Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Rahab the Harlot

In the Book of Joshua, Rahab (a heroine nonetheless known as “Rahab the Harlot”) assisted two Israelite spies in escaping out a window and down the city wall of Jericho. Who was Rahab in the Bible? A Biblical prostitute or just an innkeeper? Did she live on the wall of Jericho or within it, in what is known to archaeologists as a casemate wall? Anthony J. Frendo addresses these questions about the life of Rahab in the Bible in the September/October issue of Biblical Archaeology Review. Whether or not she was a Biblical prostitute, archaeology may at least be able to answer whether Rahab lived on or in the casemate wall of Jericho.

More on Rahab:
Rahab the Prostitute from about.com
Profiles of Faith: Rahab - From Harlot to Heroine from the Good News
Who Was Rahab The Harlot? from Share Faith
Rahab from Women of the Bible
Rahab from Jewish Virtual Library

Monday, October 7, 2013

Six Century Old Murder Hunt Begins In Fife

THE hunt is on to find the body of an heir to the Scottish throne who is believed to have been murdered and dumped in an unmarked grave more than six centuries ago.
David Stewart was the first Duke of Rothesay, the same title now used by Prince Charles when he is in Scotland.
The tragic Duke was just 24 when he was arrested by his ambitious uncle, imprisoned and – it is widely suspected – murdered.
The body was buried in an unmarked grave 1402 somewhere in the grounds of  Lindores Abbey, Fife, and has lain there for the past 611 years.
Now a team of historians and archaeologists plans to pinpoint the grave, exhume the body, and settle once and for all the mystery of how Prince Charles’ predecessor met his end.

Empress Dowager Cixi

Bel Mooney's review of Jung Chang's "Empress Dowager Cixi" from the Mail Online:
She was a version of Margaret Thatcher, in a different age, an alien culture. From humble origins yet a natural leader, she used a powerful mixture of intelligence and natural charm to get her way, fighting a single-minded path to the top.

Autocratic and determined, she would let few things or people stand in the way of her ambition to change history.

The lady knew how to manipulate men who were weaker - which was most, even in a male-dominated culture. Powerful rivals held no terror for her, and heaven help those who made her their enemy.

Depending on whether you’re a detractor or an admirer, she was ruthless or tough-minded, devious or shrewd, cruel or simply pragmatic according to the standards of the age. Nobody can argue that this stateswoman made a significant mark on history, yet history’s jury is still out.

Was she an innovator or a despot? The answer is almost certainly - both.

Other Links:
Article on Cixi featured in the Smithsonian Magazine: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/da-cixi.html

Ancient Female Burials

From Peninsula Daily News: Remains of centuries-old Native woman buried at Tse-whit-zen
The remains of a native woman who likely lived on the North Olympic Peninsula centuries ago have been returned to the earth.

Lower Elwha Klallam tribal members met under rainy skies Sept. 28 to inter the remains at the tribe's Tse-whit-zen site along Marine Drive, the historic location of one of the largest prehistoric Klallam villages on the Peninsula. 

“It was a funeral service that day,” said Frances Charles, chairwoman of the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe.

After 73 years in the collection of the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle, the remains, found somewhere on the Olympic Peninsula in the 1920s, were given to the tribe earlier this summer.

From the Star: Moche priestess tomb
She was a priestess who offered blood to the gods, and was laid to rest more than 1,200 years ago.

Her chamber tomb was a rare find that most archaeology students can only dream of adding to their resumé, but Matthew Go, 20, has done just that.

Go is the only Canadian on a team of archaeologists in Peru who in July discovered a Moche priestess chamber tomb buried between AD700-800. The tomb is the eighth in a cluster of priestess tombs found since 1991 at the San Jose de Moro archaeological site in the Jequetepeque Valley in northwest Peru.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Collegiate Foundress: Dervorguilla of Galloway

From BBC News:

An Oxford University college may have taken its name from a medieval lord, but it was under the watchful eye of his widow that it thrived.

Balliol College claims to be the institution's oldest college, and is currently celebrating its 750th year.

John Balliol was spurred into the charitable act of its foundation after being whipped for upsetting a bishop.

But he died shortly after its formation in 1263 and it was Dervorguilla of Galloway under whose guidance the college blossomed.

The grief-stricken widow kept her husband's heart on her at all times, safe in a silver casket.

And she was determined Balliol College would make its mark, according to Dr John Jones, its archivist.

Egyptian Goddess Sekhmet in Pergamon

An almost nine-meter long lion-headed Egyptian goddess Sekhmet has been revived in the Red Basilica (Kızıl Avlu) in the largest structure of the ancient city of Pergamon in İzmir’s Bergama district.

The Egyptian statue pieces found during the excavations since 1930 in the Red Basilica are among the most important statues from the Roman Empire. Among them, the lion-headed goddess statue was reconstructed thanks to the support of the Studiosus Foundation. The statue was raised last year for trial purposes and with further works, and it reached an impressive height of 8.5 meters.