It is one of the oldest fragrances in the world. Nicolas Baldovini’s team at the Institut de chimie de Nice (CNRS/UNS) has just discovered the components that give frankincense its distinctive odor: two molecules found for the first time in nature, named “olibanic acids” by the scientists. Their research results* have just been published online, on the website of the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.
It is mentioned more than twenty times in the Bible, where it is one of the gifts offered by the Three Wise Men. Frankincense (also called olibanum1), one of the world’s oldest fragrances, is a gum resin that exudes from the bark of Boswellia trees, which grow in countries bordering the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. It has been used for more than 6,000 years by every civilization, from Mesopotamia to the present. Regularly burned during religious ceremonies, it contributes to the very particular smell of churches. Despite its long history and the large amount of research dedicated to it, the exact nature of the molecules that give frankincense its distinctive fragrance surprisingly remained unknown.
More than 25 previously unpublished “Dead Sea Scroll” fragments, dating back 2,000 years and holding text from the Hebrew Bible, have been brought to light, their contents detailed in two new books.
The various scroll fragments record parts of the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Samuel, Ruth, Kings, Micah, Nehemiah, Jeremiah, Joel, Joshua, Judges, Proverbs, Numbers, Psalms, Ezekiel and Jonah. The Qumran caves ― where the Dead Sea Scrolls were first discovered ― had yet to yield any fragments from the Book of Nehemiah; if this newly revealed fragment is authenticated it would be the first.
These 25 newly published fragments are just the tip of the iceberg. A scholar told Live Science that around 70 newly discovered fragments have appeared on the antiquities market since 2002. Additionally, the cabinet minister in charge of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), along with a number of scholars, believes that there are undiscovered scrolls that are being found by looters in caves in the Judean Desert. The IAA is sponsoring a new series of scientific surveys and excavations to find these scrolls before looters do.
we do not even have to read this one to know that the research is faulty. we can’t get the story to load on this computer do if anyone else can please send us a copy.
An important and unusual discovery was made in archaeological excavations that were carried out in the Tel Lachish National Park, an archaeological site located in the Shfela (lowland) region of Israel between Mount Hebron and the Mediterranean coast. The find is a gate-shrine from the First Temple period (eighth century BCE) in what archaeologists perceive as compelling evidence of King Hezekiah’s efforts to abolish idol worship there, as described in the Bible: “He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles…” (II Kings 18:4).
The archaeological excavation was conducted between January and March by the Israel Antiquities Authority, at the initiative of the Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage and in cooperation with the Nature and Parks Authority, in order to further the continued development of the Tel Lachish National Park. The northern part of the gate was uncovered decades ago, and the current excavation aims to expose the gate completely. The gate that emerged is the largest known from the First Temple period.
As silent witnesses to the past, ancient Egyptian mummies can add to our knowledge of their society well beyond what we can learn from the study of texts, art and funerary rituals.
In a study led by Macquarie University, researchers have successfully identified proteins present in skin samples from 4200-year-old mummies with evidence of inflammation and activation of the immune system, as well as possible indications of cancer.
The researchers performed proteomics analysis on four skin samples and one muscle tissue sample taken from three ancient Egyptian mummies of the First Intermediate Period (FIP).
“We identified numerous proteins that provide evidence of activation of the innate immunity system in two of the mummies, one of which also contained proteins indicating severe tissue inflammation, possibly indicative of an infection that we can speculate may have been related to the cause of death,” says Professor Paul Haynes from the Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences.
Dr Jana Jones from the Department of Ancient History describes the FIP as the first Egyptian ‘Dark Age’.
“It was marked by political unrest, changed economic conditions, mega drought and famine,” she says.
“Our scientific study of mummies provides a historical context for medical conditions that are found in the modern world such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.
A 3,300-year-old secret passage and a skeleton belonging to the Hittite period have been found during archeological excavations in Alacahöyük archeological site in central Anatolian province of Çorum, Turkey. The findings were compiled in a documentary entitled “Following the footsteps of history,” shedding light on the lives of ancient peoples.
The discovery of the skeleton could have significant implications for historians, as it marks the first time a Hittite-era skeleton is found and could break new ground.
The excavation work in the site is carried out for the Ministry of Culture, by Ankara University.
Regarded as Turkey’s first national excavation site, Alacahöyük is an archeological site that is home to Neolithic and Hittite settlement, where earliest examples of copper and stone tools can be found. It also contains royal tombs dating to the 3rd century BCE, with precious artifacts including jewelry, weapons, metal vessels and more.
Biblical archaeology was revolutionized several years ago when evidence of the existence of the kingdom of David was brought to light in the form of a fortified Iron Age town excavated in the Elah Valley by Hebrew University Professor Yosef Garfinkel and Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) archaeologist Sa’ar Ganor.
The place was described by the Bible as the location of the battle between David and Goliath. The highlights of the findings of the Elah Valley excavations are now to be presented to the public for the first time at an exhibition scheduled to open at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem on September 5.
“Archaeology cannot find a man and we did not find the remnants linked to King David himself,” Professor Garfinkel told Tazpit Press Service (TPS). “But what we did find is archaeological evidence of the social process of urbanization in Judea.”
According to Prof. Garfinkel, the evidence of urbanization fits in with what is described in the Bible as the establishment of the Kingdom of David, when small agrarian communities were replaced by fortified towns. “The chronology fits the Biblical narrative perfectly. Carbon tests performed on the olive pits found in Khirbet Qeiyafa show the town was built at the end of the 11th century BCE,” Garfinkel explained.