Article Summaries

Article Summaries

Article 1- Excavating Egypt (Newsprint) This article tells of a typical working day for an archaeologist in Egypt. It tells of an experienced archaeologist named, Dr. David O’Connor. He speaks of his working site, Abydos, and tells of what he has discovered since he started working on the site. In his 30 years of working there, he has uncovered 12 wooden boats, each about 60 feet long encased in 96-foot graves. He has also found the remains of an entire settlement covering about 16 acres. He annually spends up to $150,000 to pay of his fellow archaeologists and his laborers. He does receive funds from private institutions and government agencies to help support his effort in Abydos. In reading this article, I have become puzzled as to how so many people working there can split $150,000. It says that 20-25 scientists and 30-60 laborers are employed.

I understand that he does receive funds from institutions, but I would not think that it would be upwards of enough money to support so many people. I have always respected archaeologists for what they do but now I have a deeper respect for Egyptian archaeologists. I do hope to visit Egypt someday though and experience what it is like firsthand. Article 2- Cosmetic Surgery Discovered on Ancient Roman Portrait (Newsprint) This article tells of artists in the modern day performing work on damaged ancient artifacts. It specifies a head statue that was received as a gift from the Nelson-Atkins Museum. Scientists noticed some unusual features on the statue’s head and investigated it to discover that somebody had fixed it up before it was given to them. They used gamma-radiographs to find that somebody had fixed the head’s broken neck with metal dowels and clamps.

I found it pretty remarkable that some people may get away with doing this without anybody knowing of it. It makes me wonder if some of the great artifacts that we have on display today have been tampered with and that they may not be 100% ancient. I don’t see that there is anything wrong with this. I’d rather look at a fixed-up display than view one that has been badly damaged and is hard to make out. Article 3- Faking It: A Forger’s Biography (Newsprint) This article tells of a modern-day man, Alceo Dossena (1878-1937), and his ability to create artificial art pieces of ancient civilizations.

He created sculptures in almost every style: Greek, Etruscan, Gothic and Italian Renaissance. He would sculpt them, then age them by giving them acid baths, and then would proceed to bury them, allowing them to age. He was able to fool some of the greatest historians and scientists in the world. One of his art pieces was sold to a dealer who then sold it for $225,000, the highest price of any of Dossena’s artworks.

Dossena claimed that he did not make his art to cheat people out of their money. He then sued his dealer and won. When reading this article, I began to wonder if some of the great artworks today might be fake. Perhaps someone painted or sculpted them earlier in the century, and sold them off as ancient works of art. I am reluctant to think that it happens more often than not. It probably doesn’t work on the level of great museums, but it might work on unsuspecting dealers looking to get rich.

Article 4- Joined by a Bridge This article is really interesting because it tells of a man, William Cochran, and his efforts of painting a bridge. When the subject came up of covering a small stone bridge in Frederick, Maryland, Cochran ran this suggestion by, and it was approved. Many residents rejected the idea at first and would vandalize the work that had been done up to date. As soon as his efforts came to an end, the bridge was seen as a tourist attraction for the city. Since its completion, there have been many other paintings added to the bridge at the suggestion of the townspeople. Before reading this article, I had no clue that something like this could be done.

I am interested in how he went about doing this. I am also interested in whether or not this bridge is allowed to have cars pass over it. Someday if I make it to Frederick, Maryland, I’ll head over to the bridge and find out for myself. Article 5- Walking Encyclopedia This article tells about a small town, Columbus, in Indiana, and its claim to fame through architecture. The town is nationally known for its buildings as many famous architects have come in through the years and developed such fascinating buildings. Columbus has even been declared one of the most important towns in the U.S. architecturally by the American Institute of Architecture.

The article goes on to tell that some of the town’s buildings are not so popular, for they clash with the beauty of the exquisite ones, or else they are seen just as insulting. When reading this article, I became interested in the town of Columbus, Indiana. Many cities and towns have their claim to fame through something, but for one town to have so many different exhibits seems preposterous. I am like any fellow man, I enjoy a good scenic visit when I travel. This summer I am traveling to Indianapolis for the Olympic Trials so when they are done, perhaps I will drive down and visit Columbus.

Article 6- Mass-Produced Masterworks From the Ancients This article talks about ancient Roman art. It tells of many artifacts being sent to the Newark Museum, for an exhibit. The exhibit will be displaying some of Romans’ means of creating shortcuts and streamlined technologies that enabled them to mass-produce goods without sacrificing quality. Some of the other objects on display include marble tombstones and votive reliefs that provide portraits and pictorial information about the artisans’ tools and dress and the interiors of their workshops.

The objects in the exhibit are divided into three categories: domestic goods, tools, and public art. In addition to all of the above listed, there are many other items to view at the museum. What I found interesting about this article was that the Romans had produced somewhat of an assembly line. I had no prior knowledge of anyone doing this before Henry Ford. I think that is really neat that they could create such an effect some 2000 years ago with the technology that they had.