This Week in the Ancient Near East

11,500 Year Old Cultic Site With Huge Stone Circles, Pillars, and Skulls Mystifies Easily Mystified Archaeologists, Or, Gimme That Really, Really, Really Old Time Religion

Where does religion come from? How did hunter-gatherers build early Neolithic Göbekli Tepe in southeastern Turkey? What’s with the gigantic carved stone pillars and the defleshed human skulls anyway? What is religion, really? Why am I asking you? It’s an episode as profound as it is, well, mystifying.

Middle Bronze Age Site Smashed by Exploding Comet, Film at 11, Or, Who You Crushing with that Cosmic Debris?

Was a Middle Bronze Age site near the Dead Sea pulverized by a cosmic air burst at 1650 BCE? Say what? The science is compelling, from the shocked quartz to the melted iridium. But was all this remembered, maybe in a Biblical story about a site in the Jordan Valley pulverized by fire from the sky? That’s the tricky part.

New Underwater Discoveries in the Nile Delta, or, Our Ship Sank, but We Brought You a Fruit Basket

A ship graveyard, a sunken ship, and a fruit basket? Our contestants take a voyage to the bottom of the sea to discuss finds from the Nile Delta and ask the important questions like, what is the connection between fruit baskets and death, and how did Iron Age maritime insurers stay in business?

It’s the End of Summer Archaeology Super Mega Fun Round-Up Episode!

Missing basilicas, poison rats, and Trojan Horses? Holy Jerusalem earthquake Batman! Yes, that too and more in our end of summer stranger than fiction fantastic archaeology ripped from the headlines roundup episode! Our contestants are on the clock and it’s like Hollywood Squares without Paul Lynde! Or is it? 

That’ll Do Iron Age Pig, That’ll Do, or, Jambon in Jerusalem

First sharks and now pigs? What’s going on in Iron Age Jerusalem with all these non-kosher species? Were Judeans in the shadow of the Temple noshing on something naughty or are there other explanations? Are there ever! Our panelists'  speculations are unbridled in this laughter filled episode.

 

To learn more

https://www.jpost.com/archaeology/cryptic-2700-year-old-pig-skeleton-found-in-jerusalems-city-of-david-673989

(Almost) Biblical Writing, or How to Go From Lunchboxes to Bureaucracy in Only 300 Years.

It’s only four little letters, well maybe five, but another tiny Iron Age inscription has raised more than a few eyebrows. What’s the significance of this latest scribble? Is it the name of a biblical character, or the name of a guy who didn’t want his lunch stolen? And why are our panelists talking about being stuck in a suburban cul-de-sac?

 

To learn more

Five-letter inscription inked 3,100 years ago may be name of biblical judge

https://www.timesofisrael.com/five-letter-inscription-inked-3100-years-ago-may-be-name-of-biblical-judge/

The Gospel of “Who the Heck Falls for This Stuff?”

The ‘Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’ is the latest high profile example of a forged ancient text. Scholars should have known better, but hey, where’s the fun in that? When Fox Mulder meets Elaine Benes the sparks fly and scholarship takes it on the chin. Our panelists are there ringside, sagely opining.

 

To learn more

A Scholarly Screw-Up of Biblical Proportions

https://www.chronicle.com/article/a-scholarly-screw-up-of-biblical-proportions

And That’s How We Solved the Mystery of the Fossil Shark Teeth in Iron Age Jerusalem

A bunch of 80 million year old shark teeth in Iron Age Jerusalem have set the archaeological world ablaze. What are they doing there along with 10,000 fish bones and six and a half tons of pottery? It’s gotta be a joke, right? Do our panelists speculate wildly or do they jump the shark?

 

To learn more

Cache of 80-million-year-old shark teeth found in Solomon-era site in Jerusalem

https://www.timesofisrael.com/cache-of-80-million-year-old-shark-teeth-found-in-solomon-era-site-in-jerusalem/

Where Did Babies Come from in the Iron Age, or, Biblical Archaeology Smokes a Cigar in the Waiting Room

Iron Age figurines in the Southern Levant depict naked women and not a lot else. The usual explanations are goddesses or magical devices related to fertility. But isn’t everything sort of related to fertility? What were mostly male Biblical Archaeologists missing? Probably quite a bit. Our panelists wax eloquent in this family friendly episode.

 

To learn more

https://www.haaretz.com/archaeology/.premium.MAGAZINE-birth-rites-in-canaan-the-enigma-of-the-figurines-1.9892078

Death on the Euphrates, or, a Kunga Line to Heaven?

Is the third millennium BCE burial mound at Tell Banat in north Syria a war memorial to the site’s defenders? What moves the living to take a random sample of human and animal bones and bury them in a mound that looms over their community? What is a kunga anyway and how does the modern sport of donkey basketball fit in? Our panelists are strangely eloquent, in an episode not to be missed.

 

To learn more

Pyramid-shaped mound holding 30 corpses may be world's oldest war monument

https://www.livescience.com/oldest-war-monument-discovered-syria.html

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