Oct
20
2010
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What is Rock Art?

rock artArchaeologically, “rock art” is a term applied to any human made marking on a ‘natural’ stone surface.  Relief carvings on a temple wall, for example, cannot be included regardless of how primitive they seem as the stone surface has been ‘prepared’ to receive the sculpture and is no longer ‘natural.’ Rock art is divided into [more...]

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Jul
01
2010
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Is the Callanish stone circle open all the time?

Standing stone circle at CalanaisAnyone who can get to the Isle of Lewis can visit the standing stones of Callanish, and move around freely – quite different from the untouchable Stonehenge circle at the other end of the UK, which attracts about 20 visitors for every one at Callanish. The main site has a sheep-proof fence, gate, and a [more...]

May
08
2010
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What is Krak des Chevaliers, Syria?

Krak des ChevaliersKrak des Chevaliers is a Crusader fortress in Syria and one of the premier preserved medieval military castles in the world.  It is located  west of the city of Homs and close to the border of Lebanon.   It is administratively part of the Homs Governorate but is an excellent day-trip if headquartering in Hama or [more...]

May
07
2010
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What is Apamea, Syria?

apameaApamea, just to the northwest of Hama, Syria, was a treasure city of the Seleucid kings and was capital of the ancient province of Apamene.  At various times the city was known as Pharmake, Pella, Cherronesos, and was the Biblical city of Shepham.  Apamea was so closely tied to Jerusalem the first-fruits brought from that [more...]

May
04
2010
3

What are the Water Wheels of Hama?

water wheels hama syriaThe Water Wheels of Hama are part of an ancient irrigation system and were used to raise water into aqueducts.  They have been used for a couple of thousand years to irrigate the city and surrounding valleys.  There is an old mosaic in the Hama museum, found in Apamea and dated to 469 A.D. showing [more...]

Jan
08
2010
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What is the Step Pyramid of Saqqara?

Step Pyramid Saqqara - courtesy Paul Mannix - CC-BYThe Step Pyramid at Saqqara, the Pyramid of Zoser, is the oldest known free standing stone structure in the world and the first of the Egyptian Pyramids.  King Zoser’ name was Netjerykhet. The name Zoser was given by New Kingdom visitors to the monument, thousands of years later.  The original name of the Step Pyramid [more...]

Jan
06
2010
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Is the Pyramid of Kufu (the Great Pyramid of today) really one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World?

Khafre domminates the horizon - courtesy Dale Gillard - CC-BYIs the Pyramid of Kufu (the Great Pyramid of today) really one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World? Actually, no. It was the Pyramid of Khafre, the second largest pyramid at Giza which was the Great Pyramid of the Seven Wonders, even though smaller in both height and volume than the Great Pyramid [more...]

Dec
14
2009
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What is the history of scissors?

Scissors - courtesy dboy - CC-BYScissors are small cutting implements which are familiar for a lifetime and too frequently overlooked in the march of human progress. We know the history of the garden hoe and plow, both simple cutting surfaces. But scissors are a little more complex, yet little is available of their history. Do they date back one century, [more...]

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Nov
20
2009
5

When was Jesus born?

Detail from a stained glass window in Fabrica Art Gallery, Brighton, East Sussex. Photo by Dominic. CC-BY.Although much of the world celebrates Christmas on Dec. 25 as the supposed birthday of Jesus of Nazareth, and our calendar is based on the assumption that year-counting began the year of his birth, the chances that he was born on Dec. 25, 1 BC (there was no year 0), are extremely remote. Christmas is [more...]

Oct
24
2009
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Did the ancient Romans have a healthy Mediterranean diet?

Mushrooms for lunch! (photo by orsorama - CC-BY)The Ancient Romans were known for their highly evolved civilization, and for their inventions like the aqueduct. They were also known to love food and eating, and they often threw elaborate banquets to impress their friends with their knowledge of food and wine and to show off their wealth. That wasn't how they ate all [more...]

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