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A farmer in the Gaza Strip discovered the head of a stone statue that may depict the Canaanite goddess Anat. Or not.

“Archaeologists have for a long time unearthed clay pots in medieval Jerusalem. But now, a new study shows that some of them were likely ‘ancient hand grenades.’”

A new study of Dead Sea sediment shows how climate change in the past has affected the level of the lake and the settlement history of the region. The underlying journal article is here.

The Israeli Antiquities Authority is investigating claims that antiquities on the Temple Mount were destroyed in recent riots.

The City of David YouTube channel has released a tour of Warren’s Shaft and the Gihon Spring, including a visit to a cave currently under excavation.

The Museum of the Bible and DIVE (Digital Interactive Virtual Experiences) is hosting a virtual tour of the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron on May 11 ($20).

Leen Ritmeyer shares a number of reconstruction drawings of Capernaum’s octagonal church.

Bryan Windle shares ten thoughts on the lead curse tablet found on Mount Ebal.

Joel Kramer at Expedition Bible has just released a short video about the earliest mention of Yahweh on an ancient inscription found in Sudan. The video includes footage of Joel’s visit to the remote site.

Walking the Text has just announced an original television series called “The Sacred Thread.” The pilot episode has been completed, and you can watch the trailer here. They have some impressive footage.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, G. M. Grena

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A Greco-Roman pottery workshop was recently discovered in Alexandria.

Restoration work is underway on the Ben Ezra synagogue in Cairo.

Mark Janzen and Chris McKinny begin a new series on Egypt and the Bible in the Biblical World podcast.

Jerry Pattengale of the Religion News Service reviews some of the recent controversy related to the claim that Tall el-Hammam was destroyed by a meteoric airburst.

Zoom webinar on April 24: “Preserving Cultural Heritage in Hisban and Umm al-Jimal, Jordan,” featuring Øystein LaBianca, Elizabeth Osinga, and Darrell Rohl.

Philip Boyes writes about the social context of writing in ancient Ugarit. His similarly titled book is available as an open access pdf.

The Jerusalem Post investigates the origins of the menorah etched into the staircase of the Celsus Library in Ephesus.

The 6th-century Imperial Gate of the Hagia Sophia has been vandalized.

American archaeologist Stephen Miller devoted his entire professional life to uncovering the secrets of Nemea and reviving ancient Greece’s Nemean Games.”

A new exhibition at the Landesmuseum Mainz showcases Roman technology including sewer systems, underfloor heating, and weatherproof concrete.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Charles Savelle, Arne Halbakken, Paleojudaica

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Haaretz has an extended summary of an article by Shimon Gibson about the attraction of stone vessels to Jerusalemites in the Second Temple period.

Archaeologists found a rare bronze fork at Chorazin (Korazim).

“An expedition of scientists and artists, adventurers all, embarked on a four-day desert journey. Their goal: to retrace an ancient trade route that connected the Kingdom of Judah to the Kingdom of Edom” (Haaretz premium).

Joel Kramer is interviewed on Digging for Truth about his book, Where God Came Down: The Archaeological Evidence.

The Biblical Language Center, founded by Randall Buth, is offering live video classes this summer in biblical Hebrew and Koiné Greek.

Zoom lecture on April 27: “Tell es-Sultan, Ancient Jericho: Urban Diversity in Palestine,” by Prof. Lorenzo Nigro. Advance registration required.

Hybrid lecture at the Museum of the Bible on May 26: “Tel Shimron: New Research into a Biblical City,” by Daniel Master.

Now online: “Iconography on Hebrew Seals and Bullae Identifying Biblical Persons and the Apparent Paradox of Egyptian Solar Symbols,” by Benjamin Stanhope.

The Volunteer Guide for the Tel Burna Archaeological Project is now online, and they are still accepting applications.

Morris Proctor explains how to find all the relevant maps for a site using the Atlas feature in Logos Bible Software.

Bryan Windle gives a good survey of the possible locations of where Pilate sentenced Jesus to death and concludes with a very reasonable suggestion.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Charles Savelle, Arne Halbakken, Paleojudaica

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Renovations at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher have revealed a medieval high altar that once stood in the center of the church.

A Byzantine-era mosaic floor from a Christian basilica in Nahariya has been restored and will be opened to the public. The 500-square meter mosaic includes 87 surviving medallions, with illustrations of flora, fauna, and scenes from everyday life. A video in Hebrew is here. BibleWalks has more photos of the church and the surrounding area.

A family hiking in the Harovit forest in central Israel discovered a beautiful mosaic from the Byzantine period.

The recently vandalized tomb of Joseph in Nablus has been restored.

Two girls were rescued when they accidentally entered a minefield in Nahal Tamar south of the Dead Sea.

Jodi Magness takes Amanda Borschel-Dan on a walking tour of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

The Museum of the Bible and DIVE (Digital Interactive Virtual Experiences) will be conducting a virtual tour of the Via Dolorosa on April 20 ($20).

The lead tablet found on Mount Ebal is the subject of discussion in the latest episode of the Biblical World podcast.

“After decades of laying beside the sacred lake at Luxor’s Karnak Temple, a team of Egyptian restorers and archaeologists succeeded in re-erecting the restored Hatshepsut’s obelisk.”

“German researchers have tracked down and documented hundreds of antiquities located in Berlin museums that were looted from the island of Samos, Greece.”

“Scientists have debated the reason why Bronze Age wall paintings at the ancient settlement of Akrotiri on the Greek island of Santorini depict monkeys that existed thousands of miles away in Asia.”

The Jerusalem Post has a short interview with a curator of the Museum of the Bible on the role of biblical archaeology.

Expedition Bible has launched a new YouTube channel. In the first video, Joel Kramer goes to Tell Deir Alla to discuss the Balaam inscription.

Roy Albag has created a number of reconstructions of sites in Israel, including the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Herodian Quarter’s palatial mansion, Solomon’s temple, and Herod’s palace in Jerusalem.

New release: Jerusalem and the Coastal Plain in the Iron Age and Persian Periods: New Studies on Jerusalem’s Relations with the Southern Coastal Plain of Israel/Palestine (c. 1200–300 BCE). Research on Israel and Aram in Biblical Times IV. Edited by Felix Hagemeyer (Mohr Siebeck, 119 €).

A number of Eilat Mazar’s publications are for sale, including her excavation reports of various sites in Jerusalem.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, A.D. Riddle, Alexander Schick

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A boat dating to 2000 BC has been excavated near the ancient city of Uruk in Iraq.

Scientists used a mass spectrometer to identify the smells of ancient food residues in jars discovered in the Deir el-Medina necropolis.

Greek graffiti on a statue of Ramses II at Abu Simbel dates to the reign of Pharaoh Psammetichus (circa 590 BC).

Turkish Archaeological News highlights the top stories for the month of March, including the restoration of the “Serpent Column” in Istanbul.

Chariot racing in the Roman world was “the ancient version of NASCAR, except that it was a lot more dangerous.”

“Researchers in Sweden are using virtual reality (VR) to envision what a lavishly decorated home in Pompeii might have looked like before its destruction in 79 C.E.”

“It is now certain that ancient Greek sculptors used bright colors, as well as gold and ivory, to further beautify the magnificent structures they created.”

Researchers believe they now know the date the Antikythera mechanism was first set ticking—December 23, 178 BC.

New from Brill: Queen Berenice: A Jewish Female Icon of the First Century CE, by Tal Ilan. “This is a biography of Queen Berenice, the daughter of King Agrippa I, sister of King Agrippa II, wife of two kings and lover of the emperor designate Flavius Titus.”

Andrea Nicolotti provides a bit of a teaser on Bible History Daily from his recent book, The Shroud of Turin: The History and Legends of the World’s Most Famous Relic (Waco: Baylor Univ. Press, 2020).

HT: Agade, Arne Halbakken, Alexander Schick, Joseph Lauer

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“Work has begun on the reconstruction of some of the 50 massive marble columns of the basilica in the Ashkelon National Park as part of an overall facelift for the park, and next week the fourth [7.5-ton] pillar will be put in place.”

A volunteer group has begun cleaning up the archaeological sites in Tiberias in hopes of having a national park established for the ongoing protection of the ruins.

On the Mount Ebal curse tablet, Aren Maeir offers some initial thoughts. At Haaretz, Nir Hasson provides a general overview along with some criticisms of the artifact and questions about how it was uncovered and exported. Shawn Zelig Aster weighs in on the inscription’s possible significance. James Davila observes that if the claims are accurate, the amulet would be the earliest inscribed metal amulet by a good five centuries, but he thinks it unlikely that the inscription is a defixio amulet from the Persian period or later.

Biblical Archaeology Review assistant editor Nathan Steinmeyer gives a short video tour atop the walls of Jerusalem (5 minutes, with no 2x option).

“Imagine learning the Bible not as a religious exercise, but as local history. In Israeli public schools, that’s the reality.”

New release: The Jewish Quarter Excavations in the Old City of Jerusalem: Conducted by Nahman Avigad 1969-1982: Vol. VIII: Architecture and Stratigraphy: The Palatial Mansion: Areas F-2, P and P-2. Edited by Hillel Geva.

Hillel Geva has retired from director of the Israel Exploration Society, and Rona Avissar Lewis is now in charge.

“Giants in Judges” is the subject in the most recent episode of the Biblical World podcast with Chris McKinny and Kyle Keimer.

HT: Agade, Arne Halbakken, Alexander Schick, Joseph Lauer

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About the BiblePlaces Blog

The BiblePlaces Blog provides updates and analysis of the latest in biblical archaeology, history, and geography. Unless otherwise noted, the posts are written by Todd Bolen, PhD, Professor of Biblical Studies at The Master’s University.

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