Recap of “New Lives of Ancient Arts”: Evening to Honor ICS Founding Directors Estelle S. Brettman and Florence Z. Wolsky

On May 24, 2018, International Catacomb Society members and friends came together on the premises of Grogan and Company on Charles Street in Boston to honor two of the organization's founders and longtime directors, Estelle S. Brettman and Florence Z. Wolsky. The joint commemoration was made to celebrate the deep friendship between the two and shared interest in the Classical world, which led to collaboration on exhibits and events for the Museum of Fine Arts and Boston Society of the Archaeological Institute of America before the birth of a new non-profit foundation in 1980 to promote research on Jews in the Greco-Roman world. This new entity, the International Catacomb Society (ICS), originally the International Committee for the Conservation of Catacombs in Italy (ICCI), in time widened the scope of its mission, but never lost the dedicated, focused presence of these two women, who believed in the visionary enterprise not only at its start, but as long as they were able, Wolsky even retiring from the MFA's Classical Arts department to take over the public operations of the ICS after Brettman's death in June of 1991, and remaining on the board until her own death in 2018, just as her final, posthumous collaboration with Brettman, the catacomb study, "Vaults of Memory: The Roman Jewish Catacombs in Context in the Ancient Mediterranean World," was being released in digital form. The May 24 event was, in fact, one of the very few to date at which Wolsky was lacking, though her presence was as strong as ever, thanks to the showing of a documentary by artist Karen Audette, "The Nike Chariot Earring" (2015), narrating Wolsky's involvement in the recovery of a priceless artifact in the MFA's collection, and personal tributes to her spirit and character movingly delivered by her son, Alfred Wolsky, current president of ICS, and John J. Herrmann, Jr, Wolsky's longtime colleague and supervisor at the MFA from 1976-2004. The Audettes have graciously given ICS permission to share the film here (link)

Florence Wolsky with Prof. Leonard V. Rutgers at ICS event in 1997

In addition to the presentations, the evening was made especially pleasurable by the generous hospitality of the Grogan family; the delicious Mediterranean refreshments from Boston Kebab House provided by ICS financial advisor David Basile; an abundant displays of flowers from ICS president Alfred Wolsky, son of one of the honorees; and donations to the Shohet Scholars Fund by many ICS supporters and friends. Their kindness helped make this event not one of nostalgia for the past, but hope for the future of ICS.

From Stone to Light with Janet Shapero

Of Estelle Brettman, much has been said and recorded on the ICS website, including an eulogy by Wolsky at an early tribute held in 1992. "New Lives of Ancient Arts," however, brought a new voice into the act, that of artist Janet Shapero, who as a young girl developed a special bond with Brettman during a trip to Sicily in the mid-1970's, an experience which Brettman later said was the impetus for her creation of the ICS. The "lightning-flash" moment, as recounted by Shapero, happened during a visit to the necropolis of Palazzolo Acreide in Eastern Sicily. Close to the entrance to one of the burial caves cut into the hillside, one of the women hit her foot against a small boulder and dislodged it. Rolled over, it revealed a scratched design that resembled a straight-branched candlestick, similar to some ancient depictions of the Jewish ritual object known as the menorah. An extra detail that Shapero added to the story during her May 24 lecture is that right before the Sicily trip, she and the Brettmans had seen the exhibit "Age of Spirituality: Late Antique and Early Christian Art, Third to Seventh Century" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which featured several artifacts with Jewish emblems or other documentation that linked the material to a Jewish context. The show's ground-breaking approach for the time was to look back at the Late Roman era not as a period of decadence and destruction but as an Empire-wide passage to Christian rulership under many ancient norms. Brettman and Shapero were thus "primed" to consider Jewish artifacts in mixed settings, as the burial grounds had been used over many centuries for pagans, Christians, and, apparently, also by Jews. 

Janet Shapero at Palazzolo Acreide, Sicily.

Shapero also recalled Brettman's faith in visionary thinking and individual goals, those seemingly impossible but important to achieve for the soul's sake, beyond any promise of material rewards. With evident gratitude, she described how Brettman had helped her through the early stages of her career as a multimedia artist in sculpture and film to get out of dead ends and take risks with her work. Later, in her exploration of the effects of light and color layering in her signature "Rete-Chrome" series, Shapero thought back to Brettman's interest in ancient Jewish motifs, and integrated a variation on the menorah they had found in the piece "Menorah-In Memory of Estelle" (2013), and the Hebrew letter "Shin" in another (2012). In this way, she felt connected to Brettman once again over the use of art to express one's own inclusion in the whole, "owning what is my own, my Jewish experience," as she put it.

In her talk, Shapero also elaborated upon her artistic development with memories of her apprenticeship to a public sculptor in Italy and realization of installations in sites throughout the United States and abroad. She works today in a studio near Boston, which can be visited upon request and on occasion holds "open studios". A digital catalogue of her work is on view at janetshapero.com.

The second part of the evening was a very personal and immediate commemoration of Florence Wolsky, who died this past winter at the age of 95. In addition to the film showing and remarks by MFA curator emeritus, John J. Herrmann, Jr., on Wolsky's resolve of the Nike Earring Caper, a vivid sense of Wolsky's personality was evoked by her son, ICS President, Alfred Wolsky, who described his mother as a formidable scholar, writer, artist, and matriarch. It was impossible not to imagine Wolsky in the room, sitting near the front, listening with pleasure and pride to her son's lively but also deeply heartfelt narrative of her achievements and character. With permission, Alfred Wolsky's talk is reproduced below.

Florence Wolsky: Wife, Mother, Scholar, Artist: Tribute by Alfred Wolsky

"I thought originally that it would be easy for me to write and say a few words about my extraordinary mother, Florence Wolsky. After all, I thought, there are so many things to talk about.
But it has proven difficult for me, very difficult; and for the exact same reason. There are so many things to talk about.

She had a distinguished and successful life by any standard, jammed, it seems in hindsight, into a mere 95 years: a life made all the richer both for herself and for the many many people who knew her - and loved her; by the wonderful animus, energy, kindness, and remarkable initiative she brought to living it.

She was born in the last days of 1922 in Fall River. Her father, Max Zundell (Zundell is an Ellis Island pronouncement "Sonny boy" given to his father, Isaac Juvantischi). Max, born in the US in July of 1884, was a professional and talented violinist, and I am certain that Florence inherited her considerable musical talents and artistic temperament from him. Her mother, Helen, was a dressmaker who had immigrated to the United States in 1913 to avoid the pogroms in Eastern Europe. She was an unassuming, very smart lady who, when I came onto the scene many years later, was fluent in at least 5 languages: Russian, Yiddish, Polish, German and English*. (*My mother was also a champion speller, and could complete Henry Hook crosswords in the Globe -no matter how unreasonable the clues were- almost always without any assistance). Helen & Max were caring, dedicated, loving parents to my mother, and I knew them as kind, extremely gentle and loving grandparents. My mother certainly inherited these qualities and did her best to pass them on to my sister, Liza, and to me.

After some moving around during the Depression years which hit her and her family very hard, indeed, Florence finished her high school at Girls' Latin School in Boston and then studied at Cambridge Junior College, where she made lasting friendships which endured and guided her as long as life allowed; and perhaps beyond that, depending upon perspectives...

She met my Father, Leonard Wolsky, during the war, probably during the period she worked as a drafts-person at MIT on the first digital computer prototype, WHIRLWIND 1 -as her contribution to the war effort. During their courtship, she told me, she would go on walking dates with Lenny, because neither of them had any money, and Florence had no problem going out for a date on the super cheap!

They were married in 1944. I must say a few words about my Father, and it is no digression, because my parents were happily and inseparably married for more than 50 years until he passed away in 1996. In many ways they were, or over time, became- serious reflections of each other's backgrounds and leanings; so that in commenting on the one, the other had to be included for clarification or essential reference! Leonard had gone to Boston Latin School and hated it, but graduated first in his class of 1940; he then attended Harvard on a full scholarship, and, in his junior year was first in his class at the College, but never graduated (his was the Class of '44). He proceeded, instead - under wartime considerations - with a full scholarship to the Medical School from his junior year. My Mother complained - if that is the word to use - self-deprecatingly, that after my father met her, he stopped studying, took her out for dates on nights preceding exams--- and only graduated 5th in his medical school class. She also would state - a little wistfully - that she might have had a professional career in music had she not married him and settled down…and had children…. She was an accomplished singer and skilled performer on piano, zither and guitar, and wrote numerous funny songs, skits and even a whole kosherized spoof on Madama Butterfly (Butterfly Finklestein, Queen of the Ginza, I dip all mein bagels in Sake). She even snuck into the back stage of the Boston Opera, one evening, threw on a costume and majestically waved a huge fan in the AIDA Triumphal scene! For those who knew her, close your eyes: can't you just see it?

My Father, Dr. Wolsky, was, first and foremost and by his personal mission statement, a healer -but, in addition, he was a self-disciplined and accomplished scholar. To give just one example, he was asked to deliver a series of lectures on biblical history to students at Regis College, a Roman Catholic institution - very well received by students and faculty alike! - this certainly encouraged Florence's aspirations to study the subjects which interested her, and during the early 60's she returned to college, studying at Boston University and eventually obtaining a masters degree. It was there, as a mature undergraduate, that she became acquainted with Emily Vermuele, first as her professor, and later (after she recovered the Nike Earring for the MFA)--more about that later- as a mentor and friend; all leading to Florence's 40+ year stint (overall) in the Classical Department (later Arts of the Ancient World) at the MFA.

And as it may be said, whilst all this was going on, Florence also maintained her active interest in music by becoming the assistant director (working with her close friend Anita Kurland) of the Youth Concerts at Symphony Hall program, and she was an expert on the concert hall itself (I became and expert in making paper airplanes form the program brochures at concerts), and on the somewhat risqué (for Boston) statuary adorning the place, giving talks on the subject, and publishing articles which I understand are still quoted in Symphony Hall program pamphlets!

She was active in the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum, giving gallery talks, and she composed The Isabella Gardner Rag ("though she really was a bossy old bag!"); a song which will live forever, I am certain, among the cognoscenti…

And, she became a close friend of Estelle Brettman, the founder of the ICS, and, as the original Secretary of the new organization, was one of the principals involved in setting up the outfit and in carrying on Ms. Brettman's original research and vision which, as you can all attest, right now, is a legacy in progress!

Of course, my interface with Florence was as my mother. I forgive her for trying to educate me (as should those of you who know me). After all, she tried very hard. If you agree with that astute sage -whose name I can't recall just now- that education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he was able to learn in school then maybe her efforts were not in vain...

Florence Wolsky was one of the kindest, most compassionate, diplomatic, polite, tolerant and generous people who ever lived; except that she was much tougher with herself and her children, upon whom she attempted to impose her standards---which were exceedingly high- to be honest, at the level of absolute perfection! These standards, however, led to her painstaking thoroughness and undeniable attainment of excellence in her career of scholarship and research at the MFA (and in the ICS); leading her to be published and co-cast as an author with Professor Emily Vermuele of that WEIGHTY bestseller, Toumba Tou Skouru , and to be of vital assistance in many MFA departmental projects such as: the Pompeii AD 79 show; the Romans & Barbarians exhibition; The Search for Alexander; and numerous gallery talks over the years.

She had scores of friends - many close friends - and admirers. Her social calendar was jammed! My mother smuggled me into lectures, semi-private receptions at the MFA- and elsewhere; and I met many people through her good offices who inspired me and enriched my life. To name a random few of the many: I became well acquainted with the Vermueles; Cornelius and Emily, met Zahi Hawas, Mme. Deroches Noblecourt, Mark Lehner, Peter Lacovara, Lawrence Berman, Tim Kendall, John Herrmann and Annewies (whom I am still on speaking terms with); Jessica Dello Russo… even Malcolm Rogers---and one Sunday afternoon I almost knocked over, by mistake, Michael Dukakis at one of the gallery exhibitions (we both apologized); I listened to ancient musical instruments from the Museum Collection, visited the basement "exhibits" -some of the best stuff there… and got to know many of the guards and other folks whose lives revolved around the place.

There were many unique and unforgettable memories, but my favorite one (and you will please forgive me for relating an anecdote) is when we took Prince Ank-Haf home.

You must understand that my Mum was close friends with everyone at MFA. Everybody. I wonder if one minor reason was that she, out of genuine solicitude for all her many, many personal friends - kept her purse full of dark chocolate - especially almond mini Hershey bars, which she freely gave out to everyone whether they needed a chocolate fix or not. Florence's attitude was that they always did. Chocolate- particularly the dark, concentrated kind- was a mood elevator, she said, and had anti-oxidants in it ….among other ingredients…. It is not that far-fetched of a concept to consider that the whole ambience - mood if you will - of the MFA may have been influenced - elevated - to some small degree - by my mother's daily and widespread circulation of these beneficent and healthful treats to curators, staff, guards, security, maintenance people, administration - bewildered visitors - in fact, everybody.

Anyway, Florence was able to arrange with the Egyptian Department to - if the word is right - de-accession one of the three or four exact plaster castings made (from the original) statue of Prince Ank-Haf, which is one of the greatest treasures of the MFA, and arguably, though suffering slight damage over 4-1/2 millennia, the finest individual portrait sculpture yet discovered from any period of Egyptian history. Found in George Reisner's Harvard Expedition, it was given to the MFA in gratitude for his discovery and excavation of G7000x, the tomb of Hetep-Heres of which exact reproductions of the art-deco furnishings and some original equipment (silver butterfly bracelets) may be seen on exhibit at MFA, while the original artifacts, now restored, are in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Well, Florence surprised me - blew my mind, I should say - when one afternoon she invited me to the museum and took me down to the basement where two of the Ank-Haf castings were stored on top of a filing cabinet. Which one did I want? she suddenly asked. We examined these twin statues, shockingly alike and more shockingly similar in minute details to the original. Even the damage was faithfully transferred. After we painstakingly chose one (the slightly better one, of course!), which I carried very carefully in my arms, we went to the back basement exit where we were 'greeted' by security, who had absolutely no warning at all that this major sculpture -recognizable to everyone there - was coming through. The guards' shock was much more profound than even my own. They were nearly apoplectic since they knew to a moral certainty that we both had to be arrested, but how could they arrest Florence…. and she had brought Hershey chocolate bars with her… Me, on the other hand? No problem at all, but I have never seen such heartrending conflict of emotion in anyone's face before or since that day!

So this evening we pay a well-deserved tribute to my mother, Florence Wolsky, a genuinely outstanding, amazing lady - not just in the lengthy catalogue of achievements reached by her, but also in her unique and precious personal qualities; especially her warmth, her benevolent nature. I am being redundant. To those of you here who know her well, everything I am saying is redundant and - as as she used to say about much of what I had in mind - not necessary.

To those of you here who might not have known her as well, you will have a clear glimpse into the persona of my Mother, Florence Wolsky, in a few minutes, due to the creative virtuosity and sensitive artistry of Karen Audette, who created a movie - a documentary - of the recovery of the Nike Earring, starring my mother, which, apart from telling the story very well. is a lasting legacy of Florence; allowing us to virtually meet her, and enjoy her outside of the constraints of time.

Thank you Karen, so very much for this priceless gift.

And I know there are others patiently waiting with their words of praise and remembrance. I thank them, and I thank you all for coming here, for your kind attention to what I had to say, and for your patience in view of what is ahead."

Photogallery of Florence Wolsky (1922-2018), International Catacomb Society Director (1980-2018):

Postscript to PCAS Website Review: Rome Catacomb List Updated

Miraculously (for servers work in mysterious ways), just hours after posting a review of the PCAS's new website "Catacombe d'Italia", the missing page on Rome's catacombs reappeared with an enhanced list of catacombs in the city in the care of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology (previous versions seen did not include many of the sites now listed). Very exciting is the confirmation that the Catacombs of San Lorenzo (or Cyriaca) in the Campo Verano are expected to reopen after repairs. This catacomb, with a winding, uneven route through the hillside surrounding the Basilica of San Lorenzo, has an intriguing layout, some real curiosities, like a perfectly-preserved columbarium, and the prestige of being one of Rome's great Medieval martyrial shrines, very easy to access from the city's central transportation hub at Termini Station. The public route will likely explore a few galleries around the lower church and cloister, but the busloads of tourists and faithful already visiting St. Lawrence's tomb will keep guides busy, and the parish priest is a noted enthusiast of his church's long history and characterization as a "cemetery church". Aside from an irregular distribution of floor levels, the catacomb, sacked in centuries past, can probably endure groups of visitors without more damage to its structure than what already has been done. 

The other regularly-open catacombs are: Callisto, Sebastiano; Domitilla; Sts. Marcellino and Peter; Priscilla; Agnes; and Pancrazio. 

The list of "Catacombs open by Request" happily includes remarkable sites that the public should know better, such as the Catacombs of Vigna Chiaraviglio and Catacombs of Vibia on the via Appia; the Catacombs of Commodilla on the via delle Sette Chiese; the Catacombs of Generosa on the via Magliana; that known as "Cimitero Maggiore" on the via Nomentana; and, in the neighborhood of the via Salaria, the catacombs of Pamfilo, Giordani, Felicita, and and Ermete. Note that the two lists of catacombs in this category on the website currently do not correspond, but the more extensive one is found on the menu of catacombs by region ("Per regione").

A third category has now been added: "Special Visits (for Patrons)". Here we find the Catacomb of via Dino Compagni (or via Latina); the Catacomb of Via Anapo; the Hypogeum of the Aurelii; the Catacombs of Pretestato and Sarcophagi Museum; the Crypts of Lucina and Torretta Museum; the newly-restored "Crypt of the Bakers" in the Domitilla Cemetery and Museum; and the Catacomb of St. Tecla near Saint Paul's Outside the Walls. Many of these cemeteries have been subject to restoration in recent years, and, until now, could be visited only by request. According to this website, they are now "reserved for (those)... who are interested in sponsoring (the PCAS's) activity of tutelage, conservation, and valorization of the Christian catacombs of Italy". Likely scholars and university programs will continue to have access to these sites as before, with fees for the custodian and a guide. There is no indication as to the minimum "donation" for an exclusive tour and prospective sponsors are invited to contact the PCAS directly at: pcas@arcsacra.va. It is a good idea and an old one to arrange special visits for patrons of a pet project - PCAS officers of the past, including de Rossi and Marucchi, cultivated wealthy donors of many nationalities, promising - and delivering - notable results.

As for the "Closed Catacombs" at the very bottom of the list - the good news is that it is a short one, with three named: San Valentino, the Cimitero Minore, and the "Anonymous Hypogeum of via Paisiello (though in all honesty, parts of San Valentino are in fact accessible). 

Still, even with such an appetizing menu to chose from, glaring omissions remain. Why are the hugely historic catacombs of Hippolytus, Novaziano, Marco and Marcelliano, Calepodio, and Ponziano not included in any of the lists? They exist, and almost certainly remain in PCAS hands as Christian sites with martyrs' shrines. There are also small cemeteries like that of "Nunziatella", the catacomb in proximity to the Villa dei Gordiani, the "Catacomb of Villa Celere", and the anonymous (but Christian-occupied) Hypogeum at the Circus of Maxentius: these, too, fortunately survive, unlike the vestiges that are virtually impossible to visit of the Castulo catacombs next to railroad tracks and poor, scattered pieces of cemeteries along the via Latina, which might not yet go in the "Lost" category but are certainly "closed". Perhaps what we're really asking is for the PCAS to list all of the catacombs it supervises - whether or not they can be seen. As important as this would be to scholarship, it would mean even more to today's Christians as a confirmation that someone is looking out for the very precious material traces of early Christians Rome. For that endeavor alone, credit is due. (Jessica Dello Russo, 7 June 2018)

 

Catacombs of Italy/Catacombe d’Italia: New Web Portal of Vatican’s Pontifical Commission of Sacred Archaeology

In an on-going process to connect more closely the activity of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology (PCAS) to its umbrella organization, the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Culture, presided over by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, a new website with TLD of the Holy See (.va), "Catacombe d'Italia," launched in the spring of 2018, under the direction of the recently-appointed PCAS secretary, Monsignor Pasquale Iacobone, a longtime staff member of Ravasi's council in the division "Art and Faith", brings into sharper focus the mission and purpose of the PCAS, a Vatican entity first set up as a government office in the era of the Papal States in 1852, and later determined "Pontifical" in 1925 by Pope Pius XI, through whose authority it was awarded a special. mission-based role in Italy's archaeological infrastructure as ratified in article 33 of the Lateran Pacts in 1929. Since that time, the PCAS has continued to inspect, excavate, document, and preserve, whenever possible, the ancient Christian underground cemeteries known as "catacombs" in Rome and other parts of Italy and to operate many as Christian pilgrimage shrines, though not all of the country's Christian catacombs are under its supervision and, by conventions in force between Church and State since the early 20th century, re-ratified by modifications to the Lateran Pacts (art. 12.2) in 1984, it continues to hold jurisdiction over some "mixed" or profane sites, like the Catacombs of Via Dino Compagni and Hypogeum of the Aurelii in Rome. Largely for convenience's sake, rather than out of a now-obsolete supercessionist ideology, from the early 20th century until the mid-1980's, the PCAS also looked after two catacombs in Rome used by Jews, one on the Appia by the name of "Vigna Randanini", and another on the via Nomentana, below the grounds of the Villa Torlonia, a municipal park since 1978. By request of the Union of Jewish Communities in Italy (UCEI), care of these Jewish sites was handed over to Rome's Archaeological Commission in the reworking of the Italy-Vatican Concordat in 1984 and decree of Italian law on Jewish cultural heritage in Italy (L. 8 marzo 1989, n. 101, art. 16-17). A few other catacombs on private property and long rendered inaccessible, or determined through modern research to be not necessarily Christian, have also been turned over to local government authorities, or left dangling and unclaimed until further notice. Many more, however, have been "adopted" by the PCAS, beginning in the 1970's, when its then-secretary, Fr. Umberto M. Fasola, B., an advisor to Italy's Ministry of Fine Arts, undertook a full census and mapping of Christian catacombs in Italy, resulting in the re-discovery and reclamation of dozens of sites, especially in the Lazio Region, many of which are accessible today (curiously, the necropolis below Saint Peter's Basilica, the property of the Holy See, excavated by PCAS authorities during the Second World War and its aftermath, and venerated today as the "cornerstone" of the Papacy's apostolic succession, is not a PCAS concern, perhaps because of its overall pagan nature and the heated debate over the apostle Peter's actual tomb and relics that pitted some Vatican clerics and their academic allies against the foremost Rome-based Christian archaeologist of his time, PCAS secretary, Fr. Antonio Ferrua, SJ).

The PCAS mission to identify and especially to preserve and restore catacombs seems an endless (not to mention expensive) task, but the new website showcases recent interventions with photogalleries and slideshows of brilliantly-restored paintings, funerary architecture, and sculpture, as well as an updated catalogue of publications that document these works. The stunning visuals and mobile-friendly format of the Catacombe d'Italia website invite the public to discover "Underground Rome" (and Italy). Digging deeper into the site, however, evidences that the project is a work in progress, in terms of content (some of which is reproduced from the official Vatican/Roman Curia website) and responsiveness (social media widgets Facebook, YouTube and Instagram are inactive and online forms do not register). Fortunately, web site construction remains open-ended, and it is likely a matter of time before clarifications are made, since a responsive platform for PCAS operations, resources, and staff is very much needed and has great potential to attract even stronger public interest in the catacombs themselves. At present, only the stage - better still, template - has been set for what is to come.

The landing page of "Catacombe d'Italia" is designed with touch targets and drop-down side menu for navigating through the site via pc or tablet. A quote from Cardinal Ravasi introduces the project's scope and content, reflecting upon the epiphany of sorts a pilgrim or tourist, even a non-Christian, may experience in contact with "the memory of many believers in Christ and His message", a reminder that the impetus from the start in forming the commission in the time of the "Papa Re", Pope Pius IX, was to promote the faith and cult practices of the early Christians in Rome through close study and living example. This "Second Damasus" during a record-long papacy (1846-1878) funded major excavations to uncover and restore sites that seemed to correspond perfectly to the literary record of the early Church in Rome and medieval practice of pilgrimage to martyrs' tombs. Pius's tearful salute to his remote predecessors during his visit to the "Crypt of the Popes" in the early 1850's helped launch decades of highly-publicized research in Rome's ancient "sacred" cemeteries by PCAS founding member Giovanni Battista de Rossi and colleagues. Not without difficulty and some illicit antiquities trafficking by way of financial compromise, Pius's agents funded the digs and purchased large swaths of property along the Appian Way to protect the tombs of ancient pontiffs and saints that lay beyond the boundaries of the Basilica and Cemetery of San Sebastiano. Today the fields of the Callisto complex between the Appia and Ardeatina roads are dotted with institutes and convent buildings; a like situation is found all over Rome near and above other "sacred cemeteries". Yet some burial grounds, particularly smaller catacombs outside of the circuit of the Medieval pilgrimage itineraries, only emerged in the course of modern construction, and are accessed with difficulty from the outer edges of private homes. It is to the PCAS's credit that, over many decades, it has battled to save from obliteration those sites dreaded and neglected by the modern landowner and building developer, notably the "Pinacoteca of the Fourth Century" on the via Latina. Fr. Ferrua's arrival on a scooter to a construction site usually spelled work delays if not financial disaster for a developer should a catacomb be seen (though most often it was not - as Rome is a sponge throughout for tunnels of every sort, ancient and modern). But without another "Damasus" after Rome fell to the Piedmontese in 1870, and in the face of severe budget constraints, the PCAS has been forced time and time again to chose its battles, with the inevitable loss or, at best, obscurity of underground cemetery galleries too poor or picked over to contain much of Christianity, or like signs of religious convictions, Jewish or polytheistic, even as expressed in the stock decorative motifs transferred from the sphere of the living to these dormitories - koimeteria, or cemeteries - of the Roman dead. But few in Italy's Fine Arts infrastructure have been willing to fight for the "anonymous" or "neutral" catacombs in Rome the way Fr. Ferrua and his colleagues could and did. Priorities in available government funding have never swept catacombs up in a thorough and timely restoration, excepting, in very recent years, those used by Jews at Villa Torlonia - and even here, "timely" is hardly applicable: only after thirty years of planning and lost opportunities is the end in sight. The sorry track record of secular Italian authorities explains in part the PCAS's continued existence, and what, in fact, has been possible to preserve of the underground cemeteries in modern times.

Since the catacombs develop with distinctly Roman elements - no place outside of Rome really matches the ancient megacity in terms of the extent and elaborate planning of underground tunnels for inhumation by the thousands or even hundreds of thousands - a large amount of site content, both written and visual, is dedicated to the activity of the PCAS in the catacombs of Rome. Indeed, the catacombs on the Christian Catacomb page ("Catacombe cristiane") are defined as being "born" in Rome as collective funerary sites for Christians at the end of the second and beginning of the third centuries CE, including the "Koimeterion" identified with "Area A" in the Catacombs of Callisto on the via Appia, to which is added the "Crypt of the Popes" in a slightly later phase. Along these lines, the "cemeteries" of the Christians, though originating, in some cases, as private family vaults, took final shape as burial grounds for larger communities, unified by tomb location, but also, as the site points out, by the application of decorative elements on tombs that made reference to the belief in Hebrew and Christian Scripture, as well as more generic allusions to paradise, salvation, and positive self-identity. The exclusivity of catacombs as wholly Christian (or Jewish) is an old point of contention, but the archaeological evidence in situ or attributed to these sites favors a sequence of familial or collegial burial crypts developing over time into Christian and Jewish communal cemeteries, especially since not every individual living and then dying in Rome was buried in a catacomb - not even every Christian (or Jew). There is no need to feel "apologetic" about this view: even if Christians on occasion took over Jewish or pagan tombs, or Jews moved into pagan crypts, and religiously ambivalent individuals chose to be buried wherever it was convenient, the marketplace for funerary monuments in Late Antiquity provided much more than we are aware of today - and catacomb entrepreneurs acted accordingly in response to demand for a specific location. These largely anonymous managers and diggers, the "underground heroes of the Christian cemeteries", as termed by Lane Fox, of all people, are to be credited as much Church officials with Christianizing choice selections of the necropoleis around Rome.

The rapid summary of catacomb chronology, development, and transformation into pilgrimage shrines with the construction of churches, facilities, and set itineraries to venerated tombs, is followed by a list of catacombs which are accessible to the public today ("Aperte al pubblico"). Organized by region (Rome, Lazio, Campania, Sicily, Toscany, Umbria, Abruzzo, Sardinia, and Apulia), each link opens to a page with a map of the region's catacombs and their contact information. The directory - being updated as this is written, as the pages for some of the regions, including Apulia and even Rome, do not yet appear - may confirm the good news that sites like Santa Lucia in Syracuse and San Lorenzo (or Cyriaca) in Rome are expected to be open on a regular schedule (a real comeback for the latter, publicly accessible until a decade or so ago). On a separate page, there is a directory of catacombs open by request ("Aperte su richiesta"), including two sites in Abruzzo (Castelvecchio Subequo and S. Vittorino ad Amiterno); two in Sicily (Villagrazia di Carini and Vigna Cassia), and three in Lazio (Vicesimum at Morlupo, Colle S. Quirico at Paliano, and S. Ilario "ad Bivium" near Valmontone - strangely absent are Santa Vittoria at Monteleone Sabino and San Salvatore at Albano, unless the latter will be grouped with those at Rome). As said, the Rome list is not loading, but when launched is likely to include recently restored catacombs and those easily accessible like Pretestato, Maius, Commodilla, Vibia, Generosa, and via Anapo, among others. Also not yet uploaded is a section of "Closed" catacombs deemed inaccessible, though possibly open for study purposes, if not for group tours. Hopefully, the end result of all this classification will produce a complete list of the many catacombs under PCAS jurisdiction: those open, open by request, currently or indefinitely closed, and a few no doubt impossible to access due to lawsuits and structural concerns. All in all, any clarity to the "sacred vs. profane" issue over which entity controls what in the world of Subterranean Rome can only help end stalemates between authorities, case in point being the lengthy delay in opening the Mausoleum of St. Helena Museum. The "upstairs/downstairs" division, in fact, limits "catacombs" to subterranean areas while many structures overhead, though very much part and parcel of the ancient cemetery, and often historic Christian shrines in their own right, fall under state jurisdiction, in the sense that their excavation and restoration are conditioned by permits and inspections by Italy's Fine Arts Ministry, not that of the Holy See.

The PCAS "project" is not just informational, but also launches an open call for benefactors of its historic mission to recover, restore, and preserve ancient Christian cemeteries. The last category in the "Visiting Catacombs" section is called "Special Tours" (Visite speciali)  with a list of tours to sites in Rome exclusive to PCAS donors (page under construction). The "PCAS Patrons" page (Sostieneci) explains more fully the challenge of maintaining more than 150 catacomb sites identified throughout Italy (something like 60 in Rome alone). In keeping with PCAS activity in over the past few decades, priority is given to the restoration of the paintings and sculpture in these sites. The featured project in need of immediate funding, however, is the building of a new roof over the Basilica of St. Sylvester in the Catacombs of Priscilla, as Italy's Fine Arts Ministry has rejected a proposal for a steel-reinforced covering, requiring instead that a more expensive wooden frame be used, although the building itself is a little more than a century old. Also described on this page is the work carried out on catacomb paintings and sculpture with funds from the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. The most recent project funded by this Azerbaijan-based organization, the restoration of sarcophagi in the Catacombs of St. Sebastian, is not yet featured, but its generous contributions to the Catacombs of Sts. Marcellinus and Peter helped to reopen the extensive cemetery to the public in all its splendor in 2014. 

In light of major restoration projects (in the Catacombs of Tecla, Domitilla, and Marcellinus and Peter), excavations in course (with the University "Roma Tre", where a number of PCAS officials teach), and events (such as "Appia Day 2018", with the opening of catacombs and museum displays ordinarily closed), it is important to know the lineup of PCAS members, officials, and inspectors who direct these activities. The page dedicated to the PCAS infrastructure ("La Commissione") sums up its structure, history, and current membership. Not well evidenced, but most critical of all, are the links to forms at the bottom of the page for requesting visits, including site inspections by scholars, filming and photographing in the catacombs, and ordering photographs from the PCAS' "Historic Archives". The pricing of some services can be steep, like the required hiring of an archaeologist guide (in addition to the custodian: scholars we know have been amused by this "need" for a guide to what few will know better than they do), and new photography fees in vigor from June of 2018 make slight increases in some categories. The historic photo archives, defined as "sporadic" in content, have not been updated since their launch online in 2014 (concerning is that entire albums available in the past now appear to be missing); meanwhile, thousands of color photos await to be catalogued in the PCAS office in Rome. 

Some other takeaways from navigating the new site for the PCAS: as noted above, it seems to have "open" planning, that is, to be regularly updated on its Events ("Appuntamenti") page. Hopefully, this feature will call attention to tours, exhibits, and other events in regional catacombs outside of Rome, like the monthly tours of the Catacombs of Generosa (Rome), and steady stream of receptions, concerts, and other artistic ventures in the Catacombs of Naples and Palermo. The Rome-centric approach also tones down that many regional catacomb managers operate more or less autonomously: for example, while photographs are strictly forbidden in Rome sites, the Naples guides allow photos, and a catacomb in Palermo is frequently the stage for secular performances. 

Cardinal Ravasi, in his statement on the site, addresses the pilgrim and the tourist to the catacombs. Much more could be done for the less casual visitor, the scholar. There are a number of works in progress or recently-completed studies in Italian catacombs carried out by the PCAS in collaboration with universities and professional agencies, but only the Roma 3 "didactic digs" are mentioned. Surely the "mass grave" in the Catacombs of Saints Marcellinus and Peter (subject of a full-length documentary); the many seasons of excavations in the "Circus-shaped" basilica of Pope Mark in the Callisto cemetery (1992-2013); geo-radar surveys, also made in the Callisto site; digital mapping of catacombs in Rome and Naples; the "MuPris" installation in the Catacombs of Priscilla; the topographical and epigraphical surveys in the Catacombs of Santa Lucia at Syracuse; and continued excavation in other regional sites - for example, at Canosa by PCAS Regional Inspector for Puglia, Prof. Paola de Santis - are among the most exciting archaeological projects in Italy today. Also quite interesting for the public record would be conferences that involve catacomb study, such as that on longtime PCAS secretary Fr. Umberto M. Fasola held in Rome last October, co-sponsored by the Pontifical Commission for Culture. Embedding Google Calendar or a similar widget into the site would make adding new listings a simple task.

It is with mention of Fr. Fasola, Fr. Ferrua's immediate successor to the office of PCAS Secretary, that a final request is made. The Barnabite scholar is on record as personally humble, but, like his colleague Fr. Ferrua, with high standards in scholarship for colleague as well as for himself. No day was long enough, as he once noted in a private letter, to allow him to accomplish all he had to do as priest, professor, and PCAS administrator. Yet he found time, somehow, to make himself personally accessible to students and other members of the public, ready with suggestions and even offering himself as guide to the sites. The legacy of Fr. Fasola and colleagues, especially the Sisters of Priscilla, the Benedictine nuns at service to the PCAS until the time of its current administration, is characterized by outreach and public engagement. May the PCAS portal welcome new generations into the catacombs with equal openheartedness and dedication, the true signs of faith.

- Jessica Dello Russo, 6 June 2018

Postscript to PCAS Website Review: Rome Catacomb List Updated:

Miraculously (for servers work in mysterious ways), just hours after posting a review of the PCAS's new website "Catacombe d'Italia", the missing page on Rome's catacombs reappeared with an enhanced list of catacombs in the city in the care of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology (previous versions seen did not include many of the sites now listed). Very exciting is the confirmation that the Catacombs of San Lorenzo (or Cyriaca) in the Campo Verano are expected to reopen after repairs. This catacomb, with a winding, uneven route through the hillside surrounding the Basilica of San Lorenzo, has an intriguing layout, some real curiosities, like a perfectly-preserved columbarium, and the prestige of being one of Rome's great Medieval martyrial shrines, very easy to access from the city's central transportation hub at Termini Station. The public route will likely explore a few galleries around the lower church and cloister, but the busloads of tourists and faithful already visiting St. Lawrence's tomb will keep guides busy, and the parish priest is a noted enthusiast of his church's long history and characterization as a "cemetery church". Aside from an irregular distribution of floor levels, the catacomb, sacked in centuries past, can probably endure groups of visitors without more damage to its structure than what already has been done. 

The other regularly-open catacombs are: Callisto, Sebastiano; Domitilla; Sts. Marcellino and Peter; Priscilla; Agnes; and Pancrazio. 

The list of "Catacombs open by Request" happily includes remarkable sites that the public should know better, such as the Catacombs of Vigna Chiaraviglio and Catacombs of Vibia on the via Appia; the Catacombs of Commodilla on the via delle Sette Chiese; the Catacombs of Generosa on the via Magliana; that known as "Cimitero Maggiore" on the via Nomentana; and, in the neighborhood of the via Salaria, the catacombs of Pamfilo, Giordani, Felicita, and and Ermete. Note that the two lists of catacombs in this category on the website currently do not correspond, but the more extensive one is found on the menu of catacombs by region ("Per regione").

A third category has now been added: "Special Visits (for Patrons)". Here we find the Catacomb of via Dino Compagni (or via Latina); the Catacomb of Via Anapo; the Hypogeum of the Aurelii; the Catacombs of Pretestato and Sarcophagi Museum; the Crypts of Lucina and Torretta Museum; the newly-restored "Crypt of the Bakers" in the Domitilla Cemetery and Museum; and the Catacomb of St. Tecla near Saint Paul's Outside the Walls. Many of these cemeteries have been subject to restoration in recent years, and, until now, could be visited only by request. According to this website, they are now "reserved for (those)... who are interested in sponsoring (the PCAS's) activity of tutelage, conservation, and valorization of the Christian catacombs of Italy". Likely scholars and university programs will continue to have access to these sites as before, with fees for the custodian and a guide. There is no indication as to the minimum "donation" for an exclusive tour and prospective sponsors are invited to contact the PCAS directly at: pcas@arcsacra.va. It is a good idea and an old one to arrange special visits for patrons of a pet project - PCAS officers of the past, including de Rossi and Marucchi, cultivated wealthy donors of many nationalities, promising - and delivering - notable results.

As for the "Closed Catacombs" at the very bottom of the list - the good news is that it is a short one, with three named: San Valentino, the Cimitero Minore, and the "Anonymous Hypogeum of via Paisiello (though in all honesty, parts of San Valentino are in fact accessible). 

Still, even with such an appetizing menu to chose from, glaring omissions remain. Why are the hugely historic catacombs of Hippolytus, Novaziano, Marco and Marcelliano, Calepodio, and Ponziano not included in any of the lists? They exist, and almost certainly remain in PCAS hands as Christian sites with martyrs' shrines. There are also small cemeteries like that of "Nunziatella", the catacomb in proximity to the Villa dei Gordiani, the "Catacomb of Villa Celere", and the anonymous (but Christian-occupied) Hypogeum at the Circus of Maxentius: these, too, fortunately survive, unlike the vestiges that are virtually impossible to visit of the Castulo catacombs next to railroad tracks and poor, scattered pieces of cemeteries along the via Latina, which might not yet go in the "Lost" category but are certainly "closed". Perhaps what we're really asking is for the PCAS to list all of the catacombs it supervises - whether or not they can be seen. As important as this would be to scholarship, it would mean even more to today's Christians as a confirmation that someone is looking out for the very precious material traces of early Christians Rome. For that endeavor alone, credit is due. (Jessica Dello Russo, 7 June 2018)

 

Researcher on Greek Hagiographical Texts for “Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity” (University of Oxford)

(Source: recruit.oxford.ac.uk): The University of Oxford is seeking a talented and enthusiastic researcher to join the flagship project ‘The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity’.
Funded by a €2.3 million European Research Council Advanced Grant, this five-year (2014-18)
project is directed by Professor Bryan Ward-Perkins and based at the University of Oxford, with
support from partners in Warsaw and Reading. The project is investigating the origins and early
development of the cult of Christian saints.
You will work specifically with Greek hagiographical texts – Saints Lives and, above all, Martyrdoms/Passiones. The work will consist of identifying early texts (those which can reasonably be considered to date from before AD 700), analysing and describing their probable context (geographical and chronological), summarising their contents, identifying and investigating cultic information within them, and writing entries for our database (which is available on line at http://csla.history.ox.ac.uk/, where examples of entries can be viewed). All entries are attributed to their individual authors.
Though limited in scope and time, this position offers you an opportunity to share in a major electronic project, and to familiarise yourself with important, and so far under-used, sources.

Practical information
We expect to hold interviews in June; all candidates, however local to Oxford, will be interviewed by Skype. For an informal discussion about this opportunity, contact Bryan Ward-Perkins at bryan.wardperkins@history.ox.ac.uk All enquiries will be treated in strict confidence; they will not form part of the selection decision.

Duties

  • Manage own academic research, working towards the completion of the Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity database;
  • Adapt existing and develop new research methodologies and materials;
  • Prepare working theories and analyse qualitative data from a variety of sources, reviewing and refining theories as appropriate;
  • Collaborate in the preparation of research publications, and book chapters ;
  • Present papers at conferences or public meetings;
  • Represent the research network at external meetings/seminars.

Click here (link) for full project description and electronic application.

 

 

Research Coordinator for the Center for Art and Architectural History of Port Cities in Naples, Italy

(Source: University of Dallas): The Center for the Art and Architectural History of Port Cities, a collaboration between the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History and the Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte in Naples, seeks to appoint a Research Coordinator beginning in Fall 2018, with a start date of September 3, 2018.
Based on site in Naples, the Research Coordinator will work closely with the O’Donnell Institute’s Associate Director to manage all aspects of the Center and to chart its future. S/he will facilitate and coordinate Research Residents’ research activities at the Center, including Residents’ travel to and from Naples and access to research resources in Naples; manage all day-to-day operations at the Center; organize and coordinate regular Research Seminars at the Center, and a larger Symposium every other year; act as liaison between the O’Donnell Institute and our partner institution, the Museo di Capodimonte; and assist with preparing grant applications as well as publications that grow out of research at the Center. The coordinator will be granted free lodging at La Capraia, a rustic eighteenth-century agricultural building on the grounds of the Capodimonte and the home base of the Center.

The successful candidate will be a recent PhD in Art History or related field, with focus on Italy and/or Naples. S/he will demonstrate research experience in Naples, experience in academic and/or museum settings, and proficiency in Italian and English. S/he will also demonstrate leadership, resourcefulness, creativity, and adaptability, as well as superior organizational skills.

Please address a letter of introduction, a CV, a vision statement, and the names and contact information of at least three recommenders to: Dr. Sarah Kozlowski, Associate Director, The Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History. Applications must be submitted online: https://jobs.utdallas.edu/postings/10207

ABOUT
Center for the Art and Architectural History of Port Cities / Centro per la Storia dell’Arte e dell’Architettura delle Città Portuali

A partnership between the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History at the University of Texas at Dallas and the Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte, the newly formed Center for the Art and Architectural History of Port Cities (Centro per la Storia dell’Arte e dell’ Architettura delle Città Portuali) takes the city of Naples as a laboratory for innovative research that traces the global histories of art across time, place, and culture, while grounded in on-site study of works of art.

Housed within the museum’s bosco in an eighteenth-century agricultural building called La Capraia (the goat farm), the Center is dedicated to on-site study of art and architecture in Naples and to the incubation and dissemination of new research, with emphasis on the cultural histories of port cities and the mobilities of artworks, artists, and technologies. While focused on Naples, research at the Center informs understanding of port cities and other sites of cultural exchange throughout the world, from antiquity to the present.

Through Research Residencies for emerging scholars, regular site-based Research Workshops, and co-organized programs with partner institutions, the Center supports scholarly access to Naples, fosters research on Naples and on other port cities, creates a network of scholars working on related projects, and communicates new research to academic, museum, and public audiences.

Visit our website at https://www.utdallas.edu/arthistory/port-cities/

Tours of Venosa’s Jewish Catacombs June 9 & 10, 2018

In celebration of this weekend's Book Festival "Borgo d'Autore" (8-10 June 2018), FAI Venosa and FAI Potenza are organizing public tours of the Jewish Catacombs of Venosa on June 9 (Saturday) and June 10 (Sunday), as well as to the Diocesan Museum of Venosa. Tours of the catacomb are held on both days from 10-12:30 and 4-7:30 p.m. A free bus shuttle will run between the site and the city hall (Piazza Municipio). Directions to the Venosa Catacombs are here (link). They are open to the public by contacting the local Archaeological Inspectorate (Tel. 0971/323230; sabrina.mutino@beniculturali.it.

In occasione del festival del libro Borgo d'Autore, sabato 9 e domenica 10 giugno il gruppo FAI Venosa si attiverà per l'apertura straordinaria del Museo Episcopale Venosa, ricco di tesori artistici che vanno dall'XI al XVIII secolo, e delle Catacombe ebraiche, straordinaria testimonianza della colonia che viveva nell'antica Venosa nei primi secoli dopo Cristo.
Gli orari:
Catacombe ebraiche ore 10.00-12.30 / 16.00-19.30
Museo Episcopale ore 10.00-12.30 / 16.30-20.30
Un servizio navetta gratuito sarà disponibile con partenza e arrivo da Piazza Municipio.

CIAC 17 Masterclass on Art, Archaeology & Epigraphy of Late Antiquity (30 June 2018)

(Source: CIAC 17): Masterclass at CIAC 17 on the art, archaeology, and epigraphy of Late Antiquity in Utrecht on June 30, 2018. This event is geared towards Research Master and Ph.D. students. If you are a graduate student and interested in participating, you can register for this event free of charge by sending an e-mail to: teiresias.uu@gmail.com. Please note that participants will be accommodated on a first come, first serve basis. The maximum number of participants has been set at 25.

Program for "Masterclass in Christian Archaeology Across Borders"

10:00-10:10 Opening - Sible de Blaauw and Leonard Rutgers
10:10-10:50 The Archaeology of Sketis: Texts and Trenches - Karel Innemee, University of Amsterdam
10:50-11:30 Reflections of Beliefs and Rituals in Material Culture. The Case of Teomim Cave, Jerusalem Hills- Boaz Zissu, Bar-Ilan University
11:30-11:45 Coffe/Tea break
11:45-12:30 The DANUBIUS Project and the International Archaeological Mission at Zaldapa (Krushari, Bulgaria): Two Innovative research Programs in Christian Archaeology - Dominic Moreau, University of Lille
12:30-13:30 Lunch (own expense)
13:30-14:10 Building Archaeology and Early Christian Architecture in the Study of the Baptistery of Albenga - Olof Brandt, Pontifical Institute of Christian Archaeology
14:10-14:50 The Roman catacomb of St. Hyppolitus on the Via Tiburtina. Past and Future - Donatella Nuzzo, University of Bari
14:50-15:05 Tea break
15:15-16:00 Christian Epigraphy Today? A Case Study of the Inscriptions from the Domitilla Catacomb in Rome - Antonio Felle, University of Bari

As evident from the program, the masterclass is structured around six specialists that are directing archaeological fieldwork at various sites across the later Roman world. Speakers will talk about what it actually means to be working in this specific field, on the basis of case-studies relating to their own work. Their contributions will illustrate current developments in the field of ‘Christian Archaeology’ from an interdisciplinary perspective. Expanding on the theme Christian Archaeology Across Borders, they will encourage participants to reflect on broadening horizons characterizing this particular field, both in terms of content as well as method.

The setting of the workshop is an interactive one, offering the participants the opportunity to engage in conversation with the presenters. The masterclass will take place in Utrecht, two days before the opening of the Congress.

Prior to the event, a reading packet will be distributed. Students who participate actively can receive a transcript for 1 ects. The event will take place in the city center of Utrecht. The exact location will be announced on here, soon.

Professor of Cultural Transformation Processes in the Period from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages (Ruhr-Universität Bochum)

(Source: Ruhr-Uni-Bochum) The Ruhr-Universität Bochum – Faculty of History – invites applications for the position of a Professor (5-year-term) for Cultural Transformation Processes in the Period from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages (Salary Scale W2) to start as soon as possible.

Applicants should be able to cover the history of Europe and the Mediterranean in the transitional period from the 3rd to the 8th century in its entirity on an international level. Particular focus should be placed on the many and varied processes of transformation which took place during the transitional period from Antiquity to the Middle Ages which have played an important part in the development of Europe and the World today.

We are looking for a scholar with an international reputation for clearly defined areas of research which complement the existing expertise within the faculty. He or she will be able to draw on these in his or her teaching to cover both the History of Late Antiquity and the Earlier Middle Ages, and the many connections between these two time periods.

The future post holder will be expected to cooperate extensively with his or her colleagues within the faculty as well as in the research centres of the RUB (Centre for Mediterranean Studies, Centre for Religious Studies). He or she should be both willing and able to work in an international and interdisciplinary context, and to have demonstrated the ability to work with colleagues to develop new perspectives and projects for larger research groups and to bring in the necessary third party funding. The willingness and ability to attract external funding is essential, as are a high commitment to teaching both undergraduate and graduate students is essential, a reputation for original research both in a national and an international context, the number of publications and a proven track record as an active contributor to collaborative research projects. Positive evaluation as a junior professor or equivalent academic achievement (e.g. habilitation) and evidence of special aptitude are just as much required as the willingness to participate in the self-governing bodies of the RUB and to generally get involved in university processes according to RUB’s mission statement.The Ruhr-Universität Bochum is an equal opportunities employer. 

Applications including a covering letter, information on your academic career to date, lists of publications and third party funding as well as academic certificates and an application form which can be downloaded at http://www.ruhr-uni bochum.de/geschichtswissenschaft/Ausschreibungen should be sent by email (one pdf only) to the Dean of the Faculty of History of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum, email: dekan-gw@rub.de, no later than 6 July 2018.

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship in Mediterranean island identity and insularity (Fitzwilliam Museum, Department of Antiquities)

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship in Mediterranean island identity and insularity, The Fitzwilliam Museum, Department of Antiquities, Cambridge, UK.

The Fitzwilliam Museum is pleased to invite expressions of interest from suitably qualified researchers who wish to apply for a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship to be held within the Museum focusing on the disciplines of Mediterranean island identity and insularity.
This is a 2-year research project based in the Antiquities Department, Fitzwilliam Museum, supported by international collaborations. The project will culminate with a large exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum, planned between October 2021 and January 2022, as well as a programme of public-engaging activities, seminars and workshops centred around the theme of insular cultural identity in the Mediterranean and other European regions (for example, Britain's own -perceive or not- island identity).
This project will explore how insularity affects and shapes cultural identity in the examples of Cyprus, Crete and Sardinia. In addition, it will provide a platform to debate cultural evolution in the islands as opposed to their surrounding mainland. The cultural history of the large Mediterranean islands, from Antiquity to the present day, is very complex and can narrate - as well as explain - many complex social phenomena. Islands such as Cyprus, Crete and Sardinia demonstrate through their art and material culture production a continuous battle (or influence and assimilation) between indigenous forms and representations with patterns, art techniques and forms travelling from their surrounding mainland regions. These large Mediterranean islands have not just been a place with expansive contacts by sea, but also loci for the transmission of many products and ideas across a variety of people from the Near East and the rest of the Mediterranean.
We are looking for enthusiastic researchers with a specialism in either the fields of Mediterranean/Island Archaeology or Greek and Roman Archaeology (with a diachronic perspective). Previous Museum experience is desirable, but not necessary, as the Museum considers this post as a training opportunity for young professionals considering a Museum career. Knowledge of either Greek and/or Italian is desirable as well, as the project entails extensive communication with the Greek, Cypriot and Italian archaeological authorities and relevant research organisations.
To apply, you must have either a doctoral degree or at least 4 years' full-time equivalent research experience. Fellows may come from any country except the UK, or if the Fellow is already in the UK, have been resident for less than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the submission deadline.
Applicants are expected to have significant research recognition and be able to demonstrate evidence of independence/leadership potential.
To be considered for this opportunity, you will need to submit a CV and 1-2 page summary of your project by June 20, 2018 to researchfacilitator@fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk. We will let you know whether you have been selected by mid-July. Our Research Facilitator will support you to complete your application by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie deadline of 12 September 2018.

Fully-funded, four year Ph.D. Position for Project on Tomb-Robbing and Reuse of Grave Materials in Late Antiquity (University of Bern/Swiss National Science Foundation)

The Institute of Ancient Studies at the University of Bern invites applications for a four year fully funded PhD position. The position is scheduled to start on November 1, 2018. The PhD candidate will be a member of the project "Plundering, Reusing and Transforming the Past: Grave Robbing and Reuse of Funerary Material in Late Antiquity” funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.
http://www.hist.unibe.ch/forschung/forschungsprojekte/plundering_reusing_and_transforming_the_past/index_ger.html
In close exchange with the methods of the project (i.e. digital visualizations, spatial turn theories and field surveys in Italy and Turkey) the successful candidate is expected to write his or her thesis focusing on the transformation and urban embedding of water features and related buildings (especially nymphaea and fountains) in the late imperial world.
Qualifications:
Applicants for this position must hold a Master’s or equivalent degree within ancient studies (preferably Classical Archaeology, Late Antique or Byzantine Studies or Ancient History). The candidate should have good knowledge of Italian and English and preferably also German and French. Latin or Greek or equivalent level in one of the languages is required.
We offer:
- a four year fully funded (100%) PhD position according to SNF salary requirements
- the University of Bern/Swiss National Science Foundation sponsors travel expenses
- strong national and international networking
- survey participation in Italy and Turkey
- co-organisation of an international conference and workshop
- furthermore, a 3 months stay at the University of Oxford and an 8 month stay in Rome is intended
Application:
Please send your application written in English or German as a single PDF file to the following email address: cristina.murer@hist.unibe.ch by June 26, 2018.
The application should include a CV, transcript of records and language certificates (copies), one reference letter, a writing example (max. 20 pages preferably from the MA thesis or a significant seminar paper).