A wee plug here. The upcoming 2017 Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America — convening this January 5-8 in Toronto — features an organized session devoted entirely to Roman sarcophagi. With six papers and two respondents (among them Ortwin Dally, Director of the DAI-Rome), it offers a full lineup of sarcophagine (sarcophagal? sarcophagoidal?) delight.
Session 6I: New Research on Roman Sarcophagi: Eastern, Western, Christian
Saturday, Jan. 7, 1:45 - 4:45 pm
Chairs: Sarah Madole (CUNY—BMCC) and Mont Allen (Southern Illinois University)
(1) "Sarcophagus Studies: The State of the Field (as I see it)"
Bjoern C. Ewald (Universit of Toronto)
(2) "Roman Sarcophagi from Dokimeion in Asia Minor: Conceptual Differences between Rome and Athens"
Esen Öğüş (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich)
(3) "A New Mythological Sarcophagus at Aphrodisias"
Heather N. Turnbow (The Catholic University of America)
(4) "Beyond Grief: A Mother's Tears and Representations of Semele and Niobe on Roman Sarcophagi"
Sarah Madole (CUNY—BMCC)
(5) "Strutting Your Stuff: Finger Struts on Roman Sarcophagi"
Mont Allen (Southern Illinois University)
(6) "Love and Death: Jonah as Endymion in Early Christian Art"
Robert Couzin (independent scholar)
Christopher H. Hallett (U.C. Berkeley)
Ortwin Dally (Deutsches Archäologisches Institut)
This is one of the most heart-warming developments that I've ever had the pleasure of blogging.
Abu Dhabi's The National reports that the National Museum of Beirut has — after 41 years of closure following the outbreak of the Lebanese Civil War in 1975 — reopened its basement galleries.
Finding itself directly on the infamous Green Line that bisected Beirut during the Civil War, the museum and its objects were immediately imperiled by civil strife and looting. Read the full report in The National of the extreme measures to which then director of antiquities Maurice Chehab went in order to safeguard the collection in the basement. The story is astonishing.
The highlight of the collection is the world's largest series of anthropoid sarcophagi: 31 in all, all from Phoenician Sidon and carved between the 6th and 4th centuries BC.
Also figuring prominently in the reopened galleries is a fragment of a Roman sarcophagus from Beirut itself depicting Icarus standing beside the wing-crafting Daedalus, according to the Daily Mail. The scene is fantastically rare: I know of no other Roman sarcophagus that shows it.
Istanbul's Daily Sabah reports that yet another Roman sarcophagus has been discovered in Turkey's Hisardere district, five kilometers northeast of İznik, less than a year after the discovery of this piece in the same district.
The İznik Museum, it is related, plans to put the specimen on display.
At least three sarcophagi — one Roman specimen, joined by two Etruscan terracotta pieces featuring kline portraits — were among thousands of archaeological artifacts recently repatriated to Rome from Geneva's Freeport warehouse complex, as reported by the Guardian.
Uncovered by a sting operation in 2014, the artifacts, filling 45 crates and reportedly worth some 9 million Euros (although one wonders on what the valuation is based...), where retrieved from the storage unit of Robin Symes, a notorious dealer in illegal antiquities who smuggled the objects, stolen from south Italian digs in the 1970s and 1980s, into Geneva decades ago.
As originally reported by Today's Zaman (no longer available) and reposted by News Network: Archaeology: in November of last year a Roman sarcophagus was unearthed by a farmer in the Hisardere area of Turkey, northeast of İznik.
The format of the coffin seems typical of those from Docimium/Dokimeion; but Esen Öğüş, a colleague more familiar with eastern sarcophagi than I, tells me she thinks it is actually a local product carved in imitation of the expensive Docimean pieces. She intends to publish the finding.