Cuneiform Experts from Jerusalem visit Abbey Museum

Cuneiform Expert Visits Abbey Museum

A standing room only audience accepted the invitation to hear Professor Wayne Horowitz speak on the lost Jewish communities in ancient Babylonia on Tuesday 19 September . Professor Horowitz is a Professor of Assyriology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and was here working on the Cuneiform Project Australia and New Zealand. This project aims to identify and publish all the cuneiform artefacts in Australian and New Zealand collections. Dr Horowitz has been examining 10 such objects in the Abbey Museum’s Middle East collection.

In his presentation Professor Horowitz spoke of the commencement of the Jewish Diaspora when the population was transported to Babylonia following the sacking of Jerusalem. The Jewish people spent 2500 years in exile in Babylonia. His colleague and research assistant, Peter Zilberg, completed the evening with his talk titled “Ezekiel and the Grand Canal of Babylon”. Mr Zilberg explained how information gleaned from cuneiform tablets have added to our knowledge of the Jewish nation in captivity. In an enthusiastic and energetic presentation he showed how seemingly mundane items recorded on cuneiform tablets tied in to biblical …

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New badge received by Abbey Museum

Medieval Artefacts Donated to the Abbey Museum

There was great excitement in the Abbey Museum office last week; in fact, it felt a little like Christmas, as the Director unwrapped a group of medieval artefacts that had been donated to the Museum. We are trying to grow the medieval collections because of the association with the very popular Abbey Medieval Festival.

The first object to be revealed was a small but deadly collection of nine iron medieval arrow heads. They possibly come from Scandinavia as most are tanged, a form which was more common in northern Europe than Britain, and date to the 9th to 11th centuries.

The second object to be unwrapped was a very small but delightful pilgrim’s badge of a fighting cock. The bronze badge is in the shape of a running cockerel with textures detail to the body, wings and comb, spurs to the rear of the feet and dates to the 13 – 14th century. It is said that cockfighting was originally introduced into Britain by the Romans. It was popular with all classes of society and …

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Young Woman with a Stylus

Wax Tablets Roman Style

Wax Tablets….. the Roman Way!

What was your favourite excuse for not handing in your homework? Did the dog ever eat it?  Perhaps your kids have come up with some creative reasons as to why assignments were overdue! I seem to recall ‘the wind blew it away’ or ‘a glass of juice spilled on it’.  We have all heard a few good ones but in ancient Rome,  students had an even better excuse! Their homework had melted by the sun! (Sometimes assisted by holding their wax tablets close to their body).  Now that’s a good one!

Wax tablets and stylus was the means of writing at that time. Paper did not become readily and cheaply available in Europe until the Middle Ages. So, it was necessary to have an effective means for keeping lists, general correspondence and legal documents.  The wax tablet was used as the everyday notebook for thousands of years, although there is increasing evidence that ink was used on thin sheets of wood also.  A number of these have been found at Vindolanda, a Roman Army …

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Cuneiform text

From Clay Tablets to Digital Tablets

The Reed Stylus and Clay Tablet

From clay tablets to digital tablets.  Today texting, typing, writing, memes, … there are so  many ways in which we communicate with others;  technology has opened a veritable Pandora’s box of possibilities. Communications have become shorter and more frequent, full of the expectation of an immediate response.  The result is our modern world seems to travel at break-neck speed.  It is hard to imagine what it was like at the beginning of recorded time when humankind first put pen to paper… well, actually not paper — or pen for that matter — but a reed stylus to clay tablet.

Clay Tablet with Cuneiform

As you may be aware, one of the earliest forms of writing is called Cuneiform. Cuneiform is thought to have been first developed by the Sumerians of ancient Mesopotamia c 3500 – 3000 BC. Mesopotamian scribes recorded everything from daily events such as trade records and sales dockets to astronomical happenings and political events. I was surprised to learn that some tablets inscribed with cuneiform were written in several different languages …

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The art of Pemberley –

A Picnic at Pemberley 2017 

Each year in September the Abbey Museum holds a boutique event celebrating the uniqueness of the Regency Era.  And this year, guests to ‘A Picnic at Pemberley’ will have a very rare opportunity to view some of the Art of Pemberley – paintings from the Abbey Museum collection – which will be on display for one day only!

The purpose of the Picnic at Pemberley is to raise funds to build an Art Gallery so that the wonderful artwork and paintings that form part of the Abbey Museum’s collection can be displayed for everyone to enjoy. The Abbey Museum’s Mission statement includes ‘changing people’s lives for the better, through the stories created from our collection‘. This exquisite event ‘A Picnic at Pemberley’  is one such story, and  immerses guests into the world of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

You may not have known that the Abbey Museum has a number of stunning artworks including water colours from the Royal Academy, precious Icons and even Old Masters  paintings. One of these very special paintings was on display …

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Her Breath Smelt of Mint and Myrrh – Floor Talk

THE ABBEY MUSEUM OF ART AND ARCHAEOLOGY PRESENTS:

Her Breath Smelt of Mint and Myrrh

How do the modern standards of beauty compare to those of the Middle Ages? Does your daily beauty routine measure up? Join the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology for a myth-busting and sweet-smelling Floor Talk that explores the perfumes, scented cosmetics, mouthwashes and hygiene products of the Middle Ages.

The Abbey Museum’s own Education Manager, Mr Damien Fegan not only busts the myth that the people of the Middle Ages smelt terrible and all had rotten teeth, but presents the argument that the beauty products of the Middle Ages aren’t actually that far removed from those of modern times! In fact: did you know that there is not a single beauty product on the market today that did not have a Middle Ages equivalent?

We’ve had minty breath for hundreds of years!

DATE: Saturday 5th August

TIME: 2.00pm Start

PLACE: Abbey Museum Hall at the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology

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Abbey Museum Collection Team

These are a few of my favourite things!

Some of our favourite things!

Ever walked through the Museum and a special object has caught your eye?  It happens with us too! The Collection Management Team meets regularly to research and catalogue the Museum’s artefacts. Each member of the team has particular favourites. Having so many incredible artefacts in the collection we are spoilt for choice, however, here are a few of our favourite things…

Museum Director, Edith Cuffe, likes the Chinese snuff bottle with an ‘inside painting’ of a crane in a landscape scene. It is in Museum Case 26. How did the artist manage to paint all that on the inside of such a small bottle?!

Also in Museum Case 26 is one of Michael Strong’s favourites, a Tang tomb model of a female flute player. Michael isn’t the only one for whom this is a favourite. Denise Crawley, who coordinates the shop, is also a fan of the lady with the flute.

Our team’s favourites!

Anne Bradley has spent countless hours investigating our collection of 43 jetons. When she needs a break from them she …

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Abbey Museum Friends Bunyip trip

The Great Bunyip Hunt of 2017

Are you familiar with ghoulies and ghosties and long legged beasties and things that go bump in the night – like maybe a bunyip?

The bunyip is a large mythical creature from Australian Aboriginal mythology, said to lurk in swamps, billabongs, creeks, riverbeds, and waterholes. The origin of the word bunyip has been traced to the Wemba-Wemba or Wergaia language of Aboriginal people of South-Eastern Australia.

On 2nd-3rd October the Abbey Museum Friends are organising a two day coach trip, Finding the Bunyip, which will take us to many places around the Scenic Rim where bunyips may well lurk. Along the way the Museum’s Senior Curator, Michael Strong, will explain the historical significance of the various sites and their importance to the Aboriginal people of the area.

We will be staying overnight at Beaudesert  and taking the opportunity to visit the Beaudesert Historical Museum. We will visit many places of significance – bora rings, lagoons, caves and natural features – hearing the dreaming stories along the way.

Cost will be $180 per person which covers bed …

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Abbey Museum Volunteer receives acknowledgement

If You Hang Around Long Enough

Our very good friend Maurice O’Connell (that is “o apostrophe c,o,n,n,e,l,l” as one local business noted on his membership card) was recently honoured at the Longman Volunteer Awards.

These awards are given during National Volunteer Week to honour volunteers in various categories for their service to an organisation within each Federal electorate. Under the category Arts and Culture, Maurice was honoured for his long and dedicated service to the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology.  He has been a volunteer at the Museum for over 20 years. During that time you may have met him:

taking visitors on a tour of the stained glass windows in the Abbey Church running an educational dig for a class of school students spruiking at the Medieval Festival acting as Master of Ceremonies at the Picnic at Pemberley keeping a photographic record of some Museum activities assisting with activities during Family Fun Weeks driving the tractor to replace the sand in the archaeological digs

Congratulations Maurice – lovely to see your dedication appreciated by a wider …

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Teaching the Value of Archaeology

To many people archaeology embodies adventure, excitement, very old things and, of course, thanks to the Indiana Jones franchise, unfortunately Nazis. The image of Indiana Jones, Hollywood’s archetypal archaeologist, has been burned into the minds of the “baby boomer” generation. These days, finding anyone under the age of 20 who has seen these films is an adventure in itself. Archaeology is so much more than “digging up old stuff” and putting it into a museum; it plays an important role in society, more than most people realise. Instilling that idea into a student’s mind is a definite challenge.

Curiosity plays an important role in the public perception of archaeology and history. Why are people so fascinated by King Tut and the Pyramids? It has to be more than, “they look pretty cool” right? Well, that’s because it is. Human beings have a natural desire to know more about where they have come from, especially if it relates to themselves. There is no doubt that there is economic value associated with archaeology as well. Museums all over the world are …

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