There have been a number of articles published within the past few months, all of which are related to the content of this blog.

Galil, Gershon.
2009 “The Hebrew Inscription from Khirbet Qeiyafa/Neta’im: Script, Language, Literature and History.” Ugarit-Forschungen 41: 193-242.

I have not read this article yet, but presumably this is Galil’s formal publication of his reading of the Qeiyafa ostracon and of his identification of Kh. Qeiyafa as Netaim, both of which were mentioned previously by Todd (inscription and identification).

Beitzel, Barry J.
2010 “Was There a Joint Nautical Venture on the Mediterranean Sea by Tyrian Phoenicians and Early Israelites?” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 360: 37-66.

de Canales, F. González; L. Serrano; and J. Llompart.
2010 “Tarshish and the United Monarchy of Israel.” Ancient Near Eastern Studies 47: 137-164.

Both of these articles argue for the plausibility of Phoenician nautical trade on the Mediterranean Sea in the 10th century B.C. Beitzel argues that the Hebrew expression ’onî taršîš in 1 Kings 10:22 is better translated “ships of Tarshish” as in the ESV, and not “trading ships” as in the NIV. He gathers together the evidence for early Phoenician trading on the Mediterranean and suggests Tarshish was located in the western Mediterranean. De Canales et al. identify Tarshish more specifically with Huelva, Spain, and date the earliest excavated levels to 900-770 B.C., while proposing an even earlier Phoenician presence.

The latest issue of Israel Exploration Journal contains three articles which may be of interest to our readers.

Rendsburg, Gary A. and William M. Schniedewind.
2010 “The Siloam Tunnel Inscription: Historical and Linguistic Perspectives.” Israel Exploration Journal 60/2: 188-203.

Rendsburg and Schniedewind argue that three linguistic peculiarities of the Siloam inscription point to the dialect of the Northern Kingdom of Israel (referred to as Israelian Hebrew). They go on to speculate that the inscription was authored by a refugee from the northern kingdom, and that the purpose of the tunnel may have been to divert water to the refugee population on the Western Hill.

Siloam Tunnel Inscription in Istanbul, Turkey.

Two more cuneiform inscriptions from Hazor are published in this issue of IEJ as well, one a fragment of an administrative docket and the other a fragment of a clay liver model. (Neither of these are the tablet fragments found last year that Todd reported on here.)

Horowitz, Wayne and Takayoshi Oshima.
2010 “Hazor 16: Another Administrative Docket from Hazor.” Israel Exploration Journal 60/2: 129-132.

Horowitz, Wayne; Takayoshi Oshima; and Abraham Winitzer.
2010 “Hazor 17: Another Clay Liver Model.” Israel Exploration Journal 60/2: 133-145.

These two inscriptions supplement the handy volume of all cuneiform inscriptions found in Canaan (up to the date of publication), Cuneiform in Canaan: Cuneiform Sources from the Land of Israel in Ancient Times, by Wayne Horowitz,; Takayoshi Oshima; and Seth Sanders (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, and Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2006). We should also add to the list:

Horowitz, Wayne and Takayoshi Oshima.
2007 “Hazor 15: A Letter Fragment from Hazor.” Israel Exploration Journal 57: 34-40.

Mazar, Eilat; Wayne Horowitz; Takayoshi Oshima; and Yuval Goren.
2010 “A Cuneiform Tablet from the Ophel in Jerusalem.” Israel Exploration Journal 60/1: 4-21.


Two weekends ago, we reported that Thesaurus Linguae Graecae had made available an online edition of the Classical Greek lexicon Liddell-Scott-Jones, with hyperlinks to texts in the TLG database. Three days ago, TLG announced on their website that the lexicon was no longer available due to misuse.

The Online LSJ was released on February 24, 2011. Within hours of its release, our site became the target of individuals attempting to download our data. By March 1 our server was bombarded by hundreds of coordinated pirate attackers seeking to break into our server security. As a consequence, we were forced to suspend access to LSJ while we are taking steps to address the security of our servers.
We are working to reestablish access gradually and hope that LSJ will be back up within the next few days.
We regret the inconvenience this action has caused to our legitimate users.


An article in Archaeology magazine highlights a new exhibition at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology entitled Archaeologists & Travelers in Ottoman Lands. The exhibition opened last September and will run through June 26, 2011. Archaeologists & Travelers in Ottoman Lands focuses on the University of Pennsylvania’s Nippur Expedition, and in particular, the lives of three men involved in the excavations of Nippur: Osman Hamdi Bey, John Henry Haynes, and Hermann Vollrath Hilprecht.

Featured are two paintings by Osman Hamdi Bey: “Excavations at Nippur,” which has never before been on public exhibition, and “At the Mosque Door,” which is shown for the first time in one hundred years. Also shown are about 50 photographs by Haynes, whose contributions as an archaeological photographer are only now being recognized, and more than 40 artifacts from the Nippur expedition (1889–1900), including a Parthian “slipper” coffin, Sasanian incantation bowls and glass, and numerous Sumerian cuneiform tablets.

The Nippur Expedition was the first American expedition to the Near East and lasted from 1889–1900. You can read background to the exhibition at the museum’s website and in the article in Archaeology. The exhibition has a companion website here.

For those interested, there is also a book by Bruce Kuklick that tells the story of the Nippur Expedition, Puritans in Babylon: The Ancient Near East and American Intellectual Life, 1880-1930 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996). It recounts the institutionalization of ancient Near East studies in American universities, the hardships of Middle East fieldwork in the 19th century, and the intramural disputes and posturing of the Nippur Expedition’s staff and researchers. The stories of some key personalities ended tragically, with reputations ruined and careers destroyed. (Kuklick also touches on the role ancient Near East studies played in the secularization of universities, and how many scholars working in these disciplines forsook their religious convictions. “The paradox in the evolution of Near Eastern studies was the manner in which the pursuit of Bible truth might undermine the truth of the Bible.” For him, Christian scholars are a curiosity because they are “a stunning counterexample to easy generalizations about the secularization of higher education in America.”)

Additional photos from the University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology can be seen here.

HT: Claude Mariottini


In Lebanon, just northeast of the city of Zahle, there is a small village named Karak Nouh. Karak Nouh is located in the Beqaa at the eastern foot of the Mt. Lebanon range. In a building adjoining the village mosque, there is a long sarcophagus draped in a green cloth. It is claimed this is the tomb of Noah.

Karak Nouh, Lebanon.

Mark Twain wrote about his visit to Karak Nouh in The Innocents Abroad.

Noah’s tomb is built of stone, and is covered with a long stone building. Bucksheesh let us in. The building had to be long, because the grave of the honored old navigator is two hundred and ten feet long itself! It is only about four feet high, though. He must have cast a shadow like a lightning-rod. The proof that this is the genuine spot where Noah was buried can only be doubted by uncommonly incredulous people. The evidence is pretty straight. Shem the son of Noah, was present at the burial, and showed the place to his descendants, who transmitted the knowledge to their descendants, and the lineal descendants of these introduced themselves to us to-day. It was pleasant to make the acquaintance of members of so respectable a family. It was a thing to be proud of. It was the next thing to being acquainted with Noah himself.

There is another tomb of Noah in the city of Cizre, Turkey (pronounced Jizre). Cizre is on the Tigris River, north of the location where Iraq, Turkey, and Syria all meet. To the east is Cudi Dağ, identified as Mt. Ararat in some traditions.

Tomb of Noah, Cizre, Turkey.

Evidently, there is also a shrine to Noah name Hazrat Nuh in Kerak, Jordan. I have not visited this one, nor do I know if there is a tomb associated with the shrine. I believe the shrine is the small, turquoise building at the far left in this photograph. It is located in a cemetery on the northwestern edge of the modern town.

Kerak, Jordan.


This month, Accordance’s Featured Product is the American Colony Collection module. They are offering the module at a discounted price of $109 (regularly $149) through the month of March. You can read Todd’s introduction to the collection here and learn more about the Accordance module from Todd and Accordance’s David Lang. If you have already purchased the collection from BiblePlaces.com and are an Accordance user, you may want to consider the crossgrade option.

The Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities has initiated a new program called “Discover! Saudi Arabia” in an effort to promote the tourism industry. It is not easy to travel to Saudi Arabia, though apparently now tourist visas are being issued if you travel with a group organized by a legitimate tour company. [See comments—I am not able to determine whether Saudi Arabia is currently issuing tourist visas or not.]

A major exhibition of archaeological artifacts from Saudi Arabia named “Roads of Arabia” is presently making the museum rounds in Europe. It has already shown at the Louvre and just today completed its run in Barcelona. Eventually, the exhibition will make its way to major U.S. cities. Here is the exhibition description from the Louvre’s website.

This exhibition offers a journey through the heart of Arabia, orchestrated by photographs of the region’s sumptuous landscapes. It takes the form of a series of stopovers in some of the peninsula’s extensive oases, which in ancient times were home to powerful states or which, beginning in the 7th century, became Islamic holy places. The three hundred items chosen, most of which have never left their country of origin before, provide an original panorama of the different cultures that succeeded each other within the kingdom of Saudi Arabia from prehistoric times through the dawn of the modern world.

They reveal in particular the little-known past of a dazzling, prosperous Arabic world now being gradually discovered by archaeologists. Moving Neolithic funerary stelae, colossal statues of the kings of Lihyan (6th – 4th century BC), and silver tableware and precious jewelry placed in tombs testify to the dynamism of this civilization. Despite a hostile natural environment, the inhabitants succeeded in taking advantage of their country’s geographical situation as a crossing point for the roads linking the shores of the Indian Ocean and the horn of Africa to Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the Mediterranean world. Early in the first millennium BC this trans-Arabian trade flourished, bringing prosperity to the caravan cities and permeating the local culture with new fashions and ideas from the great neighboring empires.

The second section of the exhibition highlights the role of Arabia as the cradle of Islam. The roads became crowded with pilgrims as well as traders; a first group of exhibits evokes the pilgrim paths and Al-Rabadha, one of the principal stopping-places. Following this road as far as Mecca, a second group comprises a selection of funerary stelae illustrating the evolution of writing and ornamentation between the 10th and 16th century and providing precious information on Meccan society at the time. Muslim sovereigns vied with each other in their generosity towards holy places, with buildings and such ventures into embellishment as this monumental door from the Ka’ba, the gift of an Ottoman sultan.

A review of the exhibition can be read here and a few photos can be seen here.

Finally, Jeffrey Rose just published an article entitled “New Light on Human Prehistory in the Arabo-Persian Gulf Oasis” in the journal Current Anthropology (pdf available here). Rose suggests that in the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene the area now known as the Persian Gulf was a large oasis which was watered by the Tigris, the Euphrates, the Karun, and the Wadi Batin rivers. Readers may recall the suggestion that Wadi Batin was perhaps the Pishon River, mentioned in Genesis 2:11 in connection with the garden of Eden. On this latter point, see James A. Sauer, “The River Runs Dry: Creation Story Preserves Historical Memory,” Biblical Archaeology Review 22/4 (1996), pp. 52-57, 64 and the discussion in Barry J. Beitzel, The New Moody Atlas of the Bible (Chicago: Moody, 2009), pp. 88-90 and p. 280, note 16.

HT: Joe Lauer