Evidence of what one bishop described as the "end of the world" plague has been unearthed by Italian archaeologists in Egypt.
Archaeologists with the Italian Archaeological Mission to Luxor [MAIL] recently discovered a large monument used as a burial site in modern-day Luxor. The monument contained some human remains covered in lime, as well as bones charred by a giant bonfire. The archaeologists believe this evidence, along with the nearby discovery of three kilns used to make lime, are proof that the momentous plague of the 3rd Century A.D. that wiped out vast portions of the Roman Empire, including Egypt.
Francesco Tiradritti, director of the MAIL, told LiveScience that in ancient times, the lime was considered to be a disinfectant, and was likely used on the bodies in an attempt to halt the spread of infection. The bodies of plague victims were also burned, again to stop further contamination. more >>
A fisherman from the Kemerovo region of Siberia recently uncovered a 4,000-year-old statuette, suspected to be a pagan god from the Bronze Age.
Nikolay Tarasov, a 53-year-old fisherman, was pulling his net in on the shores of a river in his home of Tisul, in the Kemerovo region, this week when he discovered a small statuette with a face peering up from the net among the carp and other fish he had caught.
"Me and a friend were walking on the river bank with nets, when suddenly it got stuck with something," he told The Siberian Times. "I found the object, freed the net and was about to throw it back in the water – but at the last second I looked at it more closely," Tarasov, who also works as a truck driver, added. more >>
The harrowing experiences of Edgar Harrell and the crew on the USS Indianapolis, a battleship that helped put an end to World War II, are documented in the recently released book, Out of the Depths: An Unforgettable WWII Story of Survival, Courage, and the Sinking of the USS Indianapolis.
On the way back from making their voyage to Japan to deliver components used to create the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the USS Indianapolis was attacked by a Japanese submarine and of its 1,197-man crew, only 317 survived the five-day ordeal.
Hundreds of men were set adrift in the vast Pacific Ocean. Frigid cold temperatures assailed them at night, and the blistering, burning sun assaulted them by day. All the while, strong waves and hungry sharks picked them off one by one. more >>
Archaeologists claim to have recovered a tomb near Cairo, Egypt, dating back to 1100 B.C., a find that excavators say adds a new "chapter to our knowledge" about the area.
The tomb was discovered by the Cairo University Faculty of Archaeology at the ancient burial ground of Saqqara, south of Cairo. Mohamed Ibrahim, minister of the country's Antiquities Ministry, told the Associated Press that the tomb belonged to Paser, a guard who protected the army archives and also served as the royal ambassador between ancient Egypt and foreign countries.
Ibrahim added to the AP that this discovery adds "a chapter to our knowledge about the history of Saqqara." The tomb reportedly contains very clear and detailed inscriptions telling of the guard's funeral procession and his future in the afterlife. One image in blue, red and yellow colors shows Paser's wife crying over her deceased husband, while another shows Paser's children offering gifts to the gods. A third relief shows Osiris, the god of the Egyptian underworld, presiding over Paser's funeral. more >>
The legendary citadel captured by King David in his conquest of Jerusalem has reportedly been discovered by an Israeli archaeologist, though some critics have questioned linking the discovery to the biblical account.
"This is the citadel of King David, this is the Citadel of Zion, and this is what King David took from the Jebusites," said the archaeologist, Eli Shukron, who worked for Israel's Antiquities Authority before leaving to become a lecturer and tour guide. "The whole site we can compare to the Bible perfectly."
The Associated Press reported that the $10 million excavation took place in the Arab neighborhood of Jerusalem, and was financed by a group that settles Jews in Arab areas of east Jerusalem. The Elad Foundation is also said to be privately funded by Jewish donors in the U.S. And the U.K. more >>
A new documentary set to premiere on "The Gospel of Jesus's Wife" repeatedly reminds viewers that while testing shows the papyrus fragment indeed is an authentic ancient document, its contents do not actually prove that Christ was married. Yet, that does not keep the hour-long TV program from exploring, with titillating dramatizations, the possibility that Jesus was more than Mary of Magdala's savior.
While speculation that Jesus and Mary were an item are nothing new, "The Gospel of Jesus's Wife" documentary airing on the Smithsonian Channel asks important questions and wonders how the acontextual lines found on the ancient papyrus add weight to the argument.
"The Gospel of Jesus's Wife" first became known to Karen King, the Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School, in 2010 when she received an email from a man claiming to be in possession of a piece of ancient Coptic papyrus. The artifact, belonging to a private collector who wants to remain anonymous, is a 1 1/2 by 3-inch fragment of a fuller document that contains 33 words written in Coptic script, and which include the translated blockbuster line: "Jesus said to them, 'My wife ...'" While testing strongly supports that the papyrus originates from between the 6th and 9th centuries, the words themselves are believed to possibly have been written as early as the second to fourth centuries. more >>