A Second Temple period hall near the Western Wall has been excavated and restored.  The “Hall of Ages” is scheduled to be opened to the public in a few weeks.  HT: Joe Lauer

The Baptist Press has a story on the “Joseph coins,” in which they quote Steven Ortiz and Robert Griffin as skeptical. 

G. M. Grena has some comments about the upcoming ASOR meetings at his LMLK blogspot, including this note of interest to Qeiyafa watchers:

By the way, Prof. Garfinkel will have some interesting photos of jar handles with special impressions that in many ways parallel the LMLK phenomenon.

BAS reports that from January to August 2010 the Oriental Institute will launch a new exhibit
Pioneers to the Past: American Archaeologists in the Middle East, 1919-20.” 

James Henry Breasted had received a large donation from John D. Rockefeller, Jr. to establish the Oriental Institute in 1919 and quickly organized an expedition to travel across the Middle East to acquire objects for the Institute and identify sites for excavation. World War I had just ended, the political map of the Middle East had not yet been redrawn, and it was a dangerous time to be travelling through the region. The exhibit will present the incredible adventure story of the Breasted expedition through photographs, excerpts from letters, original documents from the archives, and objects purchased on the trip.

BAS is now offering a free e-book entitled “Israel: An Archaeological Journey” (requires quick registration if you haven’t already).  The contents include:

  • The Fury of Babylon: Ashkelon and the Archaeology of Destruction, by Lawrence E. Stager
  • Vegas on the Med: A Tour of Caesarea’s Entertainment District, by Yosef Porath
  • How Jewish Was Sepphoris in Jesus’ Time?, by Mark Chancey and Eric M. Meyers
  • Where Masada’s Defenders Fell, by Nachman Ben-Yehuda
  • A New Reconstruction of Paul’s Prison, by Ehud Netzer

The Nabatean site of Avdat was vandalized on Sunday night and two Bedouin have been arrested, including the site’s sole security guard.  From Ynet:

Hundreds of archeological artifacts were found smashed, walls smeared with yellow and brown paint, and oil paint was smeared on the ancient wine press. Items hundreds and thousands of years old were severely damaged. […] "We came in the morning and found the place in shambles," described Shapira, "They broke the staircase, destroyed the walls, and painted on them. The worst is that the two most ancient churches in Israel were destroyed, and 13-foot columns were shattered with hammers along with artifacts and the authentic marble alter, which is the most important (artefact) in the city."

The Jerusalem Post has the story and a couple of photos.  The Haaretz Hebrew article has two photos (but not the English version).  The Ynet article (Hebrew) has a gallery of 11 photos.  If you prefer a three-minute video (Hebrew), you can find that here.  Thanks to Joe Lauer for all of the links.