How the Karatepe bilingual inscription from the 8th century B.C. led to the decipherment of Anatolian hieroglyphs

Just as the Rosetta Stone was fundamental in the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs, other writing systems followed a similar process, sometimes more rugged and convoluted. Some contributed in part to the decipherment of the Anatolian hieroglyphs, in a sort of curious domino effect. In 1694, the Cippi of Melqart, two pedestals bearing bilingual inscriptions, in…Continue readingHow the Karatepe bilingual inscription from the 8th century B.C. led to the decipherment of Anatolian hieroglyphs

The Lemnos Stele, a funerary inscription from the 6th century B.C. that links the Pelasgians to the Etruscans

In 1885, a unique stele was found as part of the walls of a church in the town of Kaminia on the Greek island of Lemnos. It has been dated to the 6th century BC, prior to the conquest of the island by the Athenians in 510 BC to the Pelasgians. This was the name…Continue readingThe Lemnos Stele, a funerary inscription from the 6th century B.C. that links the Pelasgians to the Etruscans

The Great Marib Dam, one of the engineering wonders of antiquity

Yemen is a relatively fertile country, thanks to its location on the seashore and its humid climate. It has valleys and mountains to the west, with heights exceeding 3,500 meters, but also desert plateaus to the east. Here is located the Rub al-Khali, considered the largest sand desert in the world. From very ancient times…Continue readingThe Great Marib Dam, one of the engineering wonders of antiquity

How a lawyer bought Stonehenge in 1915

Stonehenge is England’s most important prehistoric monument and undoubtedly the world’s most famous chromlech. UNESCO added it to its World Heritage list in 1986, increasing the level of protection it had from a century earlier, when it was declared a Scheduled Monument, a classification used in the United Kingdom for outstanding archaeological or historical sites.…Continue readingHow a lawyer bought Stonehenge in 1915

A 4,500-year-old Mesopotamian pillar contains the first deciphered inscription about border disputes

A marble pillar or stele that has been preserved in the British Museum for 150 years bears a cuneiform inscription, deciphered in late 2018, and which has turned out to be the first known record of a border dispute. It also mentions, for the first time, the term no-man’s-land. The pillar is Mesopotamian and about…Continue readingA 4,500-year-old Mesopotamian pillar contains the first deciphered inscription about border disputes

The Dur-Kurigalzu ziggurat that medieval travelers mistook for the Tower of Babel

In the Iraqi desert, some 30 kilometres west of Baghdad, stands an impressive mound that, at first sight, looks like a simple rock eroded by the wind over the centuries. But nothing could be further from truth, for it is made of bricks and what is left of it was once the core of a…Continue readingThe Dur-Kurigalzu ziggurat that medieval travelers mistook for the Tower of Babel

The ancient sculptors of the stone heads and potbellies of Monte Alto, Guatemala, knew the magnetic properties of the rocks

On February 1976 archaeologists found a sculpted turtle head with magnetic properties in the ceremonial center of Izapa in the coastal plain of the State of Chiapas in Mexico. Radiocarbon dating gave that sculpture the date of 1500 BC. About 150 km to the southeast, in the ancient ceremonial center of Monte Alto in Guatemala,…Continue readingThe ancient sculptors of the stone heads and potbellies of Monte Alto, Guatemala, knew the magnetic properties of the rocks

Rivers and seas made of mercury inside the tomb of China’s first emperor, sealed 2,200 years ago

The famous terracotta warriors are only a part of the gigantic mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of unified China, who reigned between 221 and 210 BC. In fact, the complex, located 30 kilometers east of Xian in the northwest of the country, houses more than 400 tombs covering the impressive area of…Continue readingRivers and seas made of mercury inside the tomb of China’s first emperor, sealed 2,200 years ago

How archaeologists found the origin of the legend of King Midas, who turned everything he touched into gold

One of the best-known legends of antiquity is that of the Phrygian king Midas, who turned everything he touched into gold. According to Aristotle, he died of starvation when it was impossible to touch any food without transforming it into the precious metal. The problem is that there are at least three kings with that…Continue readingHow archaeologists found the origin of the legend of King Midas, who turned everything he touched into gold

The monumental rock relief excavated by the Hittites on Mount Sipylus more than 3,000 years ago

When he speaks of Laconia in the third book of his Description of Greece Pausanias comments that the inhabitants of Acriae boasted of having the oldest temple of the Mother Goddess in the Peloponnese. But immediately afterwards he mentions that the oldest image of that goddess is elsewhere: The people of Acriae say that this is the…Continue readingThe monumental rock relief excavated by the Hittites on Mount Sipylus more than 3,000 years ago