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December 2004

December 7

"Lost" Treasures of Afghanistan Revealed
In a secret vault, more than 22,000 antiquities survived the Taliban and 25 years of conflict.

"King Tut" Treasure To Return to U.S.
After 26 years, the world's most famous Egyptian tomb trove is coming to museums in 2005.

Pharaoh's Firstborn, Proof of the Plagues?
The Discovery Channel's Rameses: Wrath of God or Man? seeks to determine if God really killed Pharaoh's oldest son.

Another Stonehenge Found in Russia? Nov. 17, 2004
Russian archaeologists have announced that they have found the remains of a 4,000-year-old structure that they compare to England's Stonehenge, according to recent reports issued by Pravda and Novosti, two Russian news services.

Mexican tomb reveals gruesome human sacrifice
The burial chamber found in the 'Pyramid of the Moon' suggests that the people of Teotihuacan may have been bloodthirsty warmongers.

Ancient ape gives clue to family origins
Fossil from 13 million years ago sheds light on human split from apes.

November 2004

November 21

US archeologist: Yadin finds are Temple artifacts.
In the hour-long NOVA documentary, airing on PBS stations on November 23, Richard Freund, director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford in Conneticut, challenges some of the groundbreaking ideas of famed soldier and archeologist Yigael Yadin. See also Ancient Refuge in the Holy Land.

Noah's Ark Quest Dead in Water -- Was It a Stunt?
In April businessman and Christian activist Daniel McGivern announced with great fanfare a planned summer expedition to Mount Ararat in Turkey. The project, he said, would prove that the fabled Noah's ark was buried there.  The choice of expedition leader—a Turkish academic named Ahmet Ali Arslan, who claims to have climbed Mount Ararat 50 times in 40 years—also raised a red flag with those familiar with previous expeditions. Arslan was involved in a 1993 documentary, aired on CBS television, which claimed to have found the ark. Some of the evidence presented in that documentary turned out to be a hoax, raising concerns about Arslan's testimony. 

Atlantis Buried Between Cyprus, Syria? Nov. 15, 2004
U.S. researcher Robert Sarmast claimed Sunday to have found proof that the mythical lost city of Atlantis actually existed and is located under the Mediterranean seabed between Cyprus and Syria. 

Ship from the time of David and Solomon?
One may have been discovered on Israel's Mediterranean coast - by a dog!

Who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?
University of Chicago professor contends the scrolls were the product of many hands and represent a broad range of perspectives rather than just the thinking of a tight-knit religious group.

The story behind the dating of the silver scrolls
Background on the silver scrolls containing the priestly benediction. The second link includes a good photograph of the scrolls. See also A Benediction Revealed.

Summary of the finds at the Jordanian site of Deir Ain Abata
Deir Ain Abata ("Monastery of the Abbot's Spring") is a Byzantine monastery built at the traditional site of "Lot's cave" in the mountains near today's Ghor al-Safi, Biblical Zoar (see article in Bible and Spade, Summer 1999).

Queen of Sheba Exhibit at the Bowers Museum, Santa Ana CA
Exhibit examines the question of the historicity of the Queen of Sheba. See also Treasure fit for a queen.

3,500 year old Bronze Age Temple in Jordan. Madaba Plains Project.

King Tut Death Mystery To Be Probed. Nov. 15, 2004
The mummy of Tutankhamun will be CAT scanned in the attempt to uncover how the pharaoh died a teenager more than 3,000 years ago, Egypt's chief archaeologist announced.

Garbage betrays date of earliest village life
The occupants of the first permanent settlements were forced to develop a strategy for getting rid of rubbish.

November 8

Mini Human Species Unearthed
In what is being hailed as one of the most spectacular paleoanthropological finds of the past century, researchers have unearthed the remains of a dwarf human species that survived on the Indonesian island of Flores until just 13,000 years ago. The discovery significantly extends the known range of physical variation in our genus, Homo, and reveals that H. sapiens shared the planet with other humans much more recently than previously believed. See also Little lady of Flores forces rethink of human evolution.

Rameses: Wrath of God or Man?
A new find in Egypt's Valley of Kings opens an investigation into what just might be a royal murder mystery, and probes the question: Did Egypt's greatest pharoah really refuse to let the Hebrews go? The show premieres December 5, but you can see a preview right now. View the Clip Using Windows Media.

October 2004

October 24

More on Bible texts on silver amulets dated to First Temple period
The authenticity of some artifacts found in 1979 bearing the 'Priestly Benediction' and predating the Dead Sea Scrolls has been confirmed with new technology. See also Solving a Riddle Written in Silver and Ancient benediction gets an ‘Amen’.

Qumran and Dead Sea Scrolls
Recent dig uncovers evidence supporting the connection between the Qurnan community and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Full Excavation for Irish Viking Village? By Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery News. Oct. 19, 2004
Preliminary work to build a bypass road in an Irish village has yielded what could be the most significant piece of Viking history in Europe: a virtually intact town that some have already called Ireland's equivalent of Pompeii.

Resurrected: Lost Raphael painting of Christ
An unknown work confidently believed to be by Raphael has been found beneath a later painting which had been put into the wall of an Umbrian church and forgotten (The Guardian, London).

October 10

Bible texts on silver amulets dated to First Temple period
U.S. and Israeli researchers claim to have discovered proof that the Five Books of Moses were in existence during the First Temple period. (Ha'aretz, Israel) In a scholarly report published this month, the research team concluded that the improved reading of the inscriptions confirmed their greater antiquity. The script, the team wrote, is indeed from the period just before the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. by Nebuchadnezzar and the subsequent exile of Israelites in Babylon.

Dead Sea Scrolls coming to Houston
They have been called a window in time. Some of the earliest surviving Biblical texts will be on exhibit in Houston beginning Friday. (KHOU, Texas)

Incas Destroyed Own Site Before Leaving. Sept. 21, 2004
Incan pilgrims smashed and burned their own temple, and a tower containing a golden statue of a king, rather than let them fall into Spanish hands, says an Australian archaeologist.

Lice tell mankind's story
Study of head louse suggests that Homo erectus transmitted parasite to Homo sapiens.

September 2004

September 13

Turkey denies Honolulu man’s bid to find Noah’s Ark.
A Honolulu businessman's plan to take an expedition to Mount Ararat in search of Noah's Ark ended this week when the Turkish government refused to permit it because of security concerns about the area, which borders Iran and is 150 miles from Iraq.

A court in Israel has forbidden removal of dirt excavated by the Waqf from the Temple Mount until it can be screened by archaeologists.

Update—Finds or Fakes?
Did a tongue loosened by alcohol unmask a massive forgery enterprise? Is the Israel Museum the unwitting home to scores of fake inscriptions? Duke University professor outs paleographer accused of probably lying.

Dig renews debate over Dead Sea Scrolls
Researchers in dispute over sect's lifestyle (San Francisco Chronicle).

Did John the Baptist really eat locusts?  A survey of the "debate" (Christopher Howse, The Telegraph, London).

Native Americans Weren't the First. Sept. 6, 2004
DNA analysis of skulls found in Baja California that belonged to an extinct tribe called the Pericues reveal that the Pericues likely were not related to Native Americans and that they probably predated Native Americans in settling the Americas, according to an announcement Monday.

Iceman Spent Days in Pain Before Death. Sept. 6, 2004
Ötzi the Iceman, the world's oldest and best-preserved mummy, might have spent at least three days in excruciating pain before he died, according to new research presented at the 5th World Congress on Mummy Studies in Turin.

Study: Gypsies Came From India. Sept. 7, 2004
Legend has it that European Gypsies came from Egypt, but a new genetic study has shown they came from a small population that emerged from ancestors in India around 1000 years ago.

Mummy's Face Revealed with CT Scans
Scientists have reconstructed the face of a mummified Egyptian man without removing his 3,000-year-old bandages.

August 2004

August 31

Ancient tomb uncovered in Cairo suburb. Cairo
A domed Pharaonic tomb dating back to the 7th century BC was uncovered in a residential Cairo suburb, officials at the Supreme Council for Antiquities said on Wednesday.

Ruins Found in Peru From BEFORE the Incans

Scraps Of Prehistoric Fabric Provide A View Of Ancient Life. PHILADELPHIA
Fragments of ancient fabric – some dating back to the time the Coliseum was built in Rome – may give researchers better insight into the lives of Native Americans who lived in eastern North America some 800 to 2,000 years ago.

August 23

Scholars Debate ''The Cave of John the Baptist''
Archaeologists say they found the cave where John baptized many of his followers; Scholars keep a critical yet hopeful eye on the discoveries. See also John the Baptist’s cave: speculation & sensation and Bring Me the Stead of John the Baptist?

DNA to reveal source of Dead Sea Scrolls
Authorities are hoping that DNA testing of animal bones discovered in excavations at the Qumran plateau will reveal the origins of the Dead Sea Scrolls (The Jerusalem Post).

Scholars disagree on early inhabitants of Qumran.
Rival groups of scholars excavating this dusty plateau overlooking the Dead Sea are arguing over who lived here in biblical times — ordinary farmers or the Essenes, a monastic sect seen by some as a link between Judaism and early Christianity (Associated Press). See also Archaeologists insist there was a community at Qumran.

Student dig seeks link to King Solomon.
Digs this summer at Megiddo, Israel, did not reveal definitive evidence to link Solomon's Palace to the biblical king, but some nice figurines of horses' heads were found above the stables.

3500-year-old Bronze Age temple discovered in Jordan.
TALL AL-UMAYRI, Jordan: A 3,500 year old temple from the Late Bronze Age has been discovered at Tall al-Umayri just south of Amman. The discovery is particularly exciting because the Late Bronze Age has yielded few structures of any kind in the central hills of Jordan and because it is one of the best preserved buildings and areas of worship that has been found. It contributes to the belief that there were more settled inhabitants in the area at the time than previously thought.

Contrasting Insights of Biblical Giants. BAR Interviews Elie Weisel and Frank Moore Cross.

Ancient Persian fleet surrenders its mysteries.
A team from Greece, Canada and the United States has just completed a second expedition to retrieve artefacts from 300 ships of the Persian King Darius that were wrecked in a storm off the Mt Athos Peninsula, northern Greece, in 492BC or 493BC.

Holograms Help Identify Sham Script
Scientists have developed a new tool for fighting forgers. The hologram-based technique produces a three-dimensional image of a handwriting sample that can be used to compare two John Hancocks and determine if they were both jotted by the same John.

INEEL Develops Computer Tool To Help Save Archaeological Treasures.

Ancient Mask, 'Olympic' Ring Found in Thracian Tomb. SHIPKA, Bulgaria (Reuters)
A Bulgarian archaeologist has unearthed an ancient gold mask and a ring featuring an "Olympic" rower in what he called an unrivalled find in the study of classical antiquity.

August 17

John the Baptist cave Discovered?
Archaeologists claim they have found a cave where they believe John the Baptist anointed many of his disciples – a huge cistern with 28 steps leading to an underground pool of water. See also John the Baptist's cave 'found' .

Digging up the Bible
A new cadre of Bible scholars and archaeologists, some with an overtly political agenda, has argued that the great Israelite kingdom, depicted in the books of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles, never really existed (Forward).

US Army helps restore antiquities associated with Nineveh
Two major historic sites dating back to the 8th century B.C. – the Nergal Gate and King Sennacherib’s palace – are being restored with help from the 416th Civil Affairs Battalion.

The largest seated statue of the 19th-Dynasty Pharaoh Ramses II yet found is being unearthed in Akhmim.

August 8

Archeologists claim Essenes never wrote Dead Sea Scrolls
Israeli archaeologists now argue that Qumran "lacks any uniqueness" (Haaretz, Tel Aviv).

The notion of human 'race' has had a troubled history, in both social and scientific circles.  But can human populations legitimately be divided into groups?  The authors argue that dividing humans on the basis of genetic similarity might be more reliable than using common 'racial' subdivisions, and that this information will be most useful for understanding our genetic ancestry and improving human health.

July 2004

July 25

Death on the Nile.
Recent discoveries at Abydos including the evidence for human sacrifice when early Egyptian kings were buried.

50 Minoan graves found.
Archaeologists have found 50 graves in a Late Minoan cemetery at Aghios Ioannis in Crete. Artifacts indicate that some are warrior burials and others are family tombs.

Ancient DNA Reveals Skin Color July 19, 2004
Researchers may be able to make more accurate reconstructions of what ancient humans looked like with the first ever use of ancient DNA to determine hair and skin color from skeletal remains.

Family words came first for early humans
A trawl of a thousand languages suggests that common family words may have come from the Neanderthals.

July 18

Three Debates about Bible and Archaeology See
The Spanish translation is at: Tres Debates sobre Biblia y Arqueología.

Ice Age 'Sistine Chapel' Found. July 13, 2004
An elaborately decorated cave ceiling with artwork dating to 13,000 years ago has been found in Nottinghamshire, England, according to a press release issued today by the University of Sheffield.

Growth Study Of Wild Chimpanzees Challenges Assumptions About Early Humans.

July 10

IS the Exodus a fusion of a Hyksos and Ramesside expulsion as preserved by Manetho.

Explorers of Noah's Lost Ark
Citing new satellite images, team seeks to 'solidify the faith of many Christians.' By Gordon Govier.

Ancient African Skull Fills Gap, Fuels Debate
Remains of the hominids that lived in Africa between a million and half a million years ago are frustratingly rare in the fossil record. Bones from this time period have been recovered in Europe and Asia, but the paucity of finds from Africa has prevented a full understanding of just what members of the species Homo erectus looked like. A new discovery is helping to fill the fossil gap.

64,800-Year-Old Hair Yields DNA. June 23, 2004
Hair and fur could be our window to the past, according to scientists who have just extracted and cloned DNA from a 64,800-year-old bison and hairs purportedly from famed physicist Sir Isaac Newton.

Egyptian Mummy Unwrapped in 3D By Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery News. July 5, 2004
Cutting-edge computer technology and state-of-the-art medical scanning techniques have turned a 2,800-year-old mummy into a fully interactive 3-D experience, London's British Museum has announced.

June 2004

June 20

Pool of Siloam found
Ancient Pool of Siloam found near Gihon Spring in Jerusalem.

Date of Dead Sea Scroll cache at Qumran in error?
Greg Doudna, in his article "Redating the Dead Sea Scroll Deposits at Qumran: The Legacy of an error in Archaeological Interpretation," calls into question the dating of the Qumran text deposits to the time of the First Jewish Revolt against Rome in 70 AD. 

Egyptian tombs reveal a complex society.
Twenty previously unexcavated tombs, which are several hundred years older than the great pyramids of Giza, are shedding light on the first complex societies on Earth.

Ancient "Highway" Still Shows Chariot Tracks June 16, 2004
A plain in Tuscany destined to become a dump has turned out to be an archaeologist's dream, revealing the biggest Etruscan road ever found.

Trove of ancient artifacts in way of Blair road project.

Ancient Maps And Corn Help Track The Migrations Of Indigenous People. MADISON
Maps are tools to show you where you are going, but they can also show you where you came from. That principle drives the work of Roberto Rodríguez and Patrisia Gonzales, who study ancient maps, oral traditions and the movement of domesticated crops to learn more about the origins of native people in the Americas.

June 13

Dealing with the Devil
David R. Cartlidge - What happened after the Fall? A collection of ancient apocryphal tales supplements the brief biblical account of what happened to Adam, Eve and Satan east of Eden.

Is Homer Historical? An Interview with Gregory Nagy
The last several decades have completely altered our understanding of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. It tuns out that these poems may not have been composed by a man named Homer; instead, they probably began as an amorphous group of myths, which, over the course of a millennium, evolved into the epics we know today. To get a sense of the real “Homer,” we turned ot Harvard professor Gregory Nagy, one of the scholars most responsible for changing our minds.

Rat DNA clues to sea migration.
Scientists have used DNA from rats to trace migration patterns of the ancestors of today's Polynesians.

May 2004

May 30

Evidence of Ancient University Unearthed in Alexandria.
A team of Polish archaeologists has recently uncovered the first material evidence of the ancient University of Alexandria in Egypt. Known as the intellectual center of the ancient world, Alexandria was home to the famous library that was founded in 295 B.C. and burned to the ground in the fourth century A.D.

Ancient tombs of royal standard discovered in Shaanxi.
A large-scale tomb group of the Western Zhou Dynasty (11th century B.C.- 771 B.C.) was discovered at the Zhougong Temple site in Qishan County in northwest China's Shaanxi Province, Chinese archaeologists said Tuesday.

The James L. Kelso Bible Lands Museum, in the basement of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, is a "small archaeological treasure." Its collection of 16mm movies show Kelso and early archaeological luminaries on digs going back to the 1920s and the daily life of the local Arabs at that time.

Microbes Found In Mayan Ruins May Deteriorate Stone From Inside Out. NEW ORLEANS – May 27, 2004
Researchers from Havard University have discovered the presence of a previously unidentified microbial community inside the porous stone of the Maya ruins in Mexico that may be capable of causing rapid deterioration of these sites. They present their findings at the 104th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

May 23

Halley's Comet Portrayed on Ancient Coin. May 19, 2004
A rare ancient coin may feature an early record of Halley's Comet, researchers say. The coin features the head of the Armenian king Tigranes II the Great, who reigned from 95 to 55 B.C. A symbol on his crown that features a star with a curved tail may represent the passage of Halley's comet in 87 B.C., say the Armenian and Italian researchers.

Early man had mining in mind
Flint analysis sheds light on our ancestors' digging skills. 18 May 2004.

May 16

Key Mayan City Discovered. May 6, 2004
An Italian archeologist said Tuesday he had uncovered ancient objects that show an unexplored site in Guatemala's Peten region to be one of the most significant preclassic Mayan cities ever found. "I think Cival was one of the largest cities of the Preclassic Maya, maybe housing 10,000 people at its peak," the archeologist from Nashville's Vanderbilt University said at a news conference.

An exhibit of Native American petroglyphs has opened quietly in the Columbia River Gorge, featuring 43 boulders that had been overshadowed by the Dalles Dam. See Petroglyphs.

Troy's Fallen! Movie Review of Troy.

May 9

Scientists to search for Noah's ark on Turkish mountain
Expedition will study 'man-made object' shown by satellite photos (The Guardian, UK).

Four-Horned Altar Discovered in Judean Hills
Yoel Elitzur and Doron Nir-Zevi - A stroll on the West Bank leads to a remarkable find: a Biblical-era stone altar for animal sacrifice.

Oldest Evidence of Bedding Found. May 5, 2004
An Upper Paleolithic camp, once submerged by the waters of the Sea of Galilee, has yielded the world's oldest evidence of bedding, according to Israeli archaeologists.

Colonizing Cretans.
Europe's oldest civilization, the Minoans of ancient Crete, were also the continent's first colonialists, according to investigations in Turkey and elsewhere. While archaeologists have long been aware of Minoan . trading activity along the Anatolian coast, excavations at Miletus in southwest Turkey are revealing how 3,700 years ago they expanded to the Asian mainland to set up at least one permanent colony. The discoveries lend credence to an ancient Greek myth of a Minoan colony there.

May 2

Expedition will seek to find Noah's ark
An expedition is being planned for this summer to the upper reaches of Turkey's Mount Ararat where organizers hope to prove an object nestled amid the snow and ice is Noah's Ark (Associated Press) See also

Rush to Judgment?
Israel Antiquities Authority's 'findings' bother many archaeologists. By Gordon Govier.

Surprisingly rapid growth in Neanderthals 

Charred remains may be earliest human fires.
Archaeologists in Israel may have unearthed the oldest evidence of fire use by our ancestors. The site, on the banks of the Jordan River, dates to about 790,000 years ago.

Best of Egypt: Recent Discoveries and More
Who built the pyramids? What’s inside? Get the answers and our latest Egypt news stories.

Maya “Masterpiece” Uncovered in Guatemala
Find out how archaeologists suffered death threats and recently unearthed what they say is one of the greatest Maya treasures ever found.

April 2004

April 25

Ancient inscribed slab brought to light. Potsdam
A team of German and Egyptian archaeologists working in the Nile Delta has unearthed "quite a remarkable" stele dating back 2 200 years to Ptolemaic Egypt which bears an identical inscription in three written languages - like the famed Rosetta Stone. t shows a royal decree, written in ancient Greek, Demotic and Hieroglyphs, that mentions King Ptolemy III Euergetes I along with the date 238 BC.

Ancient shell jewellery hints at language
Early humans strung shells together at least 75,000 years ago, suggesting advanced concepts of symbolism already existed.

Italian Skeletons Reveal Old World Diseases.

Researchers Find Important Mayan Remains
U.S. and Guatemalan Researchers Find Important Mayan Monuments Covered With Texts.

April 11

Controversy revisits Shroud of Turin By Dan Vergano, USA TODAY
A documentary on the Shroud of Turin suggests the cloth, a religious relic once believed to be the burial shroud of Christ, might be authentic, and some archaeologists are crying foul.

Jewish remains give clues on crucifixion.
Jesus is the best known victim of crucifixion. But thousands of other Jews were put to death on the cross by the Romans, trying to quash Jewish rebellions in the Holy Land in the first century.  Yet strangely the remains of only one victim have ever been found. He was Yehohanan Ben Hagkol, a Jewish man whose heel bone, excavated by archaeologists near Jerusalem in 1968, still had a nail embedded in it. "It is the only case ever found in the world where there is indisputable evidence of crucifixion," said Joe Zias, a physical anthropologist who examined the remains of Yehohanan Ben Hagkol.

Builders Of Ancient Tombs And Temples Followed Sun And Stars. Milton Keynes - Apr 01, 2004
Two studies of ancient monuments in southwest Europe reveal the influence the Sun and stars had on their builders according to Dr Michael Hoskin, a historian of astronomy at Cambridge University.

NASA Radar Aids High-Tech Digs. Pasadena CA - Apr 08, 2004
History can be hard to find. A forgotten letter molders in an attic. An ancient temple hides beneath jungle greenery. Even knowing that something is there doesn't necessarily make it easier to find - the classic needle in the haystack.

April 4

Dating Water and Tracing Bones.
Dating water and tracing bones to high precision will be more widely available for geological and biomedical applications thanks to state-of-the-art atom counting techniques. In a pair of new papers, Zheng-Tian Lu of Argonne National Laboratory ( and his colleagues have demonstrated two new applications of Atom Trap Trace Analysis (ATTA; see Update 460), in which researchers trap desired isotopes with lasers and magnetic fields and then count them with laser techniques.

Artifacts support evolution of symbolic thinking in Middle Stone Age. Tempe - Apr 01, 2004
New finds from an open-air archaeological site in the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania have intriguing implications for the evolution of modern human behavior, including further indications that symbolic thinking developed in humans earlier than the currently accepted date of about 35,000 years ago.

First Frontal Portrait of Pharaoh Found in Egypt
CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptologists have pieced together fragments of the first known ancient portrait of a pharaoh drawn from the front rather than in profile, a Spanish archaeologist said on Thursday.

March 2004

March 28

An ivory pomegranate inscribed with the words "Belonging to the Temple of Yahweh, holy to the priests" and displayed at the Israel Museum is a fake according to information received by Israel Antiquities Authority investigators. The investigation into suspected forged antiquities began following the discovery of the item known as the "Yehoash Inscription." Subsequently dozens of forged items have been discovered. The investigators maintain that at the center of the ring is the collector Oded Golan, the owner of the "James Ossuary" and the "Yehoash Inscription." Golan rejects all accusations, but the investigators say that they have many items that originated with the suspect and were sold through intermediaries.

7,400-year-old jar gives clue to phoenix-worshipping history.
A 7,400-year-old pottery jar stamped with the design of two flying phoenixes has been excavated recently in central China's Hunan Province, helping archaeologists unveil the secret of the "birth" of the sacred bird.

Bones hint at first use of fire.
Tests show that 1.5-million-year-old bones from Swartkrans Cave, South Africa, had been heated to high temperatures, possibly making them the first evidence of fire use by humans.

March 21

Did Noah really build an ark?
In the Bible, God tells Noah he has to build an ark and load a pair of every kind of animal before a great flood engulfs the world. It is widely regarded as a myth, but could it actually be true?

Remains of an ancient civilization discovered in the depths of the Northern sea.
While some scientists spend all their time and efforts in search of Atlantis, others have already discovered remains of an ancient civilization that had existed on the same territory as present-day Northern sea. With the help of modern technology, archaeologists were able to get a better glimpse of the ancient world. Approximately 10 000 years ago the entire bottom of the Northern sea had been a blossoming valley, inhabited by ancestors of modern-day Europeans. Scientists from the Birmingham University were able to reach such conclusion after reconstructing local landscape by means of computers. Archaeologists analyzed data of earth's crust's fluctuations and using a specially designed program managed to come up with a 3D image of the area. The region connects today's British Isles with continental Europe.

Cosmic dust may unlock secret tombs.
Remnants of space dust that constantly showers the world are helping to unearth the secrets of a 2000-year-old Mexican pyramid where the rulers of a mysterious civilisation may lie buried. Deep under the huge Pyramid of the Sun north of Mexico City, physicists are installing a device to detect muons, sub-atomic particles left over when cosmic rays hit Earth.

Grave of Egyptian king's courtiers uncovered. Cairo
A grave believed to belong to courtiers or servants of King Aha, the first king of ancient Egypt's first dynasty, was uncovered by an American excavation mission in Abydos in Upper Egypt, a culture ministry statement said on Sunday.

March 14

Israeli scientists: Retest the Joash tablet
The debate over the authenticity of the James ossuary may have cooled, but another archaeological debate that many observers thought settled has reignited.When Israel's Antiquities Authority called the James Ossuary inscription a forgery, it also called the Jehoash Tablet a fake. The tablet, which contains wording very similar to 2 Kings 12, is reportedly owned by Oded Golan, who also owns the James Ossuary.While Biblical Archaeology Review has defended the James Ossuary, it has been more antagonistic to the Jehoash (Joash) Tablet, calling it a fake months before the IAA's assessment. Now the magazine has changed its position, publishing an article suggesting that the inscription may be authentic after all."What do we really know about the Hebrew of official royal inscriptions of Judah in the ninth to eighth centuries B.C.E.? The answer is rather simple: not much," writes University of California at, San Diego historian David Noel Freedman. "To say, therefore, that the language of the Jehoash inscription is inconsistent with what we would expect of such a royal inscription from the time of Jehoash is to assert an authority that is not merely audacious, but imaginative. … for the moment, we must conclude with a Scottish verdict: not proven. The verdict at this time is in effect a non-verdict. We simply don't know with any reasonable certainty whether it is a fake or authentic." "Four leading scientists" agree, and are calling for a new examination of the tablet, according to the Tel Aviv newspaper Ha'aretz.

Animals into the ark two by two? Not if you believe the BBC
The Biblical story of Noah's ark is a "great myth", devoid of any scientific or historical credibility according to a new BBC program about the great flood (The Daily Telegraph, London).

PBS has passion for religious documentaries.
PBS has struck a deal to produce two three-hour documentaries based on author Bruce Feiler's best sellers "Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land Through the Five Books of Moses" and "Abraham: A Journey Through the Heart of Three Faiths" (The Hollywood Reporter).

Roman treasure found in pond dig.
A man unearthed a priceless hoard of 20,000 Roman coins as he dug a new fishpond in his back garden. Experts say the money may date from the 4th Century and could be the biggest find of its kind in Britain.

March 7

The Seventh Sample
IAA Report Shows Evidence for Authenticity of “Jesus.” Hershel Shanks. Even according to the scientists who claim that the “James, brother of Jesus” inscription is a fraud, a key part of the inscription may well be authentic.

Don’t Rush to Judgment
David Noel Freedman. Some have claimed that the text and spelling of the controversial Jehoash tablet indicate an obvious forgery. Not so fast, counters a leading Bible scholar.

Marisa Tomb Paintings
Recently Discovered Photos Show Long-Lost Details. David Jacobson. For a century, our only record of spectacular wall paintings at an important Hellenistic-era site have been fanciful—and inaccurate—color lithographs made a century ago. Now view for the first time the lovely photographs made of these important art works immediately after they were discovered.

At a mountain monastery, old texts gain digital life 
A monk uses digital tools to preserve manuscripts in an Egyptian monastery. Here at St. Catherine's, in the world's oldest continuously inhabited Christian monastic community, a Greek Orthodox monk from Texas is working with some of the world's highest-resolution digital technology to help preserve the monastery's 3,300 priceless and impressively intact ancient manuscripts including some of the world's oldest Bibles. (The New York Times).

Tuscan 'Excalibur' Mystery to be Unearthed. March 1, 2004
Archaeological digging might soon unveil the mystery surrounding a sword buried in a Gothic abbey in Tuscany, Italian researchers announced. Known as the "sword in the stone," the Tuscan "Excalibur" is said to have been plunged into a rock in 1180 by Galgano Guidotti, a medieval knight who renounced war and worldly goods to become a hermit.

Fresh Bronze Age treasure find.
An "exceptional" hoard of buried treasure has been found in Wrexham just two years after another major find of Bronze Age treasure there. The 14 pieces of priceless gold and bronze jewellery and pottery, dating back more than 3,000 years, were found by three metal detector enthusiasts in the last few weeks.

Excavations begin to unearth Tiberias of the Talmudic era.
Excavations to uncover the ancient city of Tiberias began this week, as part of a project to reconstruct the old city and operate an archaeological park on the site.

Mystery Roman Emperor Existence Proven.
The discovery of a coin appears to confirm the brief rule of Domitianus, a mysterious Roman emperor whose very existence had been doubted, according to a museum curator.

Drawing the Lines
In a Yale University library sits a map depicting the New World that predates the landing of Columbus by 60 years--if it isn't a fake. Although the lines on the so-called Vinland map are faded, those between scientists on the controversy are sharp. New salvos regarding its authenticity now come from both sides.

February 2004

February 29

Early makeup kit may confirm biblical story.
Excavation: Israeli archaeologists find 2,500- year-old accessories, which likely belonged to Jews who returned from exile in Babylon. JERUSALEM -- Israeli archaeologists excavating caves near the Dead Sea discovered jewelry, a makeup kit and a small mirror -- 2,500-year-old fashion accessories for women. The trove apparently belonged to Jews who returned from exile in Babylon in the 6th century B.C., said Tsvika Tsuk, chief archaeologist for the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. "This find is very rare. Both for the richness of the find and for that period, it is almost unheard of," Tsuk said Friday.

Seafaring clue to first Americans.
People in North America were voyaging by sea some 8,000 years ago, boosting a theory that some of the continent's first settlers arrived there by boat.
The Egyptian government and IBM have launched a new feature-rich website at, where multimedia content on ancient Egyptian culture and civilization is available in English, French, and Arabic.

Prehistoric row erupts over hunter-gatherer riddle.
A team of Australian archaeologists have sparked an academic row by claiming to have solved the riddle of a missing 1,000 years in human prehistory. The scientists from Melbourne's La Trobe University have found remnants of grains on the shore of the Dead Sea in Jordan that they believe help fill the 1,000-year gap in our knowledge of man's transition from nomad to farmer.

Primitive man remains from 10,000 years ago found in China.
Almost-fossilized remains, believed to belong to a primitive pithecanthropus man who lived over 10,000 years ago, have been discovered in a cave in central China's Hunan Province.

Critical Issues in Early Israelite History: Conference and Consultation. March 26-28, 2004.

February 22

Fake ossuary leads Israel to look into sellers of antiquities
An Israeli documentary Wednesday claimed the James ossuary, the ancient burial box bearing a discredited inscription mentioning Jesus, is just the tip of a long-running forgery ring that has duped antiquities collectors worldwide for the last 15 years (USA Today).

Television report says 'Jesus ossuary' owner ran fraud ring
Oded Golan, who is suspected of forging the inscription "James the brother of Jesus," on a first century ossuary, worked with a ring of counterfeiters who sold dozens of forged articles to antiquities dealers and collectors, Channel 2's "Fact" program reports (Ha'aretz, Tel Aviv).

The collapse of part of Jerusalem's Western Wall during a rare snowstorm sparked a row between Jewish and Muslim clerics Sunday as one rabbi called it a miracle no worshippers were hurt. The collapse late Saturday of an 800-year-old embankment next to where Jewish women pray at the site commonly known as the "wailing wall" sent people fleeing from tumbling rocks.

Tourists To Look for Ancient Persian Army Feb. 13, 2004
Tourists traversing Egypt's desert may solve a mystery that has puzzled archaeologists for centuries: what happened to the 50,000-man Persian army of King Cambyses. Set up by tourist operator Aqua Sun Desert, the Cambyses project will comb the desert sands using four-wheel-drive vehicles packed with paying tourists eager to find the remains of the lost army swallowed in a sandstorm in 524 B.C., according to the account of the ancient Greek historian Herodotus.

Prehistoric row erupts over hunter-gatherer riddle.
A team of Australian archaeologists have sparked an academic row by claiming to have solved the riddle of a missing 1,000 years in human prehistory. The scientists from Melbourne's La Trobe University have found remnants of grains on the shore of the Dead Sea in Jordan that they believe help fill the 1,000-year gap in our knowledge of man's transition from nomad to farmer. But not everyone agrees, and the Australian team is now muscling up for an academic arm wrestle next month with the exponents of different theories in France.

A cup at the end of the rainbow
The British medieval scholar Richard Barber examines how the concept of the Holy Grail evolved (The New York Times).

February 15

The Crossing of the Red Sea: Where was it?

Incan Counting System Decoded? Jan. 29, 2004
The Inca invented a powerful counting system that could be used to make complex calculations without the tiniest mistake, according to an Italian engineer who claims to have cracked the mathematics of this still mysterious ancient population.

German Archaeologist Throws Light on Pyramid Origin. CAIRO (Reuters)
Egypt's ancient pyramids are probably a byproduct of a decision to build walls around the tombs of kings, a leading expert on early Egyptian royal burials said Wednesday.

February 8

Well-known Israeli Archeologist Casts More Doubt on Authenticity of James Ossuary.
by Dr. Eric Meyers. Ossuary spotted in dealer's shop lacking the “brother of Jesus” element of the inscription.

Study: Red Sea Parting Possible. Feb. 2, 2004
The parting of the Red Sea and the subsequent escape of thousands of Jewish slaves, which is described in the Bible's book of Exodus, can be explained by science, according to two Russian researchers.

Augustus Takes the Cure
David Soren - According to the poet Horace, Augustus (27 B.C.-14 A.D.) bathed in frigidly cold water to ease the pain of an abcessed liver. Since 1995 archaeologists have been excavating a large, spring-fed pool 90 miles northwest of Rome that may well be the spot where the ailing emperor was restored to health.

The Minoans of Crete: Europe’s Oldest Civilization
Deciphering Cretan Scripts - Barry B. Powell. The decipherment of Linear B in 1953, by the English architect Michael Ventris, was one of the great intellectual accomplishments of the 20th century. But Linear B is just one of the scripts known from Bronze Age Crete. Two earlier forms of writing—Cretan hieroglyphics and Linear A—are found on the island. Why haven’t they been deciphered?

Fossilized footprints from Stone Age men found in South Korea. SEOUL
Fossilized footprints from Stone Age men have been discovered for the first time in Asia in South Korea, cultural authorities said on Friday. Some 100 detailed footprints from the Paleolithic Age, which dates back 50,000 years, were found on the southern coast of the southern island of Jeju last October, the Cultural Properties Administration said.

Archeologists Win Court Case. (AP)
Scientists can study the Kennewick Man - 9,300-year-old remains found in Washington state - despite the objections of some American Indian tribes, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

Fabulous finds as Saxon king's tomb is unearthed
Burial chamber, believed to date from the early 7th century, contain two gold foil crosses, found which suggest king was a newly-converted Christian (The Scotsman)

February 1

Pollen traces shipwrecks' roots
Serge Muller, of the University of Montpellier II in France, says the range of pollen found on a shipwreck gives a snapshot of the plant species local to the boat's birthplace. The sticky resin used to seal a boat's hull can catch and trap pollen, giving the boat a biological 'birth certificate'.

Mexico Scientists Find Ancient Settlement. MEXICO CITY
Archaeologists say they have discovered an ancient Teotihuacan settlement in central Mexico City, 30 miles from the pyramids where the culture flourished nearly 2,000 years ago.

World's first bowling alley discovered
The Italian team excavating at Madi city in Fayyoum has unearthed an open structure dating back to the Ptolemaic age that might be the first bowling alley.

January 2004

January 25

Red Sea parting was possible: ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, Jan. 21 (UPI)
Russian mathematicians have determined the legendary parting of the Red Sea that let the Jews flee Egypt was possible, the Moscow Times reported. The study, published in the Bulletin of the Russian Academy of Sciences, focused on a reef that runs from the documented spot where the Jews escaped Egypt, which in Biblical times, was much closer to the surface, according to Naum Volzinger, a senior researcher at St. Petersburg's Institute of Oceanology, and a colleague based in Hamburg, Alexei Androsov.

What’s in a Name?
Jeffrey H. Tigay - Personal names in the Bible often contain the names of gods—leading many scholars to view them as evidence of rampant polytheism in ancient Israel. But the overwhelming preference for names that include the divine name Yahweh suggests just the opposite might be true.

Peter in Rome.
The apostle Peter is forever linked in the Christian imagination with Rome, where he is supposed to have been martyred and buried. But what is the evidence? Have his bones been found?

Canadian finds signs of ancient Greek battle: Archeologist uncovers artifacts of Persian invasion.
With help from Herodotus and an Aegean Sea octopus, a Canadian-led scientific expedition appears to have discovered the site of a turning point in world history: The sinking of a massive Persian invasion fleet in a fierce storm that saved Greece at the dawn of western civilization.

Bronze artifacts recovered off Egyptian coast: CAIRO, Egypt (AP)
A French archaeological team has retrieved more than 1,000 bronze artifacts, including statues and busts of Pharoanic gods and goddesses, from the site of an ancient port city off Egypt's northern coast, officials said Sunday.

January 18

New NEAS Website
The Near East Archaeological Society (NEAS) was founded in 1957 with a goal of promoting research in the lands of the Bible, the modern Middle East, from an evangelical perspective.

Evidence Found of Egyptian Lion Worship. Jan. 14, 2004
A mummified lion found in a bone-cluttered tomb in the Nile Valley has confirmed long-running suspicions that the pharaohs viewed the great animal as sacred, French archaeologists report on Thursday.

4,500-year-old city excavated in NW China's Shaanxi.
Archaeologists in northwest China's Shaanxi Province have unearthed the ruins of an ancient city dating back 4,500 years on a mountain in Jiaxian County.

January 11

Raising the anchor.
A wooden anchor from Roman times that may have belonged to King Herod's royal yacht was discovered three weeks ago in the Dead Sea by archaeologist Gideon Hadas of Kibbutz Ein Gedi.

Tourists flock to the historical Latin America sites that some LDS scholars say are described in The Book of Mormon.
In 1979, a group of researchers established the Foundation for Ancient Religion and Mormon Studies, known as FARMS. In 1997, FARMS became an official part of LDS Church-owned Brigham Young University, with one of its mandates being to study the cultural, linguistic and archaeological milieu of Mesoamerica.     Until the past few decades, many Latter-day Saints thought Book of Mormon peoples roamed from one end of the Americas to the other, winding up in an apocalyptic battle in New York state near where Smith lived. Now FARMS scholars seem convinced most of the events were limited to Central America, primarily Guatemala and Mexico.

Archeologists find ancient cemetery in Egypt. Cairo
Polish and Egyptian archeologists have unearthed an ancient cemetery containing the 4,000-year-old tomb of a royal official, Egypt's antiquities officials announced Wednesday. Culture Minister Farouk Hosni said the necropolis near the pyramids of Saqqara, about 25 kilometres south of Cairo, contained the tomb of Ny-Ankh-Nefetem, identified in hieroglyphic writing as the god's servant of the pyramids of kings Unas and Teti, who ruled successively from 2375 to 2291 B.C.

Subway excavations in Naples turn up ancient Roman ship, amphorae. NAPLES (AP)
Italian archeologists have discovered a Roman ship and hundreds of amphorae dating to the second century during excavation works for a new subway in the southern city of Naples.

'Viking Village' Hopes Cruelly Dashed. LONDON (Reuters)
Archaeologists were excited to find what they thought was the first evidence of ninth century Viking settlement in Scotland. Only when the area was completely excavated and materials analyzed did the horrible truth dawn -- the stones were nothing more significant than a 1940s sunken patio.

January 4

2,000-year-old leper found in Jerusalem 
"This is the oldest archaeological finding of leprosy in the Middle East," says archaeologist Shimon Gibson. "Leprosy is mentioned in the Bible, but until now, we could not be sure whether these biblical references are to the disease we know as leprosy, or to something else." (Ha'aretz, Tel Aviv).

Recreating the silver trumpets in the Old Testament
A SCOTTISH musicologist is bringing a little harmony to the Middle East by recreating an instrument that has not been heard since the days of the Old Testament. Among the instruments that could be recreated are the hazerot, which consists of a pair of joined silver trumpets and is mentioned in the Old Testament. Although no surviving instruments have ever been found, a representation can be found on the Arch of Titus, which portrays how they were used by defending forces when Roman Emperor Titus sacked of Jerusalem in 70AD. The instrument was used in conjunction with the shofar - which is carved from a ram’s horn - to gather people to tribal meetings, to alert camps of danger and to signal in warfare.

'Jesus ossuary' analysis flawed, says geologist.
An Israeli analysis - dismissing as a forgery an inscription naming Jesus on an ancient burial box - was flawed, American geologist James Harrell wrote in an article published Friday in the Biblical Archaeology Review.

What Jesus Learned from the Essenes
Magen Broshi - Jesus absorbed two key teachings from the ascetic Jewish sect. What are they and how did he learn them?

The Context of Scripture
Archival Documents from the Biblical World, volume 3 Edited by William W. Hallo and K. Lawson Younger. (I highly recommend all three volumes).

On the path of the ancient pathogen: DNA research laboratory.
Try unravelling forensic mysteries from 3,000-year-old bits of bone or an ancient tooth. How about finding the cause of death in a mummified man from the 18th century? Such challenges face the scientists at Lakehead University's Paleo-DNA Laboratory, one of Canada's most unusual contributions to international science. Nowhere in the country do history and high technology meet in more intriguing circumstances. The lab is headed by Mr. Matheson, a molecular biologist, and El Molto, the bio-anthropologist who founded the centre in 1996. Together, they have carved an important niche in the blossoming business of historical genetics, a rapidly emerging field of inquiry that is shedding light on the origins, evolution and migrations of the human race.