Showing posts from October, 2017

Slow Recovery or Extended Death Rattle? Northern Ireland's Commercial Archaeology Sector in 2016

Screenshot of the current state of the Tableau visualisation. Data shown ranges from 1998-2016 The evenings are drawing in and the chill winds whistle around the door. It can only mean one thing! Yes, gentle reader, it’s time to take a look at how Northern Ireland’s archaeological consultancies fared in 2016. As I’ve done before, the data from their end-of-year accounts, submitted to Companies House, has been extracted and used to create an interactive dashboard that the reader can investigate and interrogate at will.   As Archaeological Development Services (ADS) have been dissolved, and play no part in the current archaeological scene in Northern Ireland, we’ll not deal with them further, other than to note that their data remains available within the dashboard. Gahan and Long. All Financial KPIs, 2003-2016 Gahan and Long (G&L) Gahan and Long was formed in 2002 and is run by Chris Long and Audrey Mary Louise Gahan. In 2016 their Cash at Bank increased marginally

Musee de l'Ancien Eveche | The funerary stele of Gaius Papius Secundus

< Back to Table of Contents This funerary stele is dedicated to the memory of one Gaius Papius Secundus, a cavalry officer (decurion) in the city of Vienne, approximately 75km to the north-west of Grenoble. Like the stele of Caius Sollius Marculus, which I discussed in a previous post , this also dates to the second century AD. This example has a triangular pediment containing a carved human head (now very worn) above a garland of some description. Below this, the letters D and M (for ‘Dis Manibus’ ‘To the gods’) are divided on either side of a representation of an ‘ascia’ or adze, a common symbol on steles of this period. The commemorative text is enclosed within a moulded, rectangular frame. Following the museum’s information card, the inscription text is on the left, while the expanded and corrected Latin is on the right: D M D(is) M(anibus). G • PAPIO • SECV G(aio) Papio Secu- NDO • DECVRIO ndo, decurio- NI • C •

"Always remember to draw the swastika turning to the right": Some thoughts on swastika directionality in Early Medieval Irish Art

Swastikas are, for a number of reasons, endlessly fascinating symbols. Like all symbols, they are only invested with the meanings we give them. Otherwise they are just little shapes and drawings that mean nothing in and of themselves. Owing to its long history and brief (if traumatic) association with Nazism, the swastika probably has a stronger resonance than most. You won’t spend long on the internet attempting to discuss the swastika before someone, trying to be helpful, notes that the Nazi version rotated counter-clockwise (elbows pointing left) and was bad, but the good Buddhist/Hindu version rotated clockwise. They may be trying to be helpful, but they are invariably wrong. It’s true that the version Adolf Hitler designed for the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei only went one direction: counter-clockwise. What’s wrong is that not all other ( i.e. non-Nazi) swastikas turn the opposite direction (elbows pointing right). Rather than dutifully plod through a debun

Musee de l'Ancien Eveche | Coin Hoard

< Back to Table of Contents I find that I am peculiarly drawn to hoards. It’s not just that my childhood imaginings of ‘buried treasure’ endured and survived a career as a professional archaeologist. There’s something fascinating in the way we feel we can see into those moments of deposition, clearly imagining the sequence of events from hurried deposition in advance of an immediate threat, followed by wondering why it was never recovered? Was the one who hid their valuables killed? Were they driven off and never made it back? Did they survive, only to realise that they’d hid their stuff a little too well and couldn’t find it? All of these feelings and questions go through my mind every time I see this pottery vessel stuffed with treasure. The small-value bronze coins are all of the Late Roman Empire and date from 268 to 273. In particular, the hoard is dominated by examples from the reign of Tetricus I (271-274). The collection was discovered in 1979 in Fontanil-Cornil

Musee de l'Ancien Eveche | Marble Gravestone

< Back to Table of Contents This remarkable little gravestone caught my eye. It was discovered in Drabuyard, Varces, to the south of Grenoble and dates to the 6th century. The upper portion is decorated with a variety of incised cross-forms (one of which bears more resemblance to a snowflake, but you can't have everything) and a little bird. If my guess is correct, the tuft on top of the bird’s head may be enough to identify it as a peacock. Although modern readers will often consider the peacock as an emblem of pride (“Proud as a peacock” and all that), the ancient Greeks believed that its flesh did not decay after death. In this way, it became a symbol of immortality and was adopted by early Christianity. Although fragmentary, the Latin inscription survives sufficiently well to be recorded and translated: [IN H]OCTUMU[LO M]ESERECOR[DIA] [CH]RISTI RE [QUIESC] ET IN [PACE BON] [MEMORIAE] In this tomb by the mercy of Christ, rest in peace, of good memory