Weekend Roundup

A seven-year-old boy found a 3,400-year-old figurine at Tel Rehov.

Archaeologists working at Timna in southern Israel found some remarkably well-preserved fabrics from the time of David. You may recall that for a long time scholars denied there was any activity at the site during the time of the United Monarchy.

A €1.6 million Israeli-German project will use digital tools to put the fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls back together again.

A major renovation of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem is underway.

Two artists covertly scanned the bust of Nefertiti and have now released a 3-D dataset.

Two guards at Dayr al-Barsha in Middle Egypt were killed by looters.

Adam Prins recently presented a seminar at the Albright Institute on “3D Models in Archaeological Excavation Recording: The JVRP Method.”

An exhibition of two recent treasure hoard discoveries provides insight into Roman life in England.

A series of lectures will be given at Tel Aviv University for the annual celebration of “Aharoni Day” this coming Thursday.

Project Mosul is a new website that “solicits photographs of antiquities and uses 3-D modeling software to create a virtual record of what was lost in the attack.”

Now online: Bryant Wood’s critique of Steven Collins’ northern location of Sodom.

Wayne Stiles explains five ways the Lord taught his people to walk by faith in the land of Israel.

The Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary, Old Testament e-book volumes are on sale for $4.99, ending today.

HT: Ted Weis, Joseph Lauer, Agade


Weekend Roundup

Archaeologists do not know the date or purpose of a wall in southern Jordan than is nearly 100 miles long. There are more photos here.

Archaeologists have discovered a large underground silver mine in Greece.

A Chalcolithic site was found in Shuafat north of ancient Jerusalem.

The world’s oldest dress is from Egypt and dates to 3000 BC.

On Monday Egypt will celebrate the golden jubilee of the Abu Simbel temple salvage operation.

Egypt’s minister of antiquities and the director of Saqqara’s archaeological galleries are accused of
replacing 157 artifacts with replicas.

Plans are afoot to build a “Welcome Center” in Hebron.

Space archaeologist Sarah Parcak won a $1-million TED Prize which she plans to use in part “to develop an online game-based application that will teach and reward viewers for identifying objects in satellite imagery that may point to archaeological sites.”

“Italy has teamed up with the United Nations to create a task force whose goal is to protect ancient artworks, artifacts, and archaeological sites in conflict zones from extremists.”

The Smithsonian Magazine reports on how the tomb of Cyrus was discovered in 1928 by Ernst Herzfeld.

Four recent lectures on King David by Professor Yair Zakkovitch are now available online.

The New York Times doesn’t like “Risen.” Another review is more positive. And here’s another.

The March/April issue of Biblical Archaeology Review features articles on the Hittites, Mount Ebal, the ivory pomegranate, Yoram Tsafrir, and Adam Zertal.

The Biblical Archaeology Society is offering big discounts on books, DVDs, and CDs.

The Petoskey News-Review profiles Owen Chesnut, the head archaeologist of excavations of Ashdod-Yam.

“Beersheba epitomizes the faith God required to live in the Holy Land.” Wayne Stiles explains why.

A 5-minute video shows the temple of Solomon from a model created using SketchUp 2016.

Ferrell Jenkins shares photos of the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia and notes the two occurrences of the region in the New Testament.

Luke Chandler explains the importance of the Merneptah Inscription.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Agade, Charles Savelle, Mark Hoffman, ANE-2, Urban von Wahlde


Archaeology Symposium at Mississippi State University

An archaeological conference being held this weekend is bringing some leading scholars and archaeologists to Mississippi. From MSU’s press release:

A free Friday and Saturday [Feb. 19 and 20] program at Mississippi State has been designed to help the general public gain a better understanding of ancient Israel.

The university symposium and workshop will focus on new archaeological finds uncovered at Khirbet Summeily, a small Iron Age site on the ancient border between what then were the kingdoms of Judah and Philistia.

Taking place at the Cobb Institute of Archaeology and a nearby campus location, the public event is sponsored by the institute, College of Arts and Sciences and its department of anthropology and Middle Eastern cultures, with major support from the James W. Criss Trust.

Beyond just highlighting recent discoveries, the various sessions will underscore their significance in understanding life during the 11-9th centuries BCE, a period of secondary state formation in the Levant region historically associated with biblical kings David and Solomon.

Speakers will include noted archaeologists, biblical scholars, epigraphers and historians from Canada and Israel, as well as MSU and other U.S. institutions of higher learning.

For more information, and a list of the lecture topics and speakers, see the Mississippi State website. We’ve noted the excavations at Khirbet Summeily previously here and here.

HT: Joseph Lauer


Bye Bye, Picasa

(Post by A.D. Riddle)

Google announced that it would discontinue support and development of the free Picasa program beginning March 15. After this date, it will no longer be possible to download the program. If you already have the program, you will be able to continue using it. The full announcement from Google can be viewed here. If you do not already have a good photo browser, we recommend downloading Picasa before it is gone for good.

I have used Picasa desktop for years. I appreciate Picasa’s search capabilities, the ease and simplicity with which I can tag photos, browse large collections, and sort them. You can read our two-part blog series on how Picasa can be a useful tool for accessing the vast riches of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands.

Using PLBL with Picasa (Part 1)
Using PLBL with Picasa (Part 2)


Weekend Roundup, Part 2

The Bornblum Eretz Israel Synagogues Website is a new work that presents “bibliographical references, geographical location, photos, plans and brief descriptions of excavated ancient synagogues from the Roman and Byzantine periods in the Land of Israel.”

A four-minute newscast reports on new excavations in the Timna Valley and its copper mines.

Four individuals are in trouble after a video of them breaking off pieces of the Giza pyramids went viral.

“The Aleppo Codex, on permanent display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, has been declared a world treasure by UNESCO.”

A group of artifacts from the Museum of the Bible Collection is now on display in Cuba.

“The Extraordinary Gertrude Bell exhibition will be at the Great North Museum in Newcastle until May 3.”

Jodi Magness will be lecturing on “Samson in Stone: New Discoveries in the Ancient Synagogue at Huqoq in Israel’s Galilee” on February 15 at UNC. She will be giving the same lecture at the Getty Villa on April 3.

Birger Ekornåsvåg Helgestad and Jonathan Taylor will be lecturing in London on February 24 on

“Walking in Woolley’s Footsteps: Ur Brought to Life for the Digital Age.” Registration is required.

“In the Valley of David and Goliath: Digging Up Evidence on the United Monarchy” symposium will be held in New York City on March 30.

Applications are now being accepted for the Cyprus Underwater Archaeology Field School 2016.

A one-week Field School on Archaeological Science in Ancient Corinth will be held June 6 to 11.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Charles Savelle


Weekend Roundup, Part 1

A recent study suggests that most of the terraces in the hill country of Judah were built in the last 400 years and none of them as early as the Iron Age. But that may not be the last word.

The plan to turn the archaeological site underneath Robinson’s Arch into a prayer site is facing opposition from many archaeologists, including Gabriel Barkay, Amihai Mazar, Dan Bahat, and Ronny Reich.

Hundreds of coins in museums in Jordan were replaced with fake ones. Apparently they were stolen years ago but only discovered recently.

Victor Sasson provides a contrary view on the Jehoash Inscription.

Eric M. Meyers shares the story of Yigael Yadin’s last night in America.

The Lod Mosaic, a 3rd century AD Roman work, is touring the United States and is currently in Florida.

Andrew George provides an interesting, behind-the-scenes take on how looting contributed to scholastic knowledge about the Epic of Gilgamesh.

The Caspari Center is offering a ten-day course in Israel in April on “Jesus the Jew.”

Wayne Stiles shows how Jesus’s conversation with his disciples at Tabgha can free you from the comparison trap.

Shmuel Browns shares some recent photographs he took while hiking in Nahal Og.

Time Scanners is a PBS series that uses technology to study ancient structures, including the Temple
Mount and the Colosseum.

HT: Ted Weis, Steven Anderson, Paleojudaica


Recommended Study Tour in Jordan

I highly recommend that students and teachers of the Bible go on a study trip in Jordan. You have no idea how much biblical history happened on the other side of the river until you spend two weeks seeing it all. It is extremely rewarding.

The best study tour of Jordan for students of the Bible is that taught by Dr. Ginger Caessens with the University of the Holy Land. I studied under Dr. Caessens in both Israel and Jordan and learned so much. She is offering the course again this summer and I encourage you to go!

Here are a few of the places you will visit: Gadara, Gerasa, Jabesh Gilead, Ramoth Gilead, Pella, Bethany beyond the Jordan, Rabbath-ammon, the Jabbok River, Penuel, Mahanaim, Adam, Sukkoth, the Dead Sea, Heshbon, Medeba (the map!), Ataroth, Aroer, Callirhoe, the copper mines of Feinan, Petra, Little Petra, Wadi Rum, and much more!

The UHL website has all of the details.

Petra Kazneh, tb053008804
The Kazneh of Petra

Weekend Roundup

A farmer on a hike with his family near the Horns of Hattin discovered a scarab depicting Thutmose III.

An ancient canal system used 2,000 years ago to irrigate terraced agricultural plots has been unearthed at an excavation near the Roman-era fortress Metzad Bokek in southern Israel.”

A boat from the Third Dynasty has been discovered at Abusir in Egypt.

A recently uncovered first century AD fresco found in London is described as the earliest one of the earliest surviving frescos from Roman Britain.

A shipwreck from 2000 BC has been discovered by Turkish researchers in Marmaris Hisarönü Gulf in the Mediterranean.

Accuweather has identified five archaeological discoveries preserved by nature, including the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Eilat Mazar says that plans to expand the prayer area near Robinson’s Gate will “absolutely ruin the site.” The Grand Mufti is also opposed. An artist’s rendering is here.

David Ilan will be lecturing on “How Ancient Israel Began: A New Archaeological Perspective” at
Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, on February 9, 6:00 pm.

Aren Maeir has been appointed to the board of the Israel Parks and Nature Authority. (Now we know who to blame if the parks aren’t perfect!)

Sy Gitin’s eulogy for Trude Dothan is now posted at the Albright Institute’s website. The Biblical
Archaeology Society honors her memory by making 8 articles by and about her free to the public.
Wayne Stiles explains Amos’s sarcastic wordplay on the place name “Lo Debar.”

ASOR has posted a “post-mortem” on the Jehoash Inscription, but I doubt it will convince anyone not already convinced.

Nimrud Rising is a new project that uses “innovative digital technology solutions to create an immersive virtual reality recreation of Nimrud.”

On the anniversary of James Michener’s birthday, Benjamin Glatt explores the origins of The Source.

The Palestine Exploration Fund reveals the identity of the “mystery objects.”

The Associates for Biblical Research has received a $10,000 matching gift pledge towards its excavations of Khirbet el-Maqatir.

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


Images Related to the Bible from the New York Public Library

On Jan 6, 2016, the New York Public Library released more than 187,000 items in their digital collection into the public domain. Mark Hoffman sent along some of the treasures he found and that motivated me to dig deeper. The list below reflects highlights of what we discovered.

You might begin by checking out the interesting visualization of the project. When you’re sufficiently overwhelmed, you can follow the direct links below, beginning with collections including the land of Israel and concluding with Egypt, Mesopotamia, and biblical manuscripts.

The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt and Nubia. From drawings made on the spot by David Roberts . . . With historical descriptions by the Revd. George Croly . . . Lithographed by Louis Haghe, 1842-49. 252 images.

Egypte, Nubie, Palestine et Syrie : dessins photographiques recueillis pendant les années 1849, 1850 et 1851 [Egypt, Nubia, Palestine and Syria: Photographic Drawings Collected during the Years 1849, 1850 and 1851], by Maxime Du Camp, 1852. 127 images.

Jérusalem: étude et reproduction photographique des monuments de la Ville Sainte, depuis l’époque judaïque jusqu’à nos jours [Jerusalem: study and photographic reproduction of the monuments of the Holy City from the Jewish era to the present], by Auguste Salzmann, 1856. These 42 images are the earliest known photographs of Jerusalem.

Palestine, by Robertson and Beato, 1857. 19 images.

Egypt and Palestine, by Francis Frith, 1858-59. 78 images.

Sinai and Palestine, by Francis Frith, 1862(?). 40 images.

Plates from the Queen’s Bible of 1862. 71 images.

Jerusalem Explored, being a description of the ancient and modern city, with numerous illustrations consisting of views ground plans, and sections, by Ermete Pierotti. Translated by Thomas George Bonney, 1864. 64 images.

Ordnance Survey of Jerusalem, by Charles W. Wilson, 1865. 46 images, but it does not include the survey map.

Views of Egypt, Palestine and Syria, by Félix Bonfils, 1867-71. 32 images.

Palestine and Syria, by Bonfils, Zangaki, and Arnoux, 1870s. 19 images.

Voyage d’exploration a la mer Morte, a Petra, et sur la rive gauche du Jourdain [Exploration of the Dead Sea, Petra, and the Left Side of the Jordan River], by Melchior Vogüe, 1874. 84 images.

Picturesque Palestine, Sinai and Egypt, by Charles W. Wilson, 1881-84. We like our version better, but this one is free.

Maps of Asia, 1890. 64 images.

Palestine and Egypt, March 1894, by Bonfils, Zangaki, and Arnoux, 1894. 65 images.

Assortment of photographs of Palestine and Jerusalem, 1870-1900. 36 images. Includes some of the American Colony photographs.

Views of Interesting Places in the Holy Land. Published by the American Sunday School Union. 8 sketches that are not high quality.

From Egypt . . .

Description de l’Égypte: ou, Recueil des observations et des recherches qui ont été faites en Égypte pendant l’expédition de l’armée française [Description of Egypt: and Reports of observations and research that have been made in Egypt during the expedition of the French army], 1809-28. 903 images. The extraordinary work of Napoleon’s expedition.

Pantheon Egyptien: Collection des personnages mythologiques de l’ancienne Egypte [Egyptian Pantheon: Collection of Mythological Figures of Ancient Egypt], by L. J. J. Dubois and J. F. Champollion, 1823-1825(?). 90 color illustrations.

Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians, by J. G. Wilkinson, 1837. 100 images.

Pyramids of Gizeh, from Actual Survey and Admeasurement, by J. S. Perring, 1839-42. 62 illustrations.

Monuments Égyptiens, bas-reliefs, peintures, inscriptions, etc., by E. Prisse d’Avennes, 1847. 54 images.

Collection of Views of Egypt, including Cairo and the Pyramids, by G. Lékégian and Pierre Marchandon de La Faye, 1880s or 1890s. 58 images.

From Mesopotamia . . .

Monuments of Nineveh, from Drawings Made on the Spot, by A. H. Layard, 1849. 100 plates.

Monument de Ninive, découvert et décrit, by Paul Emile Botta, 1849-50. 398 images.

Voyage en Perse [Travels in Persia], by Eugène Flandin and Pascal Coste, 1851-54. 346 images.

A second series of the Monuments of Nineveh; including bas-reliefs from the palace of Sennacherib and bronzes from the ruins of Nimroud, by A. H. Layard, 1853. 73 images.

Ninive et l’Assyrie [Nineveh and Assyria], by Victor Place, 1867-70. 90 images.

The Bronze Ornaments of the Palace Gates of Balawat (Shalmaneser II, B.C. 859-825); edited, with an introduction by Samuel Birch; with descriptions and translations by Theophilus G. Pinches, 1880-[1902]. 94 images from the palace of the king we now call Shalmaneser III.

Biblical Manuscripts . . .

Samaritan Pentateuch, 1232. These 277 images are currently only available in low resolution.

The Xanten Bible, from Xanten, Lower Rhineland, 1294. Includes the Torah and Writings. There’s more information about this manuscript here. 518 images in low resolution.

We welcome suggestions of other collections that we missed. Add a note in the comments or send us an email (see address in sidebar) and we will update this list.