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Forty

Enki

It’s our 400th post! In most religions originating in the Middle East, the number 40 equals a large unspecific number: 40 days, 40 nights, 40 years should all be interpreted as “many” days, nights, or years.

Immovable ladder

Immovable ladder

Certain holy sites in Jerusalem and Bethlehem cannot be changed without agreement from the many local denominations. As a result, a ladder has been propped against a window ledge on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre since 1728.

Sea Peoples

Sea Peoples

Around 1200 BCE, almost every civilisation in the Eastern Mediterranean collapsed, or just barely survived. One possible culprit were invaders from across the sea: the Sea Peoples. No-one knows precisely who they were.

Peninsula no more

Salwa Canal

Qatar has been engaged in a diplomatic crisis with its neighbours since 2017. Amid the escalating tensions, Saudi Arabia has proposed a canal stretching all the way along the border with Qatar – turning the peninsula into an island.

The Dead Sea treasure map

The Copper Scroll

One of the Dead Sea Scrolls was written on copper rather than papyrus or parchment – and it’s a treasure map. None of the treasure has been found, but given that the scroll probably dates back a couple of thousand years it is unlikely to ever be found.