Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Follow Page In History at Facebook

Been really pre-occupied with some research so it might make sense to follow me temporarily at Facebook where I am still pointing to the latest and most interesting research and discoveries.

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Page in History

Friday, October 8, 2010

History NEWS Update:::
"Mister Unhappy Face Here"

Well, it's a downright travesty, but this beautiful relic is now in private hands.

The helmet sold at Christie's auction house in London for 2.28 million pounds ($3.6 million). It had been estimated at 200,000 to 300,000 pounds (about $316,000 to $475,000).
For details read this CNN News Article.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

History NEWS Update:::
"Real or Forgery" and "A Fix for Fungi"

My goodness. Just Monday we covered a court verdict about a lawyer gone bad-- who committed all sorts of crimes as he tried to twist History to his whims. And today we find a case that's just as troubling, but unlike the Norman Golb case, looks to be much more difficult to resolve.

What I'm talking about is the limestone burial box that cropped up in 2002. This ossuary (a box which holds bones) had an electrifying Hebrew inscription which read, "James son of Joseph brother of Jesus". And, as you can well imagine, it grabbed the attention of religious groups and middle eastern historians (amongst others) because of it's association with Jesus of Nazareth.

The burial box was immediately snatched up and put on display at Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum where it became the focus of intense studies and papers. The only problem was that the experts at the Israel Antiquities Authority soon declared it a fake. (There is a long history of fakes and forgeries in the religious realm.)

Israeli police seized the burial box and arrested its owner, Tel Aviv collector Oded Golan. In December 2004 he was charged with faking the ossuary and dozens of other items, including an inscribed tablet linked to King Joash, which, if authentic, would be the only physical evidence from the Temple of Solomon.
The case has proceeded and unfortunately the 'experts' can not agree upon whether the artifact is a fake. Even after 5 years of debate which brought "133 witnesses, 200 exhibits and nearly 12,000 pages of witness testimony. The prosecution summation alone ran to 653 pages."

The question comes down to 'patina'. Some experts finding the correct combination of microbes and minerals deep in the grooves of the letters; while others insist that what they found could have been forged.

No decision yet, but if you'd like to read more, Check Out this AOL News article.

Good News. They've uncovered a way of killing off the fungus that is destroying the beautiful Maoi heads on the Eastern Islands.

There are 887 heads currently standing. They were created by the Rapanui (or Rapa Nui) people who are thought to have settled their about 300-400 AD. Everything else about the isle and it's inhabitants are controversial. Oral tradition, for example, is said to have been at Anakena, a white sandy beach. Jared Diamond has a piece in his book Collaspe (wiki link) (amazon-link) that addresses this settlement.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

History NEWS Update:::
Tut's Granddad Unearthed

Beautiful. Just beautiful. A statue of King Amenhotep III was just unearthed and looks very much like this gorgeous statue that resides at the British Museum (below).

Amenhotep III wears the double crown in these images and he is thought to be the grandfather of King Tutankhamun. If you want to read more you can check out the Wikipedia entry or the DiscoveryNews news tidbit.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Dark Side of Academic Disagreements

See this fellow. His name is Raphael Golb.

Raph's father is
Norman Golb and he is the Ludwig Rosenberger Professor in Jewish History and Civilization at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. Dr. Golb holds to the theory that the Dead Sea Scrolls were not written by the Essenes (a small Jewish tribe) as is 'popularly' held, but by another group (or groups). In fact he wrote Who Wrote The Dead Sea Scrolls: The Search For The Secret Of Qumran in which he summed up his ideas.

Well, last Thursday Raphael Golb, an attorney, was convicted of some pretty outrageous behavior. Everything from identity theft to criminal impersonation, forgery, harassment and unauthorized use of a computer. USAToday explains the basic motivation and subsequent actions:

Golb's father, 83-year-old University of Chicago Professor Norman Golb, said nearly a decade ago that Dr. Lawrence Schiffman, chairman of New York University's Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, had plagiarized his research. But he has never had to answer for it, and that so angered Golb that he broke the law, prosecutors said.

Golb created an e-mail account under Schiffman's name, then sent a message from it to Schiffman's colleagues admitting plagiarizing Norman Golb's work. Golb says his actions were not criminal. Rather, he said he was engaging in a spirited debate about the history of the texts and trying to highlight the fact that his father, a longtime scholar of the scrolls, was plagiarized by a rival professor.

Historically speaking, regardless of the academic outcome, the jail-time and the swirl of newspaper coverage about these incidents are bound to make this an interesting footnote in the story of these historical documents.

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