Author Archive: Robert Mason

Monthly Archive: December Robe

The Monastery of St Moses, Syria: The Cave Survey

Posted: July 11, 2014 - 12:20 , by Robert Mason
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This cave would have been a home for one of the monks of the Deir Mar Musa community, the wall at the front of the photograph shows that they had a small terrace outside the cave, either for a living area or for growing food.

The monastery at Deir Mar Musa would not have just comprised the main buildings, the monks would actually have been dispersed in hermitages across the landscape.

The Monastery of St Moses, Syria: The Frescoes

Posted: July 4, 2014 - 12:26 , by Robert Mason
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The fresco of the Last Judgement on the West wall of the chapel at Deir Mar Musa.

The third in a series on the monastery of St Moses in Syria comprises a detailed examination of the important cycle of 11th-12th century frescoes found in the chapel.

The Monastery of St Moses, Syria: The Pottery

Posted: June 29, 2014 - 09:38 , by Robert Mason
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Pottery with an earthenware fired-clay body, overall white slip, incision through the slip with a broad tool, overall lead glaze, splashed with copper-green, probably mid-14th century.

Despite there being almost 1,400 years of occupation at Deir Mar Musa, strangely the overwhelming majority of the pottery found at the site can be assigned to the "Mamluk" period. The period of Mamluk rule in Greater Syria (1260-1516) generally reflects an archaeological horizon that post-dates the destruction of the great ceramic production centre at al-Raqqa,  and Eastern Syria became a wasteland on the border with the Mongol Ilkhanate dynasty of Iran, leaving Damascus as the sole producer of elite quality under-glaze painted stone-paste bodied ceramics.

The Monastery of St Moses, Syria: Introduction

Posted: June 17, 2014 - 15:32 , by Robert Mason
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View of the old monastery buildings from the South in 2004, with then Brother Jihad, a member of the monastery.

Robert Mason reports on his years of archaeological fieldwork at the Monastery of St Moses, Syria, in this blog series. 

 

 

Weapon Wednesday: Swords from the Philippines

Posted: May 28, 2014 - 14:30 , by Robert Mason
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17-18th century Filipino sword #927.59.47 (photo W.C. Pratt)

The ROM's collecton of swords from the Phillipines is outlined in the context of the history and geography of the archipelago.

 

Weapon Wednesday: Preparing for ROM Revealed

Posted: April 17, 2014 - 16:39 , by Robert Mason
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Middle Eastern helmets

For ROM Revealed, part of our 100-year celebrations, we undertook a major re-organisation in some Collections and Research departments. Here we can see the improvements made in the storage of Asian Arms & Armour in anticipation of this momentous occasion.

Weapon Wednesday: The Nugent Marathon Corinthian Helmet

Posted: February 19, 2014 - 11:34 , by Robert Mason
Through a warrior's eyes: detail of the Nugent Marathon helmet  (ROM no.926.19.3 - photo Kay Sunahara)

An account of an ancient Greek helmet excavated by George Nugent-Grenville, 2nd Baron Nugent of Carlanstown, on the Plain of Marathon in 1834.

Weapon Wednesday: The Indian Katar, a Necessary Dress Accessory

Posted: February 12, 2014 - 15:45 , by Robert Mason
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In South Asia during the 16th to early 20th centuries all fashionable young men when visiting their ladies would want to dress at their best. This would include one very necessary dress acessory: the katar. This uniquely South Asian dagger is thought to have developed in the very southern part of what is now India. In the 17th century the type was adopted across South Asia, and became a standard dress accessory in the Mughal courts.

 

Weapon Wednesday: The Horse

Posted: January 29, 2014 - 14:42 , by Robert Mason
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Frieze from the tomb of Zuo Biao, sandstone 110cm long, dated by inscription to 150 AD, Eastern Han dynasty, Mamaozhuang village, China, # 925.25.22.N

The horse is not just a form of transportation, but is a weapon in itself. The genus Equus is thought to have evolved over 4 million years ago in North America, specialising in being able to eat the grass of the steppelands and run away from predators. North American horses later became extinct, possibly due to hunting by humans, although various species of horse, asses and zebras thrived in the Old World.

Weapon Wednesday: The Long History of an Irish Bronze Age Sword

Posted: December 18, 2013 - 13:04 , by Robert Mason
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The Late Bronze Age sword and its 18th century grip.

The story of a sword made in Bronze Age Ireland.