Archaeologists Find Ebony Stylus at Ur
In late 2015, archaeologists working at ancient Ur found an ebony stylus for inscribing cuneiform on clay tablets. This is the first ebony object found there and is further evidence of the city’s trade with the Indus civilization in South Asia (also known as Harappan and Meluhha). Elizabeth Stone of the State University of New York at Stony Brook, who is co-leading the Ur excavations, says, “There are texts that speak about the ‘black wood of Meluhha,’ but this is our first physical evidence” (“City of Biblical Abraham Brimmed with Trade and Riches,” National Geographic, March 11, 2016). The Indus civilization was a major commercial empire with trading ventures as far as Mesopotamia and Sheba in southern Arabia. The Indus people are mentioned in the writings of Mesopotamian kings such as Naram-Sin of Akkad, grandson of the famous kingdom builder Sargon. Indus ships had a capacity as large as 20 tons, equivalent to a modern 40-foot shipping container (“Digging in the Land of Magan,” Archaeology, Archaeological Institute of America, May/June 1997). They traveled across the Indian Ocean to ports on the Persian Gulf near modern Bahrain and up the Euphrates River to Ur, Akkad, Babylon, and other cities. Indus ships also traveled to the port of Al Mukulla on the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula in the modern Gulf of Aden. (For more about the ancient Indus Civilization and its international trade, including a PowerPoint presentation, see the “Queen of Sheba” section of Bible Times and Ancient Kingdoms, available from Way of Life Literature.)
(Friday Church News Notes, March 25, 2016, www.wayoflife.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143)
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