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The study of human thought & behavior without direct contact with either

The British Museum has published on its frequently informative blog a call for citizen archaeologists to help digitize its Bronze Age Index via a crowd-sourcing site called MicroPasts, which uses the open source PyBossa crowd-sourcing framework that also powers Crowdcrafting. The results will eventually be integrated with the Portable Antiquities Scheme (previously), which features a gigantic image database of finds categorized by period (e.g. Bronze Age or Medieval) and object type (e.g. coins or brooches).
posted by Monsieur Caution on Aug 4, 2014 - 4 comments

Sword maker Francis Boyd

Blood, Sweat, and Steel: My Afternoon with the Ace of Swords. “When I got this sword, it was completely covered in blood rust.” Sword maker Francis Boyd is showing me yet another weapon pulled from yet another safe in the heavily fortified workshop behind his northern California home. “You can tell it’s blood,” he says matter-of-factly, “because ordinary rust turns the grinding water brown. If it’s blood rust it bleeds, it looks like blood in the water. Even 2,000 years old, it bleeds. And it smells like a steak cooking, like cooked meat. I’ve encountered this before with Japanese swords from World War II. If there’s blood on the sword and you start polishing it, the sword bleeds. It comes with the territory.” [Via]
posted by homunculus on Apr 16, 2013 - 13 comments

Devil's Swimming Pool

Atlas Obscura was previously mentioned here, but at that time had only been up and running for a week or so. It has since filled out a lot. Start your tour (if you dare) by taking a plunge into the Devil's Swimming Pool - a natural pool on the lip of Victoria Falls, inches from the 100-meter precipice. [more inside]
posted by woodblock100 on Jan 21, 2010 - 12 comments

Inside one of the biggest antiquities-smuggling rings in history.

The Idol Thief "Vaman Ghiya operated one of the most extensive and sophisticated clandestine antiquities rings in history, and he had grown rich in the past three decades by smuggling thousands of Indian antiques to auction houses and private collectors in the West."
posted by dhruva on May 14, 2007 - 15 comments

Leasing Antiquities?

Micheal Kremer's proposal to lease antiquities: Most countries prohibit the export of certain antiquities. This practice often leads to illegal excavation and looting for the black market, which damages the items and destroys important aspects of the archaeological record. We argue that long-term leases of antiquities would raise revenue for the country of origin while preserving its long-term ownership rights... via The Art Law Blog
posted by RMD on May 11, 2007 - 10 comments

Memory of Mankind

A US court has decided that Persian antiquities on loan to the University of Chicago can be confiscated and sold to compensate American victims of Hamas violence in Israel.
posted by thirteenkiller on Jul 13, 2006 - 80 comments

Piranesi, etc.

The Works of Giovanni Battista Piranesi: high-resolution scans of all of Piranesi’s etchings. Also, the plates from Les Ruines De Pompei by François Mazois (1812-38), and, the complete 9-volume Le Antichità di Ercolano Esposte (The Antiquities discovered in Herculaneum) published in Naples from 1755-62. Also, at the same site (UT-PICURE: the Center for Research on Pictorial Cultural Resources, at The University of Tokyo), images from the Stibbert Collection of Japanese costume.
posted by misteraitch on Jul 4, 2006 - 11 comments

Curiosities of Literature and Oddities of Human Life and Character

Hillman's Hyperlinked and Searchable Chambers' Book of Days
A Miscellany of Popular Antiquities in Connection with the Calendar, Including Anecdote, Biography, & History, Curiosities of Literature and Oddities of Human Life and Character
posted by anastasiav on Apr 6, 2006 - 5 comments

The ransack of Italy

The ransack of Italy is finally becoming big news. The Getty had a reputation for buying Italian antiquities of "uncertain provenance". It recently returned some treasures, but has remained in the market; it also kept the Morgantina Aphrodite. But, perhaps, not for much longer. Marion True, a senior curator there, has just been indicted by the Italian authorities "on criminal charges involving the acquisition of precious antiquities".
posted by andrew cooke on May 20, 2005 - 10 comments

Glass in the Roman World

Vitrum: Glass Between Art and Science in the Roman World, an exhibition hosted by the Institute and Museum of the History of Science in Florence, describes the use of glass in different areas of Roman life: technology, daily life, architecture, and science. Each of the items in the themed galleries is linked to a large, high-resolution image; some beautiful examples of 2000-year-old glass include: a decorative glass hexagon, a blue glass cup from pompeii, and a striped mosaic glass cup.
posted by carter on Apr 18, 2004 - 5 comments

Harmonia Macrocosmica

Harmonia Macrocosmica. A digitised book of seventeenth-century astronomy.
posted by plep on Jan 28, 2004 - 4 comments

Looting Asia's antiquities

The trade in stolen Asian relics is booming. TIME reports on how cultural sites are being looted and precious artifacts smuggled overseas. Sometimes they're returned, but much of Asia's cultural heritage is being lost.
posted by homunculus on Oct 26, 2003 - 9 comments

Iraq Museum looting

Oh never mind.... The vast majority of antiquities feared stolen or broken have been found inside the National Museum in Baghdad, according to American investigators who compiled an inventory over the weekend of the ransacked galleries. A total of 38 pieces, not tens of thousands, are now believed to be missing, according the Chicago Tribune. Can this be true? Registration required.
posted by Durwood on May 5, 2003 - 27 comments

Jules is a thief.

Jules is a thief. The fact that "all the embedded reporters were doing it" does not make it right. Presumably the US soldiers who were overseeing the embedded reporters knew of this kind of cultural theft -- more than likely, many were a party to it themselves. I'm sending him an email to remind him of that fact, and I will also contact his bosses, urging disciplinary action.
posted by insomnia_lj on Apr 23, 2003 - 42 comments

fetishes

Thogchags, Tsha tshas, Netsuke, or ???... What's your favorite fetish?
posted by pekar wood on Dec 12, 2002 - 14 comments

The British Museum has put together a beautiful interactive display system they call "Turning the Pages" for some of the rarest books in their collection, including the Sherborne Missal. The technology has been developed to realistically replicate the physical act of turning the pages of each individual book.
posted by anathema on Aug 24, 2002 - 14 comments

Greeks fill the temple of Zeus

Greeks fill the temple of Zeus full of amps and concert gear for a NASA tribute. Some people look at ancient sites as things to be preserved, but Greece's minister of culture sees them as profitable venues. Next week they'll be using the Parthenon for ammunition storage.
posted by skallas on Jun 29, 2001 - 17 comments

Pyramids as old as the ones in Egypt found in Peru.

Pyramids as old as the ones in Egypt found in Peru. Actually, they're more like ziggurats of ancient Mesopotamia but hell anyway they're just as old as their Middle Eastern counterparts. Here's a bit more on the Americas' oldest city.
posted by lagado on Apr 30, 2001 - 4 comments

"The marbles belong to the British Museum ...

"The marbles belong to the British Museum ... which does not intend to return any part of the collection to its country of origin," PM Tony Blair ruling out the return to Greece of the so-called "Elgin" marbles, the stone carvings that were unceremoniously hacked off the Parthenon by the Earl of Elgin and carted back to Britain. Nearly 200 years later and despite years of Greek protest, the British Museum is not budging and has maintained thoughout that it has been protecting these antiquities from almost certain destruction (although their own record in this regard has not been great). Should museums today be returning treasures that have were obtained though such looting?
posted by lagado on Mar 25, 2001 - 29 comments

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