Weekly Roundup of Archaeology, History and Historical Fiction October 22-28

A heads up for those of you who actually look for this post on a weekly basis (many thanks!): I’m taking an intensive editing class next week and I won’t have time or focus to post anything. But the good news is my fiction is getting way better. This writing thing is hard work. I do love it.

Here are some posts I enjoyed this week from around the web.

photo image Dana Island, Turkey

Dana Island, Turkey

Another score for underwater archaeology, a huge Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age shipyard. Very close to the region in which I set my first Hittite Queen mystery (not out yet….): Dana island off the southern coast of Turkey near Mersin, between the Turkish coast and Cyprus. This transitional time period was marked by gargantuan upheavals and migrations. Lots of destruction layers. The Hittite Empire didn’t have its own fleet, so the presence of this big production yard is intriguing. It will be interesting as the dating of the site gets more precise to see how much is post Hittite collapse (that is Iron Age) and how much is earlier during the Empire’s existence and what that does to our understanding of the Hittites. The rulers of the Hittites were under tremendous pressure to feed their people during an extended, devastating drought. I can see shipbuilding as a response, but that’s just a guess, since they sought grain from Egypt and relied, we thought, on other people’s ships to bring it. We know from letters that way at the end of the Empire the Hittite Great King used the Ugarit fleet to defend his empire, so I doubt this shipyard built a Hittite navy. We know about the use of the Ugarit fleet because that left the Ugarit kingdom unable to defend itself and down it went. The letter begging for the return of their ships never got sent since it was found in the destruction layer of their capital. Click here for “Large Bronze Age Shipyard unearthed on Turkey’s Dana Island” on Archaeology News Network

Violent burials in the ancient Southwest: signs of blood feuds? The bodies in these graves excavated by the University of Arizona’s James Watson suffered violent deaths—broken bones and projectile wounds—but the part that’s interesting is the haphazard way they were tossed into their graves. Entirely different from other burials in this time and place. Disrespect in an unusual moment. Even our enemies we tend to bury with at least a modicum of propriety. Unraveling what that means, what events and tensions this culture was undergoing is the intriguing part. A way to show dominance? Signals? To whom and why? These burials occurred at a time when agriculture was introduced, and may reflect problems with land once communities settled into one place and farmed. Fascinating to think about, isn’t it? Click here for “Ancient Burials Suggestive of Blood Feuds” on Archaeology News Network

What to read if you think Samurai swords are fun!

What to read if you think Samurai swords are fun!

Recent dig of a 6th century tunnel tomb has uncovered the longest Japanese sword ever—a rewrite for the history books—at 150 centimeters. Another sword’s hilt was covered in ray-skin. Who knew that was a thing people used, but this is the earliest example. So, all you sword aficionados, is this Japanese sword way bigger than European, Mycenaean etc? Or is this just redefining the thinking in the Japanese sword arena? Susan Spann, I thought of you! Click here for “6th Century Tomb Reveals Longest Sword from Ancient Japan” on Archaeology News Network


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