This Week In History, Mar. 5 – 11

Published March 10, 2017

ISIS Accidentally Uncovers Ancient Assyrian Palace — And Loots It

Assyrian Stone Sculptures

Jérémy AndréAn Assyrian stone sculpture.

ISIS isn’t exactly known for respecting cultural artifacts, which makes its inadvertent aid to archaeologists all the more surprising.

Back in 2014, when the militant terrorist organization took hold of Iraq, ISIS destroyed the Nebi Yunus shrine, which had contained what Muslims and Christians thought was the tomb of Jonah.

It turns out ISIS did more than destroy things, however. After the Iraqi army succeeded in kicking ISIS out of the area, local archaeologists investigating the ruins discovered that the militant terrorist organization had also built tunnels underneath the now-ruined shrine.

Ancient Egyptian Parchments Hold Hidden Text Right Next To Visible Text

Sinai Palimpsests

St. Catherine’s MonasteryThe imaging equipment used to peer into the past.

Researchers at St. Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt are discovering that there are hidden texts lost within the ancient pages of their library.

St. Catherine’s Monastery, one of the world’s oldest monasteries in continuous use according to National Geographic, holds a wealth of texts from antiquity. Since the monastery was built in the sixth century AD on Mount Sinai, its monks have been storing scores of texts that include classical manuscripts and scriptures.

However, it turns out that the monks were cheating, in a way: Throughout the centuries, they would wipe clean the documents they didn’t have any more use for and write new texts right there over the old ones.

All That's Interesting
A New York-based publisher established in 2010, All That's Interesting brings together subject-level experts in history, true crime, and science to share stories that illuminate our world.