When Archaeology and Epidemiology Meet

The past is always present. A group of scientists has managed to extract DNA from the teeth of two people who died during the Justinian Plague in the 6th century, and tests have confirmed that the same pathogen was at the root of the Black Plague of the 14th century, with mutations that are still [Read More...]

St. Thecla’s Tomb Desecrated by Syrian Rebels, Nuns Still Missing

Twelve nuns kidnapped from the Mar Takla Orthodox convent are still being held by our friends, the Syrian “rebels.” They were taken away in early December in a raid by terrorist Abu Jafar, leader of the Battalion of the Martyr Abu Taan. Jafar pillaged the monasteries there, and sold off the goods in Lebanon. On January 12th, [Read More...]

Tour the Priscilla Catacombs on Google Maps

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After years of restoration work, the Priscilla Catacombs in Rome were reopened last fall. This 8-mile network of tunnels was used for Christian burial and worship from the 2nd to 5th centuries. The catacombs were forgotten, looted, ignored, and ultimately reclaimed, and now centuries of grime has been removed to reveal striking art work. The [Read More...]

A 2,000-Year-Old Eggshell

Eggs are very important at Casa McD, so I was tickled to see this amazing discovery from Turkey: a nearly-intact eggshell from about 17 AD. The town of Sardis had been hit by an earthquake, and when residents rebuilt, they buried a pierced egg in a pot to ward off further dangers. The intact egg [Read More...]

Stone Age [App o' the Mornin']

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The original Stone Age board game is one of the most popular worker-placement titles around our house. It’s fairly light, but has room for strategy, benefits from a good pace, and (with the exception of a leatherette dice cup that smells like a wet donkey) has exceptional production work. If anyone was looking to introduce [Read More...]

Biblical Archaeology Dig Reports for 2013

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This one is just for the Biblical Archaeology wonks: a listing of all the dig activity conducted in Israel for 2013, with reports on what was uncovered. I covered most of the marquee finds throughout the year, but this listing provides detailed information on everything from Afula to Zippori. [Read more...]

Is The Fate of Ark of the Covenant Revealed in Hebrew Text?

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Unless “somewhere in the middle east” or “in the hands of angels” is your idea of a location, then … no, but that didn’t stop LiveScience from attaching a click-bait headline to their story on the new translation of the pseudepigraphal “Treatise of the Vessels.” The translation is important, however, since it marks the first [Read More...]

Sirach: An Online Manuscript Collection

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The Book of Sirach (Latin: Ecclesiasticus) is a beautiful wisdom work that blends Greek and Hebrew thought. It’s the last of the Old Testament books composed, and was probably written only two centuries before the first of the New Testament texts, providing an important glimpse into the development of faith and philosophy between the OT [Read More...]


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