rome’s coliseum features exhibit of archaeological terrorism

October 10th, 2016

ROME — A statue of a human-headed winged bull from the Northwest Palace in Nimrud, Iraq, that was bulldozed by the Islamic State last year to great outcry has been faithfully recreated using modern technology and put on exhibit at the Colosseum in Rome to spur discussion of the possible reconstruction of war-torn archaeological sites.

Full-scale reconstructions were also made of two damaged Syrian sites: the archive room of Ebla and a portion of a ceiling from the Temple of Bel in Palmyra, as examples of how conflict can devastate a nation’s fragile heritage.

“Nimrud was the first place to be destroyed,” said Frances Pinnock, the co-director of the Ebla expedition, the most important Italian archaeological expedition to Syria. “It was a palace known as the Versailles of the ancient Near East, and so it was chosen because it was symbolic.”

“We included Ebla because it represents abandonment, what happens to a site when a mission is no longer present to protect it,” said Ms. Pinnock, who is a member of the scientific committee for the exhibit.

“And Palmyra is a wound” and a place of violent murders, not just of Khalid al-Asaad, the retired chief of antiquities for Palmyra, who was killed in August 2015, three months after the Islamic State took the city, “but of more than a dozen employees, killed in brutal ways only because they tried to protect the heritage,” Ms. Pinnock said.

Though the violence in the Middle East continues, archaeologists and officials from various international organizations continue to explore various options for the reconstruction of archaeological sites in Syria and Iraq once the fighting has abated.

NYT Link

modern gladiators? try a game of ‘calico’ – medics included

July 2nd, 2015

If you live in Florence, Italy, you know the game of calcio storico well. Every year, men from the city’s four historical districts gather together to play something that resembles American football, rugby, and barroom brawling. The goal is simple — get the ball into the other team’s endzone — but the rules are hard to come by. And even though there’s no real prize, men have been playing it since the 15th Century.

“It is like a war — no one does it for the money. You do it because you feel an obligation to fight. So you fight. And if you come back alive, you get drunk and talk about it.”

want an ancient treasure in your backyard? move to this street in colorado

July 1st, 2015

If you live in Southern Colorado’s Camp Indian Ranch, you’re living on a potential gold mine — literally. Each plot of land in this subdivision most likely contains archeological riches dating back anywhere from 800 to 1,500 years ago, riches that homeowners are encouraged to dig up.

forget the expiry date on the bottle. 1000 year old remedy kills superbug mrsa.

March 31st, 2015

Anglo-Saxon cow bile and garlic potion kills MRSA. Microbiologists were astonished to find that not only did the salve clear up styes, but it also tackled the deadly superbug MRSA, which is resistant to many antibiotics. .

old king richard iii makes the news again

May 25th, 2013

Last August the DNA within the bones found beneath a layer of concrete in an England parking lot confirmed that the former King was laid to rest there once upon a time. Thing is, no one has agreed upon anything since. He was clearly buried with great haste and no ceremony, having been crammed into an uneven hole without a coffin or tokens for the afterlife. The man died on a battlefield. Perhaps the battle was happening still, and the urgency of ceremonial burial is likely outweighed by the urgency of getting the hell out of there if you’re on the losing team and are still somehow whole.

There again, there may be proof that the King’s hands were bound by rope in the pit, in which case pomp was even more – entirely! – out of the question . . .

ever hear of la ciudad blanca?

May 16th, 2013

Probably not. The “White City” of legend, if it ever existed at all, sits below thick untouched canopy in the Mosquitia region of Honduras, where walking around with digging equipment and a compass will do an archaeologist no good. This is where Steve Elkins, an amateur explorer and film maker, appeals to professionals pining for the discovery of La Ciudad Blanca: He has helped secure enough monetary backing to employ LiDAR (airborne light detection and ranging), at the price of $1.5m, for one of the first times in the history of field research.

What they found was a digitally animated promise that something manmade exists there. Could this be the settlement that eluded Cortes? Mr. Elkins thinks so. He’s so certain, he’s making a documentary as the facts begin unfolding . . .

king richard iii remains found . . . where?

May 6th, 2013

Back in February, the embattled bones of former King of England, Richard III, were found under the concrete of a parking lot in Leicester, in the East Midlands of that country.

Never let anyone say otherwise. There is no shortage of literary fodder for the historically inclined. You may walk right over it on your way to the grocery store.

Time goes fast these days, and news comes just as quick — sometimes only four thousand years after the fact. This just in: Researchers have found a man made stone burial site twice the size of Stonehenge underwater in the Sea of Galilee. Question is, what’s it doing there?

More anomalies forthcoming.

thank you, kentucky!

May 6th, 2013

It’s always great seeing readers of The Last Ember out in the world. Louisville, you are no exception. I’m sure we’ll be seeing each other again, as soon as my next book appears on the shelves.

thrillerfest 2015

July 12th, 2012

ThrillerFest is back July 7th – 11th at the Grand Hyatt in NYC!

ancient warfare

July 10th, 2012

Ancient mustard gas? Ouch.

Turns out, the ancients played dirty with chemical warfare, too. In battle with Romans, the Persians unleashed a toxic smoke that “would have turned the Romans’ lungs to acid.”