The Macherus article in the newest issue of Biblical Archaeology Review is quite good, especially with its reconstruction diagrams. A particularly impressive photo is the panoramic shot from Macherus showing Masada, Herodium, and Jerusalem. I was surprised to see the entire article available online this morning. If you don’t subscribe to the print edition, you have a brief chance to read it before it goes behind the subscription wall. An annual digital subscription to BAR is now available for $20. A 21-m-long sediment sample near the Dead Sea is providing scientists with information about the area’s climate in history. According to Thomas Litt, the results “clearly show how surprisingly fast lush Mediterranean sclerophyll vegetation can morph into steppe or even desert vegetation within a few decades if it becomes drier.” The level of the Sea of Galilee dropped more than two feet this summer. Carl Rasmussen has just added photos to his site of a place in Galilee I have not seen: Domus Galilaeae is a Roman Catholic retreat center overlooking the northern side of the Sea of Galilee. And his latest travel tip suggests an alternative viewpoint now that Arbel is controlled by Park Rangers and closes way too early. Wednesday marked the 200th anniversary of John Lewis Burckhardt’s visit to Petra. He was 27 when he re-discovered the Nabatean city for the western world on August 22, 1812. Gus W. Van Beek died this week. He was Curator of Old World Archaeology in the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution and recent author of Glorious Mud! How in the world did the ancients ever move massive stones such as the trilithons in the Jupiter Temple of Baalbek that weigh more than 1,000 tons? Paleobabble answers that question with diagrams and translation from an older French article. Baalbek, Jupiter Temple western wall trilithon, adr090511208 Trilithon in Jupiter Temple, Baalbek (photo from the Lebanon volume of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)