Oct 25, 2011 David Lang

Dad, What Do You Know About Ancient Toilets?

My ten-year-old daughter, Lexi, is studying ancient history, and she's been assigned a variety of projects for which she's come to me for help. Thankfully, Accordance has made me look like the dad who can answer any question.

First, there was the report she was asked to write on ancient toilets. I remembered reading an article in Biblical Archaeology Review which had a nice illustration of a Roman latrine, and I knew the PhotoGuide also has a few photos of ancient latrines. So I opened the Search All window, set the language pop-up menu to Caption, and searched for "toilet." That instantly returned a number of hits in a couple of tools, including the article I remembered in the BAR Archive. Lexi based her report on the BAR article and dragged a couple of illustrations into her paper.

I chose to search Caption rather than English because I wanted to find articles with illustrations. Had I searched all my tools for any mention of the English word "toilet," I would have ended up with far more hits to wade through.

Last week, Lexi needed to write a similar report on Solomon's temple, so I turned to Leen Ritmeyer's The Quest, which could easily have been subtitled "Everything you wanted to know about the temple but were afraid to ask." This is a scholarly treatment of the archeology of the Temple Mount, so I worried that it would be overkill for her, but I used the Tool browser to find the chapter which discusses the first (Solomonic) temple, and skimmed the illustrations until I found the section I thought would be most helpful to her. She was able to summarize what she read and illustrate it with a really cool reconstruction of Solomon's temple.

The Quest offers in depth information about the Temple Mount

This week, she was asked to write something using the letters of the Phoenician alphabet. I was sure I had to have some tool that listed various alphabetic characters, so I did another Search All search of the Captions for the word "alphabet." A quick scan of the results led me to Unger's Bible Dictionary, which had a simple chart of the Phoenician alphabet with English equivalents. I printed that chart for her to use as a reference, and she decided she wanted to write out a Bible verse.

Chart of the Phoenician Alphabet

"Which verse should I use, Dad?"

Can you guess which program I used to find an appropriate verse to write in Phoenician script? (We settled on 1 Kings 5:12 as especially fitting.)

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