Scientists Analyze Ancient Canaanite DNA\
HINXTON, ENGLAND—According to a report in Science News, researchers led by Marc Haber of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute mapped the genomes of five 3,700-year-old Canaanite skeletons uncovered in Sidon, Lebanon, and compared the results with other ancient and modern populations.
Little is known about the Canaanites, who left few written records. Scholars have had to rely upon second-hand accounts written by ancient Hebrew, Egyptian, and Greek sources for historical information on the origins and supposed demise of the Canaanites. The results of the DNA study suggest that the Canaanites descended from early farmers who settled in the Levant some 10,000 years ago, and migrants from Iran who arrived between 6,600 and 3,550 years ago.
The spread of the Akkadian Empire between 4,400 and 4,200 years ago could account for the large contribution of migrants from the east to Canaanite ancestry. In fact, a similar mixture of genes has been found in ancient skeletons unearthed in Jordan. The researchers also found that modern Lebanese people received about 93 percent of their DNA from the ancient Canaanites. The remaining seven percent likely came from Eurasians who arrived in the Levant some 3,700 to 2,200 years ago.
Revealing Discoveries of Rare Ivory and Unique Gold Coin from Byzantine Bulgarian Fortress
An extremely rare find of an ivory icon has been made just a few days after a unique Byzantine gold coin dating back to Emperor Phocas’ reign (602-610 AD) was uncovered during excavation works at Rusokastro Fortress, which is located on a hill near Zhelyazovo village, in Burgas district in southeastern Bulgaria.
Milen Nikolov, head of the Regional History Museum in Bourgas, said of the ivory find was, “much more valuable than gold in the Middle Ages”, as reported by Sofiaglobe. The extreme value of the piece and where it was found leads the archaeologists to conclude that the icon was a possession of one of the emperors who had occupied the fortress over the centuries.
“Historically, it is definitely the place where Tsar Ivan Alexander, Emperor Andronik III Paleologus, and probably King Todor Svetoslav Terter resided’, Nikolov informed Sofiaglobe.
Only one other such ivory icon has been discovered in Bulgaria by archaeologists and that was over a century ago making this an extremely rare find. The valuable ivory piece is yet to be dated but probably dates from after the building of the palace in the 14th century.
Monumental Tomb Discovered Near Pompeii
NAPLES, ITALY—A monumental tomb with a long funerary epigraph describing the life of the deceased has been discovered in Porta Stabia, according to a report in ANSAmed.
The inscription is missing the man’s name, but it says he was a duoviro, or Pompeii city magistrate, and describes his coming of age, his wedding, and his sponsorship of banquets and games. The inscription also contains information about an armed brawl at a gladiator show in Pompeii in 59 B.C., in which the tomb’s occupant may have been killed. We know from an account left by the Roman historian Tacitus that after a Senate investiga
tion into the brawl, ordered by Emperor Nero, that the residents of Pompeii were forbidden to hold gladiator games for ten years, and those who organized the games and incited the clash were exiled. Pompeii’s general director, Massimo Osanna, said the newly found inscription complements the account left by Tacitus and mentions that some of the city’s magistrates were also exiled.