THE MODERN OLYMPIC MARATHON derives its name, of course, from the famous victory of the Greeks over the invading Persians in 490 B.C. at the town of Marathon, about twenty-six-and-a-half miles from Athens--which is the distance the runner Pheidippides covered to bring home the news of the victory, after which he dropped dead. As it happens, the story is a myth. Even the distance between Athens and Marathon isn't accurate. The modern race actually duplicates the distance from Windsor Castle to the Olympic stadium, established at the London games in 1908.
The truth about the marathon is just one of many debunking facts that Stephen G. Miller presents in Ancient Greek Athletics, his well-researched, comprehensive survey of ancient sports.
I wish this paragraph:
THE FREQUENT BRUTALITY of ancient sports reinforced this vision of life's hard limits. Important functionaries of the games were the rabdoi: judges armed with willow switches who punished fouls and false starts with a flogging. Even more indicative of the Greek acceptance of life's brutal limits were events like boxing and the pankration, a fierce combination of wrestling and boxing, with strangulation, finger-breaking, and eye-gouging (ostensibly forbidden) thrown in. Boxers fought with hard leather strips wrapped around their fists and pounded each other's heads until somebody gave up. Blood flowed freely, and fighters died, none more spectacularly than a certain Kreugas, who had his guts torn out by his sharp-nailed opponent.
Had gotten a bit more detailed. One wonders how many of the myths involving the brutality are actually true. We rather doubt that anyone could actually reach through someone's abdomen with their bare hands and pull out said guts. After all, there's quite a bit of muscle to go through. Similarly, there is a story of a long jumper who leapt so far that he broke both legs on landing. But the boxing/wrestling competition was apparently as brutal as made out above.
Sorry, I've got the wickiups. . .Utah Archaeologists Uncover Ancient Hut
An archaeological survey in central Utah has yielded a ``wickiup'' -- a temporary log and brush hut commonly used by ancient inhabitants on the west side of the Rocky Mountains.
The Carbon County find is helping scholars learn more about people who occupied Utah about nine thousand years before the arrival of Europeans.
Utah State University archaeologists discovered the wickiup on state school trust lands being sold to the Hunt Oil Company.
Oil company officials say they plan to preserve the hut at its location.
Of more recent vintage Downed WW2 plane dug up in London
Archaeologists say they have unearthed parts of a World War II fighter plane that crashed after downing a German bomber near Buckingham Palace.
Archaeologist Christopher Bennett said on Monday the plane's engine and control panel had been located during excavations in Buckingham Palace Road in the center of the capital.
The Battle of Britain was raging over the skies of London when pilot Ray Holmes spotted the German Dornier bomber on September 15, 1940.
Historians believe the German plane may have been on a mission to destroy Buckingham Palace.
New archaelogical findings may re-shape Sudanese history
Khartoum, Sudan, 05/03 - Historians may have to revise their previous beliefs about the history of the Nile River valley and human history following the recent discovery of seven statues in Karma, northern Sudan, south of the Third Cataract, which represented monarchs during the ancient Nubian Kingdom.
In a recent report, Sudanese News Agency (SUNA) reported that a group of archaeologists working in the Sudan discovered the statues.
These researchers established that five of them, namely Taharqa, Tanoutamon, Senkamanisken, Anlamani and Aspelta, date back to the era of Nubian Kings.
"The statues are sculptural masterpieces and important additions to our knowledge of the history of the region" the national news agency quoted Charles Bonnet, an archaeologist with the University of Geneva, Switzerland, as saying.
Archaeologists startled to discover Neolithic ritual site
THE setting for one of the most famous castles in Scotland’s North-east was first used as the site for a high-status building almost 6,000 years ago, it was revealed yesterday.
A team of archaeologists began work earlier this month at the Crathes Castle Estate, on Royal Deeside, to investigate what was thought to be the remains of a timber hall from the Dark Ages, 1,500 years ago.
But they have instead found the remains of a large Neolithic building which may have been used as a prehistoric ritual site.
First news from Syria! Syria -Archeological Findings
The Finnish archeological team working in Bashir Mount in the desert area of Palmyra ( Tadmor ) has unearthed 46 archeological sites that date back to80 , 000 years B.C.
Member of the team Prof. Margo Alstawt Watsing of Helsinki University said her group used sophisticated equipment to survey the mountain’s archeological traces that extend along the Euphrates River on the ancient famous Silk Road, some 180 KM east of Palmyra.
Very confusing article. We are assuming that whatever sites these (80,000 years B.C." sites were, they were incidental to the archaeologist's other work involving Ebla, which is, needless to say, a few years after 80,000 BC.
Then again, this sort of thing happens a lot during surveys. YOu are looking for one thing, but end up finding a lot of something else.
Thousand-year-old human remains found
HUMAN remains of an early Christian female dating from 1000 AD have been unearthed at an archaeological site in the Moira area.
The find was made by six archaeologists who have been working on the site for a several weeks.
The remains include legs, a pelvis and an upper torso and were found in what is believed to be an old Christian grave.
ArchaeoBlogue travelogue Petra remains a lost city for many
Despite continuing problems in the Middle East, Jordan remains quite safe for travel.
Before his death in 1999, Jordan's King Hussein was considered one of the most modern-thinking and respected rulers of the Middle East. His Western-educated son and successor to the throne, King Abdullah II, has continued his father's pragmatic, peaceful and progressive approach to governing. All of this makes Jordan open to visitors, and Jordanians are among the region's most hospitable people.
Famous as the site of the final scene in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade. While we here at ArchaeoBlog rarely find time (or opportunity) to comment on popular culture, we feel we must restate, for the record, what all have known for some time:
-- Raiders of the Lost Ark absolutely rocks.
-- The Temple of Doom does not.
-- The Last Crusade is almost as good as Raiders.
We keep hearing rumors of an impending fourth installment of the Indiana Jones chronicles, but it never seems to make it past the "They're reviewing an actual script draft!" rumor. They'd better do it quickly or both Connery and Ford will be battling Nazis from wheelchairs.