Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Dead Sea Cave Yielding More Artifacts

On a cliff high above the Dead Sea, archaeologists have uncovered more artifacts that may hold clues to a cave that has yielded the Dead Sea Scrolls.
According to Popular Archaelogy:
Led by Dr. Haim Cohen of Israel's Haifa University, a small team ascended a steep escarpment of rocky terrain to the cave each morning at 5.45 a.m. beginning on November 28 for several weeks of painstaking excavation. 
Cave 27, also called the "Mikveh Cave" or Cave of the Pool at Nahal David, is best known for the Second Temple period (530 BCE to 70 CE) mikveh, or ritual cleansing pool, dated to the time of the first centuries B.C. and A.D. 
The cave is located in a cliff approximately 400 meters above the Dead Sea and is accessible from a plateau above the cave. Among the many other finds excavated in past seasons were Early Roman period potsherds, flint tools, remains of straw matting, textiles, date pits, ropes, olive pits, animal bones, two coins of Agrippa I, a glass bottle, an iron trilobate arrowhead from the Early Roman period, a pottery seal with a geometric decoration considered to be from the Chalcolithic period, and an ashen hearth. 
The most intriguing questions, however, have surrounded the presence of the mikveh at the entrance to the cave, a relatively unusual location for such a feature. 
Cohen and his team have uncovered new artifacts and items that will help them answer some important questions about what the cave was used for, who may have inhabited or used the cave, and what significance the cave holds. Recent efforts have uncovered a large amount of pottery dated to the Second Temple period, and some dated to the Chalcolithic and Iron Age. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Grave Could Change Image of Ancient Celts

New findings from a 2,600-year-old grave in Germany suggest the Celts were much more sophisticated than previously thought. Not far from the Heuneburg, the site of an early Celtic settlement, researchers in 2010 stumbled upon the elaborate grave of a Celtic princess. In addition to gold and amber, they found a subterranean burial chamber fitted with massive oak beams..
The discovery could change history’s view of the Celts. Roman writers in particular described the heterogeneous people as barbaric, only excelling in violence and war. But that's a distorted view, according to Dirk L. Krausse from Baden-Wurttemberg's state office for historic preservation.
"There's also a bit of propaganda involved, since the Celts conquered Rome in the year 387 B.C., so they couldn't have been so primitive," Krausse explained. The findings at the Heuneburg near Hundersingen also indicate that the Celts living in the upper Danube region were more advanced than previously thought.
Researchers are hoping to learn more about the Celts' wars of domination ~ one of the greatest mysteries of central European history ~ specifically why the Celts were advancing quickly from the sixth century B.C. until the birth of Christ and then abruptly disappeared from the scene.
Image is artist rendition of 2,500-year-old Celtic warriors.