Tuesday, 27 December 2022

8x8 (10. 366)

adad gate: bas-relief discoveries help limn the dazzle of ancient Nineveh 

rewind: a growing collection of Year-End Lists arranged categorical  

take the a-train: an NYC subway quiz—via tmn 

mush from the wimp: a collection of the best headlines from 2022 

double jeopardy: a personalised quiz show tradition based on family gossip  

a chromatic hallucination: the colour magenta (previously) is a mental construct  

fast-forward: 2022 summarised in seven minutes  

nazca lines: a whole cache of hidden geoglyphs found in Peru

Thursday, 22 December 2022

punting on the thames (10. 355)

Via the ever excellent Nag on the Lake, we are referred to a compendious post on mudlarking—see previously—which has gained considerable popularity in recent years, compelling authorities to issue licenses to better track the trash-cum-treasure dredged from the tidal waters dividing London. Not only are we treated to the details governing the finders-keepers principle and what is reportable and to whom but also challenges to “spot the find” from experienced hunters.

Thursday, 17 November 2022

irulegiko eskua (10. 310)

Although unearthed during excavations near Pamplona last year, the significance of the ancient Bronze Age artefact known as the Hand of Irulegi has only recently come to light, informing our view of the Vascone tribe and their proto-Basque language, the ancestor of modern euskera, once thought to be a pre-literate culture. Written in Iberian script, the only word deciphered so far is sorioneku, a word with a modern cognate meaning “good fortune.” It is believed that this metal-alloy talisman would be hung at the threshold of a home for protection. Previously researchers believed that the Vascones had no system of writing before the arrival of the Romans and only used symbols to mint coins.

Sunday, 13 November 2022

9x9 (10. 299)

enแธซeduana: the fourth incarnation of the four-thousand year old Mesopotamian priestess who is the world’s first named author 

rip: founding member of the Clash and Public Image Ltd Keith Levene passes away, aged 65—via Nag on the Lake  

this is jim rockford. at the tone, leave your name and message. i’ll get back to you. [beep]: the mid-1970s detective drama intro faithfully recreated in LEGO  

spitalfields life: Peta Bridle illustrates her tour of London with her daughter 

tic-toc—let’s talk: Watch Dog and a nightmare clown teach children to read an analogue clock  

hush city: interactive mapping applications to chart out one’s urban soundscape and mark out those quiet spots  

51/49: Democrats retain control of the US Senate with a win in Nevada and the run-off election in Georgia ahead  

hawkwind: space music pioneer Nik Turner has died, aged 82  

the civilisation of llhuros: an artist exhibited, convincingly, a mock Iron Age culture with fantasy folkways and artefacts—via the New Shelton Wet / Dry

Wednesday, 9 November 2022

6x6 (10. 288)

elektrisk kjรธretรธy: a retrospective look at how A-ha inspired and informed Norway’s early adoption of electric vehicles—via Things Magazine  

taposiris magna: archaeologists discover a nearly mile long tunnel deep under a temple near Alexandria on the search for Cleopatra’s lost tomb—via Damn Interesting’s Curated Links  

market cap: major online retailer first company to lose one trillion dollars in stock value—see also

stenography: more on shorthand (see previously) in ancient Greek and Roman texts  

nit-picking: oldest inscription bearing a full sentence found on a Canaanite comb 

terrain de stationnement: France to require all existing and new parking lots to be covered with solar panels

san casciano dei bagni (10. 287)

Heralded as a find as significant as the Riace Bronzes—discovered fifty years ago nearly to the day—a cache of statues depicting Greco-Roman gods have been uncovered in the muddy ruins of an ancient bathhouse in a hilltop village in Siena whose natural springs have been a draw for the Roman elite and modern tourists alike. A horde of coins also found during the excavation helped to date the figures to two millennia along with other inscribed, votive offerings (with some interesting ones in the likeness of vegetables) in Roman and Estrucan. Archaelogists believe that the pantheon of two dozen, including Apollo and Hygieia, the goddess of health and cleanliness, was submerged in the thermal waters that helped preserve them in an exquisite state as part of a ritual of thanksgiving. The spa was in operation from the third century BC to the fifth century AD when Christian conservatism forbade public bathing with the chambers sealed off by heavy pillars. After cleaning and restoration, the community plans to display the finds in situ.

Friday, 4 November 2022

8x8 (10. 271)

make it another, double, old-fashioned please: a definitive, festive guide to whisky cocktails 

born in arizona, moved to babylonia: a new book on the King Tut’s parents, Akhenaten and Nefertiti  

elf-on-the-shelf: the shrine to departed Dobby in a nature reserve can remain but visitors asked to refrain from leaving mementos  

planchette: the intersection between profit and superstition revisited with a look at the story of the Ouija borad—see previously  

toynbee tiles: an enduring urban myth—see previously  

they’ve got it all on uhf: Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliff appearing in musical biopic parody of Weird Al Yankovic (previously)  

palimpsest: peeling back the layers to rediscover ancient manuscripts recycled as early modern incunabula

limoncello: a doubly lemon aperitif in the ‘Amalfi Dream’

kv62 (10. 270)

On this day in 1922, archaeologist Howard Carter and team, sponsored by patron George Herbert, Earl of Carnavon, discovered the first step leading down to the tomb of Tutankhamun, inspired to continue the search after other burial goods were discovered bearing the name of the pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Ancient Egypt were found by excavators contracted by Egyptologist Theodore Davis in ancillary chambers before the Great War. Digging proceeded at pace throughout the month, reaching the antechamber and unsealing the vault on 26 November, exceeding all expectations and lending heretofore unknown insight into royal funeral rites. The media frenzy following that gripped the public imagination was known as “Tutmania,” influencing styles and decorative arts as well as informing Egypt’s struggle for independence from Britain by reconnecting it with its past.

Monday, 24 October 2022

๐€’๐€œ๐€ฐ (10. 248)

With evidence of human occupation for the past one hundred and fifty thousand years and settled some five millennia past in the early neolithic period, we visited the archaeological site and partial, creative reconstruction of King Minos’ palace compound at Knossos, considered the oldest city in Europe and with the Minoan culture the origin of the first intelligible writing system with Linear B. 





We drove through Souda Bay along the Northern Cretan highway to the central coastal city of Heraklion. Abandoned for unknown reasons during the late Bronze Age, the site was unearthed in the early 1890s by one Sir John Arthur Evens, whose father excavated Hallstadt, and whose career included prior turns as war correspondent for the Manchester Guardian, a spy in the Balkans and the caretaker of the Ashmolean Museum, who secured digging  rights from the Ottomans around the same time the up-until-then legendary Troy was rediscovered by Heinrich Schliemann (the pair somewhat in correspondence and competition with another) in another part of the Empire.









The term palace turned out to be possibly misleading, rather than interpreting the over thousand connected chambers of workshops of this administrative centre the maze that held the dread Minotaur. Moreover labyrs (๐€›)—whence ultimately labyrinth was Cretan for a double-biting axe head, a glyph inscribed at corners, sort of like an evil eye, to protect what’s inside the walls, and could be interpreted as guide marks to find one’s way back out. 

We found parking in an olive grove near a traditional tavern near the entrance to the site. The host said we were welcome to park in the shade at his establishment, and just might consider dining there afterwards—not a bad business model.

Tuesday, 11 October 2022

proto-zoetrope (10. 212)

Via Messy Nessy Chic, we are directed to an artefact found in sizable archaeological Bronze Age settlement of Shahre-e Sukhteh (ุดู‡ุฑ ุณูˆุฎุชู‡, Persian for Burnt City) found amongst of treasure of the Helmand culture including an artificial eye, the oldest known board-game with playable pieces and dice, a human skull displaying evidence of successful brain surgery and this earthenware goblet, all items approaching five millennia in age, that depicts was researchers consider to be first animation—see previously. When the vessel is rotated, it reveals a leaping goat taking a bite off a leaf.

Sunday, 25 September 2022

muography (10. 168)

BLDGBLOG’s Geoff Manaugh, contributing correspondent for the Financial Times, introduces use to the physics of the elementary particle called the muon (ฮผ), how like the more elusive and slippery neutrino penetrates temple and turnpike alike (and even volcanos or exploring ruins) and gives civil engineers a new inspection tool to assess the internal state of infrastructure, a sort of structural x-ray, to help triage, prioritise repair and upgrades and identify imminent failures. 

 

Sunday, 21 August 2022

8x8 (10. 075)

west eigg: via property scout Messy Nessy Chic, this lighthouse and keeper’s quarters on Pladda island in the Firth of Clyde  

oled: a clever tinkerer makes dynamic LEGO computer consoles—see previously  

calling card: the true story of football pioneer, journalist, stock-broker and mermaid-hunter Arthur Pember—via Strange Company’s Weekend Link Dump  

cinetimes: a free film and documentary aggregator with a familiar streaming-service interface—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links  

sad beige werner herzog: a master of the bleak-harvest aesthetic  

รงiftetelli: more on “Misirlou”—see previously 

the dolmen of guadalperal: drought in Europe reveals the “Spanish Stonehenge”—a circle of one megaliths almost always submerged 

 fresnel lens: a LEGO ideas kit allows one to create one’s own well-appointed beacon

Wednesday, 10 August 2022

7x7 (10. 050)

smokin’: Bill McClintock remixes Clarence Carter’s “Strokin’” (That’s What I Be Doing) with Boston’s “More Than A Feeling”  

s morgenstern’s classic tale of true love and high adventure, the ‘good parts’ version: wildly divergent book covers for The Princess Bride, via Super Punch  

we’re walking in the air: author and illustrator Raymond Briggs (previously) has passed away, aged 88  

development purgatory: more titles and properties never released by movie studios—see also—via Things Magazine   

scarborough faire: housing developer agrees to rebury unique Roman villa for future conservation a year after it was discovered  

the seventh seal: AI designs movie posters  

seona dancing: Ricky Gervais’ synth-pop group from 1983

Friday, 29 July 2022

arbeia (10. 024)

Though we did not get the chance to survey Hadrian’s Wall this go around, on our way back to the port of Newcastle on Tyne we got to see among other things such as successive traffic roundabouts the ancient Roman garrison which guarded the main sea route to the fortified border near the South Shields docks in Tyne & Wear, so named because originally skilled boatmen from Mesopotamia were stationed there following the conquest of Persia by Septimus Severus (see previously).

Command-and-control for attempted incursions on Scotland, Fort Arbeia ultimately became a logistics base to supply activities along the frontier and preventing Pictish infiltration and once hosted over six hundred troops. The western gate is a modern reconstruction (see also) and contains a museum of artefacts found here and an education centre.



Tuesday, 31 May 2022

6x6

not to put words in your mouth: Google’s collaborative incubator discreetly withdraws from deepfake research—via Slashdot  

mermay: a month-long (didn’t get the memo but for next year) sketching challenge to draw merfolk with daily prompts    

bubasteion: necropolis sacred to Ancient Egyptian feline goddess yielded a trove of two-hundred and fifty perfectly preserved sarcophagi  

now listen to my heart—it says ukrainia: the Scorpions update their lyrics to Winds of Change to stop romancising Russia 

joueur-animateur en direct: French ministry of culture reforms guidelines on gaming jargon to combat anglicisation—see previously  

monk tone scale: Google adopts a better classification system for skin pigment to combat baked-in biases (see previously) for its algorithms and artificial intelligence

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

7x7

conservation of momentum: a Newton’s Cradle performs Psy’s K-Pop classic  

the tweter: a sweater for two  

the elephant: an Ames inspired trainer—see previously  

trust-fall: a collection of Italian ex-votos (previously) depicting divine intervention during a stumble 

the bond bug: a three-wheeled two-seater produced by Reliant Motor Company—via Pasa Bon!  

amphorae: Ukrainian soldiers digging trenches outside of Odesa discover ancient Greek artefacts   

bill medley: the ending sequence of Dirty Dancing set to the theme of The Muppet Show—via Boing Boing

Sunday, 8 May 2022

himmelsscheibe




Coming home from Saxony we took a detour and finally got the chance to check out the Arche Nebra—a museum and planetarium near the archeological site where the prehistoric skydisc was discovered. The actual artefact is usually kept in Halle and was presently on loan to the British museum as part of an ancient astronomy exhibit that couples it with the megalithic timepieces like Stonehenge and the nearby counterpart, the Goseck circle, a solar observatory from neolithic times—but there were plenty of detailed replicas on hand to study and gain an appreciation in situ of this rather overwhelming tool. From the perspective of the promontory where it was discovered (Fundort), the golden bands ringing the edge form an arc precisely corresponding with the Sun’s pendular journey between the peak of the Brocken and the peak of the Kyffhรคuser in the Harz rising and setting at the spring and autumn equinoxes and indicating by the appearance of the New Moon and its proximity to the Pleiades (see above) when to plant and whether the year will be a common year or will need an intercalary month inserted to keep the stars aligned with the cycle of the seasons, this earliest known representation of the Cosmos features no gods or heroes, only the calendar of the night sky. In the area, we also stopped at the village of Zingst on the Unstrut river to inspect this manor house by the road that looked like it had seen time conscripted as a factory with the addition of an industrial smoke-stack and the vista of the largest medieval castle complex—similar in scale and composition to the Wartburg—in middle Germany, Burg Querfurt, something to see another day.

Saturday, 2 April 2022

6x6

un robot quadrupede al servizio dell’archeologia: SPOT to patrol ruins of Pompeii and protect the site from looters—also raising a quandary for future archaeologists 

satanic panic: the full 1993 (!) cult awareness pamphlet (see previously)—via Weird Universe  

dans l’ombre du star wars kid: the National Film Board of Canada’s documentary on the internet phenomenon  

entrรฉe: a family-run Tbilisi-based artisanal bakery expands into East London 

the atlantean: after Dallas (debuting on this day in 1978), Patrick Duffy appeared as a merfolk-hybrid hero

intonarumori: Luigi Russolo’s experimental sound machines

Monday, 14 March 2022

7x7

be kind, rewind: the miniature dioramas of Marina Totino—via Waxy  

doobly doo: recreating a Hallstatt period hair-style  

wck: more on Josรฉ Andrรฉs’ World Central Kitchen (previously) and its work in Ukraine  

it is better to conquer our grief than to deceive it: solace from the Stoics and other timeless words of wisdom—via Messy Nessy Chic  

blogoversary: Kottke turns twenty-four  

the wife of ฯ€: a Pi Day (previously) round-up—plus this one  

family pictures: artist Martha Naranjo Sandoval reanimates antique stereoscopic photos

Thursday, 10 March 2022

7x7

stacy’s dad has got me down bad: a Fountains of Wayne cover from a different perspective  

imperial trans-antarctic expedition: the shipwreck of Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 exploratory mission discovered  

beachcomber: eighteenth-century seaweed pressings speak to fecklessness and romance 

ithaca: an new AI model is helping scholars decipher and date ancient inscriptions  

x-wing: Star Wars space craft size comparison  

snowmen: David Lynch’s haunting images—evocative of Eraserhead from Boise, Idaho in the early ‘90s  

there’s a doll, inside of doll, inside a doll, inside a dolly: Robbie Williams’ 2016 Party Like a Russian was inspired by an encounter with the inner-circle of oligarchs when asked to perform at a New Year’s Eve party