Were living Children Sacrificed to the Gods? No
The Tophet was the final resting place for the still-born and for children who died in early infancy. By M’hamed Hassine Fantar

Were it not for a few classical accounts, scholars would probably not attribute the burials in the Carthage Tophet to child sacrifice. Some of the more sensational stories, such as those related by the first-century B.C. historian Diodorus Siculus, have been picked up in modern times and passed off as the entire truth. In […]

Were living Children Sacrificed to the Gods? Yes
The thousands of individual burials, the several mass burials and the animal burials all demonstrate that these were sacrificial offerings to the gods. By Lawrence E. Stager, Joseph A. Greene

The evidence that Phoenicians ritually sacrificed their children comes from four sources. Classical authors and biblical prophets charge the Phoenicians with the practice. Stelae associated with burial urns found at Carthage bear decorations alluding to sacrifice and inscriptions expressing vows to Phoenician deities. Urns buried beneath these stelae contain remains of children (and sometimes […]

“Carthage Must be Destroyed”
But must it be forgotten? By David Soren

Turn on the Discovery Channel or the History Channel and chances are you’ll see programs about the wonderful accomplishments of the ancient Greeks and Romans. But what about that other great, contemporaneous, central Mediterranean 018power: the nearly forgotten city-state of Carthage? Most of us recall that the Carthaginian king Hannibal (c. 247–182 B.C.), […]

After the Flood!
The drowning of an ancient Roman city By Jessica A. Meyerson

It was called one of the biggest archaeological finds in years: In late November 1999 Turkish and French archaeologists began excavating the ancient Roman city of Zeugma in southeastern Turkey. Within weeks, they’d unearthed two large villas containing over a dozen exquisite ancient Roman mosaics. Preliminary surveys revealed that hundreds of other villas lay […]

Polyglot Antioch
Will archaeologists ever find the city described in the literary sources? By Florent Heintz

Antioch-on-the-Orontes was one of the four great cities of the Greco-Roman-Byzantine world. Although almost unknown today, it once rivaled Alexandria, Rome and Constantinople. Ancient writers described it as a breathtakingly beautiful city with grand civic buildings, baths, houses, temples, synagogues, churches and colonnaded streets—all bordered by the Orontes River and surrounded by mountains. According […]


Editors’ Page: The Circumference or the Center
Where to find a civilization’s heart? By Hershel Shanks
Origins: The Horoscope Casters
The ancient Mesopotamians were the first to ask, “What’s your sign?” By Alexander Jones
Past Perfect: Beneath the Flooding Darkness
The twentieth-century American poet Archibald MacLeish reflects on the passing of empires.
Destinations: The Enchanted Island
Egyptian temples, Nubian ruins, ancient Nilometers—Elephantine Island is an archaeologist’s (and a traveler’s) dream.
Ancient Life: Water Music
But did Rome have a national anthem?
The Forum
Praise for Petra—and a few choice remarks on an ancient map and a burning issue.
Briefly Noted
Historical fictions