All posts filed under: Culture

Visiting The Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art

The Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art (Español: Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino) in Santiago, Chile is a jewel among the world’s museums and a highlight of any trip to the country. Widely regarded as one of the best museums in Latin America, this unique establishment houses an impressive collection of artifacts from ancient Central and South America, which underscores the rich cultural and artistic diversity of the Pre-Columbian Americas. In this exclusive English language interview, James Blake Wiener, Communications Director at Ancient History Encyclopedia (AHE), takes a tour of the museum with Dr. José Berenguer Rodríguez, Curator at the Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, who explains the finer points of the museum’s history, organization, and vast collection.

AHE Museum Listings — March 2016

Back by popular demand, Ancient History Encyclopedia will once again share news, on a monthly basis, about select museum exhibitions and events of interest to our global audience via AHetc. Exhibitions are arranged in alphabetical order by geographical location and region within this post: the Americas, the United Kingdom, Europe/Middle East, and East Asia/Oceania. Here’s a taste of what’s on show at major museums around the world in March 2016:

Art and Sculptures from Hadrian’s Villa: Marble head of Hypnos

This week’s sculpture from Hadrian’s Villa is a marble head of Hypnos, the Greek god of Sleep. Hypnos is represented as a young man with wings attached to his temples (now lost). The head must have been part of a full length statue showing Hypnos running forwards, holding in his hands poppies and a vessel from which he presumably poured a sleeping potion. One of the most complete representations of Hypnos is a bronze statuette from the collection of the Roman Museum in Augst (see an image here).

Four Gold Hats: A Bronze Age Mystery

After viewing thousands of artifacts in multiple museums, sometimes it can be tempting to just keep walking. But then there are times when something just grabs you, stopping you in your tracks.That’s what happened to me when I was in the Speyer, Germany State Museum a few days after visiting Museum Island in Berlin. I saw something I had seen in Berlin: a gold hat. It’s not just any gold hat, but a near perfectly preserved hat with such intricate designs that they warranted advanced mathematical study. I was not looking for these gold hats, and I had never heard of them before. I didn’t find them as much as they found me.

Games Based on History: Medieval 2 Total War

I fondly remember the first release of Medieval 2: Total War with its grand campaign leading the iron-fisted Holy Roman Empire, crushing the fortified Italian Nation-states of Milan and Venice whilst keeping the might of France, Denmark and Poland at bay. Few games have come close in scale and excitement to witnessing an army of Imperial Knights charging down a wavering foe. Nine years later, a plethora of patches, an expansion and a number of outstanding fan-made mods and conversions, the game manages to still capture my imagination. Released in 2006, Medieval 2 built on the success and game engine of Rome: Total War, but through the years it has continued to hold up as a solid and entertaining game in its own right.

Angkor: Temples of Delight

Today we have another contribution from Timeless Travels Magazine in which Annabel Venn writes about her visit to the Angkor Archaeological Park. Angkor is one of the most famous archaeological sites in Asia. Filled with fellow travellers, it can be overwhelming at times. Annabel Venn gives her advice on how to beat the crowds and experience this fabulous site in peace The small light flickers on the front of my bicycle, barely illuminating the dark road ahead. A minibus full of snoozing passengers passes me, rather too close for comfort, offering me a brief glimpse of where I am pedalling. With a free hand, I wrap my Cambodian krama up around my neck; it is already warm but the cool breeze is chilling at this time of the morning. Not often am I persuaded to get up before the sun does, but today I am guided by a sense of exploration. Ahead of me lies the ancient city of Angkor.

Trier: The Rome of the North

After so many years of travel, it is difficult to choose one single place as a favorite, but there is one place stands out in my mind more than the others. Trier, Germany’s oldest city, and nicknamed, “the Rome of the North,” calls me back again and again. Every visit to Trier is like the first visit. If you wander around long enough you’ll find something new every time. Trier is situated along the Moselle Valley in Germany, near Luxembourg. Trier boasts not one or two, but eight UNESCO World Heritage sites. If you’re looking to check a few UNSECO sites off your travel bucket list, Trier is an excellent place to begin. Although the history of Trier spans more than two millennia, it’s the Roman history that keeps bringing me back. I’ve been to Rome once, Trier at least five times, and there is no question that Trier wins out for me. Rome has more, and the ruins are bigger, but in Trier you get a sense of being back in time that you can’t …

The Success and Failure of Greek History in Film

Ancient Greece has been represented in cinema several times over the years and has received mixed reviews, unfortunately primarily negative. The genre appears to have fallen behind the dark shadow of Rome and perhaps with good reason. Despite any failures that filmmakers have made along the way, films based in antiquity continue to be popular for they possess the ability to bridge the gap between the past and the present, offering spectacular and compelling interpretations of history that are both relevant and educational for viewers. This can be said for both Greek and Roman history, yet what is it about Greek history that seems so difficult to portray on screen? Evidently, there are three primary issues in regards to filming Greek history in a manner that modern audiences will be able to both understand and connect with: the problem with “Greek love;” the lack of unity within ancient Greece; and the difficulty of filming key “Greek” ideas. The famous tales of the battle of Thermopylae and Alexander the Great have emerged as the most “successful” Greek …

Jordan: The Wonders of Petra

Today we have another contribution from Timeless Travels Magazine in which Archaeologist Ben Churcher explores the highlights of a visit to Petra a ‘rose red city, half as old as time.’ As an archaeologist who has been privileged to travel widely, I’m often asked “what is your favourite site?” While the pyramids at Giza are awe-inspiring in their size, the ruins of Palmyra in Syria evocative in their desert location and the Lion Gate at Mycenae majestic, I always answer “Petra” as no other site in the world is quite like Petra. As an icon for Jordanian history, this popular and much-visited site is simply stunning. No other site in the world can match the entry into Petra and nor can they compete with the sheer artistry and labour that was expended in the creation of the site’s monuments. The oft quoted description of Petra as ‘the rose-red city half as old as time’ is almost right: the site is set in a chain of rose-red (and yellow and buff) mountains, although the site, for …

7 Strange Artifacts from Malta

We know many things about history, but what we don’t know outweighs what we think we know. Throughout my travels, I have come not only to embrace, but to seek out history’s mysteries. If your eyes and your mind are open you can find mysteries whenever and wherever you travel. Malta is one of those places where the mysteries are too numerous to count, and the culture is too rich to understand in just a few days. Out of the hundreds of unique sites and artifacts found throughout Malta, seven are highlighted below that pose more questions than answers.