Middle East: The Holy Land

A little archeology for a Sunday……

This is about the history of the region not some diatribe on religion or some other fanciful topic.

The Middle East is choke full of history….history that needs to be learned not from some myth but rather from the archeology of the area.

First there is a story that Babylon invaded and now evidence has been found…..

Researchers digging at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s ongoing archaeological excavation on Mount Zion in Jerusalem have announced a second significant discovery from the 2019 season—clear evidence of the Babylonian conquest of the city from 587/586 BCE.

The discovery is of a deposit including layers of ash, arrowheads dating from the period, as well as Iron Age potsherds, lamps and a significant piece of period jewelry—a gold and silver tassel or earring. There are also signs of a significant Iron Age structure in the associated area, but the building, beneath layers from later periods, has yet to be excavated.

https://phys.org/news/2019-08-evidence-babylonian-conquest-jerusalem-mount.html

Personally, that is where the Ark ended up…its gold was put in the treasury of the Babylonians.

Then from the history written in the Book….the Edomites, a foe of the ancient Hebrews have been identified……https://www.theblaze.com/news/archaeologists-ancient-biblical-kingdom-of-edom

A mysterious kingdom mentioned in the Bible underwent a massive technological leap nearly 3,000 years ago, perhaps because of the imperial ambitions of an Egyptian pharaoh. 

The kingdom, known as Edom, was in what is now known as the Arabah Valley, which falls within the boundaries of both Jordan and Israel. The area is the site of extensive copper-mining and smelting dating back to at least 4000 B.C.. 

The kingdom is also mentioned in the Hebrew Bible: The book of Genesis refers to the  Edomites, who were thought to be descendants of Jacob’s brother Esau, as “the kings who reigned in Edom before any Israelite king reigned” (Genesis 36:31). Later, the Biblical narrative holds that King David of Israel defeated the Edomites, and supposedly killed every male in the Kingdom.

https://www.livescience.com/edomites-went-through-technological-leap.html

Probably the biggest deal to come out of the region we call the Holy Land was the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls…..and now something new has been discovered about these scrolls…..

The Dead Sea scrolls have given up fresh secrets, with researchers saying they have identified a previously unknown technique used to prepare one of the most remarkable scrolls of the collection.

Scientists say the study poses a puzzle, as the salts used on the writing layer of the Temple scroll are not common to the Dead Sea region.

“This inorganic layer that is really clearly visible on the Temple scroll surprised us and induced us to look more in detail how this scroll was prepared, and it turns out to be quite unique,” said Assistant Professor Admir Masic, co-author of the research from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US.

“These salts are not typical for anything we knew about associated with this period and parchment making,” he added.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/sep/06/dead-sea-scrolls-study-questions-origins

This is fascinating stuff for a lazy Autumn day….but if this is not your cup of tea then I am sure that an episode of Dr. Pimple Popper is on somewhere.

MoMo awaits.

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego ergo scribo”

Saturday Archeology

My readers know that I am a history buff and that I enjoy the archeology that helps us understand history…..so on this Saturday I want to post on a few new discoveries…..

A couple of new discoveries have been found thanks to low water because of the worldwide drought…..not the best way to discover new sites.

We all know of the English tourist attraction, Stonehenge, and now a similar site has been discovered in Spain…

After 50 years out of sight beneath the waters of a manmade lake in western Spain, the 7,000-year-old megalithic monument known as the Dolmen of Guadalperal is finally back on dry land — emphasis on dry. 

As new imagery taken from NASA’s Landsat 8 satellite shows, the reappearance of the ancient monument is owed to very low water levels in Spain’s Valdecañas Reservoir following a summer of record heat and drought across Europe (and most of the rest of the planet.)

Sometimes labeled the “Spanish Stonehenge,” the Dolmen of Guadalperal is a large circle of about 150 standing stones, some more than 6 feet (1.8 meters) tall, arranged around a central, open oval. Archaeologists speculate that the structure was built in the 4th or 5th millennium B.C. (possibly making it thousands of years older than Stonehenge in England). The mysterious megalith may once have supported a massive stone cap that enclosed the space for ritual uses. 

https://www.livescience.com/Spanish-stonehenge-dolmen-de-guadalperal.html

I studied Middle East history in college so this next story was of interests to me…..

A new site for the mostly unknown empire of the Middle East, the Mittani, has been discovered thanks to the drought that is gripping the region….

When a drought dried up the water in Iraq’s Mosul Dam reservoir, it exposed ruins from an ancient city dating to the Bronze Age.

The city included a palace with walls preserved to heights of 22 feet (7 meters); inside were chambers that had once been decorated with painted murals, archaeologists recently said in a statement.

The scientists dated the site — named Kemune — to the time of the Mittani Empire, a kingdom of the Near East that ruled portions of Syria and northern Mesopotamia from the 15th century to the 14th century B.C. Only three other sites from this period contain Mittani palaces, and all of them were found in the outer reaches of the empire. Kemune alone offers insights into life at the center of the kingdom, according to the statement.

https://www.livescience.com/65850-bronze-age-palace-iraq.html

This discovery is of a major interests to us Middle East fans since this empire was a mighty one and is little unknown…hopefully this discovery will add to our knowledge of these people.

“I Read, I Wrote, You Know”

MoMo is staring at me….walk time and she will NOT be ignored…LOL

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“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Space Tech

I am one of the few bloggers that are watching the region we call space for I believe it will become more important than it is today.

For over a year I have been a member of Dr. Parcak’s “Global Explorer” program…..it is taking satellite images and looking for the possibilities of archeological sites yet undiscovered…..

The human story—the story of us—is evolving at breakneck speed thanks to new technologies. Armed with new data sets, we can spin fresh tales that bring us closer to getting more right than wrong about our ancestors and ourselves.

What we can find with new technologies such as satellite imagery is simply astounding. It is helping us rewrite history. We’ve gone from mapping a few dozen ancient sites in one summer-long archaeological season to mapping hundreds, if not thousands, of sites in weeks. With advances in computing and artificial intelligence, we are on the verge of achieving those same results in a few hours.

In case you want to be an archaeologist and are worried that we space archaeologists will find everything first, fear not. Knowing the location of an ancient site is only the first step. We still have to survey sites on the ground, a process known as ground-truthing, and then undertake years of excavation to get a better understanding of what is there. And wow, do we have a lot of work to do.

How Space Technology is Revolutionizing Archaeology

That’s the premise that has guided Sarah Parcak in her career as an archaeologist who relies on remote sensing data gathered by airplanes, satellites and unpiloted drones. Observations from these systems can help scientists tap into visual cues that are invisible on the ground — and in turn, find long-lost traces of humans who lived millennia before we took to the skies

https://www.space.com/archaeology-from-space-sarah-parcak-book.html

Dr. Parcak is making history with her research in space tech…..

For almost 20 years, Sarah Parcak, professor of anthropology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, has combed through satellite images of Egypt and the Middle East to find clues to ancient landscapes.

Parcak’s resume is impressive. She won the $1 million 2016 TED prize, has written a seminal textbook on satellite archaeology, as well as numerous other scholarly publications on the topic.

https://www.natureasia.com/en/nmiddleeast/article/10.1038/nmiddleeast.2017.132

That is my day on this Sunday…looking for sites yet undiscovered.

What does your day hold?

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

“et calamum quad lingua autem animi”  (The pen is the tongue of the mind…..or something like that)

Psi Phi Society–Summer Session 2019

First, I would like to wish my French followers and readers a Happy Bastille Day…..”Liberté, egalité, Fraternité”

Weakened but still potent, Barry inundated the Gulf Coast but appeared unlikely to deluge New Orleans as it continued its slow advance. Still, Gov. John Bel Edwards on Saturday urged residents across south Louisiana to stay “vigilant,” warning that Barry could still cause disastrous flooding across a wide stretch of the Gulf Coast overnight. “This storm still has a long way to go before it leaves this state,” Edwards said. “Don’t let your guard down.” New Orleans had braced for heavy rains Saturday, reports the AP, but instead had intermittent bands of showers and occasional sunshine. Though Barry will continue to dump rain throughout the weekend, forecasters downgraded rainfall estimates for the city through Sunday to between 2 to 4 inches. Forecasters had earlier said New Orleans could get up to 20 inches of rain, raising concerns that water pumps strengthened after Hurricane Katrina would be overwhelmed.

Summer is in full swing and time for the Psi Phi (ΨΦ) Society get together for food, fun and debate…..(meeting must go on even thru a storm, LOL)

The society members get together four times a year at the eatery of a friend and have a good meal then we pick a subject from a stainless steel bed pan give everyone 30-45 minutes to prepare their take on the subject.

This session is the heritage site in Turkey of Gobekli Tepe…..this is a fairly new discovery of an ancient structure that has many debate what its purpose was…..

Archaeologically categorised as a site of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A Period (c. 9600–7300 BC) Göbeklitepe is a series of mainly circular and oval-shaped structures set on the top of a hill. Excavations began in 1995 by Prof. Klaus Schmidt with the help of the German Archeological Institute. There is archelological proof that these installations were not used for domestic use, but predominantly for ritual or religous purposes. Subsequently it became apparent that Gobeklitepe consists of not only one, but many of such stone age temples. Furthermore, both excavations and geo magnetic results revealed that there are at least 20 installations, which in archeological terms can be called a temple. Based on what has been unearthed so far, the pattern principle seems to be that there are two huge monumental pillars in the center of each installation, surrounded by enclosures and walls, featuring more pillars in those set-ups.

http://gobeklitepe.info/

I disagree that it was nothing more than a religious site…..why?  First the location in Turkey……

The site is in an area that has many rivers and large streams…..why does this matter?  Civilization was made possible by the nearness of a waterway.  I feel this was more than just a lonely religious ceremonial site.

The possibility that inhabitants of this region could be the forefathers of the Sumerians…..https://www.history.com/news/9-things-you-may-not-know-about-the-ancient-sumerians

The people moved down the Tigris and branched out……..

Another ancient city has been found in Iraq…older than Sumer…..

A team of French archaeologists has located the remains of a lost ancient city in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Over the course of six excavations between 2012 and 2018, researchers uncovered the ancient city at Kunara, near the Zagros mountains. Previously, experts had been prevented from exploring the site, near the modern city of Sulaymaniyah, by Saddam Hussein’s regime and conflicts in the region.

https://www.foxnews.com/science/mysterious-4000-year-old-lost-city-discovered

This is not some scholarly endeavor on my part just some thought and a little knowledge.

The Droughts in the Middle East do have their benefits…..The little known Mittani civilization has new legs in academia…..

A team of German and Kurdish archaeologists have discovered a 3,400-year-old palace that belonged to the mysterious Mittani Empire, the University of Tübingen announced on Thursday.

The discovery was only made possible by a drought that significantly reduced water levels in the Mosul Dam reservoir.

“The find is one of the most important archaeological discoveries in the region in recent decades and illustrates the success of the Kurdish-German cooperation,” said Hasan Ahmed Qasim, a Kurdish archaeologist of the Duhok Directorate of Antiquites who worked on the site.

https://www.dw.com/en/iraqs-drought-unveils-3400-year-old-palace-of-mysterious-empire/a-49384876

Plus there has been an announcement about those Biblical bad boys the Philistines…..

The ancient Philistines, the Biblical villains whose origins have puzzled scholars for decades, came to the Middle East from southern Europe more than 3,000 years ago, new DNA testing has shown.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-archaeology-philistines-idUSKCN1TY2JP

If anyone would like to add their thoughts please feel free to do so.

The evening ended and we were full and content……these types of get together are always a joy….good friends and good food and a couple of great goblets of wine…..

Barry is on land now and we are getting some rain…after almost a month without it and temps of over 100 this is a bit of a respite….hopefully everyone in Louisiana was prepared .  We were.

It Is 4:20 Somewhere

Sunday and a history lesson…..

Weed has become a major news generator these days….not the old stuff but the move to legalize around the country.

We think of weed as a product of the 60s, the Hippies, and the counterculture…..but actually the herb has been used way before those long hair hippies came around…..

Archaeologists have unearthed the earliest direct evidence of people smoking marijuana from a 2,500-year-old graveyard in western China. In a complex of lofty tombs in the Pamir Mountains—a region near the borders of modern China, Pakistan, and Tajikistan—excavators found 10 wooden bowls and several stones containing burnt residue of the cannabis plant. Scientists believe heated stones were used to burn the marijuana and people then inhaled the smoke as part of a burial ritual, the AP reports. “It’s the earliest strong evidence of people getting high” on marijuana, said Mark Merlin, a botanist at the University of Hawaii. He was not involved in the research published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.

The history of ancient drug use has long intrigued scholars. In the past century, archaeologists have found cannabis seeds and plants buried in tombs across Central Asia’s highlands. But since the cannabis plant has other uses—seeds are pressed for oil and fibers used for cloth—the presence of seeds alone doesn’t confirm drug use. Using new techniques for chemical analysis, the study’s scientists examined the residue and found evidence of THC, the compound that gives pot its high. Most wild cannabis plants have low levels of THC, so the researchers believe the people who built the graves deliberately selected or cultivated plants with higher amounts. “During funeral rites, the smokers may have hoped to communicate with the spirit world—or with the people they were burying,” says study co-author Yimin Yang.

But do not take my word for it……read the article for yourself…..

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/smoke-cannabis-get-high-weed-history-ancient-tombs-a8956021.html

Just a little something to think about on this 1st Sunday of Summer……

Museum Of The Bible

The bigots in the family that owns Hobby Lobby has run into trouble with their expansive project…….the Museum of the Bible.  (Basically this is just a money maker for the family fleecing the gullible)

These “people” are searching the world looking for antiques that prove the Bible is accurate down to the last comma…..but they have run into a bit of trouble……their display on the Fertile Crescent was comprised of many STOLEN artifacts from the war in Iraq and the National Museum of Iraq…..

I have a big problem with stealing a people’s history and culture no matter who the Hell you think you are….I have written about the stolen artifacts on display…..https://lobotero.com/2015/10/28/speaking-of-good-christians/

There was more I had to say……https://lobotero.com/2018/05/03/the-theft-of-history/

This incident put a big hole in their displays on the land of the Bible…..but a recent find will put another hole in their displays….

I seem that they, the Museum, got their hands on some fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls to add to their displays of the Holy Land…..first they bought and displayed stolen artifacts from Iraq and now it appears that they bought and displayed FAKE Dead Sea Scrolls…..

Less than a year after it opened, Washington’s Museum of the Bible is admitting that at least some items in its centerpiece collection of Dead Sea Scrolls are fakes. The embarrassing announcement Monday is the culmination of a technical analysis by a team of German scholars. They concluded that at least five of the museum’s 16 fragments are apparent forgeries, per the AP.

The authenticity of the collection was being questioned even as the $500 million museum held its grand opening ceremonies in November 2017. The scrolls are a collection of ancient Jewish religious texts first discovered in the mid-1940s in what is now Israel. Most are tightly controlled by the Israeli Antiquities Authority. But around 2002, a wave of new fragments began mysteriously appearing on the market, despite warnings from Biblical scholars

The harder they try to prove their premise the easier it is for them to be hoodwinked…..and the profiteers are making millions off these closed minded fools.

But the slap on the wrist that this group gets is nothing to the damage they did to a nation’s history and culture….there needs to be a harsher sentence than  a minor fine and promise to be good.

Archeology For A Sunday

Weekends and I choose stuff that is not a big headline generator….since I like history and archeology I want to share some of the stuff that has come to light recently….

We are discovering that the Maya were a lot more widespread than first believed….these fascinating people are coming into better understanding…..

Maya civilization was no mere collection of city states using slash-and-burn farming—that we learned earlier this year. Now archaeologists are looking deeper into an airborne survey that revealed a formidable civilization double the size of medieval England at its peak 1,200 years ago, Ars Technica reports. The survey, which used LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) to peek beneath the jungle foliage, revealed some 61,000 buildings, draining canals, fortresses, and roads across roughly 828 square miles. What archaeologists are saying about those details in Science:

  • Population: About 7 million to 11 million people populated the central Maya Lowlands—an area including some of Belize, Guatemala, and Yucatan—between 650 and 800 CE, the Late Classic Period. How did researchers crunch that number? By counting the structures per square mile and estimating how many were houses. Big cities like Tikal likely had hundreds of people per square mile, per Discovery.
  • Farming: A huge agricultural effort was needed to keep all those mouths fed, LiveScience notes. Imagine a complex grid of channels providing flood control and irrigation, with grids up to six feet wide and 20 inches deep, some stretching over half a mile. Still, densely populated cities like Naachtun and Tikal had to import food from other Maya kingdoms to survive.
  • Causeways: In earlier Maya times, from 1000 to 250 BCE, cities were linked by elevated roads or causeways up to 65 feet wide and up to 13 miles in length—but they fell into disuse when so-called Preclassic cities were abandoned. Yet their faded ghost outlines are visible on the LIDAR.
  • Fortresses: Mayans built more of them than expected in the Late Classic Period, and sophisticated ones, too. One has walls over 25 feet high and an Olympic-pool-size reservoir: “In other words, this place was ready for a siege,” says Ithaca College archaeologist Tom Garrison. “That is not really the type of conflict that we think about for the ancient Maya.”
  • Overall: “Seen as a whole, terraces and irrigation channels, reservoirs, fortifications, and causeways reveal an astonishing amount of land modification done by the Maya over their entire landscape on a scale previously unimaginable,” a Tulane researcher says in a statement.

The iconic sphinx has been a lonely monument to the early Egyptians and today it is not as lonely as it was in the past…..

Egypt says archaeologists have discovered a statue of a lion’s body and a human head in the southern city of Aswan. Per the AP, the Antiquities Ministry says the sphinx made of sandstone was found in the Temple of Kom Ombo during work to protect the site from groundwater. Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, says the statue probably dates back to the Ptolemaic time. The Ptolemaic Dynasty ruled Egypt for some 300 years—from around 320BC to about 30BC. Egypt hopes such discoveries will spur tourism, partially driven by antiquities sightseeing, which was hit hard by political turmoil following the 2011 uprising. (Another recent discovery in Egypt predates this one’s origins by thousands of years.)

Since I can remember some archeologists have wanted to proven the Exodus and so far nothing….but a new site has been found and the attempt to prove continues…..

Ancient ruins found in the Israeli wilderness could solve the biblical mystery of the Exodus, archaeologists claim.

According to the Bible, Moses liberated the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and led them through the wilderness of Sinai, before they crossed the River Jordan into the promised land of Canaan.

Yet no historical basis for the legend exists, and experts generally agree the Israelites were in fact native to Canaan – an ancient region covering modern day Israel.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-6210313/Do-ruins-prove-Biblical-story-Exodus.html

Personally, I think that the Israelites were just an off-shoot of the Canaanites and were in the region always since it is proven that the Egyptians have been proven to have not employed slaves…..but that is just me…..

Any thoughts?