Middle East

Palestinian farmer Salman al-Nabahin cleans the mosaic he uncovered in Gaza.

Cool Finds

Palestinian Farmer Unearths Byzantine-Era Mosaic While Planting Olive Trees

The stunning, colorful flooring depicts 17 iconographies of birds and animals

Bakhtiari nomads in the Zagros Mountains of Iran in June 2017

How Nomads Shaped Centuries of Civilization

A new book celebrates the achievements of wanderers, whose stories have long been overlooked

Over the past century, archaeologists have uncovered more than 1,600 Proto-Elamite inscriptions, but only about 43 in Linear Elamite, scattered widely across Iran.

Have Scholars Finally Deciphered a Mysterious Ancient Script?

Linear Elamite, a writing system used in what is now Iran, may reveal the secrets of a little-known kingdom bordering Sumer

A pair of rock reliefs found at Rabana-Merquly may depict Natounissar, an ancient Adiabene king linked to the lost city of Natounia.

Cool Finds

Why Archaeologists Think They've Found the Lost City of Natounia

New research draws on rock reliefs and ancient coins to link the Rabana-Merquly fortress in Iraq to a vassal state of the Parthian Empire

The mosque was found in the Bedouin town of Rahat in Israel’s Negev desert.

Cool Finds

In Israeli Desert, Archaeologists Find One of the Oldest Known Mosques

The seventh-century structure provides clues about a region in transition

Tiara, Cartier London, special order, 1936. Platinum, diamonds, turquoise. Sold to The Honorable Robert Henry Brand. Cartier Collection.

How Islamic Art Influenced One of Fashion’s Most Famous Jewelers

A new exhibition traces how Middle Eastern patterns and motifs inspired—and fueled—Cartier

The newly-discovered limestone statuette is over 4,500 years old.

Cool Finds

Palestinian Farmer Digs Up 4,500-Year-Old Goddess Sculpture

While working his land, Nidal Abu Eid uncovered a statue of Canaanite deity Anat

A gold Achaemenid plaque featuring a winged lion-griffin, dated to between 500 and 330 B.C.E.

In the Classical World, Persia's Powers Rivaled Greece and Rome

An exhibition at the Getty Villa in Los Angeles shows how ancient Iran held its own against its better-known contemporaries

Archeologists work in the ruins of the temple of Zeus Kasios, a deity that merges the Greek god and Mount Kasios. 

Cool Finds

Archaeologists Discover Temple in Egypt Inspired by Greek God Zeus

The deity was honored throughout the ancient world

The finds suggest that the islands off the coast of Abu Dhabi weren't "arid and inhospitable" thousands of years ago, but rather a "fertile coast" ripe for settlement.

The United Arab Emirates' Earliest Buildings Are 8,500 Years Old

Found off the coast of Abu Dhabi, the structures likely served as houses for Ghagha Island's Neolithic inhabitants

The anthropomorphic carvings represent one of the earliest examples of artistic expression in the Middle East.

Well-Preserved, 9,000-Year-Old Shrine Discovered in Jordan Desert

Researchers uncovered two standing stones featuring anthropomorphic carvings and a model of a "desert kite" used to trap wild gazelles

The bowls were probably created in what is now Iraq between the fourth and eighth centuries C.E.

1,500-Year-Old 'Magic Bowls' Seized in Jerusalem Raid

Ancient Mesopotamians used the vessels, which were inscribed with incantations, to ward off demons, disease and other misfortune

Melisende of Jerusalem (pictured at her coronation) and Zumurrud of Damascus represent two of the most powerful, best-documented ruling women of the medieval Middle East. 

The Women Rulers Whose Reigns Reshaped the Medieval Middle East

A new book details the lives of Melisende of Jerusalem, Zumurrud of Damascus and their powerful peers

The stone board game featured a grid-like pattern and cup holes to hold game pieces.

Cool Finds

Archaeologists Unearth 4,000-Year-Old Stone Board Game in Oman

The board resembled other artifacts that point toward a game similar to backgammon

Children stand on the surrounding wall at Tabira Gate, the entrance to Assur, first capital of the Assyrian empire in present day Shirqat, Iraq.

At the Iraqi Site of Assur, Ancient History Stands at Risk of Destruction

In its time, the Assyrian capital faced waves of invasions and abandonment. Now a small team of archaeologists are protecting it from more modern threats

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 Eighty 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

loading icon