Davide Tanasi is a digital archaeologist at the University of South Florida. He creates highly detailed 3-D scans of archaeological artifacts that can be viewed online or used to create 3-D printed replicas.
Digitize these artifacts as 3-D objects helps spread knowledge about them and guarantees that they will be passed to future generations. F

For example, the USF Libraries Farid Karam M.D. Lebanon Antiquities Collection is one of the largest collection of Lebanese archaeological artifacts in the U.S. Some of the objects are 3,500 years old. Due to space and personnel restrictions, it was never exhibited and made fully available to the general public. Being unpublished, hardly accessible and poorly visible online, it basically does not exist. The project to recreate the collection in 3-D is called the Virtual Karam Project. It allows for these objects  to be shared around the world, hopefully triggering interest to curate and display the collection.

The 3-D models of archaeological artifacts must be geometrically accurate to satisfy interested scholars but also realistic enough to engage the public. The "body" of the artifacts is captured with an ultra-precision 3-D scanner integrated into a measuring robotic arm. The multicolored "skin" is acquired via a set of high quality digital photographs. From the combination of the two features comes the actual 3-D model.

The fire which recently destroyed the National Museum of Brazil was a global wake up call for curators to start plans for the 3-D digitization of historical and archaeological collections. Plans not just for simple archiving and dissemination purposes but also to create a sister digital collection, which can be 3-D printed and function as a "surrogate" in case the originals are destroyed. With the British Museum and the Smithsonian Institution leading the charge, it is becoming more common even for small museums to start virtualization projects for their collections.

Tanasi is working on the Joseph Veach Noble Collection at the Tampa Museum of Art, a group of 150 artifacts, mostly high quality Greek black and red-figure pottery from Athens, Attica and South Italy. Another of his projects involves the Luigi Palma di Cesnola Collection of Cypriot Antiquities, which includes exquisite examples of ancient pottery and statues ranging between 2,500 B.C. to 400 A.D. Both collections are largely unpublished, only partly accessible to the local public, with poor digital representation.

These scans are an advanced archival record for the museum. But the 3-D models can also be built in Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality experiences for the public. Digital replicas can also be used by scholars in every part of the world or to popularize archaeology or trigger interest towards a certain museum or site. Digital collections can also be integrated in the teaching curriculum at K-12 and university level for history, art history and anthropology.
I would like to share with you the The Palaikastro Hymn to Cretan Zeus. At the end of May in 1904 a fragmentary inscription bearing a Hymn to Zeus was discovered at Palaikastro in East Crete, during the excavation of the sanctuary of Dictaean Zeus, on top of the ruins of a Minoan harbour town which contained this hymn. From the very informative, and very well researched paper by Mark Alonge on the subject:

"The Palaikastro Hymn—better known as the Hymn of the Kouretes—does not celebrate a god of pre-Hellenic pedigree, who is Zeus in name only, as scholars have believed with virtual unanimity. Rather, an understanding of the conventions of Greek hymnic performance in its ritual context goes far to elucidating many of the ostensibly peculiar features of the Hymn. Moving out from Palaikastro, in eastern Crete, to survey the island as a whole, I show that the Cretan iconographic and epigraphic records contradict the widely accepted theory of a special, Minoan 'Cretan Zeus.' "

 The hymn goes as follows:

"O supreme son of Kronos, salutations! All-powerful over refreshment, you stand at the head of the gods. Come to Dicte at the turn of the year and take pleasure in our song. We weave it for you with lyres, having blended it with pipes, and we sing having taken our places around your well-walled altar.

O supreme son of Kronos, salutations! All-powerful over refreshment, you stand at the head of the gods. Come to Dicte at the turn of the year and take pleasure in our song. For on this very spot, your shield-bearing guardians received you, an immortal child, from Rhea and beating their foot, kept you hidden.

O supreme son of Kronos, salutations! All-powerful over refreshment, you stand at the head of the gods. Come to Dicte at the turn of the year and take pleasure in our song. [two verses missing]…of the beautiful dawn.

O supreme son of Kronos, salutations! All-powerful over refreshment, you stand at the head of the gods. Come to Dicte at the turn of the year and take pleasure in our song. The Seasons teemed year by year and Justice held mortals in her power, and Peace, who loves prosperity, governed all creatures.

O supreme son of Kronos, salutations! All-powerful over refreshment, you stand at the head of the gods. Come to Dicte at the turn of the year and take pleasure in our song. But, lord, leap to our wine jars, and leap to our fleecy flocks, and to our fields of fruit leap, and to our homes made thereby productive.

O supreme son of Kronos, salutations! All-powerful over refreshment, you stand at the head of the gods. Come to Dicte at the turn of the year and take pleasure in our song. And leap to our cities and leap to our seafaring ships, and leap to our new citizens and leap to fair Themis.

O supreme son of Kronos, salutations! All-powerful over refreshment, you stand at the head of the gods. Come to Dicte at the turn of the year and take pleasure in our song."
The Department of Antiquities, Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works, has announced that on Thursday 12th September 2019 an important antiquity originating from Cyprus, was handed over at the offices of the Permanent Representation of the Republic of Cyprus to the European Union in Brussels. The Cypriot antiquity was in the possession of Ms. Christiane Koojj, a resident of Brussels, Belgium. Ms. Koojj had recently informed in writing the Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus in Paris that the cultural object was inherited to her and her siblings from their late mother and that their request was to deliver it back to its country of origin. The Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus in Belgium referred Ms. Koojj to the Director of the Department of Antiquities as the competent authority on such matters.

The said antiquity is the upper part of a limestone funerary stele consisting of a horizontal cornice, decorated with geisipodes in relief, over which a pediment with a frame in relief is formed. The pediment corners are crowned by acroteria, two of which (at the lateral ends) are decorated with roughly carved anthemia, while the central one, without bearing any sign of breakage, is scarcely marked.

In the middle of the two oblique sides of the pediment, there are carved pomegranates. In the middle of the pediment, within the frame in relief, appears to be an apotropaic Medusa head (Gorgoneion). The horizontal cornice bears a Cypro-syllabic inscription, while other Cypro-syllabic symbols cover the pediment, which may be later additions. Based on palaeographic criteria, the inscription dates to the end of  the 4th-beginning of the 3rd century BC.

The carved pediment is very similar to another Cypriot funerary pedimental stele from the village of Tremetoushia (Larnaka District), now in the British Museum. The Tremetoushia pediment had been previously dated to the 1st century AD, however, the discovery of this second similar stele, which is evidently from the same workshop, allows for a more accurate dating, four centuries earlier than the initial dating.

The antiquity was handed over to the Director of the Department of Antiquities Dr. Marina Solomidou-Ieronymidou by Ms. Christiane Koojj in the presence of the competent Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus Mr. Elpidoforos Economou. Present during the ceremony were Police Inspector Mr. Michalis Gavrielides, Head of the Office for Combating Illegal Possession and Trafficking of Antiquities (Cyprus Police), Dr. Eleftherios Charalambous, Conservator at the Department of Antiquities and Mr. Lucas Verhaegen of the Belgium Police.

The Department of Antiquities as the competent authority in Cyprus for the protection and management of cultural heritage, will continue its intensive efforts to encourage the support of citizens in the protection and preservation of cultural heritage, not only at a local but also at an international level. The cooperation of all competent authorities in the fight against the looting and illicit trafficking of cultural heritage and the repatriation of cultural objects to their country of origin is extremely valuable and of utmost importance.

Although it is acknowledged that the fight against illicit trafficking is an extremely difficult and complex issue, the Department of Antiquities is confident that through coordinated efforts, the desired results related to the protection of the Cultural Heritage of all nations will be reached. One of the main priorities of the Department of Antiquities is the combatting of looting and illicit trafficking of cultural heritage.

The repatriation of the antiquity to Cyprus will take place on 15 September 2019 and is the result of the coordinated efforts of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Antiquities, the Cyprus Police and the Department of Customs and Excise.
I came across this gem yesterday and I just had to share. IT comes from the Greek Anthology. The Greek Anthology (Anthologia Graeca) is a collection of poems, mostly epigrams, that span the classical and Byzantine periods of Greek literature. Most of the material of the Greek Anthology comes from two manuscripts, the Palatine Anthology of the 10th century and the Anthology of Planudes (or Planudean Anthology) of the 14th century. Needless to say, they are not ancient Hellenic, but use themes from its mythology and I enjoy sampling them.

Meleager to Zenophila, his lover

“Sharp-buzzing mosquitoes, shameless suckers
Of human blood, wing-borne predators of the night,
I beg you to leave Zenophila alone for a while to sleep
In peace. Come here, fill yourselves on my limbs.
Ah, but why do I uselessly cry out loud: Unfeeling beasts
Also delight to find warmth in her delicate skin.
But I am warning you, evil things, do not be bold
Or you will learn the power of my envious hands.”

[Greek Anthology 5.151]

A Ptolemaic tomb has been rediscovered and fully documented by Oxford-based team of archaeologists working at Elkab, Egypt.

During its last fieldwork season, the Oxford Epigraphic Expedition to Elkab, in southern Egypt, successfully rediscovered a Ptolemaic painted tomb. The tomb had originally discovered in the 19th century but its exact whereabouts had since become unknown.

Originally located by iconic archaeologist K.R. Lepsius (1810-1884) in 1844, the tomb had never been the subject of proper scientific investigation.

During its last fieldwork season, the Oxford Epigraphic Expedition to Elkab located the tomb in the Graeco-Roman sector of the main necropolis. According to a statement:

“Through its inscriptions, we can precisely date the tomb to the reign of King Ptolemy III (3rd century BC), at the time of the Greek rule of Egypt. Despite the fading of much of the tomb’s decoration, digital technologies have allowed us to record and study it in all its original beauty.”

Ptolemy III Euergetes (Πτολεμαῖος Εὐεργέτης, Ptolemaĩos Euergétēs was the third king of the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt from 246 to 222 BC. He maintained his father's foreign policy of subduing Macedonia by supporting its enemies. Ptolemy backed the Achaean League, a collaboration of Hellenic city-states, and enemies of Macedonia, but switched his support to Sparta when it came into conflict with the Achaean League and proved itself more apt to fighting the Macedonians. He continued his predecessor's work on Alexandria, especially in the Great Library. He had every book unloaded in the Alexandria docks seized, had copies made of each one, and gave the copies to the previous owners while the original copies were kept in the Library. It is said that he borrowed works of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides from Athens but decided to forfeit the considerable deposit he paid for them, keeping them for the Library rather than returning them. The Ptolemaic kingdom reached the height of its power during this reign.

A first description of the tomb along with a description of the Oxford Epigraphic Expedition’s research and documentation work there is available through Egyptian Archaeology 53 (2018): 4–12. Accessible via Academia.edu.

As a basic viewpoint, Elaion believes that the Mysteries need not be pursued; they are not a spiritual ‘formula’ that experimentation will eventually rediscover. That said, we also acknowledge that it's a festival many have been drawn to--both then and now--and we want to give our members a chance to celebrate it in a way that is as Recon as possible once you accept that we know far too little about it to ever accurately be so. Since the proceedings of the Eleusinian Mysteries were kept secret in fear of the punishment of death, we will never be able to restore these rites. But we do know a few basics and we have formulated our celebration accordingly. Please read through all information as well as the rituals before deciding to join.

The Eleusinian Mysteries (Ἐλευσίνια Μυστήρια) had festivals throughout the year, which were tied to agriculture through Demeter's refusal to perform her duties as an agricultural Goddess while her daughter Persephone is with Hades, and to the afterlife and Underworld through Persephone's return to the surface of the earth after Her mandatory stay with Hades has ended. Initiation ceremonies were held every year at Eleusis. Of all the mysteries celebrated in ancient times, the mysteries at Eleusis were assumed to be of great importance to a large portion of the ancient Hellenes. The cult itself likely had origins dating back to the Mycenean period of around 1600 to 1100 BC, and it is believed that the cult of Demeter Herself was established in 1500 BC.

The Eleusinian Mysteries consist mostly of two festivals, but the worship of Demeter and Persephone consist of a cycle of seven festivals: the Greater Mysteries (13-23 Boedromion), the Proerosia (6 Pyanepsion), the Stenia (9 Pyanepsion), the Thesmophoria (11-13 Pyanepsion), the Haloa (26 Poseideon), the Lesser Mysteries (20-26 Anthesterion), and the Skiraphoria (12 Skirophorion). These are placed in sequence of the Athenian year.

Mythologically, the foundations of the Eleusinian Mysteries can be found in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter. Within the hymn, Demeter travels the globe in her grief over losing Her daughter. She eventually settles at the home of Keleus. Demeter plans to make one of his sons immortal in return for his hospitality but She is interrupted. Instead, she tells Keleus to build Her a temple and altar so she can teach human beings the knowledge they need to have a good life.

The Mysteries were obviously celebrated to honor Demeter--Demeter Eleusinia, specifically. Through the honoring of Demeter, the ancient Hellenes prayed for a good harvest, and through the worship of Persephone--Kore--those who were initiated in the Mysteries assured they would be looked upon favorably in the Afterlife.

For those who wish to join us, the Eleusinian Mysteries will be a ten day event, starting on September 17th with a rite meant to emulate the walk to Eleusis from Athens that all initiates eventually undertook. The procession would have started from the shine of Iakkhos, and Iakkhos was invited to come along to Eleusis by those in the procession. The mystai would sacrifice at all shrines along the way. The mystai would arrive in darkness, or at least guided by torchlight, as Demeter searched for Her daughter with a torch in hand. Upon arrival, sacrifices were made to Demeter. After undertaking this rite, we encourage everyone articipating to put on a króki. Króki were pieces of string (wool), worn around the wrist. The initiates of the Mysteries recieved yellow ones on the way to Eleusis.

For the continuation of the days, you can make daily sacrifices to Demeter and Persephone, as laid out in the rituals provided. All have a different character and different steps to undertake so reading through them ahead of time is quite important. While not mandatory, we also encourage those who join to potentially limit or cut out their intake of pomegranates, apples, eggs, fowls, and fish as the ancient Hellenes would have done for the duration of the Mysteries.

Then, we have prepared a rite for the Epidauria. The Epidauria was a festival of Asklepios placed smack in the middle of the Mysteries--exactly six months after the other major festival of Asklepios in Athens: the one during the Greater Dionysia. The day was named after Asklepios healing centre to the south at Epidauros. It was said that on this day, the cult of Asklepios and Hygeia joined the Eleusinian Mysteries rites in Athens.

What, exactly, happened during the Epidauria is unclear as discussing the rites that took place at Eleusis carried a death sentence, but I think we can safely say that the rites at Eleusis involving Asklepios were most likely similar to the rites to Asklepios that took place at other places--including Epidauros. What we do know is that the rites of sacrifices were held at Demeter’s Eleusinion temple in Athens to honour Asklepios, His daughter Hygeia, and Demeter and Persephone, who also were revered as healing deities.

Asklepios' worship almost always included a 'night watch'; a night time period of meditation and contemplation at a temple to Asklepios; the Asklepion. the initiates would most likely sit, contemplate, and cleanse themselves of ailments, distress, and anything that might distract them form the proceedings to follow. The temple of Asklepios was built near the enclosure of a sacred spring in a small cave and it included an abaton, a sleeping hall sacred to Asklepios where initiates could sleep while watched over by priests of Asklepios who prayed to Asklepios to visit these initiates in their sleep and give them messages intended to heal and cleanse. The following morning, initiates would tell their dream to a priest of Asklepios or Hygeia, called 'therapeutes'. The initiate would then be encouraged to put the advice he or she had gotten into practice. We ask you to take part in this night time practice and follow it up with sacrifices to Asklepios and His daughter the day after.

The day after the epidauria was the day the initiates would have traveled to Eleusis. We moved this to the start as a way to introduce you to the Mysteries themselves, but for the ancient Hellenes, this was a walk that ended in darkness, with a torch lit procession to the shrine of Demeter and an offering that was not burned but buried. In the case of the ancient Hellenes, this was most likely a pig but we leave it to you what you want to offer to the Goddess.

We can say with a relative degree of certainty, that the day before the actual initiation was a day on which the initiates fasted in preparation of the main initiatory rite that took place in the nighttime hours of the next day. If you wish to join us for that fast, we would encourage you to stop eating at dusk on 1 October and consume nothing but water (or juice, if you need to!) until after the main rite that takes place in after dusk on 21 September, once it's completely dark out.

While the Eleusinian Mysteries were held largely out of gratitude for the agricultural knowledge provided to us by Demeter, the ancient Hellenes became initiates for an entirely different reason: to be looked more favourably upon by the Theoi in death. Through the worship of Demeter and Persephone, participants hoped that Persephone would talk to Her Husband and the Judges of the dead. It is this focus that all rituals have: the rites of being initiated into the Mysteries in order to be well taken care of after death.

After the main initiatory right, the festival winded down. It's quite possible the initiated didn't sleep throughout the night of their initiation and the attested sacrifice to Demeter and Persephone the next day, we feel, was most likely done at dusk. Feel free to hold it at the standard PAT ritual time of 10 AM EDT, though. the focus of this sacrifice was the complete tipping out of two jugs of water onto the eath by the initiated, one to Demeter and one to Persephone, most likely in gratitude of the experience and knowledge gleamed the previous night.

The following day, we are unsure of what happened, exactly, but we take it to be a resting day and have prepared a simple rite to the Theoi for it. Day nine is another, general, rite, but we encourage you--as the initiated were--to add prayers and hymns to the Theoi you feel closest to to it with the goal of reestablishing the connection with Them after being so immersed in rites with a Kthonic character.

On the final day, we have prepared a closing rite which thanks the Theoi for guiding you on this journey and has you take off the króki you tied around your wrist on the first day. This will signal the end of the Mysteries.

To make things easier, we have laid out a time table:

  • September 15 / 15 Boedromion: starting ritual 

  • September 16 / 16 Boedromion: purification rite

  • September 17 / 17 & 18 Boedromion: sacrifices to Demeter and Persephone / prayers to Asklepios for prophetic dreams and healing (nighttime)

  • September 18 / 18 Boedromion: Epidauria ritual

  • September 18 / 19 Boedromion: sacrifices to Demeter (nighttime) (fasting day)

  • September 19 / 20 Boedromion: initiation rite (nighttime) 

  • September 20 / 20 Boedromion: tipping out of water jugs to Demeter and Persephone

  • September 21 / 21 Boedromion: sacrifices to Demeter and Persephone 

  • September 22 / 22 Boedromion: sacrifices to Demeter and Persephone + personal sacrifices

  • September 23 / 23 Boedromion: closing rite

  • We truly hope you will join us for this event. You can share your experience with the community here and all rituals can be found here. Note, these are ALL rituals, eleven of them in total. One for every day, plus one extra. Read the explanation above and see the schedule for clarification. It is highly encouraged you read through them before the Mysteries start! We are very excited about the opportunity of offering this experience to you and we hope you will find a glimmer of what the ancient Hellenes might have experienced during the most anticipated days of the year.
    Aspasia is perhaps the most famous woman ancient Athens produced. She was born in the Ionian colony of Miletus on the coast of Asia Minor and immigrated to Athens about 450 BC, where she resided as a métoikos or resident alien. She was an accomplished hetaira, educated and trained in the art of conversation and entertainment, and the companion of the great leader of democratic Athens, Pericles.

    It is not known under what circumstances she first traveled to Athens. In fact, very little is known about her life and her as a person. We do suspect that she ran a brothel and worked as a hetaira until her marriage to Pericles. As a hetaira, she would have recieved and offered a very extensive education in order to be able to provide conversation for the many men who attended the ancient Hellenic symposia. As such, she was a well known figure in the ancient Athenian culture and hosted many parties which many famous men attended. According to Plutarch, her house became an intellectual centre in Athens, attracting the most prominent writers and thinkers, including the philosopher Socrates. It has also been suggested that the teachings of Aspasia influenced Socrates. Aspasia was mentioned in the writing of philosophers Plato, Aristophanes, Xenophon, and other authors of the day.

    Her status as a foreigner freed Aspasia from the legal restraints that traditionally confined married women to their homes and allowed her to participate in the public life of Athens. Mistress of her own house and hostess to friends and supporters who visited, she was witty and educated.

     It is attested that Pericles met Aspasia at a symposium and fell for her. She came to live with him as his concubine after Pericles divorced his wife (c.445 BC, if not earlier) and bore him a child of the same name. She was not permitted to marry an Athenian citizen--ironically, because of legislation that Pericles, himself, had enacted shortly before Aspasia arrived--and would remain his concubine until Pericles died of the plague in 429 BC. He lived with her as her husband and treated her as an equal. In fact, it's said he always kissed her goodbye and hello whe he left and came home. This was unseemly for a respectable man, and for a man of Pericles' standing, unheard of. He was often criticized for his relationship with Aspasia, and for his obvious reliance on her help and judgment.

    Aspasia is said by the Suda, a tenth-century Byzantine encyclopedia, to have been 'clever with regards to words', a sophist, and to have taught rhetoric. Cicero, in De Inventione, quotes a lost dialogue by Aeschines to demonstrate her skill in counseling Xenophon and his wife. Neither will be happy, she says, as long as they desire an ideal spouse; rather, each must be the best spouse, if their partner's wish is to be fulfilled.

    "All argumentation, then, is to be carried on either by induction or by deduction. Induction is a form of argument which leads the person with whom one is arguing to give assent to certain undisputed facts; through this assent it wins his approval of a doubtful proposition because this resembles the facts to which he has assented. For instance, in a dialogue by Aeschines Socraticus Socrates reveals that Aspasia reasoned thus with Xenophon's wife and with Xenophon himself: "Please tell me, madam, if your neighbour had a better gold ornament than you have, would you prefer that one or your own?" "That one, " she replied. "Now, if she had dresses and other feminine finery more expensive than you have, would you prefer yours or hers?" "Hers, of course," she replied. "Well now, if she had a better husband than you have, would you prefer your husband or hers?" At this the woman blushed. But Aspasia then began to speak to Xenophon. "I wish you would tell me, Xenophon," she said, "if your neighbour had a better horse than yours, would you prefer your horse or his?" "His" was his answer. "And if he had a better farm than you have, which farm would your prefer to have?" The better farm, naturally," he said. "Now if he had a better wife than you have, would you prefer yours or his?" And at this Xenophon, too, himself was silent. Then Aspasia: "Since both of you have failed to tell me the only thing I wished to hear, I myself will tell you what you both are thinking. That is, you, madam, wish to have the best husband, and you, Xenophon, desire above all things to have the finest wife. Therefore, unless you can contrive that there be no better man or finer woman on earth you will certainly always be in dire want of what you consider best, namely, that you be the husband of the very best of wives, and that she be wedded to the very best of men." [I.31.51-52]

    In 430 BC, at the beginning of the second year of the Peloponnesian War, a disastrous plague broke out in Athens. It killed the two sons of Pericles by his first wife, and he asked for an exemption from the law to permit his son by Aspasia to be legitimated and made a citizen, which was granted. The next year, Pericles, himself, died from the plague, and Aspasia was left alone. She soon found another protector in Lysicles, who rose to prominence under her tutelage. Sadly, he died a year later. The time of her death that most historians give (c. 401 BC-400 BC) is based on the assessment that Aspasia died before the execution of Socrates in 399 BC, a chronology which is implied in the structure of Aeschines' Aspasia.