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by Chris McKinny

Today at 12 PM Central Time (my time zone and a little more than two hours from now) – I will be lecturing on the historical geography of Libnah and Ether. This will be continuing the series of online lectures that our project has been presenting on in the absence of an archaeological excavation season.

As readers of this blog might already know – Libnah is likely to be identified with Tel Burna – a site that our project has been exploring for ten seasons.

This fall – we hope to investigate Khirbet ʿAter – a nearby site that is commonly identified with the biblical site of Ether (e.g., Josh 15:42). In this lecture – I will discuss the various reasons why Tel Burna and Khirbet ʿAter should be identified with Libnah and Ether respectively. I will also discuss our initial impressions of the archaeological remains of Khirbet ʿAter and our future plans.

Here are the details:

Chris McKinny: “In the Shephelah… Libnah, Ether (Josh 15:42)” The Historical Geography of Libnah and Ether (click for recorded video)

Tel Burna (Libnah) foreground with surrounding towns
Map of the slain kings of Joshua 12 – readers of the blog might remember an earlier post on this subject
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Restoration of the ancient theater and stadium of Aizanoi in western Turkey has begun.

The ships and boats from Thonis-Heracleion have much to say about how Egyptian shipwrights of the Late and early Ptolemaic periods built their vessels, as well as the range of decisions that were made when they reached the end of their working lives on the waters of the Nile.”

Among those arrested in an investigation of trafficking of looted antiquities is a retired curator from the Louvre.

Facebook has announced it will remove content that seeks to sell any and all historical artifacts.

Now online: the first installment of the publication project on the records of the Pennsylvania excavations at Nippur 1889-1900 in searchable digital form (pdf).

“During the Early Iron Age, people dwelled among the ruins of the palace at Knossos in what we may refer to as a ‘landscape of memory’, one imbued with the collective memories of a bygone era.”

“Egyptian archaeologists are taking advantage of the global anti-racism movement to renew their calls on the French government to remove a statue of Jean-François Champollion, kneeling on the head of a Pharaonic king.”

Recent fires at Susa and Ecbatana in Iran apparently caused no damage.

Zoom lecture: The Discovery: 1000-Year-Old Bible Refound in Cairo Synagogue, by Yoram Meital, June 28 at 8:00pm Cairo time. To register, email dropofmilkegypt@gmail.com.

Carl Rasmussen shares more about Aphrodisias, including The Theater and Its Artifacts and Jews, Proselytes, and God-Fearers at Aphrodisias.

Note: there will be no roundups the next two weekends.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Ted Weis, Mark Hoffman, Alexander Schick, Explorator

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Just as the Biblical Museum of Natural History was about to open in Beit Shemesh, “a plague of biblical proportions struck.” Virtual tours are available at the museum’s website. They are also offering a new book by the museum’s director, The Torah Encyclopedia of the Animal Kingdom, Vol. 1: Wild Animals.

The Hashemite Custodianship of Jerusalem’s Islamic and Christian Holy Sites 1917-2020 CE: White Paper, by the The Royal Aal Al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought (108pp). The labeled photograph of the Temple Mount on page 81 may be of particular interest.

New from Appian: An 80-page study guide to accompany “Lessons from the Land: The Gospels.”

“In Search of King David’s Lost Empire” is a long piece by Ruth Margalit that reviews the history of the maximalist-minimalist debate. Some responses by Eilat Mazar, Gabriel Barkay and others may be found here.

Assyrian soldiers had the edge with the invention of the socketed arrowhead. The underlying IEJ article is on Academia.

An article in the Jerusalem Post summarizes a recent BAR article on life at Tel Hadid near Gezer after the Assyrians deported the Israelites.

Israel should preserve more archaeological sites uncovered in salvage digs, argue some archaeologists. The article reports that there are 35,000 ancient sites in the country.

Tony Cartledge describes his experience in excavating a 12th-century Canaanite temple at Lachish, including his wife’s discovery of what turned out to be a scepter.

Charles Savelle links to three podcast episodes he has enjoyed on Thutmose III and the Battle of Megiddo.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Ted Weis, Mark Hoffman, Alexander Schick, Explorator

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One of the advantages of the present crisis is that conferences that you probably would not be able to fly to are now easy to watch from home. And some of them are free, including one this weekend.

This one is hosted by “Windows into the Bible University” and it’s a virtual conference on “The New Testament in Archaeology and Ancient Judaism.” Registration is free but required.

Here is the schedule, with all times Eastern:

Saturday, June 27

10:00 am: Marc Turnage, “The Son of David: Solomon, Healing, Exorcism, and Jesus”

11:30 am: Archie Wright, “The Development of Satan in the Second Temple Period and the New Testament”

12:45 pm: Mark Nanos, “How to Read Paul and His Letters Within Judaism”

​3:00 pm: Mordechai Aviam, “On Disciples and Pottery: Excavating el-Araj and the Identification of Bethsaida”

4:30 pm: Round Table Discussion, “Reading the New Testament In Light of Ancient Judaism,” with Marc Turnage, R. Steven Notley, Archie Wright and Jeffrey Garcia

Sunday, June 28

2:00 pm: R. Steven Notley, “Reading the Gospel Parables as Jewish Literature”

3:30 pm: Jeffrey Garcia, “Crossing the Streams: John, Jesus and the Rabbis on Charity and Deeds of Lovingkindness”

4:45 pm: Marc Turnage, “The Kingdom of Heaven: Politics and Redemption in Ancient Judaism”

For more details and to register, go here.

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(Post by A.D. Riddle)

Eisenbrauns is about to release, or has just released, two new books. They arrive just in time to add to your July reading list, if you are so inclined.

The first book is a collection of essays published upon the retirement last year of James K. Hoffmeier. Hoffmeier was Professor of Old Testament and Ancient Near Eastern History and Archaeology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. “An Excellent Fortress for His Armies, a Refuge for the People”: Egyptological, Archaeological, and Biblical Studies in Honor of James K. Hoffmeier is edited by Richard E. Averbeck and K. Lawson Younger Jr. I believe the photograph on the cover may have been excavated from our own BiblePlaces.com’s archives. It shows the Jebel Barkal stela of Thutmose III. (Daniel Wright had a little fun with the cover design on Facebook.) Below is the table of contents. I see several interesting essays that I look forward to reading.

Chap. 1. The Tests of a Prophet (Richard E. Averbeck)

Chap. 2. Fishing for Fissures: The Literary Unity of the Kadesh Poem of Ramesses II and Its Implications for the Diachronic Study of the Hebrew Bible (Joshua Berman)

Chap. 3. Food for the Forces: An Investigation of Military Subsistence Strategies in New Kingdom Border Regions (Louise Bertini and Salima Ikram)

Chap. 4. Left Behind: New Kingdom Specialists at the End of Egyptian Empire and the Emergence of Israelite Scribalism (Aaron A. Burke)

Chap. 5. The Ficus Judaicus and the New Testament (Thomas W. Davis)

Chap. 6. Gifts of the Nile: Materials That Shaped the Early Egyptian Burial Tradition (Joanna Dębowska- Ludwin and Karolina Rosińska- Balik)

Chap. 7. Computer Analytics in Chronology Testing and Its Implications for the Date of the Exodus (David A. Falk)

Chap. 8. Uniting the World: Achaemenid Empire Lists and the Construction of Royal Ideology (Deirdre N. Fulton and Kaz Hayashi)

Chap. 9. Geophysical Research in Pelusium: On the Benefits of Using the Resistivity Profiling Method (Tomasz Herbich)

Chap. 10. The Genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11 and Comparative Studies: Evidence for a Seam (Richard S. Hess)

Chap. 11. Sety I’s Military Relief at Karnak and the Eastern Gate of Egypt: A Brief Reassessment (Hesham M. Hussein)

Chap. 12. Maʿ at in the Amarna Period: Historiography, Egyptology, and the Reforms of Akhenaten (Mark D. Janzen)

Chap. 13. “I Have Made Every Person Like His Fellow” (Jens Bruun Kofoed)

Chap. 14. The Founding of the Temple in Ancient Egypt: Ritual and Symbolism (Ash Melika)

Chap. 15. Goliath’s Head Wound and the Edwin Smith Papyrus (Edmund S. Meltzer)

Chap. 16. Did the Patriarchs Meet Philistines? (Alan Millard)

Chap. 17. Writing Trauma: Ipuwer and the Curation of Cultural Memory (Ellen Morris)

Chap. 18. Old Kingdom Exotica at Pharaoh’s Court and Beyond: Dwarfs, Pygmies, Primates, Dogs, and Leopards (Gregory Mumford)

Chap. 19. Judges 10:11: A Memory of Merenptah’s Campaign in Transjordan (Steven Ortiz and S. Cameron Coyle)

Chap. 20. Digging for Data: A Practical Critique of Digital Archaeology (Miller C. Prosser)

Chap. 21. Debriefing Enemy Combatants in Ancient Egypt (Donald B. Redford)

Chap. 22. Israelite Origins (Gary A. Rendsburg)

Chap. 23. The Egyptian Background of the Joseph Story: Selected Issues Revisited (Nili Shupak)

Chap. 24. Mighty Bull Appearing in Napata: Memorialization and Adaptation of the Bronze Age into the Iron Age World of the Kushite, Twenty- fifth Dynasty of Egypt (Stuart Tyson Smith)

Chap. 25. Hosea 1–3 as the Key to the Literary Structure and Message of the Book (Eric J. Tully)

Chap. 26. The Egyptian Fortress Commander: A Career Check Based on Selected Middle and New Kingdom Examples (Carola Vogel)

Chap. 27. Mud- bricks as a Dating Tool in Egyptian Archaeology (Kei Yamamoto and Pearce Paul Creasman)

Chap. 28. The God ʾ El of Ramesses II’s Stela from Sheikh Saʿ d (the “Job Stone”) (K. Lawson Younger Jr.)


The second book coming from Eisenbrauns is New Directions in the Study of Ancient Geography, edited by Duane W. Roller. The table of contents did not give me a good indication for what to expect from this volume, but I was helped by the publisher’s description.

This volume brings together five essays that represent the latest directions in the study of geography in classical antiquity. Arranged chronologically, these contributions cover several centuries and cultures, ranging from ancient Mesopotamia to the Roman Empire and deal with topics such as ancient cosmology, literary interpretations of geography, ancient navigation, and geography in the Roman Imperial world.
Beginning in the ancient Near East, Paul T. Keyser’s essay considers how Greek scholars—whose views on the cosmos are still relevant today—were influenced by early Near Eastern beliefs about the universe.

Moving to the Hellenistic period, Duane W. Roller presents and provides commentary on a navigational guide for Ptolemaic seamen written by Ptolemy II’s chief of naval staff, Timosthenes of Rhodes. Georgia L. Irby provides an analysis of a literary map—the Shield of Aeneas from Vergil’s Aeneid—as well as a detailed study of Pomponius Mela and his Chorographia, the earliest surviving Greco-Roman geographical treatise and the only extant independent geographical work in Latin. An essay by Molly Ayn Jones-Lewis completes the volume by describing how Tacitus’s Germania, of the early second century AD, is a work heavily reliant on environmental determinism, an issue that is still relevant today.

Together, these essays demonstrate the great diversity of both ancient geographical writing and modern scholarship on ancient geography. This volume will be greeted with enthusiasm by ancient historians and classical studies scholars, particularly those interested in the cultural and political facets of geography.

I remember the good ol’ days when Eisenbrauns’ vision was to make more affordable for ANE student these kinds of specialized academic works. It seems we have to kiss those days goodbye. Both of these titles are listed for $99.95. You will find occasional opportunities, however, where the prices are discounted. On their Facebook page announcing the Hoffmeier Festschrift, Eisenbrauns invites people to “Sign up to find out when it publishes and receive 40% off!” I am not sure where or how you sign up.

HT: Mike Mason

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“A joint report by German and Syrian organisations has documented severe damage to Syria’s historical heritage and antiquities.” (Report on Academia)

“An ancient cave decorated with distinguished engravings depicting scenes of animals has been discovered at Wadi Al-Zulma in North Sinai.”

“The southern region of Najran [in Saudi Arabia] is set to become the largest open museum of rock inscriptions in the world.”

Egypt is proposing a merger of its tourism and antiquities departments.

“British anti-racism protestors called for the destruction of Egypt’s Giza Pyramids on Sunday, after tearing down a statue of a slave trader in the city of Bristol and throwing it in the Avon river.”

“A comparison between the names mentioned in the biblical book of Jeremiah and those appearing on archaeological artifacts from the period when the prophet is believed to have lived – around the sixth to seventh centuries BCE – offers support to its historicity.”

The British Museum blog: “Whip up a classical feast with nine recipes from ancient Greece and Rome.”

The latest British Museum travel guide is for Thebes in the 13th century BC.

New: Unearthing the Bible: 101 Archaeological Discoveries That Bring the Bible to Life, by Titus Kennedy. The author was on the Eric Metaxas show recently discussing the book.

Coming soon: The Case for Biblical Archaeology: Uncovering the Historical Record of God’s Old Testament People, by John D. Currid (also in Logos)

Carl Rasmussen shares photos of Aphrodisias, one of the most beautiful antiquity sites in Turkey and one that many tourists never see (including, sadly, your roundup writer).

“Windows into the Bible” is a new podcast by Marc Turnage that looks at geographical, cultural, historical, and spiritual contexts. I’ve been told the episode on Pilate is quite intriguing.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Charles Savelle, Agade, Ted Weis, Explorator

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About BiblePlaces.com

The BiblePlaces Blog provides updates and analysis of the latest in biblical archaeology, history, and geography. Unless otherwise noted, the posts are written by Todd Bolen, PhD, Professor of Biblical Studies at The Master’s University.

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