Middle East

This glass fish was found in a fairly modest private house in Amarna, buried under a plaster floor along with a few other objects. It may once have contained ointment.

A Brief Scientific History of Glass

Featuring ingots, shipwrecks and an international trade in colors, the material’s rich past is being traced using modern archaeology and materials science

The term “Crusade” has always been an anachronism—a way of looking back at complex, often disconnected movements with a wide array of motivations, membership, tactics and results and organizing them into a single coherent theology or identity. Pictured: A 19th-century painting of the 1177 Battle of Montgisard by Charles-Philippe Larivière

The Many Myths of the Term 'Crusader'

Conceptions of the medieval Crusades tend to lump disparate movements together, ignoring the complexity and diversity of these military campaigns

In his new book Around the World in 80 Books, David Damrosch builds an itinerary that circumnavigates the globe—and doesn't require a passport to enjoy.

Virtual Travel

A Literary Scholar Takes Us Around the World in Eight Books

Harvard professor David Damrosch's new release has readers traveling to London, Paris, Nigeria, Tokyo and beyond without ever leaving home

The ring could date back to as early as the third century C.E.

Cool Finds

Ancient Amethyst Ring Found in Israel May Have Been Worn to Ward Off Hangovers

Found near a Byzantine-era winery, the jewelry likely belonged to a wealthy, high-status individual

A new book by journalist Andrew Lawler chronicles an illicit 1909–1911 excavation in Israel's Holy City. Pictured here: a replica of the Ark of Covenant in front of an early 20th-century map of Jerusalem

The Secret Excavation of Jerusalem

A British aristocrat looking for the Ark of the Covenant launched history's most peculiar archaeological dig—and set off a crisis in the Middle East

The tablet depicts a male ghost being led back to the afterlife, curator Irving Finkel says.

Cool Finds

3,500-Year-Old Babylonian Tablet May Contain Earliest Known Depiction of a Ghost

A curator at the British Museum details the spooky find in a new book

A Crusader coin found at the excavation site bears the name of Baldwin III, who served as king of Jerusalem from 1143 to 1163.

Archaeologists in Israel Unearth Only Known Crusader Encampment

Frankish soldiers camped at the site before the 1187 Battle of Hattin, which ended in a decisive victory for Muslim sultan Saladin

Hobby Lobby acquired the cuneiform tablet for display at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C.

Smuggled Gilgamesh Dream Tablet Returns to Iraq

Forfeited by Hobby Lobby in July, the ancient artifact will be repatriated in a ceremony held at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian

“Air temperatures rapidly rose above 3,600 degrees Fahrenheit,” writes study co-author Christopher Moore. “Clothing and wood immediately burst into flames. Swords, spears, mudbricks and pottery began to melt. Almost immediately, the entire city was on fire.”

Ancient City's Destruction by Exploding Space Rock May Have Inspired Biblical Story of Sodom

Around 1650 B.C.E., the Bronze Age city of Tall el-Hammam was wiped out by a blast 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb used at Hiroshima

Researchers say it's "highly likely" that the men died in battle in either 1253 or 1260.

Mass Graves of 13th-Century Crusaders Reveal Brutality of Medieval Warfare

Found in Lebanon, the 25 soldiers' remains bear unhealed wounds from stabbing, slicing and blunt force trauma

Despite heavy erosion, the camels remain visible some seven millennia after their creation.

Life-Size Camel Sculptures in Saudi Arabia Are Older Than Stonehenge, Pyramids of Giza

New research suggests the animal reliefs date to between 7,000 and 8,000 years ago

Rasha Alqahtani, an 18-year-old from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, won a third award in the behavioral and social sciences category of the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair for her prototype of a video game feature to assess anxiety. In addition to her STEM research, Alqahtani is a poet and artist.

Innovation for Good

This Teenager Is Developing a Video Game That Assesses Your Mental Health

Rasha Alqahtani, an 18-year-old from Saudi Arabia, is determined to help her peers learn about their anxiety—in the wildly popular setting of 'Minecraft'

Researchers uncovered the remains in the Umm Jirsan lava tube in Saudi Arabia.

Hyenas Hoarded Thousands of Human, Animal Bones in Saudi Arabian Lava Tube

The huge stockpile includes camel, rodent and cattle remains

“With this new tablet, we can actually see for the first time why they were interested in geometry: to lay down precise land boundaries,” says researcher Daniel Mansfield.

Babylonians Used Applied Geometry 1,000 Years Before Pythagoras

Calculations inscribed on a clay tablet helped ancient people document property boundaries, new research suggests

The four symbols seen in front of the king—a crescent moon, the sun, a snake and a flower—may hold religious significance.

Cool Finds

Archaeologists Discover 2,550-Year-Old Carving of the Last King of Babylon

Found in northern Saudi Arabia, the inscription depicts sixth-century B.C.E. ruler Nabonidus holding a scepter

A new exhibition at the Museum for Islamic Art in Jerusalem explores the fascinating history of coffee.

Tracing Coffee's Travels From the East to the West

New exhibition explores how the caffeinated beverage sparked religious controversy and technical innovation

The Chinese port city of Quanzhou was crucial to maritime trade between the 10th and 14th centuries C.E.

Nine New Sites, From Chinese Port City to Saudi Rock Art Complex, Join Unesco World Heritage List

Other honorees include a group of European spa towns, a 13th-century Hindu temple and a lighthouse in France

DNA from the skin of this mummified sheep leg allowed researchers to study sheep husbandry practices in ancient Iran.

Researchers Recover DNA From 1,600-Year-Old, Naturally Mummified Sheep Leg

The molecules offer insights on ancient farming practices near the Chehrabad salt mine in Iran

The inscription represents a rare and valuable clue to the development and spread of writing systems in the region.

Cool Finds

This 3,100-Year-Old Inscription May Be Linked to a Biblical Judge

A pottery fragment found in Israel bears the name Jerubbaal—a nickname for Gideon ben Yoash, who appears in the Book of Judges

The opulent public building dates to between 20 and 30 A.D.

Cool Finds

Palatial, 2,000-Year-Old Public Building Revealed in Jerusalem

The grand structure, which once hosted events near the Temple Mount, will soon open to tourists

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