The Ancient Near Eastern World

The Ancient Near Eastern World

Stela from El-Amarna, Egyptian King Akhenaten is seen with his wife Nefertiti and their daughters bearing offerings to the sun-disk Aten.

Apr 9

Akhenaten and Moses

By: Robin Ngo

Pharaoh Akhenaten, who abolished the Egyptian pantheon and instituted worship of a single deity, the sun-disk Aten, in the mid-14th century B.C., may have established the world’s first monotheism. Did this influence the birth of Israelite monotheism?

Kuttamuwa Stele (eighth century BCE), a funerary stela with Aramaic inscription from Samʾal (modern Zincirli) in southern Turkey. CC by-SA 4.0 International, via Wikimedia Commons.

Apr 5

What Is Aramaic?

By: Clinton J. Moyer

The Aramaic language constitutes the eastern branch of the Northwest Semitic language family. Its closest relatives are the Canaanite dialects in the western branch of […]

Painting 'He turned their waters into blood,' by the 19th-century American folk painter Erastus Salisbury Field (1805–1900). Photo: National Gallery of Art, Washington/Gift of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch

Mar 31

Exodus in the Bible and the Egyptian Plagues

By: Biblical Archaeology Society Staff

The Book of Exodus describes ten Egyptian plagues that bring suffering to the land of pharaoh. Are these Biblical plagues plausible on any level?

ancient lipstick

Mar 25

A 4,000-Year-Old Lipstick

By: Nathan Steinmeyer

  A small stone vessel from the southeastern Jirof region of Iran may be the oldest lipstick ever discovered. Publishing in the journal Scientific Reports, […]

1813 painting Vesuvius Erupting by Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes

Mar 21

The Destruction of Pompeii—God’s Revenge?

By: Hershel Shanks

The eruption of Mt. Vesuvius destroyed the opulent vacation destinations of Roman elites in August 79 C.E.—almost exactly nine years after Roman troops destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem. Did this seem like more than mere coincidence to the ancients?

Neolithic Bread from Catal Hoyuk. Courtesy Necmettin Erbakan University

Mar 18

Neolithic Bread at Catal Hoyuk

By: Nathan Steinmeyer

Excavations at the important site of Catal Hoyuk in south-central Turkey have uncovered what archaeologists have termed “the world’s oldest bread.” According to a press […]

Inscription on a basalt rock depicting the Babylonian king Nabonidus holding a scepter in his hand

Mar 4

Nabonidus: The First Archaeologist

By: Nathan Steinmeyer

While the modern field of archaeology is no more than a few centuries old, ancient texts show that the world’s first archaeologist lived around two […]

The fateful encounter between Judah and his daughter-in-law Tamar is depicted in this 17th-century painting by Dutch artist Gerbrand van den Eeckhout

Feb 25

Sacred Prostitution in the Story of Judah and Tamar

By: BAS Staff

While some scholars suggest that temple prostitution was practiced in ancient Israel, Edward Lipiński argues that neither the Bible nor archaeology provides any clear evidence that Israelite religion incorporated the sexual rites of Canaanite goddesses.

Feb 18

Who Were the Minoans?

By: Noah Wiener

Crete’s Minoan civilization has long been considered Europe’s first great Bronze Age society. But who were the Minoans? A recent DNA study suggests that the Minoan civilization comprised of local Europeans rather than outsiders.

Ark Tablet

Feb 15

The Animals Went in Two by Two, According to Babylonian Ark Tablet

By: Noah Wiener

A recently translated Old Babylonian flood tablet describes how to build a circular ark.