Tag Archives: archaeology

The Archaeology of Armageddon

From 1925 until 1939 The University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute (OI) conducted an archaeological expedition at Tel Megiddo, in what is now northern Israel. This was literally the Biblical Armageddon and has an archaeological record going back to c. 3500 BCE. Eric Cline’s Digging Up Armageddon: The Search for the Lost City of Solomon is a fascinationg account of these excavations. The author interleaves descriptions of the discoveries with the story, which Cline describes as a soap opera, of the participants in the dig.

I discovered the OI back in the 1960’s and it has been a part of my life ever since. However, I had no idea it was such an important player in the archaeological work between the world wars. It is amazing what could be done with Rockefeller money in those days.

The site was occupied almost continuously from about 3500 BCE until about 586 BCE, but a direct connection to King Solomon has yet to be found. What were thought to be Solomon’s stables now seem date from the reign of Ahab, about 870-850 BCE. Ahab and his father Omri get a terrible press in the Biblical book of 1 Kings, but unlike their predecessors in both Israel and Judah, they are mentioned in contemporary Moabite and Assyrian records. We do not yet have such a verification of the Biblical account for David and Solomon.

A hero of our age

Beheaded Syrian scholar refused to lead Isis to hidden Palmyra antiquities

He was a world-renowned scholar of antiquities, enchanted into his old age by Syria’s fabled city of Palmyra, which he called among the most beautiful in the world.

Not far from the spectacular Roman ruins he had spent decades safeguarding, 82-year-old Khaled Asaad met a brutal end at the hands of the militants of Islamic State, relatives and colleagues said Wednesday.

Asaad, the retired director of Palmyra’s antiquities and museum, was publicly beheaded Tuesday in a main square of the modern-day Syrian city of Tadmur, adjoining the ruins, according to a monitoring group and Syria’s antiquities chief. His executioners publicly displayed the bloodied corpse, they said.

The Ancient Minoan Culture…

DNA reveals their Origin

Nothing really wrong with this, but I think the conclusion is too strong. What it proves is that the Minoans in general were not invaders from elsewhere. But foreign cultural influences can come in by ways other than massive invasion and genocide. Look at all the speakers of Indo-European languages: Quite a variety of genetic types even in antiquity.

Dark Age Greece

The Lost Community of Lefkandi

I particularly noticed:

From around 1250 BC onwards, post-Mycenaean ‘refugee’ settlements began to appear, establishing a pattern that was to continue throughout the Dark Ages (Whitley 2011: 77-78). The characteristic Dark Age remote, defensible positions, often over 500m above sea level – as in evidence at Karphi (ibid: 78) – exhibited a continuity of older traditions and no obvious change in population levels (ibid.).

This pattern was noted by Robert Drews in The End of the Bronze Age as evidence that the disasters in the Eastern Mediterranean c. 1200 BC were the result of human action, not natural causes. The only reason the survivors would rebuild in such difficult locations is fear of an attack by raiders or invaders. See also my post on From Bronze to Iron.

The First Americans?

New evidence suggests Stone Age hunters from Europe discovered America

Stone-age Europeans ‘were the first to set foot on North America’

European style stone tools suggest Stone Age people actually discovered America

Radical theory of first Americans places Stone Age Europeans in Delmarva 20,000 years ago

America ‘discovered by Stone Age hunters from Europe’

From Explorator and Archaeology in Europe

Good Historical Novel

Helen’s Daughter is about the life of Hermione, daughter of Menelaus and Helen of Troy, and granddaughter of Atreus (Hence the Amazon blurb’s reference to “the curse that haunts her family”). The author, Laura Gill, knows the Mycenaean Greek world very well and tells a gripping and realistic story about what Hermione’s life might actually have been like.