January 31, 2010 |
The scientist had traveled from Germany to examine the ancient items that lay before him on the University of Pennsylvania laboratory table, and he was dazzled. Earrings with cascades of golden leaves. Brooches adorned with tightly coiled spirals. A necklace strung with hundreds of gold ringlets and beads. The jewelry bore a striking resemblance to objects from one of the world's great collections - a controversial treasure unearthed long ago from the fabled city of Troy. Were the objects on the lab table also from the city that inspired Homer's epic poem of war?
April 3, 2000 |
When Peter D. Harrison was writing the last chapter of his latest book, he was sitting near a hotel swimming pool on the edge of the ancient Mayan city of Tikal. "And there were howler monkeys in the trees," the New Mexico anthropologist, 62, said in an interview, "and they didn't stop all afternoon. " And all night. While the monkeys threaten visitors, he said, the 35,000 tourists at Tikal, Guatemala, each year threaten the ecological balance in the city that was hidden by jungle for almost 1,000 years.
March 25, 2013 |
PETRA, Jordan - President Obama set aside the Middle East's tricky politics Saturday to marvel at the beauty of one of the region's most stunning sites, the fabled ancient city of Petra. "This is pretty spectacular," he said, craning his neck to gaze up at the rock faces after emerging from a narrow pathway into a sun-splashed plaza in front of the grand Treasury. The soaring facade is considered the masterpiece of the ancient city carved into the rose-red stone by the Nabataeans more than 2,000 years ago. Obama's turn as tourist capped a four-day visit to the Middle East that included stops in Israel and the West Bank, as well Jordan.
September 21, 2014 |
One of the casualties of Syria's civil war is history. Five of the country's six World Heritage sites have "significant damage" and some buildings have been "reduced to rubble," according to a new report that includes work by University of Pennsylvania experts. The report, which was released this week, relied on high-resolution satellite photos to chronicle damage to mosques, Roman buildings, and a Byzantine castle. The Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights Project of the American Association for the Advancement of Science wrote the assessment with help from the Penn Cultural Heritage Center at Penn's Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Syrian Heritage Task Force.
June 18, 2013 |
LUXOR, Egypt - Angry tourism workers and activists in Luxor threatened Monday to block a newly appointed Islamist governor from his office because of his links to a former militant group that killed scores of people in a 1997 attack in the ancient city and devastated Egypt's sightseeing industry. Adel el-Khayat was named to the provincial governor's post Sunday by President Mohammed Morsi, causing the outrage. Khayat is a member of the Construction and Development party, the political arm of Gamaa Islamiya, which waged an armed insurgency against the state starting in 1992 and attacked police, Coptic Christians, and tourists.
November 5, 2009 |
THIS MONTH, Berlin will mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the city's infamous wall. Made of stark concrete and barbed wire, and dotted with watchtowers, it divided the heart of Berlin into eastern and western sectors. Hundreds died there trying to cross into freedom. Berlin became a city early in the 14th century, when two feudal villages merged. Unified for hundreds of years, its division into eastern Soviet and western Allied zones grew out of the devastation of World War II. Berlin was divided for just over 44 years, until the collapse of East Germany (another arbitrary relic of the cold war)
January 26, 1994 |
Interested in diving for fun and nonprofit? A small exhibition at the University Museum offers a quick overview of the field of marine archaeology, a summary of its insights into an ancient Middle Eastern seaport - and an invitation to prospective archaeological volunteers. The traveling show,"Secrets from an Ancient Sea: Marine Archaeology at Caesarea Maritima, Israel," is a concise, lucid presentation of research conducted by a team led by Robert L. Hohlfelder, chairman of the History Department at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
December 28, 2003 |
Turkey! Never, ever, had I thought of having a chance to take a trip to that part of the world. And then, out of the blue, came my sister's phone call. "How about a vacation in Turkey?" she asked. "I'll pay. " I couldn't refuse. Still, I approached the visit with mixed feelings. After our arrival at the Izmir airport, I was appalled by the brazenness of the porters, who grabbed passengers' luggage without seeking permission first. And on the road from the airport, I was saddened by the obvious poverty of the farmers, whose crude, dilapidated dwellings sat among parched, almost barren fields.
August 12, 1999 |
Mayor Rendell, eat your heart out. Philadelphia archaeologists excavating an ancient Egyptian site have found a house truly fit for a mayor in the ancient city of Abydos. It is the first such find in all of Egypt. The 4,000-year-old house, which boasted walls five feet thick, spans more than 40,000 square feet - covering nearly an acre. It was a city hall, financial center, granary and a mansion rolled into one. The mayor may have controlled 75 percent of the wealth in the town and supervised such important officials as the overseers of the herds, the brewery, and the superintendent of the bread house.
May 19, 1986 |
The facts about Homer have faded - nobody even knows where he was born or is buried - but his two great stories have endured more than 2,500 years. The Iliad and Odyssey seem likely to last as long as there are humans alive to read. The Iliad in particular, covering the Trojan War, has given us a gallery of unforgettable characters whose names and likenesses have been utilized in everything from Shakespearean plays to cars to kitchen cleansers. The mighty Achilles, the doomed Hector, the beautiful Helen, the wise Odysseus, the wanton Cressida, the stupid Ajax - what they did for a decade, before the Greeks built the Trojan horse and used it to slip inside and conquer Troy, has been absorbed either in depth or in passing into the minds of millions.