Material evidence of religious violence

I’ve been talking to people recently about what the material evidence of a major change in society looks like. Today, I will briefly discuss the example of the material evidence of the change in religion that occurred in Late Antiquity, when Christianity became the dominant religion in the Roman Empire. This change was brought about…

In memory of Khaled al-Asaad

Today, 1 January, marks the birth of Khaled al-Asaad near the temple of Bel in Palmyra, Syria in 1932. He became interested in archaeology from a very young age, and studied history at the University of Damascus. He joined the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums in Damascus, and served as Director of Antiquities of…

Roman deities honored on January 1

Featured Image: Roman coins. All photos © The Trustees of the British Museum. Image License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) Clockwise, from top left: Janus crowned with laurel wreath Obverse side of copper alloy coin. Roman Republican, 90 BCE. Minted in Rome. (X) Asclepius with serpent-wreathed staff Reverse side of silver coin of Hadrian, 117-138. Minted…


January Fragment of a mosaic with the months of the year. First half third century CE. Discovered in the city of Thysdrus, Roman province of Byzacena, (modern El Djem, Tunisia).  Archaeological Museum of Sousse.  Photograph by Ad Meskens, 2012.

Best of gods, spirit blessed and crowned with fire

Featured Image: by vhspositive While searching for an inspiring artifact for my post about the dies natalis of Sol Invictus yesterday, I came across several far-right uses of “Sol Invictus”, including art of the current American president as the god with rays streaming from his head, and a would-be American politician who legally changed his name for recognition…

Festival of Sol Invictus

Clay oil lamp depicting Sol, 2nd century AD, Staatliche Antikensammlungen, Munich. Photo by Carole Raddato, 2013 via Flickr. com (X) License: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) Felix dies natalis Solis Invicti! Hail to the Unconquered Sun! Today, December 25. marks the Roman festival of the dies natalis  (anniversary) of the dedication of the temple of Sol…

Happy Solstice!

Happy Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere! Happy Summer Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere! Image: Mosaic from Roman Ucetia, Modern Uzès, France © Denis Gilksman/ INRAP, 2017. Image source: INRAP (X) Archaeologist: Philippe Cayn.   License: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 More about this archaeological site:

Winter Solstice 2018 will be unique

The moon will be full both Friday and Saturday nights, the Ursid meteor shower should be visible in the mid-Northern Hemisphere, and a conjunction of Mercury and Jupiter will occur just before sunrise Friday. Read More ->

Vanilla Extract Discovered at 3,000- to 4,000-year-old Canaanite Tomb

Vanilla extract has been found in offering jugs from a tomb near the palace of the Canaanite city-state of Tel Megiddo, in modern-day northern Israel. Read More ->  Featured Image: Tel Megiddo, UNESCO World Heritage Site. Photo by Liorca, 2016 via Wikimedia Commons (X) License: Featured Image: C BY-SA 4.0