Middle East

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

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

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