Sunday Software has a special on the Holy Land Satellite Atlas, volume 1, with a fly-over CD, produced by Rohr Productions (Richard Cleave). The atlas itself is splendid and hard to find. This is the atlas to get if you want to see the land of Israel and Jordan. The maps are very detailed (1:275,000, 1:150,000, and 1:100,000) and includes both satellite images and layer-tint views (see the book cover for an example of each). Gorgeous and instructive!

The CD is even more difficult to find. I’ve seen various editions of this CD and am not sure exactly which one is for sale here, but I think the following adjectives apply to all of the versions I’ve seen: unique, beautiful, and buggy. For those who use Google Earth, it should be noted that this CD is not as easy to navigate and the resolution is not as high as GE (contrary to what Sunday Software says). But there are some close-up shots of biblical sites which you don’t get on GE.

The regular price for both is $70, and it’s $5 off until Thanksgiving (Nov. 23). Unfortunately Sunday Software does not carry volume 2 and I can’t tell you where to get it. Rohr Productions has been consistent for years in producing some of the best materials for studying the Holy Land and then making it nearly impossible to buy them. (Sunday Software says you can contact Rohr directly about buying volume two; good luck in getting a response.)

There are a lot more details about the atlas and software at Sunday Software’s site. They also carry a set of beautiful posters of the Holy Lands. If you’re in a rush to get them though, you’ll be disappointed. It took over a month for my set to arrive (to a US address).


Unless you’re in the Israeli military, the best maps of the country are those produced by the Survey of Israel in the 1:50,000 series. The 20 maps cover the land from Dan to Eilat and cost about $20 each. The maps are very detailed and include all the dirt roads and hiking trails, making it ideal for 4x4ers and backpackers. They are in Hebrew only, but if you can read the Hebrew alphabet, the maps are useful. I love ’em and use them all the time. No GPS needed!

A couple other maps worthy of mention from the same website:
Israel-Jordan (1;400,000) – believe it or not, this is the best map of Jordan available anywhere. In English.

South Sinai (1:250,000) – another Israeli map that is better than anything produced by the country itself. In English.

Road Atlas – the easiest one for use when driving around in a car. Not as detailed as the 1:50,000, but if you’re staying on paved roads, this will suffice. It’s a spiral-bound book, similar to the Thomas Guides or Rand McNally atlases. In English.

Two other resources worth noting:

Survey of Western Palestine – maps from the 1870s, at a scale of 1:63,000. Considered the best source for knowledge of the country before the modern population explosion. Available as part of an 11-volume set for $4,000 here, or in electronic format from us for $35.

Maps of British Mandatory Palestine – maps from the 1940s, showing the current status of Arab and Jewish settlements. We’re not sure if these are available for sale anywhere, but BiblePlaces.com is working on publishing an electronic version of them. If you’re impatient, contact us directly.

If you’re looking more for maps to use in teaching contexts, see our review of “Electronic Maps for Bible Teaching, Part 1.” Part 2 has not yet been completed.


I mentioned this some months ago, but the 2nd edition of the Encyclopedia Judaica will soon be available for purchase. The 22-volume work includes 21,000 entries in 17,000 pages at a cost of $1,995. One entire volume is on Israel, and the Holocaust is the second longest entry. The Jerusalem Post has more details, or you can see the official website (one page only at this point), or pre-order it at Amazon. It’s due out December 8.


The sifting of debris removed from the Temple Mount continues under the direction of Dr. Gabriel Barkay and Tzachi Zweig, and Haaretz provides the latest update from the work there. Many artifacts have been revealed in the project.

The oldest artifacts found are remnants of tools like a blade and scraper dating back 10,000 years. Some potsherds and shards of alabaster tools date from the Bronze Age – the 3rd and 2nd millennia B.C.E. (the Canaanite and Jebusite eras). Only a handful of potsherds were found from the 10th century B.C.E. (the reigns of King David and King Solomon), but numerous artifacts date from the reigns of the later Judean kings (the 8th and 7th centuries B.C.E.), such as stone weights for weighing silver.

The most striking find from this period is a First Temple period bulla, or seal impression, containing ancient Hebrew writing, which may have belonged to a well-known family of priests mentioned in the Book of Jeremiah.

Many other findings date from the Persian period (Return to Zion), Hasmonean, Ptolemaic and Herodian periods, as well as from Second Temple times. Second Temple finds include remains of buildings: plaster shards decorated a rust-red, which Barkai says was fashionable at the time; a stone measuring 10 centimeters and on it a sophisticated carving reminiscent of Herodian decorations; and a broken stone from a decorated part of the Temple Mount – still bearing signs of fire, which Barkai says are from the Temple’s destruction in 70 C.E.

The Hebrew version of the article also includes a photograph of a bronze pendant and Roman and Babylonian arrowheads.

For background on where this all came from, see the photos and explanation here.


The Jerusalem Post reports on the ground-breaking for an archaeological center that will house a million objects. The 5-acre campus will be constructed between the Israel Museum and the Bible Lands Museum and is being funded by private donors.

The center will make public priceless archaeological treasures accumulated over the decades – including 15,000 Dead Sea Scrolls found in the Qumran excavations – which have heretofore been stored in the IAA headquarters at the Rockefeller Museum in east Jerusalem, out of the eye of the public. The plan of the building is based on the idea of an archaeological excavation, Safdie said. The building is arranged around three courtyards built along three descending levels. A dark glass canopy, reminiscent of the shade nets over archaeological excavations, will cover the main courtyard, which will serve as an open archaeological garden. A ring-like opening located in the canopy will allow rainwater to run into a pool situated in the courtyard below, creating a flowing waterfall. The three levels below it will be an open area that will include exhibition galleries, the largest library in the Middle East for the study of archaeology, a lecture hall and bridges overlooking the laboratories, and state treasures whose walls will be lined with glass curtains enabling the visitor to observe archaeological work in progress. The campus will also include the country’s nine-decade old archaeological archive, a 200-seat archaeological theater and an archaeological roof garden which will be used for the presentation of new finds.

The article says the center will be “opposite the Knesset between the Israel Museum and the Bible Lands Museum.”

Muslim officials are proceeding with plans to construct a minaret on the Temple Mount. This minaret will be located near the Golden Gate (arrow in photo above) and will be the tallest minaret in the complex at 134 feet (42 m) high. This will be the first minaret constructed in 639 years, as the other four (circled in photo above) were built between 1278 and 1367. The prayer tower will be Jordanian in style and will cost approximately $700,000.

Such a construction is a violation of the principle of status quo of disputed holy sites in Israel, and almost certainly will be built without any archaeological supervision. It is ironic that if one wants to build a cottage in a remote part of Israel and antiquities are present, then an excavation must take place. But if one wants to construct on one of the most important sites in the Holy Land, there are no such requirements.