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Jordanian codices
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Jordan battles to regain 'priceless' Christian relic

They could be the earliest Christian writing in existence, surviving almost 2,000 years in a Jordanian cave. They could, just possibly, change our understanding of how Jesus was crucified and resurrected, and how Christianity was born.
A group of 70 or so "books", each with between five and 15 lead leaves bound by lead rings, was apparently discovered in a remote arid valley in northern Jordan somewhere between 2005 and 2007.

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RE: Ancient manuscripts
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Artefacts discovered in a remote cave in Jordan could hold a contemporary account of the last years of Jesus.
The find of scrolls and 70 lead codices - tiny credit-card-sized volumes containing ancient Hebrew script talking of the Messiah and the Resurrection - has excited biblical scholars.
Much of the writing is in code, but experts have deciphered images, symbols and a few words and the texts could be 2,000 years old.
Some academics are sceptical about the discovery because there have been numerous hoaxes and sophisticated fakes produced over the years.
Many of the codices are sealed which suggests that they could be secret writings referred to in the apocryphal Book of Ezra - an appendage to some versions of the Bible.

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Babylonian tablets
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An illuminating exhibition of thirteen ancient Babylonian tablets, along with supplemental documentary material, opens at New York University's Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW) on November 12, 2010. Before Pythagoras: The Culture of Old Babylonian Mathematics reveals the highly sophisticated mathematical practice and education that flourished in Babylonia - present-day Iraq - more than 1,000 years before the time of the Greek sages Thales and Pythagoras, with whom mathematics is traditionally said to have begun.
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RE: Ancient manuscripts
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A new study of early medieval manuscripts written in the English language has revealed that the Normans, who conquered England in 1066, were not the destructive force of popular belief.
The project, 'The Production and Use of English Manuscripts 1060-1220' was funded by the AHRC (Arts & Humanities Research Council) and provides contextual information and a catalogue of all the surviving books that were written between 1060 and 1220 that contain text written in the English language. This descriptive catalogue is freely available to other scholars in the field.
The new story shows English people living under Norman rule continued to write, read and preach in the English language as they had done under the Anglo-Saxon kings in earlier centuries, in the new social and political climate.
In particular it challenges the long-held view about the English language being driven underground after the Norman Conquest.

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In this audio taster, Debbie Challis, Audience Development Officer at UCL's Petrie Museum tells us more about the creative writing workshop being held at the museum as part of Black History Month that uses fragments found on Ancient Egyptian papyri as its source.
Led by Ayshan Johnston, novelist and Caribbean historian, and Debbie Challis, the workshop takes place on 6 November from 10.30am - 1.00pm and is free and open to all.

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Ancient clay fragment
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Hebrew University excavations recently unearthed a clay fragment dating back to the 14th century BCE, said to be the oldest written document ever found in Jerusalem.
The tiny fragment is only 2 cm. by 2.8 cm. in surface area and 1 cm. thick and appears to have once been part of a larger tablet. Researchers say the ancient fragment testifies to Jerusalem's importance as a major city late in the Bronze Age.
The minuscule fragment contains Akkadian words written in ancient cuneiform symbols. Researchers say that while the symbols appear to be insignificant, containing simply the words "you," "you were," "them," "to do," and "later," the high quality of the writing indicates that it was written by a highly skilled scribe. Such a revelation would mean that the piece was likely written for tablets that were part of a royal household.

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RE: Ancient manuscripts
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University of Toronto researchers shed light on ancient Assyrian tablets

A cache of cuneiform tablets unearthed by a team led by a University of Toronto archaeologist has been found to contain a largely intact Assyrian treaty from the early 7th century BCE.
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Conference Shed Moonlight on Lunar Calendar

The Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem collection includes an extremely important rare cuneiform tablet which is prominently displayed in the heart of the Museum's Gallery of the Patriarchs. This large clay tablet is written in cuneiform on two sides and careful study and deciphering has revealed text that sheds light on the roots of the Hebrew calendar whose origins stem from Ancient Babylon.
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Researchers at UCL History have discovered part of an ancient Roman law code previously thought to have been lost forever.
Simon Corcoran and Benet Salway made the breakthrough after piecing together 17 fragments of previously incomprehensible parchment. The fragments were being studied at UCL as part of the Arts & Humanities Research Council-funded 'Projet Volterra' - a ten-year study of Roman law in its full social, legal and political context.
Corcoran and Salway found that the text belonged to the Codex Gregorianus, or Gregorian Code, a collection of laws by emperors from Hadrian (AD 117-138) to Diocletian (AD 284-305), which was published circa AD 300. Little was known about the codex's original form and there were, until now, no known copies in existence.

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The Jordanian government has escalated its efforts to obtain the Dead Sea Scrolls from Israel. After an attempt to have the Canadian government acquire fragments of the scrolls while on exhibit in the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, fell through last week, the Jordanians filed a complaint to UNESCO the United Nation's Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, saying Israel illegally seized the ancient texts during the 1967 Six-Day War.
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