After an upturned brick led to the discovery of thousands of buried bodies in one of Rome's ancient catacombs, scientists determined to solve the mystery behind the unusual discovery considered the possibility that the corpses might have been Christian victims of persecution.
In "Roman Catacomb Mystery," set to premiere on PBS Wednesday night, presenter and historian Michael Scott leads viewers into the curious circumstances surrounding six chambers packed tight with human bodies found beneath the streets of Rome.
Were these estimated 2,000 dead, among them men, women and young people, victims of intolerant Roman leaders, such as Nero who brutally targeted Christians, having some of them torn apart by wild animals or burned to death? more >>
A United States Congressman has introduced a resolution before the House of Representatives to express their support for a celebration of the birth of nineteenth century naturalist Charles Darwin.
Democratic New Jersey Rep. Rush Holt introduced H.R. 467 last week, which calls on Congress to recognize Feb. 12 as "Darwin Day" as well as recognize the value of science as a field.
"Charles Darwin's theory of evolution by the mechanism of natural selection, together with the monumental amount of scientific evidence he compiled to support it, provides humanity with a logical and intellectually compelling explanation for the diversity of life on Earth," reads H.R. 467 in part. more >>
The British Museum has put on display a 4,000-year-old Cuneiform tablet that recounts specific instructions for building a giant vessel to survive a coming flood, and how it should house animals "two by two." The tablet, hailing from ancient Mesopotamia, or modern-day Iraq, has been dubbed a prototype of Noah's ark described in the Bible.
The tablet, which gives instruction for making a round vessel known as a coracle, went on display at the British Museum in London on Friday, thanks to the efforts of Irving Finkel, who works in the museum's Middle East department and is credited with translating the tablet.
Finkel, who has written on the discovery in his new book, The Ark Before Noah, told reporters last week that the museum acquired the tablet years ago from a man who said his father had gotten ahold of the artifact after World War II. more >>
A recently-translated Hebrew text is being reported as offering greater detail into the treasures found inside King Solomon's temple, including the Ark of the Covenant, a chest described in the Old Testament that contains the Ten Commandments.
James Davila, a professor at the University of St. Andrews, has described the details of the recently-transcribed text, known as the "Treatise of the Vessels," or "Massekhet Kelim" in Hebrew, in the recently-released book Old Testament Pseudepigrapha More Noncanonical Scriptures Volume 1.
Davila explains in the book that the Treatise of the Vessels tells how the treasures of King Solomon's temple were "concealed by a number of Levites and prophets" and "[…] hidden in various locations in the Land of Israel and in Babylonia, while others were delivered into the hands of the angels Shamshiel, Michael, Gabriel and perhaps Sariel […]" more >>
An Israeli researcher announced this week that she has identified an ancient color, known as "biblical blue," on a nearly 2,000-year-old textile recovered in the 1950s from the Wadi Murabba'at caves, located south of Qumran in the West Bank.
Naama Sukenik of Israel's Antiquities Authority, who had been studying the ancient textile as part of her doctorate at Bar-Ilan University, revealed her findings at the "100 Years to Tekhelet Research" conference in Jerusalem on Tuesday. The conference is attended by more than 350 scientists and academics.
Sukenik said at the conference that the small piece of woolen fabric recovered from the caves was colored with dye from the Murex trunculus, a snail that researchers believe was used to make this rare blue color. The color, known as tekhelet in Hebrew, has been described multiple times in the Bible, including in Exodus Chapter 25 and Exodus Chapter 27. more >>
A 2,000-year-old burial box believed by some to contain the remains of James, the brother of Jesus Christ, is set to go on public display in Israel, though it is stirring debate among Roman Catholics who reject that Christ had biological siblings.
Oded Golan, the Israeli antiquities collector who owns the limestone burial box, insists that "this is the oldest evidence that mentions the name of Jesus Christ," according to a report in The Guardian, written by journalist Matthew Kalman, who maintains the James Ossuary Trial Jerusalem blog.
"There is no doubt that it's ancient, and the probability is that it belonged to the brother of Jesus Christ," he added. more >>