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“A team of archaeologists in Egypt has discovered the 4,300-year-old tomb of a man named Mehtjetju, an official who claimed that he had access to ‘secret’ royal documents.

Images of 46 birds arranged in two rows were discovered at the Temple of Esna in Luxor, Egypt, during an Egyptian-German expedition this month.”

A recently discovered tunnel at Basbük in southeastern Turkey has revealed [Neo-Assyrian] artwork depicting eight gods, three of which were labeled with Aramaic inscriptions.”

“A spectacular ancient mosaic floor that was part of a building from the Hellenistic period is among the important finds from excavations carried out recently at Fabrika Hill in Kato Paphos, Cyprus.”

Lexundria is a digital library of classical antiquity. Although most of the texts on this site can be found elsewhere on the internet, this project aims to make them accessible in a more research-friendly format.”

The Toronto Tribune interviews Steven Fine about the Arch of Titus in Rome.

“Preserving the Biblical Past: A History of Archaeology at La Sierra University” is a 95-minute presentation given at the university’s recent homecoming celebration. Highlights of their decades-long Jordan excavations include the “best-preserved 4-room house” (~17 min), a “King’s House” inscription (~25 min), and the “earliest Moabite national script” specimen (~37 min) resembling that of the Mesha Stele. At the end, they share plans for a new archaeological museum in Madaba.

New release: Pearl of the Desert: A History of Palmyra, by Rubina Raja (Oxford, 2022; $30).

New release: Tall Zirā´a. The 2018 and 2019 Excavation Campaigns. The Iron Age, Hellenistic and Early Roman Period in Area II, The Gadara Region Project (2001–2011). Final Report 9, edited by Katharina Schmidt. (Free download here)

BASONOVA Webinar on May 25: “Sacred Prostitution and the Cult of Aphrodite/Venus in Roman Corinth,” by Barbette Spaeth ($7)

Accordance has a big sale on both OT (5 vols) and NT (4 vols) sets of the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary ($136 for all).

Recent episodes on Digging for Truth:

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

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The alabaster for two of Herod’s bathtubs was quarried not in Egypt but in the Te’omim cave in the Judean hills.

Excavators are claiming that the stump of a juniper tree, discovered near Eilat, may be the oldest Asherah ever found.

A new season of excavations has begun at the Apollonia-Arsuf Crusader fortress on the coast near Herzilya.

“In one of the biggest busts in Israeli history, the Israel Antiquities Authority’s theft prevention unit has recovered over 1,800 ancient artifacts from an unlicensed dealer in the central Israeli city of Modiin. Mostly coins and jewelry, the artifacts also included cuneiform tablets and bronze statuettes.”

Israel’s supreme court has “rejected four petitions against a controversial plan to build a cable car to Jerusalem’s historic Old City, shutting down the legal opposition route for opponents of the plan.”

A renovation project on an ancient Samaritan priestly residential compound is the first step in making the Mount Gerizim archaeological park more welcoming to tourists.

The latest issue of Tel Aviv includes several articles on Iron Age Jerusalem. The titles and abstracts are free, but access to the articles requires subscription.

Virtual tour on June 8: The Room of the Last Supper and Jerusalem, with Museum of the Bible and DIVE (Digital Interactive Virtual Experiences); $20

A colleague of mine at The Master’s University was honored last month by the publication of a festschrift: Written for Our Instruction: Essays in Honor of William Varner. Among the many interesting essays, two are of particular relevance to this blog:

  • “Where Did David Go? David’s Wilderness Wanderings and the Testing of God’s Son,” by Abner Chou (my new boss)
  • “‘What Have I Done in Comparison with You?’: The Itinerary of Gideon’s Pursuit of the Midianites in Judges 7–8,” by Chris McKinny (with additional color maps on Academia)

Andy Cook of Secrets from Ancient Paths has just posted “The life-saving lesson of Bet Shemesh” (5 min).

Joel Kramer at Expedition Bible has released some new videos (4-10 min ea.):

Bruce Cresson died last week. He was director or co-director of excavations at Aphek-Antipatris, Dalit, Ira, Uza, Radum, and Malhata.

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

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“Archaeologists from an Egyptian archaeological mission have discovered 85 tombs, a watch tower and a temple site at Gabal El Haridi in the Sohag region of Egypt.”

“A bungled looting scheme has led archaeologists to an underground Iron Age complex in Turkey that may have been used by a fertility cult during the first millennium B.C.”

“The skeleton of a woman who lived in the 1st century BC lying on her [bronze] bed was uncovered by Greek archaeologists recently near the city of Kozani, northern Greece.”

A $35 purchase at a Goodwill store in Austin, Texas, turned out to be an authentic Roman bust from the time of Christ.

Restoration work on the ancient Greek theater at Laodicea has been completed.

The Greek Reporter describes four astronomical discoveries made in ancient Greece.

“Iranian archaeology professors have published an open letter calling on parliament to step back from a draft law that would allow trade in antiquities.”

A new exhibition at the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries—Tutankhamun: Excavating the Archives—marks the 100th anniversary of the discovery.”

Hybrid workshop on May 19: “Was There a Synagogue in the Athenian Agora,” led by Jocelyn Burney. Register here.

The 25th Annual Bible and Archaeology Fest will be a 2-day virtual event on October 8 and 9, with Carol Meyers giving the plenary lecture.

Bible History Daily: “The Israel Museum’s “Visualizing Isaiah” online exhibit invites you on a journey through a rich selection of objects from the museum’s collections that portray the life and times of the prophet Isaiah.”

Video has just been released of the press conference after Daniel didn’t get eaten by lions.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, Wayne Stiles, Charles Savelle

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A $3 million grant will allow the National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel to open by the end of 2022, more than 8 years after its original schedule.

“A new study of trash heaps at rest stops along the ancient Incense Route in the Negev Desert shows it was a two-way street for trade.”

Hybrid conference on May 18: “The First International Academic Conference on New Studies in Temple Mount Research,” featuring many important scholars in Jerusalem studies. Registration and a small fee is required.

“Australia’s only academic program dedicated to the study of Ancient Israel was officially launched at the Australian Catholic University (ACU) last week.” The program will support a new archaeological excavation at Lachish.

In Haaretz, Ruth Schuster uses a recent essay published by Shimon Gibson to discuss the location of where Jesus was baptized. Don’t expect much; this is the worst article I’ve read this year.

Andy Cook has released a new video about the Dead Sea, including drone footage that shows how much the water has receded in the last century.

John DeLancey’s latest devotion from Israel is on Psalm 23. Another recent video shows his run up Masada’s Snake Path.

David Moster addresses the question, “What did ancient Hebrew sound like?” in a new 6-minute video.

Three Hebrew speakers—one Yemenite, one Samaritan, and one Israeli—have a 20-minute conversation to see if they can understand each other.

New release: His Inheritance – A Memorial Volume for Adam Zertal, edited by Ralph K. Hawkins, Erasmus Gaß, and Dror Ben-Yosef (Ugarit-Verlag, 2022).

Abigail Leavitt gives some background to the writing of her new book, The El-Burnat (A) Structure(s): Joshua’s Altar?

Philip Long is leading a tour around Israel now, and he describes some new sites in Jerusalem he visited earlier this week.

Aren Maeir shares photos from the (short) spring season at Tell es-Safi/Gath.

Walking the Text’s recommended resource of the month is Biblical Backgrounds. (I will have more to say about the resources of this fine organization soon, but I’m happy to spread the word now.)

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

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There’s a brand new excavation opportunity this summer at a site usually identified with Joshua’s hometown of Timnath Heres. The site of Kh. Tibna/Tel Timna has never before been excavated, and this July Dvir Raviv and Avraham Tendler of Bar Ilan University are launching an excavation and survey project in the western hill country of Ephraim.

I’m not sure if I can explain it, but I’ve long had a special attraction toward this site. Perhaps it is related to its beautiful location in the hills that enjoy the afternoon breezes from the Mediterranean. Perhaps it is owing to its remoteness—I have only visited once, and I don’t remember any of my friends or colleagues telling me that they had traveled there. Perhaps it is the fact that of all the places that Joshua could have chosen as his inheritance as one of the two faithful spies, he chose this site to spend his remaining years after the conquest (Josh 19:49-50).

Timnath-serah, Khirbet Tibnah, from east, tb071304492

Kh. Tibna, possibly biblical Timnath Heres

In any case, this summer is the first time that an archaeological spade will begin revealing the secrets of the site. Initial surveys indicate that the city was particularly important during the Iron Age II and the Early Roman periods. There is evidence of a Hellenistic-Hasmonean fortress, and the site may have been a regional capital in the time of Jesus.

The excavation runs from July 24 to August 19, and university credit is available for those interested. The cost of participating ($240/week) is much lower than at many other excavations ($500-$1000/week). They are also offering weekly lectures and fieldtrips. This might be the opportunity you’ve been looking for.

The expedition’s Facebook page is mostly in Hebrew, but you can see some photos there. See the graphic below for contact addresses.

Tel Timna 1

Tel Timna 2

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The first-ever discovery of a soldier bearing the title of “Emperor’s protector” was made on a sarcophagus found in western Turkey.

“A 2nd-century funerary altar marking the remains of a 13-year-old girl was discovered in Rome.”

Hundreds of engraved stones and fragmented bas-relief carvings have recently been discovered in the ruined Tachara Palace” in Persepolis.

“Analysis of Bronze Age daggers has shown that they were used for processing animal carcasses and not as non-functional symbols of identity and status, as previously thought.”

“Lebanon’s tourism ministry inaugurated on Friday a Phoenician museum in the coastal city of Jounieh.”

Pharaoh So is the last of five Egyptian pharaohs in Bryan Windle’s archaeological biography series.

Chris Stantis writes about warriors and warrior burials in the ancient Near East.

Bible History Daily provides an introduction to a current BAR magazine article on dig workers in the Middle East. The article itself derives from more extensive reporting in Allison Mickel’s Why Those Who Shovel Are Silent: A History of Local Archaeological Knowledge and Labor.

“A British tourist could face the death penalty in Iraq after being accused of smuggling artifacts out of the country.”

A new study concludes that the Shroud of Turin is similar to a piece of fabric found at Masada in the 1st century AD.

The Ancient World Online has updated its extensive list of Oriental Institute Open Access Publications.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, Ryan Jaroncyk, Jared Clark, Charles Savelle, Explorator

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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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