Friday Quick Hits and Varia

This was a pretty full week, so I have lots of quick hits:

  • More hybridity:
    • Cristina Stancioiu, the M. Alison Frantz Fellow, gave a Tea Talk on “Made in Italy?  Italian Fashion in Late Medieval Crete” that considered whether the evidence for clothing in the wall paintings of Venetian Crete shows signs of the development of a Venetian/Cretan hybrid culture.  Her work is in its early days, but the approach and material are fascinating.
    • Sir John Boardman gave the major lecture at the Open Meeting of the British School at Athens (more on this below) and looked at Greeks going East.  His main focus was the material culture of the Greek kingdoms in Bactria from the 2nd century BC to the first century AD.  While some of his ideas were decidedly “old school“, his discussion of these far eastern Greeks embodied a kind of romantic British intellectualism and captured the flavor of an earlier era.  His interest in Greek – Eastern interaction conjured up the incredible creative potential that emerged both from cultural contact in south-central Asia and from the dying embers of British Empire.
  • The British School at Athens held their Open Meeting last night. It was great to hear about all the sponsored projects.  Four jumped out at me:
    • There is interesting work going at the Theatre of Sparta some of which looks likely to reveal information on the Byzantine settlement at the site.
    • The massive (20+ ha), multiyear resistivity campaign at the site of Plataia undertaken by Michael Boyd and Andreas Konecny has revealed huge amounts of information on the Greek city as well as a few more Early Christian basilicas there. (Konecny, A., Boyd, M. J., Marchese, R. & Aravantinos, V.,  “Plataiai in Boiotia: A Preliminary Report on Geophysical and Field Surveys Conducted in 2002 – 2005”, Hesperia (forcoming… March?))
    • The Knossos Urban Landscape Project is another “large site/urban” intensive survey project centered on the ancient city of Knossos in Crete.  According to the summary provided at the Open Meeting, they have collected over 400,000 sherds from the surface. 
    • Archie Dunn‘s brilliant Thisvi-Kastorion Archaeological Project looked good in good company.  I heard recently from Dr. Dunn, and it sounds like things are well in hand for the 2008 study season. 
  • The conversation regarding PD(Q) continues particularly in the comments of a post by Michael E. Smith at the Ancient World Bloggers Group: Is PDQ a good idea? An academic perspective.  (Shawn Graham’s response and some more discussion appears on his Electric Archaeologist blog).  At the same time we learned that Dr Jim West’s blog disappeared one day, and then miraculously came back!  This has spurred, on the one hand, renewed interest in the permanence and stability of the blogosphere (and the internet more generally: see S. Heath’s monthly “Ceramics Reference Stability Reports“) and provided a timely reminder for us to back up our blogs.  On the other hand, it does beg the question whether permanence and stability in the blogosphere is a good thing.  Many bloggers tend to think that it is; I’ve suggested that it’s not (PD(Q) from Comments to a Post: What are we blogging for?) and want to explore this more. 
  • UND is gearing up for its 125th-iversary (I refuse to call it the Quasquicentennial or the “Q”– the former is not a real word and the latter sounds like (1) an alien from Star Trek or (2) the nickname for an undersized, small forward at a mid-major university who got drafted in the second round, doesn’t stick with the team (despite some monstrous “slam-dunk shots” in the NBA Summer League), and ends up having a productive playing career in Spain or Israel — neither of which capture the spirit or history of the University of North Dakota).  Despite the name, such occasions are a great time to look back on the history of the University and think toward the future.  My wife has captured some of that spirit in her new advertisement for Graduate Study in the Humanities at the Graduate School at the University of North Dakota.  Notice the Adelphi Fountain in the background of the movie still blow (click on the still to watch the short ad).  I blogged on the restoration of that fountain and its iconography

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