The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.cam
Thursday, October 9, 2014 - 3B
The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Thursday, October 9,2014- 3B
From Page 1B
Our collection was the
brainchild of Francis Kelsey,
a professor of Latin language
and literature at the University
from 1889 to 1927. Kelsey, who
was also an ardent archaeology
enthusiast, is the namesake
of the Kelsey Museum of
Archaeology on campus.
"It was his idea to start
bringing this material to Ann
Arbor so that students could
work with it here instead of
having to take a .boat all the
way to Egypt to look at papyri,"
How the papyri are handled
and stored has evolved over
the years. Haug allowed
me to enter "The Vault," an
room used for storing fragile
documents and artifacts. Its
appearance is deceivingly
simple - just a few rows of
shelves, some cabinets, with
cold, sterile air like a hospital
waiting room. However, these
shelves hold thousands of
between panes of glass or gently
hugged in acid-free folders.
Other fragments are not
as organized. Back when the
University was excavating
Karanis, archaeologists would
find so many small fragments
that they just dumped them
in whatever containers were
available - along the lines of
tin boxes emblazoned with the
logos of French chocolate and
Egyptian cigarette companies.
Haug opens one for me, and
inside are dozens of jumbled
scraps, like wood shavings
swept up in a workshop.
Fragments like these,
before they can be studied by
papyrologists, must be worked
on by a conservator. The
University collection has two
dedicated conservators: Ulrike
Lau-Lamb and Marieka Kaye,
who must deal with a wide
variety of corrupting elements
on the papyri.
"There's so many things
that might need to be done,
but it is mainly removing dirt
that might be caked on and
obscuring- letters, or fibers
might be misaligned, and
letters can'tbe seen," Kaye said.
Even when the fragments
can be adequately cleaned and
straightened, that they'll even
"Sometimes there's like
five different pieces scattered
that have to be put together
like a puzzle, and we have
papyrologists that help us piece
it together," Kaye said.
The tools of the trade are
more primitive than one
might think; Q-tips, tweezers,
a miniature bellow to blast a
millennium of desert sand off
of the words. These suffice, but
there's always more upkeep to do.
"You feel like you're never
done, because there's always
more fibers you can straighten,
and just one fiber can make a
difference," Kaye said.
Once the scraps are treated,
they are ready to be studied.
Papyrology can be split into
two sub-fields: literary and
documentary. For literary
papyrology, there's no better
person to talk to at Michigan
than Richard Janko, the Gerald
F. Else Distinguished University
Professor of Classical Studies.
His engagement with antiquity
began during his childhood in
"When I was quite young,
my father used to do work for
a farmer across the valley, who
turned out not to be a farmer in
the end, and he was someone
who was very fond of Greece
and of Greek, and I became
ted by ancient languages Haug said.
ripts," Janko said. So at a site like Karanis, there
y was this man not actually are numerous documents that
ser? The answer seems track obligations: tax records,
straight out of "Indiana contracts, deeds of sale. These
transactions weren't just
ound out years later, after written on papyrus - pottery
end of my father had died, shards, called ostraka, were
wasn't actually a farmer; often used for writing.
s a British secret agent," "Broken pots were
said. everywhere. You can compare
oever this man was, it them to the cigarette butts or
d. Janko is now a renowned gum wrappers of antiquity,"
ioner of reconstructing Haug said.
t books, often using One can learn a surprising
logical evidence. Right amount from these seemingly
e is working with another meaningless documents.
papyri from the Roman "Any one document is fairly
of Herculaneum that was banal, you know, 'Who cares?'
yed alongside Pompeii. " Haug said. "But in large
ey haven't been very numbers you can put them all
le until now, because together, all the documents
burned black, and the ink from a single place and single
k, and the background is time, you can start to tell some
and black on black is very interesting stories from them."
see, but now we've got And unlike the literature in
rful imaging technologies the collection, which had been
hese things are finally transmitted and copied for
ing readable, so we are hundreds of years until it got
a lot of new texts out of to Karanis, these documents
Janko said. are both time - and region -
imaging technology he specific.
rring to is Reflectance "You can say a lot more about
ormation Imaging, in a text if you know where it
a crumpled, burned text comes from. It's actually a thing,
e "smoothed" by taking as much a thing as a piece of
raphs of it from various pottery or the head of a statue,"
and levels of light. To Haug said. "It's an artifact."
strate, Janko showed me Given this regional
image of a Herculaneum specificity, papyrologists must
s, which is part of a be careful to not make too many
usly unstudied book assumptions.
etics by the philosopher "You can look at the
emus. By strategically documentation from, say,
ng the angles and lighting Karanis, and ask yourself, 'Can
e image, we were able I use this documentation to
inate a single word - generalize about the rest of
n, Greek for "hearing." Egypt, let alone the rest of the
n with this technology, Mediterranean?'" Haug said. "I
logists face a challenge. think legitimately the answer
authors, like the lyric is no, to the second part of
appho, are only known to that. The Mediterranean is an
ough fragments, acquired incredibly large place, and even
through discoveries of within a single region, they're
or from being quoted in going to have their own unique
works. socioeconomic structures."
This makes sense even now
- housing deeds from Ann
gand Arbor wouldn't necessarily
paint an accurate portrait of the
verything real estate market in Detroit.
But because the Romans
ith ink on were notoriously efficient and
t is useful. can inform our understanding
of the larger empire.
"It gives you a lot of
information on how the
very difficult, because Ptolemaic state, and the larger
even know for certain Roman Empire, functioned on
er the poems are complete. the ground," Haug said.
ed more papyri of people But every so often, something
ppho, which is something in the collection will transcend
hope for from a collection economics or agriculture, or
Michigan's, which is even literature, in its human
omething we hope for significance. On one piece of
arily in vain," Janko said. papyrus, a doodle was found on
most conventionally the back; someone in antiquity
g texts in the University had drawn an elephant and a
ionareliteraryandbiblical head with antennae.
for obvious reasons. To But the best example is a
translation of the Epistles letter found in a collapsed house
t Paul is one thing. But to in Karanis. It was sentcin the 2nd
ipon the earliest known century A.D. by a young Roman
f them - just a few sheets sailor to his mother. In his letter,
ed and yellowed papyri - this man tells his mother that
xperience best described he will be based at the port of
ligious. However, the Naples, and that she shouldn't
amorous material often worry about him even though he
ns the most interesting won'tbe home for a longtime.
ation. "There's a human element to
e major interest in the it - you'd write the same letter
days was literature or. toyour mother today if you were
I material," Haug said. in the military," Haug said.
became apparent by the This letter, which survived
0th century that there by chance, represents the unique
just by volume, vastly allure that is the University's
material to work with if Papyrological Collection. People,
anted to work on things past and present, write down
conomics, the history things they want to remember,
griculture, history of and things they want others
istration, law, etc.," he to remember. So whether it's a
housing contract or a chapter
us, the people of Karanis of Homer, all of these things
tented their business in must have meant something to
g. someone at sometime.
erything that involves Haug put it best: "We have
and obligations, the the highest of the high and the
that generate paperwork lowest of the low and everything
erethesameinantiquity," in between."
Flume: Not the Bon lver song.
The slow, downtempo
thu ender do wn unde r
is an e
stralian artists Streten, aka Flume,
discovered his musical
Flume and Chet destiny at the bottom of
a Nutri-Grain cereal box.
ker are forging Buried beneath the crunchy
and fibrous deliciousness
eir own genre was a CD for a simple music
production program -
ByNICKBOYD Streten was hooked and
DailyArts Writer his interest in production
grew exponentially over
another shrimp on his teenage years. Now, at
arbie, light up that fat, the age of 22, Flume is the
ly-packed propane fastest growing electronic
and get ready for artist in the world. His self-
outrageous fun - The titled album was released in
es -,are =taking over. November 2012, to critical
ntempo," or "chill," acclaim. In 2013, he was
onic music is seeing recognized at the Australian
ge in popularity, and Recording Industry
s from the land down Association Awards as the
are spearheading the Breakthrough Artist and
w movement. Best Male Artist of the year,
wntempo," "down and also received the award
or "chill (out)," are for Best Dance Release.
for the same musical In 2013,Flume collaborated
As opposed to other with fellow Aussie, Chet
lectronic genres - like Faker, to release the Lockjaw
- downtempo takes EP. The track, "Drop the
w, relying on relaxed Game," went platinum. Not
s, more sophisticated only did the partnership
uanced melodies and elevate Flume to the next
ex, understated beats. level of stardom, it also
aething is in the water placed the relatively less-
under. Artists are known Nicholas Murphy, aka
nly saying, "Fuck the Chet Faker, in the limelight.
ridoo, time to harness Murphy, a Melbourne
ower of electricity and native, offers a slightly
some introspective different take on downtempo.
Alas, the pioneers Much like his idol, jazz
:e very non-obscure, musician Chet Baker,
alian Downtempo Murphy's vocals are a crucial
ment were born. The element in his recipe. Faker's
nost prominent, Flume music tends to be darker, and
Chet Faker have not more soulful than Flume's,
producing for long, but making their collaborative
e already made a big efforts an interesting blend
in Australia, Europe, of style.
re beginning to make Faker released his first EP,
ray with an American Thinking in Textures in 2012.
nce. The EP received positive
:ghly 10 years ago, reviews from many indie
y-native Harley outlets, but didn't generate
much momentum in the
mainstream. However, when
his first true album, Built on
Glass, was released in 2014,
it debuted at number 1 in the
Together, the collective
success of Flume and Faker
are emblematic of a larger
trend in music. "Electronic
Music" is becoming
increasingly dissociated as
a genre. Given the massive
variety of styles that fall
under the electronic heading,
the label is meaningless alone.
"Electronic" is no longer a
stylistic descriptor. It would
be like if someone grouped
rock, blues, jazz, country and
folk under "Guitar music."
Flume and Chet transcend
general classification, and
bridge the gaps between
classical style and new means
of creation. By chilling out
the tempo and reducing the
bells and whistles associated
with electronic music, the
is forging a new distinct
musical identity and a genre
that the masses can enjoy.
Chet and Flume aren't
the only ones riding the
downtempo wave from down
under - other Aussies, like
Jordan Rakei and Thief, are
also generating hype. If you
are only going to listen to one
song by each artist/pair of
artists, my recommendations
would be "Drop the Game"
"Holding on" (Flume), "Talk
is Cheap" (Chet Faker),
"Broken Boy" (Thief), and
"Streetlight" (Jordan Rakei).
Relax, enjoy your barbied
shrimp, and listen to the
noises of Australia - you may
be inspired enough to buy a
box of Nutri-Grain.
MUSIC VIDEO REVIEW
Finally, the stillunreleased
Nicki Minaj gets a much appre-
included on ***Flawless
album that Beyoncd&
dropped Nicki Minaj
by surprise Columbia
last year; the
remix appeared on Bey's Sound-
cloud in August.
Following some television
static, a sample of Chimamanda
Idiche Ngozi's "We Should All
Be Feminists"shoots acrossthe
stage of a packed Stade de France
before Beyonce and an army of
dancers emerge in Versace prints.
Powering through infectious
dance moves and aggressivelyr-
ics, it is clear this is Beyoncedat
the top of her game.
Cheers roar as Queen B
slides into the opening rap from
the remix. Bey delivers her
lines perfectly, including a
tongue-in-cheek reference to
her husband and sister's now
infamous elevator fight. Then,
all hellbreaks loose as Nicki
Minaj emerges from behind the
dancers in a matching Versace
It takes a lot to stand with
Beyonce, but Minaj brings it
while Bey dances as if she's
Minaj'sbiggest fan. Their chem-
istry comes of as genuine, like
old friends. Once, Minaj slays
through the end of her verse, she
gives a quick smile before she
leaves Beyonce to finish up the
Lyrics? Flawless. Choreog-
raphy? Flawless. Minaj cameo?
Flawless. The video?Beyond.
Classical Studies prof. Brendan Haug examines a papyrus fragment in the vault at Hatcher.