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Times Will Tell

Podcast: Proof that Nabateans’ trade empire collapsed due to ancient epidemic

In an in-depth interview with expert archaeologist Tali Erickson-Gini, we hear that he who controls the spice (or garum and wine) controls the ancient world

Welcome to Times Will Tell, a weekly podcast from The Times of Israel.

This week we’re speaking with the Israel Antiquities Authority’s senior researcher Dr. Tali Erickson-Gini about the Nabateans’ Incense Road, today a World Heritage Site.

We’ll talk about the fall of the Nabatean trade route — possibly due to an epidemic — and other precious commodities in the ancient Holy Land including how globalization influenced antiquity.

For over 20 years, Erickson-Gini was the IAA’s Southern Negev sub-district archaeologist and she has conducted numerous archaeological excavations and surveys in many parts of the Negev — and even Petra in Jordan.

IAA archaeologist Dr. Tali Erickson-Gini (right) examines a marble tray from the altar area of the Byzantine church near Ashkelon. (Anat Rasiuk, Israel Antiquities Authority)

In 2019, Erickson-Gini excavated in a large area south of Ashkelon’s Agamim neighborhood, where she discovered evidence of wine and garum production from 2000 years ago. We’ll talk about how an epidemic may have ended that, too.

Erickson-Gini is also an adjunct lecturer at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. If you ever have a chance to hear her speak, it’s a thrill.

The Times of Israel podcasts are available for download on iTunesTuneIn, Pocket CastsStitcher, PlayerFM or wherever you get your podcasts.

Check out this previous Times Will Tell podcast episode:

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