A New Poem By Sappho Discovered UPDATED

This is pretty big news: there’s a major discovery of previously unknown poems by the great Greek poet Sappho. Few lines of her work have survived (some of them in our old friend the Oxyrhynchus dump), so each find is important. This new verses are on a scrap of papyrus in the hands of a [Read More...]

A 2,000-Year-Old Eggshell

Ritual-Deposits

Eggs are very important at Casa McD, so I was tickled to see this amazing discovery from Turkey: a nearly-intact eggshell from about 17 AD. The town of Sardis had been hit by an earthquake, and when residents rebuilt, they buried a pierced egg in a pot to ward off further dangers. The intact egg [Read More...]

The Mysterious Lycurgus Cup

Glowing Chalice

Here’s another entry in our “lost technology” file.  The 1,600-year-old Lycurgus Cup–which bears an image of Lycurgus trapped in the vines he tried to destroy*–has a strange property: it’s green until illuminated from a certain angle, whereupon it turns red. The secret has to do with nanotechnology: the Romans who crafted the cup ground down silver [Read More...]

The Oxyrhynchus Project: Desktop Papyrology

ancientlives

el-Bahnasa is a sand-blasted village about 100 miles south of Cairo. Once known as Oxyrhynchus (“City of the Sharp-Nose Fish”), it prospered under the Greeks, and became largely Christian under the Romans and Byzantines. It had a gradual decline until about the 7th century, when Arab invasions finished it off. Its structures–including a number of churches and monasteries–were [Read More...]


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