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Understanding Tophets: A Short Introduction

By Adriano Orsingher

Few historical issues are as controversial as child sacrifice in the ancient Mediterranean and Biblical worlds. The Biblical term Tophet is conventionally used to refer to a type of open-air cremation sanctuary. The common element characterising Tophets is the presence of an open space where urns containing cremated remains of animals and/or children were deposited. Read More

Sumer and the Modern Paradigm

By Pedro Azara

Joan Miró used Son Boter, a 17th century mansion at Palma de Mallorca (Balearic Islands, Spain) as his studio for sculptures. On its walls were images of what most most scholars believed were ethnographic or traditional art. But in reality these were Sumerian masterpieces from the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad…[READ MORE]

Echoes of Nabataean Seafaring

By Ralph Pedersen

When one thinks of the Nabataeans, the desert comes to mind, with wind-blown sands, the red rock-cut architecture of their capital of Petra, and trade routes carrying incense from Arabia to the Mediterranean. There is, however, another aspect of the Nabataeans, one that is only now coming into focus: Seafaring….[READ MORE]

The Missing Shade of Blue

By Shiyanthi Thavapalan

There are no ancient Near Eastern treatises that explain the nature of color. Did people think color was an immutable part of substances like stones and metals? Could it vary when subjected to forces like heat or light? We do not know. And yet, written documents suggest beyond any doubt that color was recognized as an essential aspect of natural and artificial substances….[READ MORE]

When Life Gives You Lemons: Tracking the Earliest Citrus in the Mediterranean

By Dafna Langgut

One of the most famous Levantine exports of the 20th century was the Jaffa orange, and we have long associated the region with citrus. Today citrus orchards are a major component of the Mediterranean landscape and among the region’s most important cultivated fruits. But while citrus is now iconic, it may come as a surprise that it is not native to the Mediterranean Basin; these species originated thousands of miles away, in Southeast Asia….[READ MORE]