Archeology and History News StoriesExcerpts of Key Archeology and History News Stories in Major Media
This comprehensive list of archeology and history news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
Of all the world’s lost cities, none surely can compete for evocative splendour, age or mystery with Babylon. Here on the desert plains 60 miles south of Baghdad, where the sun turns horizons into flashing pools of mercury, is where so much human history began. Land of the Fertile Crescent, bounded by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, this is successively the realm of Sumer and Akkad, Assyria, Babylonia, Mesopotamia and Iraq. I visited the site in November 2004, just as Polish troops were preparing to hand it over to the Iraqi authorities. The late Donny George, then head of the Iraq Museum, had warned me in Baghdad about the terrible damage done to the site by the Polish military. He was aghast at reports of soldiers filling sandbags with earth containing archaeological fragments; of armoured vehicles crushing sixth-century BC bricks on the Processional Way; of looters gouging out pieces of dragons from the Ishtar Gate; of digging, levelling, compacting and gravelling in this ancient city. “It’s mankind’s greatest heritage site,” he said. “You don’t just start digging it up to make more room for your tanks.” Dr John Curtis, keeper of the Department of the Ancient Near East at the British Museum, visited Babylon in late 2004. In his report, he said it was “regrettable” that a large military base should have been established on one of the world’s most important archaeological sites. “This is tantamount to establishing a military camp around the Great Pyramid in Egypt or around Stonehenge in Britain.”
One of the world’s largest collections of prehistoric rock art has been discovered in the Amazonian rainforest. Hailed as “the Sistine Chapel of the ancients”, archaeologists have found tens of thousands of paintings of animals and humans created up to 12,500 years ago across cliff faces that stretch across nearly eight miles in Colombia. Their date is based partly on their depictions of now-extinct ice age animals, such as the mastodon, a prehistoric relative of the elephant that hasn’t roamed South America for at least 12,000 years. There are also images of the palaeolama, an extinct camelid, as well as giant sloths and ice age horses. These animals were all seen and painted by some of the very first humans ever to reach the Amazon. Their pictures give a glimpse into a lost, ancient civilisation. Such is the sheer scale of paintings that they will take generations to study. The discovery was made by a British-Colombian team, funded by the European Research Council. Its leader is José Iriarte, professor of archaeology at Exeter University and a leading expert on the Amazon and pre-Columbian history. He said: “When you’re there, your emotions flow … We’re talking about several tens of thousands of paintings. It’s going to take generations to record them … Every turn you do, it’s a new wall of paintings. “We started seeing animals that are now extinct. The pictures are so natural and so well made that we have few doubts that you’re looking at a horse, for example. It’s fascinating.”
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Antarctica is now a harsh land of ice and snow, but has not always been that way. Earth’s southernmost continent long ago was home to temperate, swampy rainforests teeming with life, scientists said on Wednesday based on pristinely preserved forest soil they retrieved by drilling under the seafloor off Antarctica’s coast. The sediment core obtained by scientists working aboard the research icebreaker RV Polarstern in the Amundsen Sea near the Pine Island Glacier dated to about 90 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period when dinosaurs were the dominant land animals. The researchers estimated based on the soil content that this location, 560 miles (900 km) from the South Pole, experienced average annual temperatures of about 53-55 degrees Fahrenheit (12-13 Celsius) and average temperatures during the warmest summer months of about 68-77 Fahrenheit (20-25 Celsius). A modern temperature analogue may be New York City, according to marine geologist Johann Klages ... lead author of the research published in the journal Nature. The dark-brownish gray soil was composed of fine-grained silt and clay bearing remains of fossil roots in a dense network, pollen and spores spanning 65 types of plants, with individual cell structures clearly visible. “If you would go to a forest near you and drill a hole, it would probably look pretty similar,” Klages said. While they did not find any animal remains, Klages said there likely were dinosaurs.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on little-known history from reliable major media sources.
This year the District of Columbia joins at least five states and dozens of cities and counties in replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day. Its part of a decades-long reckoning with the sanitized version of the European colonization of the Americas. In Hispaniola what is now Haiti and the Dominican Republic Columbus ... and his crew searched and searched for gold to no avail, so they filled their ships with something else they could sell: people. Of the 500 Tano they took selected because they were the strongest and healthiest specimens 200 died on the voyage to Spain. Many more died once they had been sold into slavery. Columbuss men also continued to sexually abuse Tano women and girls. In 1500, Columbus wrote to an acquaintance that there are many dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to 10 are now in demand. As the population plummeted, they abducted indigenous people from other islands, like the Lucayan, to work the fields and mines of Hispaniola. Across the Caribbean ... the Spanish were responsible for the deaths of 12 to 15 million indigenous people. Historians usually attribute most of the deaths to the spread of diseases for which native people had no immunity, but recently historian Andrs Resndez has pushed back against this, arguing that populations were lower than previous estimated, and a nexus of slavery, overwork and famine killed more Indians in the Caribbean than smallpox, influenza and malaria.
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Researchers have found more than 60,000 hidden Maya ruins in Guatemala in a major archaeological breakthrough. Laser technology was used to survey digitally beneath the forest canopy, revealing houses, palaces, elevated highways, and defensive fortifications. The landscape, near already-known Maya cities, is thought to have been home to millions more people than other research had previously suggested. "I think this is one of the greatest advances in over 150 years of Maya archaeology," said Stephen Houston, [a] Professor of Archaeology and Anthropology. Results from the research using Lidar technology, which is short for "light detection and ranging", suggest that Central America supported an advanced civilisation more akin to sophisticated cultures like ancient Greece or China. Maya civilisation, at its peak some 1,500 years ago, covered an area about twice the size of medieval England, with an estimated population of around five million. With this new data it's no longer unreasonable to think that there were 10 to 15 million people there. One of the hidden finds is a ... complex network of causeways linking all the Maya cities in the area. The raised highways, allowing easy passage even during rainy seasons, were wide enough to suggest they were heavily trafficked and used for trade. "Understanding everything is connected across many square miles is amazing," said Mr Houston.
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Some old bones made big headlines this week, as paleoanthropologists reported that they had identified the oldest Homo sapiens fossils yet. Freshly dated to be about 300,000 years old, a collection of fossils and stone artifacts unearthed in Morocco could push the origin of our species back 100,000 years, scientists say in two papers published ... in the journal Nature. Paleoanthropology is kind of like a connect-the-dot puzzle, says Shara Bailey, a coauthor of one of the Nature papers But you don't have any numbers on it and only a quarter of the dots are there. Will you be able to recreate what that puzzle is? Not necessarily. But as you get more dots and you can put numbers on it, you can get a clearer picture of what that puzzle is actually supposed to be. Each new fossil and date is a boon for scientists, she explains, because it adds another dot and number to that sparse picture. Before this North African site claimed the title of oldest Homo sapiens site, a 195,000-year-old site thousands of miles away in Ethiopia wore that crown. And with other similarly aged Homo sapiens sites nearby, some scientists pointed to East Africa as the birthplace of our species. Now researchers say the Moroccan site, called Jebel Irhoud, adds a new wrinkle. We're sort of incrementally inching in upon a better description of nature, says Ian Tattersall, a paleoanthropologist. The new fossils could be members of a population of early Homo sapiens relatives that ultimately died out.
Note: The very well researched book Forbidden Archeology makes crystal clear that the history of humankind with which we are presented is in actuality riddled with holes, deception, and unexplained anomalies, including numerous man-made artifacts found in rocks and sediments millions of years old. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing archeology and history news articles from reliable major media sources.
Mary Schweitzer sits at a microscope in a dim lab, her face lit only by a glowing computer screen. After 68 million years in the ground, a Tyrannosaurus rex found in Montana was dug up, its leg bone was broken in pieces, and fragments were dissolved in acid in Schweitzers laboratory at North Carolina State University. Last year ... Schweitzer announced she had discovered blood vessels and structures that looked like whole cells inside that T. rex bone - the first observation of its kind. The finding amazed colleagues, who had never imagined that even a trace of still-soft dinosaur tissue could survive. The observations could shed new light on how dinosaurs evolved and how their muscles and blood vessels worked. And the new findings might help settle a long-running debate about whether dinosaurs were warmblooded, coldblooded - or both. In the lab, Wittmeyer now takes out a dish with six compartments, each holding a little brown dab of tissue in clear liquid, and puts it under the microscope lens. Inside each specimen is a fine network of almost-clear branching vesselsthe tissue of a female Tyrannosaurus rex that strode through the forests 68 million years ago, preparing to lay eggs. Of course, what everyone wants to know is whether DNA might be lurking in that tissue. Wittmeyer, from much experience with the press since the discovery, calls this the awful question - whether Schweitzers work is paving the road to a real-life version of science fictions Jurassic Park, where dinosaurs were regenerated from DNA preserved in amber.
Note: Watch a CBS 60-minutes report on this unusual discovery. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing archeology and history news articles from reliable major media sources.
Two Australian mathematicians assert that an ancient clay tablet was a tool for working out trigonometry problems, possibly adding to the many techniques that Babylonian mathematicians had mastered. Its a trigonometric table, which is 3,000 years ahead of its time, said Daniel F. Mansfield of the University of New South Wales. Dr. Mansfield and his colleague Norman J. Wildberger reported their findings last week in the journal Historia Mathematica. The tablet, known as Plimpton 322, was discovered in the early 1900s in southern Iraq and ... contains 60 numbers organized into 15 rows and four columns. With all the publicity, the tablet has been put on display at [Columbia] Universitys Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Plimpton 322 has been dated to between 1822 and 1762 B.C. One of the columns on Plimpton 322 is just a numbering of the rows from 1 to 15. The other three columns are ... Pythagorean triples - sets of integers, or whole numbers, that satisfy the equation a2 + b2 = c2. That by itself was remarkable given that the Greek mathematician Pythagoras, for whom the triples were named, would not be born for another thousand years. You dont make a trigonometric table by accident, Dr. Mansfield said. Just having a list of Pythagorean triples doesnt help you much. Thats just a list of numbers. But when you arrange it in such a way so that you can use any known ratio of a triangle to find the other sides of a triangle, then it becomes trigonometry. Thats what we can use this fragment for.
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New research shows that ancient humans had sex with non human species. According to a study conducted by Omer Gokcumen, an assistant professor of biological sciences at the University of Buffalo, ancient humans had intercourse with a "ghost species" of "proto human". Gokcumen explains that humans are only one member of a broader species named "hominins". The research found that humans had sex with other members of the hominins group. Gokcumen found "wildly different" genes in DNA of humans living in Sub-Saharan Africa. He believes these genes can be traced back to about 150,000 years ago when ancient humans were breeding with this mysterious "ghost species". This other species is referred to by the scientific community as a "ghost species" as there are no known fossils that can be analysed. "It seems that interbreeding between different early hominin species is not the exception - it's the norm," Gokcumen said. "Based on our analysis, the most plausible explanation for this extreme variation is archaic introgression - the introduction of genetic material from a 'ghost' species of ancient hominins."
Note: What was this "ghost species"? Could there have been intervention from species outside of planet Earth? Read an essay by WantToKnow.info founder Fred Burks for intriguing ideas along these lines.
Piltdown Man was heralded as the missing link, connecting humans to their ape ancestors. Discovered in England in 1912, the fossils were exactly what British paleontologists were hoping to find. Newspapers proclaimed: "Missing Link Found - Darwin's Theory Proved." In 1953, scientists concluded that Piltdown Man was an elaborate fraud, compiled of pieces of a human skull and orangutan jaw and teeth. Now ... scientists have definitively narrowed the blame down to just one person: Charles Dawson, an amateur archaeologist and fossil collector. The shocking thing was how many people accepted it because it fell right into their belief system, [said] David Begun, a paleoanthropologist professor at the University of Toronto. Dawson put together this fraudulent fossil to fit the preconceptions of the time." Anthropologists hadn't pinned down where humans first arose, so it was still possible to link them back to Europe. More recent discoveries of human ancestors have immediately raised red flags because they upended people's expectations, including the enigmatic "hobbit" from Indonesia, and strange, small human ancestors in the Rising Star cave in South Africa. But those excavations were carefully documented and the specimens were verified as real. In contrast, the greatest scientific fraud in history fit exactly what scientists were looking for. Because it confirmed the biases of the time, the Piltdown Man closed people's eyes to the new things there were to discover.
Note: Scientists all too often herald discoveries which confirm their theories without carefully checking the facts. The carefully researched book "Forbidden Archeology" raises serious questions about the origins of the human race. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing archeology and history news articles from reliable major media sources.
Israeli archaeologists have uncovered dramatic evidence of what they believe are the earliest known attempts at agriculture, 11,000 years before the generally recognised advent of organised cultivation. Previously, scientists had believed that organised agriculture in the Middle East ... had begun around 12,000 BC and later spread west through Europe. The new research is based on excavations at a site known as Ohalo II, which was discovered in 1989. Occupied by a community of hunter-gatherers at the height of the last ice age 23,000 years ago, it revealed evidence of six brush huts with hearths as well as stone tools and animal and plant remains. According to the researchers, the community at Ohalo II was already exploiting the precursors to domesticated plant types that would become a staple in early agriculture, including emmer wheat, barley, pea, lentil, almond, fig, grape and olive. Significantly, however, they discovered the presence of two types of weeds in current crop fields: corn cleavers and darnel. Microscopic examination of the edges of stone blades from the site also found material that may have been transferred during the cutting and harvesting of cereal plants. Prof Ehud Weiss, head of the archaeological botany lab at the Department of Land of Israel Studies, told the Guardian [that] the mixture of proto-weeds and grains that would become domesticated mirrors plant findings from later agricultural communities. The site also revealed evidence of rudimentary breadmaking.
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Archaeologists in Cambodia have found multiple, previously undocumented medieval cities not far from the ancient temple city of Angkor Wat. The Australian archaeologist Dr Damian Evans ... will announce that cutting-edge airborne laser scanning technology has revealed multiple cities between 900 and 1,400 years old beneath the tropical forest floor, some of which rival the size of Cambodias capital, Phnom Penh. Some experts believe that the recently analysed data - captured in 2015 during the most extensive airborne study ever undertaken by an archaeological project, covering 734 sq miles (1,901 sq km) shows that the colossal, densely populated cities would have constituted the largest empire on earth at the time of its peak in the 12th century. Evans said: We have entire cities discovered beneath the forest that no one knew were there. [A prior] survey uncovered an array of discoveries, including elaborate water systems that were built hundreds of years before historians believed the technology existed. The [latest] findings are expected to challenge theories on how the Khmer empire developed, dominated the region, and declined around the 15th century. Our coverage of the post-Angkorian capitals also provides ... new insights on the collapse of Angkor, Evans said. Theres an idea that somehow the Thais invaded and everyone fled down south that didnt happen. It calls into question the whole notion of an Angkorian collapse.
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A stone knife and other artifacts found deep underwater in a Florida sinkhole show people lived in that area some 14,500 years ago. That makes the ancient sinkhole the earliest well-documented site for human presence in the southeastern U.S., and important for understanding the settling of the Americas, experts said. The findings confirm claims made more than a decade ago about the site. At that time, researchers reported evidence that humans were there some 14,400 years ago. But in an era when such an old date was widely considered impossible, other experts disputed the evidence, said Mike Waters of Texas A&M University. The sinkhole was "just politely ignored," he said. Waters was among a new team of scientists who excavated there from 2012 to 2014. They report finding the knife and stone flakes in a paper released Friday by the journal Science Advances. The new work offers "far better" evidence for early humans than the earlier research did, he said. In American archaeology, sites showing signs of human presence more than about 13,000 years are called "pre-Clovis," since they predate the Clovis era of widespread human occupation. Dennis Stanford of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History said that he ranked the sinkhole with two locations in Pennsylvania and Virginia as "the best-dated and oldest pre-Clovis sites yet found in North America."
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Initial DNA analysis of one of the 3,000-year-old elongated skulls found in Paracas, Peru, has revealed that they may not have been come from humans but from a completely new species, according to Paracas Museum assistant director Brien Foerster. A geneticist who tested skull samples has found that they contain mutated DNA that does not match any known genetic DNA information in GenBank, an open-access sequence database of all the known genetic data in the world. The unidentified geneticist told Foerster: "It had mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA) with mutations unknown in any human, primate, or animal known so far. But a few fragments I was able to sequence from this sample indicate that if these mutations will hold we are dealing with a new human-like creature, very distant from Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and Denisovans. I am not sure it will even fit into the known evolutionary tree." According to Foerster, the geneticist in question, who apparently does contract work for the US government, is willing to go public, but does not want to come forward until the tests prove the theory conclusively. Peruvian archaeologist Julio Tello discovered the skulls in 1928 ... on the south coast of Peru. There are still many more tests that need to be carried out to verify what the DNA is. With the help of interested individuals over the last two years, Foerster has so far raised $7,000 (4,260, 5,120) to do the initial DNA testing, but a full genome study to completely verify the theory would cost at least $100,000,
An enormous system of caves, chambers and tunnels lies hidden beneath the Pyramids of Giza, according to a British explorer who claims to have found the lost underworld of the pharaohs [at] the pyramid field at Giza. British explorer Andrew Collins [has detailed] his findings in the book Beneath the Pyramids, tracked down the entrance to the mysterious underworld after reading the forgotten memoirs of a 19th century diplomat and explorer. "In his memoirs, British consul general Henry Salt recounts how he investigated an underground system of 'catacombs' at Giza in 1817," Collins said. With the help of British Egyptologist Nigel Skinner-Simpson, Collins reconstructed Salt's exploration on the plateau, eventually locating the entrance to the lost catacombs in an apparently unrecorded tomb west of the Great Pyramid. According to Collins, the caves which are tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years old may have both inspired the development of the pyramid field and the ancient Egyptian's belief in an underworld. "Ancient funerary texts clearly allude to the existence of a subterranean world in the vicinity of the Giza pyramids," Collins [said]. Zahi Hawass, chief of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, has dismissed the discovery. "There are no new discoveries to be made at Giza. We know everything about the plateau," he stated. But Collins remarks that after extensive research, he found no mention of the caves in modern times. "To the best of our knowledge nothing has ever been written or recorded about these caves since Salt's explorations.
Note: For an intriguing documentary showing the incredible extent of these caves, click here.
A secret internal history of the Justice Departments Nazi-hunting unit, the Office of Special Investigations, chronicles numerous hidden chapters in the offices 31-year-existence. But a heavily redacted version of the report turned over by the Justice Department in response to a lawsuit deletes more than 1,000 passages in the report, including many of the most intriguing references. Here is a sampling of the original passages in the unredacted report, obtained by the New York Times, as compared with the deleted versions. The full report details how the United States became a safe haven for some Nazis, with some American officials actively working to help persecutors gain entry to the United States and conceal their identities and crimes. But the redacted version prepared by the Justice Department omits many of the central elements of these cases. The redacted report omits the debate within the CIA in 1953 over what Otto von Bolschwing, a Nazi associate of Adolph Eichmann who became a CIA asset, should tell immigration officials or others in the United States if confronted about his Nazi past. It also deletes references to what American officials knew about his atrocities, including the assertion from a Justice Department officials that he might be guilty of acts more heinous than anyone else currently under investigation. [many additional examples follow]
Note: This suppressed report contains clear evidence that top Nazi war criminals were given aliases and allowed to escape prosecution by elements both outside and inside of government. For even more powerful evidence from released US government documents that top government leaders felt the need for mind control techniques developed by the Nazi's warranted secretly protecting and eventually working with some of the most heartless of the Nazis, click here.
[Abiotic oil theorists] hold that oil can be derived from hydrocarbons that existed eons ago in massive pools deep within the earth's core. That source of hydrocarbons seeps up through the earth's layers and slowly replenishes oil sources. In other words, it turns the fossil-fuel paradigm upside down. Thomas Gold, a respected astronomer and professor emeritus at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, has held for years that oil is actually a renewable, primordial syrup continually manufactured by the Earth under ultrahot conditions and tremendous pressures. As this substance migrates toward the surface, it is attacked by bacteria, making it appear to have an organic origin dating back to the dinosaurs, he says. That ... raises the tantalizing possibility that oil may not be the limited resource it is assumed to be. In 2008 ... a group of Russian and Ukrainian scientists [said] that oil and gas don't come from fossils; they're synthesized deep within the earth's mantle by heat, pressure, and other purely chemical means, before gradually rising to the surface. The idea that oil comes from fossils "is a myth" that needs changing according to petroleum engineer Vladimir Kutcherov, speaking at the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden. "All kinds of rocks could have oil and gas deposits." Alexander Kitchka of the Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences estimates that 60 percent of the content of all oil is abiotic in origin and not from fossil fuels.
The ancient Mayans had contact with alien visitors who left behind evidence of their existence, according to a new Mexican documentary. Sundance winner Juan Carlos Rulfo's Revelations of the Mayans 2012 and Beyond is currently in production for release next year to coincide with the end of the Mayan calendar. So far, the minister of tourism for the Mexican state of Campeche, Luis Augusto Garca Rosado, appears to be the highest-ranking government official to go on record confirming the discovery of extraterrestrial life, but he's not holding back. In a statement, Rosado spoke of contact "between the Mayans and extraterrestrials, supported by translations of certain codices, which the government has kept secure in underground vaults for some time". He also spoke of "landing pads in the jungle that are 3,000 years old". The documentary is believed to focus in part on previously unexplored sections of a Mayan site at Calakmul, Mexico, as well as a number of sites in Guatemala, where officials are also backing the documentary. "Guatemala, like Mexico, home to the ancient-yet-advanced Mayan civilisation has also kept certain provocative archeological discoveries classified, and now believes that it is time to bring forth this information in the new documentary," Guatemala's minister of tourism, Guillermo Novielli Quezada, said in a statement.
Note: An earlier Chicago Tribune article on this fascinating documentary was strangely removed from their website.
A new documentary about Mayan civilization will provide evidence of extraterrestrial contact with the ancient culture, according to a Mexican government official and the film's producer. "Revelations of the Mayans 2012 and Beyond," currently in production, will claim the Mayans had contact with extraterrestrials, producer Raul Julia-Levy [said]. "Mexico will release codices, artifacts and significant documents with evidence of Mayan and extraterrestrial contact, and all of their information will be corroborated by archaeologists," said Julia-Levy. Luis Augusto Garcia Rosado, the minister of tourism for the Mexican state of Campeche, said new evidence has emerged "of contact between the Mayans and extraterrestrials, supported by translations of certain codices, which the government has kept secure in underground vaults for some time." He also spoke, in a phone conversation, of "landing pads in the jungle that are 3,000 years old." Raul-Julia claims there is proof that the Mayans had intended to lead the planet for thousands of years, but were forced to escape after an invasion by "men of dark intentions," leaving behind evidence of an advanced race. "The Mexican government is not making this statement on their own -- everything we say, we're going to back it up," he said.
Note: For powerful testimony from top military and government officials that a major cover-up has been orchestrated around a possible ET presence on our planet, click here.
A dull-looking chart projected on the wall of a university office in Jerusalem displayed a revelation that would startle many readers of the Old Testament: The sacred text that people revered in the past was not the same one we study today. An ancient version of one book has an extra phrase. Another appears to have been revised to retroactively insert a prophecy after the events happened. Scholars in this out-of-the-way corner of the Hebrew University campus have been quietly at work for 53 years on one of the most ambitious projects attempted in biblical studies publishing the authoritative edition of the Old Testament, also known as the Hebrew Bible, and tracking every single evolution of the text over centuries and millennia. The ongoing work of the academic detectives of the Bible Project, as their undertaking is known, shows that this text at the root of Judaism, Christianity and Islam was somewhat fluid for long periods of its history, and that its transmission through the ages was messier and more human than most of us imagine. The sheer volume of information makes the Bible Project's version "the most comprehensive critical edition of the Hebrew Bible in existence at the present time," said David Marcus, a Bible scholar at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, who is not involved with the project.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.