Ancient World Archives

October 14, 2002

Rebuilding the Past

This is great -- the Bibliotheca Alexandrina is a new ambitious attempt at reconstituting one of the greatest lost wonders of antiquity - the destroyed library at Alexandria.

October 16, 2002

Live Fast, Die Young

And leave a good-looking corpse. Leonardo the dinosaur mummy is living the teenage American dream.

'An analysis of the fossilized bone structure led researchers to conclude that Leonardo was a subadult that died when it was about 3 or 4 years old. "It still had what we call the 'cute factor,'" he said.'

Just like James Dean...

(Link followed from Robot Wisdom.)

October 21, 2002

James the Just


A 2,000-year old limestone ossuary, that's rested in a private collector's hands for the past 15 years, bears an Aramaic inscription dedicated to
James the Just, brother to Jesus and leader of the early 'Christian' church in Jerusalem.

For an excellent and thorough history of scholarship surrounding the existence of James (and the challenge that the fact of James' existence has posed to the Roman-Catholic Church) read James the Brother of Jesus: The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls
by Robert Eisenman.

November 5, 2002

James Redux

Time's featuring an excellent article on the James ossuary. It's part detective work (the limestone was quarried from the range that hosts the Mount of Olives) and part statistical analysis (the probable number of James/Joseph/Jesus families in Jerusalem around 63 AD is calculated to be ~20) it makes for good reading.

By far, the most exciting aspect -- and one that I hadn't seen reported yet -- is the presence of bone chips in the soily bottom of the box. However remote, the possibility that the chips could be James' is fascinating: direct DNA evidence of the existence of an historical Jesus, via the maternal link of Mary. Wow.

November 8, 2002

"First, you'd have to rethink progress, and stop measuring it out in spans of human lives..."

Evidence that ancient architects encoded the surfaces of their structures with the working blueprints for completion.

November 9, 2002

The Magical Shamir

From Treasures of Darkness:

"Solomon had ordered that no hammers, axes or chisels should be used to cut and dress the many massive stone blocks from which the outer walls and courtyard of the Temple had been built. Instead he had provided the artificers with an ancient device, dating back to the time of Moses himself. This device was called the shamir and was capable of cutting the toughest of materials without friction or heat."

And an interesting essay that posits the true nature of the shamir: a radiactive substance, possibly radium, that lost its radioactivity in the 400+ years between the building of the Temple and its destruction at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. (The author is Immanuel Velikovsky, whose Ages in Chaos is being republished this month.)

January 6, 2003

Paging Ringo Starr

Was early African Homo erectus a scavenger, rather than the proud hunter we've imagined him to be?

What would Jesus doob?

Did annointing oils, that figured heavily in early Judaism, contain a potent cannabis extract?

January 20, 2003

One bad-ass engineer

Burning Mirrors tells the tale of Archimedes, one of antiquity's greatest engineers and mathematicians. According to legend, Archimedes repelled the Roman fleet at Syracuse by harnessing the energy of the sun:

"Afterwards, when the beams were reflected in the mirror, a fearful kindling of fire was raised in the ships, and at the distance of a bow-shot he turned them into ashes. In this way did the old man prevail over Marcellus with his weapons."
The veracity of the tale has been disputed throughout history, but in 1973 a Greek scientist tried (with resounding success!) to replicate the event.

And check out these cool speculative animations of another of his inventions. Archimedes claw was used to defend the harbor at Syracuse -- to overturn the siege-ships of the city's enemies.

February 10, 2003

The Amesbury Archer

Latest evidence suggests that the Amesbury Archer (the so-called 'King of Stonehenge') may in fact be of Central European origins.

What is this compelling evidence that points to the Swiss lineage of the Archer? Elderflowers and herbs found in his stomach, coated in a soothing honey gel.

February 17, 2003

The Cookie Blob Cometh

My girlfriend is always telling me I should cook more. Last night, I did just that, as I tried to make some cookies. BEHOLD THE COOKIE BLOB!

Cookie Blob

I guess they weren't kidding about seperating the cookies 2 inches apart. Don't worry, unlike this Blob, the Cookie Blob has been tucked away safely in my stomach.


April 12, 2003

Radioactive Salt

Ancient Atomic Warfare?

Religious texts and geological evidence suggest that several parts of the world have experienced destructive atomic blasts in ages past.

About Ancient World

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Soldier Ant in the Ancient World category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Antiquity is the next category.

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