Fabricus is a new “Google Arts & Culture Lab Experiment that uses machine learning to help translate ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs.”

New release: “a public, open platform for the Digital Library of the Middle East (DLME), which . . . aggregates, through an ongoing program, digital records of published materials, documents, maps, artifacts, audiovisual recordings, and more from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.”

From Meretseger Books: Digitized Treasures – 100 rare books now fully online and Pictures of Egypt – 15,000 photos of most sites in Egypt available for free use.

The auction of this selection from the Schoyen Collection is over, but the catalog of items providing a “history of Western script” may still be of interest.

Fifty titles from Brown Judaic Studies have been released in open access format.

The festschrift for James Hoffmeier, previously described on this blog here, is now available at 40% off with code NR18.

New: Studies in Literacy and Textualization in the Ancient Near East and in the Hebrew Scriptures: Essays in Honour of Professor Alan R. Millard, edited by Daniel I. Block, David C. Deuel, C. John Collins, Paul J. N. Lawrence (Pickwick, $49).

Eric Cline will be the first speaker in the Friends of ASOR’s new webinar series. The topic is “Digging Deeper: How Archaeology Works,” and it will be held on August 9 at 8 pm Eastern. Registration and payment is required.

The Annual Meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Society of Biblical Literature will be conducted virtually.

The International Virtual Conference on the Archaeology of Iran and Adjacent Regions will be held from July 20-21.

Alex Joffe looks at the possibility of pickles and pickling in the ancient Near East.

Though ancient temples were called “houses,” they did not look like houses.

The Louvre reopened, and the Vatican Museums are empty.

The Assyrian king Sennacherib is a great subject for the latest archaeological profile by Bryan Windle.

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


“Egypt archaeologist Kathleen Martinez is convinced that she has pinpointed the final resting place of Queen Cleopatra, after discovering 200 coins depicting her face at an ancient temple site in Alexandria.”

The Grand Egyptian Museum is 90% complete and will include the world’s first hanging obelisk.

Though unimpressive on the outside, the pyramid of Unas at Saqqara is filled with inscriptions from the Old Kingdom period.

Here is a list of five ancient tombs that scholars would like to find; four are Egyptian and one is Alexander the Great.

According to a new study, “the Hyksos were not invaders, but rather Asiatic immigrants who settled in Egypt – specifically in the Nile Delta region – lived there for centuries and eventually managed to stage a takeover of power.” (Underlying journal article here.)

Egypt is in a dispute with Ethiopia over a dam that could severely restrict the Nile River’s water supply.

“The early inhabitants of Lisan Peninsula, on the southern corner of the Dead Sea, explored the potential of the spring waters for irrigation.”

“Archaeologists were able to uncover more than 14,000 settlement sites in northeastern Syria thanks to help from satellite technology from NASA’s Shuttle Radar Topography Mission.”

French archaeologists are conducting “secret excavations” in a part of Syria occupied by the YPG/PKK.

The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul has been converted into a mosque. Greece is threatening to impose sanctions.

A Luwian inscription discovered in Turkey may provide evidence of the famous King Midas.

Leon Mauldin shows how Perga’s watercourse provides a picture of the new Jerusalem’s river of the water of life.

Carl Rasmussen explains the relevance of the Lycian Confederation to the history of the United States.

Carlotta Gall and photographer Mauricio Lima visited the Hasankeyf valley repeated for a half a year to witness its destruction as the waters rose behind the Ilisu Dam.

An underwater museum in Alonissos, the first in Greece, will open to visitors next month.

Pamela Gaber examines Cypriot sculpture from the Iron Age.

A new museum in Gozo, Malta, will incorporate an ancient Roman quarry into its layout.

There is controversy over the proposal to add a roof to the tomb of Augustus in Rome.

The entire collection of the Museum of Anthropology in Tehran was stolen by a burglar.

“7 Sides of a Cylinder” is a compilation of 7 videos about the Cyrus Cylinder and its significance to young Iranians.

A tourist describes a recent visit to Iran.

Archaeologists are discovering architectural remains from the time of the Medes at Ecbatana.

David Stronach, founding Director of the British Institute of Persian Studies and excavator of Pasargadae, has died.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Alexander Schick, Ted Weis, Explorator, Jared Clark


Joe Uziel, the new head of the Dead Sea Scrolls unit for the Israel Antiquities Authority, discusses his position and plans.

The Jerusalem Post profiles the work of Tanya Bitler, “currently the only person in the world who can touch and handle the legendary Dead Sea Scrolls.”

Researchers have analyzed more than 100 fingerprints on Bronze Age vessels excavated at the city of Gath. The underlying journal article is available here.

A stash of Jordanian ammunition was found at the bottom of a water cistern near the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

The Smithsonian Magazine has a short story on rock art discovered on dolmens in northern Israel.

The two issues this year of Jerusalem Quarterly are devoted to “Palestine from Above: Surveillance, Cartography and Control,” with several articles on aerial photography.

A Times of Israel podcast provides a 30-minute tour of excavations near the Western Wall plaza.

Ze’ev Orenstein gives a 35-minute video tour of the City of David.

John DeLancey’s latest video tour is of Caesarea Maritima.

Ferrell Jenkins shares some interesting photos of storks that he has taken in Israel and Turkey.

Ash-sharq is a new, peer reviewed journal devoted to short and long articles on the archaeology, history and society of the Ancient Near East.”

“The editors of the Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception (EBR) Online talk about the content, development and relevance of EBR Online for theologians and humanities faculty (recording of a live webinar).”

A fine painting by Gustav Bauernfeind of Jerusalem around the turn of the 20th century will be auctioned by Sotheby’s on July 28.

LifeWay is going with an archaeology theme for next summer’s Vacation Bible School.

Steven Anderson highlights some new resources for biblical studies, including his interpretive guides, SoundCloud playlists of the Hebrew Bible, and the Syriac-English New Testament.

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


**When we updated our blog design earlier this month, we accidentally broke the system that sends posts out by email. With that now fixed, we are re-posting the recent roundups, one part each day through Friday.**

The digs may have stopped, but the stories have not. With no roundups the last two weeks, I have more than 60 items of interest to share in the coming days.

A seal and a seal impression found in Jerusalem are rare discoveries from the Persian period.

“A Second Temple period Jewish ritual bath was discovered by chance last month in the Lower Galilee and a group of locals are trying to save it from its current destiny of destruction.” There’s a video report here.

“A new study carried out on pottery items uncovered in the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron suggests the cave . . . was used and visited as a pilgrimage site during the First Temple Period.”

A new study suggests that many cisterns in the Negev may date back not to the Iron Age but to the Bronze Age. (Journal article for purchase here.)

The cancelled archaeology department at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has found a new home at Lipscomb University in Nashville.

Steven Ortiz, formerly of SWBTS, is interviewed by Bryan Windle in the latest in the Discussions with the Diggers series.

Mark Lanier, who helped bring the SWBTS program to Lipscomb, is interviewed on The Book and the Spade.

Moshe Garsiel has proposed a new theory to support the location of Tell es-Sharia as biblical Ziklag.

Aren Maeir visited the excavations at Tel Hadid, which along with Tell Abu Shusha and Tel Azekah, is one of the few excavations in Israel that were not cancelled this summer.

A study claims that buses and shuttles are a better solution than the planned Old City cable car project.

A couple of officials of the City of David organization give a 40-minute tour of the Siloam Pool and the Pilgrimage Road to the Temple Mount.

Biblical Israel Ministries and Tours is hosting a “Top 10 Israel Photos” contest and offering prizes.

Accordance is offering a number of its graphics collections at big discounts, including:

  • Bible Lands PhotoGuide (all 6): $74.90
  • Pictorial Library of Bible Lands: Cultural Images of the Holy Land: $24.90
  • Pictorial Library of Bible Lands: Trees, Plants, and Flowers of the Holy Land: $24.90
  • Historic Views of the Holy Land: Views That Have Vanished: $24.90
  • Historic Views of the Holy Land: American Colony Collection: $89.90
  • Virtual Tour to the Temple: $39.90
  • The Virtual Bible (Enhanced): 3D Reconstructions of the Biblical World: $19.90
  • The Add-On Bundles include many resources at very good prices ($59; $119).

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Alexander Schick, Ted Weis, Charles Savelle, Jared Clark, Explorator


Previously, on BiblePlaces.com Blog

We highlighted a small museum located in the German Protestant Institute of Archaeology in the Holy Land. You may want to read that post first. The founder of this museum was Gustaf Dalman (1855-1941), a key figure in the development of the Institute. His collections populate most of the museum’s displays.

Dalman first visited the Holy Land for an extended time in 1899, and he lived there continuously from 1902 until the outbreak of World War I in 1914. Though he was able to return two more times, the war essentially brought an end to Dalman’s activity in the Holy Land, and thereafter he researched it remotely from the Institute of Palestinology in Greifswald, Germany.

Photo sources: left, right.

In last week’s post, we mentioned the aspects of Palestinian life and the various fields of study that Dalman investigated as part of his encyclopedic research. Although some of Dalman’s writings have been translated into English, his most important work was not, at least not till now. Dalman’s magnum opus was a seven-volume work (in eight parts) entitled Arbeit und Sitte in Palästina, or Work and Customs in Palestine. An eighth volume was incomplete at the time of his death, and not until 2001 were the notes for this volume finally published. Below are the subjects covered by the eight volumes. At the very end of this post, you can view/download the detailed contents for Volume 1, Part 1. This should give a very good sense for the breadth and depth of these volumes.

  • Vol. 1, part 1: Course of the Year and Course of the Day: Autumn and Winter
  • Vol. 1, part 2: Course of the Year and Course of the Day: Spring and Summer
  • Vol. 2: Agriculture
  • Vol. 3: From Harvest to Flour: Harvesting, Threshing, Winnowing, Sieving, Storing, Milling
  • Vol. 4: Bread, Oil and Wine
  • Vol. 5: Textiles, Spinning, Weaving and Clothing
  • Vol. 6: Tent Life, Cattle and Dairy Farming, Hunting, FishingVol. 7: The house, Chicken Breeding, Pigeon Breeding, Beekeeping
  • Vol. 8: Domestic Life, Birth, Marriage and Death (it was also intended to include Singing and Music)
Photo source: Antiquariat an der Uni Muenchen.

Dalman, Gustaf H.
    1928-1942    Arbeit und Sitte in Palästina. 7 vols. Gütersloh: C. Bertelsmann.
    2001            Arbeit und Sitte in Palästina, Vol. 8: Fragment aus dem Nachlass. Berlin: Walter De Gruyter.

Dalman’s work is perhaps the most important window into pre-modern, agricultural/pastoral world of the Holy Land. Along with photographs like the Matson Collection, this is about as close as we today can get to seeing and experiencing daily life in Bible times. Yet, for so many of use who do not possess facility in the German tongue, Arbeit und Sitte in Palästina has remained inaccessible. That is why, a few years ago, it was exciting to find out that Arbeit und Sitte in Palästina is being translated into English. It is Nadia Abdulhadi-Sukhtian to whom we are in the debt for executing the translation. Volume 1, parts 1 and 2, were published in 2013.

Dalman, Gustaf H.
    2013    Work and Customs in Palestine, Vol. 1, Parts 1 and 2: The Course of the Year and the Course of the Day. Trans. Nadia Abdulhadi-Sukhtian. Ramallah: Dar Al Nasher.

Part 1 is available here. Part 2 is available here.

While preparing this post, we discovered that Volume 2 was published just this year. We are glad to see the project is moving along.

Dalman, Gustaf.
    2020    Work and Customs in Palestine, Vol. 2: Agriculture. Trans. Robert Schick. Ed. Nadia Abdulhadi-Sukhtian. Ramallah: Dar Al Nasher.

The only place where Volume 2 appears to be available is here. (Be advised that shipping appears to take one to one-and-a-half months.)

Detailed Contents of Volume 1, Part 1: The Course of the Year and the Course of the Day

ADDED NOTE: One of our readers visited the grave of Gustaf Dalman in the town of Herrnhut, Germany. Here is a photograph the reader sent.


(Post by A.D. Riddle)

Several years ago, Chris McKinny wrote a series of posts named “Secret Places.” We resurrect it now to draw your attention to another little-known museum in Jerusalem.

If you have been to Israel a few times, and names like Edward Robinson or Charles Warren are starting to mean something to you, then you may want to add this museum to your next visit.

The museum is located within the compound of Augusta Victoria church/hospital on top of the Mount of Olives. The church’s bell tower is a prominent landmark that can be seen at some distance from several directions. You have certainly seen it, even if you were not aware of what it was.

The German Protestant Institute of Archaeology in the Holy Land occupies a house located right behind (east of) the church. As you walk in from the main gate and follow the road to the right, you will see green signs in front of the church that direct you towards the “German Institute of Archaeology.”

The museum is located in the lower story of this house. It highlights the work of Conrad Schick, Gottlieb Schumacher, and especially Gustaf Dalman. On display you will find large models of Jerusalem and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher constructed by Schick, survey instruments used by Schumacher to draw maps and plans, as well as signs with biographical details.

Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period, 1:25,000 scale.
Wood and cardboard model by Conrad Schick, 1867.

Most of the museum, however, is dedicated to the work of Gustaf Dalman. Dalman was the first director of the Institute. His name may be familiar to some readers as the author of Sacred Sites and Ways: Studies in the Topography of the Gospels (1935), one of the few works by Dalman translated into English. He was an expert in the study of, well, pretty much anything related to the Holy Land.

“Dalman’s main aim and starting point was to shed light on the biblical and post-biblical past of Palestine. Instead of only studying texts and relics of the past, and the Bible, he studied the daily activities and customs of the Arab population of Palestine…he combined anthropology, comparative religion, music, and biblical schalarship with geography, geology, botany, astrology, meteorology and zoology into a…new multi-disciplinary field of study…Palestinology”
(Abdulhadi-Sukhtian 2013: vii–viii).

Dalman recorded and collected just about anything you can imagine, and many of these collections are represented in the museum: photographic slides, ancient pottery and coins, herbs, rocks, and limestone models of tombs, presses and Palestinian houses. The models have removable roofs and walls so you can see the interior layout of the structures. It is a little mind-boggling that one man produced all this work.

Limestone models of Palestinian houses.

Theologians and pastors would come to the Institute for a three-month course taught by Dalman. A map in the museum shows his itinerary for field trips and a display case contains Dalman’s personal copy of Baedeker Palestine and Syria guidebook.

Gustaf Dalman’s personal materials, including business cards and Baedeker guide.

The museum is not large. You are free to visit, but the Institute requests that you call or email beforehand if you have a group. I would recommend keeping groups very small—ten people would start to feel crowded. A visit will only take about an hour, and most of the labels and signs provide English translations. While you are in the Augusta Victoria compound, the church has a collection of inscribed ossuaries in one of the side rooms. Some of the ossuaries have names like Matthew, Jesus, and Mary. The church also has a life-size replica of the ark of the covenant, and the Bibles of Kaiser Wilhelm II and Empress Augusta Victoria. From the top of the bell tower, on a not-particularly clear day, I was able to make out Baal Hazor, Nebi Samwil, the Dead Sea, and Herodium. It provides a nice view of Jerusalem’s Old City as well.

Contact information for the German Protestant Institute can be found on their website.

Abdulhadi-Sukhtian, Nadia, trans.
    2013    Work and Customs in Palestine, Vol. 1: The Course of the Year and the Course of the Day. 2 parts. Ramallah: Dar Al Nasher.

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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