There are two interesting archaeological notes in the news. While neither are from the ancient Near East, both are fascinating pieces nonetheless.
1) The AP reports that researchers at Stonehendge now think that the site originally began as a burial ground:
New studies of cremated human remains excavated from the site suggest that about 500 years before the Stonehenge we know today was built, a larger stone circle was erected at the same site as a community graveyard, researchers said Saturday.
2) The BBC reports that a recently excavated may include a mythical “Viking Sunstone”:
An oblong crystal the size of a cigarette packet was next to a pair of dividers – suggesting it was part of the navigational equipment.
It has now been shown that it is of Iceland spar – a form of calcite known for its property of diffracting light into two separate rays.
Testing a similar crystal, the scientists proved that by rotation it was possible to find the point where the two beams converge – indicating the direction of the Sun.
They say it works on cloudy days, and when the Sun has set.
As an extra bonus, I’d like to point out that Icelandic spar plays a prominent role in Thomas Pynchon’s novel Against the Day.
My Mosaic 1 students start on Greek lit this week (a Journey that will take the better part of the month. While we don’t read Epicurus in class, the echoes of his fiery rants on theodicy will resound in our ears through the end of the year.
In pre-Julian times, the calendar started in March. So for someone like myself who is more at home in the ancient world and think that CE refers to “Current Events,” this is as good a time as any to start this blog back up.
After too long a period of time, I’m trying to get back in the writing saddle. Teaching a 4/4 load with an additional summer course for several years has really eaten into my writing and research, but I need to get out some thoughts on Gilgamesh.
With new translations (and “translations”), new manuscripts, and new monographs circling about, my well-worn copies of George’s translation are feeling more and more out of dated. I’m hoping to post snipits of translation here on a weekly basis and get some feedback from the scholarly community (and layfolk as well).
Scotteriology has the most recent roundup of Bible-related blogging from around the intertubes. The selections of post this month are quite truncated and eclectic, due in large measure to the paucity of submissions sent in. However, this just makes each link all that more precious. Of particular interest to me is Rebecca Lesses’s collection of online resources on Jewish magic.
Update: Here’s the “greater” post of the month’s biblical blogging activity. More links, more posts, more happy goodness.