Weekend Roundup

Ferrell Jenkins remembers the events of this weekend with photos related to the crucifixion and resurrection.

Michael Heiser offers some links in response to the perrennial “miracles-are-impossible” stories that surface this time each year.

The battle continues over the size of the Kedem Center in the City of David.

Shmuel Browns’ photo of the week is a beautiful shot of the Judean wilderness.

A number of interesting finds have been made in an excavation of a Byzantine church in Gush Etzion.

If you are an American undergrad looking to excavate in Israel this summer, you should apply for a scholarship to join the Tel Burna team.

Wayne Stiles gives three reasons why you should travel to Israel.

The Tel Al-Amarna Visitors Centre has been inaugurated in Minya. Work on the Aten Museum and
Malawi National Museum is on-going, despite rumors to the contrary.

Archaeologists are learning more about ancient watercraft from an Old Kingdom boat excavated in Abusir.

Reproductions of the 50-foot arch that formed the entrance to Palmyra’s Temple of Baal will be erected in New York City and London next month.

The Syrian army is close to re-capturing Palmyra.

John Brown University has received an anonymous gift of $1 million for their Abila Archaeological Project.

The Torlonia collection, with more than 600 statues and sculptures, will be on display in Rome for the first time in decades. An overseas tour will follow.

Described as one of most important recoveries in decades, 45 crates of archaeological material, dating between the 7th century BC to 2nd century AD, has been returned to Italy after being stolen from sites in the 1970s and 1980s.

“Analysis of Herculaneum papyrus scroll fragments reveals the use of metallic ink in Greco-Roman literary inscription centuries earlier than previously thought.”

Bruce and Ken Zuckerman will be lecturing on “Archaeological Photography” on March 28 at the South Bay Camera Club.

Now online: “The Lenkin Family Collection of Photography at the Penn Libraries, as it is now known, comprises over 5,000 original photographs, primarily of Jerusalem and Palestine taken from 1850 to 1937.”

For a limited time, access to the latest issue of Near Eastern Archaeology is available for free without a login required.

Bible Software Review is looking for a new owner-editor.

Going Places with God, by Wayne Stiles, is on sale for Kindle right now for $0.99. It’s at the same price on Vyrso/Logos. The sale won’t last. I recommend it!

Happy 13th Anniversary to Paleojudaica! And Aren Maeir recently celebrated his birthday.

For photos recalling the momentous events of this week nearly 2,000 years ago, check out our posts this week on Facebook and Twitter.

HT: Jared Clark, G. M. Grena, Agade, Ted Weis, Charles Savelle


Weekend Roundup, Part 2

Six statues of the Egyptian goddess Sekhmet have been discovered at the Temple of Amenhotep near Luxor.

Monumental piers have been discovered in the ongoing excavations of Corinth’s harbor of Lechaion.

The Museum of Lost Objects traces the stories of 10 antiquities or ancient sites that have been destroyed or looted in Iraq and Syria.”

Bradley Schaefer provides an astronomical perspective on Good Friday and Easter on The Book and the Spade radio program.

National Geographic reports on new American and Iraqi excavations of Abraham’s hometown of Ur.

This story about the recently discovered mosaic featuring 16 animals and an inscription from Isaiah 65 includes photos.

New book: The Onomasticon of Iudaea, Palaestina, and Arabia in Greek and Latin Sources Volume I: Introduction, Sources and Major Texts, by Leah Di Segni and Yoram Tsafrir, with Judith Green with 20% the $65 price this month with the promotional code 630-16.

Another new book: The Economy of the Roman World, by Jean Andreau, Corina Kesler, Ellen
Bauerle, and David Potter. Use the code above for 20% off $50 through March 31.

HT: Charles Savelle, Agade, Ted Weis


Weekend Roundup, Part 1

A woman hiking on an unnamed archaeological site in eastern Galilee picked up a gold coin with the image of Emperor Augustus. High-res images are available here.

Luke Chandler reports on a new excavation at Khirbet Arai, not far from Tel Lachish. The first week has already revealed two massive structures as well as Philistine pottery.

Douglas Petrovich has done some interesting work related to the Israelite presence in Egypt. He has started a Kickstarter project to raise funds to publish a book on it.

The lyre depicted on Israel’s half-shekel is based on a seal now known to be forged. A larger drawing of the forged seal is online here.

A 19-year-old American spent the night in Solomon’s Quarries to dig for treasure.

The publication of Yadin’s final report from his Megiddo excavations will be celebrated at an event at Hebrew U on April 5.

In Photos: Members of an Israeli historical group dressed up in costume for a three-day hike from Jericho to Jerusalem.

The plan to enlarge the mixed prayer area in the Jerusalem Archaeological Park next to the Western Wall prayer plaza is apparently dead.

Archaeologists are opposing plans to build a hotel and apartment buildings in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Abu Tor, the traditional “Hill of Evil Counsel.”

Ferrell Jenkins shares a photo of one of the best preserved stretches of Roman roads in Israel.

Ashkelon excavation veterans are invited to a closing celebration as the thirty-year project ends.

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


Hidden Chambers in King Tut’s Tomb Not Empty

From The Times of Israel:

Radar scans of the tomb of pharaoh Tutankhamun in the ancient necropolis of Luxor showed a “90 percent” chance of two hidden chambers, possibly containing organic material, Egypt’s antiquities minister said Thursday.
Experts had scanned the tomb to find what a British archaeologist believes could be the resting place of Queen Nefertiti, the legendary beauty and wife of Tutankhamun’s father, whose mummy has never been found.
Preliminary scans of Tutankhamun’s tomb reveal “two hidden rooms behind the burial chamber” of the boy king, Antiquities Minister Mamduh al-Damati told reporters.
“Yes, we have some empty space, but not totally empty, including some organic and metal material,” Damati said in English.
When asked how certain he was, he said there was a “90 percent” chance.
A study by renowned British archaeologist Nicholas Reeves has said that Nefertiti’s tomb could be in a secret chamber adjoining Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of Kings in Luxor in southern Egypt.

The next radar test is scheduled for March 31. The full story has more details.


Recommended: Dr. Anderson’s Interpretive Guide to the Bible

I want to recommend to you today a work that’s a little broader than the typical “Bible places” category, but one that I have found of great use for several years now. Dr. Anderson’s Interpretive Guide to the Bible is very valuable tool for understanding the Bible. This unique resource walks you through the biblical text with the aim of seeing the parts in light of the whole. For each of the 66 books, you get relevant background material, a synthetic overview of the text, and an outstanding annotated review of the major commentaries. You can read more about what makes this resource unique here.

When Steven Anderson finished his 8-volume guide, it was an easy decision for me to purchase it.

Since that time, I have consulted it many times to great profit. His approach is conservative, and his precision is all too rare today.

Steven has now made the pdf editions of his guide available for free. This is a real gift to Bible readers and teachers everywhere. Amazon continues to sell the printed volumes, and he is also accepting donations for those grateful for his work.

I encourage you to download these and recommend them to others. You would do well to consider purchasing a print copy or recommending it to church and local libraries that you frequent.

One other happy note: Steven has been on the BiblePlaces team for more than a year now, working with us on our next (awesome!) photo project. We look forward to releasing the firstfruits of these labors in the near future. But for now, check out his excellent Interpretive Guide!


Weekend Roundup

Some scholars have weighed in on the seal of the woman discovered in Jerusalem. Christopher Rollston has a lengthy analysis, concluding in part that the seal dates to approximately 700 BC.

Robert Deutsch writes that the archaeologists made several mistakes, including misreading the name on one of the seals. The Daily Mail has a number of photographs. For some political irony, see The Blaze.

The first phase of the Terra Sancta Museum in Jerusalem (at the Monastery of the Flagellation) opens on March 17.

The latest issue of Near Eastern Archaeology features articles on Jericho, Adam (Tell Damiyah), Gustaf Dalman, and more.

A schedule of forthcoming lectures for the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society are online here.

New Excavation Report: Beer-Sheba III: The Early Iron IIA Enclosed Settlement and the Late Iron IIA-Iron IIB Cities, by Ze’ev Herzog and Lily Singer-Avitz. Sold as a 3-volume set by Eisenbrauns.

The latest exhibit at the Israel Museum, “Pharaoh in Canaan: The Untold Story,” looks at Egyptian presence in Israel during the Middle and Late Bronze periods. A one-minute video provides a preview.

“Pharaoh: King of Ancient Egypt” opens at the Cleveland Museum of Art on March 13, featuring many pieces from the British Museum.

Many documents from the 18th and 19th centuries have been discovered in a storeroom in Egypt, including letters from Flinders Petrie and Howard Carter.

Luxor is sending 778 artifacts to be displayed in the Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

National Geographic runs a well-illustrated story on King Tut’s grandparents, Yuya and Tuyu.

The Karnak Temple did not catch on fire.

A New York Times reporter describes some of the challenges of being a tourist in Saudi Arabia.

The BBC reports on the impact of the Syrian civil war on the archaeology of Tell Qarqur (Qarqar).

Clyde Billington is on The Book and the Spade this week discussing the harbor of Corinth and the fortress of Macherus.

Now on pre-pub pricing for Logos: Archaeology in Action: Biblical Archaeology in the Field ($50).

Many of the early volumes of the Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statement are now online.

Recommended book, on sale for Kindle: Israel: Ancient Kingdom or Late Invention?, edited by Daniel I. Block ($2.99)

Zecharia Kallai, professor emeritus of Historical Geography of Palestine at Hebrew University, died last month.

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

Jaffa, rough sea, mat00699
Our most liked photo this week on Facebook was this one of the harbor at Jaffa (biblical Joppa), from the American Colony and Eric Matson Collection.

Rare Seal of Woman Discovered in Jerusalem

The Israel Antiquities Authority has announced a significant discovery from the excavations in the Central Valley below the Dung Gate. The excavations in the Givati parking lot are being directed by Doron Ben-Ami, Yana Tchekhanovets and Salome Cohen. From the press release:

Who were Elihana bat Gael and Sa‘aryahu ben Shabenyahu? Two seals bearing Hebrew names were uncovered in a large building dating to the First Temple period in excavations the Israel Antiquities Authority is carrying out in the Giv‘ati parking lot at the City of David, in the Jerusalem Walls National Park. “Finding seals that bear names from the time of the First Temple is hardly a commonplace occurrence, and finding a seal that belonged to a woman is an even rarer phenomenon”, said the researchers.
On the rare woman’s seal, which is made of semi-precious stone, appears the mirror-writing of “to Elihana bat Gael”, inscribed in ancient Hebrew letters. The female owner of the ring is mentioned here together with the name of her father.
According to Dr. Hagai Misgav of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, “Seals that belonged to women represent just a very small proportion of all the seals that have been discovered to date. This is because of the generally inferior economic status of women, apart from extraordinary instances such as this. Indeed, the name Elihana does not appear in the Bible, and there is no other information regarding the identity of the woman, but the fact that she possessed a seal demonstrates her high social status”. Dr. Misgav adds, “Most of the women’s seal that are known to us bear the name of the father rather than that of the husband. Here, as in other cases, this might indicate the relatively elevated status of Elihana, which depended on her original family, and not on her husband’s family. It seems that Elihana maintained her right to property and financial independence even after her marriage and therefore her father’s name was retained; however, we do not have sufficient information about the law in Judah during this period”. The name Eliha is known from a contemporary Ammonite seal and is the feminine form of the name Eli, known from the Bible. The script appearing on the seal is remarkably similar to the script on Ammonite seals, and this might indicate the foreign origin of the artisan who carved the seal and possibly the foreign origin of Elihana, who apparently came from east of the Jordan River”.

The press release includes more information and a photo. The only mention of a date is in the headline referring to a “2,500 year old seal.” I suspect the seal dates closer to 700-600 BC.

At the moment, there are no articles about this discovery except a restricted link on the City of David website. There may be more by the time you read this with this search.

For photos of the area and excavations, see our previous post here.


Weekend Roundup

IAA excavations in the Schneller Compound in Jerusalem have revealed a Roman bathhouse and a Roman- or Byzantine-era winerpress. High-res photos and a video may be downloaded here.

Archaeologists have unearthed a cemetery in use from the Middle Bronze to the Iron Ages south of Bethlehem. Two journal articles on which the report was based can be read here and here.

A hidden camera reveals for the first time the condition of Palmyra after ISIS terrorists destroyed temples, arches, and tower tombs.

A missing letter in an inscription brings into question whether the Amphipolis tomb really belonged to Hephaestion, Alexander the Great’s beloved friend and general, and may instead belong to Alexander’s mother, Olympias.

The Bethsaida Excavation Project has posted their 2015 season report (73 pages with lots of photos).

Three looted Mesopotamian sculptures were found in a Slovenian refugee camp.

Haaretz runs a story on the mysterious 90-mile long wall in Jordan.

Two UCSD professors are working with the Israel Antiquities Authority to update the Digital Archaeological Atlas of the Holy Land.

An online Neo-Assyrian Bibliography compiled by Heather D. Baker and Melanie Groß is available.

Egypt is seeking to add four archaeological sites in Alexandria and Sinai to UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Jacob sheep being raised in Canada will be brought back to Israel.

The death of the Dead Sea has probably never been better illustrated than in this multi-media rich “article” at Haaretz. It includes the prediction that within 20 years there may be no access to the shoreline of the Dead Sea.

Clyde Billington and Gordon Govier discuss the latest discoveries on this week’s edition of The Book and the Spade.

Shmuel Browns visits the site of Lifta (biblical Nephtoah) on the edge of Jerusalem.

Minna Silver takes readers on a visit to biblical Haran, once home to the patriarch Abraham.

Eisenbrauns’s Deal of the Weekend: The Horsemen of Israel
Horses and Chariotry in Monarchic Israel, by Deborah Cantrell ($20).

Barry Britnell introduces a new video project entitled “Following the Messiah” and encourages everyone to support the project through their Kickstarter Campaign.

HT: Ted Weis, Gale, Joseph Lauer, Agade, Ferrell Jenkins