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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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A new genizah discovered in the Cairo Jewish cemetery last month has been emptied by employees of the Egyptian Antiquities Authority.

“A man plowing his farm in Turkey’s central Çorum province discovered a rare 3,300-year-old ancient bracelet from the Hittite era.”

The Jerusalem Post profiles “Trowelblazers,” a project that celebrates “women’s contributions in the ‘digging sciences’ of archaeology, geology and paleontology.”

The Tower of the Winds in Athens is the oldest meteorological station in the world.”

The Lycian Way is a 335-mile marked hiking trail in southwestern Turkey that passes by 25 historical sites, including Myra and Patara.

New release: Bible Lore and the Eternal Flame: A Numismatic, Historical, and Archaeological Trip through Biblical Times, by Kenneth Bressett; foreword by David Hendin.

New release from Eisenbrauns: The 2006 Season at Tall al-‘Umayri and Subsequent Studies, edited by Larry G. Herr, Douglas R. Clark, Lawrence T. Geraty, and Monique D.
Vincent. Save 30% with code NR22.

Zoom lecture on April 13: “Digging Homer: The Mycenaean Palace at Iklaina & Birth of Greek Epic Poetry,” by Michael Cosmopoulos ($7).

Bible Mapper has released a number of new maps:

Joseph Blenkinsopp died on March 26.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, Explorator

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Hi-tech residue analysis of 6th-century BCE jug sherds shows that ancient Jerusalem’s elite imported vanilla from southeast Asia to flavor their wine.”

“Plans are underway to move Megiddo prison in order to excavate the Israeli church with the earliest mosaic dedicated to Jesus.” (I double-checked the date of this story; it says 2022, though it could have run in 2012.)

Nadav Shragai explains why Turkey’s President Erdogan will not return the Siloam Inscription to Jerusalem.

Christopher Rollston identifies some problems with the announcement of the Mount Ebal curse inscription. (Since the original posting, he has added an addendum regarding the “altar.”) Luke Chandler also urges caution.

A shipwreck discovered near Ma’agan Michael on the northern coast of Israel provides a rare view into commerce in the land of Israel circa AD 700.

Ruth Schuster tells the story of the first modern explorers to discover that the Dead Sea is below sea level.

Israel 21c lists 10 amazing Jewish archaeological finds that were discovered by accident.

A trailer has been posted for Gesher Media’s new documentary series, “In Those Days.” “This series will explore the biblical, historical, cultural, and archaeological backgrounds of the story of the tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant from Mount Sinai to the building of the First Temple.”

The Jerusalem Post reviews Raiders of the Hidden Ark, by Graham Addison. The book is an account of Montague Parker’s ill-fated expedition to Jerusalem.

This Week in the Ancient Near East podcast: “The early Iron Age site of Har Adir in the mountains of the Upper Galilee is back in the news. Was this an 11th century fortress of a local polity or a bird watching sanctuary?”

Leen Ritmeyer illustrates the transformation of Peter’s house in Capernaum into a house church.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, Explorator

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“Egyptian archaeologists have discovered five ancient painted tombs at a cemetery in Saqqara.”

John Currid explains the significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls 75 years after their discovery.

“In a sweeping global police operation targeting illegal trafficking in cultural objects earlier this month, INTERPOL arrested 52 people and seized 9,408 cultural artifacts from around the world including archaeological antiquities.”

“The Bible Seminary in Katy, Texas, is hosting an exhibit of over 170 artifacts from Israel at their exhibit titled ‘Joshua, Judges and Jesus.’”

A PhD archaeology student offers insights into pursuing a doctorate in the field.

There apparently were a few female gladiators in ancient Rome.

In a livestream event this week, Jack Green presented on “Archaeology, Community and Public Health in Palestine: Insights from the Olga Tufnell Archive.”

Webinar on April 3: “Back to the Field: Recent Discoveries & Summer Plans 2022,” with Lorenzo d’Alfonso, Kathryn Grossman, and James R. Strange.

“The Mesorah Heritage Foundation is celebrating the completion of the Schottenstein Edition of the Talmud Yerushalmi in English, a truly historic accomplishment in the Jewish world.” The release is accompanied by a 20-minute video, “The World of Talmud Yerushalmi.”

The Infusion Bible Conference has released a press kit to make it easy to share details about the conference with churches.

On the History in 3D YouTube channel: “Virtual Ancient Rome: Walking from the Colosseum to the Forum.”

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