Monthly Archives: February 2013

Christianity’s Forgotten Rival

The history of Christianity, as we are often told, is a story of suppression, persecution and then finally acceptance by the ruling elite. Since the death of Jesus Christ, the story goes that this new offshoot of Judaism was proselytized and spread by the Apostles. Originally seen as a sect of Judaism by the Roman Empire, the […]

The Forgotten Blackbird

Abu Hasan Ali Ibn Nafi was born near Baghdad circa 789. The son of a freed Ethiopian slave and a Kurd would become one of the most influential men in history, a paragon of the culture of the Empire of Islam, and yet he is almost completely unknown in the Western world. In the histories […]

Valentine’s day, were the ancients telling us to rut?

The origins of Valentine’s Day seem somewhat mysterious at a glance, why would buying flowers for a loved one be in any way related to the death of an early Christian martyr, St Valentine? Well amongst the theories is the correlation with the Greco-Roman festival of Lupercalia. Lupercalia was celebrated in the 5 century B.C […]

Treasures of the Temple of Solomon.

The Temple of Solomon is one of the most fantastical stories in the Bible. Solomon, the greatest and wisest king of Israel, is moved to build a temple to the one, true God on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. The Temple, as described in Ezekiel, was a colossal building fit to be the house of the […]

Uncontacted tribes of the Andaman Islands: do we approach?

The field of anthropology has a long held fascination with so called ‘stone age’ modern people and most especially with uncontacted hunter-gatherers. It is believed that hunter-gatherers provide us with a window into our own distant pasts, showing us who we were before the advent of agriculture or use of metals. I’m an archaeologist who […]

The Real Cup of Christ?

The legend of the Holy Grail has captured our collective imagination for centuries. From the Da Vinci Code through Indiana Jones to the Arthurian Legends of old we have Grail-mania at the center of our culture. The Grail’s form has changed over the centuries with different versions of the story. Most recently Dan Brown and the authors […]

The Year of the Snake

Two days ago the Chinese culture celebrated the advent of the year of the black water snake. For the Chinese it represents a year commanded or influenced by the personality of the snake.The snake being a popular figure in mythology world wide, is the creator of the universe in ancient cultures from China, Africa, India […]

The First Heretic

The surprising resignation of Pope Benedict XVI today seems to have prompted, however briefly, a renewed interest into the history of the Papacy. There has been much talk about the unprecedented nature of the Pope’s resignation. The previous Pope to resign was 600 years ago and was by no means as simple. Pope Gregory XII […]

A Tyrian Odyssey

In Lebanon there is a heritage so rich in history and an influence that pervades through the ancient Mediterranean basin that makes specifics difficult to ascertain. The mysterious nature of this time makes myth and legend the ancient’s form ancient history. The mythological assimilation of ancient God’s and Goddess’s creates a weave compounded by time, […]

Masonic groups out of date in Northern Ireland?

The Royal Black Preceptory is a ‘more religious’ set up to the Orange Order in N. Ireland. When asking for the symbolism of the date, the last Saturday of August, the reply is simple and enigmatic: it’s a religious day. What religious day it is, is uncertain to me and also apparently uncertain to the […]