Kassie Kendrick’s adventure can now be purchased as a print edition!
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It has been a long time since I have updated this blog. In the past few years, I have dabbled in different blogs, ideas, and challenges. Spent some time nurturing my mental health and trying to figure out where I am going in life and finally finished my first book Silver Locket Secrets. It is currently available in ebook form from Kobo, but will soon be in paperback as well (I’ll post here when is).
I intend to return my attention to this blog, museums, and writing and I hope that you will join me on this journey.
Kassie Kendrick, a wayward young archaeologist, sets out to honour her grandfather’s final wish – to solve a treasure hunt like those she had loved as a child. As she and her friends follow her grandfather’s clues, they are lured around the Kingdom of Asho and beyond. But with the soon to be crowned Prince Diomedes believing her to be a threat to his throne, it soon becomes evident there is far more to be found at the end of their journey than she could ever imagine.
Click the title above for a fascinating viewpoint regarding the Lascaux Cave paintings (c. 15,000 BCE), which were found in the Dordogne region, southwestern France, in 1940. Many of the paintings seem to represent the animals in various stages of movement, the video linked above demonstrates how they may have been intended to be shown in a state of animation.
This past summer I was lucky enough to visit the travelling exhibit “Lascaux III” at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History. This travelling exhibit features the incredibly realistic replica of portions of the caves. The Lascaux caves themselves have been off-limits to tourists since the 1980s (to ensure their preservation) and these replicas are the closest most of us are going to come to seeing the caves for ourselves. They are certainly a pretty good substitute, and the exhibit itself is wonderfully interactive and engaging.
Lascaux III is currently at The Houston Museum of Natural Science until March 23, 2014. It will then be hosted by Le Centre des Sciences in Montréal, Québec from April 19 to September 15, 2014. Lascaux II, the permanent exhibit near the original caves, features similar replicas and can still be visited as well. If you are in any of these areas, I highly recommend visiting.
Gertrude Bell set up the Baghdad Museum in Iraq (then Mesopotamia) and was single-handedly responsible for drafting legislation that would keep Mesopotamian artefacts in the country – at a time when artefacts were whisked away to the West faster than the soil they came from could settle.
If you don’t know who Gertrude Bell is, please read more about this incredible female archaeologist from the early 20th century. She became known as the Queen of the Desert, and was immensely influential in the development of not only archaeology in the Middle East (she was fundamental in the opening of the Baghdad Museum), but also the development of the modern borders; she served as a spy during WWI and spoke many languages. She was a kick-ass woman in a time when that was pretty abnormal.
The Gertrude Bell Archive is a fully accessible online collection of her photographs, diaries and letters.
The photos are a bit difficult to search through, and the search function didn’t seem to be working when I was looking through, but they are absolutely worth perusing. Beautiful photos from the middle east c. 1900 – 1918.
Some of Gertrude Bell’s photos of places I have been to!
– Jarash (April 1900)
Jerash – the large theatre (from left of cavea looking towards stage) Oval Piazza behind theatre (Forum – ringed by colonnade of Ionic columns) and Jerash in background]
I visited Jerash in 2004 when I was in Jordan participating in my undergraduate archaeological field school. It is a fantastic Roman era city.
Petra (March 1900)
The Deir [Ed – Deir, ‘monastery’, has the largest facade in Petra – 50 metres wide, 45 metres high. Urn rests on free-standing Nabataean capital]
Same trip as Jerash, the Monastery (al-Deir) is at the top of a 45 minute climb the original Nabataean steps.
Petra (March 1900)
The Khaznet Faraoun [Khazneh Phar’oun – “Pharoah’s Treasury, the tomb of Nabataean king.
The Khaznet Faraoun at Petra, also known as the treasury, might be a bit familiar. It acted as the location of the Holy Grail in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I can’t say I found any Grails while I was there.
1) Artefacts: Handling, Preservation and Conservation
I’m first and foremost an archaeologist, and because of this I actually think a Saturday afternoon spent cataloguing and photographing an interesting archaeological collection is great fun to be had. ;P I may be unique in this.
However, there has been a lot of talk bouncing around the museum world lately about whether a museum needs a collection to be a ‘Museum.’ Whereas, I do think there are valid examples of instances where a collection isn’t necessary; I do think that the element of authenticity found in real artefacts is unbeatable.
2) Environment: The meeting of like minded people
The Best place to find other people who like museums, art, culture, history, heritage, etc. is to work at, volunteer for, or just hang around at museums!
3) Learning: Fueling our life long curiosities
I love learning new things, and it’s almost impossible to visit a museum and not learn.
4) Heritage: Housing and interpreting our collective Cultures
Museums offer visual essays of our collective cultures (Like a real life Pinterest!). Visitors can explore a cross-section of artefacts and images that illustrate the history of a place, people, or culture. (However, It is important to note that the stories told are usually those the local populations want to be told. Museums often avoid conflict and can be used as propaganda – the latter I do not like at all.)
5) Commentary: The past can illustrate the Present and inform the future
I especially enjoy exhibitions that have a good thought out and illustrated thesis. I find these kinds of exhibitions are rare, but when they are successful, they have the power to make social commentary, offer new interpretations of past cultures and events, and can help others to understand just why the past is worth knowing.