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Only non-sacred images were destroyed in eighth-century Palestine
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,...
Archaeology Odyssey, November/December 1999
A new traveling exhibition of 5,000 years of Georgian art is already ancient history
Look at this crucifix,” said Gary Vikan, the director of the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore. He pushed a book across the table and pointed to a photograph of a silver sculpture of...
Archaeology Odyssey, January/February 2000
It was one of the most romantic, chaotic, cruel, passionate, bizarre and dramatic episodes in history. In the 12th and 13th centuries A.D., a continual stream of European armies, mustered mostly in present-day France and Germany, marched out...
Archaeology Odyssey, September/October 2000
The many faces of Ramesses the Great
You barely notice him in the cacophony of the modern city. Austere, stiffly formal, he is either too large or too small, slightly ridiculous amid Cairo’s dissonant traffic. The 31-foot-tall, 90-ton granite statue of the Egyptian pharaoh...
Archaeology Odyssey, September/October 2003
A New Translation by Stephen Mitchell
Gilgamesh is at once our newest and our oldest, most venerable epic poem. Unlike Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, which have been broadly known since their composition around the late eighth century B.C. (except during the medieval Dark Age, when Greek learning was largely lost in the West), the first clay tablets inscribed with the Gilgamesh epic were found just 150 years ago, at the ancient Assyrian site of Nineveh in present-day northern Iraq.
Archaeology Odyssey, July/August 2005