All posts by jporter

Painted Tanagra Figurine

Object: JI1716ab
JIAAW Collection

In celebration of National Color Day (October 22nd), we’re highlighting object JI1716ab. This object is an example of a Tanagra type figurine, named after the cemeteries in the Tanagra region of Greece in which figures like these were discovered in the 19th century. The object is a sitting woman draped in intricately folded garments, supported by a rectangular base.  

The colors of this figurine point to the production of Tanagra types, which were usually constructed out of terracotta, a dark red clay and, after firing, were coated in a white slip. The head in particular alludes to the coloring processes that took place after this white slip was applied, featuring slight hints of brown, white, blue, and red pigment around the woman’s hair, wreath crown, and face. 

The remnants of pigment found on this figurine brings up a wider conversation that is being had about the original colors of ancient statues. As Margaret Talbot writes in an article for the New Yorker, while the marble statues of ancient Greece and Rome were commonly thought to be purely white in color, archaeologists studying traces of pigmentation and evidence of tool marks on the surface of these statues have found that the ancient world was much more vibrant and colorful than we once believed it to be. 

Looking closely at the paint remnants visible on statues and examining them under infrared or ultraviolet light reveals that not only did ancient sculptors use pigment, but they also created elaborate and highly detailed designs using an array of colors. Recently, artists and archaeologists have worked together to recreate these works, this time focusing on the polychromy, or coloring, of the statues. 

Overall, this Tanagra figurine represents a central idea in archaeology: that we cannot fathom what we don’t know. The more technology and archaeological methods develop, the more we can question and reflect on the commonly held takeaways from previous archaeological work. In this way, object JI1716ab reminds us to be open to new interpretations, especially when they concern material culture that, like Greek and Roman statues, exists in the public consciousness. 

-Jinette Jimenez ‘21, JIAAW Records and Collections Assistant

Read more about current explorations of how color was used in the ancient world, including Margaret Talbot’s New Yorker article:

The Myth of Whiteness in Classical Sculpture

Greek and Roman statues were often painted, but assumptions about race and aesthetics have suppressed this truth. Now scholars are making a color correction. Mark Abbe was ambushed by color in 2000, while working on an archeological dig in the ancient Greek city of Aphrodisias, in present-day Turkey.

Gods in Color – Golden Edition

For many years the Liebieghaus has dedicated itself to unraveling the mystery of the original polychromy of ancient sculptures. Indeed, the museum has taken the lead in this area of research. Vinzenz Brinkmann’s reconstructions are made in collaboration with the archaeologist Ulrike Koch-Brinkmann and give current viewers a vibrant picture of the former polychromy of the sculptures.

‘Digging’ for color: The search for Egyptian Blue in ancient reliefs

A team of Yale researchers is working in the Yale University Art Gallery to map one of the long lost pigments – Egyptian Blue – on two reliefs from ancient Assyria that are located in the gallery. The team – Jens Stenger, conservation scientist at the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage; Carol Snow, deputy chief conservator and the Alan J.

Sherds from Bandelier National Monument

Objects: 1526, 1527, 1528
JIAAW, Old Department Collection

Having just celebrated Indigenous People’s Day (Oct 12), we wanted to take a look at objects 1526, 1527, and 1528 – sherds that bring up important discussions about Native American history, representation, survival, and continuance. While most objects in the JIAAW collection are Mediterranean in origin, these sherds were excavated from Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico, a site that has significant ties to the Ancestral Pueblo people. Although it is named after a 19th-century anthropologist, Bandelier National Monument focuses much of its educational and promotional activities on sharing the history and lifeways of the Ancestral Pueblo people. Its website perpetuates the common narrative that the Ancestral Pueblo people suddenly disappeared in the late 13th century AD and that Bandelier is a place where one can step back into the past and explore ancient ruins. This particular telling of history situates the Ancestral Pueblo people completely in the past, despite the survival and existence of numerous Pueblo tribes today. A New York Times article offers an alternative view that explains that the Ancestral Puebloans did not vanish without a trace but, rather, their empire shrank and split off into the tribes that we see today, possibly as a result of deforestation, soil erosion, conflict with other tribes, drought, or a combination of these factors. 

Today, there are 19 federally recognized Pueblo tribes in New Mexico. The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, an organization that was established to celebrate Pueblo heritage through archives, exhibits, programs, and writing, puts Pueblo continuance at the center of their work. The mission of the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, which is “To preserve and perpetuate Pueblo culture, and to advance understanding by presenting with dignity and respect the accomplishments and evolving history of the Pueblo people of New Mexico,” directly responds to the narrative that places like Bandelier National Monument construct about indigenous peoples. It is important to recognize the stories attached to places like Bandelier, and even archaeological findings like these three sherds, and how they impact our understanding of Native American history and survival. 

-Jinette Jimenez ‘21, JIAAW Records and Collections Assistant

Check out the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center Indigenous Peoples’ Day programming:

Explore the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center website:

Read the New York Times article:

Visit Brown’s Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiative website:

Browse the collection of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology to see more of the indigenous arts of the Americas, Africa, Southeast Asia, and other parts of the world:


Object: 98
JIAAW, Bishop Collection

Stamnoi are somewhat squat, wide-mouthed pots, usually with a low foot and two horizontal, often upturned handles. They are often depicted being used to mix or serve wine, but some examples have been found with lids, suggesting they were also used to store liquids. Stamnoi are frequently decorated with scenes related to Dionysos (the god of wine), a nod to the vessel’s intended use.

 -Jess Porter, JIAAW Operations and Events Coordinator

See other examples of stamnoi here:

Attributed to the Menelaos Painter | Terracotta stamnos (jar) | Greek, Attic | Classical | The Met

Richter, Gisela M. A., Marjorie J. Milne, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1922. Shapes of Greek Vases. New York. Richter, Gisela M. A. and Marjorie J. Milne. 1935. Shapes and Names of Athenian Vases. pp. 8-9, fig. 67, New York: Plantin Press. Bandinelli, Ranuccio Bianchi. 1958.

Jar with lid (stamnos) | RISD Museum

The images on this website can enable discovery and collaboration and support new scholarship, and we encourage their use. This object is in the public domain (CC0 1.0). This object is Jar with lid (stamnos) with the accession number of 35.791. To request a higher resolution file, please submit an online request.

Stamnos (Mixing Jar) | The Art Institute of Chicago

Show this image Show this image Show this image Related Content Stamnos (Mixing Jar) about 450 BCE Attributed to the Chicago PainterGreek; Athens Related Content This refined Athenian stamnos (pl. stamnoi) was used to mix water and wine.

‘Grand Tour’ Plaster Intaglio Casts

Object: JI1819a-c
JIAAW Collection

While the provenance of these particular objects is unknown, plaster reliefs such as these were popular souvenirs in the 18th and 19th centuries. A tradition for wealthy young European men and women was a Grand Tour of Europe, lasting for months or even years, with visits to major cities and cultural sites. Artisans took advantage of the popularity of carved gems by making similar objects out of less expensive materials, such as plaster, to be purchased by travelers as mementos of their tour. Plaster intaglio casts were often mounted into books or cases and usually depict historical and mythological figures and scenes. The theme of this set of casts is “Mitologia” (mythology).

-Jess Porter, JIAAW Operations and Events Coordinator

See other examples of plaster intaglio casts and learn more about The Grand Tour here:

Untitled Document

“As such it (the Grand Tour) fulfilled a major social need, namely the necessity of finding young men, who were not obliged to work and for whom work would often be a derogation, something to do between school and the inheritance of family wealthŠIt allowed the young to sow their wild oats abroad and it kept them out of trouble, including disputed with their family, at home.”

Italy on the Grand Tour (Getty Exhibitions)

Three exhibitions at the Getty explore the Grand Tour and its importance as an 18th-century artistic and cultural phenomenon.

From the Harvard Art Museums’ collections Collection of 114 Plaster Casts in a wooden box

Identification and Creation Physical Descriptions Medium Wooden box, plaster casts Dimensions 8.8 x 20.3 x 33.4 cm (3 7/16 x 8 x 13 1/8 in.) Provenance Dr. George E. Ellis, Boston, MA; [1] to the Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston, MA, gift; to the Fogg Art Museum, 1910.


Object: 19
JIAAW, Bishop Collection

The olpe is one of the earlier types of the oinochoe and specifically has no spout and a high handle above the lip. In English, its most equivalent term is the pitcher. During meals or drinking, it would serve as a measure of how much wine had been consumed. 

-Elaina Kim ‘21, JIAAW Records and Collections Assistant 2017/18

See other examples of olpe here:

Olpe (Getty Museum)

Olpe; Attributed to Painter of Malibu 85.AE.89 (namepiece); Corinth, Greece; about 625 B.C.; Terracotta; 32.8 × 17 cm (12 15/16 × 6 11/16 in.); 85.AE.89; The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California; Rights Statement: No Copyright – United States


Penn Museum Object MS714 – Olpe


The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA.

Quarries, Towers, and Sanctuaries on Naxos

Evan Levine, a PhD student at the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World currently at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, spent the summer on the ground in Greece. You can read about new research that he and fellow PhD student Rebecca Levitan (University of California, Berkeley) undertook on the island of Naxos on their blog Notes from Naxos!

Notes from Naxos

Ceramic Rim Sherd

Object: 132
JIAAW, Bishop Collection

Archaeologists classify sherds (pottery fragments) into three main categories: rim sherds, body sherds, and base sherds. In order for a sherd to be identified as a rim sherd, it must include at least a small piece of the lip of the vessel – like this sherd from the acropolis at Pergamon. Archaeologists use the angle of the rim sherd to determine what kind of rim the original vessel had (inslanting, flared, or vertical are some of the most common categories) and measure the curve of the rim sherd to determine the size of the vessel’s opening. These tiny fragments can tell us a surprising amount about the vessels they came from!

-Jinette Jimenez ‘21, JIAAW Records and Collections Assistant

See other examples of rim sherds:

alabastron | British Museum

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Jar rim sherd | Early Bronze Age | The Met

1968-69, excavated by Julian Reade, on behalf of the British School of Archaeology in Iraq; acquired by the Museum in 1972, as a result of its financial contribution to the excavations.

Rim Sherd

Penn Museum Object 64-37-2 – Rim Sherd

3D Modeling Building 1369

An update from Parker Zane, undergraduate concentrator in Archaeology and the Ancient World

This summer, Zach Dunseth and I produced a 3D photogrammetric model of the foundations of Building 1369, commonly referred to as one of two ‘Assyrian’ Palaces at the site of Megiddo (modern Israel). Originally, this International Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award (UTRA) project aimed at producing a 3D model using data collected during the planned summer 2020 field season. However, since we were unable to conduct fieldwork, we had to adjust our plans to fit in a virtual context. Instead, this project relied on legacy aerial drone data collected by Matthew J. Adams during the 2018 excavations.

Aerial photo of Megiddo (Abraham Graicer 2011, Wikimedia Commons)

The aim of this project was to produce a model and to contextualize the architectural style of the Building 1369 within its broader Near Eastern context. We utilized Agisoft Metashape to compile 134 aerial photographs to produce a sub-centimeter-accurate georeferenced 3D photogrammetric model. This model will soon be distributed for free on Sketchfab ( The next step of the project will be to import the model into SketchUp to produce an artistic reconstruction of the structure, informed by comparative evidence from other large palatial structures in the Levant and in Assyria.

Working image of 3D model in Agisoft Metashape (Z. Dunseth)

I am grateful for the opportunity to learn how to produce 3D photogrammetric models and the chance to study one aspect of Megiddo in great detail. I would like to thank the Karen T. Romer Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award for support to conduct research this summer; the directors of the Megiddo Expedition, Israel Finkelstein (Tel Aviv University), Mario A.S. Martin (Tel Aviv University) and especially Matthew J. Adams (W.F. Albright Institute for Archaeological Research, Jerusalem) for allowing me to use his previously collected data; and Zachary Dunseth for his guidance and mentorship over the course of this project.

Brown Bag Talks for Fall 2020

Brown Bag

Talks are held
Thursdays from 12:00-1:00 PM
and will be held via Zoom

Note that the Joukowsky Institute will not be holding Brown Bag talks during the month of October so that our community members can participate in the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology’s “Women Do Archaeology” series. Inspired by 2020’s centennial commemoration of the 19th Amendment, the Haffenreffer is highlighting the work of women archaeologists and anthropologists affiliated with the Museum – Annalisa Heppner, Pinar Durgun, Michèle Hayeur Smith, Jen Thum, and Leah Hopkins.

November 12, 2020:
Juliane Schlag (Institute at Brown for Environment and Society, Brown University)

November 19, 2020:
Julia Hurley (Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology, Brown University)
More information and link to join meeting here.

Lead Wreath

Object: 1550
JIAAW, Old Department Collection

This lead wreath was found in the Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia in Sparta, Greece. The sanctuary was established in the 9th century BCE and was an important site for centuries – being rebuilt, expanded, and incorporated into new structures up until the 3rd century CE. The sanctuary was devoted to Artemis Orthia, likely a merging of the widely known Greek goddess Artemis and the local Spartan goddess Orthia, both of whom were known as goddesses of hunting and wilderness.

Excavations at the sanctuary have revealed that tiny lead figurines and miniature ceramic vessels were commonly left as offerings, and often in large numbers. More than 100,000 lead figurines depicting people, animals, and wreaths have been excavated from the site and they seem to have peaked in popularity around the second half of the 5th century BCE. Other offerings found in the sanctuary include terracotta figurines, brooches, pins, buttons, and trinkets made of bronze, ivory, gold, and silver.

-Jess Porter, JIAAW Operations and Events Coordinator

Learn more about the Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia and see other examples of lead votives:

Who was Artemis-Orthia?

When most people think of ancient Greece, the Classical city of Athens usually springs to mind. Yet, Sparta in the Peloponnese, is known as the military state and is the total antithesis of the city of Athens.


VOTIVE OFFERINGS FROM THE SANCTUARY OF ARTEMIS ORTHIA, SPARTA, IN LIVERPOOL COLLECTIONS https://www. jstor .org/stable/44082091 Two museums in the city of Liverpool have material from the Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia, Sparta: the Garstang Museum of Archaeology in the Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology at the University of Liverpool, and World Museum, part of National Museums Liverpool.

Lead wreath of lotus buds | Greek, Laconian | Archaic | The Met

Small flat votive figurines of cast lead have been found in great quantities at the ancient sanctuaries of Laconia; over one hundred thousand, dating from the seventh century B.C. to the Classical period, were dedicated to the goddess Artemis Orthia in Sparta.

Lead wreath | Greek, Laconian | Archaic | The Met

Small flat votive figurines of cast lead have been found in great quantities at the ancient sanctuaries of Laconia; over one hundred thousand, dating from the seventh century B.C. to the Classical period, were dedicated to the goddess Artemis Orthia in Sparta.

Lead figure of a winged goddess, possibly Artemis Orthia | Greek, Laconian | Archaic | The Met

Small flat votive figurines of cast lead have been found in great quantities at the ancient sanctuaries of Laconia; over one hundred thousand, dating from the seventh century B.C. to the Classical period, were dedicated to the goddess Artemis Orthia in Sparta.