Archive

Archive for the ‘Archaeology’ Category

Linen from India?

October 14, 2015 43 comments

imageA reader writes:

Recent revelations in Nature suggesting the cloth now called the Turin Shroud may have originated in India reminds us of the legends about the Apostle Judas Thomas who likely traveled to Muziris on the Malabar Coast in A.D. 52. There he founded several church communities. The story of his sea journey to India reminds us there was active trade with that city and other seaports on the Indian subcontinent. Maybe we should be looking in India for examples of linen cloth similar to the Shroud.

Pictured, the tomb of St. Thomas the Apostle in Mylapore, India.

imageI copied the following from Wikipedia.  There is a lot more in Wikipedia that makes for interesting reading. So, yes, indeed, maybe we should be looking harder at India and the entire area of the land and sea routes of the ancient Silk Road:

Muziris was an ancient seaport and urban center in the Malabar Coast (modern day Indian state of Kerala) that dates from at least the 1st century BC, if not before it. Muziris has found mention in the bardic Sangam literature and a number of classical European historical sources.[1][2][3]

The port was a key to the trade between southern India and the Phoenicians, the Persians, the Egyptians, the Greeks and the Roman Empire.[4][5] The important known commodities exported from Muziris were spices (such as black pepper and malabathron), semi-precious stones (such as beryl), pearls, diamonds, sapphires, ivory, Chinese silk, Gangetic spikenard and tortoise shells. The Romans brought money (in gold coins), peridots, thin clothing, figured linens, multicoloured textiles, sulfide of antimony, copper, tin, lead, coral, raw glass, wine, realgar and orpiment.[6][7] The locations of unearthed coin-hoards suggest an inland trade link from Muziris via the Palghat Gap and along the Kaveri Valley to the east coast of India. Though the Roman trade declined from the 5th century AD, the former Muziris attracted the attention of other nationalities, particularly the Persians, the Chinese and the Arabs, presumably until the devastating floods of Periyar in the 14th century.

The exact location of Muziris is still not known to historians and archaeologists. It is generally speculated to be situated around present day Kodungallur, a town situated 18 miles north of Cochin.[8] Kodungallur in central Kerala figures prominently in the ancient history of southern India as a vibrant urban hub of the Chera rulers.[9] A series of excavations were conducted at the village of Pattanam in North Paravur by Kerala Council for Historical Research (an autonomous institution outsourced by Kerala State Department of Archaeology) in 2006-07 and it was announced that the lost port of Muziris was found.[3][10][11] The rapid conclusion invited criticism from historians and archaeologists and started a healthy debate among historians of south India.[12][13][14]

image

Categories: Archaeology, History

An Improbable Journey

October 7, 2015 3 comments

clip_image001OFF TOPIC BUT*:  LiveScience has just published a new article by Owen Jarus, ‘Gospel of Jesus’s Wife’: Records Hint at Improbable Journey of Controversial Papyrus.

Now, records obtained from various sources by Live Science — many of which are publicly available online in databases in Florida and Germany, as well as on the Internet Archive— show that if the papyrus is authentic, the story behind how it came to the United States would be astounding. The records also describe how, if the papyrus is fake, the forger (or forgers) may have crafted such a realistic specimen.

* We’ve discussed it many times.

Categories: Archaeology

Tabor: A Distinctive 1st Century Weave

March 21, 2015 20 comments

imageThere is no new news in James D. Tabor’s posting in the Huffington Post blog two days ago.  CNN provided the cover for repetition:

CNN focused on the question of the authenticity of the controversial "Shroud of Turin," in the first episode of its new pre-Easter series "Finding Jesus." Those challenging the authenticity of this ancient relic point to carbon dating tests done at three independent labs in 1988 that dated samples of its cloth to AD 1260-1390, which coincides with the first appearance of the shroud in France in the 1350s. Believers in the shroud’s authenticity have questioned the authenticity of the tests.

What many do not know is that we do in fact have an unquestionably authentic burial shroud from a tomb in Jerusalem that has been carbon dated to the 1st century. Any consideration of the "Shroud of Turin" should begin with a comparison of what we know rather than what we might want to believe.

The tomb of which he speaks is the tomb that Tabor and Shimon Gibson found in June of 2000.

…Textile analysis was done on the cloth–it turned out to be a mixture of linen and wool, not woven together but layered with a separate head piece. It had a distinctive 1st century weave–in contrast to the Shroud of Turin….

And then . . .

The Tomb of the Shroud continues to offer more surprises. We recently noticed that the mitDNA tests of two of the individuals in this tomb match the polymorphisms of two individuals in the Jesus family tomb–namely skeletal materials taken from both the Yeshua and the Mariamene ossuaries. What the implications of this might be, and whether there is any possible relationship between these two families, remains to be explored.

Hat tip to Joe Marino for spotting the posting.

Update Again on the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife

February 22, 2015 29 comments

clip_image001This time it is from CNN. The article is entitled, New clues cast doubt on ‘Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’. It begins:

It seemed real; it seemed fake; it seemed real again; now we’re back to fake.

"It" is the controversial little scrap of papyrus, written in Coptic, that seems to have Jesus referring to "my wife," in contrast to the traditional stance that affirms Jesus’ perpetual bachelorhood.

The quick backstory: In 2012, a Harvard professor, Karen King, brought this papyrus to the attention of scholars and the public.

Both the material and the script looked authentically ancient at first glance, and though the notion of Jesus having a wife was remarkable, these "lost" Christian writings, such as the Gnostic Gospels, are full of unorthodoxies.

It was good enough for King, who is widely respected in the scholarly world.

We’ve been there. But it is worth it to read this latest update. Here are links to previous postings in this blog:

Hat tip to Louis

Is that another example of medieval herringbone linen?

January 28, 2015 8 comments

imageHat tip to Stephen Jones for finding this image


Yesterday, Stephen Jones published a photographic copy of possibly the only known example of a three over one herringbone twill weave from the mediaeval era. It is in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (ref. no. 8615-1863).  It has been discussed in this blog but never shown that I can remember.

Stephen writes in his blog:

. . . medieval herringbone twill linen cloths are exceedingly rare, and in fact there is only one known example of a medieval herringbone twill linen weave: a fourteenth century, block-painted linen fragment with a 3:1 chevron (herringbone) twill weave, in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Further evidence of the extreme rarity of medieval linen with a Shroud-like herringbone twill weave, was the fact that the British Museum’s Dr. Michael Tite was unable to find any medieval linen with a weave that resembled the Shroud, to use as control samples for the 1988 radiocarbon dating. . . .

BUT:  To my way of thinking about history, only one known example does not necessarily mean rare. In fact, I’ve always thought only one known example implied other unknown examples.

The above image is stored in Stephen’s blog (I have stretched it a bit). Based on a citation to a site called the V&A Spelunker, I was able to trace down the image directly from the V&A museum’s online catalog. You can obtain that same image by clicking on the thumbnail image to the right.

The next step was to chase down the V&A image using Google’s powerful image searching facilities.  This brought me to a site by Maxim Sokokov in Russian.  Google translates it thus:

Medieval Heel XII-XV centuries.
Silk fabrics with pattern vytkanym were so expensive that for everyday use or church decoration often use cheaper analogue – linen fabric with printed motifs in the same style. The European Centre for the production of such textiles were Italy and Germany. Therefore, the majority of tissues in museum collections, which are difficult to attribute, and usually signed: "Italy (Germany?)." "Take a plank of walnut, pear or other very solid wood the size of a brick … pictures on this tablet should be painted and cut (in depth) of thick rope. On the tablets should be shown all kinds of pattern that you want, leaves or animals, but to do so they were drawn and cut so that the boards of all four parties were well suited to each other and in general formed a complete and coupled drawing … " From Cennino Cennini treatise "The book about the art or Treatise on Painting", approx. 1400.

On that website I spotted something. Or maybe it is just I think I see.  Is that another example of medieval herringbone twill linen? Three over one? Maybe just two over one! You decide. CLICK HERE. More thoughts?

image

image

Paper Chase: New observations on the Sudarium of Oviedo

December 5, 2014 14 comments

. . . In the back of the Man of the Shroud the hair is apparently arranged in a “ponytail”
shape. . . .  A simpler and more probable explanation is provided by Barta: the “ponytail”
is the result of the use of the Sudarium of Oviedo which was placed and sewed
around the hair in this area. . . .

imageI’ve always found accounts of the coincidences between the Sudarium of Oviedo and the shroud fascinating. Never, however, have I crawled through the details as carefully as I should have.  This paper afforded me a chance to begin that process. This St. Louis conference paper is fascinating. It is worth your time to carefully read New Discoveries On The Sudarium Of Oviedo by César Barta, Rodrigo Álvarez, Almudena Ordóñez, Alfonso Sánchez and Jesús García

Piture: Location of measurement spots on the reverse side of the Sudarium of Oviedo.
The reference numbers are listed in Table III, in the "label" column

I cheat! I jump to conclusions first. But that’s okay as long as I then read the whole paper:

The Sudarium of Oviedo and the Shroud of Turin are two relics attributed to Jesus Christ that show a series of amazing coincidences previously described. These similarities suggest that both cloths were used by the same personality.

In this contribution, we describe the X-ray fluorescence analysis performed on the Sudarium and we highlight a new fascinating coincidence with the Shroud and with the place of the Passion. Among the chemical elements detected, the concentration of Ca is the most reliable one. It is associated to soil dust and it shows a significantly higher presence in the areas with bloody stains. This fact allows us to conclude that the main part of the Ca located in the stained areas was fixed to the cloth when the physiological fluids were still fresh or soon after. As the stains have been correlated with the anatomical part of the deceased man, the amount of Ca can also be related with his anatomical features. The highest content of Ca is observed close to the tip of the nose, indicating unexpected soil dirt in this part of the anatomy. A particular presence of dust was also found in the same place in the Shroud providing a new and astonishing coincidence between both cloths.

The low concentration of Sr traces in the Sudarium, even lower in the stained areas, matches also well with the type of limestone characteristic from the Calvary in Jerusalem.

This new finding complements two other recently publicized: The ponytail shape of the Man of the Shroud hair, whose origin is justified by the use of the Sudarium of Oviedo and the alleged presence of a scourge mark in this cloth.

Such a gathering of evidences strengthens the tradition that both cloths have wrapped the same body, that of Jesus of Nazareth.

An Early Beardless Jesus with Short Hair

October 7, 2014 4 comments

Christ looks very different from later depictions:
he has no beard, his hair is not too long and he is wearing a philosopher’s toga

BBC is reporting:

Archaeologists in Spain say they have found one of the world’s earliest known images of Jesus. It is engraved on a glass plate dating back to the 4th Century AD, reports from Spain say.

The plate is believed to have been used to hold Eucharistic bread as it was consecrated in early Christian rituals. It measures 22cm in diameter and fragments of it were unearthed outside the southern Spanish city of Linares, ABC newspaper reports.

Scientists working for the FORVM MMX project found it inside a building used for religious worship in what remains of the ancient town of Castulo. The find made scientists "review the chronology of early Christianity in Spain", FORVM MMX project director Marcelo Castro told El Mundo newspaper.

[ . . . ]

El Mundo notes that Christ looks very different from later depictions: he has no beard, his hair is not too long and he is wearing a philosopher’s toga.

There is quite a bit on the FORVM MMX project Facebook timeline running back to September 30; There is a link to a YouTube uploaded October 1.

%d bloggers like this: