March 21, 2019 - Catch up on the latest news from CAARI!

Dear : 
Greetings from Nicosia, and from our lively community of CAARI-enthusiasts, here glimpsed at a lecture in the CAARI library.  Our news-flash brings the story of a major gift to CAARI. A friend has given us the crucial equipment for CAARI's laboratory! Technology is among CAARI's biggest challenges as it builds toward its 50th birthday.  Its laboratory is critical to its relevance as a state-of-the-art archaeological research institute.  Below, we tell the story of this gift.  Then the message from CAARI's Director will explain more about the instruments, their uses, and their importance to research.
Finally Byzantine scholar Annemarie Weyl Carr shares her research on "Hell in the Sweet Land of Cyprus" by discussing the image of the Last Judgment in the beloved church of Asinou.
Generous Gifts Outfit CAARI's Laboratory

In 2017, CAARI used funds from a U.S. government grant for state-of-the-art technology for making thin sections of hard materials. Thin sections are critical for archaeological research because they enable microscopic analysis of both organic and inorganic materials, enabling their identification, analysis, and often attribution and dating. CAARI's is first such equipment for archaeology on Cyprus, and it was greeted with elation. It is housed at the University of Cyprus, which will share responsibility with CAARI for its oversight and maintenance.

Thin section capability opened whole new realms of inquiry for researchers on the island. But it also created new demands, because researchers need
resolution microscopes of different types to view solid materials or to analyse thin sections. They are very expensive. Last year, a very generous donor, Mrs. Leslys Vedder, gave CAARI the funds for two state-of-the-art Leica microscopes in memory of her husband, Dr. James F. Vedder.  A nuclear physicist known for his work at both Lockheed and NASA (contributions_James_F_Vedder) , Dr. Vedder was also a passionate archaeologist.  A brilliant technician himself, Dr. Vedder was fascinated by the achievements of early humans, marvelling how they had solved the technological challenges they faced. He became widely known as an experimental  archaeologist. His is still the dominant work on how the obsidian mirrors of Catalhöyük in Asia Minor were made; he is cited even in popular sources like Wikipedia for his work on Greek pottery; and he published an article in the CAARI Newsletter of April 1996, pp. 6-7. Titled "Tools of the Trade," it lays out one of his major discoveries: the tools he believed had enabled early Greek potters to draw their perfect concentric circles.

Test pot by Dr. Vedder
At right, you see a pot Dr. Vedder made when testing (still tentatively) the tool for making concentric circles.  So dedicated was he to his work in archaeology that his colleague at Catalhöyük, Dr. John-Gordon Swogger, made the portrait of him that you see below, dressed as a Neolithic craftsman making an obsidian mirror.

Dr. Vedder as  a Neolithic man working obsidian
Passionate about both archaeology and technology, Dr. Vedder seemed the perfect "patron saint" of CAARI's laboratory. But there was a hitch. To be functional for research, CAARI still needed the camera that allows slides examined through a polarizing microscope to be photographed for study and analysis. The camera costs as much as the microscope itself.

This month, Mrs. Vedder with another donor together pledged to CAARI the funds for the camera. With this, the laboratory at CAARI is functional and complete. It will bear a plaque in memory of Dr. James F. Vedder . This opens a new threshold for research on site. From all of us at CAARI,
we offer our sincerest thanks for these enabling gifts.

Message from CAARI's Director

Dear friends and supporters of CAARI,

Finally, a long, wet and cold Cypriot winter seems to be over and we are heading into spring. We must be grateful for the rain as many of the reservoirs are full (some even to overflowing) and the island is looking green and beautiful, as you can see in this photo of the village of Lefkara.

The village of Lefkara in the springtime

Our CAARI spring program series began on the 24th January with a launch for the latest book by CAARI Honorary Research Fellow Professor Bernard Knapp, entitled Seafaring and Seafarers in the Bronze Age Eastern Mediterranean. We had an excellent evening and all enjoyed a special introduction to the volume by maritime archaeological expert Professor Michal Artzy of the University of Haifa.

We followed this with a lecture on the 21st February from Dr. Despina Pilides, the Curator of Antiquities of the Department of Antiquities Cyprus. Dr Pilides spoke on her excavation of early Nicosia at the site of Agios Georgios Hill, just over the road from CAARI. This exciting site has evidence dating from the Chalcolithic, through the Cypro-Archaic, Hellenistic, Byzantine, and Lusignan periods, and into more recent times. With a grant from the EU, the Department of Antiquities has conserved and landscaped the site for visitors, and a British-period government building has been restored to house a visitor and study centre. We at CAARI are delighted to have such an important archaeological site as our neighbour.

On March 21st the third lecture in the spring programme will be by Professor Vasif Şahoğlu from Ankara University, entitled Çesme-Bağlararasi: A Bronze Age Coastal Settlement in Western Anatolia.  I look forward to hearing about this important Bronze Age site, which has preserved evidence of a volcanic ash layer.

Now we are looking ahead to spring and summer visits from researchers and field teams and the CAARI residence is filling up fast with bookings. Our summer program is planned, with the CAARI annual summer workshop on the 8th of June, followed by a Levantine Ceramics Project workshop, organised by Dr. Andrea Berlin, on the 13-14 June. It isn't too late for submissions for either of these events, for field archaeologists or ceramic specialists who would like to take part. We'll be sending out a reminder to field teams early next month for the annual workshop.

Finally, we are very excited and grateful to Leslys Vedder for her gift of two microscopes in memory of her husband to enable our laboratory to become fully operational. CAARI has long held ecofactual and artefactual sample collections, but we lacked the tools for our researchers to make the most of these materials. With the purchase of a stereoscopic microscope, the surfaces of materials such as seeds, bones and geological samples can be viewed on a computer screen as they are examined and the images saved. With the addition of the Leica polarizing microscope with a high definition digital camera attachment, thin sections made using our petrographic thin section equipment (from pottery, bone and other materials), and undertaken with the permission of the Department of Antiquities, Cyprus, can be viewed and photographed at the very high level of resolution required for high-quality, color publication. This will enable scholars to take their research from the field to lecture, journal or monograph right here during their research time at CAARI. It is a big step into technological proficiency for us.

Lindy Crewe, PhD
Director, CAARI

Hell in the Sweet Land:  Asinou's Last Judgment
Annemarie Weyl Carr
Professor Emerita, Southern Methodist University; CAARI V.P.

This text modifies and condenses a portion of my chapter on Cyprus' 22 medieval Last Judgment images in Hell in the Byzantine World, ed. Angeliki Lymberopoulou, forthcoming from Cambridge University Press

Perched at the brink of a mountain valley, the church of the Panagia Phorbiotissa at Asinou is among the most beloved sites on Cyprus. It was built around 1100 CE and added to over the ensuing centuries.

Asinou, Panagia Phorbiotissa 

My most recent work there was on the enveloping fresco of the Last Judgment in the narthex, painted in 1332/33. The narthex is the portion of a monastic church accessible to lay people, where shared events like baptisms, vigils, confessions, and funerals occur.   Monks and laity together financed Asinou's Last Judgment, and its theme spoke to both: to monks "whose life is a careful rehearsal of death," and to lay people who came to the narthex for prayers, confessions, and funerals.

Asinou, Panagia Phorbiotissa, Narthex, Last Judgment:  Christ as All-Ruler, Apostles, Heaven, and Sinners

The narthex is a domed cube with an apse to each side, north and south; the Last Judgment is skilfully fitted to these forms. The dome is dominated by the figure of Christ the All-Ruler, in some sense making the narthex into the church of the laity,  for the All-Ruler is the customary theme of a church's main dome. Around him in the pendentives are the twelve Apostles. Enthroned in judgment, they show that Christ the All-Ruler is also the Christ the Judge. Good and bad lie to either side. To the north, over the door to the monastic buildings, is Heaven, with Mary and the Patriarchs holding souls in their laps as Peter leads the blessed to them, and the choirs of saints cluster in the soffit of the arch. To the south, over portraits of lay donors, are figures of sinners. Seen from the west, as one does when entering the church through its western door (and in the image just below) these lie as they should on Christ's left and right, the blessed at his right hand, the wicked at his left.

Asinou, Panagia Phorbiotissa, Narthex, Last Judgment: View to the east, with Heaven and sinners.

Asinou, Panagia Phorbiotissa, Sinners
The figures of the sinners are the portion of the program that has most fascinated viewers.  Naked but for the insignia of their iniquity, they hang here on meat hooks, concretizing the carnality of their transgressions.  These are social; they are the sins of a village society, and committed for material gain.  First is the man who ploughs over borders, a plough to his own furrow.  Beside him is the deceitful miller with millstones suspended from his neck.  The thief with a striped cloth at his chest, reminding us of Cypriot village work in linen, silk, and cotton, and the slanderer with a snake biting his tongue follow them.  The ferocity increases as the sinners get lower and nearer the viewer.  The usurer and falsifier of weights hangs upside down, his head burned black in the flames of the fire; he is the most hated of all sinners in Last Judgments on Cyprus. Beside him hangs the bad nun.  Her presence is striking here in a male institution, and indicates that Asinou may for a time have had a sister institution. The snake at her ear suggests sins of a social more than a sexual nature-eavesdropping, gossiping, meddling.

The case may be different for the bad monk, who dangles with flapping scapular in the lowest compartment. His sin must be spelled out by the woman who hangs beside him, gazing at him: she is the "one who turns away her children," aborting or abandoning them. She must imply the evil fruits of monastic lust. If the monks watched the sins of the laity, the lay people surely also watched the miscreant monks.

As the choirs of Heaven enjoy beatitude, the sinners reap retribution.  Just whose Judgment they are exposed to is illuminated by their bodies, which are pink, plump, and intact.  They show no sign of the disintegration that defines death.  Thus they say little about the physical horror of death.  Rather than anxious pity, they invite judgmental scrutiny.  They surely offered confessors compelling pictures of the wages of sin.  But if they elicited fear, they must also have invited a gratifying measure of gleeful, retributive scorn.  Exposed and visible, they suffer the Hell of exposure.

But is theirs also the Hell of damnation? This is more complex. They are visible only when one faces east. To see the actual event of the Last Judgment, one must turn and look westward. It is over the western door, the door the lay people used.

Asinou, Panagia Phorbiotissa, narthex:  view to the west

Where Paradise surmounts the monks' portal, Judgment hangs over that of the laity.  The sinners vanish in the westward view, displaced by compartments of formless, huddled, anonymous human masses labeled with terms used in the Bible for both death and separation from God: Tartaros, gnashing of teeth, inextinguishable fire, outer darkness. The Judgment itself is in the western lunette, seen just below.  It is represented by the Prepared Throne, the fiery throne awaiting the Judge.  On it are the signs of God's saving humanity:  his Word, the dove of peace, and the instruments of his death for the salvation of humankind.

Asinou, Panagia Phorbiotissa, narthex, Last Judgment: Prepared Throne, raising of the dead, the river of fire.
As Adam and Eve pray, angels trumpet the dead from their tombs. Tiny figures on clouds on one side float beside St. Paul's promise that "we will rise on clouds;" on the other side, a flaming angel wields a pitchfork to "put the sinners into the fire." As the tiny, shrouded figures on clouds are on their way to salvation, these are on their way to damnation. We see nothing of their fate, however. "Insatiable Hades," lord of the underworld, sits astride a dragon below them, but their destination is not spelled out. The vivid panoply of serpents, demons, torture instruments, and writhing bodies that defines the Hell of most Western Last Judgments is absent here. The lunette proclaims the inevitability of divine judgment, that God will judge humankind. But it does not show its conclusion.

It is easy to say that the depiction of damnation has simply been displaced to the sinners on the eastern side of the space. But to do that is to colonize Hell: to impose a Western conception that Byzantium never conceived or adopted.  For both Byzantine and Western European Christians, divine judgment was believed to punctuate both the end of life and the end of time.  But this duality was inflected differently in the two cultures, as seen in the names for the sinners' destination.  Both the Germanic Hell/Hölle, derived from Helle, the goddess of the underworld, and the Romance 'Enfer/Inferno' meaning 'regions below,' refer to a place.  It is where the damned go at death. The Greek counterpart, Kolase, means punishment.  It refers not to a place but to a state of being. It reflects Orthodox Christian belief that souls are condemned in their life after death to suffer pain for unrepented sins, but not yet to suffer the pain of damnation, which is imposed only at the end of time when they are clad once again in their bodies and face the Last Judgment.  

Where Western Christians invested a preponderance of anxiety in Hell, Greek Christians felt profounder threat in the long period of tormented dread that stretched from death to the final judgment.

The pain of Byzantium's life after death was an incorporeal one, inflicted by knowledge of having wasted life in sin. It was in this sense not divine punishment, but anguished self-awareness in the clarity of post-mortem truth. Nonetheless, the term Kolase was used both for sinners in their life after death and for the damned. The Greek Church remained-and remains-reticent to pontificate on the ways in which the two conditions differ, or to make predictions on the character and clientele of damnation. In the words of the great late Byzantine theologian Mark Eugenikos, where humankind lives on earth in faith, its condition in life after death is hope. Who will emerge from the life after death to salvation, and who to damnation, is a divine and not a human judgment.

The intangibility of life after death did nothing to diminish the glee with which victims of worldly injustice speculated on the torment suffered by social miscreants once they were dead and buried, and the wriggling sinners at Asinou give very tangible testimony to this. But the lunette over the western door gives equally emphatic testimony to the awesome cliff of human comprehension in the face of the judgment of God. Christians crossing Asinou's threshold were reminded not that they'd go to Hell, but that divine Judgment-though made by a saving God-was imponderable, and inescapable.
Turn from this darkness! Help Build CAARI's Future

The gifts to the laboratory in memory of Dr. Vedder are a vivid example of the way thoughtful donors can open whole new dimensions of research accomplishment to CAARI. Join in this forward-moving energy. You, too, can help us build! The vitality of CAARI, and the joy in researching and learning that it radiates, are thanks to the willing, generous interest of people like you, enthusiasts of archaeology around the world, who get a little high on learning about long-ago peoples and their achievements. James Vedder was a wonderful example!

We send so many thanks to Mrs. Vedder for her wonderful gifts-and to all the friends and supporters who have enabled CAARI to grow. Help us keep up the pace! The challenge of technology is very concrete: it takes a village to pay for it.  So join in the effort by making a donation at:

Right Now!

Annemarie Weyl Carr

Annemarie Weyl Carr
Vice President, CAARI Board