Matthew Kalman reports on the sentencing hearing this week for Oded Golan, convicted of three minor charges in connection with the James Ossuary case.

The Antiquities Authority, backed by State Attorney Moshe Lador, has launched a desperate rearguard action to reverse its humiliating defeat in a seven-year trial that ended with the acquittal of an Israeli collector accused of faking the burial box of [James] the brother of Jesus and an inscribed stone [Jehoash] tablet that may have hung on the wall of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. The latest twist came during a routine sentencing hearing at the Jerusalem District Court last Tuesday, two months after the stunning collapse of the high-profile prosecution. Prosecutor Dan Bahat revealed that the Antiquities Authority was determined not to return dozens of items, including the burial box and the stone tablet to their owner, despite his acquittal on all the relevant charges. Bahat compared it to returning drugs to a dealer acquitted on a technicality.

The rest of the article indicates that the IAA is playing the role of the sore loser but the judge isn’t falling for their dirty tricks.


In excavations beginning at Abel Beth Maacah this summer, Robert Mullins expects to find a very large citadel at the northern end of the site and possibly an Assyrian siege ramp.

Now online: A lecture by Sy Gitin on “Ekron of the Philistines: From Sea Peoples to Olive Oil Industrialists.”

A 3D model of the Giza pyramids and necropolis was unveiled this week at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.

An investigation into the eBay sale of stones from the Western Wall determined that the seller was offering only gravel.

A medieval “monk’s mill” near Sepphoris was vandalized last week.

Can the Dead Sea be saved? A $4 million project, financed by the EU, is being launched this weekend to draw up a plan to make the area a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

What is ORBIS? “The Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World reconstructs the time cost and financial expense associated with a wide range of different types of travel in antiquity. The model is based on a simplified version of the giant network of cities, roads, rivers and sea lanes that framed movement across the Roman Empire. It broadly reflects conditions around 200 CE but also covers a few sites and roads created in late antiquity.” Very impressive.

If you like to be the very first to know, here’s your chance.

HT: Wayne Stiles, Luke Chandler, BibleX, Jack Sasson, Joseph Lauer

Dead Sea shoreline with salt crystals, tb022806387

Dead Sea shoreline