Monday, November 29, 2010

King Tut comes to Melbourne

As we start to wind down both the school and university years its time to look forward to what the past has to offer next year.

Probably one of the biggest announcements for teachers of ancient history here in Oz was the announcement that the King Tut: Golden Age of the Pharaohs exhibit is coming to the Melbourne Museum in 2011. The museum is not a stranger to fantastic travelling exhibitions having hosted both the Pompeii and Titanic exhibitions recently. The king Tut exhibit is a massive undertaking in terms of size and the Melbourne Museum is one of the few museums in Australia capable of holding it.

This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity for many (particularly our students) and one that teachers should consider taking their students to see. For those who want a behind the scenes look at the exhibit, National Geographic recently aired a special about the US tour of the exhibit and how it is put together.

The Melbourne Museum has an official exhibit website that everyone will find useful.
The URL is listed here

From the website comes the following:


For the first time in Australia's history, the record-breaking Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs exhibition visits Melbourne for its only Australian stop before Egypt's treasures return to Cairo. Part of the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces season, revel in the splendour of Ancient Egypt as you view a dazzling array of possessions unearthed from Tutankhamun's tomb. See Tutankhamun's golden canopic coffinette and the crown found on his head when the tomb was discovered.

Photo: Family viewing model ship for river travel

Learn about the extraordinary discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb and the belief and burial processes of Ancient Egypt. View results from the latest scientific testing conducted on Tutankhamun's mummy and what it is telling researchers about his life and death. More than seven million visitors have attended the exhibition in Europe and America.

So, as you plan for your students next year, try fit this in. Miss it and you will definitely regret it.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Rome warns of more Pompeii collapses

Rome – Further unique relics from the Roman town of Pompeii are in danger of collapse, Italy's culture minister warned on Sunday – following the collapse of the famous "Gladiator's House" this weekend.

Frescoes from the 2 000 year-old Roman building "can probably be restored", Sandro Bondi insisted.

But Bondi also warned that unless urgent work is carried out, other archaeological treasures in Pompeii could share the same fate as the Gladiators' House.

The 40-square-metre edifice was used by gladiators to train before going to fight in a nearby amphitheatre.

First reports suggested that water infiltration following recent heavy rains may have caused the ground to shift causing the collapse of the roof, part of the walls and its facade.

Disgrace for Italy

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano has described the incident as a "disgrace for Italy".

Critics, including several experts, say the upkeep of many of Italy's heritage sites, including the Colosseum and Pompeii, has become impossible by funding cuts made by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's government.

"If (I) knew for certain that I was responsible for what has happened (in Pompeii) then I would resign," Bondi said, speaking during a visit to inspect the damage at the site.

Bondi suggested the upkeep of the Pompeii has been mismanaged. Only half of the funds allocated in 2009 were actually spent, he revealed.

Pompeii was destroyed in 79AD by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius that killed thousands of people and buried the city in six metres of volcanic ash.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Collapse in Pompeii

Hi everyone,

woke up this morning to this news from Pompeii. It highlights the fragile and unpredictable state of the ancient site and is becoming a rather sad and fairly regular occurance in the scavi...

Italian officials say ancient house used by gladiators in Pompeii has collapsed
By The Associated Press (CP)

ROME — A 2,000-year-old house in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, which was once used by gladiators to train before combat, collapsed Saturday, officials said.

The site was closed at the time and nobody was injured, but the collapse underscored a controversy over the poor state of Pompeii, one of Italy's main tourist attractions.

The office of Pompeii's archaeological superintendent said the collapse occurred Saturday at around 6 a.m. (0500 GMT). Attendants opening the site saw the collapse about an hour later.

The house, called by the Latin name "Schola Armaturarum Juventis Pompeiani," was closed to the public, and could only be seen from the outside, and it was not considered at risk of collapse, officials said.

Situated on Pompeii's main street, the site was quickly cordoned off.

Antonio Varone, director of Pompeii's excavations, told the ANSA news agency that officials were trying to "preserve up to the last fragment of the 'Schola Armaturarum.'"

There was no official word on possible causes. News reports said water infiltration following heavy rains in the past days might be the cause.

The 430-square-foot (40-square-meter) space was used by gladiators to train before going to fight in a nearby amphitheatre, as well as by other athletes. It was also a storehouse for weapons and armour.

Pompeii was destroyed in A.D. 79 by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius that killed thousands of people and buried the city in 20 feet (six meters) of volcanic ash. But the ash also helped preserve Pompeii's treasures, providing precious information about what life was like in the ancient world.

The gladiators' house was believed to have been built near the end of Pompeii's life. It was partially destroyed during World War II, and the roof and some of the walls had been rebuilt.

The Culture Minister, Sandro Bondi, said some frescoes on the lower walls may have been preserved.

Italy has long grappled with its vast cultural and archaeological heritage, amid chronic shortage of funds, negligence and vandalism. Officials have had difficulty preserving Pompeii, which is visited by over 2 million people every year.

Only last month, Italy's most influential paper, Corriere della Sera, ran an editorial headlined "The humiliation of Pompeii" in which it said the cement works were damaging the ruins and that the last commissioner had ended his mandate in June.

Bondi called for greater funds for Pompeii, while the opposition was quick to blame the government.

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