Egypt to Tourists: Don’t Come Here

On November 17th, 1997, the Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya terrorist group massacred 62 men, women, and children–4 of them Egyptians and the rest foreign tourists–at the famous Deir el-Bahari ruins in the culturally rich city of Luxor, one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. This week, Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi named Al-Gama’a member Adel Asaad al-Khayyat as [Read More...]

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A Face From the Past

You can be excused for thinking the face pictured above is a modern mugshot of some dude who just robbed a Piggly Wiggly. In fact, it’s an archer who died in the sinking of the Mary Rose,  a ship from the fleet of Henry VIII (spit). The Mary rose was sunk in 1545, discovered in [Read More...]

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Are These Beams From the First Temple?

Reused for millennia, discarded, forgotten, left in a padlocked storage space: these rough chunks of wood hewn from cedar, cypress, and oak up to 3000 years ago may once have been part of the First Temple. Building materials routinely were recycled throughout ancient times, but these are important because they were removed from the Al-Aqsa [Read More...]

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Gate to Hell Discovered

And it’s in New Jersey! (Audio link.) Nah, just kidding. It’s actually in Turkey.  The Plutonium was believed to be the portal to the underworld in the ancient world, and it was known for its lethal properties, provided courtesy of carbon dioxide. It was long believed to be at the Phrygian city of Hierapolis (modern Pamukkale). Strabo wrote [Read More...]

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Some Thoughts on Richard III, History, and Catholicism

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Everyone by now has heard the big news: the bones of King Richard III–last king of the House of York, villain of one of Shakespeare’s most masterful historical plays, and a man long long regarded as a psychopath twisted in both body and mind–have been found under a parking lot in Leicester, England. DNA testing has confirmed [Read More...]

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Islamists Destroy Manuscripts of Timbuktu UPDATED

Islamist militants fleeing from Timbuktu in the war-torn nation of Mali have destroyed a vast cache of documents dating back to the 12th century. The documents were torched by extremists along with a mosque, the Ahmed Baba Institute, and other Muslim structures. (Islam in Mali is moderate, and mostly Sunni or Sufi. The country is [Read More...]

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Conviction Upheld in Dead Sea Scrolls Identity Theft

In yesterday’s news about the final stop for the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit, I mentioned some of the controversy surrounding scroll scholarship. One of the more bizarre sideshows in the world of the DSS is The Sorry Saga of the Golbs. Raphael Golb is the son of scroll scholar Norman Golb, a man who has [Read More...]

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Dead Sea Scrolls Heading to Boston Next

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I wrote about the Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Ancient Times exhibit when it visited Philadelphia last year. The scrolls still fascinate because they’re a kind of missing link between the closing of the Old Testament and the opening of the New, giving us a picture of some elements of Judaism as it [Read More...]

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