaeology...

I see that Past Horizons is now selling trowels from Battiferro, so you don't have to order direct from Italy anymore...

Finally, Jovanotti was King of Italy in 2008 -- at least as regards record sales. You know you love Jovanotti.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

AJA 113.1

The latest issue of the American Journal of Archaeology (113.1, 2009) is out, and it's chock full of good stuff. Three articles pertain to Italian pottery of the 5th through 1st centuries BCE. First and foremost for the purview of Tria Corda is T.H. Carpenter's "Prolegomenon to the Study of Apulian Red-Figure Pottery" (39-56; Abstract), in my opinion a must-read.

Carpenter's analysis offers a fresh alternative to the (art historical) orthodoxy represented by the work of the late A.D. Trendall, and places the vases back into their "native" context—at least as far as possible for an object class that has suffered so much from looting: "To use the term 'Hellenized' for [the Italic] people, who had been trading with the Greeks for several hundred years, is meaningless unless the specific meaning is that they were Hellenized in the same sense that mainland Greeks were orientalized in the seventh century" (p.36). Recent scholarly activity has gone far in overturning colonial ideologies both ancient and modern, e.g. in the work of Edward Herring (for a good introduction to current trends, see his "Daunians, Peucetians and Messapians? Societies and Settlements in South-East Italy," in Bradley, Isayev & Riva, (eds.), Ancient Italy: Regions without Boundaries, Exeter 2007, 268-294); that such a well-known class of artifact had escaped such treatment up to now may be a function of the eminence of Trendall in the field. Carpenter also dissociates Taranto from its traditional role as producer of or major influence on Apulian vases, especially with regard to theatrical scenes, and refutes the notion that some scenes on Apulian vases represent images from "Orphic" religion.

Elsewhere, J. Theodore Peña and Myles McCallum discuss evidence for both the pre-Roman and Roman phases of the city in "The Production and Distribution of Pottery at Pompeii: A Review of the Evidence; Part 1, Production" (57-79; Abstract). Notable is the evidence for a Black Gloss Ware pottery production facility dating before the 2nd half of the 2nd century BCE, in the Vicolo Storto Nuovo.

Roman Roth—whose dissertation, published as Styling Romanisation: Pottery and Society in Central Italy (Cambridge 2007), treated Black Gloss Ware in Volterra and Capena—discusses the social implications of the replication of specific ceramic urn shapes in stone during the 2nd century BCE in "From Clay to Stone: Monumentality and Traditionalism in Volterran Urns" (39-56; Abstract).

élène Verreyke and Frank Vermeulen report on some results of the Potenza Valley Survey Project in "Tracing Late Roman Rural Occupation in Adriatic Central Italy" (103-120; Abstract), in a region (Picenum) better known for its Iron Age inhabitants.

Nothing explicitly to do with either pottery or Italy, but Stephen V. Tracy and Constantin Papaodysseus' note on "The Study of Hands on Greek Inscriptions: The Need for a Digital Approach" (99-102; Abstract) is very exciting--it means that we can soon replace epigraphists with computers... but seriously, this technique has a lot of potential. I wonder if it could be used to compare the work of known forgers with doubtful inscriptions?

Etruria in Philadelphia, Post AIA/APA

If you're still in town the day after the Annual Meeting wraps up, or if you're just lucky enough to live in Philadelphia, be sure to check out the following lectures on Monday the 12th of January:

Alba Frascarelli: Lost History Rediscovered? The Campo della Fiera Excavations and Livy's Fanum Voltumnae

The twelve peoples of ancient Etruria were said to meet at the shrine of their most important god, the Fanum Voltumnae outside the city of Volsinii, now recognized as modern Orvieto. Only recently have excavations by the University of Macerata begun to identify this all-important site of so much history. Dr. Frascarelli, one of the excavators, will present the latest findings.

Claudio Bizzarri: American Archaeological Projects in Etruria: The Excavations at Poggio Civitelle and Monterubiaglio.

The co-director of joint US-Italian excavations in Tuscany presents the results of this year's campaigns conducted by Florida State University, the University of Oklahoma and St. Anselm College.

Monday, January 12th

Classroom 2

University of Pennsylvania Museum


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Canosa

Happy new year. Bidding has opened (and closed?—I don't pretend to know anything about how this works) for the construction of a new National Archaeological Museum (not to be confused with the existing Museo Civico) in Canosa di Puglia. The planned complex will incorporate the remains of the Baptistery of S. Giovanni with its attached basilicas of Sta. Maria and S. Salvatore (as seen in the plan). The entire project runs to the tune of 16 million euro.

[From CanosaWeb, and again]