HoodedHawk

Science


Alexander the Great. Silver Drachm. ~324-323 B.C. Lifetime issue.

Alexander the Great.  Lifetime issue silver drachm.

Alexander the Great. Lifetime issue (~324-323 B.C.) silver drachm.

Alexander the Great.  Lifetime issue silver drachm.

Alexander the Great. Lifetime issue (~324-323 B.C.) silver drachm. Reverse

Pharsalos, Thessaly, Greece, 370-340 B.C. Silver hemidrachm. VF. superb classical style, centered on a tight flan, marks, porosity, etched reverse, 2.886g, 16.3 mm, Pharsalos (Farsala, Greece) mint, 370-340 B.C. Head of Athena right, wearing pendant earring and crested Altic helmet with raised cheek flaps, adorned with scrolls, hair out from under the neck guard. T (the master engraver Telephantos) over IIL (his apprentice?) behind neck. Reverse: Horse’s head and neck right, concave field.

Pharsalos, Thessaly, Greece, 370-340 B.C.  Silver hemidrachm.  VF.  superb classical style, centered on a tight flan, marks, porosity, etched reverse, 2.886g, 16.3 mm, Pharsalos (Farsala, Greece) mint, 370-340 B.C.  Head of Athena right, wearing pendant earring and crested Altic helmet with raised cheek flaps, adorned with scrolls, hair out from under the neck guard. T (the master engraver Telephantos) over IIL (his apprentice?) behind neck.

Pharsalos, Thessaly, Greece, 370-340 B.C. Silver hemidrachm.

Pharsalos, Thessaly, Greece, 370-340 B.C.  Silver hemidrachm.  VF.  superb classical style, centered on a tight flan, marks, porosity, etched reverse, 2.886g, 16.3 mm, Pharsalos (Farsala, Greece) mint, 370-340 B.C.  Reverse:  Horses head and neck right, concave field

Pharsalos, Thessaly, Greece, 370-340 B.C. Silver hemidrachm. Reverse.

On Saturday I attended Prof. Bob Brier’s talk at the Smithsonian Ripley Center ( A Smithsonian Resident Associates talk):

Temples, Monuments, and Tombs: Exploring Egypt’s Ancient Treasures

egypt-treasuresThis was a great day of archaeology lectures!

I had planned to take the Metro into Washington, D.C., but was running late (shocker!), so drove in. No spots on Jefferson Ave in front of the S. Dillon Ripley Center (sometimes I get lucky), so I parked at a meter at the end of the Mall (on 7th). That was actually convenient, as you can use an app on your phone to pay the meter, so I just renewed my spot every 2 hours on my phone without having to go back to feed the meter. Nice.

I arrived just a few minutes after it started. I assumed walking in that I would have a crappy seat (it was a sold out event), but there were some free chairs along the side of the upper balcony in the auditorium – unobstructed view, and no one crowding. Nice! I had been to a previous lecture of Prof. Brier’s, about 6 years ago, for the release of his book, “The Secrets of the Great Pyramid”, so I knew I would like the presentation. He is a great lecturer; dynamic speaker and he keeps your interest.

In anticipation of this seminar I have also started watching his Great Courses series, The History of Ancient Egypt. Wow. Wonderful course. I’m going to have Preston watch a lecture or two with me; I think he will enjoy this.

Normally in these day-long Smithsonian symposiums you get a break for lunch and have to fend for yourself. This time, however, they included a catered, box lunch. I chose the smoked turkey sandwich (lettuce and bacon too!). Quite yummy, with a nice side of rustic red potato salad and also fresh fruit cup. I saved the brownie. I hope this box lunch is a new trend – much better than having to run around and find lunch. I found an empty classroom and had a relaxing lunch and read a few articles in the latest Nature.

After the symposium, it was only a little after 4 and I had time on the meter – so I went to the National Gallery of Art (West) for an hour. Heck, I had parked almost right in front of it! That was a nice little tour. Wish I had more time, but they close at 5. My iPhone takes some surprisingly good pictures of the artwork; lots of new wallpaper for my phone now. :)

Not much traffic on way home, so just a great day. Would have been perfect if it hadn’t been 23 degrees out. Dusting of snow made it look nice, though. :)

Anyway, below is the syllabus from the website. He followed this pretty closely.


All-Day Program
Saturday, January 7, 2017 – 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Ancient Egypt was a major Mediterranean civilization, existing for almost 30 centuries. Its culture was one of architectural innovation and artistic beauty, governed by rich religious traditions. Egyptologist Bob Brier, an expert in pyramids, tombs, and mummies, explores its timeless heritage in a day-long examination of Egypt’s spectacular historic sites, from the Giza Plateau to the Philae Temple.

9:30–10:45 a.m. Pyramids

Among the largest structures on earth, pyramids served as royal funerary structures filled with riches for the afterlife. Examine the Great Pyramid and those in Cairo, the Giza plateau, and locations in Saqqara and Dahshur.

11 a.m.–12:15 p.m. From Karnak to the Ramesseum

Karnak is the world’s second-largest religious site with more than 30 pharaohs contributing to its complex of temples. The Luxor Temples are known as the site where kings might have been crowned. Mortuary temples on the west bank include those of Hatshepsut (Deir el Bahri), Ramses the Great (the Ramesseum), and Ramses III (Medinet Habu).

12:15­­–1:15 p.m. Lunch (box lunch provided)

1:15–2:30 p.m. The West Bank of the Nile

The Valley of the Kings is the mortuary area where many pharaohs, their families, and powerful nobles are buried. The most famous is Tutankhamen’s tomb, and a recent theory suggesting that Queen Nefertiti is buried behind one of its walls sparked new searches for secret chambers.

2:45–4 p.m. The Jewel of the Nile and Abu Simbel

Philae Temple, known as the “Jewel of the Nile” was built by Greek rulers of Egypt. Abu Simbel, the massive temple of Ramses II carved into a mountain, was an inspiration for Mount Rushmore.

World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1 credit

Lisa Randall signing my copy of “Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs”

 
Lisa Randall was at Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington DC tonight, giving a very interesting talk about Dark matter and the Universe. In her new book, Dark Matter and the Dinosars, she ties in the dinosaurs by speculating how Dark matter may have been responsible for popping a comet out of the Oort Cloud, thus sending it on its way to crash into the Earth 65 million years ago- wiping out the dinosaurs and most life on the planet.  

Her talk was great; first book tour talk I’ve been to that was like a classroom lecture:  she had slides with diagrams, pictures and explanatory text.  So easy to follow and really engaging. 

Her book, “Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs” was just released yesterday.  Here she is signing my copy.


I have to admit that from an engineering standpoint I have been interested in finding out how toilets worked in ancient Rome. However, not so interested that I actually did any research past a quick search on google.

Then I received an email from the American Journal of Archaeology, and took a look at the online book reviews. This one stood out:

Roman Toilets: Their Archaeology and Cultural History
Gemma C.M. Jansen, Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow, and Eric M. Moormann, eds.
Reviewed by Eric Poehler

…What emerges from a full reading of Roman Toilets is the clearest and most detailed picture to date of the Roman experience of urinating and defecating in both public and private contexts. First, as objects of archaeological and architectural interest, the individual toilet (latrina) and multiseat latrine (forica) are described in exhaustive (and sometimes exquisite) detail…

The book (Roman Toilets: Their Archaeology and Cultural History) is a steal at $98.00 and is available on Amazon.com. I put it on my wishlist. :)

[Update 6/21/2012]: Bummer. Before the little eggs hatched, I went to check on them and the eggs were gone. Part of the nest was broken off. Appears some critter (I’ll go on record as blaming some neighborhood *cat*) got them. Must have been a new Robin mom, as I assume most robins build nests in trees, not bushes easily found by cats. Oh well.
—–

We have a Robin family living in the bush right in front of our house! I can remember one of my chemistry professors telling me to wait until the reaction turned “robin’s egg blue” color to indicate it was done. More than 20 years later I now see what color he was referring to. :)

I haven’t mentioned the presence of the nest to Preston or Olivia – it is at their level, only a few feet off the ground, so too tempting for them to disturb the little eggs. Preston has noticed “a bird living in the bush”, but hasn’t seen the nest yet. :)

No pictures of the mom robin yet, as she flutters away to the tree across the yard when we go by. She chirps at us from her perch there until we leave the nest area. We’ve been careful not to touch it. I just hope no neighborhood cats find the little eggs!

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SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome
   by Mary Beard