Ancient history

Dating, just like in Babylon

By Jonathan Kalmus, August 8, 2011

An academic claims to have discovered the world's oldest existing Babylonian calendar, which shows that the Jewish dating system has changed little in 2,000 years.

Dr Helen Jacobus, who was recently awarded PhD by Manchester University, is the first academic to decipher the document which was found with the Dead Sea Scrolls into a calendar capable of calculations.


Israeli team track down biblical kosher animals

By Jennifer Lipman, July 14, 2011

Friday night dinner might never be the same, thanks to researchers at two Israeli universities.

Academics at Haifa and Bar Ilan universities have launched an investigation into the biblical species referred to in the book of Deuteronomy as "clean" or kosher.


First Temple findings reinforce Jewish Jerusalem

By Nathan Jeffay, June 30, 2011

Claiming one in the eye for the Palestinian trend of "Temple denial", Israeli archaeologists are preparing, for the first time, to open buildings from the First Temple era to the public.

In recent years Palestinians, including leaders of the Western-backed Palestinian Authority, have claimed in growing numbers that there was never a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.

The new finds mean that not onl


Jordan fights Israeli Bedouin over ancient texts

By Jennifer Lipman, March 29, 2011

An Israeli Bedouin man is battling the Jordanian authorities over allegations that he smuggled a collection of rare religious texts out of Jordan.

The 70 lead plates date back two millennia and have been described by experts as “as significant as the Dead Sea Scrolls”. They are inscribed with symbols of what could be among the earliest example of Christian writing.


On this day: The Dead Sea Scrolls

By Jennifer Lipman, February 15, 2011

It was the search for a stray goat that prompted one of the most remarkable findings in Jewish history.

Discovered by Bedouin shepherds in 1947, in caves in the Judean desert where they had been buried for 2,000 years, the Dead Sea Scrolls are believed to be the earliest example of biblical Jewish writings.

Dated back to the time of the Second Temple - during the Hasmonean and Herodian dynasties - the around 900 scrolls included apocryphal writings on fragments of parchment and leather. They were written in Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic.


Ancient Roman statue unearthed in Israel storm

By Jennifer Lipman, December 15, 2010

The stormy weather that hit Israel this week had an unexpected consequence when an ancient Roman statue was unearthed on an Ashkelon beach.

A passer-by noticed the headless marble statue, thought to be at least 1700 years old, after the storm left it exposed in the sand. The white marble figure, which is 1.2 metres tall and weighs 200 kilograms, is wearing a toga but no longer has arms.

A spokesman for the Israel Antiquities Authority said that what was thought to be part of a Roman bathhouse was also unearthed.


US to Palestinians: Western Wall has Jewish significance

By Jennifer Lipman, December 1, 2010

The Obama administration has rejected the controversial claim by a Palestinian official that there is no Jewish connection to the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Last week Palestinian Authority minister Al-Mutawakil Taha said in a report that "this wall has never been a part of what is called the Jewish Temple.

"It was Islamic tolerance which allowed the Jews to stand before it and cry over its loss."


King Herod archaeologist dies after tragic fall

By Jennifer Lipman, October 29, 2010

The Israeli archeologist who excavated King Herod’s winter palace has been killed in an on-site accident.

Professor Ehud Netzer died in hospital after a wooden safety railing broke and he fell several yards.

Professor Netzer, who was 76, spent more than three decades searching a part of Mount Herodium in Jerusalem in the hope of finding the tomb of the Roman-appointed King of Judea.

The Hebrew University archeologist finally discovered the tomb in 2007, to international acclaim.


Dead Sea scrolls to go on Google archive

By Jennifer Lipman, October 19, 2010

The Dead Sea scrolls will soon be available to anyone with an internet connection.

Search engine Google and the Israel Antiquities Authority have revealed plans for an online archive of the scrolls, which number around 900.


How Moses parted the Red Sea - in Egypt?

By Jennifer Lipman, September 22, 2010

Researchers in Colorado have come up with an explanation as to how Moses was able to part the Red Sea and save the Israelites from Pharaoh’s army.

The group of scientists from the University of Colorado (CU) and the National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) found that the waters could have been separated by a strong gust of wind.

The investigation, which used computer modelling, suggests that Moses’ extraordinary feat took place at the Nile delta rather than Red Sea.