A Harvester’s Plea

*GUEST POST by Gareth Wearne (see his bio here) What legal rights did a farm labourer have in ancient Israel? A rare glimpse is offered by an ostracon (inscribed pot-sherd), which was discovered in 1960 in the guardroom of a small Iron Age fortress, approximately 17 km south of Tel Aviv. The ostracon contains a … More A Harvester’s Plea

An Angry Tax Man

Following the Arab conquest of Egypt in 641 CE (or Islamic conquest, it’s frequently referred to as both or either), a new tax was added to the growing list of impositions placed on the country’s population: the poll tax, payable by all non-Muslim adult males. For over two centuries after the conquest, the majority of … More An Angry Tax Man

Death in the Desert

Photo of Dakhla Oasis by Dr Caleb Hamilton, who excavated at Kellis as part of the Monash team (for more of his photos, see his Instagram account maoriegyptologist) Life in the ancient world, before the development of modern medicine, was hard. Child mortality rates were high, life-expectancy was much lower than it is today, and illnesses … More Death in the Desert