Tag: Archaeology

Rebuilding the Bamiyan Buddhas

The famous Afghan statues were demolished by the Taliban in 2001. World Hum contributor Joanna Kakissis reports on the painstaking rebuilding process for NPR:

Up to half of the Buddha pieces can be recovered, according to Bert Praxenthaler, a German art historian and sculptor, who has been working at the site for the past eight years. He and his crew have sifted through 400 tons of rubble and have recovered many parts of the statues along with shrapnel, land mines and explosives that were used in their demolition.

But how do you rebuild the Buddhas from the rubble?

“The archaeological term is ‘anastylosis,’ but most people think it’s some kind of strange disease,” said Praxenthaler.

For those in the archaeology world, “anastylosis” is actually a familiar term. It was the process used to restore the Parthenon of Athens. It involves combining the monument’s original pieces with modern material.

(Via @juliaindc)


New Structures Uncovered in the Amazon

David Grann has an update on the latest findings, which point to the existence of a “vast and complex ancient civilization,” in the New Yorker’s News Desk blog. He writes: “The latest discovery proves that we are only at the outset of this archeological revolution—one that is exploding our perceptions about what the Amazon and the Americas looked like before the arrival of Christopher Columbus.”

Grann’s “The Lost City of Z” recently made our list of the best travel books of 2009.


France Returns Frescoes to Egypt

Big news in the antiquities world: The French government has returned five disputed frescoes to the Egyptian government. The painted stone fragments had been held by the Louvre for the past few years, and the Egyptians—claiming that the Louvre’s curators bought them knowing they were stolen goods—had cut off all formal ties and cooperation on archaeological digs with the museum as a result. I suspect that the British Museum, among others, hopes this move won’t become a precedent-setter.


Athens: A New Look for an Old City

Exploring Europe, exploring travel as a political act

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Has the World’s First Novelty Restaurant Been Discovered?

Looks like it. Archaeologists in Rome claim to have unearthed a circular rotating dining room used by Emperor Nero, proving, as Felicity Cloake writes in the Guardian, that “when it comes to naff eateries, anything we can do, the toga wearers did first.”

The AP has a proper news report on the discovery:


In Search of Franklin in the Arctic—Again

An Alberta archaeologist is headed to Canada’s far north this fall in search of the lost Franklin expedition. Rob Rondeau’s team is just the latest in a 160-year stream of hunters for the two ships, HMS Terror and HMS Erebus, that vanished with their crews while seeking the North West Passage in 1845—but this time, Rondeau plans to search in a different area than most. An Inuit resident of Taloyoak, Nunavut, where the search will begin, told the Globe and Mail that the new expedition will be only the second to go Franklin-hunting in the area.


Battle Over the Elgin Marbles Rages On

Battle Over the Elgin Marbles Rages On Photo by roblisameehan via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by roblisameehan via Flickr (Creative Commons)

We blogged about one writer’s sneak peek at the New Acropolis Museum last summer, and now opening day has finally arrived—predictably, not without controversy.

The museum was designed both to pressure Britain for the return of the Elgin Marbles, and to provide a worthy home for them after their (eventual, theoretical) return. With that context in mind, it’s no surprise that Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the director of the British Museum—where the marbles are currently held—have all declined invitations to the grand opening on Saturday.

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The Delicacy of the Andes

The Delicacy of the Andes Photo of cuy doll by morrissey, via Flickr (Creative Commons)

In Peru, people go crazy for cuy. In the U.S., they're household pets. When faced with eating them, Matt Villano confronts childhood memories, nausea and the costs of cultural immersion.

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Unlocking Beirut

When Catherine Watson left Lebanon's capital city in the 1960s, she carried home the key to her former apartment. Forty years later, she returned with her prized souvenir and found it could still open doors.

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Lost City of the Silk Road

merv, turkmenistan Photo by John W. Kropf.

To know the heart of Turkmenistan John W. Kropf thought he had to know the ancient city of Merv. That was just the beginning of his search.

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