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Ancient DNA sheds light on the origins of the Biblical Philistines

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Republication from  heritage daily

Peleset, captives of the Egyptians, from a graphic wall relief at Medinet Habu, in about 1185-52 BC, during the reign of Ramesses III. They are identified to be the Biblical Philistines (Wikimedia commons).

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An international team, led by scientists from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and the Leon Levy Expedition, retrieved and analyzed, for the first time, genome-wide data from people who lived during the Bronze and Iron Age (~3,600-2,800 years ago) in the ancient port city of Ashkelon, one of the core Philistine cities during the Iron Age. The team found that a European derived ancestry was introduced in Ashkelon around the time of the Philistines’ estimated arrival, suggesting that ancestors of the Philistines migrated across the Mediterranean, reaching Ashkelon by the early Iron Age. This European related genetic component was subsequently diluted by the local Levantine gene pool over the succeeding centuries, suggesting intensive admixture between local and foreign populations. These genetic results, published in Science Advances, are a critical step toward understanding the long-disputed origins of the Philistines.

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The road to Scandinavia’s bronze age: Trade routes, metal provenance, and mixing

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Republication from phys.org/

British-developed bronze flat-axe from Selchausdal, northwest Zealand (NM B5310, photo: Nørgaard). The 20-cm-long axe has a geometric decoration covering the surface. Low-impurity copper is alloyed with 10% Sn. Scandinavia holds the largest proportion of British type axes outside the British Isles 2000-1700 BC. Credit: Heide W. Nørgaard (2019)

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The geographic origins of the metals in Scandinavian mixed-metal artifacts reveal a crucial dependency on British and continental European trading sources during the beginnings of the Nordic Bronze Age, according to a study published July 24, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Heide W. Nørgaard from Aarhus University, Denmark, and colleagues.

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Whistling Sling Bullets Were Roman Troops’ Secret ‘Terror Weapon’

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Republication from livescience.com/

Some of the Roman sling bullets found at the Burnswark Hill battle site in Scotland. The two smallest bullets, shown at the bottom of this image, are drilled with a hole that makes them whistle in flight.
(Image: © John Reid/Trimontium Trust)

Some 1,800 years ago, Roman troops used “whistling” sling bullets as a “terror weapon” against their barbarian foes, according to archaeologists who found the cast lead bullets at a site in Scotland.

Weighing about 1 ounce (30 grams), each of the bullets had been drilled with a 0.2-inch (5 millimeters) hole that the researchers think was designed to give the soaring bullets a sharp buzzing or whistling noise in flight.

The bullets were found recently at Burnswark Hill in southwestern Scotland, where a massive Roman attack against native defenders in a hilltop fort took place in the second century A.D. [See Photos of Roman Battle Site and Sling Bullets]

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Archaeological evidence verifies long-doubted medieval accounts of First Crusade

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Republication from eurekalert.org

This earpiece, perhaps of Egyptian manufacture, is apparent loot from the First Crusade sack of Jerusalem in July, 1099 (Credit: Virginia Withers)

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University of North Carolina at Charlotte

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte-led archaeological dig on Jerusalem’s Mount Zion has been going on for over a decade, looking at an area where there were no known ruins of major temples, churches or palaces, but nonetheless sacred land where three millennia of struggle and culture has long lain buried, evidence in layer upon layer of significant historical events.

Virtually every dig season, a significant discovery has been made at the site, adding real detail to the records of this globally-renowned city, giving new insights to what has often been imperfectly preserved in ancient histories. This year’s findings are no different, confirming previously unverified details from nearly thousand-year-old historical accounts of the First Crusade – history that had never been confirmed regarding the five-week siege, conquest, sack and massacre of the Fatamid (Muslim)-controlled city in July of 1099.

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Evidence of the Babylonian capture of Jerusalem found in Mount Zion excavation

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Republication from phys.org

 

One of the Scythian type arrowheads found in the destruction layer from 587/586 BCE. Credit: Mt Zion Archaeological Expedition/Virginia Withers

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Researchers digging at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s ongoing archaeological excavation on Mount Zion in Jerusalem have announced a second significant discovery from the 2019 season—clear evidence of the Babylonian conquest of the city from 587/586 BCE.

The discovery is of a deposit including layers of ash, arrowheads dating from the period, as well as Iron Age potsherds, lamps and a significant piece of period jewelry—a gold and silver tassel or earring. There are also signs of a significant Iron Age structure in the associated area, but the building, beneath layers from later periods, has yet to be excavated.

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Xenophon’s Anabasis and the March of the Ten Thousand: a map

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This is an interesting map of Xenophon’s Anabasis and the March of the Ten Thousand. Actually they were originally 13,000 Greek mercenaries under the command of Clearchos and then under the famous Xenophon.

In order to understand their accomplishment – a huge task taking into account the historical period and the very hostile environment (natural and human) – all we have to do is

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