Ancient history news

The Justinian plague

At http://phys.org/print261121955.html ... 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?

C14 anomaly at Nineveh

The C14 anomaly at Nineveh is being discussed at the New Chronology forum - NewChronology [at] yahoo [dot] groups [dot] com ... and it seems a reason for the discrepancy, some 150 years, between the historical ending of Nineveh in 612BC and a C14 date obtained from the destruction layer, is being put down to a fish diet - old carbon in river water. However, see www.cybis.se/forfun/dendro/index.htm where Scandinavians, checking out the Belfast dendro, say it is out by a couple of centuries. Baillie is yet to respond.

Tiahuanaco

Mention this place and one is immediately reminded of Eric Von Daniken, if one is old enough of course, and ideas of gods in spaceships, aliens on Meso-american carvings and inscriptions, and the like, visiting the Earth and impregnating 'backward' humanity etc and so on. Tiahuanaco has popped up at www.thunderbolts.info/wp/2012/04/30/tiwanaku/ where we are told the C14 dates assigned to the city are somehow in error as they only indicate Tiahuanaco was active 3700 years ago.

Dating Thera

Various attempts to equate the low growth tree ring event of 1628-5BC with the Thera volcano are not supported by acidity peaks in ice cores. Whereas Mike Baillie sought to show a 40 year error/difference between tree ring dates and those of ice cores there are in fact a number of acidity peaks in GISP2, at 1669, 1623, 1602, 1600, 1594, and 1577BC. These are best described as originating in volcanoes - but only those eruptions with a sulphur content.

Hannibal

Hannibal, with his elephants, crossed the Alps and descended on the plains of northern Italy and over the course of the next 12 years fought a series of major battles with the Romans. In 2011 he was actually at the gates of Rome, and had defeated Roman armies and was a potent threat - but within a few years he had retreated to the heel of Italy, and then to Cathage itself, finally defeated by the Romans - but was  there an underlying reason for why his fortunes went into decline?

Dating the birth of Christ - seeing as it's christmas

It is recognised there is uncertainty on when the modern dating system kicked in and if AD1 has any connection with the Birth of Christ - not least the various talks and articles by Steve Mitchell and Lawrence Dixon on dating systems in the Roman and post-Roman periods, as published in SIS publications and during member meetings (last autumn for example). Now, consensus would have you believe there is nothing amiss but someone else has been doing some digging around - not spending a great deal of time on the subject, however, but enough to put a spanner in the works - so to speak.

Hannibal and his elephants

I make no comment on this inclusion, sent in by Gary Gilligan, a link to a piece that asks if Hannibal really crossed the Alps with an army - and some elephants. The gist of the piece is a bit of grist, and that is that historians accept he did but when it comes to events in the Bible such as the Exodus they cast doubt on the authenticity of such things. See http://anebooks.blogspot.com/2007/05/hannibal-and-alps.html. One aspect missing is that most of the Roman period was warm - warmer than today.

Egyptian statuary

At http://popular-archaeology/com/issue/september-2011/article/royal-statua... (if link does not work go to http://popular-archaeology.com and scroll down for the article) ... is a nice subject that illustrates the differences in culture in Egypt between the 3rd and 2nd millenniums BC. There are noticeable changing trends and fashion in statuary - and in the underlying religion and view of kingship. It was evolving. One major trend was the development of portraiture - and naturalism in art.

'The Troy Deception'

In the book, 'The Troy Deception, volume One: Finding the Plain of Troy', John Crowe has mustered some 300 pages of text that are easy to read and understand what he has to say. He is not saying he has found the city of Troy - it is Homer's 'theatre of war', the plain of Troy, that he considers he has identified. It lies in the region known once as Mysia, around Teuthrona and Pergamon. This is where the Achaean Greeks first fought on Asian soil - before going on to Troy.

Minoans in Canaan

At http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/april-2011/article/archaeologists-u... - this is a subject that reads like something right out of Ages in Chaos, and various SIS articles on similarities between Late Bronze Canaanite culture, literature, and language, and the Aegean world. Excavations at a huge Middle Bronze Age Canaanite palace complex near ancient Acco, at Tell Kabri, has been found to have origins as far back as Middle Bronze I.