It's been hard for archaeologists to pin down the extent of idle wealth in ancient people, but it is generally believed only those in the richest locations, like capital cities, had it.   

A recent discovery, in an urban context and at an orderly archaeological dig, may be of great significance in learning about ancient people outside large cities.  Most small pieces of art originating in the Near East are of unknown origin, having been displaced through illegal antique trade, or purchased by museums and collectors before scientific archaeological research began, but an ornately designed signet ring of Apollo may lend some insight into the economic state of ancient Phoenicians.
Tolerance has meant different things in different eras.  For some religions in the past, there was a 'convert or die' mentality, which tended to drive out competitors but, at least when it comes to works of art, old religions have always survived.

A fresco of Tyche, the Greek goddess of fortune from the Byzantine period had been discovered at the Sussita site, on the east shore of the Sea of Galilee, and a maenad, one of the companions of the wine god Dionysus, was found also.  The city of Sussita is located within the Sussita National Park under the management of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.
An archaeological team has discovered the oldest Roman baths in Asia Minor - underneath existing Roman baths.  Location:  Sagalassos, Turkey, which was inhabited as a city until the 7th century AD, when it was destroyed by earthquakes. 

Prior to the Sagalassos discovery, the Capito Baths in Miletus, built during the reign of Emperor Claudius (41-54 AD), were the oldest known Roman bathing complex in Asia Minor.
The great thing about being a bureaucrat in a dictatorship is you can take credit for everything that happens in your personal fiefdom and treat people like garbage and there is no recourse.   Well, almost no recourse.   Those guys working for Saddam Hussein didn't fare all that well when their boss started floating rumors he had weapons of mass destruction, but generally the life of a senior guy in a dictatorship is pretty good.

The second of six parts of my presentation at Inconjunction 2010. I resented on Archaeology and PseudoArchaeology. It was my first live talk, so I was really serious, but the audience was great and I had some great audience participation at the end. Also, major Props to Anubis2814, he handed the filming despite the technical difficulties.
The Isaiah Scroll is the oldest-known copy of any book of the Bible and after 12 years of researching the Dead Sea Scrolls,  Robert Cargill, an archaeologist from UCLA, got to visit the underground vault beneath the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem.
I have gotten the dig dates, which will be the last two weeks in July,  and we have the students we'll be working with all signed up. They appear to be a great group of kids, I honestly can't wait to get them in the field and see what they're capable of.

So, Monday we will be heading up to the site to do the initial surface collection. In the CRM world we call this a Phase I, Pedestrian Survey.    We'll be calling this a pedestrian survey as well, but we already know there is stuff here, we're just looking for the best place to dig so we don't waste our short two weeks. The kids and my mentor will be going back Tuesday, but I have to work at the museum. Hopefully well find all the cool stuff the day I'm there!
Recently I was given the opportunity to assist with a dig from the ground up. Which means, assisting in the grant writing phase as well. Assisting may be the operative word here, but any experience is good.
Unless you live in a very deep cave somewhere uncharted, you no doubt have heard of the wonder that is Wikipedia. The intriguing site where the common individual can write and edit encyclopedic like entries on anything their minds can come up with. In recent years this phenom of a site has become the number one place to go when you need information. Scary as this sounds, it's true.

I myself check the Wiki regularly on all kinds of topics, from TV shows to Famous Figures. I like to think of it as being a good starting point in the long journey of research. I would never cite it in an actual paper, but I will say its settled a few arguments.

Why bring all this up you ask?
"This impatience with ambiguity can be criticized in the phrase: absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." ~ Carl Sagan

The first time I heard this quote was in field school. We'd spent the majority of the summer excavating the residence of Dr. J.H. Ward and found about nothing...though I did learn that a claw hammer will totally own century old cement...