Construction and Behavior of the Pantheon

The Pantheon Today (Photo by author) From Dr. Stephen T. Muench (by student Alec Harrison) / 12.14.2015 Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Washington Introduction The Pantheon is one of Rome’s most iconic and best preserved ancient structures. With massive single stone columns holding up the portico at the entrance, the immense open interior[…]

Understanding Roman Concrete

A section of the Roman city-wall of Empuries, Spain. 1st century BCE. The base of the wall was made using calcareous rock while the upper portion is of Roman concrete (opus caementicium). / Photo by Mark Cartwright, Creative Commons From Dr. Stephen T. Muench (by student Nigel Lyons) / 09.16.2013 Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Washington Introduction[…]

Obelisks on the Move

Side view of the Vatican obelisk being lowered, 1590. Engraving in Della trasportatione dell’obelisco… (Rome: Appresso Domenico Basa). The Getty Research Institute, 87-B7401 A look at the manpower and engineering needed to move obelisks in ancient Egypt, Rome, and today. By Sara E. Cole / 12.06.2017 Curatorial Assistant, Antiquities Department J. Paul Getty Museum A few months[…]

An Introduction to Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome

Image by zerochan, deviantArt    By Dr. Amy Calvert (Egypt) and the British Museum (Greece and Rome) / 08.08.2015 Calvert: Egyptologist Founder, The Art of Counting Ancient Egypt Step Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara, Old Kingdom, c. 2675-2625 B.C.E. Photo: Dr. Amy Calvert Egypt’s impact on later cultures was immense. You could say that Egypt provided[…]

Ancient Roman Mining and Quarrying Techniques

From Dr. Stephen T. Muench (by student Jacob Deb) / 11.28.2015 Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Washington Introduction Indeed, Rome was not built in a day. Although its close proximity to debris from the volcanic eruptions of Mt. Vesuvius allowed it to be built quicker than most cities. This paper explores the history[…]

Writing his Life through the Other: The Anthropology of Malinowski

Photograph of Bronislaw Malinowski, circa 1920, shortly after his return to England from his first major ethnographic stint in the Trobriand Islands / Public Domain Exploring the personal crisis plaguing the Polish-born anthropologist at the end of his first major stint of ethnographic immersion in the Trobriand Islands, a period of self-doubt glimpsed through entries in[…]

Relieving Arches of Roman Structures

The triumphal arch of Septimius Severus in Rome, erected in 203 CE to commemorate victory over the Parthians. / Photo by Mark Cartwright, Creative Commons From Dr. Stephen T. Muench (by student Sara Foxx) / 09.16.2013 Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Washington Introduction Ancient Rome was defined by its incredible buildings, reaching into the sky taller than ever[…]

Origin and Evolution of the Roman Dome

Interior of the Pantheon Dome (photo by author) From Dr. Stephen T. Muench (by student J.P. Lehmer) / 09.16.2013 Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Washington Introduction This article highlights the evolution of the dome through engineering advancements by the ancient Roman civilization and summarizes their progress through several case studies. The influence the[…]

Lost in Translation: Proust and Scott Moncrieff

Portrait of Marcel Proust painted by Jacques-Émile Blanche in 1892, when Proust was 21 years old. / Wikimedia Commons Scott Moncrieff’s English translation of Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu is widely hailed as a masterpiece in its own right. His rendering of the title as Remembrance of Things Past is not, however, considered a high point. William[…]

Engineering of the Flavian Ampitheatre (Roman Colosseum)

Colosseum interior / Photo by LemonCrumpet, Wikimedia Commons From Dr. Stephen T. Muench (by student Megan Anderson) / 12.02.2015 Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Washington Introduction The Colosseum, alternatively known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, is arguably Rome’s most well-known monument. The elliptical structure that spans 6 acres signifies the presence and importance of[…]

Engineering the Pantheon – Architectural, Construction, & Structural Analysis

Pantheon, Photo by Steve Heddin, Wikimedia Commons From Dr. Stephen T. Muench (by student Kristina N. Low) / 09.28.2011 Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Washington Introduction Figure 1. Pantheon Facade The Pantheon (Figure 1.) is one of the most famous sights in Italy (Figure 2.) as it issignificant for being one of the most well-preserved[…]

Failing Well: Accommodating Vices in an Ideal Vedic City

Samadhi Mandir of Srila Prabhupada (back side) at ISKCON, Mayapur, West Bengal, India / Photo by Joydeep, Wikimedia Commons By Dr. John Fahy Junior Research Fellow Woolf Institute University of Cambridge DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14318/hau7.2.030 Abstract Since the early 1970s, the small town of Mayapur in West Bengal has been home to a multinational Gaudiya Vaishnava community of[…]

Henry Wellcome: Pioneer in Aerial Photography

Henry Wellcome with Sultans of Socota [Jebel Moya]. Photograph, 191? Wellcome Images reference: M0008634. By Carly Dakin / 03.15.2017 Clinical Collection Coordinator Wellcome Images It’s a little known fact that Sir Henry Wellcome was something of a pioneer in aerial photography. Wellcome first visited Sudan in 1900, to establish what became the Wellcome Tropical Research[…]

The Palette of King Narmer – Vital to Understanding Ancient Egypt

Palette of King Narmer, from Hierakonpolis, Egypt, Predynastic, c. 3000-2920 B.C.E., slate, 2′ 1″ high (Egyptian Museum, Cairo) By Dr. Amy Calvert / 08.08.2015 Egyptologist Founder, The Art of Counting Vitally important, but difficult to interpret Some artifacts are of such vital importance to our understanding of ancient cultures that they are truly unique and utterly[…]

Çatalhöyük: A Neolithic Center of Art and Architecture

Çatalhöyük after the first excavations by James Mellaart and his team (photo: Omar hoftun, CC: BY-SA 3.0) By Dr. Senta German Faculty of Classics Andrew W Mellon Foundation Teaching Curator, Ashmolean Museum University of Oxford Çatalhöyük or Çatal Höyük (pronounced “cha-tal hay OOK”) is not the oldest site of the Neolithic era or the largest, but it is extremely[…]

Bringing It All Back Home: Portuguese Engineers and Their Travels of Learning (1850-1900)

Batty, Robert. Lisbon: The largo do Pelourinho. Pintado pelo Tenente Coronel Batty; gravura por Freebain. Londres: Moon Boys & Graves, 1830 / Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal    By Dr. Ana Cardoso de Matos (left) and Dr. Maria Paula Diogo (right) Cardoso: Professor of History, Interdisciplinary Center for History, Cultures and Societies (CIDEHUS), University of Évora Diogo: Professor of[…]

Time and Place: Eric Ravilious (1903-1942)

Wilmington Giant (1939) by Eric Ravilious / The Mainstone Press Eric Ravilious died when his aircraft went missing off Iceland while he was making war paintings. An artist in multiple disciplines, his greater legacy dwells in water-colours. Frank Delaney re-visits the work of this understated, yet significant figure. By Frank Delaney / 11.27.2013 Former Writer and Broadcaster[…]

Aqueducts: Hydrology in Ancient Rome

Roman acqueduct near Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain / Photo by Cruccone, Wikimedia Commons From Dr. Stephen T. Muench (by student A. Maznamy) / 09.06.2013 Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Washington Introduction Ancient Romans constructed complex hydrological systems known as aqueducts which supplied Rome with massive amounts of water through a complex system of open channels, tunnels,[…]

An Ancient Network: The Roads of Rome

Figure 1: Roman road network at the peak of the Empire (Andrein, 2009) From Dr. Stephen T. Muench (by student J.C. Back) / 11.02.2015 Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Washington Introduction Before the inventions of modern times to simplify communication and transportation, roadways were the backbone of achievement and convenience. For the Roman[…]

Rising Seas Threaten Archaeological and Historic Sites

“We will lose much of the record of the last several thousand years of human occupation in coastal areas.” By Marlene Cimons / 11.29.2017 Extreme weather events powered by climate change already have shown how rising seas threaten coastal communities: flooding and destruction of homes followed by widespread migration and resettlement. That’s horrible enough. But sobering new[…]

Venus of Willendorf

From Khan Academy By Dr. Bryan Zygmont / 11.21.2015 Associate Professor of Art History Clarke University Venus of Willendorf, c. 24,000-22,000 B.C.E., limestone, 11.1 cm high (Naturhistorisches Museum, Vienna) Can a 25,000-year-old object be a work of art? The artifact known as the Venus of Willendorf dates to between 24,000-22,000 B.C.E., making it one of the oldest and most[…]

Prehistoric Women’s Manual Work was Tougher than Rowing in Today’s Elite Boat Crews

The first study to compare ancient and living female bones shows that women from early agricultural eras had stronger arms than the rowers of Cambridge University’s famously competitive boat club. Researchers say the findings suggest a “hidden history” of gruelling manual labour performed by women that stretched across millennia.   A new study comparing the bones[…]

Atomic Age Began 75 Years Ago with the First Controlled Nuclear Chain Reaction

For the first time, human beings harnessed the power of atomic fission. Keith Ruffles, Creative Commons    By Dr. Artemis Spyrou and Dr. Wolfgang Mittig / 11.30.2017 Spyrou: Associate Professor of Nuclear Astrophysics Mittig: Professor of Physics Michigan State University Over Christmas vacation in 1938, physicists Lise Meitner and Otto Frisch received puzzling scientific news in a private letter from nuclear[…]