Weekend Roundup, Part 2

Philistines living at Yavneh used hallucinogenic drugs, according to Israeli archaeologists.

The Dhamar Regional Museum in Yemen was destroyed in a Saudi airstrike. It was completely destroyed, according to these photos.

Revelers at a Burning Man festival destroyed prehistoric remains near Nahal Boker in the Negev (more at Haaretz premium).

The US has returned 25 artifacts looted from Italy, including a first-century BC fresco from Pompeii.

A fresco from a 12th-Dynasty tomb in Middle Egypt has been hacked out by thieves. A statement from the Catholic Leuven University confirms “the grave news that the tomb has been entered and that a relief has been stolen.”

A plan being examined by Israel’s Tourism Minister would apply a 3.5% tax to tourists’ purchases at hotels, restaurants, goods, and services. The Haaretz (premium) article also notes that “Israel dropped to 72nd place out of 141 countries in the World Economic Forum 2015 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index released this month.”

This week’s guest on the Land and the Book is Dr. Filip Vukosavovic, Curator at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem.

Coming to theaters in January: RISEN.

Final deliberations have begun on the fate of an archaeological center in the City of David.

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

Proposed Archaeological Center

Photo Credit: City of David


Weekend Roundup, Part 1

A cylinder seal from the Early Bronze period may depict the earliest known musical scene in Israel. The seal was found in western Galilee in the 1970s.

A record-breaking heat wave in Israel sparked forest fires, caused flight delays and prompted a sharp increase in reported cases of dehydration and fainting.” Temperatures in Tel Aviv reached 42ºC (107ºF).

ISIS has begun destroying statues in Palmyra’s museum, says the International Business Times. Nothing has been destroyed, reports the New York Times. ISIS is promising not to destroy the site’s monuments. Reuters recounts some of Palmyra’s illustrious history. Experts fear for remains of the city’s Jewish history, including the longest biblical Hebrew inscription known from antiquity.

If you want to preserve the Dead Sea Scrolls, it’s best to leave them in a dark cave. Do not use tape or glass panels, according to this article on conservation at the Jewish Independent.

Digging up Jericho: Past, Present & Future is the title of a conference being hosted next month at the Institute of Archaeology at University College London.

Ken Dark is on the Book and the Spade discussing the archaeology of Nazareth (part 1, part 2; mp3 links here).

Gabriel Barkay says that careful surveillance is required for archaeological activity on the Temple Mount.

Aren Maeir has fired up the tractor in his excavations of Gath.

The St. Louis Zoo offers a Biblical Animal Scavenger Hunt.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, A.D. Riddle


Weekend Roundup, Part 2

The lighthouse of Alexandria is to be rebuilt near its original location.

An ancient Egyptian temple has been discovered at the Gabal Al-Silsela quarries.

One of the earliest complete copies of the Ten Commandments (from the Dead Sea Scrolls) will be on display at the Israel Museum two days a month for the next seven months.

Wayne Stiles: The Mount of Olives—Where to Stand and What to Read

A PEF lecture by James L. Starkey’s son: Not for the Greed of Gold: A Tribute and Biography of the Life and Career of J.L. Starkey, Director of the Wellcome-Marston Archaeological Expedition to Palestine, 1932-1938.

A new aerial panoramic photo from SourceFlix: Where David fought Goliath.

The Museum Center at 5ive Points in Cleveland, Tennessee, is hosting an exhibition with artifacts from Khirbet el-Maqatir.

Vandals have painted Palestinian flags on the ruins of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Haluza in southern Israel.

The Israeli government has approved a five-year plan to upgrade the Western Wall plaza.

HT: Agade, Paleojudaica


Weekend Roundup, Part 1

Palmyra has fallen to ISIS. The fear now is for the safety of the monuments and museum.

This CNN slideshow features 19 monuments destroyed in the war.

“Cyber-archaeologists” are working to virtually restore what has been destroyed.

Archaeologists were baffled at a meticulously excavated Byzantine-era winepress in Jerusalem until they learned it was exposed by local teenagers.

Catacombs are being constructed in Jerusalem to bury the dead. The first stage of the underground necropolis will hold 22,000.

This weekend’s celebration of Shavuot/Pentecost may be the largest in Israel’s history.

Donald Brake is on the Land and the Book discussing Jesus: A Visual History.

A 20-year-old female tourist died at Masada after she suffered heat stroke and fell from a cliff.

UPDATE: More details here.

What would be at the top of your list of yet-to-be-discovered finds in biblical archaeology? Steven Anderson lists his top ten.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Agade, Ted Weis


37 Years of BAR for $60 Today Only

I almost missed this, but still available through today is this great deal for every issue of Biblical Archaeology Review through 2012 for $60. That’s less than $2/year for 37 years. I suspect they may be preparing a 40th anniversary edition, but it will likely cost two or three times as much for the additional 3 years.

I have a BAR archive produced for Logos that goes through 2003 [no longer available]. This new archive has the additional years and may be easier to use because of its browser interface.

The website highlights these features:

  • Archive of all 220 issues of BAR
  • 4,100 BAR articles
  • 13,000 breathtaking photos, maps, drawings and charts
  • Searchable by keyword/phrase, author, title and images
  • Easy-to-use, intuitive interface
  • Option to separately print the text of an article and its accompanying images/captions
  • DVD preloaded with Mozilla Firefox browser and all archive content; no Internet connection required
This deal ends at midnight (reg. $130). Shipping in the US is $9.
BAR Archive DVD 1975-2012

Jerusalem Lower Aqueduct Section Discovered

A new section of the Lower Aqueduct built by the Hasmoneans to bring water to Jerusalem has been exposed near Har Homa between Bethlehem and Jerusalem. A press release from the Israel 

Antiquities Authority gives more details.

The Israel Antiquities Authority conducted an archaeological excavation there following the discovery of the aqueduct. According to Ya’akov Billig, the excavation director, “The Lower Aqueduct to Jerusalem, which the Hasmonean kings constructed more than two thousand years ago in order to provide water to Jerusalem, operated intermittently until about one hundred years ago. The aqueduct begins at the ‘En ‘Eitam spring, near Solomon’s Pools south of Bethlehem, and is approximately 21 kilometers long. Despite its length, it flows along a very gentle downward slope whereby the water level falls just one meter per kilometer of distance. At first, the water was conveyed inside an open channel and about 500 years ago, during the Ottoman period, a terra cotta pipe was installed inside the channel in order to better protect the water”.
The aqueduct’s route was built in open areas in the past, but with the expansion of Jerusalem in the modern era, it now runs through a number of neighborhoods: Umm Tuba, Sur Bahar, East Talpiot and Abu Tor. Since this is one of Jerusalem’s principal sources of water, the city’s rulers took care to preserve it for some two thousand years, until it was replaced about a century ago by a modern electrically operated system. Due to its historical and archaeological importance, the Israel Antiquities Authority is taking steps to prevent any damage to the aqueduct, and is working to expose sections of its remains, study them and make them accessible to the general public.
The Umm Tuba section of the aqueduct was documented, studied, and covered up again for the sake of future generations. Other sections of the long aqueduct have been conserved for the public in the Armon Ha-Natziv tunnels, on the Sherover promenade, around the Sultan’s Pool and additional projects are planned whose themes include the Lower Aqueduct.

The story is reported by the Jerusalem Post, Arutz-7, and The Times of Israel. A more complete report of an earlier excavation of this aqueduct is available in Excavations and Surveys in Israel 2011.

The Pictorial Library of Bible Lands includes a 50-slide presentation on the entire ancient aqueduct system.

UPDATE: Joseph Lauer sends along a link to three high-res photos.

Lower Aqueduct section
Lower Aqueduct section recently discovered
Photo courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority

New Video: Sea of Galilee, Golan Heights, Huleh Valley, and Mt. Hermon

Bill Schlegel has released another teaching video based on the Satellite Bible Atlas, this one focused on the northern regions of Israel. The 18-minute video describes the geographical and historical significance of the:

  • Sea of Galilee
  • Golan Heights
  • Huleh Valley
  • Mt. Hermon

Schlegel has taught college and graduate students as a resident professor in the land of Israel for 30 years. His new video series combines his expertise with excellent maps and aerial footage taken with a drone. These videos could serve your own family as well as a small-group Bible study or a school classroom. The series now includes 10 videos. They are all free. If you benefit from them, you might consider commenting on their Facebook page or sharing with your friends.


Weekend Roundup, Part 2

In honor of Jerusalem Day, Noam Chen shares 25 sets of then and now photos of the city.
Biblical Archaeology Review is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a two-volume coffee table book that features one article from each year.

“The Digital Atlas of Ancient Egypt is a digital cultural map of archaeological sites in Egypt” produced by students at Michigan State University.

The Minerva Center for the Relations between Israel and Aram in Biblical Times is calling for applicants for stipends for doctoral studies at Bar Ilan University.

Research into the heights of Egyptian mummies reveals the prevalence of incest among the families of the pharaohs.

A study of animal mummies from Egypt has revealed that a third of them were empty. “Experts believe as many as 70 million animals were‭ ‬ritually slaughtered by the Egyptians to foster a huge mummification industry that even drove some species extinct.”

The Indiana Jones exhibit has opened at the National Geographic Museum. Artifacts on display include the movie version of the ark of the covenant.

Mark Wilson describes what it’s like for a biblical scholar to live in Turkey (requires login). Wilson’s Biblical Turkey is now available through Amazon.

HT: Agade, Charles Savelle, Ted Weis


Weekend Roundup

Leen Ritmeyer explains with word and image the Treasury of the Temple in Jerusalem.

The IAA stopped two would-be tomb robbers as they were about to penetrate a Roman period burial chamber.

Fifty years ago this week Yigael Yadin announced the discovery of the Bar Kochba letters. (An aside: if you’re looking for summer reading, I enjoyed this biography on Yadin.)

Covenant Journey is a new Taglit- (Birthright-) type program designed for Christian students to visit Israel for only $500. It is being funded in part by the Museum of the Bible.

The NIV is celebrating its “50th” anniversary with the free NIV 50th Anniversary Bible App, a 365-day reading plan, a video “The NIV: Made to Study.” And I really appreciated the academic-level review of the translation philosophy of the NIV by Doug Moo, available both in video form and free eBook.

The ruins of Palmyra are at risk in fighting between the Islamic State and Syrian forces.

Students at Johns Hopkins are learning how to re-create ancient Greek pottery.

Leon Mauldin shares a group of photos of biblical Troas.

In the category of bad Hebrew tattoos, this one ranks high.

HT: Agade, Steven Anderson, Joseph Lauer

The temple of the sun, Palmyra, pp2191
The ruins of Palmyra
from Picturesque Palestine, Sinai and Egypt

Weekend Roundup

The oldest complete copy of the Ten Commandments is going on display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem for a brief time. No articles provide the dates of the display. High-resolution images of this Dead Sea Scroll are available here.

Archaeologists have discovered an Egyptian army headquarters from the New Kingdom at Tell Habwa.

“The Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW) and the Digital Library Technology Services (DLTS) in the New York University Division of Libraries have redesigned and relaunched the Ancient World Digital Library (AWDL) online portal.” The new ADWL includes 121 titles from Brill.

65 titles from ASOR are now available online including works by Charlesworth, Cross, Glueck, King, Lapp, Levine, MacDonald, Meyers, and Pritchard.

Forward has photos of this year’s Samaritan Passover sacrifice. The Daily Mail has many more.

Ten mosaics in the museum in Antioch on the Orontes have been seriously damaged during restoration.

Wayne Stiles: Why I Don’t Use My Holy Land Photos on My Blog

This week on the Book and the Spade, Clyde Billington draws a connection between Khirbet Qeiyafa and the heights of David mentioned in Pharaoh Shishak’s inscription.

The ancient synagogue of Meiron was recently vandalized.

Theresa Howard Carter has died.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Charles Savelle