Ancient history news

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?

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 where Scandinavians, checking out the Belfast dendro, say it is out by a couple of centuries. Baillie is yet to respond.


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 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, 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 One aspect missing is that most of the Roman period was warm - warmer than today.