Ancient history news

Glaciology is a slippery science

At ... and he begins, 'Glaciology is a slippery science ...' and we might all say aye to that. He then quotes Wikipedia extensively on a number of subjects - and you've guessed it, he finds contradictions. He adds to that, 'glaciology stinks ...'

The Greek dark age and the end of the LB age.

At ... this concerns what caused the abrupt end of the thriving civilisations of the LB age which were followed by a period of contraction in which it is likely there were extremely reduced numbers of people. This particular study, published in PLoS ONE, concentrates on the archaeology of Cyprus.

Comets in the Past

At ... this is about past observations of comets. For some reason the journalist that wrote the piece said, 'first observations' of comets were in the 3rd millennium BC - when he should have said written records of comets are known from as early as the 3rd millennium BC. People obviously observed comets from the year yonk - and even before that. A lot is made of the fact that comets were regarded as harbingers of disaster and bad omens but Aristotle, 384-322BC, wasn't so impressed, saying they were emanations of the atmosphere.

Birth of the Sahara

This should actually be, 'the birth of the modern Sahara' as apparently the desert has come and gone on a number of occasions. At ... more clues to the episode separating the Pre Dynastic from the Old Kingdom periods in Egypt. In an analysis of a sediment core off Aden Peter de Menocal and Jessica Tierney found that the Sahara dried out in as a little as a hundred years - 5000 years ago. Trees and savannah grassland were part of the Sahara landscape prior to 3000BC - but at that point the climate changed abruptly.

The Seed of the Woman

Arthur Custance, 'The Seed of the Woman', Joshua Press, Ontario:2001 (reprint of a 1980 book) (see also and

Women in Christianity

It is well known that early Christianity appealed to women but less is known about how those women were influential in the spread of the new religion. Ken Cooper of the University of Manchester seeks to redress what he sees as a later 'airbrushing' of women out of the history of the Church, in what became a male orientated organisation. One only has to think of monks and celibate priests, deprived of female company, that visualised those glimpses they had of them, as the 'great temptation' - to be avoided if possible.

Bayesian Statistics

We've had Bayesian statistics applied to C14 methodology - providing an average date to get a more reliable fix on a situation for the archaeological community, but Bayesian statistics are also used in climate science - which may help people better understand how they are applied to C13 dating schemes. Apparently, it is a method which is open to a certain amount of abuse - if not applied correctly. Go to

Mungo Troy

At ... is an hypothesis by Mungo Jupp, on the demise of the cities of Mycenae and Troy. He claims a plasma event was responsible - and a full length video can be seen at

More on Egyptian chronology

Science News at ... says about that statistical analysis that just 150 artefacts were involved (new C14 dates) taken from textiles, reeds, hairs and bones, plus 100 older C14 dated artefacts (added to boost the base). This was not just a Bayesian study of C14 dates but the findings were fitted into the chronology already established, particularly the sequence of pottery styles. They were of course looking for parameters to align their C14 dates.


At ... excavations at Gabii, to the east of Rome, have revealed a buried structure made of giant stone blocks resembling a Lego construct - but it failed to mention the bits that are pushed in to hold them up. What has been found is a construct that did not use cement to bind them together, an archaeological marker that everyone in the business understands. It is the size of a football pitch and dates back to around 300BC, and had two terraces connected by an elaborate staircase.