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“Researchers found traces of dysentery-causing parasites in material excavated from the cesspits below the two stone toilets that would have belonged to elite households” in Jerusalem. The underlying journal article is here.

A recreational swimmer discovered a shipwreck that included a cargo of 44 tons of marble blocks headed to the Roman port of Ashkelon or Gaza for an elite building project.

A 1st-century receipt was discovered in a 19th century excavation tunnel in Jerusalem.

“Tiny bones from prehistoric birds found at a birdwatching site in northern Israel have been identified as 12,000-year-old flutes.”

The “curse tablet” from Mt. Ebal has been published, but early reactions to the claims are not positive. The journal article is here.

Andy Cook has returned to the Pool of Siloam to give an update on why they haven’t discovered any more remains of the pool.

Carl Rasmussen writes about a new area in Caesarea being billed as the prison of Paul. Carl notes his misgivings with the identification.

In a recent article, Nadav Na’aman argues that the original center of Jerusalem was on the Temple Mount, not in the City of David. Haaretz provides a summary of the Tel Aviv journal article which is available to subscribers. (In my experience, Na’aman is quite good at being provocative but less good at being persuasive.)

Robert Mullins considers the implications of discovering the name of “Benyaw” inscribed on a storejar found at Abel Beth Maacah.

Chandler Collins raises questions about the hypothesis that Jerusalem’s population exploded because a mass of Israelite refugees arrived in the late 8th century BC.

Haaretz premium: “In Israel, everyone wants to excavate – from foreign volunteers to youth groups. But many archaeology experts, warning of damaged sites, now believe it’s time to slow down and focus on what’s already been unearthed.”

The summer issue of Biblical Archaeology Review includes stories on David and Solomon’s “invisible kingdom,” the lost treasures of the First Temple, and the Amorites.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, Ted Weis, Stephanie Durruty, Wayne Stiles, Alexander Schick, Gordon Franz, Explorator

The bulldozers working in the Pool of Siloam left this section for the archaeologists to carefully excavate. So far, no additional remains of the pool’s architecture have been discovered in this year’s work.

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Today we released a music video for Psalm 23, featuring the beautiful “Adonai Ro’i” song by Miqedem and illustrated with photos from our collection. The song is in Hebrew, the very words composed by David in ancient Judah 3,000 years ago, and played by a band of believers in Israel. I think it’s one of the best videos of Psalm 23 ever created.

You can watch the video here, and if you like it, it would be a great help if you could share, like, and comment. Thank you.

Title-slide-for-Psalm-23-video_r3th

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I mentioned in a recent roundup the strange quirk of publication timing that saw three of my articles published in one week. None of the three are about biblical archaeology or geography, but all are subjects I’ve been studying for some years, and all are very important to me. (Might that go without saying?) I’ll introduce the first one today, and save the second and third for the coming weeks.

My article on “The Date of the Davidic Covenant” was published in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (65.1). In this article, I argue that the Davidic Covenant was made with David early in his reign. This may sound obvious to one reading the narratives of 2 Samuel (where it occurs two chapters after his coronation in Jerusalem) or 1 Chronicles (also early in the narrative), but I haven’t been able to find one scholar in the last thirty years who has defended that view.

The chronology of David’s life was flipped in a proposal made by Eugene Merrill in the 1980s. He argued that since the rule of Hiram king of Tyre only overlapped with the final years of David’s life, he must have built David’s palace in those final years (2 Sam 5). Since the palace was built before the ark was transferred to Jerusalem (2 Sam 6), and the ark was transferred before the eternal covenant was made with David (2 Sam 7), all of these events occurred within a few years prior to David’s death. This quickly became the consensus view among conservative historians and commentators.

My article challenges this view by showing two things. First, the biblical text demands that the palace-ark-covenant events occurred early in David’s reign. It is not just one or two indicators, but multiple indicators that all consistently place these events soon after David conquered Jerusalem.

Second, I explain that the only evidence that provides the dates for Hiram’s reign is found in Josephus, a historian who lived 1,000 years later. I try to show why this data is insufficient to overturn the testimony of the biblical text.

I will be interested to see if my argument is deemed persuasive by the experts in the field. In circulating an earlier draft, I received positive feedback from Eugene Merrill and several other scholars.

Why does this matter? And why am I so passionate about it, particularly when teaching a course on the Psalms? The first thing is that I want to interpret the biblical text accurately. Second, I believe that it affects how you read David’s writings. If David received God’s promise to raise up a son to reign on his throne near the end of his days, he had relatively little time to reflect on that covenant. But if he was promised an eternal dynasty early on, it is most reasonable to expect that he wrote songs about his coming son and for his coming son. This chronology is an important basis for seeing a significant messianic component in many Davidic psalms, including Psalms 2, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 24, 26, 69, 101, 109, 110, 144, and others.

Members of ETS can view the entire issue online here, and others can view my article via my Academia page (or with this direct link).

Comments are appreciated, either here or by direct correspondence.

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An ancient stone weight dug up in Jerusalem has been found to be far heavier than the amount written on its surface, leading archaeologists to assume it was used to cheat in trading.” The discovery was presented at a conference in Jerusalem on Thursday (video in Hebrew here).

A report has recently been published on the overt and covert involvement of Israelis in archaeological research in the West Bank between 1948 and 1967.

Work has begun to renovate the bridge leading from the Western Wall plaza to the Temple Mount.

A new app allows visitors to explore the archaeological remains of the Church of the Glorious Martyr recently excavated near Beth Shemesh. The latest issue of BAR has more information about the church, and Owen Jarus provides a summary.

Archaeologists working in Saqqara used ancient Egyptian technology to raise a sarcophagus to the surface (3-min video).

Archaeologists announced the discovery of a settlement in Alexandria dating back to the 2nd century BC, including a sculpture of Alexander the Great.

“One of the most important religious centers of the ancient world, the city of Akhmim in southern Egypt is presented in the exhibit Akhmim: Egypt’s Forgotten City, currently on display in the James Simon Gallery of the Berlin State Museums.”

The “wine of Lebanon” mentioned by the prophet Hosea was famous in antiquity. An article in The Ancient Near East Today describes some new archaeological evidence for the production of Phoenician wine.

The skull of a woman who underwent the world’s first brain surgery will be reconstructed using a beeswax technique.

Norwegian authorities “confiscated approximately 100 antiquities from the extensive collection of Martin Schøyen which Iraqi authorities believe were illicitly removed from their country.”

On Sept. 19, Yosef Garfinkel will be speaking in the next Friends of ASOR webinar on the topic of “David, Solomon, and Rehoboam’s Kingdom—The Archaeological Evidence.”

On Dec 1, Andrea Berlin will be speaking in the BAS Scholars Series on “The Rise of the Maccabees:What Archaeology Reveals About Antiquity’s Last Independent Jewish Kingdom.”

This week’s program on The Book and the Spade: Ashkelon basilica, Sussita theater, missing walls, with Clyde Billington.

Lois Tverberg takes a Hebraic look at the gospel and its surprising bearers.

“For the Jewish New Year, Joan Nathan composes a dish that pays tribute to foods that the biblical Canaanites might have eaten.”

HT: Joseph Lauer, Agade, Arne Halbakken, Ted Weis, Alexander Schick

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The Iron Age gate at Megiddo often associated with Solomon has been reconstructed. This is particularly helpful because the Chicago expedition in the 1930s had completely removed one side of the gatehouse, making it difficult for visitors to visualize.

The following photos are provided courtesy of the Jezreel Valley Regional Project. A recent article on this gate and its predecessors and successors was published in 2019 by the Tel Aviv journal: “The Iron Age Gates of Megiddo: New Evidence and Updated Interpretations,” by Israel Finkelstein, Matthew J. Adams, Erin Hall, and Eythan Levy.

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The sign in front of the gate reads as follows:

Reconstruction of the Israelite Gate.

The Israel Nature and Parks Authority and the Israel Antiquities Authority have begun reconstruction of the gate from the time of the kings of Israel.

During the 1930s the western part of the gate was removed by the University of Chicago expedition in order to excavate beneath it.

We are currently reconstructing the gate and restoring it to its previous condition. After reconstruction is complete visitors will pass through the ancient gate on their way to tour the site.

The work is expected to take eight months.

We apologize for the temporary inconvenience and ask that you walk carefully on the authorized path.

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Two discoveries were announced this week that will both likely make the “top 10” list for 2021: a Jerubbaal inscription and a city wall of Jerusalem. Those will summarized at greater length here tomorrow and Monday.

Archaeologists have discovered remains of an uneaten pig in a house in the City of David dating to about 700 BC. The underlying journal article is here.

Two coins from the First and Second Jewish Revolts were discovered in an archaeological survey in eastern Benjamin. The survey report was published in the Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin.

Week 2 has concluded at the Tell es-Safi/Gath excavations, and Aren Maeir is faithful as always to post updates and photos. The most recent is here.

Eve Harow interviewed Aren Maeir on the Rejuvenation podcast.

Gordon Govier reviews the discoveries and developments in biblical archaeology this summer on The Book and the Spade podcast.

Once again, Bryan Windle has a post that you could adapt for a lecture or lesson, with his Top 10 Discoveries Related to Abraham.

“In ‘Legend of Destruction,’ Gidi Dar’s new film about the destruction of the Second Temple, artists David Polonsky and Michael Faust faced a serious challenge: make an animation movie composed entirely of still paintings. It took them eight years to complete” (Haaretz premium).

Glenn Schwartz believes that “the world’s first fully developed alphabetic writing arrived on the scene some 500 years earlier than what archaeologists have long believed.” Christopher Rollston offers his reflections.

New release: Ramat Raḥel VI: The Renewed Excavations by the Tel Aviv–Heidelberg Expedition (2005–2010). The Babylonian-Persian Pit, by Oded Lipschits, Liora Freud, Manfred Oeming, and Yuval Gadot. Save 30% with code NR21.

Excavation of the second Khufu Boat has concluded, and final restoration work is now being done at the Grand Egyptian Museum.

David Ian Lightbody writes about the origin of the cartouche in Old Kingdom Egypt.

Italian authorities have recovered 782 ancient artifacts stolen by a Belgian art collector.

“The Colosseum Archaeological Park reopens the House of the Vestal Virgins to the public fully on 6 July following an extensive restoration that began in 2013.”

The Museum with No Frontiers has launched a new website.

Here are some recent episodes on Digging for Truth:

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Ted Weis, Arne Halbakken, Steven Anderson, Charles Savelle, Roger Schmidgall, Explorator

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