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Archeology Headlines of February 2010
Posted In: Other Exciting News  2/21/10
By: Yona Williams

It's exciting and interesting when beliefs held for hundreds of years are suddenly no more. Enter the ancient myth concerning Carthaginians and their supposed sacrificial practices. In this article, you will also encounter efforts to restore a 1,800-year old ancient Greek church in Turkey and the completion of the oldest Christian monastery in the world.

Debunking an Ancient Myth in Carthage

It has been a long-held theory that the Carthaginians practiced using their own children as sacrificial offerings. However, a study conducted by University of Pittsburgh researchers have found otherwise. In this article, you will learn whether the millennia-old assumption is false.

After studying the remains from a burial ground at Carthage, researchers have now revealed details that overturn the original thought that the ancient inhabitants of Carthage used children as regular sacrifices. Remains suggest that the majority of dead children were prenatal deaths or met their end soon after birth. Most of the bodies were unlikely to have lived long enough to participate in a sacrifice.

A report regarding the latest research finds appeared in the February 17th issue of PLoS One, which highlight the findings centered on the examination of skeletal remains found in Carthaginian burial urns. Instead of using the bodies as sacrifice, the placement of the remains in the urns seem to be a practice followed no matter the circumstances of a child's death. The details of the report mark the first time this information has been published, which will no doubt fuel the debate that has lingered between biblical scholars and archaeologists.

Restoration of Old Church – Bodrum, Turkey

A church dating back 1,800 years is slated to become part of a tourist site in Bodrum, Turkey after it undergoes the process of restoration. The Gara Church offers a striking mosaic floor displaying dolphins and a swordfish – features thought imported from Egypt. In its current state, the building may not last and is in dire need of repair.

The restoration of the Greek church will take place in a popular resort located in Bodrum’s Bitez district and offers a glimpse into how things looked during the late Roman-early Byzantine era (from 2 to 4 AD). The remains provide a distinct historical treasure that can benefit those studying archeology, as well as art history. The most significant feature is the mosaics, which are considered quite rare. Covering the church floor, the imagery represents some of the religious beliefs of the time period.

Other features of the church include a water well, cistern and water canals. There is one prayer room and two living quarters found on the premises. The church measures 8 meters tall. It is the hope of people promoting the restoration that it will become a popular attraction and museum, which would serve an important site for Christians.

The Oldest Christian Monastery in the World – Egypt

The building holding the title as the oldest Christian monastery in the world has been restored in Zaafarana, Egypt. The project to restore St. Anthony’s Monastery, which dates back 1,600 years, took about eight years and $14.5 million to complete. The monastery served as a link to the ancient past, which signified the connection between Christian-Muslim religions in the past.


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