Recent Stories

 

The Sea is a Path

By Andrea M. Gáldy – When Captain James Cook left for the first of his three expeditions to the Pacific in 1768, he stood in a long line of naval explorers looking for new routes and continents. His ship was appropriately named Endeavour and the task ahead was daunting. Cook was a talented surveyor, as […]

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Russian Lacquerware Gems

Russian Lacquerware Gems

By P. F. Sommerfeldt – The names Palekh and Kholuy, like Fedoskino and Mstera, may be only obscure villages in the Vladimir-Suzdal Ivanovo region of Russia to many people, but their rich legacy of lacquerware is anything but obscure. I first fell in love with Russian lacquerware when we lived in London off and on […]

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“Baghdad Battery” : Possible Beer Purification?

By Adrian Arima – How long have humans brewed beer? Patrick McGovern, the world’s foremost historian of ancient brews, hints in Ancient Brews (2017) that this activity has been around possibly at least for 11,000 years based on vessels from Gobekli Tepe in Anatolia (Turkey). How sophisticated was brewing in antiquity? Since the ancient artifact […]

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Villa Monastero, Lake Como

By Alessandra Scola- Villa Monastero is one of the several monumental villas mostly built or enlarged between the 17th and 19th centuries on one of the long coasts of Lake Como (also known in antiquity as Lago Lario) the deepest Italian lake. The villa is located in Varenna, an enchanting old fishermen’s village filled with […]

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Pont-du-Gard: Why Did Roman Engineers Number the Stones?

Fig. 1   Pont du Gard side view (photo P. Hunt, 2015) By David S. Spain, Ph.D. –  One of the favorite examples of Roman aqueduct technology is the famous Pont du Gard in southern France.  The arcaded Pont du Gard is part of the 50 km long aqueduct from springs near Uzes running all […]

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We are Florentine

Fig. 1   Filippo Lippi, Portrait of a Young Man, ca 1480-5, National Gallery, Washington DC,                       Andrew Mellon Collection (image courtesy National Gallery of Art) By Andrea M. Gáldy – If it would not look so catty, temptation would be great to call the exhibition […]

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 Ishtar: Etymology of Indo-European ‘Star’ Words

Mesopotamian seal impression of ISHTAR (planet VENUS) – from Sumerian Inanna –  standing on feline, Bronze Age, British Museum (image public domain) By Patrick Hunt –  We often frequently use words that are many thousands of years old whether we know it or not. Indo-European language etymology is typically not common knowledge, but important words […]

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Giovanni Segantini and the Segantini Museum, St. Moritz

Giovanni Segantini, La Natura detail, 1897-8, Segantini Museum, St. Moritz (image public domain) By P. F. Sommerfeldt – Giovanni Segantini (1858-99) was not only a pastoral artist who loved mountains, especially the Alps around the Engadine above St. Moritz, but one who captured their majestic beauty in a landscape shared with people and animals in […]

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Proto-Elamites: Master Sculptors of Animals in Antiquity

Proto-Elamite Reclining Gilded Silver Mountain Goat, 3100-2900 BCE,  Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 7 cm length (image public domain) By Patrick Hunt –  How early in ancient art does realism appear?  While many ancient cultures transitioning from the Copper Age to Bronze Age in the Ancient Near East and elsewhere did not directly imitate nature […]

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Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Woman Beyond Her Time 

Marriage of Eleanor and Louis VII and Louis Leaving for Crusade, 15th c., Chroniques de St. Denis (image public domain)                    By Emmanuel Zilber –  Defying so many male imposed status quo “rules”, Eleanor of Aquitaine (ca. 1124-1204) was remarkable, but not only for being the wife of two […]

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