Weekend Roundup

Archaeologists working at Kibbutz Magen near the Gaza Strip have discovered a Roman-period marble dolphin statuette.

This week, ISIL is apparently planning to turn the site of Jonah’s tomb into a park. The Iraqi authorities consider that a crime.

Israel is considering the restoration of Khirbet al-Minya, an Umayyad palace near the shore of the Sea of Galilee.

Continued research has been approved for the Antikythera shipwreck.

Sites in Izmir are bringing in the tourist bucks.

The latest video from SourceFlix is an explanation of the topography of Jerusalem.

Archaeologists recently discovered a Byzantine-era mosaic floor at the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth.

You can sign up for a chance to win a trip to the Grand Opening of the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C.

Logos users might want to grab the Ancient Context Ancient Faith set while it’s on pre-pub.

Ferrell Jenkins describes his return to the ruins of Samaria.

Luke Chandler offers some “tidbits from the tell” on his first week in digging at Lachish this year.

There will be no roundup next weekend.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Charles Savelle, Agade


Bible Mapper 5

(Post by A.D. Riddle)

Have you ever needed a map for teaching or for a class paper, but cannot find just the right map that you want on the web? Bible Mapper may be the answer to your problem.

Last month, David Barrett released Bible Mapper 5. “Bible Mapper is a fully interactive, highly accurate Bible mapping system that helps you quickly and easily create customized maps of the Holy Lands or study a particular period and aspect of Bible history.”

Having used previous versions of Bible Mapper, the things that impress me most about Bible Mapper are:

  • The accuracy of the data.
  • The degree of customization possible.
  • The wide area of coverage: from India and Uzbekistan in the east, to Portugal and Morocco in the west; from Great Britain in the north, to Ethiopia and Somalia in the south.
  • The maps you create with Bible Mapper are copyright free and may be used in papers, lectures, websites, and publications.

The key features new to version 5 are:

  • Create high resolution maps of Jerusalem (the Jerusalem Ordnance map of 1876 is also able to be overlaid on the terrain).
  • Upload your custom objects or styles to a repository to share with other registered users, or restrict access to yourself for easy import into other maps.
  • Import basic KMZ/KML data (points, lines, areas, etc.) created by other software (e.g., Google Earth) and customize it on your map.

I find that last feature to be especially convenient. For more information, visit the Bible Mapper website, read Mark Hoffman’s review, or read Todd’s review of version 4 on this blog.

Bible Mapper may be downloaded for free. Most features of the program are available to unregistered users, so you can give it a try. A registration key ($37) is required to use the program’s advanced features and to save maps that you create.

When you open the program, Bible Mapper looks like this.

Bible Mapper allows you to choose between colorized terrain (above), or a monochrome appearance (below).

The “Tools” menu allows you to calculate distances between places, find a site, or obtain coordinates for a site.

In my opinion, the real gold is the “View” menu. Here you can select what information is displayed: sites, roads, geographic features, or historical periods. Here are some of the options available.

You can import your own sites, adjust the widths and colors of lines, and adjust the appearance of dots. There are even options for repositioning labels.

A number of sample maps can be viewed at the Bible Mapper website gallery.

Bible Mapper is a Windows program. As a Mac user, I am able to use it by running Windows on a virtual machine (such as Parallels). One small issue I experienced was that Mac for some unknown reason appended .exe to the downloaded file. The file should be .msi, so Mac users may have to change the file extension manually before installing.

David Barrett also has created a Bible geography quiz just for fun.

Previous Posts:

Bible Mapper 2.0

Making My Own Map

Bible Mapper: New Wiki

Bible Mapper Version 4


Weekend Roundup

Brian Peterson reports on the third and final week of excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir. The discoveries included a third scarab.

Bible History Daily posts a report on current excavations at Ashkelon.

Arsonists destroyed two storerooms filled with antiquities excavated at Tel Kishon in the Jezreel Valley.

Luke Chandler has arrived for excavations at Lachish. Watch his blog for updates.

Archaeologists working at Hippos have discovered the imprint of a Roman soldier’s shoe.

The mummies of 8 million dogs have been found in catacombs in Memphis.

Ferrell Jenkins takes a new look at Magdala.

Norma Franklin does not carry a Marshalltown trowel, a pencil, notebook, or ruler in her dig bag.

CNN has a 3-minute feature on restoration work on Babylon.

The current issue of BASOR is available for free for a limited time.

The first issue of PEQ from 2014 is also available for free.

The Daily Star reports on the long-running excavations of Sidon.

Robert Deutsch posted some photos from a recent investigation of the ivory pomegranate. He
believes the inscription is authentic.

Israel’s Tourism Ministry is beginning to rank hotels according to the five-star system.

We’ll be sending out a BiblePlaces Newsletter in the next few days. You can sign up for a free subscription here.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer


Church of Multiplication Severely Damaged by Arsonists

Arsonists attacked the Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fish at Tabgha at 3:30 this morning. Graffiti left at the site indicates that the attack was perpetrated by religious Jews. Police have arrested and released 16 suspects, all minors from Jewish settlements in the West Bank. The graffiti reads, “The false gods will be eliminated,” a reference to a Jewish prayer and consistent with similar attacks in the past.

The Times of Israel has the most extensive report. The Jerusalem Post provides a 1-minute video of the destroyed building. Prime Minister Netanyahu has condemned the attack, and a Catholic church adviser indicates that pilgrims groups are considering canceling their trips.

The church is most famous for its ancient mosaic of five loaves and two fish. The earliest known record for this location of the miracle dates back to the time of Lady Egeria (381-384) and the first church was built in 350. A century later another building was erected with a mosaic floor covering about 5,400 square feet (500 sq m), half of which is preserved. The present site was rediscovered in 1932 and the current church completed in 1982. We have more photos and information about the historic site of Tabgha here.

HT: Charles Savelle

Tabgha from northwest
Tabgha mosaic of fish and loaves, tb110106544
Mosaic of loaves and fish, 5th century AD Photos from Pictorial Library of Bible Lands, volume 1

New Video: From Jericho to Jerusalem on the Roman Road

Using maps from the Satellite Bible Atlas and new aerial imagery, Bill Schlegel has created a video that takes you from Jericho up to Jerusalem along the ancient route. Jesus traveled this way many times including on his way up to the city to present himself as king. This was also the route of the man whose life was saved by the Good Samaritan.

The 11-minute video includes aerial photos and video taken from a drone, and includes some spectacular imagery of the Judean wilderness in the spring when the hillsides are green. Few people are able to travel this 18-mile route today.

You can see more videos and subscribe to the Satellite Bible Atlas channel here.

Ascent of Adummim on south side of Wadi Qilt

Weekend Roundup, Part 2

To mark the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Palestine Exploration Fund, the University of Haifa and the Gottlieb Schumacher Institute are inviting papers for a December conference on “PEF and the Early Exploration of the Holy Land.”

Gershon Galil proposes another reading of the Ishbaal inscription from Khirbet Qeiyafa.

Terrorists were killed attempting an attack at the Karnak Temple in Luxor.

Egypt’s new Suez Canal will open in August.

Israeli tour guide Max Blackston points out the irony of ultra-Orthodox rabidly defending a “tomb of David” created by the Crusaders.

Antiquities thieves convicted of pillaging a cave in the Judean wilderness above Nahal Tseelim have been sentenced to prison terms of 18 months.

Islamic State militants are making millions selling antiquities from Iraq and Syria.

The British Museum is guarding an artifact looted from Syria in hopes of returning it when the country is stable.

More than 21,000 artifacts have been transferred to the Grand Egyptian Museum, more than half of which have recently been restored. The article does not give the current estimate for the museum’s opening date.

The Greek Museum of Underwater Antiquities is slated to be opened near the ancient harbor of Athens in Piraeus.

io9 suggests seven archaeologists whose lives can be compared to Indiana Jones.

Smithsonian.com provides tours by drone of three ancient sites, including the Colosseum in Rome.

The TV series “Dig” has been cancelled due to poor ratings.

The BAS Blowout Sale has some big markdowns, including the BAR archive now down to $30.

Eisenbrauns is turning 40 next month. You can download their latest catalog here.

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


Weekend Roundup, Part 1

Archaeologists have discovered a Byzantine church near Abu Gosh during construction to widen Highway 1. UPI has five photos of the excavation. High-res photos may be downloaded here.

Haaretz has posted a 1-minute video in Hebrew with English subtitles.

The season at Khirbet el-Maqatir (Ai?) is underway with Bryant Wood giving a report from the first week and Suzanne Lattimer giving a report from the second week.

A summary of the first week of excavations at Tel Burna includes many photos.

If you’re interested in knowing more what’s involved in an archaeological excavation, you can check out this year’s manual for the Tell es-Safi/Gath excavation.

Israel has approved a scaled-down version of a visitor’s center in the City of David. Both sides claimed victory.

An Israeli judge ruled that Joe Zias overstepped the bounds of proper academic criticism and awarded a judgment of $200,000 to Simcha Jacobovici. Jacobovici had been seeking $3 million.

The Herodium and Herod’s palace at Jericho provide some striking geographic ironies of Jesus and Herod the Great.

PEF posts a photo with Starkey, Petrie, and Tufnell.

Ferrell Jenkins reports on recent changes made at the site of Capernaum.

Leon Mauldin explains and illustrates the significance of Nahal Besor.

Carl Rasmussen has long wanted a tour of the excavations under the Kishle and yesterday his wish was fulfilled.

The New York Times reports on how tourism in Jordan is suffering due to the conflict in Syria. That is too bad; Jordan is safe and has many important biblical sites.

Here are five reasons you shouldn’t buy that ancient artifact.

This week on the Book and the Spade Gary Burge discusses his new book, A Week in the Life of a Roman Centurion.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer


Weekend Roundup

This summer’s excavation on Mount Zion begins soon. Here’s how you can help even if you can’t be in Jerusalem.

Leen Riitmeyer reports on a second arch of Titus uncovered in Rome. And he describes how his search to find the Dedicatory Inscription in the Colosseum ultimately succeeded.

If you’ve ever wondered how they raised animals from underneath the floor of the Colosseum, the

Telegraph has an illustrated article showing a reconstruction of the elevators. A 2-minute video shows the process. This is part of a government project to restore the floor of the Colosseum.

James H. Charlesworth has written a lengthy and informative review rebutting David Stacey and
Gregory Doudna, Qumran Revisited: A Reassessment of the Archaeology of the Site and its Texts.

Wayne Stiles explains how the four quarters of Jerusalem will be united.

“Wilderness” is the title of a symposium of Biblical scholars from the Universities of Manchester, Sheffield and Lausanne University of Lausanne.

The British Museum is lending 500 artifacts to a new museum in Abu Dhabi for five years. This includes “the world’s finest single Assyrian panel: the Banquet Scene (645-635BC).”

There is fear in Iraq for the safety of the traditional tomb of the prophet Nahum.

The latest issue of Biblical Archaeology Review includes articles on Solomon’s temple, Akhenaten’s monotheism, the Gospel of  Thomas, and the missing pages of the Aleppo Codex.

Congress has passed legislation making it illegal to sell looted artifacts from Syria.

The Library of Congress in Washington D.C. hosted a Tyre Day Symposium to raise awareness about the city’s history.

“Of Kings and Prophets” is a new series beginning this fall on ABC.

A clumsy tourist fell and smashed a 4,000-year-old vase in the Heraklion Archaeological Museum on the island of Crete.

Barry Britnell is sharing photos of last year’s trip as he prepares to lead next year’s trip. Today: Northern Galilee and the Hula Valley.

HT: Ted Weis, Agade, Joseph Lauer


Second Inscription from Qeiyafa Published

For the short summary, check out Luke Chandler’s post. He includes a photo and discusses the biblical mentions of the name Ishbaal/Eshbaal.

The publication details are as follows:
Yosef Garfinkel, Mitka R. Golub, Haggai Misgav and Saar Ganor, “The ʾIšbaʿal Inscription from Khirbet Qeiyafa.” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, pp. 217–33.

The article may be downloaded from academia.edu now (requires registration) or from JStor in the near future.

Here is the article’s abstract:

A new West Semitic inscription from Khirbet Qeiyafa is presented. It was incised in Canaanite alphabetic script on a pottery storage jar before firing. Radiometric dating of the relevant layer has yielded a date of ca. 1020–980 B.C.E. The last few years have seen the publication of several new Semitic alphabetic inscriptions dated to the late 11th–10th centuries B.C.E. and originating at controlled excavations in Israel (Khirbet Qeiyafa, Beth Shemesh, Tell eṣ-Ṣâfi, and Jerusalem). The new inscription is an important addition to this corpus.

HT: Joseph Lauer

UPDATE (6/20): Luke Chandler has posted a follow-up, focusing on the word before Ishbaal.

Central part of the inscription
Photo by Tal Rogovski