Friday, April 16, 2021

New from the OI: OIP 144. The Sheikh's House at Quseir al-Qadim: Documenting a Thirteenth-Century Red Sea Port

Katherine Strange Burke, with contributions by Steven M. Goodman and Wilma Wetterstrom













This study of a thirteenth-century dwelling on Egypt’s Red Sea Coast draws on multiple lines of evidence—including texts excavated at the site—to reconstruct a history of the structure and the people who dwelt within. The inhabitants participated in Nile Valley-Red Sea-Indian Ocean trade, transported Ḥāǧǧ pilgrims, sent grain to Mecca and Medina, and wrote sermons and amulets for the local faithful. These activities are detailed in the documents and fleshed out in the botanical, faunal, artifact, and stratigraphic evidence from the University of Chicago’s excavations (1978–82).

This compound eventually consisted of two houses and a row of storerooms and became the center of mercantile activity at Quseir al-Qadim. Over time, as the number of named individuals who received shipping notes addressed to the “warehouse of Abū Mufarij” increased, living rooms and storerooms were added to accommodate this expansion of commerce. While most merchants were dealing in textiles, dates, and grains, additional commodities traded included perfumes, gemstone-decorated textiles, resist-dyed textiles, and porcelains. Specialist studies by Steven Goodman on the avian faunal remains and Wilma Wetterstrom on the macrobotanical finds reveal that the compound’s occupants enjoyed a diet of chicken and Nile Valley produce such as grapes and watermelon, and they were supplemented by high-priced imports: nuts and fruits from around the Mediterranean, along with medicinal plants from as far away as India, indicate the wealth and status of this family of merchants.

The evidence from this small portion of Quseir al-Qadim yields a rich local story that is a microcosm of Nile Valley-Red Sea-Indian Ocean trade under the last Ayyubid sultans of Egypt.

Table of Contents
1. Quseir al-Qadim and the Sheikh’s House
2. Ceramics
3. Plant Remains 1982. Wilma Wetterstrom
4. Avian Faunal Remains. Steven M. Goodman
5. Textiles, Basketry, Glass, and Coins
6. Texts in Context: The Sheikh’s House Texts
7. The Sheikh’s House in Context: Quseir al-Qadim, Egypt, and Beyond
8. Conclusions
Appendix A. Postscript: The Later History of Quseir al-Qadim and Early Modern Quseir
Appendix B. Locus Tables
Appendix C. Pottery Tables
Appendix D. Bone, Glass, and Coin Tables
Appendix E. Document Tables
Appendix F. Textile and Archaeobotanical Tables
Appendix G. Pottery Plates by Locus
Appendix H. Photographs of the Excavations and Several Small Finds    

  • Oriental Institute Publications 144
  • Chicago: The Oriental Institute, 2021
  • ISBN (hardcover) 978-1-61491-056-5
  • ISBN (eBook) 978-1-61491-058-9
  • Pp. 424 (lxiv + 360)
  • 57 figures; 85 plates; 21 tables
  • Hardback, 9 x 11.75 in
  • $129 (hardback)

For an up to date list of all Oriental Institute publications available online see:The Oriental Institute Open Access Publications


Urkunden zur Chronologie der späten 12. Dynastie: Briefe aus Illahun

Ulrich Luft

Das Archiv von Illahun, das wichtigste Tempelarchiv vor der griechisch-römischen Zeit, datiert in die zweite Hälfte der 12. Dynastie. Der Fund zerfällt in zwei Teile, die im Abstand von zehn Jahren 1889/90 und 1899 gefunden worden sind. Der erste Teil befindet sich heute im Petrie Museum London, der zweite fast gänzlich im Berliner Museum. Hinsichtlich des Fundplatzes wird Illahun für die Londoner Papyri angenommen, während die Herkunft der zweiten Gruppe durch einen Survey in Illahun im Jahr 1899 fast als gesichert gelten darf. Die Bedeutung des Berliner Teils wird noch dadurch erhöht, dass in dem Tempeltagebuch aus dem Jahr 7 des Königs Sesostris III. das Datum des heliakischen Aufgangs des Sirius angegeben ist. Dieses Datum ist seit seinem Bekanntwerden immer wieder zum Ausgangspunkt für die Festlegung der ägyptischen Chronologie gemacht worden. Neben dieser Briefkopie, die 1992 in der ”Chronologischen Fixierung" publiziert worden ist, gibt es noch eine Menge von Briefen mit Monddaten, die zur Festlegung des siderischen Datums benutzt worden sind. Diese Briefe sind jedoch nicht nur wegen der eingestreuten Monddaten interessant, sie erlauben auch einen tiefen Einblick in das tägliche Leben des ägyptischen Mittleren Reiches.

The archive of el-Lahun, the most important temple-archive before the Greek-Roman Period, dates from the second half of the 12th dynasty. The find is divided in two parts that were found ten years apart in 1889/90 and 1899. The first part is now in the Petrie Museum London, the second one almost completely in the Berlin Museum. The London papyri are said to have come from el-Lahun, while the second find's origin was determined with almost complete certainy in a survey in 1899. The Berlin find concentrates fully on the process of the mortuary cult of the king

Sesostris II while the London papyri comprise items of a more individual character like legal documents household lists, contracts, even literary pieces. The Berlin find comprises documents of the daily cult in the mortuary temple of the King such as letters, temple-diaries, supply and festival lists. The significance of the Berlin part is made even greater by the fact that the date of the Heliacal Rise of Sirius is recorded in the temple-diary of the 7th year of King Sesostris III.

ISBN 978-3-7001-3300-1

Print Edition
ISBN 978-3-7001-6643-6
Online Edition


2006  (ISBN-13: 978-3-7001-3300-1), 167 Seiten, 38x30 cm, broschiert, Contributions to the Chronology of the Eastern Mediterranean VII, Denkschriften der Gesamtakademie XXXIV
€  59,–   
Open access

Open Access Journal: Damqãtum: The CEHAO News letter/ El Boletín de Noticias del CEHAO

[First posted in AWOL 9 September 2009. Updated 16 April 2021]

Damqatum es el boletín de noticias del CEHAO editado tanto en castellano como en inglés, con el que se busca acercar la comunidad científica al público en general, para lo cual se realizan entrevistas a destacados académicos y se promueven o informa sobre diversas actividades tanto de extensión como de grado y posgrado, como exposiciones, congresos, jornadas y seminarios.

Se aceptan todo tipo de contribuciones y/o información sobre eventos destacados sobre la historia de antiguo Cercano Oriente.
Damqatum is the CEHAO newsletter, edited in Spanish and English. The newsletter endeavors to present scholarly topics to the general public, publishing interviews to prestigious scholars and promoting or informing academic and extra-curricular activities, such as expositions, congresses, workshops and seminars
Damqatum accepts all kinds of contributions and/or information on important events of the history of the ancient Near East.

New Open Access Journal: Advances in Archaeomaterials

ISSN: 2667-1360
Go to journal home page - Advances in Archaeomaterials 
Archaeological sciences are now more than ever a fully integrated aspect within the field of archaeology. With the enormous wealth of techniques, methodologies, theoretical approaches, and regional case studies that have been published over the past two decades, it is time that a journal dedicated to reporting the "state of the field" of various archaeometric sub-disciplines be issued. For example, review articles can cover the use of a specific technique or methodology within a class or type of materials, a region, or some combination thereof that reports on a body of scientific approaches to the materiality of the past. Beyond excavation, it is these techniques that have delivered some of the greatest archaeological discoveries in the past two decades, and regional or methodological syntheses stand to greatly enhance the dissemination of cutting edge case studies within a broader context. Additionally, Advances in Archaeomaterials will also welcome original research, as long as it is contextualized within an expanded introductory framework, in the fields of archaeological science, cultural and industrial heritage, science and technology studies including history of science, and conservation science-as long as the focus is archaeometric research on human-made materials. Finally, special issues can be published in certain circumstances (contact the editors with queries), and manuscripts of interest to a broad audience published in Chinese can be translated into English and published as an article.

This will be the only journal dedicated to:
  • Articles synthesizing archaeological science research results in a region
  • Articles synthesizing archaeological science research results for a method or technique
  • Articles synthesizing archaeological science research results of specific ancient material classes (organic and inorganic)
  • Original research in the fields of archaeological science, cultural and industrial heritage, science and technology studies including history of science, and conservation science
  • Publishing English translations of Chinese scholarship to make it available to non-Chinese audiences.
  • Special issues can be published in certain circumstances (contact the editors with queries).
Volume 1, Issue 1 

Pages 1-108 (December 2020)

  • Editorial board members

    Page ii

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  • Introduction: A Mission to Be Fulfilled

    Page iii

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  • A Welcome Message from the Managing Editor

    Page iv

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  • Plating and Surface Treatments on Ancient Metalwork

    Pages 1-26

  • Download PDF

    Glassmaking of the Qing Dynasty: A Review, New Data, and New Insights

    Pages 27-35

    Download PDF

    Archaeomaterials, Innovation, and Technological Change

    Pages 36-50

    Download PDF

    Soil, Hands, and Heads: An Ethnoarchaeological Study on Local Preconditions of Pottery Production in the Wei River Valley (Northern China)

    Pages 51-104

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    Fragments of Large Roman Statuary in the Museum of Catania, Sicily: Review of Stefania Pafumi's 2020 Disiecta membra. Frammenti di statuaria bronzea di età romana del Museo Civico di Catania

    Pages 105-108

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    Open Access Journal: Neograeca Bohemica

    ISSN: 1803-6414 (print)
    ISSN: 2694-913X (online)


    Variant title: Neograeca Bohemica: přednášky České společnosti novořeckých studií
    Variant title: Přednášky České společnosti novořeckých studií
    Publisher: Česká společnost novořeckých studií, z. s.
    Published: 2014-present 
    Description: Časopis Neograeca Bohemica, ISSN 1803-6414, je odborný recenzovaný časopis, který je publikační platformou pro odborné stati, recenze a zprávy ze všech oblastí pozdně byzantské a novořecké lingvistiky, literatury a historie (od 1204 n.l. do současnosti). Časopis také zveřejňuje překlady literárních děl daného období. Vychází jedenkrát ročně od r. 2014. Je pokračováním periodika Přednášky České společnosti novořeckých studií, které vycházelo v letech 2001–2013 (od r. 2008 již s paralelním názvem Neograeca Bohemica).
    Description: Neograeca Bohemica, ISSN 1803-6414, is a peer-reviewed scholarly journal that provides a platform for original high-quality papers, reviews and reports concerning any areas of Late Byzantine and Modern Greek Linguistics, Literature and History (from 1204 A.D. up to these days). The journal also publishes translations of Late Byzantine and Modern Greek Literature. It is issued once a year since 2014. Neograeca Bohemica is a continuation of the periodical Přednášky České společnosti novořeckých studií (Lectures of the Czech Society for Modern Greek Studies) which was published from 2001 to 2013 (from 2008 onwards already with parallel shorter title Neograeca Bohemica).



    Volumes, Issues

    2020 (Volume 20) [1]

    2019 (Volume 19) [1]

    2018 (Volume 18) [1]

    2017 (Volume 17) [1]

    2016 (Volume 16) [1]

    2015 (Volume 15) [1]

    2014 (Volume 14) [1]

    2013 (Volume 13) [1]

    2012 (Volume 12) [1]

    2011 (Volume 11) [1]

    2010 (Volume 10) [1]

    2009 (Volume 9) [1]

    2008 (Volume 8) [1]

    Greek Painting in Context - Webinar Series

    Moderators: Jenifer Neils, American School of Classical Studies & Dimitris Plantzos, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens 

    About our Webinars: This new series of webinars considers rare surviving examples of Greek painting in its archaeological setting, namely palaces, houses, temples, and tombs. It will explore the extent to which the works’ original locations informed their pictorial programs, and demonstrate how ancient painters adapted their subjects to new contexts. Recent discoveries and new scientific advances have led to reevaluations of older material and exciting breakthroughs. In these seven webinars, expert scholars will discuss how paintings on walls and vases relate to their physical contexts as well as to their patrons. This series will be moderated by Prof. Dimitris Plantzos, author of The Art of Painting in Ancient Greece (Kapon 2018), and Prof. Jenifer Neils, Director of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.
    In Search of Contexts: The Wall Paintings of the Mycenaean Palace at Pylos Revisited


    Thursday, April 15, 2021

    Making open access photos of ancient cultural heritage available via Flickr: a few thoughts by Dan Diffendale

    Making open access photos of ancient cultural heritage available via Flickr: a few thoughts by Dan Diffendale

    Daniel P. Diffendale is a Mediterranean archaeologist whose interests lie primarily in the first millennium BCE central Mediterranean. His current primary research focus is the use of volcanic building stone in the architecture of the city of Rome in antiquity. Since April 2007, he has shared his photographs in open access via Flickr. His over 10 000 photos are now widely used by scholars, either for their courses or for their publications. Klinai asked him to present his approach and his motivations.

    Let me start by addressing audience. Who are my photos for? Everyone, really, I hope. I hear from educators at various levels, especially university instructors, that they’ve used my photos in class, which is always lovely to hear, and I’ve had requests for use in books and articles. But I hope that they are also accessible to students directly, as well as to a wider public that has at least a baseline understanding of Mediterranean antiquity. One of my goals in making my photographs available is to expand the range of what’s accessible online. I’m not sure many people, even a lot of specialists in various part of antiquity, fully understand just how incredibly much ancient material culture is preserved. Even if what is preserved amounts to, at best guess, perhaps 1% of what once existed, it’s still a vast amount of material. And I’m trying, not always successfully, to allow people to access more of that variety—things like organic materials, cookpots, the “imperfect” or the just plain weird—and to see things that don’t make it to the textbooks or the popular retweet factories.

    Why Flickr? Well, I joined Flickr way back in 2007, but that was not my first attempt at sharing photos of antiquities. I think it was some time around 1998 when I added a section to my Geocities site to host photos of Roman sites and artifacts in Britain, taken during a family vacation there. My cataloging impulse goes way back; when I was a kid my dad used to take me to photograph trains in the next town over, and I’ve got boxes full of train slides that I suppose I could scan someday. (This is a good place to thank my dad for giving me my first hand-me-down cameras, a 110 film camera—I think a Vivitar—and then a 35mm Pentax, and for teaching me the rudiments of light and composition).

    Click through to read the rest.