Weekend Roundup, Part 2

Restoration of the ancient theater and stadium of Aizanoi in western Turkey has begun.

The ships and boats from Thonis-Heracleion have much to say about how Egyptian shipwrights of the Late and early Ptolemaic periods built their vessels, as well as the range of decisions that were made when they reached the end of their working lives on the waters of the Nile.”

Among those arrested in an investigation of trafficking of looted antiquities is a retired curator from the Louvre.

Facebook has announced it will remove content that seeks to sell any and all historical artifacts.

Now online: the first installment of the publication project on the records of the Pennsylvania excavations at Nippur 1889-1900 in searchable digital form (pdf).

“During the Early Iron Age, people dwelled among the ruins of the palace at Knossos in what we may refer to as a ‘landscape of memory’, one imbued with the collective memories of a bygone era.”

“Egyptian archaeologists are taking advantage of the global anti-racism movement to renew their calls on the French government to remove a statue of Jean-François Champollion, kneeling on the head of a Pharaonic king.”

Recent fires at Susa and Ecbatana in Iran apparently caused no damage.

Zoom lecture: The Discovery: 1000-Year-Old Bible Refound in Cairo Synagogue, by Yoram Meital, June 28 at 8:00pm Cairo time. To register, email dropofmilkegypt@gmail.com.

Carl Rasmussen shares more about Aphrodisias, including The Theater and Its Artifacts and Jews, Proselytes, and God-Fearers at Aphrodisias.

Note: there will be no roundups the next two weekends.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Ted Weis, Mark Hoffman, Alexander Schick, Explorator

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Weekend Roundup, Part 1

Just as the Biblical Museum of Natural History was about to open in Beit Shemesh, “a plague of biblical proportions struck.” Virtual tours are available at the museum’s website. They are also offering a new book by the museum’s director, The Torah Encyclopedia of the Animal Kingdom, Vol. 1: Wild Animals.

The Hashemite Custodianship of Jerusalem’s Islamic and Christian Holy Sites 1917-2020 CE: White Paper, by the The Royal Aal Al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought (108pp). The labeled photograph of the Temple Mount on page 81 may be of particular interest.

New from Appian: An 80-page study guide to accompany “Lessons from the Land: The Gospels.”

“In Search of King David’s Lost Empire” is a long piece by Ruth Margalit that reviews the history of the maximalist-minimalist debate. Some responses by Eilat Mazar, Gabriel Barkay and others may be found here.

Assyrian soldiers had the edge with the invention of the socketed arrowhead. The underlying IEJ article is on Academia.

An article in the Jerusalem Post summarizes a recent BAR article on life at Tel Hadid near Gezer after the Assyrians deported the Israelites.

Israel should preserve more archaeological sites uncovered in salvage digs, argue some archaeologists. The article reports that there are 35,000 ancient sites in the country.

Tony Cartledge describes his experience in excavating a 12th-century Canaanite temple at Lachish, including his wife’s discovery of what turned out to be a scepter.

Charles Savelle links to three podcast episodes he has enjoyed on Thutmose III and the Battle of Megiddo.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Ted Weis, Mark Hoffman, Alexander Schick, Explorator

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Conference: The NT in Archaeology and Ancient Judaism

One of the advantages of the present crisis is that conferences that you probably would not be able to fly to are now easy to watch from home. And some of them are free, including one this weekend.

This one is hosted by “Windows into the Bible University” and it’s a virtual conference on “The New Testament in Archaeology and Ancient Judaism.” Registration is free but required.

Here is the schedule, with all times Eastern:

Saturday, June 27

10:00 am: Marc Turnage, “The Son of David: Solomon, Healing, Exorcism, and Jesus”

11:30 am: Archie Wright, “The Development of Satan in the Second Temple Period and the New Testament”

12:45 pm: Mark Nanos, “How to Read Paul and His Letters Within Judaism”

​3:00 pm: Mordechai Aviam, “On Disciples and Pottery: Excavating el-Araj and the Identification of Bethsaida”

4:30 pm: Round Table Discussion, “Reading the New Testament In Light of Ancient Judaism,” with Marc Turnage, R. Steven Notley, Archie Wright and Jeffrey Garcia

Sunday, June 28

2:00 pm: R. Steven Notley, “Reading the Gospel Parables as Jewish Literature”

3:30 pm: Jeffrey Garcia, “Crossing the Streams: John, Jesus and the Rabbis on Charity and Deeds of Lovingkindness”

4:45 pm: Marc Turnage, “The Kingdom of Heaven: Politics and Redemption in Ancient Judaism”

For more details and to register, go here.

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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

“A joint report by German and Syrian organisations has documented severe damage to Syria’s historical heritage and antiquities.” (Report on Academia)

“An ancient cave decorated with distinguished engravings depicting scenes of animals has been discovered at Wadi Al-Zulma in North Sinai.”

“The southern region of Najran [in Saudi Arabia] is set to become the largest open museum of rock inscriptions in the world.”

Egypt is proposing a merger of its tourism and antiquities departments.

“British anti-racism protestors called for the destruction of Egypt’s Giza Pyramids on Sunday, after tearing down a statue of a slave trader in the city of Bristol and throwing it in the Avon river.”

“A comparison between the names mentioned in the biblical book of Jeremiah and those appearing on archaeological artifacts from the period when the prophet is believed to have lived – around the sixth to seventh centuries BCE – offers support to its historicity.”

The British Museum blog: “Whip up a classical feast with nine recipes from ancient Greece and Rome.”

The latest British Museum travel guide is for Thebes in the 13th century BC.

New: Unearthing the Bible: 101 Archaeological Discoveries That Bring the Bible to Life, by Titus Kennedy. The author was on the Eric Metaxas show recently discussing the book.

Coming soon: The Case for Biblical Archaeology: Uncovering the Historical Record of God’s Old Testament People, by John D. Currid (also in Logos)

Carl Rasmussen shares photos of Aphrodisias, one of the most beautiful antiquity sites in Turkey and one that many tourists never see (including, sadly, your roundup writer).

“Windows into the Bible” is a new podcast by Marc Turnage that looks at geographical, cultural, historical, and spiritual contexts. I’ve been told the episode on Pilate is quite intriguing.

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

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Weekend Roundup, Part 1

A sceptre about 3,200 years old made of copper and coated in silver leaf found in the biblical city of Lachish could be the first evidence of life-sized ‘divine statues’ in the Levant.”

Excavations of the underground Siloam Street have been (or were) halted after engineering instruments detected that the ground was moving.

Contrary to previous belief, chalkstone vessels continued to be used in the Galilee for several centuries after the destruction of the Jerusalem temple.

“Israeli archaeologists have published a 360-degree analysis of a rural, affluent Christian town in the Galilee that was most likely destroyed by Persian invaders in 613.”

Analysis of bird remains excavated in Jerusalem confirmed that specific species of birds – pigeons, doves – were indeed sacrificed in the Temple as the biblical text suggests. The story is based on an article in the latest issue of BASOR.

Roman and Byzantine mosaic floors provide insights into how humans restrained animals by the use of cages, ropes, knots, other tethering devices.

“A large number of archaeological sites in the West Bank, including many that are part of Jewish history and tradition, will be placed or remain under Palestinian control according to US President Donald Trump’s peace plan.”

An Explainer piece by Rossella Tercatin in the Jerusalem Post reveals who is in control of the archaeological sites in the West Bank.

Why is the Israel Museum still closed?

Ferrell Jenkins shares some photos and insights about the Judean wilderness.

Daniel Santacruz shares a dozen photos of wildflowers he took near his home in Maale Adumim.

This week we released volume #20 in the Pictorial Library of the Bible Lands. The Western Mediterranean collection focuses on Roman sites in Gaul (France) and Hispania (Spain) and includes more than 1,400 photos and 25 PowerPoints. The sale price ($25) ends on Tuesday.

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

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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

The completely buried Roman city of Falerii Novi has been mapped with radar technology.

An Egyptian archaeologist is using technology, including Google tools, to assist in the work of preserving and documenting her nation’s heritage.

A research study is using AI to analyze ancient feces and learning in the process of the relationship between humans and dogs.

Phillip J. Long provides a helpful review of a valuable up-to-date summary of the DSS and their relation to Qumran: Scribes and Scrolls at Qumran, by Sidnie White Crawford.

The final publication of Tall Zira’a, Volume 6, Hellenistic to Umayyad Period (Strata 8–3) is now available online as a free download.

‘Atiqot 99 (2020) is now online.

“Tutankhamun In Colour,” a BBC program featuring colorized photos from Howard Carter’s Egyptian explorations, will air on June 18.

Context Matters is a weekly podcast begun earlier this year and hosted by Cyndi Parker.

In a BBC audio presentation, Bridget Kendall explores ancient Babylon with four experts.

More than 1,000 color sides taken by Kenneth Russell have been added to the ACOR Photo Archive.

Carl Rasmussen shares a photo of an ancient papyrus attesting that a man had offered sacrifices to the gods—a way of proving that one was not a Christian.

The Temple Mount Sifting Project is now offering “remote sifting.”

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

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Weekend Roundup, Part 1

The Jerusalem Post runs a story on the 2013 discovery of a winery at Jezreel. A scholarly article was published this year on the excavation in the Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage Studies.

Analysis of pottery workshops in the Jerusalem area reveals changes brought about by the Roman destruction of the city in AD 70. The underlying journal article was recently published in BASOR.

In his latest “Discussions with the Diggers,” Bryan Windle interviews Robert Mullins, focusing on his current excavations of Abel Beth Maacah. (I read yesterday that Yadin in the 1950s would have preferred to excavate Abel instead of Hazor, but he was unable to because of the military situation.)

Virtual conference on June 15-16: On the Origin of the Pieces: The Provenance of the Dead Sea Scrolls

W. Raymond Johnson of the Oriental Institute gave a lecture this week on “Medinet Habu and Tell el-Amarna: Tales of Blocks and Towers.”

SBL Press has “unpublished” Burton MacDonald’s A History of Ancient Moab from the Ninth to First Centuries BCE after determining that it “does not adequately adhere to the expected standard of marking all direct quotations from other sources.” (If you want a copy, better grab one now. Or if you already purchased, you can send it back for a refund.)

New release: A Week in the Life of Ephesus, by David A. deSilva. I enjoy the way this series makes learning historican context enjoyable. (Also available in Logos.)

Kris Udd gave a one-day Seminar on Bible Chronology at his church a few months ago, and he has made the videos and print materials available for free download. I have benefitted from Dr. Udd’s excellent chronology materials for many years, and I am happy to see them made widely available.

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

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Weekend Roundup

A scholarly study uses radiocarbon dating to determine that “Wilson’s Arch was initiated by Herod the Great and enlarged during the Roman Procurators, such as Pontius Pilatus, in a range of 70 years, rather than 700 years, as previously discussed by scholars. The theater-like structure is dated to the days of Emperor Hadrian and left unfinished before 132–136 AD.”

A 1,800-year-old fountainhead in the shape of a face was uncovered by chance by a visitor at the Tzipori [Sepphoris] National Park in the Galilee.”

Rami Arav discusses his excavations at et-Tell and a newly discovered moon god stele (Haaretz premium).

Excavations will not be possible at el-Araj (Bethsaida?) this summer because of the high water level. The article includes many photos.

NPR has a story on the Israeli and Jordanian sides of the tourist site for Jesus’s baptism, including a discussion of creating a new “soft crossing” to allow tourists to enter Jordan from the Israeli side.

A new study of the DNA of 35 fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls is providing insight into the diverse origins of the parchments.

Mark Vitalis Hoffman has published an interesting article on “Jesus and Jerusalem and the ‘Things That Make for Peace.” He has also created a video to supplement the article.

Gabriel Barkay is on The Book and the Spade this week talking about the archaeology of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.

Israel’s Good Name had a productive trip scouting out the birds and fish at the Beit Zayit Reservoir west of Jerusalem.

A Jerusalem Post piece looks at the resumption of tourism in Israel and the safety measures being put in place.

From boom to bust: with tourism in Israel all but gone, tour guides are considering their options.

The Winter 2019 issue of the ACOR Newsletter is now available (high-res; low-res).

The Bible and Interpretation provides a selection about ancient Moab and the Mesha Stele from the new book by Burton MacDonald.

Gulf News has a write-up on artifacts from Saudi Arabia that are featured in the traveling “Roads of Arabia” exhibit.

Smithsonian magazine has a long, well-illustrated piece on archaeological work in and around Aigai, Philip II’s capital of Macedon. A massive new museum is scheduled to open in January.

The latest historical city travel guide by the British Museum is of Athens in the 5th century BC.

Some stories on re-opening: excavations in Turkey, Vatican Museums, Rome’s Colosseum, Pompeii, Al Ula, Israel’s museums, the Temple Mount.

Two Asian lion cubs were recently born at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Chris McKinny, Agade, Keith Keyser, Steven Anderson, Charles Savelle, Explorator

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Familiarization Tours in 2021

For our readers who are professors or pastors and are ready to think about planning future trips for your classes or churches, I recommend you take a look at 2021’s familiarization tours offered by Tutku Educational Travel. These trips are subsidized with the hope that you’ll love your trip and come back with a group. It’s a good way to get a good introduction and be prepared to lead a tour. I’ve copied Tutku’s schedule below, and you will recognize the names of a number of excellent scholars. This is a great (and rare) opportunity to learn from the best in their fields. I’ve traveled with Tutku several times and highly recommend them.

BIBLICAL ISRAEL FAM TRIP          $2,190 land & air included

January 1-9, 2021

Tour Host: Dr. Carl Rasmussen      click for brochure

Greetings! The following is the handcrafted itinerary of the trip to Israel that Mary and I are leading in response to those who have  asked us to put together a “not for credit” study tour. I will be giving mini lectures along the way both on the bus and on the sites, drawing from my studies. I have spent 16 years of my adult life living in, and guiding, academic groups in Israel, Jordan, Greece, and Turkey (including living, teaching, and guiding in Jerusalem for 7 years)…


BIBLICAL EGYPT FAM TRIP          $2,990 land & air included

January 6-15, 2021

Tour Host: Dr. Jim Hoffmeier      click for brochure

Growing up in rural Egypt gave me a love for its people, history and culture, so that Egyptology and archaeology were my natural academic studies. On this tour we will visit ancient and modern wonders and  integrate Biblical history, with a goal of making connections  between Egyptian history and culture and the Bible.


BIBLICAL ITALY FAM TRIP          $2,990 land & air included

January 15-23, 2021

Tour Host: Dr. Mark Wilson      click for brochure

“And so we came to Rome!” Twice Luke announces this in the final chapter of Acts. Our tour will begin with Paul’s arrival at the port of Puteoli. Along the way we’ll see Herculaneum, a city destroyed by   Mt. Vesuvius and the archaeological treasures of the Naples Museum. We will then trace the Via Appia to the imperial city, actually walking on this “Queen of Roads” in several places. In Rome we will visit all the major monuments, especially those related to Peter and Paul. The Pio Christian Museum features special Jewish and Christian artifacts in the Vatican Museum. Lastly, we will visit the port of Ostia, whose well-preserved ruins include an early synagogue. Join me as we too come to Rome in the footsteps of the apostles!


BIBLICAL TURKEY FAM TRIP          $1,990 land & air included

March 5-13, 2021

Tour Host: Dr. Mark Wilson      click for brochure

Greetings! At this special trip, we will visit all 7 churches mentioned in Revelation 1-3 and places where New Testament books were written to and/or from! Thus, it is not a mere tour, but a hands on experience as we study the New Testament and its  Greco Roman background together! You will be amazed at what you will be learning along the way and March is perfect—not too hot, not too cool, and the wild flowers are in bloom in most parts of the country!


BIBLICAL GREECE FAM TRIP          $1,990 land & air included

March 6-14, 2021

Tour Host: Dr. Mark Fairchild      click for brochure

Join me for this brief introductory tour of the Biblical sites in Greece. We will travel to all of the ancient sites that were  associated with St. Paul’s journeys in Greece. Additionally, we will  visit other important historical sites along the way, such as the famous Delphic Oracle and the monastic community at Meteora. I invite you to accompany us on this odyssey to the birthplace of western civilization.


BIBLICAL JORDAN FAM TRIP          $1,990 land & air included

March 13-21, 2021

Tour Host: Dr. Mark Fairchild      click for brochure

Many prophets walked the land and performed miracles in Jordan. They bathed in the seas and rivers and trekked the desert. Trace their steps, marvel at the ruins of ancient civilizations, and re-live   history.  Home to Petra, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and the Dead Sea, a finalist for the New Seven Wonders of Nature, Jordan offers one-in-a-lifetime vacation destinations you will not find anywhere else… Explore splendid desert castles or bathe in the restful waters of the Red Sea. Come see the beauty of the Kingdom’s treasures and experience the splendor that has dazzled visitors for centuries.

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Weekend Roundup

“A six year old hiking with his family [at Tel Jemmah] . . . discovered a one-of-a-kind, 3,500-year-old depiction of a naked, humiliated Canaanite prisoner and his victorious warden.”

A new study of organic material on the Iron Age altars from the shrine at Arad indicates that frankincense and cannabis were burned on them in ancient times.

A well-preserved Roman mosaic floor from the 3rd century AD has been discovered in a vineyard in northern Italy.

Archaeologists have discovered a well-preserved 3rd century AD Roman ship in Serbia.

A recent review of Egyptian antiquities in Scotland has identified more than 14,000 objects.

The latest post on the ASOR Blog is about the Egyptians’ views of foreigners.

A Jewish leader in Tehran denies that a traditional tomb of Esther and Mordecai was set on fire. The article in a regime-approved newspaper includes other interesting background about the shrine.

Mark Wilson reflects on Paul’s imprisonments in light of his current confinement in Turkey.

A Times of Israel article describes two new documentaries on the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. In one, a priest explains how the “holy fire” is lit with a lighter.

“Following an extreme and unusually long heatwave last week, Israel on Sunday was hit by showers and unseasonably cold temperatures.”

Museums reopening in Italy will use “chaperones” and vibrating necklaces to ensure people don’t get too close to each other.

Now on pre-pub for Logos: A Christian’s Guide to Evidence for the Bible: 101 Proofs from History and Archaeology, by J. Daniel Hays ($19).

Ferrell Jenkins dug up a great photo to illustrate Isaiah 1:18.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Arne Halbakken, Keith Keyser, Explorator

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