Petra: Wonder in the Desert

Petra, Jordan: The rock of Fassade and of “ed-Deir.” Andreas Voegelin, Antikenmuseum Basel. How a mysterious kingdom of former nomads created a luxurious, urban oasis in an inhospitable climate.    Interview of Laurent Gorgerat (right) by James Blake Wiener (left) / 05.07.2013 Wiener: Communications Director, Ancient History Encyclopedia Gorgerat: Curator, Antikenmuseum Basel Few places on earth have captivated humanity[…]

On Overview of the Archaeology of Prehistoric and Ancient Israel

Ruins of the ancient Great Synagogue at Capernaum (or Kfar Nahum) on the shore of the Lake of Galilee, Northern Israel / UNESCO, Wikimedia Commons Examining numerous different archaeological schools, disciplines, concepts, and methods currently in existence in Israel. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 10.29.2018 Public Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Introduction LMLK seals with Israeli postage stamps[…]

Spices and Ceramics Found Aboard 400-Year-Old Portuguese Shipwreck

Divers are seen during the discovery of a centuries-old shipwreck, in Cascais in a photo released Monday. / Augusto Salgado/Cascais City Hall/Handout via Reuters A 400-year-old shipwreck that signified a time when the spice trade between Portugal and India was booming has been uncovered 40 feet below the water’s surface during a dredging project. By[…]

Italian Theater Basement Yields Hundreds of Ancient Roman Gold Coins

Hundreds of ancient gold coins were unearthed in the basement of a demolished theater in northern Italy. Archaeologists are calling it an “exceptional discovery.” / Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities  By Shannon Van Sant / 09.10.2018 Hundreds of ancient gold coins were found last week in the basement of a former theater in northern[…]

What Material Culture Tells Us about How the Vikings Lived

Chieftains house replica / Photo by Juanjo Marin, Wikimedia Commons Archaeological artefacts found in places such as Viking graves and former villages – including animal bones, brooches, weapons, pottery, etc. – can tell researchers many things about the Vikings, including how wealthy they might have been, what they wore, what items they used in their[…]

Think Everyone Died Young in Ancient Societies? Think Again.

Anglo-Saxon burial site at the Barrow Clump, Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire. / Photo by Rexfeatures What is the source of the myth that those in the past must have died young? By Christine Cave / 07.09.2018 PhD Candidate in Archaeology Australian National University You might have seen the cartoon: two cavemen sitting outside their cave knapping stone[…]

Roman Era Map Shows Large Now-Sunken Island Off Black Sea Coast

Location of the sunken island of Cyanida / Kianida on Ptolemy’s 9th European Map (Nona Europae Tabula) published in the Reichenbach Monastery in 1467. The sizable island was likely located off the coast of the spot of today’s Black Sea border of Bulgaria and Turkey. Map: Wikipedia, National Library in Warsaw, Poland A sizable but now[…]

‘Photographing Tutankhamun’ Reveals Historical Context behind Pioneering Images

Iconic photography taken during the decade-long excavation of King Tutankhamun’s tomb has gone on display at Cambridge University’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA). 06.14.2018 The exhibition Photographing Tutankhamun has been curated by University of East Anglia (UEA) Egyptologist Dr Christina Riggs and gives a different view on the ‘golden age’ of archaeology and photography in the[…]

How Science is Giving Voice to Mummies Such as Ötzi the Iceman

Ötzi the Iceman has come to life. Simon Claessen/Flickr, CC BY-SA Here’s what one man from around 3,300 BCE actually sounded like. By Dr. Anna Barney / 10.03.2016 Associate Dean of Education Professor of Biomedical Acoustic Engineering University of Southampton Researchers recently managed to recreate the voice of 5,300-year-old Ötzi the iceman by recreating his vocal tract. The technology is promising[…]

Why We Love (and Fear) Mummies

The Mummy, in its 2017 rendition, rehashes an 80-year-old franchise focused on revived Egyptian corpses. AlloCine Mummies are scary but they also fascinate us, giving us the feeling that we can vanquish time by preserving our most perishable feature: flesh. By Dr. Christian-Georges Schwentzel / 06.22.2017 Professor of Ancient History Université de Lorraine Somewhere in Iraq, the tomb raider[…]

What We’re Finding as We Excavate Halmyris, a Frontier Fort of the Roman Empire

Excavating the eastern wall section of Halmyris in 2016. Emily Hanscam, Author provided Excavating the history of migration along the frontier of the Danube. By Emily Hanscam / 07.25.2017 PhD Candidate in Archaeology Durham University Today, some of the frontiers of the Roman Empire are now national boundaries, but in antiquity these spaces functioned very differently from how we understand borders today. I am part of a[…]

From Stonehenge to Nefertiti: How High-Tech Archaeology is Transforming Our View of History

EPA It takes more than a quick scan for high-tech archaeology to reveal history’s secrets. By Dr. Kristian Strutt / 03.23.2016 Experimental Officer and Geophysical Researcher University of Southampton A recent discovery could radically change our views of one of the world’s most famous archaeological sites, Tutankhamun’s tomb. Scans of the complex in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings revealed[…]

Ancient Human Bone Reveals When We Bred with Neanderthals

Behold the femur. Bence Viola, MPI EVA Radiocarbon-dated to around 45,000 years old. By Dr. Daniel Zadik / 10.24.2014 Postdoctoral Researcher in Genetics University of Leicester When a human bone was found on a gravelly riverbank by a bone-carver who was searching for mammoth ivory, little did he know it would provide the oldest modern-human genome yet sequenced. The[…]

Indian Stone Tools Could Dramatically Push Back Date When Modern Humans First Left Africa

Middle Palaeolithic artefacts emerged during excavation at Attirampakkam. Sharma Centre for Heritage Education, India Modern humans could have left Africa shortly after evolving, making it to India in tens of thousands of years. By Dr. Patrick Randolph-Quinney / 01.31.2018 Reader/Associate Professor in Biological and Forensic Anthropology University of Central Lancashire We are all children of Africa. As members of the hominin species Homo sapiens, you and[…]

Tutankhamun’s Dagger Made from a Meteorite

Fallen star sword. Daniella Comelli/University of Pisa Research has confirmed a knife found in the ancient Egyptian pharaoh’s tomb was made with metal from the heavens. By Dr. Diane Johnson / 06.03.2016 Post-Doctoral Research Associate Department of Physical Sciences The Open University Scientists have long speculated that the ancient Egyptians used metal from meteorites to make iron objects. Now an analysis of[…]

4,000-Year-Old Wine Cellar Reveals Wild Nights of the Canaanites

A key part of civilisation? E Photos, CC BY-SA The discovery of a 4,000-year-old wine cellar in Israel has provided the best direct evidence yet of the raucous, boozy celebrations that were a key part of the region’s culture at the time. By Dr. Karlena Tomc-Barbosa / 08.27.2014 Archaeologist, Private Tutor Durham University The discovery of a 4,000-year-old wine cellar in Israel has provided the best direct evidence yet of the raucous, boozy[…]

Combining Linguistics, Archaeology, and Ancient DNA Genetics to Understand Deep Human History

TonelloPhotography/Shutterstock.com Each discipline tells us only part of the story. And so the truest picture of prehistory comes from triangulating these independent lines of evidence.    By Dr. Michael Dunn (left) and Dr. Annemarie Verkerk (right) / 03.29.2018 Dunn: Professor in Linguistics and Philology, Uppsala University Verkerk: Postdoctoral Research Associate in Linguistics, Max Planck Institute for the[…]

Archaeology is Revealing New Truths about the Origins of British Christianity

Centre for the Study for Christianity and Culture, University of York., Author provided New archaeological research on Glastonbury Abbey pushes back the date for the earliest settlement of the site by 200 years – and reopens debate on Glastonbury’s origin myths. By Dr. Roberta Gilchrist / 03.23.2018 Professor of Archaeology University of Reading New archaeological research on Glastonbury Abbey pushes back the date for[…]

Shifting Roman Attitudes in Children’s Sarcophagi

By Dr. Beryl Rawson Vale Professor Emerita Professor of Classics and Ancient History Australian National University The sarcophagi shown below can be used to examine changing notions of childhood over time in the ancient Roman world.  Death is part of every society, but the rituals and objects surrounding death have varied across centuries and continents. They[…]

Ancient Roman Antonine Wall and Imperial Propaganda

The Summerston distance stone from the Antonine Wall, which was found near Bearsden, was one artefact successfully tested for pigment. Photo: The Hunterian Museum / University of Glasgow By Ivan Dikov / 04.22.2018 The 2nd century AD Antonine Wall in Scotland, the northernmost border wall built by the Ancient Romans, was painted in bright colors at least partly,[…]

The Villa J. Paul Getty Built but Never Saw

J. Paul Getty (at left) views a model of the Getty Villa at Sutton Place, his home in England, in 1971. The Getty Research Institute, Institutional Archives. Ancient and modern history intertwine at the Getty Villa. By Dr. Kenneth Lapatin / 04.10.2018 Curator of Antiquities J. Paul Getty Museum Ironically, J. Paul Getty never saw[…]

The Mystery of Britain’s Bronze Age Mummies

Tom Booth, Author provided Turns out the Egyptians weren’t the only ones who mummified their dead. By Dr. Tom Booth / 11.24.2015 Wellcome Post-Doctoral Research Associate Natural History Museum Whenever mummies are mentioned, our imaginations stray to the dusty tombs and gilded relics of ancient Egyptian burial sites. With their eerily lifelike repose, the preserved bodies of ancient Pharaohs like Hatshepsut and[…]

Extracting DNA from Human Remains for Archaeology and History: An Ethical Dilemma

Who gets to decide for the dead, such as this Egyptian mummy? AP Photo/Ric Feld Are DNA samples today’s version of the human skeletons that hung in 20th-century natural history museums? They can provide genetic revelations about our species’ history – but at an ethical price. By Dr. Chip Colwell / 04.06.2018 Lecturer in Anthropology University of Colorado Denver The remains of a[…]

Excavating Etruscan Acquarossa

A revetment plaque depicting dancers. Terracotta, Portico Building A, Acquarossa. 6th century BCE. (National Etruscan Museum of Viterbo, Italy). / Dan Diffendale, Flickr, Creative Commons By Mark Cartwright / 02.03.2017 Introduction Acquarossa, located in the north of Italy’s Lazio region, is the site of an Etruscan settlement of unknown name. Although much smaller than other, more famous Etruscan towns, Acquarossa has proved invaluable[…]

Conservation vs. Restoration: The Palace of Knossos

The archaeological site at Knossos, with restored rooms in the background, Crete (photo: Jebulon, public domain) By Dr. Senta German / 03.24.2018 Faculty of Classics Andrew W Mellon Foundation Teaching Curator, Ashmolean Museum University of Oxford Restoration versus conservation What happens to an archaeological site after the archaeologist’s work is completed? Should the site (or parts of it)[…]