November 27, 2017

The American University of Rome mounted a wonderful thanksgiving dinner. Over 120 came from as far away as Sacramento. The atmosphere was familial and warm as we packed this host in our underground theatre and ate turkey and an idiosyncratic Italian version of stuffing.

 Thanksgiving dinner in the Barnabite Theatre at AUR

For those parents of our students who had travelled to be with us, we...

November 27, 2017

John Mitchell is here hot-foot from a conference of Lombard archaeology, art and history at Benevento. Thirty six years since we first collaborated on the excavations of the Beneventan monastery at San Vincenzo al Volturno, Johnny’s appetite for the art of the 8th and 9th centuries is undimmed. Essays are pouring out that argue how Charlemagne was captivated not only by Italy’s ruined Rom...

November 22, 2017

Looking out of my office window I can spy the first snow on the mountains. Few urban views anywhere, I like to believe, are as authentic and glorious. Perhaps perversely, the snow makes me think of the long hot summer, and then by virtue of connecting magical experiences, of a wonderful place I visited in the heat of summer, the Crypt of the Original Sin, outside Matera (see my recent boo...

November 20, 2017

Of all the archaeological discoveries I’ve chanced to see in recent years, up there with the best is to be found on the walls of a late medieval olive press in Apulia at Muro Leccese.

 An Ottoman Galley on the wall of the Olive Press

Muro Leccese is south of Lecce in the Salento. It lies in the heart of forests of old olives. Paul Arthur, professor at the University of Salento at Lecce has...

November 3, 2017

Last night rain arrived, the first non-tempestuous rain in six months. Just to hear it drumming on the windows was a reassuring sound, balm after glorious autumnal days which have left the Italian countryside on the brink of desertification. Some doubt climate change; politics aside, they are wrong. Listening in Copenhagen last weekend to fellow archaeologists working in sub-Saharan Afric...

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