I’ve heard that the text is close to going to the printer for the revised edition of the Encyclopedia Judaica. The original edition, published in 1972, has been an essential reference work on all subjects related to Jewish life and Israel. The new edition probably won’t be for sale for a year, I’d guess. The 16 volume set will cost $1900!
No one is claiming that this tomb will be as amazing as that of its neighbor, King Tut, but the fact that another intact tomb has been discovered is newsworthy in itself. The tomb dates to the late 18th dynasty, approximately the same time as King Tut, but the identity of the tomb is not yet known and probably does not belong to a pharaoh. Perhaps it was the tomb of a queen, noble or other court official. Or maybe the gardener, one archaeologist joked. CNN has the story with two photos. Yahoo has about half a dozen.
An ancient cemetery was uncovered in the southern Shephelah recently. The tombs are “6,000 years old” which makes it from the Chalcolithic period (though the article doesn’t specifically say). It does say that “The find yielded a treasure trove of ancient artifacts, including pottery, statues and jewelry all in mint-condition….He added that the find was the biggest of its kind and was invaluable for historians to deepen their understanding of the period.” I call the Chalcolithic age one of “surprising sophistication,” and this hoard could be good. The article is very brief but for the rest, see Haaretz. The photo is of an ossuary (burial box) from the Chalcolithic period, discovered elsewhere.
Note: despite the name similarity, Kiriath Gath is not near ancient Gath; the name was given to it early in the 20th century when the location of Gath was believed to be further south. Kiriath Gath is closer to biblical Lachish.
This might be the first blog dealing specifically with a single archaeological excavation in Israel. If they post regularly, it could prove to be interesting. Someone might want to work on the name. I’m not quite sure how it can be both The Official and Unofficial Weblog of the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project. If the excavation director is posting (and he is), it’s official.
Reports are just now surfacing that last month police found pieces of a mosaic floor from an ancient synagogue in an Arab car. The mosaic includes a menorah, palm branch (lulav), and an inscription which says “Peace on Israel.” The mosiac measures 2 x 3 feet and is believed to be from a 7th century A.D. synagogue in the area of Ramallah (vicinity of ancient Bethel). The thieves were arrested and so far have not divulged the location of the find. More information about the discovery is at Arutz-7, Jerusalem Newswire (but Ramallah is not ancient Ramah), and the AP. The graphic at right is from Arutz-7.
I may have missed it but I haven’t seen a snow report for Mount Hermon recently. Yesterday I drove up from Jerusalem to take a look. The slopes are open, but the coverage is disappointing from a photographer or hydrologist’s perspective. Watching the skiers on the slopes is rather amusing: at any given time, most of the ones in view are on the ground.