Ancient history news


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.

Cinnamon and the Phoenicians

At ... the discovery of 27 flasks going back to 1000BC (Iron I) found 10 of them were containers for cinnamon. This spice is found in southern India and another form of the spice is found in China and SE Asia, suggesting the spice trade had long tentacles (possibly via Arabia). Although the headline is that the flasks come from Israel (that is actually the borders of modern Israel). The flasks were found in what was Phoenicia.

Dating the Thera eruption

At ... ignoring the equation of the Thera eruption with the Atlantis legend what we seem to have here is a new C14 date that appears to support the argument the volcano blew around 1600BC. Some weevils found in storage jars on Santorini (Thera) have been used to date the eruption - overcome by the ash and buried with the town. They have been dated between 1744 and 1538BC, which would support a date of around 1600BC as deduced a few years ago from a branch of an olive tree.

The origins of the English language

In MJ Harper's book, The History of Britain Revealed:the shocking truth about the English language, Icon Books:2006, the author makes some funny but very irreverent remarks about academics - even to the point of accusing them of cognitive dissonance.

Measuring the Earth

The Times (June 21st, 2013) also had a piece on the Greek scholar Eratosthenes, going back to the BC period. In the Egyptian city of Syene (near the modern Aswan Dam) he noted that in a deep well, at summer solstice (June 21st) a shaft of sunlight shone straight down into the well without casting a shadow - implying the Sun was directly overhead. At Alexandria, in contrast, he found objects cast a short shadow in the midday Sun on the summer solstice. The Sun was therefore not directly overhead. He surmised the difference was due to the curvature of the Earth.

Malta, temple of Juno

In Current World Archaeology issue 59, volume 5:11, May 2013 (see also and there is an article on Tas Silg, a temple recorded by the Romans, and dedicated to Juno. It was formerly a prehistoric temple, in the 3rd millennium BC (and earlier) that like the other Maltese temples of the period came to an abrupt end around 2500BC and was abandoned for a long period (or 2300BC in the Moe Mandelkehr model).

New Chronology Conundrum

Bob Porter, SIS member and New Chronology advocate, writing archaeological updates for our journal (usually in Review) has made a reply at NewChronology [at] yahoogroups [dot] com which has some interesting repercussions. He refers to two papers on Emar, a town on the Euphrates to the south of Carchemish (in the Bronze Ages), concerning the interpretation of the archives (clay tablets).

Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings

There are lots of sites and articles on the web devoted to Charles Hapgood's Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings. We now have another site to explore the issue and it is worth having a look at - go to

The Wetting and the Drying out of the Sahara

Prior to 3000BC the Sahara was a verdant landscape, a rich grassland with a typical African fauna - see ... and went back through the early Holocene to the end of the Younger Dryas event.

Dynasty 17

The Djehuty Project (Spanish) has said it has discovered, near Luxor, four burials from dynasty 17 - see

See also

Akhenaton (Egypt) and Muwatalis (Hittite), not too distant from each other, appear to have inaugurated religious reforms - why? See