IN SITU Magazine 2015/2016-2

Page 1

Magazine 2015/2016-2

WALKING THE WALL Tips and tricks for lovers of Hadrian’s Wall

everything that is not “Islam” has to be destroyed.” Archaeology in the Near East, page 6

TERRA’S BIRTHDAY WEEK! Hadrian’s Wall, modern Scotland. (Andrew Cheal / / CC BY-ND)



Meet Ian Lilley

The newest member of the Faculty of Archaeology.

Archaeology in the current Near East Olivier Nieuwenhuijse talks about the destruction of archaeology in Syria.

Internship in... Orkney Alette Blom shares her island experience.

The Terra Birthday Week

Terra’s turning 15 on March 9th! And they have a whole week of fun planned!

Archaeology in... Film!

How archaeologically correct are our favorite movies?

Walking the Wall

Willem Baetsen walked the Hadrian’s Wall Path, and has tips and tricks for us.

Our guy in Oman

Sam Botan is still in Oman, how is he doing?

Reviews, recipes, trips, and of course... More Archeobros!


Meet Ian Lilley

The newest faculty-member By: Sam Moring On the 28th of November I interviewed Ian Lilley about his year in the Netherlands. As well as an extensive background, we talked about possible futures for archaeologists in Australia. Ian also explained about the Willem Willems Chair for Contemporary Issues in Archaeological Heritage Management. For people who don’t know you, who are you, what classes do you lecture? “I am an archaeologist from Australia. I have worked in Australia and the Pacific, since the early ’80’s. While doing my research masters in Queensland, I started working in Papua New Guinea, particularly on the islands in the north-east. This work began

Australia and Queensland (Google Maps)


as kind of an accident though. Someone needed an assistant, and because I had lived there as a child I could speak the local language known as tok pisin. So my boss recommended me to the guy who needed the assistance. I was very newly married and went to the jungle for months on end, which was a bit of a challenge. After that I did some commercial archeology. I even set up my own company which many many years later evolved into my university’s version of Archol. Now I am back on the board of it.” Is this your first time in the Netherlands? “No, I came to the Netherlands for a brief period when I was six or seven years old. The only memory I have is of camping near Rotterdam, I collected little flags and I

Ian Lilley (Universiteit Leiden)

remember going into a tourist shop to get a Dutch flag, but the woman gave me a Deutsch flag instead. I came back in 2010 when I was at Oxford, because Willem Willems invited me over and I stayed a few days.” You’re from Australia which is one of the hottest countries in the world and you came to the Netherlands which is one of the wettest countries in the world, I can imagine that’s a climate shock? “Yeah, Australia is actually the world’s driest continent as well as hot, but I live in the southeast of Queensland, which is a subtropical and halfway up a mountain, so we get about two meters of rain a year. It is very wet, but not cold like it is in the Netherlands. The light in Australia is very bright and the grey skies here can become very depressing.” Your only staying for one year right, is that because of the scholarship?

“No, no, they set up what’s called a visiting chair rather then asking me to come permanently, which I can’t do. Although I see the positives of a permanent position this way you can get a line of succession of hopefully high-level people which will bring interesting knowledge to Leiden. Hopefully they will take something with them as well when they leave. It’s a way of spreading the love, so to speak.” Can you explain what the Willem Willems Chair for Contemporary issues in Archaeological Heritage Management is? “I’ll tell you when I figure it out! No, basically they made up the name after I got here, because everything has got to have a title nowadays. I told Willem’s family that I would like a chair named after Willem in World Heritage and archaeological heritage management. It’s called this and it’s mainly to cover precisely what it says: contemporary issues in archaeological management. I did this kind of work with Willem a lot, some in Australia, but mostly on a more global level. For example I am working with the World Bank to improve its management of archaeological resources around the world. This is because they spend enormous resources on archaeological projects right around the planet, which most archeologists know nothing about. Willem worked with me on this. I also each some classes here in Leiden. I taught a graduate seminar on cultural landscapes which I will do a bit more in the fourth block and some lectures in basic concepts archaeological heritage management and dilemmas in archaeological heritage management. I am a pretty busy bee!”

Papua New Guinea, Ian Lilly’s work terrain (Google Terrain)

So you started doing research in New Guinea, sort of rolled in to it but then it still stuck, what made it stick, what kept it interesting? “Well I always worked in Australia as well as New Guinea, sort of 5 years on, 5 years off, but sometimes together. It’s very different for many reasons. I always used to joke with my students that you have to have two brains, one for the Pacific and one for Australia. I was really young when I started and before I knew what to do New Guinea came up. Like I said, I had lived there, spoke the local pidgin and going back there was really great. It was a boys dream, an Indiana Jones-like adventure. There were only three people on the team, working with very remote local communities deep in the jungle. We lived in grass huts and caves.”

in heritage management. This is rare, because most masters in Australia are based on research only not classroom work. I would advise, once you finish your undergraduate degree here, do a masters and then head to Australia for a follow up research degree. I have to warn though, that the cost of living is much higher in Australia than it is here.” Have you already ‘toured’ the Netherlands, besides Leiden? “Yeah, Yeah, I have been to The Hague a couple of times, I went to Rotterdam the other week, I’ve been to Amsterdam several times. I have visited the wife of Willem who presented me with his academic toga. I really would like to go to Frisia as a tourist. I want to visit the wide open spaces!”

If somebody would like to specialise themselves in Australian archaeology or archaeological heritage management what advise would you give them? “Go to Australia, doing it while based in the Netherlands would be very difficult. At my university (University of Queensland) they have a new taught masters of archaeological 5

Archaeology in the Near East Nieuwenhuijse about the situation

On behalf of our editorial staff

February 2015, for a moment it is totally silent in the halls of the Faculty of Archaeology at the University Leiden. Everyone is hunched over phones, tablets, and laptops. Then the silence is broken. Cries of outrage fill the halls of the building. ISIS just showed the world the destruction of ancient artefacts in Mosul. IN SITU Magazine talks to dr. Olivier Nieuwenhuijse, who specialises in Syrian archaeology. Because of the current war in Syria and surrounding areas, it is not possible to do any excavations or visits in the area, and many of the current sites have fallen victim to destruction by multiple parties in the war.

The destruction of archaeological heritage started earlier than the war against ISIS. Journalist Jan Eikelboom mentions the plundering of the ruins of Apamae in Syria during the Arab Spring in his book Achter het front. Is it common that locals plunder archaeological sites? “It was extremely uncommon in the past. Today, it is. Plundering is mostly done because the local community is poor and unable to earn money any other way. Poverty in combination with anarchism is possibly the biggest threat to archaeological sites. This combination rules the Syrian landscape at the moment, and as a result of this poverty people turn to the last resort to earn some money. So they go to the excavation sites to dig up coins and statuettes to sell these on the black markets.”

The destruction of the Museum of Mosul by ISIS in 2015. (Youtube / Tube News)


“Thinking this would only happen in the Middle East is naïve. Plundering archaeological sites because of poverty happens around the world, and would probably happen in the Netherlands as well if we were in the position that the Syrians are in right now.” What are the biggest threats to Syrian archaeology? “Everyone thinks it is ISIS, but it is not. Assad and his army are as much of a threat. His bombs and soldiers do incredible damage, as we can see in Aleppo where nothing is left. Assad destroys everything that is ‘just in the way’ when he wants to pass. Because of this policy, several monuments and museums have been destroyed by his bombs. The problem is that Assad wants to keep this destruction out of the

media, whereas ISIS publishes it on purpose. Therefore the damage done by Assad is much less known. But the biggest threat is, as I mentioned before, poverty. People are desperate to earn money to buy food and water, and as they can’t farm or work anymore they turn to the sites to plunder them.” So while ISIS is not the biggest threat, it is the most wellknown. What does ISIS gain by destroying historical artefacts and archaeological sites like Palmyra and the museum of Mosul? “ISIS claims to destroy these archaeological remains of past civilizations because of religion and piety. According to them everything that is not “Islamic”, in their perverted interpretation, has to be destroyed. And they claim that the archaeological remains are not “Islam”, but pagan. A lot of scholars, however, think ISIS has different reasons for destroying archaeological heritage. First, they do it because they have absolutely no clue about historical value or meaning. It is mostly ignorance that makes them think that this behaviour is okay. Secondly, they make professional videos of everything they blow up and post these online, which they do to cause a distraction. ISIS sells a lot of artefacts on the black market, and then blow up the structures so no-one can ever see what was taken and sold. The third reason is one of which I think is very important. ISIS is taking part in a process that is called cultural cleansing.” Cultural cleansing? What does this mean? “Cultural cleansing is a process in which one dominant group accepts only its own claims to the

past, and the rest has to disappear. ISIS is doing that by destroying archaeological heritage that does not fit in their perfect picture of the Islam and the caliphate. They did not only destroy Palmyra and Mosul, but a lot of smaller local sites are also being damaged.” “The Middle East has always been a melting pot of different cultures, that have always created their own subcultures. Even Palmyra, which is often seen as a Roman site, is in fact a mix of different influences. Roman, Mesopotamian, Parthian, all these civilizations left their marks on Palmyra. This melting pot of cultures, which can still be seen within the Yezidi’s, Turkmens, and Kurds, is something ISIS does not like. Which is their reason to destroy any heritage that does not fit their narrow, egocentric view of the Middle East. As well, this constant attacking of other people creates fear and instability, which they use to scare people away as they only want ‘their’ group.” In Brian Catlos’ book Infidel Kings and Unholy Warriors, he shows a lot of similarity between the Islam and Christianity especially in Europe. The destruction of the artefacts in Mosul seems similar to the Iconoclasm that happened in the Netherlands in 1566. Can we make such a comparison? “Yes, and also no. The Iconoclasm was also a form of cultural cleansing, but the destruction of the museum of Mosul is a more modern form of violence. It is very nationalistic, and it was meant to create fear. There is another problem with Mosul, and that is that no-one really knows exactly what did and didn’t get destroyed during the ISIS attack in February. Some artefacts might

ISIS and black markets While ISIS claims to destroy archaeological heritage because of religious reasons, they see the sites mostly as a source of income. “There are many examples of black market trade done by ISIS. For example, there is the site of Mari. After ISIS conquered the area of this archaeological site, they completely ploughed the site, without any concern for the heritage. They were looking for coins, jewellery, figurines, and other antiquities they could sell. The documentation of this trade was found during an operation in which Abu Sayyaf was killed. He was the director of ‘natural sources’, like oil and stone. But also antiquities, that ISIS clearly sees as just a trading product.” “Another example is Tell Sabi Abyad. This site was excavated by Peter Akkermans from the University Leiden. The depot with the finds of this site, was located in Raqqa. Raqqa became the so-claimed capital of the ISIS caliphate. After they took the city, they plundered the depot and took everything to sell it on the black market. 35 years of work on this site, but the depot is now completely destroyed.” have been sold, and some were replica’s but until this moment we are not sure what permanent damage is done.” When talking about Catlos’ book, he mentions Damascus as dating back hundreds of years and it being built in another caliphate. Is this archaeology threatened at the moment as well? “It is, but not only in Damascus. The city has been heavily attacked, but so have other cities. 7

At this moment ISIS is still destroying archaeological sites to intimidate other people, and Assad destroys everything that is in the way of his tanks. The West has a protocol when it comes to archaeological heritage, stating that it should be protected from attacks and damage. While this protocol is in theory very clear, factual reports on the bombings and military actions done by the West and their allies are not public, and we will not know the damage until the war is over. When Kobani was liberated everything was destroyed, and we will never know if historical value was permanently lost.” There have been three large caliphates in history. The Fatimid Caliphate and the Mosaic museum of Marrat an-Numan The mosaic museum of Marrat an-Numan, also known as the Alma Arra Museum, was heavily damaged during fights between Syrian rebels and the Syrian army of Assad. The museum houses various objects as pottery, figurines, and ceramics, but it is mostly known for its large collection of mosaics. In October 2012, the museum took a heavy blow when a warplane from Assad’s forces threw bombs that went off only a few meters outside the museum. The building was heavily damaged and so were many objects as they fell down because of the shockwave. Broken and shattered, these objects are still inside the museum, protected by rebels from looting and plundering. However, it is still located in a warzone and suffers more and more damage every day. 8

Roman bronze items on Kunst&Kitch, found with a metal detector... (AVRO)

Abbasid Caliphate in the Middle East, but also the monarchy of Granada in Spain. Catlos calls this ‘the caliphate in the West’. What are the archaeological remains of caliphates in Europe? ”There are a lot of archaeological remains of caliphates in Europe, starting with the remains in Spain but also in other countries. Medieval European structures like castles often show Middle Eastern building techniques. The Spanish inhabitants were also influenced in their language and culture by the Arabs when the caliphates were there. And when Spanish immigrants came to the north on the run from the Inquisition, they took that influence to us. Actually, there is a cookbook called Geschiedenis van de Nederlandse Keuken which mentions some very specific moments in which the Dutch kitchen was formed. It starts with Roman times, but is also mentions the Spanish immigrants and how the Dutch kitchen was permanently influenced by them. So you could say that the typical Dutch cuisine is partly Arabic-Spanish.” How realistic is the comparison between the war against ISIS, and the war between the Byzantine Empire and the Fatimid Caliphate?

“It is a bad comparison. It is somewhat unfortunate that this link is often used to simplify the problem. It is propaganda used to start a war between Christianity and Islam. ISIS uses this propaganda, trying to legitimize itself by connecting itself to previous caliphates. However, it should not be forgotten that ISIS is a modern organization that has no connections to the Fatimid or the Abbasid dynasties. Claiming a connection between ISIS and these ancient civilizations is the same as claiming a connection between the modern neo-pagans that use Stonehenge for rituals, and the druids from thousands of years ago.” All three earlier caliphates were in the end haunted by civil wars. If there is a civil war in the caliphate of ISIS, what could the damage be on the archaeological sites? “There is in fact already tension within the ISIS area. An even deeper descend into civil war would probably mean total destruction of the archaeological remains, as they would be even more plundered and damaged. Also, a civil war would mean the destruction of any form of control over the area, and anarchy creates even more problems with

controlling the illegal trade of archaeological artefacts.” “At this moment, illegal trade is already a huge problem and it happens in the Netherlands as well. People go to countries and bring back souvenirs. It has happened that people show up on Tussen Kunst en Kitch with “souvenirs” that are in fact stolen antiquities. Such popular TV programs do not always always have a clear statement when it comes to this small form of illegal trade, people even got compliments on the show on their buy! We as archaeologists should make a statement against this and teach people about the importance of these objects, and the mistake they make by buying them and therefore increasing the demand on plundered artefacts.”


Catlos and Eikelboom, historic and journalist Brian Catlos, Infidel Kings and Unholy Warriors. De Bezige Bij: 9789085426516 (NL) 9780374535322 (EN)

Jan Eikelboom, Achter het front. Uitgeverij Balans: 9789460037160 Achter het front, unfortunately not translated to English, is the book of war correspondent Jan Eikelboom. He visited several countries in the Middle East during the start, and end of the Arab Spring. While there, he witnessed the plundering of the archaeological site of Apamae, as well as uprisings and bombings. His book is a personal journal on what it is like to work in a warzone, when you are not truly sure who is shooting at you. A must read for everyone who might visit the region.

Brian Catlos talks about the rise and downfall of the three caliphates history has known. Caliphates that were full of murder, treason, open mindedness, different people living together, trade, war, and even peace. Within the first pages, it becomes very clear that every caliphate had its good and bad sides. Catlos’ most remarkable achievement in the book, is that it is not about the Islam. Although he involves religion in his story, it is not religion that tells the tale. Catlos tries to create a document about history, with lots of research and angles that he shows to the reader. If you want to get a bit more inside the head of the former caliphates, this book is a good place to start.

Achter het front is an almost thrilling story, which will make you realize that every conflict is a lot more complicated than it seems from behind your TV. 9

Internship in... Orkney

Alette Blom shares her island experience

By: Alette Anne Blom After some experience in Dutch commercial archaeology, I wanted to explore my passion for the UK and went to look for an internship somewhere in England or Scotland. I emailed the director of the Ness of Brodgar, a Neolithic settlement (or ritual site) on the Orkney Islands, north of Scotland. My email implied, or so I thought, that I was available somewhere between 1 June and 28 August and before I knew it I had an internship at ORCA (Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology) for three full months. Shortly after I realised that I would be on a sparsely-populated island for 3 full months, while I still had an essay deadline in June and my first class on 1 September at 08.30 hours. Anyway, I would live in Scotland for a while. After emailing back and forth with Nick Card, ORCA’s director, it became clear that I would spend my first four weeks on a site on South Ronaldsay, one of the 70 islands in total. Somewhere in a cow field was an Iron Age broch – a defensive tower of 22 metres in diameter with surrounding settlement, called The Cairns. An earlier excavated example of such a broch is the Broch of Gurness. Although I was a newbie to the 10

site, I had all the lucky finds of the year, including two complete clay moulds, and several bronze artefacts. The last eight weeks I would spend on the Ness of Brodgar, a well-known Neolithic site on the main island (called Mainland) that has made the cover of National Geographic several times already. Due to the monumentality and proximity to ritual monuments such as the Ring of Brodgar, the Stones of Stenness and the Comet Stone, the Ness of Brodgar is now interpreted as a ritual site with temple buildings.

There is a saying on Orkney: “If you scratch Orkney’s surface, she will bleed archaeology” and nothing less is true. Both sites gave me insight into the deep and rich history of the islands and gave me chance to even excavate and explore that past myself. Especially for the Ness of Brodgar, it is not too difficult to be accepted for an internship. The basic requirement is that you apply before March, but preferably in January, and that you preferably have some fieldwork experience. However, both sites serve as field schools for the

The Brough of Deerness: a Viking settlement on a rock formation, 3 metres of the coast of the Mainland. (

I suppose. The destruction of chambered Cairns continued in the Medieval period when stones were needed for the construction of large, fortified castles spread across all islands. The most beautiful and wellpreserved castles are the Earl’s and Bishop’s Palace in Kirkwall and the Earl’s Palace in Birsay. The Victorian Age unsurprisingly ‘studied’ all these archaeological remains while roughly breaking through entrances and ceilings, but there are still some remaining documents concerning these excavations. What surprised me most about Orkney’s archaeology are the sometimes impossible places that peoples have decided to settle, such as on tidal islands that are only reachable twice every 24 hours (Brough of Birsay) or the Brough of Deerness, separated from the Mainland completely.

Islands of Orkney, with the sites as stars (Wikimedia)

University of Highlands and Islands (UHI) and they can thus teach you everything you need to know. It is noteworthy that if you want to go on internship to either of these sites you will need very good waterproof clothes. Not just because it is Scotland and weather is terrible, but also because both sites lack a site hut or any shelter for that matter: you will be crawled up in your waterproofs if the rain starts. Archaeology of Orkney Orkney is known for its rich history as mentioned above. The islands bear continuous traces from prehistoric to modern times. The largest Neolithic settlement of Scotland, Skara

Brae, was uncovered by a storm in 1850. The Orkneys are also rich in chambered cairns such as Maeshowe, Unstan Cairn and Tomb of the Eagles. These prehistoric peoples were succeeded by the later presence of the Picts, who built smallscale settlements, the best-known of which is on the Brough of Birsay - a small tidal island. This settlement was built on top of by the later Vikings, who also managed to break into, and partially destroy, many of the chambered cairns. These Vikings left inscriptions on the walls detailing things like the wet dog smell of other men and how beautiful their Viking wifes were – not much has changed

One of the clay moulds found by Alette at The Cairns.


Terra Birthday Week

You might not believe it but this 9th of March, Terra will be 15 years old! Which they will celebrate with a whole week of fun activities! Monday March 7

Tuesday March 8

(kennymatic / / CC BY)

(shvmoz / / CC BY-SA)

To kick off the Terra Birthday Week, we start with some healthy competition! So the first activity of the week will be one of the legendary Game Events! At March 7, from 17.00 till 19.00, the Great Hall of the Van Steenis building will be filled with board games, playstation, wii, xbox, and all sorts of games.

Do you think you know it all? Is your head filled with facts about Terra, archaeology, dinosaurs or random facts? Show us what you’ve got, during the Terra Birthday Pubquiz on Tuesday March 8! Winning team gets a prize, and everyone will get lots of fun.

Come and show your skills!


The location of the pubquiz will be announced soon.

Wednesday March 9

Wednesday is the official birthday of Terra, which we will celebrate with the symposium ‘Liquid interactions: A symposium about human-water connectivity’ Starting at 18.30 at the Rijksmuseum of Oudheden, we will dive into the world of underwater archaeology!

Terra turns 15! Thursday March 10

Friday March 11 - Sunday March 13

Picardt-Trip: Destination Poland!

The second Terra Party will be held in the Birthday Week. As our symposium was about archaeology underwater, we’ll stick with the theme. So: “Mobsters & Lobsters”. So, are you making your enemies ‘swim with the fishes’, or are you a fish yourself? Come dressed as a dangerous maffia boss or dress as a sea creature. The party will start at 22:00. Keep in mind that the doors close at 00:30. As this is a party, VSL Catena’s cocktailbar will be open. And they would like to remind us all that it is not allowed to park bikes in the alley! Tickets cost €3,-, and you can bring one non-Terra member.

From 11-13 March, the end of the Terra Birthday Week, the Leidsche Archaeologist Weekend will take place. This year we will go to the lovely Eerstel in Noord-Brabant where we will visit some local archaeology. The trip and its participants will leave on Friday, and return on Sunday. The weekend will cost €50, and please remember this is does not include the costs of transport! Signing up for the trip is obligatory as there are only a limited amount of spaces, and can be done by sending an email to

PolandMFA / BY-ND

The annual Picardt-trip will be going to Poland this year. Travel around this beautiful country while visiting cities as Warschau, Wroclaw, and Krakau. On the trip you will see several museums, fantastisch castles, spooky caves, several graves, flint-mines, and much more! Picardt will keep you busy till the end. The trip will take place from May 18 till May 27, and it only costs €420. Interested? Sign up by sending an email to picardt.reiscommissie@ They are also happy to send you more information. There is a maximum amount of students that can participate in this trip, so sign up quickly! 13

Archaeology in... Film!

How archaeologically correct are movies?

300 was a succes. But what does the archaeology say? (Warner Bros Studios)

By: Linda Leestemaker

a Neolithic site mentioning the dangers of folklore and treasureThere are many movies that hunters. This is actually a very involve history. However, realistic lecture, and many young there are not that much films archaeologists will have had that involve archaeology, similar lectures about case studies and even less films that and the dangers that lurk around. involve archaeology in a It sounds a bit hypocritical archaeologically correct way. though, as this warning comes from the world’s most famous “Ooh you study archaeology? archaeologist who does nothing That is so cool, I always wanted to when it comes to documenting be like Indiana Jones when I was finds and places. Indiana makes young.” How many times have sure finds end up in museums, archaeologists not heard this? and therefore he is the good guy. Indiana Jones is still the top 3 of Technically speaking, Indiana’s IMDb’s top 40 of archaeologywork is a form of archaeology, movies. Followed by other wellbut this form has not been used known titles as The Mummy, since the Grand Tour went out Jurassic Park (when will people of style. So you would think a learn the difference between movie made in 1981 would know dinosaurs and archaeology?), and the difference between treasure even Pirates of the Caribbean. hunting and proper archaeology. But how archaeologically correct And Indiana rarely had the time are some of these famous films to make proper notes about really? provenance as he mostly ran from the sites as fast as possible after Provenance, Indy? obtaining treasures (often chased Indiana Jones, probably the most by German enemies and large well-known archaeologist in rolling stones). the world, is at first a professor. In Raiders of the Lost Ark you Destruction will see Jones give a lecture on Archaeologists may act differently


than Indiana, but when asked in 2007 by a Lycoming College project almost all participants in the research answered that when thinking of archaeologists, they saw a man in the desert wearing khaki clothing and an ‘Indiana Jones hat’ digging for lost treasures to put these in museums. It might hurt even more, when the same research showed that most people think destruction is ‘okay’ if it means getting access to these treasures. Thank you Indy. So what about provenance? It seems to be one of the most important things when it comes to archaeological finds, and the word is often used in Museum Studies. Indiana Jones does not seem to have heard of it though, because it means taking notes, photos, or at least some form of a soil sample before running off with some golden object. No wonder people think taking cultural heritage and selling it online is perfectly okay. Spartans vs. mythical beasts? Let’s get one thing straight: the film 300 (yes, from that famous line “This is Sparta!”) is not based on any historical or archaeological record. This Battle of Thermopylae is based on a comic book. Unfortunately, a lot of people who saw the movie don’t know this and think it is based on the legendary battle that took place in 480 BC. Fiction A good movie can’t work its magic without some villain, some heroes, and some general fiction. This is where 300 differs from reality. Starting with Leonidas

himself. Leonidas seems to be the only ruler, but Sparta always had two kings that ruled with equal power. And the army was not 300, but over 7000 men strong. Greek soldiers from other major citystates joined the Spartan king in his battle. But of course, this is not what people think about. They wonder about the mythical warriors of the Persian army. Did the Persians really use rhino’s and elephants? No, they did not. Elephants were not used in warfare until the 4th century BC, and this practice started in India. It took a while for the strategy to come to Persia so Xerxes could not have known of this beast as a tool of war. How about rhinos? Well, Rhinos cannot be truly domesticated or trained like horses and elephants. And have you ever seen a rhino? Those animals are like walking tanks, no way you can spur them! So no war-beasts, no magic, and no freaky-looking mutantcreatures. The Immortals, however, did exist. They looked nothing like samurai, but they were indeed Xerxes personal

Dusting off materials in The Librarian. (

bodyguard and made up the elitetroops of the Persian army. The final, and very disputable, thing is the size of Xerxes’ army. The narrator of the film says that they were ‘in the millions’, and ancient sources do comply. But more recent research done by writer Tom Holland states that it was a maximum of 500.000 soldiers, coming from every corner and tribe of the Persian empire. The end, with the shower of arrows, is correct. In 1939 archaeologists found large numbers of Persian arrowheads and human remains, identifying the spot where the last Spartans died. During this final battle, king Leonidas was already dead… Learning… Always learning There is one thing that is completely archaeologically correct about The Librarian’s franchise: we learn, and then we learn some more in the real world. They also talk about curiosity, knowledge, and proper storing (no touching!) of ancient artefacts. In all fairness, it seems that this franchise (which is now shooting the third season of its new tvseries) has done its research on archaeologists and their work. But a movie wouldn’t be a movie without something going wrong… So of course there are traps, moving walls, some romance, lots of treasure, you know: normal film-stuff.

The Archaeology Channel The Archaeology Channel was founded to promote archaeologically correct films and documentaries, and it now has its own international film festival. This year, it will be held May 11 till May 15 in Eugene, Oregon. The focus of the festival is to promote stories of past and present human cultures in history through media. The organisation is still very focused on the America’s, but this is starting to change. locations. And archaeologists are no treasure hunters! When it comes to proper archaeological reseach, it is true that Flynn is much more interested in information than Indiana Jones. Indiana does not do research, and focuses on just getting the treasure. Flynn at least stops to spot an arrowhead and wants to collect it as it is a diagnostic find. Remember that word from all survey-work done? And the rest? Well… It is still a movie, which would probably not sell well if there wasn’t some action in it. And for some reason, archaeological remains really hate action. Something with breaking and getting lost forever.

Information So how archaeologically correct is The Librarian really? One thing has to be said for the movies: they get the mix of archaeology just right. Archaeologists do not only work with ancient pottery, human remains, or treasure. We use a mix of historic sources, linguistics, ancient artefacts, and strange 15

Walking the Wall

Willem Baetsen and Hadrian’s Wall Path By: Willem Baetsen What? Hadrian’s Wall. Where? England, Northumberland & Cumbria. Dimensions (l x b x h): 135km x 3-8m x 3-6m. Composition: Approx. 25,000,000 facing stones (25x15x50cm), rubble-claylimestone mortar core. Construction time: Approx. 6 years (AD 122-128). Trail walking time: Min. 5-6 days, max. approx. 2 weeks? Cost: £200-500 (or over, depending on your spending). A brief history of Roman Britain There have been extensive volumes written about Roman Britain and the interaction between indigenous populations and the Romans. I will only very briefly go into the history of the Roman ‘conquest’ of Britannia and the establishment of the border that is the main topic here, without going into the complexities of connectivity, acculturation, etcetera. I will leave that to your lecturers.

on Trajan’s border, on the line between the Roman settlements of Carlisle and Corbridge. A few ventures into Scotland ensued, but Hadrian’s Wall would be the border that would be kept for most of the time until the Romans abandoned Britannia around AD409. Oblique cross section of Hadrian’s Wall, with the ditch to the north and the Vallum to the south of the wall, plus one of the milecastles ( Roman forts and settlements around Hadrian’s Wall (

The Wall Around the beginning of the 2nd c. AD, a ‘wall’ Trajan had built in turf and timber was fortified to stretch the whole island from east to west. The wall was 118km (80 Roman miles) long, 3-6m high and 3-8m thick. On the Scottish side was a deep ditch running the length of the wall, and on the Roman side a configuration of earthen walls and a ditch (named the ‘Vallum’) of which the function is unclear. Every Roman mile there was At one time or another, the Roman a milecastle (80 in total), Empire did include almost all interspaced with turrets (161 of Great Britain, but especially in total), so that the wall could the Caledonians (in what is now be manned and messages could Scotland) could not easily be be passed between posts in just contained, and the border fell back 2.5 minutes each. A few years south in the late 1st-early 2nd c. later, defensive capabilities were AD under Domitian and Trajan. reinforced with additional military Shortly after Trajan’s Dacian forts, each holding 500-1000 Wars, during Hadrian’s rule, there men. The milecastles have been was another uprising in Scotland. numbered (in modern times) After suppressing the rebellion, from east to west, with their Hadrian visited Britannia and this respective turrets receiving the is when the great wall was built letters A and B. All these remains 16

are still represented to some degree or another, with names like Vindolanda, Housesteads, and Corbridge being among the most famous. That being said, a large portion of the stone used in forts, the wall and other construction was taken after the Romans left and reused in farms, drywalls, and e.g. Hexham Abbey. The remaining parts suffered from weathering and the construction of a military road on top of part of the wall around 1745, so that today only about 16km of the original wall remain on the surface. Most of the wall visible today was reconstructed in a rather unscientific way. But still, the work done by the 19th-century town clerk John Clayton from Newcastle – who bought and restored parts of the wall and forts – makes it possible for us to enjoy and let our imagination run along the wall today. The Trail Regardless of how complete the wall is, a National Trail exists that approximately follows the track

of Hadrian’s Wall. This Hadrian’s Wall Path is about 135km long, from Wallsend to Bowness-on-

Good example of an original stretch of wall near Turret 48B and the modern Willowford-Irthing bridge.

Solway (or vice versa). Aside from the abundance of Roman remains along the way, the rustic environs with natural spectacle and the lovely villages with friendly people and great food along the way make this walk definitely worth your while! Now, 135km – or if you, as in my case, want to take all the detours, about 180km – might seem horrific to some of you, if not to most. However, the nice thing about the trail is its popularity. This means that it is (mostly) incredibly well signposted, documented and accommodated. Especially in summer there is an abundance of places to stay, eat and visit along almost the entire stretch of the wall, so that you can decide your own tempo. You could even, as many people also do, decide to take public transport to skip some of the more empty parts of the route, for instance with the ‘AD122’ bus, or by train. The Walk When you have decided to embark on this trip along Rome’s ancient frontier, there are several considerations to take into account: route, budget, number of days, and time of year. I will speak mainly from my own experience and stick to my own preferences, since I cannot consider everyone’s likings.

Go east or go west? Follow the entire trail or select only some characteristic sections? This all depends on your preferences and it would serve you well to check out e.g. the websites of the National Trail and Hadrian’s Wall County before moving any further. Personally, I would encourage you to do the whole thing. Every part of the path is different, from surrounded by farmland and devoid of people, to mounting cliffs and ‘touristy’, but I have not been bored or disappointed for one moment. Whether you go east or west is not so important. Guidebooks give recommen-dations based on their own content (easier to follow the route in the direction of the guidebook), the weather (predominant winds and setting

View over the wall towards Greenlee Lough.

sun) and the scenery (which part is most ‘boring’ and whether you want it at the end or at the beginning). The amazing guidebook I used was ‘Hadrian’s Wall Path’ by Henry Stedman (2011) in the Trailblazer series. As you might notice, the subtitle details east to west, but it is easy to use the other way around and has wonderful drawn maps that detail important waypoints and landmarks, and even almost every stile and gate you will encounter. (The fourth edition (2014) is available for around £10 on Amazon UK or

Timeline 55-54BC - Caesar’s expeditions in Britannia AD43 - Claudius’ invasion of Britannia AD83 - Claudius defeats Caledonians at Mons Graupius AD100- Trajan moves frontier south AD122 - Hadrian begins of construction of ‘his’ Wall ±AD142 - Antoninus Pius builds ‘his’ Wall in Scotland ±AD163 - Frontier falls back to Hadrian’s Wall ±AD182-198 - Occasional heavy fighting and damage to Wall AD205 - Restauration of Hadrian’s Wall AD360-368 Romans overrun by Picts, Scots, etc. AD368- Theodosius regains control and repairs Wall; no more Roman attempts to control Scotland ±AD409-410 - Romans withdraw: End of Roman Britain 19th century - Clayton reconstructs parts of Wall and forts 1987 Hadrian’s Wall becomes a World Heritage Site.

€14 at Amazon DE). In the end, I walked from west to east and I was very satisfied. Of course, your decisions will be based on time and money as well. Let’s have some budgeting tips! I did the whole thing, including 6 nights of accommodation, the return trip and food, excluding hiking gear, for just over €200. As you can imagine, the cheaper you want it to be, the more concessions you will have to make: • Travel by coach. Coaches can be tedious and uncomfortable, but if you book them well in advance, they can really save you money. I travelled to and from Hadrian’s wall for a total of £20.50 using Megabus ( 17

• Travel overnight on the coach. If you want to save up on accommodation, make sure your coaches travel overnight, so that you arrive really early in the morning and do not have to book a hostel. • Book accommodation ahead. If you do not, you have more control over how far you want to walk each day. But since the trail is not huge and it is relatively easy to plan your walks, I decided to book ahead. I myself think hostels and B&Bs make the experience and set a max of £30 per night, but you could pay ten times that if you just walk into a hotel without booking in time. In any case, there are plenty of places to stay. For a very comprehensive list of places to stay, go to the ‘Accommodation’ page on www. • Bring a tent (in summer). If you are going in summer, and all camping grounds are open (this is NOT the case between October and April!), you can spend the night for around £5. • Stockpile some food. If you really want to be cheap, bring some food, because there are not many supermarkets near the trail. But if you think you have already budgeted enough, please visit

Sign outside Once Brewed Youth Hostel near Vindolanda.

some of the many brilliant pubs along the way. Recommendations: Twice Brewed Inn (near Vindolanda), The Stag Inn (Crosby-on-Eden, Wetherspoon’s The Quayside (Newcastle). Next on the list of considerations 18

is how long to walk and when to walk. I will be brief about the amount of days: this depends on your walking stamina entirely. Well, almost entirely. If you plan

The excavation team at Vindolanda in 2010 (with me bottom row, second on the left).

The Stag Inn in Crosby-on-Eden, near Carlisle. Great, cozy pub for a pint or a carvery.

on visiting any sites and museums along the way, please take into account their opening times (most are only opened in weekends between October and April). This brings me to when to walk. Most guidebooks recommend you walk during summer season. All accommodation will be available, attractions will have much more extensive opening times, the weather will be better, and you might see archaeologists excavating (for instance at Vindolanda: to excavate yourself, go to In conclusion I hope I have at least convinced some of you of the marvel of the Hadrian’s Wall Path, offering plenty for people interested in archaeology, culture and nature. If anyone is interested in knowing more about Hadrian’s Wall Path or excavating at Vindolanda, please do not hesitate to contact me via (or just talk to me when you see me at the faculty). For more photographs from my walk in February-March 2013 you can go to my Facebook page: willembaetsen.

Bibliography and useful websites Alcock, J.P., 2011. A Brief History of Roman Britain Conquest and Civilization. London: Constable & Robinson. Bowman, A.K., 2004. Life and Letters on the Roman Frontier: Vindolanda and its People. London: British Museum Press. Jones, B. and D. Mattingly, 2002. An Atlas of Roman Britain. Oxford: Oxbow. Mattingly, D., 2006. An Imperial Possession: Britain in the Roman Empire. Penguin. Stedman, H., 2011. Hadrian’s Wall path, Wallsend to Bownesson-Solway. Trailblazer Guides. D’Print, Singapore. • hadrians-wall-path • volunteer-programme • accommodation/

Archaeological recipes Middle Eastern recipes

We may not be able to do research in the Middle East at this moment, but we can still enjoy its cooking!

NaRe-Trip: Destination Morocco!

Ful Medames Serves 4 680 grams of dried fava beans (or broad beans) 2 cloves garlic, crushed 1 tablespoon lemon juice 60 ml olive oil 1/2 teaspoon cumin Soak beans overnight in water. Drain, and cover with fresh water in large saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer on low for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until beans are tender. Drain and place in medium bowl. Add remaining ingredients. Beans and remaining ingredients can be mashed together, or the beans can be left whole and gently mixed with remaining ingredients. It is more commonly served mashed together. Serve hot with a fried egg and pita bread.

(avlxyz / / CC BY-SA)

Kebab Serves 3 to 6 2 teaspoons olive oil 1 tsp rosemary, chopped 3 large garlic cloves, minced 1 pound beef tenderloin, cut into cubes 1/4 tsp kosher salt 1/4 tsp ground black pepper Combine 2 teaspoons oil, rosemary, and garlic. Add beef; marinate 1 hour in refrigerator, turning occasionally. Thread beef evenly onto 6 skewers; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Grill kebabs 9 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Serve with pita bread and vegetables.

(samira.hachad / / CC BY)

This years NaRe-trip is going to Morocco! Participants will get to see a large part of the country while visiting many archaeological sites. Visit ancient old cities, and beautiful museums. The trip will take place from May 16 till May 26, and it only costs â‚Ź450. Interested? Sign up by sending an email to Nabureuvensreis@gmail. com. They are also happy to send you the presentation they gave earlier. There is a maximum amount of students that can participate in this trip, so sign up quickly!


Our guy in Oman

Sam Botan on his internship in Oman By: Sam Botan

25-02-2016 Another couple of months have passed, so it is time for a new column from Oman. From the 14th of December till the first week of February I was busy doing fieldwork with two different projects. I will not go into much detail about the projects, since I had promised last time to talk more specifically about the Omani society and culture. Besides, our magazine is not allowed to advertise for certain projects, so I am not allowed to go much into detail about these projects anyways and say such things as: “You should all join the WAJAP from Leiden University, it is the best and most fun project within the faculty!” or “If you want to experience Oman for yourselves, than you definitely should join the WAJAP next year!” So before I create any more hassle for the magazine and Terra, let us talk about the Omani society. Let me start with saying that the average Omani will be one of 20

the most friendliest persons you will ever meet. Very helpful, very polite, always in for some jokes, and spotless in their appearance. Image is very important in Oman, and people take pride in it. Every Omani teacher at the university has at least 2 djisdjaha in their office, just in case they might spill some coffee on their first disjdjaha. The country has also an abnormal amount of barbers. Al Khud, for example, is the small student town near the university and has one big shopping street similar to the Haarlemmerstraat in Leiden. There are 26 barbershops located in that one street alone (I have counted them). Your average Omani visits he barbershop three times a month. Image and appearance is not something that is only of importance on an individual level, oh no no no. Remember the images from last issues? The beautiful gardens on the university campus? That is what the university looks like every day…365 days a year! How hot it might get, there is always a team of gardeners ready to attend the delicate flowers, trimming the grass, etc. Because withering flowers is bad for the image of the university. And even beyond the university, on a much grander stage, this concern with imaging echoes trough. To understand it, we need first to have a crashcourse on Omani society. Oman is a country that has rapidity developed in the past 40 years. To illustrate this with an example: most of students’ parents still remember the days when they had to go to school on the back of a mule! Ever since

sultan Qaboos bin Said came to power in 1970, the government has been spending more and more money on infrastructure, health, education and welfare; transforming the country into a more “westernized” society. Therefore the current generation of Omanis is accustomed to very high living standards. Most of the people here either work for one of the large oil concerns (Shell, BP, PDO, etc) or for the government. In both cases this means a pretty good income and an even better pension. Families usually own two or three cars and since the government encourages people to build new houses, especially outside the urban centers, houseprices are extremely low and Some facts about Sultan Qaboos bin Said - The sultan of Oman was born on 18 November 1940. - He is the 14th ruler of the Al Bu Sa’idi dynasty. - He rose to power in 1970 by overthrowing his father Said bin Taimur in a coup. - Qaboos bin Said keeps Oman neutral in its relationships with other countries, such as Iran. - Qaboos bin Said has not yet named his heir and has no children. - Qaboos bin Said has received 13 foreign medal of honours, of which six are from the United Kingdom. - One of Qaboos bin Said’s personal yachts was build in the Netherlands. It is the Al-Noores, which is a specially built tug boat.

therefore people also own one or two houses. Taxes do not exist in Oman. It is a concept that is totally alien to the Omanis and something that “only those strange people in the West would do”. Oman is a tribal society. Meaning that if you are a member of one of the main and powerful tribes, then you are basically set for life. When in Oman, as an Omani, you are first part of your tribe and second an Omani. If your tribe is well connected, you can easily get a job within one of the big oil companies or within the government. All of these aspects have created a mindset with the current generation in which they expect to have a good paying job, two houses and two cars by the time they leave the university. And that is one of the main problems the government has faced for the past five years. How do you provide medium- to high income jobs to 28% of your population? In a tribal orientated society, such as in Oman, getting a low income job while everybody else within your family or tribe has a high income job, is considered failure. Something that brings shame upon the family and damages the image of the tribe. And the government fully acknowledge this. This mindset thus resulted in a rather strange phenomena in Oman. While over 60% of the Omani young adults (20-35 years old) are unemployed, the country keeps on hiring expats from southeast Asia to do most of the daily work. Whether it is construction or working behind the register in a local supermarket, you will hardly encounter an Omani doing these jobs. It is considered being beneath their standards. The gardeners at the university that I mentioned earlier? Well, they are all from

Bangladesh. This is also clearly reflected in the conversations that I sometime have with fellow students: “But Sam, why would you practice archaeology if there is no serious money involved? It is a good hobby, but as a career?” “If you like pottery so much, would you not prefer to start a business that produces pottery? Than one day you can become the biggest pottery shop in Oman and earn big money!” Getting a “serious job” with “serious money” and thus fitting in the “image” of your tribe, is one of the main concerns for students over here. Unfortunately for these students, the current world politics are not really helping either. The low oil-price at the moment

medical check” in Germany. The past 10 years the sultan has been suffering from various ailments and just last year he underwent a sever operation in Germany. Rumor has it that he is back in Germany for yet another operation. There is a chance that the Omani’s might lose their big leader, who “lead them to a renaissance” back in the 80s and 90s, just when the oil-crisis is hitting the country hard. But the subject most talked about at the university these past weeks, are these devices: Parking meters in Al Khud. For this is perhaps the strangest concept of them all for the Omani’s. The fact that they will need to pay for their parkingspace from now on! Some people are already complaining (while the devices are still packed, as you can see) and arguing that their fathers and grand-fathers did not have pay for “a parking-space” for their mules! Why should they pay for the parking-space for their cars? What is the next step? Install taxes? Like those crazy people in the West?

pushes the Omani government to introduce some new, hard needed, and yet drastic measurements. For the next five years there will be no payment increase for all people working for the government and no more health benefits as well. On top of this, the sultan left the country a week ago, “for a routine 21

Next time in IN


The new RMO

Now completely renovated and open for public.

Archaeology in... Books! Are there any good archaeology novels or comics?

The game-symposium Archaeology in... games, part two.

And more extras!

Follow us on FACEBOOK to stay tuned with all updates! And to hear what will be in the next IN SITU!

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.