Archaeology & Science

Khufu: the First Heretic Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt?

That is one of the greatest doubts of archaeology. On this subject a fervid debate among scholars originated, which has long slowed (and at times even impeded), objective analysis of the pyramid complex. Still, nowadays, any conclusion can be appreciated as a milestone towards the comprehension of a complex civilization, which inhabited the territories along the Nile during the dynastic, and especially the pre-dynastic, age...Read more

Discovery of the Talatat: Akhenaten’s Preserved Stone Diaries

The illustrious Eighteenth Dynasty burst onto the vibrant stage of ancient Egyptian history with great import, for it emerged following the expulsion of the reviled Hyksos (Second Intermediate Period). Successive pharaohs left no stone unturned to celebrate that unique victory which had enabled them to break the shackles of foreign domination and lay the foundations for the New Kingdom (circa 1550 BC). The state god Amun (the Hidden One) was heralded for granting Egypt success in its arduous mission.

By the time Pharaoh Amenhotep III (also known as The Magnificent) “joined the gods...Read more

Fire and Sword: Ferocious and Deadly Thermal Weapons set the Ancient World Ablaze

One only had to witness cities devoured by flames, see fleets of ships sinking, their sails ablaze, or behold screaming victims doused in boiling pitch to know the deadly efficacy of ancient thermal weapons.

Warfare was brutal, but effective, in the ancient world, between conventional arms of sword, bow and shield, to the invisible but deadly poisons and biological weapons. But perhaps none were as instantly terrifying and widely destructive as thermal weaponry.

Early thermal weapons were used inventively in warfare during the classical and medieval periods (eighth century...Read more

Sacred Space, Structure and Spiritual Portals of the Ancient Mayas: The Sak Nuk Nah ̶ White Skin House in Palenque

The cosmology of the ancient Mayas envisioned a fluid universe, in which patterns in the cosmos above were replicated in the earth below. Destinies of individuals, cities and entire peoples were determined by stellar configurations—cycles of abundance and scarcity, creation and destruction were linked to celestial cycles. The world and its surroundings were multi-layered with three major dimensions: the Underworld of watery depths and Death Lords, the Middleworld of humans and creatures of earth, and the Upperworld of deities and ancestors. These three dimensions inter-penetrated each...Read more

Medicine Macabre: The Healing Magic and High Value of Human Fat

What now seems macabre and grisly to many, harvesting parts of the freshly dead human body for use in healing was an old, traditional practice by doctors who claimed it was excellent in treating and curing a host of ailments.

Between skull powder medicine and fresh blood concoctions, ancient doctors working in the field of so-called ‘corpse medicine’ let no part of a dead body go to waste. Not a remedy for the squeamish perhaps, ancient and early modern healers extolled the virtues of human fat and its healing properties.

Pharmacopoeias, or ancient medical texts, listed human...Read more

Queens Pyramids and the Zep Tepi: Primary Planning During the Apex of the Golden Age

Since the beginning of the nineteenth century and for the middle of the twentieth, an excessive and erratic haste to visit and explore ancient Egyptians ruins took place, as if the Ultimate Truth on mankind’s distant past could emerge from the ancient sands of Egypt. This Gold Rush culminated in the late forties, when the imaginary curve on the Cartesian’s axes, crept down, slowly, inexorably, plummeting to the lowest point in modern times.Read more

A Tale of Pestilence: Did Egypt Wield a Secret Weapon against the Assyrians?

In 700 BCE, The Assyrian army commanded by King Sennacherib invaded Egypt.

Before the Assyrians pushed any further into Egypt, the Assyrian army made camp at Pelusium, which is located on the salt flats and flax fields of northeastern Egypt. It was to be an easy victory in Sennacherib’s eyes, for the enemy Pharaoh’s soldiers would not fight for him. The “warriors of the Egyptians refused to come to the rescue,” according to Greek historian Herodotus.

The reason for this is that Pharaoh Sethos of Egypt had distanced himself from the warrior class, holding them with great...Read more

Ancient Automata: The Magic of the Mechanical Realm and Machines Brought to Life

When the dark magician was wheeled out before the audience—with an eerie and inscrutable expression on his face, and dressed in mystical robes and bejeweled turban—a hush fell over the court of Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. It was 1770, and inventor Wolfgang von Kempelen boasted that no human would be able to defeat the magician at his game: chess.

This seemed an incredible claim, as the magician clearly had no brain. The magician was not human, but a construction; a prop in man’s clothing. Lifeless and still, it had a human-looking head and torso, a black beard, and was...Read more

What Really Happened to the Neanderthals?

The Neanderthals are our closest evolutionary human cousins and for hundreds of thousands of years were much more successful at colonizing Europe than we were. Recent archaeological evidence shows that they had equal if not larger brains than Homo sapiens, developed language, tools, cared for their disabled and buried their dead—not at all the dim-witted cavemen of popular misconception.

They were stronger and better adapted to a cold post-ice age climate than we were. So why did they become extinct and we survived? The last decade has been a golden age in terms of our...Read more