Taking a look at Greek ceramics

Recently I spent a few days with Dr. Jasper Gaunt, specialist of ancient Greece and curator at the Carlos Museum, invited to help me continue with the research on the Classical collection.  We looked at Greek ceramics and bronzes, both in the galleries and in the conservation lab. I have added below a couple of my own pictures, but you should read what I wrote for Circa, the Museum blog. It mentions some exciting discoveries (well, exciting to specialists in the field!), so take a look at today’s Circa post: It’s all Greek.

Machu Picchu

My July ARCHAEO-Crush is a spectacular Inca site with which you are all familiar… but did you know that it was “discovered” on July 24, 1911 by Hiram Bingham III from Yale University.  The discovery is somewhat controversial because the local populations already knew of Machu Picchu, but it is Bingham who made this extraordinary site known to the rest of the world.

The superb Inca site perched in the mountains of Peru: Machu Picchu (photo courtesy of my Dad)

The superb Inca site perched in the mountains of Peru: Machu Picchu (photo courtesy of my Dad)

Type: site (historic statuary)
Civilisation: Inca (Peru)
Date: 15th century, circa 1450.
ARCHAEO-Crush: Machu Picchu is an breathtaking feat of civil engineering: the site is perched on rocky mountain cliffs at more than 2,400m of altitude. Religious centre, residential sector, citadel, agricultural zones… this rigorously planned space incorporates approximately 200 stone constructions in upper and lower towns. This massive stone architecture, assembled without mortar, is harmoniously integrated with its spectacular surroundings. After this tremendous effort, it seems rather incredible that the site was abandoned 100 years or so after its construction… but the Spaniards had disembarked and started colonizing.  Fortunately, they never did find out about the city on the old mountain…
Bucket list status: Oh! This is soooooo at the top of my list! I’m rather jealous that my parents got to visit Machu Picchu…
Additional information: Not surprisingly, Machu Picchu is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.  You can read about it, it’s number 274.

Mini interview with Fefi

Members of the NCMA receive e-mails about exhibitions, programs and events as well as notices about what’s going on with the collections and galleries via the Museum blog, Circa.  In the last couple of Circa-related e-mails, members have been introduced to staff bloggers, who answered a couple of questions so you can get to know them better. Guess who was featured this time around?  Our dear ancient Egyptian friend, nobleman and scribe, Fefi!

Below is a screen shot of the e-mail I received (I am a member of the museum). The links in the image are not functional, so I have included them at the bottom of this post.

Fefi, the NCMA's most ancient and noble blogger!

Fefi, the NCMA’s most ancient and noble blogger!

Here are the links mentioned in the mini bio, latest posts: Viper, Viper, Leaf, Nobleman and Name or Nickname? That is the question! Both of these have been featured on An Archaeologist’s Diary. Actually, all of Fefi’s work has been featured!

As for Fefi’s favourite work of art in the NCMA collection, you will find it here: A Meat Stall with the Holy Family Giving Alms. Undoubtedly the meat stall reminds him of something like this (check out the NCMA painting and compare):

Pile of offerings with different cuts of meat (with leeks and bread) on a Middle Kingdom stela at the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City (the paint is probably modern).  I took this picture in 2009.

Pile of offerings with different cuts of meat (with leeks and bread) on a Middle Kingdom stela at the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City (the paint is probably modern). I took this picture back in 2009.


Mummies in Philly

Back at the end of June, I went to Philadelphia to spend a day at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. While I was in town, I met up with my friend and former classmate Kelly. It had been years since we had seen each other and caught up over a drink at the museum cafe. The parking meter was what cut short our conversation!

Wanna see mummies at the Penn Museum? Follow the sign!

Wanna see mummies at the Penn Museum? Follow the sign!

The reason I was visiting the museum  was to see mummies! The museum has a section dedicated to mummification in ancient Egypt and, since 2012, there is also an artefact lab when they conserve mummies!  I have been following their blog, In the Artifact Lab: Conserving Egyptian Mummies, for a while and there is great stuff being done there.

Nespakashuti in the Artifact Lab

Nespakashuti in the Artifact Lab

After visiting the mummy galleries, I went to the artefact lab to meet with Molly, a conservator who works there. We chatted about the museum’s mummies and she showed me some wonderful specimens.  There was this Roman mummy of a little boy, with all its bandages removed–he was so incredibly well preserved and beautiful.  He looked like a little boy sleeping… for all eternity.  And I got to meet Wilfred/a, Nespakashuti, the little girl Tanwa and many others. You’ve got to read their blog, it’s really interesting!

This trip was research for one of my projects, about which I’ll you later. It was a nice day, not too tiring… lucky for me, Philly is just an hour away from Raleigh and it’s a direct flight.  Didn’t have to get up at 4am, didn’t get home late. Had fun!

Fefi and Khnumti

In his third lesson, Fefi introduces us to his buddy Khnumti (hieroglyphically speaking, of course) and poses an interesting question about his name and nickname. Read the NCMA’s ancient scribe’s latest post,  Name or Nickname? That Is the Question!, and meet Khnumti.

Canada Day, CanSouth and Egyptian art

Some of the projects I have been working on are related to CanSouth, a social group  for Canadians living and working in North Carolina–of which I am a member. I designed a logo for the group, created a new business card (using said logo) and revamped the CanSouth website: http://www.cansouth.com, which also features the new logo.

What does that have to do with Egyptology, eh? Absolutely nothing! Or so you might think…but I do have an evil master plan! Now that I’m actively volunteering and will be organizing some of the CanSouth events, I intend to host a happy hour gathering at the Museum.  Yes, you read correctly: happy hour at the Museum!  Strange, you might think, but not really.  The Museum already has an ‘Art in the Evening‘ programme on Friday evenings… so I’ll drag my fellow Canucks there. Beer, wine, music… it shouldn’t be too hard!  And then… I will show them my beautiful ancient Egyptian collection!  (Insert evil laugh here, eh!)

Happy Canada Day!