Siege of Masada Facing Criticism

Once again, it seems as though archaeology has drawn some critical conclusions about the historical conclusions concerning Masada… David Meadows draws to the new study which suggests that some scholarship on this siege is sketchy.

Based on accepted evaluations of wood consumption for these purposes in traditional societies, on the conservatively estimated number of Masada inhabitants in each time period, the harsh climatic conditions in the desert and Masada’s topography, the researchers were able to conclude that by the time the Romans arrived at Masada and began their siege (73 CE), the entire area was void of timber and firewood, due to 2,220 years of massive exploitation of the immediate environment up to that point. The Romans would have had no choice but to import wood from other areas for their weapon machinery, ramparts and basic living requirements.

The researchers were able to construct a model of the Roman Legion’s timber utilization in various siege scenarios, and concluded that even if the Masada area had more than its normal availability of wood, it still would not have been sufficient for the Romans’ needs, so that in any event, they would have been forced to ensure a continuous supply of wood. As such, the researchers explained, the earlier claim that the region of Masada was more humid some 2,000 years ago, was in all probability not well established.

via Whither Masada Siege Timber? « rogueclassicism.


A Peer Reviewed Biblioblog? A Discussion

Steve Caruso posted an interesting thought on the July top Biblioblogs ranking per the Reference Library:

1) I want to get some discussion going about starting an actual, peer-reviewed Biblioblog journal. I know that there has been a lot of talk about this in the past, but nothing has really come of it. Now, given the demonstrated wealth of information that the Biblioblogosphere has shown, I think is the time to seriously consider what’s possible and how we can highlight, showcase and reward genuinely good work.

I’m already putting into place within the Library a means for individuals to submit articles for consideration by simply tagging them with a specific keyword.

I have already contacted him in support of the idea.  But there should also be some dialog on the issue throughout the community.  As of now I see two challenges that must be met, though I am sure more will come to me as the discussion moves along:

(1) How are we going to ‘compete’ with open access online journals?

(2) What separates a Biblioblog from a journal and what are the benefits of submitting it to a blog over such a journal?

There are other considerations as well; for example, will the submission process rely upon a rigor associated with  standards for other peer review journals?   I would be interested to hear what the community has to say.  There may also be some outside discussion as to what, yet again, constitutes a Biblioblog (so that one knows whether or not they meet criteria to submit in the first place).

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