Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Miriam Kolar, "Tuned to the Senses: An Archaeoacoustic Perspective on Ancient ChavĂ­n"

I have been interested in sensory history for a long time now, so the chance to read aloud this article by Miriam Kolar on the archaeoacoustics of Chavin de Huantar, a UNESCO site in the Peruvian Andes, is exciting. In the article, the interplay between ritual, musical instruments, and architecture is explored in order to reconstruct the experience of the oracle. Not only does the article present a rich analysis of the site, it introduces readers (er, listeners) to the methodology behind archaeoacoustics and the ways in which archaeologists reconstuct ephemeral evidence in order to understand individual and communal experiences. Although we travel away from the Mediterranean for this article, the methods, theory, and hypotheses that underpin it are important for every archaeologist, historian, or philologist.

The Journal: Here.

The Article: Here

Download from iTunes: Here

Feedburner: Here

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tony Freeth and Alexander Jones, "The Cosmos in the Antikythera Mechanism," ISAW Papers 4 (2012).

"Abstract: The Antikythera Mechanism is a fragmentarily preserved Hellenistic astronomical machine with bronze gearwheels, made about the second century B.C. In 2005, new data were gathered leading to considerably enhanced knowledge of its functions and the inscriptions on its exterior. However, much of the front of the instrument has remained uncertain due to loss of evidence. We report progress in reading a passage of one inscription that appears to describe the front of the Mechanism as a representation of a Greek geocentric cosmology, portraying the stars, Sun, Moon, and all five planets known in antiquity. Complementing this, we propose a new mechanical reconstruction of planetary gearwork in the Mechanism, incorporating an economical design closely analogous to the previously identified lunar anomaly mechanism, and accounting for much unresolved physical evidence."

Link to article: Here. 

Link to journal: Here. 

Feedburner link: Here.

Link to iTunes: Here.

Friday, January 10, 2014

John N. N. Hopkins, "The Cloaca Maxima and the Monumental Manipulation of Water in Archaic Rome"

Area of the Cloaca Maxima later repaired under Domitian.
This week we dive into the major sewer of Rome, the Cloaca Maxima, and attempt to dispel some preconceived notions surrounding it---namely that it always served as Rome's sewer. An article by John N.N. Hopkins explores the topography of early Rome during the regal period--the period of the kings prior to the founding of the Republic [753-509 BCE]--and proposes that the use of the Cloaca Maxima changed over time from the regal period into the Republican and then later imperial era. Moreover, its initial building served as a monumental statement to both Romans and non-Romans of the power of the burgeoning city. His article is a splendid reminder that infrastructure can shift in purpose over time and a further demonstration of how monumental building serves as visual propaganda.

Link to the Article: Here

Link to the Journal: Here

Link to the Podcast on Feedburner: Here

Itunes Link: Here 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Killgrove & Tykot 2013 - Food for Rome

Detail of a snail-and-fruit basket from a 4th century
mosaic in Basilica Patriarcale in Aquileia. (wikimedia commons)
Kristina finally jumps in to read her own article, Food for Rome, on the podcast thanks to permission from the journal publisher, Elsevier. This is an article that benefits from tables and figures, so do click through to the article at the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology site to see those visualizations while you listen or afterwards.

Abstract: During the Empire, the population of Rome was composed mostly of lower-class free citizens and slaves. Viewed from historical records, the Roman diet included primarily olives, wine, and wheat, but poor and enslaved Romans may have eaten whatever they were able to find and afford, leading to significant heterogeneity in the Roman diet. Previous carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses of skeletons from Imperial Italy have begun to reveal variation in diet, but little is known about what people ate in the capital city. This study complements previous work by adding new isotope data from human skeletons found in two Imperial-period (1st–3rd centuries AD) cemeteries in Rome. These data suggest that urban and suburban diets differed, most notably in the consumption of the C4 grain millet. Comparing these new data with all published palaeodietary data from Imperial Italy demonstrates that significant variation existed in the diet of the common people.

Full Citation:  Killgrove, K. and R.H. Tykot. 2013. Food for Rome: a stable isotope investigation of diet in the Imperial period (1st-3rd centuries AD). Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 32(1):28-38. DOI 10.1016/j.jaa.2012.08.002.

Links to: