Bible and archaeology news
The Phoenicians prospered for 1200 years on the Levantine coast, inspiring the Mediterranean world with economic, literary and colonial achievements. To compensate for their limited agricultural land, they established an extensive maritime trade network, exporting treasured Cedars of Lebanon, elaborate ivory and metal crafts and purple dye extracted from murex shells. While Phoenician pigmentation was a definitive mark of their culture—the word Phoenician derives from the Greek phoinix, which may refer to the hue of a dye—their weathered ivory carvings reach modern viewers in their natural, off-white shade.
French and German researchers recently discovered nearly-invisible traces of metal on Phoenician ivories, suggesting the presence of dyes including copper-based Egyptian blue and iron-based hematite, according to a recent X-ray fluorescence microimaging study published in Analytical Chemistry. The researchers’ methods can be applied to a wide variety of ancient sites and artifacts, allowing us to recreate the ancient world with a new and colorful vividness.
BAS Library Members: Read Millard, Alan R. “Well-Hidden Ivories Surface at Nimrud” as it appeared in Biblical Archaeology Review, Jul/Aug 2011.
Not a BAS Library member yet? Join the BAS Library today.
Sign up to receive our email newsletter and never miss an update.
Dig into the world of Bible history with a BAS All-Access membership. Biblical Archaeology Review in print. AND online access to the treasure trove of articles, books, and videos of the BAS Library. AND free Scholar Series lectures online. AND member discounts for BAS travel and live online events.Subscribe Today