Tag Archives: Antiquities

Cambridge Digital Library – Explore Historic Manuscripts on Your Computer

Screen Shot 2012-12-12 at 7.30.25 PMThe Cambridge Digital Library provides ready access to a myriad of ancient manuscripts, historically unavailable to all but the most elite scholars.

“Cambridge University Library contains evidence of some of the greatest ideas and discoveries over two millennia. We want to make our collections accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world with an internet connection and a thirst for knowledge.” — Anne Jarvis, University Librarian

The University’s collection ranges from hand-copied manuscripts of prized religious texts (such as the recently published Nash Papyrus), some of the oldest copies of ancient texts (such as Lucretius’s De Rerum Natura), and esteemed original scientific records (such as Newton’s own handwritten notebooks) to name but a few.

Cambridge University provides users with extensive historical background and provenance of the work as well as a series of high definition images that allow the user to see the works in amazing detail! This is an incredible opportunity for scholars and lay-researchers alike.

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Update on Libya’s Antiquities

In the wake of the civil unrest in the Libya, the state of its antiquities has been cause for concern for scholars and archaeologists. Due to the current political state, independent reporters and UNESCO investigators cannot travel to the state to verify their status.

Libya has a wealth of historical material, prehistory, Carthaginian, Phoenician, Greek, Roman, and more modern amenities. Such sites are often of little to no concern during bloody coups when people are most concerned about basic survival.

We know that artifacts have already been stolen, and UNESCO has issued statements to auctions houses warning them to be on high alert for looted antiquities (see the article on BBC). Native archaeologists have already begun to petition the provisional government to take special efforts to preserve sites and artifacts. CNN has issued a special report on Libya’s “other wealth” and you can read more about here.

The Fall of Zahi Hawass (via Smithsonian)

On the wake of the recent Zahi Hawass story, Smithsonian Magazine has done an in-depth analysis of the man, the politics, and the state of Egypt.

The Fall of Zahi Hawass – The Smithsonian Magazine

It is not as dramatic as the collapse of an ancient Egyptian dynasty, but the abrupt fall of Zahi Hawass is sending ripples around the planet. The archaeologist who has been in charge of Egypt’s antiquities for nearly a decade has been abruptly sacked in an overhaul of the country’s cabinet.

The antipathy toward Hawass in Egypt may be difficult to grasp in the West, where he is typically found on American television, fearlessly tracking down desert tombs, unearthing mummies and bringing new life to Egypt’s dusty past. But in Egypt he has been a target of anger among young protesters who helped depose President Hosni Mubarak in February. Hawass had been accused of corruption, shoddy science and having uncomfortably close connections with the deposed president and first lady⎯all of which he has vociferously denied. Many young archaeologists also are demanding more jobs and better pay⎯and they complain Hawass has failed to deliver. “He was the Mubarak of antiquities,” said Nora Shalaby, a young Egyptian archaeologist who has been active in the revolution.

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/The-Fall-of-Zahi-Hawass.html#ixzz1SUm4yKHA

 

The Best Online & Interactive Museum Exhibits

While going to a museum and viewing artifacts first hand is always the best way to experience exhibits, the new wave of online and interactive museum sites has brought a great deal to your living room (or office, or bedroom) and far more than just ‘reading text and looking at pictures.’ Most of us can’t fork out the money for a world-wide tour of the museums of the world. So take an afternoon and explore some of the best online and interactive museum exhibits:

The Field Museum of Natural History – The Field Museum in Chicago is one of the nation’s best natural history museums. Likewise, its online components are similarly as rich. You can explore ancient cultures, dinosaur bones, DNA models, etc. In addition to high resolution images and informative articles, the online Field Museum includes games, videos, 3D models, interactive maps, and more. There are even exhibits and activities specifically geared to children.

Colonial Williamsburg – Colonial Williamsburg (located in Virginia) is one of the best preserved and most oft visited of American Colonial Sites. The interactive museum provides lessons, high resolution images, directed activities, slide shows, and more.

dip3The Exploratorium – The Exploratorium in San Francisco, Ca was one of my favorite summer time activities. The museum can best be described as one of science, art, and human perception. If you have ever gone in person (which I highly recommend), you are struck by the number of fun, interesting, and creative activities. Likewise, their online components exercise these same values.

JFK Library and Museum – the JFK Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, Massachusetts homes records, personal affects, video, and other artifacts of Kennedy’s life and Presidency. Their online components have a 3D model of the President’s oval office desk, an interactive step-by-step interactive exhibit on America’s first moon landing expedition, as well as extensive records on the Civil Rights movement.

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) – The Museum of Modern Art in New York City has been an innovator in the digital exhibits. Their interactive exhibits include a myriad of topics: women artists, film, conservation, etc.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History – The Smithsonian has a number of interactive exhibits across all of their museums. The Natural History Museum as the Smithsonian includes topics on the experiences of human history, slavery, ancient and modern cultures, and so on.

National Portrait Gallery – the Presidency and the Cold War – This interactive online exhibit explores the role and image of the President during the Cold War. It covers decades and several presidents. In addition to portraits, it includes interactive maps, film, news stories, etc.

louvre-imgcarrousel-art-contourThe Louvre – the Louvre in France has developed an online 3D tour of the Museum Grounds as well as their collection – one note, it does require a fast internet connection (no dial-up).

The Vatican Museums – I have been to the Vatican Museums a few times (probably close to half a dozen). It’s my favorite Museum in the world in terms of its content (organization and exhibition – leave a lot to be desired). They have developed an online 3D tour of many of the halls and famous artifacts on display.

The Getty Museum – You can browse the Getty Collection (the largest collection of antiquities in the Americas) online via this interactive website. In addition, access the Getty’s videos and explore its publications.

The Hermitage Museum – The Hermitage Museum now provides a ‘walk-through 3D tour’ of its buildings and exhibits.

The British Museum – The British Museum has many of its artifacts and collections online. A few of them even have 3D models with which you can interact.

Can Egypt Protect its Antiquities and Monuments?

The recent upheaval in Egypt has brought to light the very serious problems of the looting of antiquities. This week, NewsWeek explores the issue of looting in Egypt and the future of its Antiquities:

Antiquities theft is as old as the pyramids, but never before has it so shocked Egyptians.

This is a long-standing problem, highlighted in the wake of the political upheaval in Egypt with no clear resolution or end in sight. See the article in NewsWeek for more on this topic.

What should be done to protect Egypt’s monuments? Here’s a list on which most Egyptologists agree: Consult with local and international agencies and specialists to develop and implement long-term management plans. Train on-site inspectors and give them greater responsibility. Design better security for sites and museums. Allocate more money for site conservation and documentation. Take a strong stand against commercial and political interests that threaten the monuments.