Weekend Roundup

While building an on-site museum to house the massive Lod mosaic, they discovered another mosaic.

Archaeologists working at Gedera have uncovered a 20-bath spa, a game room, and a pottery workshop.

The final season has wrapped up at the site of Horvat Kur near the Sea of Galilee.

Whether one swallowed Jonah or not, whales used to live in the Mediterranean, according to a new study.

Thomas Hikade and Jane Roy assess the evidence for human sacrifice in early Egyptian history.

New: An excavation report from Khirbet Qeiyafa: In the Footsteps of King David: Revelations from an Ancient Biblical City, by Yosef Garfinkel, Saar Ganor, and Michael G. Hasel.

Carl Rasmussen writes about the Solomonic gate at Gezer and shares a photo of Bill Dever and Yohanan Aharoni at the site.

John DeLancey shares about his recent volunteer experience at Gath on The Book and the Spade.

Ferrell Jenkins explains the importance of the cedars of Lebanon and shares many photos.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Agade, Paleojudaica


One thought on “Weekend Roundup

  1. Todd. I read with interest the article you mentioned regarding the evidence of the finds of whale species that existed in the Mediterranean at the time of the Romans.

    I just wanted to make two observations regarding the article. Unfortunately, I don’t think they have ‘solved the Jonah and whale puzzle.’

    The researchers identified two species of whales from the DNA obtained from these bones. They were the right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) and the grey whale (Eschrichtius robustus). The researchers linked these finds with the story of Jonah and the dag gadol the Hebrew words which literally mean ‘great fish’. These words have of course been identified in many translations as ‘whale’. However, unfortunately these two species are baleen whales.

    Baleen whales have plates through which they filter sea water in order to feed on small organisms such as zooplankton. Baleen whales do not have throats large enough to swallow a person. The other types of whales are known as toothed whales. While they tend to be smaller than the baleen whales, they do eat large fish.

    Contrary to the article, there are some whales that are found in the Mediterranean Sea today, (see http://www.whalezone.com/mediterranean-sea.aspx) These whale species include the sperm whale (Physeter microcephalus) and the fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus). The fin whale is today the most common large whale species in the Mediterranean Sea, but it too is a baleen whale.

    The sperm whale is the exception, it is a toothed whale and it is larger than most baleen whales. In fact, it is the largest of all toothed whales. Mature male sperm whales can grow in excess of 20 metres in length.

    Sperm whales do have much larger throats and are known to have swallowed seals and giant squids, whole. So, it would seem, that it might be physically possible for the sperm whale to swallow a person. So, the main contender for identifying the dag gadol would appear to be the sperm whale.

    (For those who are interested I have made some more comments on this topic, in an iBook I put together. It is called Biblical Fauna. – sorry for the self-promotion, but it is free).

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