In a very trademarky sort of way, I actually stumbled onto the Maps of War. The utility and quality of the short, animated maps varies, but they give you a sense of how dynamic history can be and cram a lot of information into 90 seconds. I find the Imperial History of the Middle East particularly interesting. Those folks have been busy.
Ok, so not Odin, but Hadrian. "By Hadrian's Beard!" has not been uttered in major motion pictures that are insanely popular amongst teenage boys and those with the sense of humor of teenage boys (i.e., all my friends).
Archaeologists have unearthed a cache of cuneiform tablets found to contain a largely intact Assyrian treaty from the early 7th century BCE.
The 43 by 28 centimeter tablet — known as the Vassal Treaties of Esarhaddon — contains about 650 lines and is in a very fragile state. "It will take months of further work before the document will be fully legible," said Timothy Harrison, professor of near eastern archaeology in the Department of Near&Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto.
"These tablets are like a very complex puzzle, involving hundreds of pieces, some missing. It is not just a matter of pulling the tablet out, sitting down and reading. We expect to learn much more as we restore and analyze the document."
Archaeologists have begun excavating a proto-urban settlement situated where the Balikh River joins the Euphrates River in Northern Syria. The location was at the crossroads of major trade routes across ancient Mesopotamia that followed the course of the Euphrates River valley.
Known as Tell Zeidan, the town may have been one of the largest Ubaid temple towns in northern Mesopotamia, as large or larger than any previously known contemporary Ubaid towns in the southern alluvial lowlands of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in what is today southern Iraq.
Historians from the University of Haifa claim that Khirbet Qeiyafa, a provincial town in Israel's Elah Valley region, is 'Neta'im', an adminstrative center mentioned in the biblical book of Chronicles.
Archaeological excavations carried out at Khirbet Qeiyafa have dated the site to the beginning of the 10th century BCE, namely the time of King David's rule. A Hebrew inscription on a pottery shard found at the site also dating back to the 10th century indicates the presence of scribes and a high level of culture in the town.
Archaeologists have integrated textual evidence with archaeological research in order to further understand the impact of China's first emperor Qin Shihauangdi, responsible for initiating construction of the Great Wall. The result of their work, they say, is a more holistic view of China's first emperor and his influence on the eastern province of Shandong.
A report of their research is published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Shihuangdi first unified China in 221 BC but scholars have few details of his distant conquests or how they changed the path of local histories. Records show that in 219 BC the emperor visited Langya Mountain on the southeastern Shandong coast.
Archaeological excavations conducted by researchers at Hebrew University of Jerusalem have revealed a section of an ancient city wall of Jerusalem possibly built by King Solomon during the tenth century B.C.E.
The section of the city wall revealed is 70 meters long and six meters high and located in the area known as the Ophel, between the City of David and the southern wall of the Temple Mount.
Uncovered in the city wall complex are: an inner gatehouse for access into the royal quarter of the city, a royal structure adjacent to the gatehouse, and a corner tower that overlooks a substantial section of the adjacent Kidron valley.
A few days ago, I read Oldest Biblical Inscription Deciphered, Archaeologists Say by our News Staff, and found it fascinating. It takes one back to Solomon, who, according to the Bible, had a thousand wives (that’s includin’ concubines, I have to tell ya.) Now people like to embellish these stories, and my mother sometimes would sing this:
Oh Solomon, he had a thousand wives And bein' a kind hearted fella, He wanted all o' them To lead contented lives So he bought each mamma A grand piana, ....
I'm fascinated by the effort to reconstruct the Neanderthal life - how they ate, where they lived, their physiology, their cognitive workings, their use of symbols. They were more like us than any other species (or sub-species) out there, and yet also more distinct from us than any two modern human populations.
John Hawks, who is always a good source for Neanderthal news has some great recent posts and links worth checking out:
Methylation in Neanderthal DNA
Archaeologists from the Department of Biblical Studies at the University of Haifa say they've deciphered the earliest known Hebrew writing in existence, an inscription dating from the 10th century BCE (the period of King David's reign). The discovery is significant because it means the Bible may be several centuries older than current estimates suggest, researchers say.
"It indicates that the Kingdom of Israel already existed in the 10th century BCE and that at least some of the biblical texts were written hundreds of years before the dates presented in current research," says Prof. Gershon Galil of the University of Haifa who deciphered the inscription.