Thursday 25 April 2024

Yet Another Rusty Helmet Just Surfaces on the Antiquities Market

               Facebook, what's that               
 in the background?

Over on Facebook Antique arms and armours of Europe Group ( 39K+ followers)
Michael Pernik Sstpnodoer27f
I offer here a original viking age iron helmet (Kreuzbandhelm) 700-900 AD in good condition without restauration price VB
He wants 3700 Euro for it but the only collection history he offers is that it came from a "German Auction house" and then shows an invoice from Stauffer Auktionen, Munsingen, German [with his address on it] dated to 5th April 2020 for a "bandhelm 10 Jahrhundert" (which differs from the description he's offering it with).

The auction house is an odd one to have bought something like this and entrust its authentication, its current sale is a lot of bric-a-brac.   

It's not getting a very good reception on the FB page. It simply does not look right. Then somebody discovered I'd written about one like this that appeared in the hands of a longhaired tattooed pawnshop proprietor on a dumbass US TV show with a guest appearance from a US antiquities dealer: Dealer Dodge and the Curious Case of the Anglo-Saxon helmets (I)

On the Facebook page, they seem to think the one I wrote about is the one now being sold by Mr Pernik. In fact it is not, the Pawnstars one has flatter bands, flatter rivets, did not have the hole in the crown just upposite a broken area of the browband that the Stauffer one does. 

In fact, there is a medieval helmet shape to which these ones are closer, the cervelliere helm, 12th to 13th centuries (tthough sometimes worn later). Some of these have a lack of visible means of attachment to a liner or fastenings (were they glued to a padded cap that did?)

So it means that Mr Pernik has had two of these in his hands in recent years, and he is trying valiantly to sell this one online instead of going to a proper auctioneer. Where are all of these helmets with very similar construction and odd features coming from?

Wednesday 24 April 2024

Unesco verifies damage to 43 cultural heritage sites in Gaza

Unesco verifies damage to 43 cultural heritage sites in Gaza
In addition to the enormous human cost of the Israel-Gaza war, cultural heritage has been heavily impacted by the conflict. At least 43 cultural heritage sites in Gaza have been damaged since the war began on 7 October 2023, Unesco has verified. Although on-the-ground assessments are currently impossible, the UN agency is conducting preliminary damage assessments for cultural properties through remote monitoring based on satellite imagery and analysis. As of 8 April 2024, Unesco has verified damage to 43 sites – 10 religious sites, 24 buildings of historical and/or artistic interest, two depositories of movable cultural property, three monuments, one museum and three archaeological sites. This is almost double the number of damaged sites listed by the agency in January 2024, which stood at 22. Unesco has called for the protection of cultural sites and for all involved parties to strictly adhere to international law.
As if what Netanyahu's Israel was doing in the Gaza enclave was in any way in accord with "international law".

Tuesday 23 April 2024

Another Getty Trophy Piece Goes Back to Turkey. Museum-Speak Translation

In light of new information recently provided
by Matthew Bogdanos and the Antiquities Trafficking Unit
of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office indicating the illegal 
excavation of this bronze head, we agreed that the object
needed to be returned to Türkiye
museum director Timothy Potts.

A disembodied life-sized bronze head of a young mandating back to 100 BCE–100 CE currently among the rophy pieces in the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles has been removed from view and will soon be repatriated to Turkey (Adam Schrader, 'The Getty Museum Returns an Ancient Bronze Head to Turkey' April 24, 2024 - see also NYT). "The museum said it had received new information from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office indicating it had been illegally excavated". Translated, that means that when the bought it, and all the time they've had it on display, the Museum had zero documentation verifying that it had been legally excavated.
The head had been in the antiquities collection at the Getty Villa Museum since it was acquired in 1971. But the museum said it had received new information from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in New York indicating it had been illegally excavated. The California museum did not reveal what new information had come to light about the excavation, and officials in New York did not yet respond to a request for information. [...] said in a statement. The district attorney’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the details of its investigation.
It is likely that this bronze head is another of those items excavated clandestinely in the late 1960s at Bubon, in the Burdur province of southwestern Turkey and smuggled out onto the international antiquities market.

There are many resources for reading about the looting on Bubon, including this feature on Smart History worth revisiting: 'Looting, collecting, and exhibiting: the Bubon bronzes (video) by  Dr. Elizabeth Marlowe and Dr. Steven Zucker Aug 29, 2017.
"Additional resources:

Dr. Elizabeth Marlow, “Marlowe on the Real Issue with the Glyptotek Head” from the Illicit Cultural Property Blog.

Dr. Elizabeth Marlowe, “When Will Museums Tell the Whole Truth About Their Antiquities?,” Hyperallergic, September 14, 2022

Bubon on Chasing Aphrodite

Bubon on Looting Matters"

The Getty bronze head (acc. no. 71.AA.458 ) had been bought in 1971 for $90,000 from Nicolas Koutoulakis, an antiquities trafficker based in Parishead

Ram Raid at Antiquities Auction House

Hansons’ saleroom in Derbyshire has been the victim of a ram-raid break-in, the auction house in Heage Lane, Etwall suffered a burglary during the early hours of April 18.( Laura Chesters, 'Jewellery taken during ram raid at Hansons auction house', Antiques Trade Gazette, 22 Apr 2024). Hansons has previously been involved in a number of controversial sales of portable antiquities straight from the ground for huge profits.
Criminals used a vehicle to reverse into the building six times, breaking through its roller shutter, a window and parts of the brick structure. They took jewellery that was destined for auction that day.[...] alarms were linked to the police and officers and people from the security firm were on the scene “promptly”.[...] The first day of a planned four-day sale - a silver, watches and jewellery auction - was postponed.
Shame, eh?

Friday 19 April 2024

Oh, I see

Jimmy Corsetti @BrightInsight6
Ancient civilizations were FAR more advanced than they teach in school.
Something disastrous happened to destroy them, and cause us to forget.
The fact the woke left Media are viscerally attacking this topic and those discussing it should be a wake up call. *Everything they deny or attack = Truth*
7:22 PM · Apr 18, 2024

What about the sleepy left and the yawning right? If they ignore the topic, does that also make it "true"?

Of course if something disastrous happens to a community, their natural human reaction is just to "forget" about it, and forget their past "greatness" before it happened. Yes?

Just look at the comments underneath... laugh, or cry? Should archaeologists feel some kind of obligation to engage with that kind of mindset? Would it do any good, or is it a waste of time? But then whose heritage is it, who has rights to ignore it being publicly misrepresented like this? What do professional ethics say about just turning a back to it?

Thursday 18 April 2024

Public Archaeology: Whether to laugh or Cry

Whether to laugh or cry
Kam Borne @Whambahhlamm · Apr 16
How they come into conclusion that there is no lost civilization is Sahara. When there used to be lakes and rivers. Plus the knowledge of Atlantis In Egypt. That is an end to end civilization in the continent. They are doubting there is no settlement in the middle.
ummm? Read, notta lot, much confu?
Jimmy Corsetti @BrightInsight6 · Apr 17
Establishment academics and archaeologists are inherently Naysayers.
Numerous Studies exist stating ancient humans once inhabited the Green Sahara.
Yet, only 1% has been excavated. And not only that, the only ones talking about it are the alternative researchers!
and arrowhead collectors? So if the academicsw are the naysayers, who wrote the "studies"? It's not much point excavatinbg a desert site denuded by deflation. Everything [that the looters have not already removed] is there on the surface. A lot of the work is extensive surface survey, plotting settlement location, size, collecting material, moving on. This is also compared with the detailed study of sediments in wadis and valleyys, or soil horizons buried by later accumulation (eg., dunes, or material deposited at the base of a slope).
Ramon @RAMolledo · Apr 17
Establishment academics and intellectuals are simply “Gatekeepers” to ensure that regular people don’t explore, study, and do their own research. There seems to be a concerted effort to do this.
People get shamed and discouraged from exploring topic’s themselves. This is a sin.
These people are so pathetic, playing the victim not even because nobody handed them something on a plate, but because they are totally oblivious to there being something that would immediately set them straight.

My advice to them:
There's literally HUNDREDS of open access texts out there in the public domain, full of basic source information on precisely the archaeology of the Green Sahara that anyone can access, read, download - for example here [totally random openaccess archaeological journal article From], then check the links it gives in the bibliography to access others, and so on.

The issue is not that somebody's keeping this from you, its that you can't be bothered to read it - just a mouse click away. @Whambahhlamm can find out about communities on the lakes and rivers and what kind of civilisation they actually had. Nobody is saying they were not there.

But what's clear IF you delve into it (please do before complaining again that "nobody's done any work there"), is that there was not the type of civilization that Hancock seems to be postulating or not (the debate leaves it very unclear what his claims now are)
Do you reckon they'll be happy that they can fulfil their ambition to find out at first hand about Saharan archaeology of the Late Pleistocene and Holocene to confront with Hancock's "might have been"s?

Cited text: Nutz A, Kwiecien O, Breitenbach SFM, et al. Fluvio-lacustrine sedimentation in the Agadir-Tissint Feija (anti-Atlas, Morocco): A promising palaeoclimate archive for the last glacial cycle in northwest Africa. Depositional Rec. 2019; 5: 362–387.

Another one, "Eyes to See" = "Looks Like"

The "Looks like" argument again.

1) Suppose the erosion on the Sphinx is wind and salt crystallisation and not flowing water... but I'd like to ask, given the relief of the hill into which the Sphinx enclosure was dug (and its relationship to the causeway to its south), this water was "flowing" from where, though? Why was it not flowing downhill, but along the slope? (Look at the relief of the TOP of the sides of the Sphinx enclosure, highest on the NE corner). Anyone care to draw us a plan of where this imaginary deluginuous water was collecting and flowing from and to - taking into account the form of the land before the tomb cemetery was built...


2) I would like to ask those who think an outcrop at Yonaguni is a building, to give us a reconstruction of it in use, showing people to scale, using its various spaces and platforms. What were the various bits of it used for? All those superfluous steps that lead nowhere, a threesided "pool"... So you stand on the top... and do what? How do you actually get ON the top without having to scale a sheer wall? Where is the door? How can this rock function as a building? Can we see the othr outcrops in the vicinity? Like the one to the left in this visualisation... 

What Happens When you Do Public Archaeology?

 I just want to make a record of this behaviour. The sociology of popular science.

Here's a tweet:

In my opinion, in the debate, Flint Dibble produced a very balanced and well-argued response to what Hancock had written and said in the past. Here's some of the reactions of Hancock's supporters. Question: How many of them actually listened to the points being made? 

Pretty mind-boggling. What kind of mind-world do these people inhabit? Why are they reading an archaeology thread if they have not the slightest intention of making any effort to understand what they read there? What kind of social inadequate is it that sees a post like this only as a space, an opportunity to show their own ignioorance, disregard and how 'alternative science' empowers boors like these? This is the primitive tribal mentality that votes Brexit, votes Trump  and drives like an idiot with zero regard for otthers on the road. 

Hancock and Dibble: Public Archaeology versus Amateurish Theorising and gaslighting


This evening I suspect I was not alone in spending four hours of my time watching a debate moderated (by Joe Rogan) between popular writer Graham Hancock and the archaeologist Flint Dibble about Hancock's theories presented in the popular 2022 Netflix series "Ancient Apocalypse" [henceforth AA]. Here's the synopsis of the series from the Wikipedia article on the series: 

In the series, Hancock argues that an advanced ice age civilization was destroyed in a cataclysm, but that its survivors introduced agriculture, monumental architecture and astronomy to hunter-gatherers around the world. He attempts to show how several ancient monuments are evidence of this, and claims that archaeologists are ignoring or covering up this alleged evidence. [...]

He builds the narrative around the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis, which attributes climate change between "12900 and 12800 years ago" at the end of the Pleistocene to a massive impact with something falling out of the sky (meteor, comet). 

Dibble had been one of the archaeologists critical of AA and like another one (who refused the invitation) was challenged by Hancock to a public recorded debate. Dibble has previously written very sensibly (among other things) on pseudoarchaeology and I was interested to see what happened. To be honest, I was expecting it to be a trainwreck, and it could so easily have been - Hancock was trying very hard. 

Dibble starts off really well with "what is archaeology" with quite a striking artefact to break the ice.. but more than that as it immediately addresses the "looks-like" approach of pseudoarchaeology (and indeed portable antiquities collection/antiquitism) and draws attention to CONTEXT. A really clever opener. 

The second slide (went over Hancock's head, it later transpired) showed survey data, making the point how much data we have - but also (and this is what GH missed) that archaeology is not just about excavating. Slide three mentions looting (big plus from me there....) and the fragility of the record. This leads into him giving a quick summary of GH's theories, and how he proposes to test them. His whole introductory talk (despite dumb interruptions from Rogan which we could have done without) was really well-prepared, succinct and to the point.

Monday 15 April 2024

Crimean Site Damaged by Occupant in Infrastructure Works

In occupied Crimea, Russian authorities are accused of not being taking much care of the archaeological heritage (Hague Convention anyone?). In Sevastopol, just south of the walled circuit is an archaeological site with a two-thousand-year history – the Necropolis of Saints in the Каrаntinna Balka ['Quarantine Valley'] in Chersonesos Tavriya. Reportedly, it was partially destroyed by construction equipment during the laying of a sewer, despite local residents expressing concern, the work reportedly continues regardless. This is not the first time that the administration of the Governor of Sevastopol (current incumbent Mikhail Vladimirovich Razvozhayev) has been accused of revelopment of parts of the historical city without the proper preceding administrative procedues to protect the archaeological heritage. 

Saturday 13 April 2024

Using Google Can Damage the Archaeological Heritage

    "This belongs in a museum"? (Wikipedia)        


This comes as no surprise, researchers have shown that Google Search really has got worse ( Jason Koebler, 'Google Search Really Has Gotten Worse, Researchers Find' Jan 16, 2024). "Researchers, from Leipzig University, Bauhaus-University Weimar, and the Center for Scalable Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence, set out to answer the question "Is Google Getting Worse?" by studying search results [...]". I think archaeologists could have answered this question with examples quite a while ago. If a curious member of the public wanted to explore an archaeological topic in detail, they'd do better to get some wisely chosen books on it. If instead they trustingly turn to the Internet for their information and use a search engine then they'll be fed a misleading vision of that archaeology. The picture they would get would be a rather specific one. Instead of unlimited amounts of reliable open access archaeological information, a single mouse-click away, supplied by academia or the museum world, they will primarily be faced with having to peruse page after page of adverts offering examples of artefacts related to that topic for sale and texts about their private collection. This is a reflection of the increasing use of the internet primarily as a commercial tool of modern capitalist trade, a process that has intensified from 2015 onwards.

For example, I've just finished writing about the dolphin coins of Olbia (a Greek colony in what is now Ukraine) of the 6th to 4th centuries BC. Olbia and its environs are fascinating sites with much to tell... and these 'dolphins' are fascinating objects for what they could (if not looted) contribute to that story. Yet, if you do a Google search pn them, you'll get none of that. At the time of writing, scrolling down the search results indicated that the top forty hits were dealers’ sites offering examples of these coins of uncertain legitimacy of origin for sale at the time. Below this, the 6290 search results for different permutations of “Olbia dolphin coins” were strongly dominated by marketing materials for antiquities for sale.

That's it none of that socio-archaeological mumbo-jumbo about exchange networks, the rise of a monetary econonomy [you know, ours] and its co-existence (or not) with a natural one, where all that metal came from and why, how the workshops that made them were organised. Oh no. "Here's a special offer, a real authentic piece of Ancient Greece, we'll even throw in a plastic box to keep it in with a printed card full of cutesy crap information we pulled off wikipedia" (most of the sellers, copying from each other, get the dates of production seriously wrong - they've never heard of stratigraphy).

So, Google-archeology is all about "digging up old things to buy and sell [never mind the paperwork]".This is the origin of the bonkers view taking over that ripping up sites with metal detectors and spades is somehow "good" for the heritage and archaeology as a whole because ... "digging up old things, innit?". That's the "shooting-all-the-British-Ospreys-and-stuffing-them-so-we-can-look-at-them-and-study-them-in-museums-and-private-collections" argument, innit? Would work too with the Red-knobbed Coot. Archaeologists and tekkies who hold these views should try and persuade the birdies. Why not? It'll "save them from being killed by the pesticides, and windfarms".
Julie Muncy @juliemuncy23 · Jan 17
it is unnerving to consider the possibility that there was, in human history, a brief window where all public knowledge was easily accessible for anyone with a computer, and that this window has now closed.


Friday 12 April 2024

The Fate of Poland's Bad Raubgrabungen Law [Updated, but in Polish, sort of]

 A little bit for my Polish readers who asked me a question, the rest of you please just bear with me, it's all happening here, Polish metal detectorists have now declared war with the "traitors and anti-Poles" and "lefty whores" in government (oh yes, every country's metal detecting community has their boorish John-Howland-clones).
A na czym stanęło z nowelizacją ustawy, a w zasadzie z odkręceniem nowelizacji? @PortantIssues...
Well I'll tell'ya, as far as I can make out. 

1 Na chwilę obecną, dokument proponujący odwrócenie zmian dokonanych przez szkodliwą „nowelizację” znajduje się jeszcze w Sejmowej Komisji Kultury i nie został jeszcze przedstawiony Sejmowi.

2. „Aplikacja” nie została utworzona ani przetestowana. I nic nie wskazuje na to, aby w najbliższej przyszłości miało się to zmienić. W tegorocznym budżecie nie przewidziano żadnych pieniędzy na obsługę aplikacji przez WKZ i reagowanie na „ogromną ilość” informacji, które będą napływać (nie?) w wyniku jej wykorzystania.

3. Jeżeli nic się nie zmieni, od 1 maja nie będzie już możliwości ubiegania się o nowe zezwolenie na korzystanie z wykrywacza metali (stan prawny wydanych już na ten okres zezwoleń jest niepewny)*

4. Nielegalne będzie wykrywanie metali bez zarejestrowania przeszukania. Zgodnie z Ustawą, która wejdzie w życie 1 maja (ze względu na sposób jej sformułowania), można to zrobić tylko w JEDEN sposób – poprzez konkretny wniosek wymieniony w ustawie.*

5. Skutek tego jest taki, że NIKT (również archeolodzy) nie będzie mógł legalnie szukać zabytków za pomocą wykrywacza metali, dopóki sytuacja się nie zmieni. To właśnie udało się osiągnąć PZE.

6. Jednakże w ciągu ostatnich kilku dni Komisji Kultury przedstawiono nową propozycję. Dokument ten, jeśli zostanie przyjęty, przedłuży okres obowiązywania obecnej ustawy (i wprowadzenia nowej) do 1 maja 2025 r.*

7. Koledzy sugerują, że stoi za tym zamysl, aby obecny Prezydent, który podpisał tę głupią „Nowelizację”, nie zawetował ustawy ją uchylającej. Nie jestem pewien, czy taki jest motyw (wybory prezydenckie są trzy tygodnie po 1 maja, więc Duda miałby jeszcze czas, żeby je zawetować).

Podejrzewam, że w ciągu najbliższych miesięcy będziemy świadkami systematycznej akcji łapania i demaskowania „nocnych jastrzębi” (poszukiwania bez wymaganej prawem dokumentacji: pozwolenia i zgody właściciela gruntu – „tak jak w Anglii”, jak chcieli). Zostanie to wykorzystane przeciwko poszukiwaczom. Można to wykorzystać do podniesienia świadomości społecznej i przedstawienia poglądu, że choć istnieje LEGALNY sposób poszukiwania zabytków, duża liczba polskich wykrywaczy metali całkowicie go ignoruje. Pokaże, że nie ma znaczenia, czy jest to pozwolenie, czy wniosek, większość poszukiwaczy naprawdę ma to wszystko w dupie. 8. Kilka miesięcy temu złożono petycję, w której proszono o udostępnienie tym pełnym pasji hobbystom tego „sposobu na legalne wykrywanie metali”. Mimo że w Polsce miało być (według MKiDN) 100 000 poszukiwaczy metali... podpisało się z nich mniej niż 30 000 [wraz ze wszystkimi ich przyjaciółmi, rodziną i bliskimi]. Teraz pojawił się nowy, domagający się weta prezydenta wobec odwrócenia „nowelizacji” [NB atakuje archeologów w najbardziej prostacki i agresywny sposób], miał zaledwie 17 000 podpisów. Wygląda na to, że entuzjazm poszukiwaczy w przestrzeganiu prawa słabnie.

Niszczycielska grabież stanowisk i zespołów archeologicznych jako źródło luźnych przedmiotów kolekcjonerskich musi stać się równie nieakceptowalna społecznie, jak noszenie futer.

* Już nieaktualne: Wczoraj na Komisji Kultury przegłosowano wejście w życie ustawy na 1 maja 2025 r. Klepnął to już wczoraj następnie Sejm w głosowaniu. Wejście w życie ustawy przesunięto o rok. Wybieg po to by zdążyć z tworzeniem nowej ustawy. Stara nie może wrócić bo jest to nieprawne wg Biura Analiz. Katarzyna Krzykowska, Anna Kruszyńska, 'Sejm przyjął z poprawkami ustawę zmieniającą nowelę ustawy o ochronie zabytków i opiece nad zabytkami' PAP 12-04-2024.

So all's well, that ends well, for now. Watch this space. A lot can happen in that year, but writing the Act anew is not likely to be one of them. But that actually is what is needed.


Spotlighting War’s Cultural Destruction in Central and Eastern Ukraine

We can confidently say that Europe
has not experienced destruction of this magnitude,
let alone this quickly, since World War II.

An important essay by  an archaeologist, anthropologist, and film expert in The Conversation (Kuijt, I. Shydlovskyi, P. and Donamaura W 'Spotlighting War’s Cultural Destruction in Ukraine' 9th April 2024)

War does not just destroy lives. It also tears at the fabric of culture. And in the case of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, now about to enter its third year, the remarkable destruction of Ukrainian history and heritage since 2022 hasn’t been a matter of collateral damage. Rather, the Russian military has deliberately targeted museums, churches, and libraries that are important to the Ukrainian people.
A small group of archaeologists and filmmakers working closely with Ukrainian colleagues, made two nine-day trips (in March and October 2023) to the eastern parts of Ukraine to try and get an idea of what was happening. This is something I have been thinking about, looking at the various media reports coming out of the area and some of the recent satellite coverage of defensive systems. The situation in Ukraine is exactly a mirror of what we see in Syria where tells, walled forts and towns have been turned into defensive positions. The authors report:
If traveling in Ukraine has taught us one important lesson, it’s that the digging of trenches can erase history. While the destruction of churches, libraries, and museums viscerally evokes a sense of loss, there’s an entire unseen world below the ground surface—filled with untold numbers of artifacts, bones, and buried buildings—that is exposed when trenches are created.

In fact, it’s likely that this war has destroyed more history and archaeology buried below the ground than above it.

As armies did during World War I, the Ukrainian military built deep trenches and bunkers along rivers and high ground in the early months of the war. Two years later, these defensive trench systems are a central element of the ground war and demarcate the front lines. In many cases, the trenches were dug into the remains of buried archaeological sites, most of which were previously unknown and untouched.

In March 2023, for example, we visited sites around Irpin and Bucha, two villages on the northern edge of Kyiv, to document how medieval and Bronze Age sites buried below the surface had been destroyed by trenches or, in other cases, are now blanketed by minefields to stop Russian military units.

We also went to the 11th-century archaeological site of Oster. Perched on a small hill, southeast of Chernihiv, Oster was an important regional center in the medieval period. It had a brick-and-stone church and a large settlement nearby. As part of the siege of Chernihiv in March 2022, Ukrainian troops built deep trenches and bunkers around the edges of Oster, since the site overlooks rivers and crossing points.

When we visited Oster a year after the invasion, we noticed that the trench system around the church was dug into a large 11th-century settlement and burial ground. Lying exposed on the dirt piles along the trenches were medieval human skeletal remains. The more we studied the system of trenches and bunkers, which encircles an area of about 650 feet, the more human bones we saw.

A crew of archaeologists has returned to photograph the destruction of these burial grounds. But given the ongoing war, it isn’t possible to fully document the destruction, let alone fill in the trenches, which still may be needed by soldiers.
The trenches are also part of the archaeology of this War and apart from the aerial and satellite photo evidence, some will end up being preserved as field monuments to this devastating episode in the future, and the fact that they destroyed archaeological sites will be the least of the problems.

Vignette: Ukrainian infantrymen in a partially dug trench along the frontline near Bakhmut, Ukraine. Photographer: John Moore/Getty Images.

Cultural Heritage? "Christian America" Stands Behind "Christian Kremlin" on Ukraine War

How the Z-Russians Prefer Ukrainian Churches Bohorodychne, Ukraine
 (Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket/Getty Images). 

Over in Republican Retardmerika Land, 'Moscow Marjorie' Greene falsely claims:

“The Ukrainian government is attacking Christians, The Ukrainian government is executing priests. Russia is not doing that. They are not attacking Christianity. As a matter of fact they seem to be protecting it.”
No Ukrainian anyone , let alone Zelensky , is shutting down churches or mosques or synagogues. Russian Orthodox churches, which are 100% under Putin’s control and where they preach collaboration with the enemy, are having their pro-Russian activities shut down during the War, “collaborating with the enemy” is not really “political opposition”. In reality, today the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church is just another branch of Putin’s oppressive regime. They stopped being about religion a long time ago, and now explicitly preach that you go to Heaven if you murder Ukrainian children.

In Russian occupied Ukraine however, Russians have now destroyed or shut down all Protestant, Catholic and Evangelical churches.

Where do American politicians like 'Moscow Mike' Johnson and 'Moscow Marjorie' get their "news" from? Who votes for such people and why are they allowed to opine on things they know nothing about?

Americas is anything but magnified by the
image they project abroad these days (Getty)

What kind of Christianity is this? Children of Light or Children of Darkness believers?  How can one square being "pro-life" and at the same time "pro-Moscow"? 

"They Can't Touch You For It....", or Can they? FAFO

                Christie's pulls ancient Greek vases from sale after             
connection to Gianfranco Becchina,
convicted antiquities dealer
Provenance research needed

I see dealers are again feeling hard-done-by that they feel that when they try to pass off dodgy artefacts on the open market, they run the risk of being gotcha'ed because somewhere there are some operational documents to which they don't have access to evaluate the risk of "surfacing" something they are not 100% sure is of kosher origins (Daniel Cassaday "Using Secret Documents, an Antiquities Researcher Uncovers Looted Works at Christie's " April 11, 2024 2:49pm). But then the documentation referring to how they got their dealerish hands on bits of the dugup common archaeological heritage are no less secret. You show us yours, well show ours. Seems fair in the circumstances. Transparency on both sides is the key.

Thursday 11 April 2024

Trypillia: A Beginning and an End

             The price of putting faith in the "guarantees"              
of western "allies" in the face
of eastern brutality

Meanwhile, in the middle of Europe, under the fictional "security guarantee" the honourless US and others gave our neighbour Ukraine:
The Trypillia thermal power plant in Kyiv region was completely destroyed by a Russian ballistic missile attack on April 11 [...] Some of the supersonic ballistic missiles flying towards the plant were shot down, but due to the lack of missiles for Ukrainian air defense systems, some of the Russian missiles still reached their target and destroyed the TPP (J. Mendel).
Apart from being the location of one of the most important power-generation facilities in Ukraine, Трипiлля (on the Dnipro 40 km south of Kyiv) is the eponymous site of Cucuteni-Trypillian culture (c. 5500 to 2750 BC), one of the highlights of the Neolithic-Chalcolithic of eastern Europe. The site was discovered in the 1890s by the Ukrainian-Czech archaeologist Vikentiy Khvoyka* and came to define a whole culture that was one of the harbigers of european civilisation. Archaeologists and editors, please do not use the Russified name Tripolye (or similar) normalising Muscovian colonialism.

Trypillia (the name refers to three fields) was first mentioned by Kyivan chroniclers in connection with the Battle of the Stuhna River in 1093** between the Kyivans and the . There was a fortress here on the high bank of the Chervonets river that defended approaches towards Kyiv from the steppe. In Trypillia is  the Kyiv Regional Archaeological Museum ( Vulytsya Heroyiv Trypillya 12) with an interesting display of material from the site and region.

The adoption by the Putin regime of (Carl von Clausewitz's and) Erich von Ludendorff's concept of Der totale Krieg is leading to an escalation of this conflict. Destroying Ukraine's energy supply, making the towns uninhabitable does more than destabilises Ukraine - it threatens the global order as 38 million inhabitants are deprived of the means to live and work normally. The refugee situation had somewhat stabilised in recent moths, but this will probably come to an end with a huge migration crisis in the months to come. Not many of those women, children, elderly and disabled people will be heading to Russia or Belarus, they are coming to the West. If, God forbid, the Russians overrun a tragically weakened Ukraine, they will be followed by as many of the hundreds of thousands of retreatingg fighters that can get across the border. The country they leave behind (and right on the EU border) will be totally destroyed, the remaining inhabitants will be under Russian represssion, probably the attempts to crush "Ukraininness' will intensify, so Russia can exploit the land as its own. Are we going to stand by in the 2020s and let the early 1940s play all over again? Just how far have we come in the last century? What have we learnt?


* I'd like to see a book devoted to this interesting scholar and the seminal work he did, but as far as I know, there isn't one - one in a western European language would be welcome too. For the sake of accuracy, I have to admit, Khvoyka seems to have written, in accord with the situation at the time, about his discoveries mainly in Russian.

** Fought at the end of May 1093 between the princes of Kyivan Rus', Sviatopolk II of Kyiv, Vladimir II Monomakh of Chernihiov, and Rostislav Vsevolodovich of Pereyaslav against the nomadic Cumans. The Kievan forces were defeated, the Litopysne Misto "Torchesk" was destroyed and according to the old (now discredited) interpretation of the Kyivan Chronicles, was the end of the so-called "II Zvod" (edition). [and of course the metal detectorists are ripping up the Torchesk site]

Resettlement is only one way Russia deals with its so-called "Ukrainian Problem"

Wednesday 10 April 2024

Quis Custodiet? Top UK museums admit hundreds of items lost, stolen or destroyed

Tara Cobham 'Top UK museums admit hundreds of items lost, stolen or destroyed'. Independent 10/4/24

The British Museum is facing a huge alleged thefts scandal but it turns out that the symptoms of once-proud UK going to the dogs go much wider.

Top UK museums have admitted that hundreds of important items have been lost, stolen or destroyed over the past five years. The Imperial War Museum, the Natural History Museum and the National Museum of Scotland are among those who reported missing items in response to Freedom of Information requests by The Independent. [...]
The Imperial War Museum recorded 539 items as lost between 2018 and 2023 and one item as stolen, while the Natural History Museum disclosed 13 items had gone missing over the last five years. During the same time period, the National Museum of Scotland reported six items were lost from its collections, one item was stolen and another destroyed in a fire.[...] while the Museum Wales said a total of 16 items had gone missing since 2017, and 1,921 is the overall number of items that have been lost since the museum started caring for objects. However, the National Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Tate all reported no missing or stolen items over the same time period.


Monday 1 April 2024

UK Detectorist assessed

Mouthy metal detectorist Dr William Shephard keeps sending comments to posts on this blog (like this one - not in any way related to the post it "responds" to). Most of them add nothing to the discussion and a number are in addition downright abusive and offensive. The guy was also apparently taught to write by a wombat. After he made some claims to be a "responsible detectorist", I decided to check him out. It turns out that in the eyes of the PAS "De William Shephard doesn't report finds to PAS at all. The only reports are in the media and relate to treasure finds". So a seeker of fame and notoriety as well as being a tiresome troll.

UK Metal Detectorist Claims Discovery

Archaeologists in Somerville MA in the USA have located buried fragments of the telephone line set up in Boston in 1877 between the home of Charles Williams Jr. with his Boston office, and published it as physical proof of the existence of the use of telephones in America 147 years ago.

Not to be outdone, the following year, Russian archaeologists from the V.V. Putin State Hermitage Museum published the information that, after having dug to a depth of 1.10 m in the courtyard of the Winter Palace they had found traces of copper wire in a layer containing fragments of porcelain they claimed dated back to the end of the reign of Catherine II. They came to the conclusion that this proved Russia already had a sophisticated telephone network more than 200 years ago, before the decadent west.

A few weeks later, 'The Time-Searchers of Northern England' society reported the following on their website: "After digging down to a depth of four feet in the Skipton area of North Yorkshire in 2022, metal detectorist and amateur digger William D. Shephard reported that he had found absolutely nothing at all, except a cartwheel penny of George III. He has therefore concluded that 250 years ago, Britain had already gone wireless."

Stonehenge Stones Not Carried from Waun Mawn


Chemist Józef Dawidowicz has come up with an interesting explanation of the phenomenon of the movement of the huge stone blocks of stonehenge to Salisbury Plain. His interpretation of the evidence does away with the notion that the stones were labouriously dragged to the site from some distant location. The starting point of the theory was the observation that details of the relief of the bases of the heavy bluestones matched perfectly the relief of the soft chalk at the bases of the pits in which they had stood. "There is only one explanation", he said from his Dublin flat, "those stones were cast in the pits". Dawidowicz has shown by experiments in his back garden how wooden shuttering, smeared with animal fat as a separator, could have formed a mould into which a mixture of coarse-grained sand and grit could have been poured with a natural organic silicate binder and left to set. This way, the building materials would have been brought to the site by the bucket load and not as  monumental pre-fabricates. In a fiery retort to critics Dawidowicz lashed out at traditional archaeologists, accusing them of intellectual stagnation and closed-mindedness, "the narrow-mindedness of these so-called experts is appalling. They cling to outdated paradigms, unable to fathom the innovative solutions I've proposed. These dinosaurs lack the vision to see beyond their limited understanding," Dawidowicz  declared. "They dismiss my research without even considering the evidence. It's a testament to their ignorance and refusal to embrace the truth".

Despite facing relentless skepticism from the archaeological community, Mr. Dawidowicz remains undeterred in his pursuit of rewriting history. "I will continue to champion my theories and illuminate the world with the truth, regardless of the resistance I face," he affirmed.

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