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The podcast that takes archaeology exactly as seriously as it deserves. Two real professors of archaeology and one guy from a fake institution discuss cutting edge archaeological discoveries at a high professional level using technical knowledge and stuff. A scholarly podcast for the discerning listener, it’s handmade, artisanal, and bespoke! Critics say, “A cheeky and irreverent take,” and “the good kind of shenanigans.” Other critics say, “damaging to archaeology,” and “deeply discreditabl ...
 
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The upcoming 100th anniversary of the discovery of King Tut’s tomb has us talking about the discoverer, Howard Carter, who seems to have had sticky fingers and a propensity to fudge the story of his find. Ethics? Morals? Does it matter? Look at all that nice stuff!By thisweekintheancientneareast
 
New research shows that certain Late Bronze Age pots from Cyprus really did contain opium, which isn’t too surprising since they’re shaped like opium poppies. What’s going on? What was all this opium for? Was everyone in the past on drugs? Sure looks that way.By thisweekintheancientneareast
 
A new article on Neolithic skulls raises questions, like just how did all those skulls get separated from the bodies? Were there human sacrifices in the Neolithic or were there “ancestor cults,” whatever those were? Our contestants must dodge the ick factor to get to the Truth.By thisweekintheancientneareast
 
New data that show the chicken was domesticated vastly later than previously thought have shattered the poultry paradigm. Moreover, chickens were elite pets for centuries before someone decided to toss them in a pot. The myths of the archaic bird die hard in this fast moving and delicious episode.By thisweekintheancientneareast
 
A new analysis has shown King Tut’s knife was made of sky iron, that’s right, iron from the sky, you know, like from a meteor, the kind from outer space. What’s so special about iron anyway and what’s the deal with diplomacy and gift giving in the Late Bronze Age? And why are we talking about bellbottoms and personal computers?…
 
The underground cult site at Başbük in southeastern Turkey has us wondering, why depict Aramean deities in an Assyrian style? Is this an Iron Age cult site or a rich guy’s rec room? Or is it both? Mukīn-abūa of Tušhan, you sly dog.By thisweekintheancientneareast
 
The discovery of oysters and crabs at Nabatean and Roman caravan sites in the Negev has us thinking, what’s going on here? What do we learn about trade and traders from food remains? Have we been too focused on the exports and not enough on the imports? One thing is for sure, you gotta eat.By thisweekintheancientneareast
 
The giant stone sculptures of boxers found in a first millennium BCE Sardinian cemetery have our contestants puzzled. Are these protective deities or just slightly oversized sports heroes? And why does every culture around the world first pile stones and then carve them? Didn’t they have anything better to do with their time?…
 
New research has begun to reconstruct the smell of ancient perfumes from Egyptian tombs. But rich folks always try to smell better. The bigger question is what did the past smell like as whole? Our contestants detect zesty notes of burning dung and a cloying variety of herbs and spices.By thisweekintheancientneareast
 
A Phoenician cemetery in Spain has us talking about, well, the Phoenicians. Who were they, where did they come from, and why do we even call them Phoenicians in the first place? Isn’t that sort of ‘othering’? And where does famed character actor Michael J. Pollard fit in?By thisweekintheancientneareast
 
A Late Byzantine/Early Islamic shipwreck off the coast of Israel has us donning our Speedos once again. Wasn’t this tramp steamer aware of the momentous political and social changes taking place on land? Who cares when you’ve got walnuts and broken glass to deliver!By thisweekintheancientneareast
 
Wine flavored with vanilla? Why would any self respecting Jerusalemite touch the stuff except to show off? Anyway, it pairs well with other weird stuff found in Iron Age Jerusalem like shark fossils, dried fish, and writing so why not?By thisweekintheancientneareast
 
The early Iron Age site of Har Adir in the mountains of the Upper Galilee is back in the news. Was this an 11th century fortress of a local polity or a bird watching sanctuary? How can we tell the difference? What is a polity anyway? One thing’s for sure, don’t get us started about ‘Dark Ages.’By thisweekintheancientneareast
 
The discovery of tattoos on an upper class woman from ancient Egypt has us asking, are these magical, medical, or a right of passage? But what about the tattooed criminals in ancient Greece? Maybe this tattoo thing goes different ways. The main thing is that people in the past looked more like modern Brooklynites than we realized.…
 
A stone game board from Oman has us puzzled. Is this rare find a signpost in the evolution of human cognition or a flat rock with divots? What are games anyway? New ways to think or old ways to kill time? It’s all a game to you people, isn’t it?By thisweekintheancientneareast
 
A mass grave of Crusaders at the Lebanese site of Sidon raises many questions about identity, mobility, and warfare in the 13th century. But it fits right in with our understanding of human cruelty, what with the beheadings and all, so at least there’s that.By thisweekintheancientneareast
 
Magdala had two synagogues, or did it? How many did they need and how often did they go to synagogue anyway? Is this just a post-Enlightenment conceit about pre-Enlightenment religiosity? But which is more important, the room with the services or the one with the bingo?By thisweekintheancientneareast
 
Neo-Assyrian leather armor? In a Western Chinese tomb? It’s a classic, what’s up with that situation. Is it really Neo-Assyrian? How do we know? If so, how did it get there? What can we make of a sample of one? Why are we talking about Ricardo Montalban? It’s an episode so filled with questions that we’re literally bubbling over.…
 
A slightly lopsided Iron Age cult site just outside Jerusalem? Little human figurines, big silos, and now the stone legs of a cult statue? What’s going on beneath the highway overpass at Motza? But why is anyone surprised about another temple in Judah? Wouldn’t surprise be an indictment of our entire educational system?…
 
A new study uses DNA from Egyptian mummies to literally reconstruct their faces. Oddly enough, they look like Egyptians. Is this accurate? Is it ethical? One way or another, they’re pretty good-looking. And isn’t that the main thing? Anyway, what’s with all the mummified cats?By thisweekintheancientneareast
 
Yes, we’re still here at ASOR, but now we’re interrogating an entirely new crowd about the question of conferences, namely Dr. Margaret Cohen, Professor Alexandra Ratzlaff and Professor Andrea Berlin. The questions are mostly the same, but the answers from these three leading female scholars are quite different.…
 
What happens when a bunch of archaeologists start drinking bourbon and let their graying hair down? It’s an after hours edition with the one and only Professor James Hardin, who rather charmingly, can’t stay on script. He takes us to some surprising places, including some related to archaeological storytelling.…
 
A conference you say? That’s right, we’re here in Chicago at the ASOR meeting with a host of guests, luminary scholars with names like Professor Eric Cline, Dr. Matthew Adams (the one with a J.), Dr. Yorke Rowan, and Professor Morag Kersel. The topic - conferences and conference experiences. There are some important lessons here.…
 
Making a floor isn’t rocket science, but style and execution count for a lot. The terrazzo floor at the 15th century Hittite sanctuary at Uşaklı Höyük might be the earliest mosaic floor, or does that honor belongs to the Minoans? What is the relationship between power and taste? Why are the triangles blue and what does the god Teshub really think a…
 
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.…
 
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.…
 
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?By thisweekintheancientneareast
 
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?…
 
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-…
 
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 le…
 
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 Proport…
 
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 i…
 
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 …
 
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 …
 
Resurrection genomics sounds fancy, even a little scary, but in this case it means cultivating date trees from ancient seeds and then sequencing their genes. What do we learn about the antiquity of this ever-popular fruit? And if dates are so great, how come the tree is the symbol and not the fruit? Our panelists are torn, yet characteristically sw…
 
The chance find of a strange Roman period half lamp in Jerusalem and the even chancier discovery that the other half is in Hungary has shocked the archaeological world. What is this strange light fixture and how can its separation lead to some high-class speculation about lamps, symbolism, and ancient psychology? What is light anyway, and why is it…
 
A recent study proposes that the Biblical King Solomon orchestrated maritime trade across the Iron Age Mediterranean. Is there really evidence for this? And why didn’t the kingdoms of Israel and Judah create monumental art and architecture like their neighbors? Or, for that matter, write much stuff down? Our panelists are intrigued but not confiden…
 
A tiny inscribed potsherd dating to the first half of the 15th century BCE from Lachish in southern Israel has six little letters. Is this the earliest alphabetic inscription in the southern Levant? Does it change the story of the alphabet? And who breaks nice pottery to write a note? Our panelists are puzzled, but not necessarily surprised. To lea…
 
The discovery of an industrial scale beer brewery at the early Egyptian site of Abydos demonstrates the role of alcohol in ancient societies. Was drinking your dinner on the ruler’s tab a way to keep workers fed, or maybe just to keep them from asking questions like ‘why are we building this stupid pyramid for this so-called king?’ To learn more Ab…
 
New excavations in caves along the west side of the Dead Sea have revealed fragments of Biblical texts along with astonishing prehistoric remains. They raise the question of how people were getting and out of these caves, hundreds of meters above the Dead Sea, and more importantly, why one of them brought along a basket the size of a minivan. Our p…
 
King Seqenere of the 17th Dynasty has some gruesome head wounds. Fighting the hated Hyksos might have been the cause of death for Egypt’s version of Sonny Corleone, but what about the snoring hippos? WHAT ABOUT THE HIPPOS?! To learn more Egyptian royal mummy shows pharaoh wasn’t assassinated—he was executed https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/02/c…
 
Around 1000 BCE, purple dyed textiles were the in thing at the Negev copper mining site of Timna. But how did textiles dyed with purple made from Mediterranean snails get there and who wore them? Were they fit for a king or just glad rags for nomads? And how does Vandelay Industries figure in? Our contestants are frankly baffled. To learn more Bibl…
 
The discovery of a 6,600 year old cache of olives off the shore of Israel raises questions: Olives? Underwater? What? Who was the first person to eat an olive, and how does the Assyrian Empire (eventually) figure in? And why do our panelists keep talking about fat tailed sheep and the history of writing? To learn more Israeli teams discover ancient…
 
Archaeologists rarely speak about toilets, mostly because there isn’t that much evidence. We’ve got plenty of pits, lots of pots, but only a few carefully carved stone seats. Which is fit for a king? To learn more Toilet Found in 3,000-Year-Old Shrine Verifies Bible Stories Against Idol Worship https://www.newsweek.com/toilet-discovered-middle-anci…
 
What does the discovery of exotic species such as bananas, soybeans and turmeric in the second millennium BCE Southern Levant tell us about trade, tastes and smells in the past? And does the fact that the discovery comes from scraping the teeth of dead people say more about the potential of microarchaeology or about the need for flossing? Our panel…
 
Does a tenth century BCE figurine from a site near Jerusalem depict the god Yahweh? How would we know? Archaeological finds don’t come labeled, or do they? And how does this relate to the end of the Enlightenment and the Existential challenge facing the Humanities? Our panelists are divided. To learn more Archaeologist claims to find 10th cent. BCE…
 
Did a comet break up over earth 12,800 years ago causing glaciers to melt and prompting humans to invent agriculture? What was it like to have your village suddenly heated to 4000 degrees Fahrenheit? How would this event have been culturally encoded by anyone who wasn’t cooked and/or pulverized? Our panelists have nano-diamonds on the souls of thei…
 
Cannabis and frankincense residues on an altar found in an ancient Israelite temple? Were the ancestors of Jews going one toke over the line? Why the heck did this tradition end? This changes everything, man, and our panelists are really into it. Well, maybe after a snack. To learn more Cannabis was used for religious rites at a biblical site in Is…
 
An ancient soap factory found in a Bedouin village leads our panelists to ask the age-old question, what’s it doing there? Why is it a soap factory anyway? And just what is soap anyway? With guest star Dr. Bronner and a recursive discussion on the role of Irish Spring in the Troubles, this an episode that can’t be missed! To learn more Earliest soa…
 
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