Masculinities and Third Gender: Gendered Otherness in the Ancient Near East

Their masculine identity was considered to be ambiguous. These persons can be classified as belonging to a third gender. […]

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Ask a Near Eastern Professional: How the Sumerians Got to Peru

There was indeed a “Sumerian bowl” found in the late 1950s near Lake Titicaca, at the site of Hacienda Chúa, about 75 miles north of La Paz. The dark bowl has a prominent rim and a […]

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It’s Complicated: Biblical Exercise for the Theological and Ethical Imagination

Why does the Bible matter? Why do we continue to talk about, turn to, and study a diverse assortment of narratives, poems, laws and prophetic proclamations at least two millennia […]

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Good Public Relations: What Persian Propaganda Tells Us About the ‘Nehemiah Memoir’

Stretching from Egypt to the Indus River, the Persian Empire was the largest empire yet seen in the ancient Near East. Typically, the Hebrew Bible depicts ancient […]

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The Sumerian King List or the ‘History’ of Kingship in Early Mesopotamia

Of course, there is no such thing as a Sumerian king list. The text usually referred to as the ‘Sumerian King List’ (SKL) is a composition somewhere between a literary text and a list proper […]

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The State of Matrimony without the State: New Kingdom Egyptians and Marriage

Marriage is ubiquitous in human societies. But any examination of marriage in ancient Egyptian society requires us to disengage from modern social and […]

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Forging Ancient Texts

In contrast, the antiquities market is how most modern hoaxes are circulated, including forgeries of ancient texts. Alleged ancient texts are often said to come from particular archaeological sites, but there is rarely a way to verify such assertions. […]

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Multi-Dimensional Yahwism: The Case of the Persian Period Judaean Community in Elephantine

Elephantine Judaeans suggests that the emergence of a Scripture-based Yahwism—the “victorious” form of Yahwism in the succeeding Hellenistic and Roman […]

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Ancient Pilgrimage in the Modern World

One motivation that unites Greco-Roman pilgrimage traditions, some Jewish pilgrimage traditions, and early Christian pilgrimage is the search for authenticity. This is found in ‘proofs’ like miracles, and the way […]

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“Godnapping” in the Ancient Near East

This particular removal of gods, called “godnapping” by modern scholars, is attested over a long period of Mesopotamian history, from the start of the 2nd millennium through the 5th century BCE. But how can […]

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Animal Economy in a Temple City and Its Countryside: Iron Age Jerusalem as a Case Study

Iron Age Jerusalem is the subject of perennial interest, but archaeological understanding of how the city functioned economically […]

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Ask a Near East Professional: Who are the Sea Peoples and what role did they play in the devastation of civilizations?

Who are the Sea Peoples and what role did they play in the devastation of civilizations that occurred shortly after […]

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Left to right; the ka statue of King Hor (Photo, John Bodsworth), the ba bird (Illustration, Jeff Dahl) and the Akh bird.

Tomb Security in Ancient Egypt: How and Why Did the Egyptians Protect Their Tombs?

Protecting the dead from abuse is an ancient human instinct but Egypt raised this concern to levels never seen before or since. Tomb robbery […]

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Introducing the Digital Library of the Middle East

A successful Digital Library of the Middle East will present the stories of a diverse group of people whose culture is often misunderstood. We need look no further than the Cradle of Civilization to understand how important […]

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Collecting and the Power of Touch

In April 2016, visitors to Trafalgar Square could touch a second century Roman triumphal arch – even though they were 4,000 miles away from where the arch was built, in the ancient city of Palmyra, now […]

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New Light on the Priestly Blessing from Ancient Judah

Since this text associates this blessing with the Israelite priesthood, both Jewish and Christian traditions refer to it as the “priestly blessing.” Jewish and Christian literature shows that the blessing came to hold a central place in the liturgies of both […]

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The King’s Feast: Power and Propaganda at the Neo-Assyrian Royal Table

Banqueting is a powerful means of communication. Throughout human history, men and women have always done their best to enjoy food as much as possible in social settings in order to communicate […]

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The Daily Stew? Everyday Meals in Ancient Israel

What did the ancient Israelites eat and how did they cook? Unfortunately, the Hebrew Bible doesn’t contain as much information on daily cooking and meals as one would like. The limited amount of information […]

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The Present and Future of Curating the Past

The corrugated steel garage door clamored as it rose. We stood on a dusty road in a small town in Turkey and peered into the darkness of our excavation depot. Anxious to get reacquainted with our artifacts […]

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The Beni Hasan Tomb Painting and Scholarship of the Southern Levant

Sometimes a single image can be made to carry more weight than it was intended. For over a century, one painting in the Middle Kingdom tomb complex at Beni Hasan—located […]

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