Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Two members of the Persepolis Fortification Archives team receive awards

Two members of the Persepolis Fortification Archives team will be among those who received awards at the Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America in January 2015.

2015 Wiseman Book Award winner Elspeth Dusinberre.
Each year the James R. Wiseman Book Award Committee will recommend, in time for presentation of the award at the Annual Meeting of the Institute, the academic work on an archaeological topic it deems most worthy of recognition in that year. Books and monographs bearing a date of publication within the four calendar years prior to (not including) the year of the Annual Meeting at which the award is made will be eligible for consideration. Fieldwork volumes are welcome; textbooks will not be considered, and handbooks or other edited volumes must be exceptionally strong contriubtions in order to qualify for consideration.
AIA members are encouraged to suggest books worthy of the award by filling out the Nomination Form. Authors and publishers may also bring their books to the committee's attention by sending a Letter of Nomination and four sample copies for distribution to the committee to the address below. Publishers should nominate no more than two (2) books per year and should ensure that the books meet the criteria of the award.  The author must be a member of the Archaeological Institute of American in good standing. Books may be submitted for the award only once, and should not be re-submitted unless specifically requested by the committee. Books intended for a general audience should be nominated for the Felicia A. Holton Book Award.
Due Date for Nomination
Letter of nomination and books should be received by Institute Headquarters at the below address no later than March 16, 2015.
Wiseman Book Award
Archaeological Institute of America
656 Beacon Street, 6th Floor
Boston, MA 02215-2006
(617) 353-9361
FAX: (617) 353-6550
Questions about the Book Award may be directed to Deanna Baker, Membership and Societies Administrator, at the above address.
2015 Wiseman Book Award: Empire, Authority, and Autonomy in Achaemenid Anatolia by Elspeth R. M. Dusinberre
Elspeth Dusinberre (A.B. summa cum laude Harvard 1991, Ph.D. Michigan 1997) is interested in cultural interactions in Anatolia, particularly in the ways in which the Achaemenid Empire affected local social structures and in the give-and-take between Achaemenid and other cultures. Her first book, Aspects of Empire in Achaemenid Sardis(Cambridge 2003), examines such issues from the vantage of the Lydian capital, while her third book, Empire, Authority, and Autonomy in Achaemenid Anatolia (Cambridge 2013) considers all of Anatolia and proposes a wholly new model for understanding imperialism in general. Her second book is a diachronic excavation monograph, Gordion Seals and Sealings: Individuals and Society (Philadelphia 2005). She is currently studying the seal impressions on the Aramaic tablets of the Persepolis Fortification Archive (dating ca. 500 BCE), and the cremation burials from Gordion. She has worked at Sardis, Gordion, and Kerkenes Dağ in Turkey, as well as at sites elsewhere in the eastern Mediterranean. Professor Dusinberre teaches primarily Greek and Near Eastern archaeology, with a little Egyptian and Roman archaeology plus Greek and Latin language thrown in. She has been awarded six University of Colorado teaching awards, the system-wide President's Teaching Scholar Award, the Chancellor's Faculty Recognition Award, and the Faculty Graduate Advisor Award.

2015 award winner Ancient World Online, accepted by Charles E. Jones
2015 award winner Ancient World Online, accepted by
Charles E. Jones
Digital technologies are driving important changes in archaeology.  Despite the increasing acceptance of digital technology in daily life, however, determining how to assess digital scholarship has proved difficult: many universities remain unsure about how to evaluate digital work along side more traditional forms of print publication when faced with tenure and promotion decisions.  Recognizing the value of digital scholarship, and aiming to encourage its practice, the AIA offers this award to honor projects, groups, and individuals that deploy digital technology in innovative ways in the realms of excavation, research, teaching, publishing, or outreach.
Criteria for Selection 
Nominations of projects and individuals are welcome. Nominations may be made by anyone, including the project director or the principal members of the team responsible for the digital creation. Nominations of collaborative projects are encouraged. At least one member of the leadership team, or any individual nominee, must be a member in good standing of the AIA. Please submit the AIA membership number(s) with the nomination.
Due Date for Nomination
September 15, 2015
Materials to Be Submitted
Additional Information
Because the field of digital archaeology is still nascent and the application of digital technologies to archaeology is in constant flux, the committee reserves the right to modify this award as the field evolves.  Furthermore, the committee also reserves the right not give the award if no deserving project is nominated.
Questions about the award should be directed to Deanna Baker, Membership and Societies Administrator, at or 617-353-9361.
2015 Outstanding Work in Digital Archaeology Award: Ancient World Online
The Ancient World Online (AWOL) is a project of Charles E. Jones, Tombros Librarian for Classics and Humanities at the Pattee Library, Penn State University. AWOL began with a series of entries under the heading AWOL on the Ancient World Bloggers Group Blog. It was moved to the current blogging platform in 2009. The goal of the project is simple but significant: to “notice and comment on open access material relating to the ancient world.” The blog serves as a major hub for online and open-access material relating to the ancient world, regardless of where it is published. The blog and daily newsletter serves as an informative and concise digest of open-access information from across the ancient world. This blog helps the dissemination of knowledge, while also promoting open-access resources. In meeting this goal, AWOL has been remarkably successful, serving archaeological information to more 1.1 million unique visitors to the site since its inception in 2009, nearly a quarter of which return to the site for more.
2015 Outstanding Work in Digital Archaeology Honorable Mentions:
From Stone to Screen (
Day of Archaeology (
These two projects were selected as honorable mentions, as they fulfill the mission of the Archaeological Institute of America to bring archaeology to a wider public and to educate the public about the archaeological heritage and shared past of humanity.  The Award Committee also commend these projects for being collaborative and student-led. By engaging with digital technology for both research and outreach, the work of these students will help to bring archaeology to the next generation of scholars and students, as well as to the interested public.

Monday, December 15, 2014

News: Persepolis Relief Fragment in Montreal Stolen

It has been recovered. An odd story reporting its recovery in Edmonton (From FEBRUARY 25, 2014)

News is emerging today (15 February 2012) of the theft in October 2011, from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, of two pieces, one of them a "Persian low relief of the head of a guard, dating from the fifth century BC. It is made of sandstone, and estimated to be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars".  According to the Montreal Gazette: "The Persian piece – donated to the MMFA by Cleveland Morgan in 1950..."

Two valuable artifacts stolen from Montreal museum
From Wednesday's Globe and Mail

Achaemenid dynasty (558-330 B.C.) Head of a Guard (Fragment of a low relief 5th c. B.C. Sandstone 21 x 20.5 x 3 cm - Achaemenid dynasty (558-330 B.C.) Head of a Guard (Fragment of a low relief 5th c. B.C. Sandstone 21 x 20.5 x 3 cm

 Video of a suspect has been released

Uploaded by on Feb 14, 2012
Surveillance video of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts from Oct. 26, 2011 shows a suspect in the museum that police and the museum believe may have stolen two archaeological sculptures, a Persian bas relief and a Roman head of a man that are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. British-based AXA Art, which is insuring the objects, hopes the public will recognize the individual and call police. The company is offering substantial rewards for the return of the objects and for the arrest of the suspect.

The insurance company, misidentifying the object as "Assyrian" is offering a reward

AXA ART joins the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts  and international authorities in appealing to the public for help

Assyrian low relief Sandstone


Theft at Montreal Museum of Fine Arts


An Assyrian low relief and a marble head dating from the Roman Empire, both rare and valuable, have been mysteriously stolen from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA).  AXA ART is offering a substantial reward, subject to specific conditions, for information leading to the safe recovery of the items, which were stolen in October.  Additional rewards are also offered of up to CAN$10,000 for anyone able to identify either of the two individuals caught on CCTV.  Please see below for the full press release and detailed images.

Persepolis in Pleiades

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Archaeologies of Text: Archaeology, Technology, and Ethics

Archaeologies of Text: Archaeology, Technology, and Ethics [Paperback]

Matthew T. Rutz (Editor); Morag Kersel (Editors)


Scholars working in a number of disciplines – archaeologists, classicists, epigraphers, papyrologists, Assyriologists, Egyptologists, Mayanists, philologists, and ancient historians of all stripes – routinely engage with ancient textual sources that are either material remains from the archaeological record or historical products of other connections between the ancient world and our own.

Examining the archaeology-text nexus from multiple perspectives, contributors to this volume discuss current theoretical and practical problems that have grown out of their work at the boundary of the division between archaeology and the study of early inscriptions. In 12 representative case-studies drawn from research in Asia, Africa, the Mediterranean, and Mesoamerica, scholars use various lenses to critically examine the interface between archaeology and the study of ancient texts, rethink the fragmentation of their various specialized disciplines, and illustrate the best in current approaches to contextual analysis.

The collection of essays also highlights recent trends in the development of documentation and dissemination technologies, engages with the ethical and intellectual quandaries presented by ancient inscriptions that lack archaeological context, and sets out to find profitable future directions for interdisciplinary research.

Table of Contents

1. Morag M. Kersel and Matthew T. Rutz / Introduction

2. Matthew W. Stolper / Case in Point: The Persepolis Fortification Archive

3. Nicholas P. Carter / Space, Time, and Texts: A Landscape Approach to the Classic Maya Hieroglyphic Record

4. Scott Bucking / Now You See it, Now You Don’t: The Dynamics of Archaeological and Epigraphic Landscapes from Coptic Egypt

5. Timothy P. Harrison / Articulating Neo-Assyrian Imperialism at Tell Tayinat

6. Matthew T. Rutz / The Archaeology of Mesopotamian Extispicy: Modeling Divination in the Old Babylonian Period

7. Adam Smith / The Ernest K. Smith Collection of Shang Divination Inscriptions at Columbia University and the Evidence for Scribal Training at Anyang

8. Eleanor Robson / Tracing Networks of Cuneiform Scholarship with Oracc, GKAB, and Google Earth

9. Lisa Anderson and Heidi Wendt / Ancient Relationships, Modern Intellectual Horizons: The Practical Challenges and Possibilities of Encoding Greek and Latin Inscriptions

10. Christopher A. Rollston / Forging History: From Antiquity to the Modern Period

11. Neil J. Brodie and Morag M. Kersel / WikiLeaks, Texts, and Archaeology: The Case of the Schøyen Incantation Bowls

12. Patty Gerstenblith / Do Restrictions on Publication of Undocumented Texts Promote Legitimacy?

13. John F. Cherry / Publishing Undocumented Texts: Editorial Perspectives

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Achemenet Project teams up with Oriental Institute to study ancient Persia

Achemenet Project teams up with Oriental Institute to study ancient Persia
July 16, 2014
Through a partnership with the Achemenet Project in Paris, France, the Oriental Institute will provide online access to new images and documentation of the most significant parts of its Achaemenid period (550-330 BC) object collections. The objects, many of which come from the Oriental Institute’s 1930s excavations at Persepolis, Iran, include seals and sealings, reliefs and sculpture, amulets, tableware, and ornaments. This is the primary goal of the Oriental Institute’s participation in the Achemenet Project, made possible through a grant from the Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute and matching support from the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.