German scientists studying the contents of an ancient bottle may have found evidence of what killed Queen Hatshepsut, one of the most powerful women to ever rule over ancient Egypt.* When the scientists examined the contents of a 3,500-year-old bottle inscribed with the pharaoh’s name, they found traces of an ancient skincare ointment. Among the ingredients were creosote and asphalt, commonly found in creams used to treat chronic skin disease but known today to be cancer causing. “We have known for a long time that Hatshepsut had cancer and maybe even died from it,” said Michael Höveler-Müller of the University of Bonn. “If you imagine that the Queen had a chronic skin disease and that she found short-term improvement from the salve, she may have exposed herself to a great risk over the years.”
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Robert Littman and Jay Silverstein
Explore an Egyptian excavation. Meet Kufti archaeologists, explore ancient streets and the mudbricks that shaped them and dive into the port of Alexandria.
Biblical Archaeology Society Staff
Chiseled on the forehead of this marble Aphrodite, a first-century A.D. copy of a fourth-century B.C. statue by Praxiteles, is a cross. The cross was likely carved by Christians, who had also damaged the goddess’s face to “close” the eyes and “silence” the mouth. More than just an act of vandalism, Christians may have reused such statues as stand-ins for saints or even the Virgin.
Enjoy book reviews by top scholars on wide-ranging topics in religion, archaeology and Biblical studies.
Reviews by William G. Dever and Aaron Burke
The Forgotten Kingdom by Israel Finkelstein traces the development of the northern kingdom of Israel to an earlier time associated with the reign of King Saul. The award-winning work is critically and independently reviewed by William G. Dever and Aaron Burke.