Archaeology news

Tall el-Hammam

On our home page we have a Face Book link to Phil Silvia who has been taking part in excavations at Tall el-Hammam in the Kikkar region of Jordan (the plain at the northern end of the Dead Sea). This is thought to be a contender for Biblical Sodom as it displays evidence of a catastrophic destruction. This is not to say sodomy has anything to do with the demise as that appears to be a later embellishment, a means of explaining the ruins in a later era. This coming season Phil Silvia will be specifically looking for evidence of the manner of its destruction.

Red Sea harbour

At ... a harbour going back to the Old Kingdom of Egypt, 4600 years ago (specifically to the reign of Khufu (Cheops), and the pyramid building period). It was used to import various materials, products of the Sinai and further afield. It was discovered by divers at Wadi al Jauf ...

Roots we Like

Potatoes - who set the growing of potatoes into motion? How did they develop them from a wild species that is toxic? Even in modern potatoes, when tubers go green it is advised not to eat them as they possess dreaded toxins (and the same goes for the small fruitlets that form after flowering). Somebody first grew and ate the ancestors of our King Edwards (good mashers) and Charlottes (good firm salad variety) and many other modern varieties (different favourites in different countries).

Stonehenge neighbourhood

At .... the military base at Larkfield, part of what is called the Stonehenge landscape (within walking distance of the stones), has been hiding a Neolithic 'causewayed enclosure' provisionally dated to 3650BC. These enclosures garnered that name as the circle is really a series of ditches laid out in concentric circles with gaps between them. The gaps were supposed to be causeways but their function or purpose is unknown.

Rounding Up

At     ... a piece of kangaroo bone dating back as early as 44,000 years ago is being presented as the oldest bone jewellery belonging to Homo sapiens. For some reason they do not say Homo sapiens sapiens (modern man) but presumably this is an error. It is just 13 cm in length and was designed to pierce the front of the nose and was found in a rock shelter in the Kimberleys.

Siberia's Robin Hood

At ... it seems the Altai region is turning up a lot of archaeology - and is disseminating it through this excellent web site. In this post we have the find of an archer of renown - supplied in the afterlife with his arrows, and quiver ... 

Ezekiel's Wheel

I like this story - a nice conclusion after four years of research. It derives from an archaeological exploration in Maryland, at the site of a former plantation which used African slaves - see (see also The Biblical figure of Ezekiel seems to have appealed to pagan Africans proselytised by Christians. Why? The conclusion here is that the wheel has a parallel in African myth - and we may note Native Americans had their medicine wheels too.


At ... which is a reference to the arrival of paleo-Eskimo culture in Greenland. How they got there is unknown but when they got there provides a clue - between 4500 and 4000 years ago. At this time there was widespread and large scale migrations of different human groups in diverse parts of the world. The movement of the Eskimo culture is just one of those movements (as explored by Moe Mandelkehr in SIS publications).

Rum Goings On

At ... an ancient stone with concentric circles, one inside the other, has been unearthed in the Dublin area. The stone is thought to go back, at least, to around 3000BC, and probably before that as it seems to have been a robbed stone from a nearby megalithic tomb. This desecration occurred in the 18th century - by the great and the good, impervious of the concerns of the little people. Lodge Hall was built in 1725 and made use of stone from two passage graves/ tombs.