Modern archaeologists may not face as many booby traps or exploding boats as Indiana Jones, but they still come up with exciting finds that offer insight into our history. Here are a few recent discoveries.
Indiana (the state, not the fedora-wearer)
A bone tool was recently found on a farm in Flora, Indiana, along with the bones of a mastodon, a type of extinct elephant. Indiana Prehistory Laboratory Director Chris Schmidt noted that the bone tool proves that humans lived during the ice age “ something we all learned from the Pixar film Ice Age.
“The bone tool confirms the idea that people were here before 10,000 years ago and tells us to keep digging deeper,” he told the Star. “It sheds light on the lives of people who lived at the very end of the ice age.”
While humans and mastodons certainly coexisted, Amos Flora, the 84-year-old man who owns the farm, has trouble with the “10,000 years ago” part of Schmidt’s statement. Flora believes that humankind has only been around for 6,000 years, per the basic timeline of the Bible. One does not have to know about debates over radiometric dating methods to smile at Mr. Flora’s persistent faith in the face of a simple bone tool.
Archeologists have recently discovered the hallway where Emperor Caligula was stabbed to death in AD 41. The cruel and psychotic third emperor of the Roman Empire had gotten so bad, his own Praetorian Guard ended up assassinating him. Along with his wife and baby daughter, he was slaughtered in an underground hallway as they left a show one day. Rome archaeologist Maria Antonietta Tomei argues that the recently uncovered cryptoportico matches the one described by the historian Suetonius as the spot where Caligula faced his doom.
Caligula’s grandfather Tiberius was the “Caesar” in question when Jesus said, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.” Christians were still considered a sect of Judaism during Caligula’s reign, as well as during much of the reign of his successor Claudius. While Caligula also insisted on being treated as a god, the serious persecution of Christians under Rome did not get underway until the time of Nero (54-68).
A backwash spot along the Nile river in northern Sudan has recently been discovered to be fantastically rich with remnants of the II Kushite Kingdom, which rivalled Egypt in the 7th and 8th centuries BC. A pyramid has been found, which alone indicates that this spot was a power center. Jewelry and rock art have been found in the area, along with “musical” rocks that could be rapped on to make melodies. Archeologists have even discovered bodies preserved in the arid desert. More than 10,000 sites have been located. Archeologists are busy excavating and removing important objects with the permission of the Sudanese government, since the area is scheduled to be flooded by a hydro-electric dam. Items will be on display at the British Museum next year.
The Bible lists Cush as one of the sons of Ham, along with Canaan, Mizraim (Egypt), and Phut (Libya). Great kingdoms were formed by the descendants of these four sons. Cush’s famous son Nimrod ruled the known world until the tower of Babel incident, at which time men began to spread north and west and east “ and south into Africa.