Archaeology Odyssey, November/December 1999



Sons of God

The ideology of Assyrian kingship

By Simo Parpola

The impact of Mesopotamian religious thought on the evolution of other ancient religious and philosophical thought has never been seriously investigated. What follows are my initial forays into this uncharted territory. I suspect the influence has been far greater than anyone has yet suggested...Read more ›

A Great Empire’s Beating Heart

The Roman Forum was not just the center of a town, it was the center of a culture

By Larry F. Ball

Ovid’s Ars Amatoria is a “how to” manual, in verse, for amorous young men. The poet spends some 200 lines (1.67–262) naming the best places in Rome to contrive supposedly chance encounters with women. Most of the sites are recognizable, and many are in...Read more ›

The Image Destroyers

Only non-sacred images were destroyed in eighth-century Palestine

By Robert Schick

A curious episode in the history of iconoclasm—the destruction of sacred images—took place in eighth-century Palestine (present-day Israel and Jordan). The region’s Byzantine churches were often decorated with colorful mosaic pavements, including depictions of plants, animals, ordinary human beings and holy figures such as Jesus, the Virgin...Read more ›

Littoral Truths

The perils of seafaring in the Bronze Age

By Eric H. Cline

Poor Wenamun! Stranded in a foreign city, his money stolen and letters of introduction misplaced, the Egyptian official throws himself upon the mercy of the local administration—an all-too-familiar tale of a traveler in distress. But Wenamun’s story dates to the end of the Late Bronze Age (c...Read more ›



The Story of Decipherment: From Egyptian Hieroglyphs to Maya Script

Reviewed by Barry B. Powell