Most ancient Hebrew biblical inscription deciphered

January 22, 2010

Professor Gershon Galil of the department of biblical studies at the University of Haifa has deciphered an inscription dating from the 10th century BCE (the period of King David’s reign), and has shown that this is a Hebrew inscription. Read the rest of this entry »


Text of Jewish exorcism discovered

December 31, 2009

A rare – and possibly unique – text describing a Jewish exorcism has been discovered by Dr Renate Smithuis from The University of Manchester, a scholar of medieval Jewish studies. The 150 word neatly written fragment describes a ceremony to dispel the evil spirit of Nissim Ben Bunya from his widow, Qamar Bat Rahma. Read the rest of this entry »

Scrutinized – Animal sacrifice in Brazilian folk religion

August 29, 2009

Candomblé, a religion practiced primarily in South America and inspired by older African beliefs, makes much use of animal sacrifice. Researchers writing in the Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine carried out interviews with priests, priestesses and adherents of the religion, documenting the role sacrifice plays in their beliefs. Read the rest of this entry »

Grim Behavior – Facedown Burials Widely Used to Humiliate the Dead

August 29, 2009

From wayward nuns to convicted witches, the global custom of burying people prone was likely used to disrespect or humiliate the dead, according to the first study of its kind. It suggests that it was a custom used across societies to disrespect or humiliate the dead. Read the rest of this entry »

Ancient maps – A pocket guide to prehistoric Spain

August 29, 2009

ancient mapA nice find, and a nice story: “hunter-gatherers may have had had their own maps. A team of archaeologists have matched etchings made 14,000 years ago on a polished chunk of sandstone in northern Spain to the landscape in which it was found. They claim to have the earliest known map of a region in western Europe – a prehistoric hunting map. Read the rest of this entry »