Online Database for Ancient Coins: NUMIDAT

Hey, I can’t *always* post about the cyber-twaddle that one finds online. Occasionally I have to post about something cool — and perhaps even useful to researchers out there who follow the blog!

To that end, let me introduce you to NUMIDAT, an online database of ancient coins. It’s a one-of-a-kind database. Here’s the description from the Ancient World Online blog:

At present NUMIDAT contains nearly 90,000 records, including data on some 60,000 coins from the city of Rome (sotto suolo urbano) held in the Museo Nazionale delle Terme and the Museo Capitolino.

The project is the result of German scholarship, so when you click on the link to search (Suche), the interface drop-downs will be in German. If you don’t know German, you can get translations of the half-dozen search terms by typing them into Google Translate.

Dead Sea Scrolls Put Online; Catholic Church Fires Head of Papal Department of Conspiracies

Well, this is a bummer if you’ve been earning your living as part of the grand conspiracy run by the Catholic Church to conceal the damning truths in the Dead Sea Scrolls. You know — how the Church has tried to suppress the fact that Christianity has doctrinal touchpoints with Judaism, and how some of its ideas come straight out of Judaism . . . no, wait . . . that’s what the New Testament book of Acts tells us. Someone tell the Vatican Library! (Or, better, Michael Baigent so he can get a clue).

In case you want to see the beginnings of a very cool project to put the original scrolls online in high resolution images — before the Pope and the secret bloodline descendants of Jesus and their allies from the Pleiades find out and clamp down on the project — here’s the link.

Dan Brown and the Grail That Never Was

That’s part of the title of this 2004 scholarly article that examines Brown’s Jesus bloodline mythology.  I don’t believe I’ve posted it before (going through the archives this weekend). The author is apparently a medievalist. It’s a succinct, readable dismantling of Brown’s bogus history. Here’s the abstract:

Dan Brown’s bestseller, The Da Vinci Code, has enthralled many readers, but many others have pointed out his errors and raised objections to his dubious conjectures. Of particular interest to Arthurians is Brown’s conspiracy theory (appropriated from other sources) concerning the Grail, but a discussion of that subject also requires consideration of his presentation of Church history and of the role that art plays in the elaboration of the Grail theory.


Ancient Aliens: Keeping the Fantasy Channel Afloat One Inane Episode at a Time

Fans of critical thinking are bound to enjoy this post over at the Bad Archaeology blog entitled, “I remember why I’ve never wanted satellite television.” It’s a “review” of the Fantasy Channel’s Ancient Aliens show. As funny as parts of it are, I especially liked the tag line of the blog on which I found the link (Archaeoblog):  Ancient Aliens: Watching It So You Don’t Have To.

Megalithic Quarrying Techniques

I came across this article today (“Megalithic Quarrying Techniques and Limestone Technology in Eastern Spain“) and thought I’d share it with readers. I get lots of questions about the “impossibility” of quarrying huge stones for megalithic structures, usually with respect to Egypt. This article deals with even older cultures and goes into a nice level of detail about the use of fire for quarrying.  From the abstract:

Evidence in Eastern Spain and in the Balearic Islands indicates that during the building period of the megaliths and thereafter the inhabitants of this region developed a considerable limestone technology. This technology embraced an empirical knowledge of carbonate chemistry and karst geology which enabled them to quarry large limestone blocks to gain a maximum of usable material with a minimum of effort. It appears that one of the quarrying methods used was based on the chemical dissociation by fire of standing stone blocks at their attachment points, a technique hitherto unknown or unreported in the literature.

Pretty cool. Once again, aliens need not apply.

A New Old Journal Article on the Great Pyramid’s Celestial Alignment

I’ve posted  couple times to alert readers to peer-reviewed journal articles by astronomers interested in researching the Great Pyramid’s alignment with the stars. (previous posts are located here and here). I came across another article on the subject written in 2003 in an open-access journal that focuses on the history of science. The article is very technical to my taste (lots of equations and weird symbols astronomers use). I post it specifically to inform (again) ancient astronaut theorists (and the people who produce the Fantasy Channel’s Ancient Aliens nonsense) that it is incorrect to say that mainstream scientists have not looked into this and found no explanation. As this article also shows, there is no “amazing precision” to the alignment either. It can all be done with naked eye astronomy.

Again, the Egyptians earn our respect for their genius, and aliens are not needed.

One Yahoo of Arabia Now in Malta

Back in 1998 journalist Howard Blum authored a book entitled, The Gold of Exodus. It was sensationalist archaeo-babble at its best. Here’s how one reviewer summarized the book:

When a millionaire adventurer goes in search of the true Mount Sinai, he gets more than he bargained for. Spies, missiles, and secret military installations are just some of the obstacles that Larry Williams and his sidekick Bob Cornuke must confront in their unprecedented journey to find the lost treasures of Moses. In The Gold of Exodus, award-winning journalist Howard Blum records a page-turning story of an adventure that makes history. While risking their necks by sneaking into the xenophobic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, amateur archaeologists Williams and Cornuke become pawns in a game of international espionage that eventually leads them to the top of the most sacred mountain in the world, and into the hands of shotgun-wielding Bedouins.

You get the picture. The Gold of Exodus actually drew the attention of some real archaeologists. Eventually, archaeology writer Neil Asher Silberman penned a review for Archaeology magazine with one of the best review titles of all time: Yahoos in Arabia.

Well, one of those Yahoos, Bob Cornuke, is back. This time he’s discovered *the* boat that Paul was on when it shipwrecked, described in Acts 27. You can get an idea of his basic arguments from this brief, but telling, critique.

Update on the Lead Codices Fakery

Dan McClellan has posted several recent pieces on the Jordanian lead codices that are highly recommended. Other than his collection of photos (very cool), he focuses on analysis. For insights into the fabrication of the artistic work on the codices, this analysis is a must read. On the lettering, this demonstration of forgery is short but important. For those who know Hebrew (and some training in the paleo-alphabet helps), McClellan also posted this treatment of the “texts” on the codices (basically a lot of gibberish on them). And finally, here’s a description containing note of some suspicious incongruities on some of the codices pictures on Facebook.

Irving Wallace all over again.