October 30, 2017

I am flying back from the memorial conference to Klavs Randsborg – Crossroads Archaeology  - held in Copenhagen. It was a deeply affecting experience taking stock of Klavs’s legacy.

On Friday night Professor Sji Jinsong (Institute of Archaeology, Beijing) read out this poem that he penned on the 13 November 2016 on hearing of the passing of our great friend, Klavs Randsborg.

Passing a prair...

October 29, 2017

Dust blows everywhere, it has been an exceptionally dry October. This makes the digging at Vetricella for our nEU-Med project harder but a few real gems have come to light, though no more Egyptian treasures.

First, Pierluigi Pierrucini (University of Siena’s sedimentologist) and his students have shown that Vetricella was created on an elevated tongue of land very close to the Follonica la...

October 26, 2017

Created by Pierre du Pont, the Wilmington mogul of the earlier 20th century, Longwood Gardens take your senses by storm. More than a thousand acres in rolling Pennsylvanian countryside have been transformed into an exotic botanical paradise. History really does not matter here. That’s not its intention. Instead, the sheer glory of a created garden with one of the world’s largest conservat...

October 25, 2017

Matera is one of the most magical places in Italy. The cave dwellings with their vestiges of troglodyte living appear to belong to another age, a primordial time resonating with prehistory. 

The extraordinary beauty and haunting poverty of the town, long associated with Carlo Levi’s masterpiece, Christ Stopped at Eboli is wonderfully captured in Lindsay Harris’s exhibition, Matera Imagined...

October 23, 2017

There are two Americas. There’s the 24-hour news cycle and then there is the quotidian energy of the country. I never watch television, so the latter America naturally enthrals me. 

On Saturday night I was lucky enough to be in old Germantown where, on a glorious autumnal evening, the streets were lit up with revelry and sheer creative joy. It was Fun Day at Germantown Friends School and t...

October 16, 2017

Prior to becoming President of The American University of Rome I was the Williams Director of Penn Museum and it gives me great pleasure to be returning to the museum on Tuesday (October 17) evening to talk about my newest book "Travels with an Archaeologist: Finding a Sense of Place".  A book signing and reception will follow - if you are in the area, please come along.

https://www.penn.m...

October 16, 2017

The excavations at Vetricella (part of nEU-Med) are now in their sixth week. The site history is coming alive with each passing week. Complex stratigraphy is being disentangled by the patient team. Suffice it to say that the earliest Lombard phase is distinctive for its range of kitchen wares, whereas the later phases belonging to the central stone tower enclosed by (compass-defined) conc...

October 8, 2017

Bunga bunga sells. With some American strategic thinking in the extraordinary case of the Unesco World Heritage Site of Tarquinia, it might help create jobs rather than contribute to losing some!

Aggressive American marketing is alien to Italy. Yet one marvelous example of Medieval bunga bunga surely cries out for some old-fashioned transatlantic opportunism.

Etruscan Tarquinia is a world h...

October 8, 2017

Berlin had its own hurricane, christened Xavier, and with it all public transport temporarily ceased. The waters around Museum Island were hurled against the Bode Museum where I was attending a conference on the eighth century (appropriately I had just delivered a paper on “An Ice Age settled on the Roman Empire”), and cyclists were frog-marching bicycles in the vicious blasts of wind and...

October 3, 2017

Twenty years ago an Albanian friend and I were two of the three passengers on a ferry – an old tub called the Kaliopi – leaving Saranda in south-west Albania for Corfu. Two miles out we suddenly saw a rubber zephyr racing towards us. Moments later an arc of Kalashnikov bullets whizzed over our heads and we hit the deck seeking cover. The pirates landed on the ferry, stole a boat we were t...

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