Tag: Archaeology

The Transgender Transmogrification of Everything, Including the Past

 

If I had a dollar for every article I’ve seen lately about the eye-popping excesses of transgender ideology, I could comfortably retire right now, even in this time of runaway, Biden-caused inflation.  I mean, really, just peruse the headlines on a conservative news website – come to think of it, include left-wing sites as well because they’re proud of what’s being done – and you will see things you simply can’t believe, particularly as it pertains to children.  It’s as if the powers-that-be are demonically possessed with the desire to surgically and chemically alter as many innocent children as they can get in their grasp while calling it “gender-affirming” healthcare.

Neither George Orwell nor any other great writer of dystopian literature could have ever dreamed up what has now become an actual reality.  I’ve said it before and it bears repeating:  There’s never been anything like this in the history of the world and it is pure evil on an unprecedented scale given that virtually every institution in the country is promoting it. 

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When I studied in Israel during my junior year of college, I was very excited to learn that during our first summer we would be traveling to an archaeological dig for an entire week! I had dreams of finding ancient menorahs, beautiful pottery, and mysterious relics. Although it was definitely a unique experience, it certainly […]

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Book Review: A Little History of Archaeology

 

Archaeology is the study of the history of mankind through examining its artifacts. “A Little History of Archaeology,” by Brian Fagan is the study of archaeology through examining its artifacts. The book is part of Yale University Press’s “A Little History” series. It examines different topics in a short and readable, yet comprehensive manner.

In this book, Fagan, an internationally recognized archaeologist, puts archaeology under the microscope. In 40 brief chapters he takes readers through archaeology’s past, going from the dawn of archaeology through to the present.

Following an introductory chapter, Fagan starts by examining the first attempt to treat the study of the past scientifically: Napoleon’s 1798 expedition to Egypt. Napoleon brought a collection of “savants” (literally “wise men”) from France’s academic community to study Egypt. They examined artifacts from Egypt’s past. Among the antiquities found was the Rosetta Stone. (In a later chapter Fagan describes how that was used to decipher hierogylphics.)

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It was this little toy dog made of clay. I handed it over to the Harappa museum director. This little guy might be older than the written Bible–even as old as the pyramids in Egypt. That’s how old some of the Harappa ruins are. On the other hand, he might be only a few hundred years […]

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Last summer I posted about some of my experiences working on an archaeological survey project in eastern Iraqi Kurdistan. The project is ongoing, and we returned to continue work in our survey area (a stretch of the Diyala (Arabic)/Sirwan (Kurdish) River and the surrounding valley bounded by the southern outskirts of Sulaymaniyeh in the north […]

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My Time in Iraqi Kurdistan

 

KalarFrom mid-May to mid-June I worked on an archaeological survey centered on an area surrounding the Diyala River (called the Sirwan River in Kurdish) near the city of Kalar. We flew into Erbil, drove to Sulaymaniyah to take care of some Iraqi Antiquities Department paperwork, and then moved on to Kalar to set up our residence and begin survey work.

If you look up Kalar on Google Maps and zoom out a bit, you’ll see its proximity to the Iranian border and its position as one of the southernmost Kurdish-held cities in Iraq. Here are a few anecdotal remarks about my experiences there:

  • Negotiating where it is safe and where it is not safe to go is tricky business. On our drive from Erbil to Sulaymaniyah, we avoided the main highway that would have taken us through Kirkuk, and instead took some gravel and unfinished roads (the Kurds are building a highway that remains within Kurdish-held territory) between the two cities. Note: The Kurds later took control of parts of Kirkuk when the Iraqi regular army fled the advance of ISIS. This happened after I had returned to the U.S.
  • The survey area technically extends south of Kalar, but it wasn’t particularly safe for us to travel down that direction. We focused our efforts in searching for ancient sites on areas north and west of Kalar.
  • Armed checkpoints are frequent on major roads, river crossings, and near borders. The Kurdish Security Police look more like army soldiers than policemen (who are called Traffic Police) and are dressed and equipped like soldiers. They were serious, and yet friendly and respectful.
  • Our accommodations, a rented house in Kalar, was comfortable and air-conditioned, but there were regular daily power outages as the power grid and other utility infrastructure still needs major updating and upgrading.
  • Evidence of Saddam’s genocide against the Kurds in the ’80s was still visible. In visiting different tells (mounded ancient sites) in the area, many of them had the decaying remains of Kurdish villages either abandoned when their residents fled or were executed by Saddam’s troops. Locations of mass graves were known by Antiquities Department officials we spoke to.
  • We also found evidence of barracks, foxholes, and pieces of exploded ordinance from the Iran–Iraq War. Note: We were careful to confine our survey to currently farmed and traversed areas and spoke to officials about areas to avoid that still have landmines.
  • At the end of our survey, we stayed in Erbil’s Christian quarter the last couple days before our flight left. This area is called Ankawa and is located close to the airport. Since the Iraq War in 2003, this area has grown rapidly with Christian refugees fleeing other areas of Iraq no longer safe for Christians. It was already crowded when I was there in June, and it must be overflowing following the ISIS capture of Mosul and surrounding areas (I flew back to the States the day ISIS began attacking Mosul).

These are just a few brief observations from my recent archaeological work in Kurdistan. As I was going through the security checkpoint in the airport on the way out, one of the security officials asked if I was an American, and upon my answer in the affirmative, he told me how much he liked Americans and thanked me. I thanked him in return for the warm hospitality I had received in his country and how much I enjoyed my time in Kurdistan.

Let’s Talk Archaeology

 

As usual in late winter, I’m spending a lot of time wrapped up in travel fantasies. Indulge me by sharing: what’s the coolest archaeological site you’ve ever visited? Which would you most like to see?

I love travel and was blessed to do quite a lot in my single days. I’ve been to the Roman Forum and Pompeii. The pyramids and Luxor. Chichen Itza and Tulum. Ephesus. Jerash. Petra. The cities of the old Silk Road. Stonehenge. Masada. Mesa Verde.