The British Museum, in conjunction with its exhibit on Pompeii and Herculaneum, has released an iOS App for the iPhone ($2.99) and the iPad ($5.99). The application allows users to explores the cities via interactive maps, view objects in high resolution and contextual detail, an in depth timeline, and the aftermath of the eruption (including the city’s later discovery and excavation). The application draws from archaeological discoveries, the remains at the cite, historical sources (specifically the account of Pliny the Younger).
Right now, the application is limited to iOS devices but an Android version is planned to be released in May 2013.
I am actually quite relieved that today I do not have to teach. Not because I don’t love my students and spending time with them, but because spending April 1st in a classroom can be a test of the most patient individual. April 1, colloquially referred to as April Fool’s Day, has historically been a day replete with pranks (harmless, annoying, and in some cases threatening). Pranking, however, has a long history. The Romans celebrated feasts to the goddess Cybele called Hilariae at the end of March. These festivals included pranking, telling jokes, revering rolls, etc. A common Medieval festival in April was the “Feast of Fools” (or other similar names). These were days of pranks, jokes, and hoaxes. Many cultures have a celebration of pranking and joking. Humor is a universal human experience.
If you teach Social Studies or History and want to incorporate more technology into your curriculum, check out “Teaching History with Technology.” The site includes many free and paid resources. Every week, they highlight a tool in their “New Resource of the Week” section. It contains a variety of lesson plans on various subjects, US and World History, AP Subjects, Geography, and more. They even provide ways for educators to expand on a favorite of multimedia incorporation: the PowerPoint presentation in their “Presentations and Multimedia” section. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Visit “Teaching History with Technology” to explore further.
Homer’s Iliad is one of the most famous works of Bronze Age Greece. Its date and composition, however, is one of the academically controversial. Recently, a group of researchers at the University of Reading applied the same techniques to researching genetic evolution (using the rate of genetic mutation) to the evolution of language. Using this method, they determined that the Iliad was written approximately 762 BCE +/- 50 years; a date consistent with historical theories.
“Languages behave just extraordinarily like genes.It is directly analogous. We tried to document the regularities in linguistic evolution and study Homer’s vocabulary as a way of seeing if language evolves the way we think it does. If so, then we should be able to find a date for Homer.” — Mark Pagel, Ph.D.
MEXICO CITY.- Some months ago, a stone where human sacrifices were performed was found as part of the archaeological salvage work that has been made by the Program of Urban Archaeology (PAU) from the Great Temple Museum. Today, thanks to numerous studies, we know that the location where the monolith was discovered was not the place where it had been used 500 years ago. It was removed from its original place back…
Kuddos to my student Matthew who sent me this website. We are on the Mesoamerican section right now in my history course. The ballgame was an integral and pervasive activity throughout Ancient Mesoamerica. It is in their history, religion, and art. It was one of the most socially and ritually important activities in the Ancient Americas.
The website “The Mesoamerican Ballgame” explores the history and significance of the ballgame throughout history. You can explore an interactive timeline, study its history among various cultures, and even see vide of the game being played today! It also includes lesson plans and activities for students of all grade levels.
George Eliot wrote that ‘the happiest women...have no history’; such a philosophy embodies that for women in the ancient world there is a great lack of communication from women themselves. So to what extent is the historian thwarted by this lack of communication?
One of the biggest problems facing the historian of women in the ancient world is that there are very few sources that are written by women themselves; there is a general lack of communication.
Pompeii shadowed by Mt. Vesuvius courtesy of Wikimedia
The Roman city of Pompeii was destroyed and buried by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 CE. The preserved city allows archaeologists, historians, and Classicists to examine materials far better preserved than a ‘traditional’ archaeological ruin.
The graffiti on the walls of Pompeii are famous for the content and vulgarity. However, scholars now believe they served another purpose: communication. Perhaps working as an early, non-tech, “social media.” Property owners may have had control over the political messages written on their walls.
“The current view is that any candidate could have chosen any location and have their ad painted on the wall. After looking at the contexts, this would not seem very likely. The facades of the private houses and even the streetwalks in front of them were controlled and maintained by the owner of the house, and in that respect, the idea that the wall space could be appropriated by anyone who wanted to do it seems unlikely.” - Eeva-Maria Viitanen
To learn more about the political ads and their role at the city of Pompeii, see the article posted at Scientific American.
Antikythera Mechanism fragment courtesy of Wikimedia
The famous Roman shipwreck at Antikythera may in fact be the resting place of two wrecked vessels. The underwater site was discovered in the early 1900s and became quickly famous when nautical archaeologists discovered a device they termed the Antikythera Mechanism, a sophisticated device used to calculate astronomical positions.
The breadth of the wreck and vast array of artifacts have led researchers to question whether or not there are actually two ships at the site rather than the assumed one.
The site’s preservation is due to its remote and deep location, which protects it from curious scuba divers and would be looters. However, the attention that has been showered on the site has encouraged documentary film makers and reporters to be more… creative in how they have presented the finds and the site itself. As such, researchers are planning to return to the site to better explore it.
“Because the site has been so intruded upon for more than a century it gets really hard to disambiguate what’s myth and what’s fact,” – Brendan Foley
To learn more about the excavation and proposed return to the Antikythera wreck, see the article at Discovery News.