Friday, October 26, 2012

Open Access Week 2012

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Past Preservers: Official Media Promoter of The Seventh World Archaeological Congres

For Immediate Release

LONDON & CAIRO, —19th August 2012
Past Preservers is proud to announce that it is the official media promoter of  The Seventh World Archaeological Congress (WAC-7) to be held from January 14th-18th 2013 in Jordan.

WAC is an international forum for discussion for anyone who is concerned with the study of the past. WAC holds an international Congress every four years to promote: the exchange of results from archaeological research; professional training and public education for disadvantaged nations, groups and communities; the empowerment and support of Indigenous groups and First Nations peoples; and the conservation of archaeological sites.  By providing support for 200-300 people from low income countries, students and Indigenous groups, WAC Congresses create a unique opportunity for the sharing of knowledge from around the world. Each Congress is a unique event that is embedded in the culture of the host country.

‘WAC appreciates the support that Past Preservers is giving to WAC-7” said Professor Claire Smith, President of WAC. “We expect participation from people from around 75 countries, bringing with them a kaleidoscopic of knowledge from all parts of the globe. I know of no other conference with such an exciting environment in which to learn from each other.”

Nigel Hetherington, CEO and Founder of Past Preservers, says “We are honoured to be part of such a great event, I visited WAC-5 in Washington DC in 2003, while studying to be an archaeologist and it left a lasting impression on me, events like these really do enrich the landscape of archaeology.”

The palatial King Hussein Convention Center at the Dead Sea will be the main venue for WAC-7. The Dead Sea is the lowest and saltiest location on earth, and offers visitors health tourism and relaxation combined with history. Jordan is currently celebrating 200 years since the rediscovery of the World Heritage site of Petra. WAC-7’s brilliant scientific program will be complemented by an opportunity to experience the Kingdom of Jordan’s rich cultural life as well as its outstanding archaeological heritage.  This cultural heritage includes four sites on the World Heritage list, and another fifteen nominations. The Local Organizer of WAC-7 is Cultural Technologies for Heritage and Conservation (CulTech), a Jordanian NGO that deals with the protection of cultural heritage especially in Petra. Several Jordanian Institutions including foreign archaeological missions are represented on the National Organization Committee.

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Notes for Editors

About The World Archaeological Congress: The World Archaeological Congress (WAC) is the only representative, fully international organization of practicing archaeologists. Founded in 1986, WAC encourages open dialogue among all people concerned about the past, including scholars from under-represented parts of the world, First Nations people, and descendent communities whose pasts are told by archaeologists.

One of WAC's primary functions is to hold an international congress every four to five years to offer discussion of new archaeological research as well as archaeological policy, practice and politics. Previous congresses were held in the United States, South Africa, India, Venezuela, Ireland and England. The Patrons of these Congresses include Nelson Mandela, winner of the Noble Peace Prize along with FW de Klerk;  Charles, the Prince of WalesMary McAleese, the President of Ireland 1997-2011 and Harriet Fulbright. WAC-7 is held under the Patronage by King Abdullah II bin Al Hussein of Jordan.

About Past Preservers: Past Preservers is the creative hub between the heritage and media worlds. Founded by archaeologist Nigel J. Hetherington in 2005, Past Preservers provides professional support to the heritage and media industries. Our projects include work for major networks, such as the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, National Geographic Channel, and Al-Jazeera International.

Nigel J. Hetherington MA
CEO and Founder
Past Preservers

Contact details for WAC
Claire Smith, President
Talal Akasheh, Academic Secretary WAC-7

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Minoan Linear A Texts On Line

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M. Negri et C. Consani ont annoncé un projet qui vise à la création d’un corpus numérique des textes en linéaire A. La base de données sera réalisée par l’Université IULM de Milan et contiendra les documents publiés dans le volume Testi minoici, trascritti con interpretazione e commento (TMT), que les deux auteurs ont publié en 1999.  À ces documents seront ajoutés ceux qui ont été signalés dans les rapports sur les nouveautés épigraphiques. Les textes, qui seront présentés en transcription normalisée et qui pour le codage suivront le standard EpiDoc (Epigraphic Documents in TEI XML), seront suivis par une « transcription phonétique », une traduction et un commentaire. La base de données contiendra aussi des informations sur le support, la datation, la provenance, la date de trouvaille et le lieu de conservation des inscriptions, ainsi qu’une bibliographie, un glossaire, une série d’index et un certain nombre de concordances. (Via MAURIZIO DEL FREO)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Last Statues of Antiquity Database

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 (Via the Lt-Antiq list)

A searchable database of the published evidence for statuary and inscribed statue bases set up after AD 284, that were new, newly dedicated, or newly re-worked. It includes all published evidence for statuary produced, dedicated or re-dedicated in Late Antiquity, covering sculptural material, literary texts, as well as inscriptions. The database is a fully searchable tool that we hope will be of use for scholars of different disciplines.

The database can be accessed at 

All good wishes, 
Judith Weingarten

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The AIA and Open Access: A response

The AIA and Open Access: A response

It’s a cliché but this time both of us writing this post were surprised and then dismayed to read in Archaeology Magazine’s most recent “Letter from the President” that the AIA has “taken a stand against open access.” While the Letter began with discussion of US government efforts to enforce open access for research it has funded, the words “a stand against” go well beyond any specific case to formulate a general – and we think backward looking  - position. If that’s where we are, it seems unusual that news of such an important decision appeared in the Institute’s magazine and seems to have done so with no consultation of the membership. But we suspect that no new general policy exists.

We write that in the context of the very large amount of open content that the AIA in all its manifestations either links to or actually publishes itself. The AIA’s Site Preservation program publishes articles under the series “Heritage, Conservation and Archaeology” (  These are all open access. The website of the American Journal of Archaeology highlights its “Open Access” content, where you can download some articles. The “Archaeological Blogs” ( section of AJA’s “Resources for Students” links to AWOL – The Ancient World Online, which is maintained by one of us and includes a list of more than 1100 open access journals relevant to antiquity as very broadly defined.

We could go on with more examples but our point is that the AIA exists in, contributes to and benefits from a network of open access resources. Faced with this reality and these actions, it seems, as we said above, that the Archaeology Magazine statement doesn’t reflect an official AIA policy. Clarity from the Institute’s leadership on this point would be very welcome.

Even more welcome would be a dialog on the role of open access content in the AIA’s mission going forward. To start that a definition of the term is useful so here’s one: Open Access means that anyone, including the general public without institutional affiliation, can read at no cost, and preferably on a wide variety of devices whether connected to the Internet or not, digital content available from the AIA or elsewhere. To paraphrase that long sentence, “anybody” and at “no cost” are the key terms.

Those of us who practice “open access”, meaning we generate research and analysis and then look to place it in venues that will allow free access, strongly believe that both the professional discipline of archaeology and the public are best served by free access to high-quality content. To cut to the chase, the site OpenContext ( publishes many thousands of excavation records that anyone can search and download. You can already find the work of AIA members on the site; see in particular the material from Petra in Jordan. The Carolina Digital Archive hosts field notes and preliminary reports from the site of Azoria in Crete (, and you can download both field notes the final published reports of the excavations at Kommos, also on Crete, via the University of Toronto’s digital repository ( Again, we could cite more examples to show that the full range of works that archaeologists produce – including peer reviewed scholarship - is increasingly becoming available at no cost and with no requirement of academic affiliation. This all counts as progress.

But what of the AIA’s most carefully produced scholarly work, articles in the AJA. JSTOR currently charges $12.00 to download most AJA articles. That’s $12.00 too much. And it is little help that many US colleges and universities subscribe to JSTOR so that faculty, students and staff don’t pay that price. The general public has to pay and that reduces the impact that archaeology has on public discourse. Shouldn’t we be giving our best, most carefully produced work the greatest chance to be widely read?

Doing so is fairly straightforward: let anybody download any AJA article for free. In truth, we don’t expect that the AIA will choose this path in the short term. But we offer it as a goal and note that there are transitional steps that can allow the AIA’s and AJA’s leadership to test models that will take us all toward this future.

Right now, there are articles in journals from Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, SAGE, and Wiley-Blackwell available for free download. This happens because the authors paid upfront to allow subsequent no-cost distribution. The Public Library of Science takes this model one step further and uses a Creative Commons license to publish its articles. This means that readers and libraries can not only download PLOS content but also archive and redistribute it legally. The published fees for such programs range from $2,900 at PLOS – which is too much for humanities scholars – to $195.00 to place an article in the Sage Open Access program. That starts to be a manageable amount, one that can be written into grants or solicited from administrations.

Regardless of the specific source of funds, the initiation of such a program by the AJA would be a sign that the AIA’s long-standing support of Open Access – as indicated by ongoing action, if not by its latest words – will continue and even grow.

Sebastian Heath and Charles E. Jones.

The writers are respectively Research Assistant Professor and Head Librarian at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University. Both are AIA members and have served the Institute in various capacities at the local and national level.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Breaking Ground: 75 Years of Pioneering Archaeology

A new exhibition entitled 'Breaking Ground: 75 Years of Pioneering Archaeology', created by MA Museum Studies students, will open to the  public on 10 May.
Breaking Ground is an exhibition created as part of UCL Institute of Archaeology’s 75th anniversary celebration that looks at how the people, practices, and ideas of London’s Institute of Archaeology have changed the way we explore and understand the past.
The exhibition runs from May 2012 until February 2013 and will showcase a wide range of objects from the Institute's unparalleled collections as well as photographs from the Institute's archives.
The exhibition will be displayed in the A.G. Leventis Gallery of Cypriot and Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology at the Institute.
Admission Free

Listings Information

UCL Institute of Archaeology
31-34 Gordon Square
London WC1H 0PY
Nearest Tube: Euston Square, Euston Station, Warren Street, Goodge Street, Russell Square
Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 7495

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Fire at the Institut d'Egypte Cairo

[First posted 18 December 2011, updated as new material appears]

This is an attempt to pull together (outside the Facebook, Twitter, etc. firewalls) the various pieces of information available online on the fire at the Institut d'Egypte, Cairo, 17 December 2011.  If you have something to contribute, please comment below.  

Efforts to coordinate volunteers to work on conservation of the collection are being communicated at the Facebook Group:  Save the books إنقذوا الكتب

William J. Kopycki, Field Director, Library of Congress--Cairo, Egypt, US Embassy has posted images of Library stamps from the Institut d'Egypte with the hopes that it would be useful should any of the Institut's holdings be spotted in the antiquarian book market. This is merely a precaution and should not be construed as anything being reported missing or outside the control of NLAE or the Egyptian Ministry of Culture.

Appeal for Assistance:
Dear all,

As you know lots of books were damaged and destroyed yesterday when the Institut d'Egypt was set on fire. The salvaged books have been handed over to the Dar al-Kutub, who are now organizing a rescue effort led by my amazing book conservator colleagues and involving DAK's staff of conservators. We're getting a vacuum packing machine there to stop the development of any mo...ld. Here's a list of materials needed in large quantities. Please deliver to DAK Corniche. We are also ready to purchase them, but it would be great to get them delivered asap. One of the most important things is the bags-- we needed them to vacuum pack the books, so we need the bags used by food companies to vacuum pack food. It is extremely important to find a company which will sell or donate these bags in bulk.

Please reach out to your networks and help us save these books. The first 24 hours are crucial. This is my number for anyone who needs to reach me, 010 6664 7823. I am heading over there in a bit. We don't need people now as the staff of the Dar Al Kutub is working, but in a few hours we might need help to register supplies, organize things, etc.

Thank you! Please spread.


gloves (medical, non-latex)
extension cords
bags used by food companies for vacuum packing
bin liners /garbage bags
nespaper (printed or unprinted from a press-- better!)
plastic (milk) crates
aprons/lab coats


General Descriptions of the Library

Revival of l’Institut d’Egypte from the  Bibliotheca Alexandrina.  And see also:

  La Main à la Pâte
  Description de l'Egypte

Press Releases
 Digitization of Description de l’Egypte

News Bulletin
 Digitization of Description de l’Egypte

Institut d'Egypte described at Archives Made Easy, an on-line guide to archives around the globe 

#Tahrir : Regarding the Scientific institute, from Egyptian Chronicles.


Press / Blog Reports

Egyptian Libraries Investigations Series: Who is protecting Egypt’s rare libraries? Sayed Mahmoud, Mohammed Saad, Thursday 12 Jan 2012, Ahram Online

"The Egyptian National Library and Archives houses the oldest collection of Egyptian heritage, yet is currently only serving as a storage facility"

Dozens protest detention of witness to Institut d'Egypte fire, Sun, 08/01/2012 - 22:09, Al-Masry Al-Youm

The real tragedy behind the fire of Institut d’Egypte ,Khaled Fahmy,  Tue, 03/01/2012 - 12:54, Egypt Independent

Sennari House to temporarily house books rescued from Egyptian Scientific Institute, Nevine El-Aref, Monday 2 Jan 2012, Ahram Online

Temporary headquarters chosen for Scientific Institute, Mon, 02/01/2012 - 11:09, Al-Masry Al-Youm

BLUE SHIELD International News:  The library of the 'Institut d'Égypte' in Cairo , Update (December 29, 2011)

Jere L. Bacharach's Recommendations for a 21st Century Library of the Institut d’Egypte

L’Institut d’Égypte: In Memoriam, By Daniel Pipes, 27 December 2011, National Review Online

Rare Books Staff Help Restore Burned Institut d'Égypte Documents, news@auc, December 25, 2011

Interpol notified of stolen manuscripts from Scientific Complex, by Heba Hesham / Daily News Egypt, December 26, 2011, 6:14 pm.

Action taken to restore Egypt Scientific Institute, A meeting to draw a comprehensive restoration plan for Egypt Scientific Institute is to be held Tuesday at the Ministry of State for Antiquities, Nevine El-Aref , Monday 26 Dec 2011, AhramOnline


Zahi Hawass: December 17, 2011: A Sad Day in My Life

BLUE SHIELD International News:  The library of the 'Institut d'Egypte' in Cairo: Report of the first week 

Egyptian Scientific Institute evacuated in anticipation of collapse, Mona Yassin, Thu, 22/12/2011 - 18:24

Blue Shield 2nd Statement on Egypt (20 December 2011), 22 December 2011

What's happening after burning the Egyptian Scientific Institute, Cybrarians, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 22:14

Jere Bacharach reports on H-ISLAMART from Cairo on IFAO and Thesaurus Islamicus participation in conservation efforts at the Egyptian National Library

70 percent of books destroyed in fire, says Dar Al-Kotob head, By   Heba Hesham / Daily News Egypt December 20, 2011, 6:14 pm

Destruction de l'Institut d'Egypte: Paris demande une enquête - Yahoo   (Video news report)

A black Saturday for Egypt, By Maryam Raafat - The Egyptian Gazette, Wednesday, December 21, 2011 12:47:29 PM

Update on Burning of the Institut d’Egypte, Cairo, distributed to the global community on the IFLA listserv, and archived at The UTFA Librarians Committee Blog.

Egyptian Ministry lauds Sultan’s efforts, The Gulf Today, December 21, 2011 

INSTITUTE D'EGYPTE DESTRUIDO, EL CAIRO. GALERIA FOTG. (Dic. 2012) (facebook), By Francesca Berenguer

Sharjah emir to renovate damaged Cairo library, donate original manuscripts, Al Arabiya News, Tuesday, 20 December 2011.

Egypt Scientific Institute up in Flames, from Informed Comment by Juan Cole

Rare documents burned in Egypt clash, Pretoria News, December 20 2011 at 01:22 pm

امير الشارقة يتبرع بترميم المجمع العلمي تقديرآ لقيمته

Irina Bokova urges protection of Cairo’s cultural sites after fire at the Institute of Egypt, UNESCO Media Services.

Qui est derrière l’incendie de l’Institut d’Égypte?, France 24,

Cairo institute burned during clashes, Associated Press in Cairo,,

حاكم الشارقة يتكفل بترميم المجمع العلمي

حاكم الشارقة يتكفل بترميم المجمع العلمي
صورة أرشيفية لبقايا كتب نادرة من حريق المجمع العلمي

The Fire at the L'Institut d'Egypte a "great loss", from Illicit Cultural Property by Derek Fincham.

Amid street clashes, civilians coordinate to rescue rare documents (illustrated),  Mai Elwakil Ola El-Saket, Mon, 19/12/2011 - 22:35

Thousands of rare documents burned in Egypt clash (illustrated), AYA BATRAWY, Associated Press, Updated 12:39 p.m., Monday, December 19, 2011

Updated: Egypt Institute Burns; Scholars Scramble to Rescue Manuscripts on 19 December 2011, 2:03 PM ScienceInsider

Kairo: Institut d’Égypte stand in Flammen  (including photos of the collection taken in 2006)

Protesters tell of saving books from Institut d'Egypte fire - Egypt Independent

اللجنة الأثرية: ترميم المجمع العلمى يحتاج عاما بتكلفة 2 ونصف مليون جنيه

اللجنة الأثرية تبدأ عملها فى معاينة المجمع العلمى

د. المناوى: النسخة "الالكترونية" من كتاب وصف مصر فى مكتبة اسكندرية

Library fire in Egypt clashes destroys 'irreplaceable' 200-year-old documents - From Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, for CNN, December 18, 2011 -- Updated 0459 GMT (1259 HKT)

Napoleon's 'Description De L'Egypte' lost to fire amid clashes - Ahram Online, Sunday 18 Dec 2011

Le - Publié le 18/12/2011 à 21:28 - Modifié le 19/12/2011 à 08:32 

After Iraq National Archives, after Baghdad Museum, after Cairo Museum, Why Was Egypt's Library Not Secured?

Library fire in Egypt clashes destroys 'irreplaceable' 200-year-old documents. December 17, 2011 | From Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, for CNN

#savethebooks on Twitter  
In fiamme i tesori inestimabili dell'Istituto d'Egitto al Cairo
An archeological committee has been formed to inspect the Geographic Society building, burnt out amid clashes in downtown Cairo
Nevine El-Aref , Sunday 18 Dec 2011

Paul Barford's review of the day's events: Cairo: Institute D'Egypte Burning