Author Archives: Sebastian Hageneuer

In 2011, the very successful exhibition “The Tell Halaf Adventure” was displayed in the Pergamon-Museum, Berlin. The exhibition presented for the very first time reconstructed statues which were destroyed by the bombings of  World War II. 27.000 pieces were puzzled together over a period of 9 years and finally presented to the public. The exhibition was enriched by objects from other museums around the globe, a collection like this will not be possible for a long time.

While the exhibition was still present, the team of Ingenieurbüro Malige recorded it partially with the help of a terrestrial laser scanner. They converted the 3D data into a 5-minute long clip, which is now public on the official excavation page of the Tell Halaf excavation project. So if you missed the exhibition or just want to remember, take a look: Link to the News section of the Tell Halaf excavation project

Have you ever tried to write a project description for a scholarship or for funding? It is easy to get stuck and very often, the amount of words you are allowed to use is limited. Different organisations have different rules which means you have to write everything in different versions and standards.

Imagine if you were not limited by length but by variety of words! This website has a simple idea: Describe your project using only the 1.000 most used words in the English language. It is harder than initially thought, because words like ‘archaeology’ or ‘museum’ are not part of the list. I tried it anyway and took the challenge to describe our work, check it out here.

We are not only visualising archaeological content, we are interested in all kinds of science and this time we dove into the depths of physics and chemistry. Inspired by the first episode of Crash Course Chemistry by Hank Green, I visualised a simplified model of a silver atom. The theoretic model of this atom was developed by Niels Bohr, a danish physicist, in 1913.

In the centre you see 47 Protons (red) and 60 Neutrons (yellow) which build the core of the silver atom. The so called nucleus is surrounded by Electrons on three different layers, which circle the core of the atom. This theory was quiet popular until new theories in quantum mechanics proposed new models around 1925.

Not so long ago, I was thinking about the process of archaeological reconstruction and how I see the results in contrast to a visitor in a museum for example. I started a small survey among my friends and family and realized, that most people take the restitutions seen in museums, television or magazines for granted. As archaeologists, we know that reconstructions are merely a visualised theory and that there are different ways to interpret archaeological data. This is not always the case with a broader audience.

The way from excavated data to a visualised reconstruction in a museum is long and complicated. Often, where the archaeological evidence is scarce, parallels from other excavations, sometimes of different regions or periods, texts or cultural anthropology have to help. Therefore, a restitution can never be exact. Of course, scientific reconstructions offer more accuracy than non-scientific ones, but nevertheless, it will never be a 100% correct.

I think this is not comprehensible for visitors in museums, children in schools or everyone else in front of the TV. In my opinion, we (the archaeologists, curators, teachers, film-makers) have to communicate this fact far more clearly and there is actually no reason not to do so. Besides simply saying that a restitution is maybe not a 100% correct, there are many ways to present this: one could show alternatives, highlight uncertain parts of a reconstruction or differentiate between the different sources that led to the restitution and point that out. I think, the audience will understand and actually welcome the participation in the archaeological thinking process.

In this small example you can clearly distinguish between excavated remains and reconstructed upper part. This graphic shows the Anu-Antum-temple in Uruk of the Seleucid period. If you are interested, you can read more about it here.

Material: © DAI

We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! This year’s Christmas card is a selection of the most famous archaeologists of the 19th/20th century. Can you name them all? If you need any help, you can have a peek:

From left to right:
standing: Robert Koldewey, T.E. Lawrence, Gertrude Bell, Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie, Howard Carter, Sir Mortimer Wheeler, Max Freiherr von Oppenheim; at the table: Antoine Poidebard, Sir Max Mallowan, Agatha Christie, Heinrich Schliemann, Sophia Engastromenos, Sir Austen Henry Layard, Hormuzd Rassam; in front of the table: Sir Arthur Evans, Walter Andrae

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