Ancient history news

Polynesian migrations

Due to conflicting results from C14 methodology scientists have used coral tools as a dating medium in order to find when exactly the Lapita culture people left New Guinea and sailed out into the South Pacific. They came up with a date of 2838 years ago, with very low error bars. This was the age of Elijah and Elisha so what caused them migrate at that point in time - out into the ocean wide. What heavenly portent inspired them - as heavely portents played a surprising role in Polynesian tradition and myth.

Late Bronze Age Jaffa

At ... it seems the archaeology does not fit the monuments and the history. This is a fairly long read and concerns the ancient port of Jaffa which had an Egyptian fortress during the New Kingdom period. The problem is that it was attacked and burnt down on a number of occasions. After the expulsion of the Hyksos from the delta region the pharaohs of dynasty 18 conducted regular military campaigns against communities in Canaan.

Ramesses III

Current Archaeology 276 (March 2013) in its World News section, reports on the discovery that Ramesses III was murdered by cutting his throat, thereby solving an historical mystery. We know there was an assassination attempt and the perpetrators were placed on trial. What historians did not actually know was if the assassination was successful. It seems it was.

Minimalists and DNA

Shlomo Sand, in The Invention of the Jewish People, was somewhat more minimal than other minimalists, as the rewriting of history continues unabated. Minimalists are a bit like limbo dancers, the hurdles getting lower and lower all the time, and now they have reached such an acute angle it is beginning to look like they may even reach ground floor level. Shlomo Sand went so far as to claim there were no Jews until the 19th century - AD, not BC.

Vesuvius and its role in anchoring ice core data

Not sure what category to file this post under but Ancient History will do as not many of them come up. The subject is actually dating - and we all know that tree rings and ice cores play a major role in anchoring ancient history. We also know that Vesuvius erupted and buried a Roman town and historians know what date that happened - but do the ice cores know the date? Two links to go to - and Mike Baillie's response at .

Velikovsky and the Queen of Sheba

An excellent article on the Queen of Sheba appears in the Journal of Creation 24 (2) 2010, a somewhat surprising source in some respects as it is cutting edge history. These sort of articles do not appear in mainstream journals as Velikovsky is ignored - and those that have followed in his footsteps.

The Great Migrations

A genetic study claims it has uncovered a period of human population expansion that it dates between 40,000 and 50,000 years ago - see ... and as usual there are lots of speculative explanations on the drawing board - but not neccessarily the right ones.

Assyrians and Persians

At ... Al Arabiya News has a report on archaeologists in northern Iraq discovering a new Assyrian site, in Arbil, a Kurdish province. The Assyrian remains are said to be sealed by a layer belonging to the Sassanid Persians (up to the 7th century AD) followed by the Islamic layer (post 7th century). No detail is provided in the news release and the Achaemenid Persians are not mentioned.

Neo Hittites and Isaiah

At ... archaeologists have unearthed a human sculpture at Tell Tayinat. It had originally been about 3m in height but had been destroyed and buried. The Assyrian king Shalmaneser III has been blamed. Tayinat is thought to be ancient Kunulua, a Neo Hittite city of the kingdom of Patina. A heiroglyphic Luwian inscription is carved on the back of the sculpture, carved in raised relief. It is said to record the campaigns and accomplishments of a Suppiluliumas, thought to be Supalulme as recorded by Shalmaneser.

The Justinian plague

At ... we have one of those frustrating press releases from a university, a letter of intent - future plans. Scientists, it says, are going to take a trip back to the Byzantine Empire - by studying a sediment core from Lake Nar in central Turkey, purportedly the 'epi-centre' of the plague of Justinian. It is thought to have wiped out a quarter of the population in the eastern Mediterranean region, between AD541-750. Now, plague may well have been recurring over a long period of time, but is this timeline really authentic?