Preserving Ancient Mosaics in the Mediterranean

A restorer removes mortar on a mosaic in Tipasa, Algeria. Image courtesy the Conservation and Restoration Workshop of the Arles Antiquities Museum Flexibility in a funding initiative for mosaics conservators leads to a range of positive outcomes. By Dr. Joan Weinstein / 11.27.2018 Acting Director Getty Foundation Introduction Grant-making is rarely a linear process. It often involves twists and turns along the[…]

What Would It Take to Build a Tower as High as Outer Space?

The Dubai skyline featuring the Burj Khalifa (centre) in 2015 / Wikimedia Commons The human desire to create ever bigger and more impressive structures is insatiable.    By Dr. Sean Sun (left) and Dan Popescu (right) / 08.24.2018 Sun: Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Whiting School of Engineering and at the Physical Science-Oncology Center under[…]

Unsentimental Vistas: Berenice Abbott and 20th-Century Interwar Urban Photography

Berenice Abbott “I am an American, who, after eight years of residence in Europe, came back to view America with new eyes.” By Ayten Tartici PhD Candidate in Comparative Literature Yale University When the American photographer Berenice Abbott returned to New York in 1929 after nearly a decade away in Paris, she came back to[…]

What the World Can Learn from Greece’s Passion for the Arts

Despite its economic crises, Greece did not falter in its mission to support arts and culture. Rhodes, pictured here, has become a role model when it comes to promoting a visionary cultural policy and supporting a vibrant arts and culture community. Serhat Beyazkaya/Unsplash The Greek model of supporting the arts is both old and ongoing; it embraces difference and internationalism[…]

Five Crusader Fortifications in the Medieval Levant

Dues Vault, Hospitaller fortress in Acre, Israel / Creative Commons Taking a tour through five well-known 13th-century fortifications and castles built by Crusaders in the Levant. By Dr. David Nicolle Visiting Research Fellow University of Nottingham Margat William of Oldenburg described Margat as follows: A huge and very strong castle, defended by a double wall and protected[…]

Preserving the Legacy of the Los Angeles Woman’s Building

Outside the Woman’s Building, 1975. The Getty Research Institute, 2018.M.16. Photo: Maria Karras. Gift of Maria Karras. © Maria Karras, BFA, RBP, MA Several feminist art archives to be preserved and accessible thanks to new grant. By Andra Darlington / 11.01.2018 Head of Special Collections Management Getty Research Institute In 1973, artist Judy Chicago, designer[…]

How Architecture Influences Life and Lifestyle

Buildings affect how we sleep, work, socialise and even breathe. They can isolate and endanger us, but they can also heal us. In this extract from ‘Living with Buildings and Walking with Ghosts’ , Iain Sinclair explores the relationships between social planning and health, taking detours along the way. By Iain Sinclair / 10.24.2018 Moving now,[…]

How Gothic Architecture Became Associated with the Supernatural

Brodie castle, north Scotland. Albert de Bruijn, CC BY-SA How medieval spires and snarling gargoyles went out of fashion and then made a spectacular return under – you guessed it – the Victorians. By Dr. Peter Lindfield / 10.30.2016 Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow Manchester Metropolitan University If you want foreboding old buildings that dark lords and werewolves are bound to frequent, look no[…]

Negotiating the Past in Berlin: The Palast der Republik

Lars Ø Ramberg, “Palast des Zweifels” on the roof of the Palast der Republik, January 26. – May 15. 2005 (photo: Dr. Naraelle Hohensee, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) With the destruction of the Palast der Republik, the site of the royal palace continues its long history as the central showplace for state-sponsored projections of national identity. By Dr. Naraelle[…]

Petra: Wonder in the Desert

Petra, Jordan: The rock of Fassade and of “ed-Deir.” Andreas Voegelin, Antikenmuseum Basel. How a mysterious kingdom of former nomads created a luxurious, urban oasis in an inhospitable climate.    Interview of Laurent Gorgerat (right) by James Blake Wiener (left) / 05.07.2013 Wiener: Communications Director, Ancient History Encyclopedia Gorgerat: Curator, Antikenmuseum Basel Few places on earth have captivated humanity[…]

A Photographic Tour of the Persian Gulf and Iraq, 1906

‘House of the dragoman [translator] of British Consulate Basra’, 1906 (IOR/L/PS/20/C260, f 27), Public Domain  Wilfrid Malleson’s November, 1906, report and photos from an intelligence gathering tour in the Persian Gulf. By Louis Allday / 10.21.2018 PhD Student History SOAS University of London In November 1906, Wilfrid Malleson, a British military intelligence officer, departed from Simla[…]

Complexity and Vision: The Staff God at Chavín de Huántar and Beyond

Archaeological site of Chavín de Huántar (photo: Julio Martinich, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) The artistic style seen in stone sculpture and architectural decoration at the temple site of Chavín de Huántar is deliberately complex, confusing, and esoteric. By Dr. Sarahh Scher / 09.27.2018 Visiting Lecturer in Art History Salem State University Art for the Initiated The artistic style seen in stone[…]

Ancient Jericho: A Walled Oasis

Creative Commons The site of Jericho, just north of the Dead Sea and due west of the Jordan River, is one of the oldest continuously lived-in cities in the world. By Dr. Senta German / 08.08.2015 Faculty of Classics Andrew W Mellon Foundation Teaching Curator, Ashmolean Museum University of Oxford A Natural Oasis Tell es-sultan, Jerico archaeological site[…]

Ancient City Walls and Barriers

A section of Hadrian’s Wall near Carlisle / Photo by zoonabar, Flickr, Creative Commons Walls have traditionally been built for defense, privacy, and protection. By Dr. Joshua J. Mark / 09.02.2009 Professor of Philosophy Marist College Introduction The English word ‘wall’ is derived from the Latin, ‘vallus’ meaning ‘a stake’ or ‘post’ and designated the wood-stake and earth[…]

The Audience Hall of Darius and Xerxes in Persepolis

Growth of the Achaemenid Empire under different kings / Wikimedia Commons The great audience hall of the Persian kings Darius and Xerxes presents a visual microcosm of the Achaemenid empire. By Dr. Jeffrey A. Becker / 01.24.2016 Professor of Classical and Near Eastern Studies Binghamton University Introduction Kylix depicting a Greek hoplite slaying a Persian inside, by[…]

The Medieval Cathedral: Of Light and Stone

Examining the close interdependence of medieval science, technology and religion: the Cathedral. By Dr. Hans Peter Broedel Graduate Director, Associate Professor of History University of North Dakota Cathedrals are my favorite memorial of medieval Europe—soaring high into the air, their huge vaults seemingly almost weightless upon thin stone pillars, glowing with the radiant light of[…]

Finely-Worked Stone in Incan Architecture

Typical imperial Inca trapezoid windows from the sacred precinct of Coricancha, Cuzco, c. 1438 CE / Photo by Pedro Szekely, Flickr, Creative Commons A spectacular blend of geometrical and natural forms. By Mark Cartwright / 03.12.2014 Historian Introduction Inca architecture includes some of the most finely worked stone structures from any ancient civilization. Inca buildings[…]

Yearning for Rome in the Medieval Romanesque

South transept of Tournai Cathedral, Belgium, 12th century / Wikimedia Commons The Romanesque style appeared to be a continuation of the Roman tradition of building, albeit a much simplified and less technically competent version. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 09.14.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Introduction Romanesque architecture is the term that describes the architecture of[…]

The Graeco-Roman-Etruscan Marvel that Was Pompeii

Forum, looking toward Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii Pompeii was not always a Roman town. By the mid-sixth century BCE, both Etruscans and Greeks had settled in the area. By Dr. Francesca Tronchin / 09.02.2018 Independent Scholar of Classical Art and Archaeology Preserved under Volcanic Ash Pompeii may be famous today, with millions of tourists visiting each[…]

Uruk: The Birth of Architecture and Urban Life

Detail of a relief at Persepolis showing a procession of subject peoples bringing gifts characteristic of their homelands as tribute for the Persian king A great transformation in human life took place in ancient Mesopotamia with the rise of the city of Uruk. By Dr. Margarete Van Ess Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology Deutsches Archäologisches[…]

Landscape Management around Angkor Wat

Photo by Stephen Bugno, Flickr, Creative Commons Conserving the landscape around Angkor Wat in the face of rapid development. By William Dunbar / 07.22.2016 Senior Communications Director United Nations University Introduction Fishing is one form of livelihood diversification during northern Cambodia’s dry season. Photo: William Dunbar/UNU-IAS It was January and the middle of Cambodia’s dry[…]

The Wooden Churches of Medieval Norway

Heddal Stave Church (Creative Commons) These historic churches feature elaborate carvings that mix Christian and Viking symbols. By Jennifer Billock / 11.14.2017 Starting in the Middle Ages, when Norway became a Christian country, former Vikings-turn-Christians built immense cathedrals and churches to honor the new religion—all made entirely from wood rather than the typical stone construction[…]

Monuments of the Neolithic European Landscapes

Silbury Hill Neolithic mound. It stands 30 metres high and 160 metres wide, and comprises half a million tonnes of chalk. It is non-megalithic, but still a huge accomplishment. Copyright © Stu Smith 2013 – Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0). Cropped In the Neolithic there were no maps. However, most times people[…]

Otto Wagner and the Architecture of Postal Savings Bank

Otto Wagner, Postal Savings Bank, Vienna, 1904-06 and 1910-12 “What is impractical can never be beautiful.” – Otto Wagner By Dr. Elizabeth Merrill / 11.28.2015 Historian of Art and Architecture A truly modern architecture In his 1896 manifesto Modern Architecture, Wagner expressed his ideal of practical and efficiently designed architecture. The purpose of beauty, he[…]