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“Scientists have reconstructed the Eastern Mediterranean silver trade, over a period including the traditional dates of the Trojan War, the founding of Rome, and the destruction of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem.”

A survey has located 11 new hills around Gobeklitepe, and a major study will be released in September. Tourism officials are referring to the area as “12 hills” and the “pyramids of southeast Turkey.”

An excavation of an underground complex in the Western Wall Tunnels is a candidate for an international award.

“For the first time, a large, commercial flour mill has joined scientists and other experts to revive the lost varieties of wheat of the Land of Israel.”

The oldest living olive tree is 3,000 years old and located on the island of Crete.

Carl Rasmussen explains, with photos, how the Lycian League was a model for the United States.

The first issue of the Jerusalem Journal of Archaeology is a special issue on “State Formation Processes in the 10th Century BCE Levant”, edited by A. Faust, Y. Garfinkel and M. Mumcuoglu. All 16 articles may be downloaded for free.

The SBL website has an updated list of works in their ANE Monographs series, all available for purchase or free download.

New release: The Archaeology of Daily Life: Ordinary Persons in Late Second Temple Israel, by David A. Fiensy

Cyndi Parker’s course on historical geography is now available on BiblicalTraining (free with registration).

Danya Belkin writes about 11 adventures in Israel, including rappelling, parasailing, wakeboarding, snorkeling, and camel riding.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, Charles Savelle, Explorator

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A number of lectures related to the archaeology of Jerusalem have now been posted from the Cambridge Symposium held in March 2019.

The official title of the gathering was “The Ancient City of David: Recent Archaeological Exploration of Jerusalem. An Academic Symposium co-organized by Megalim: The City of David Institute and Von Hugel Institute of St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge.”

I’ve organized the available recordings in chronological order by topic. The lectures range in length from 13 to 45 minutes, with most approximately 25 minutes.

Jerusalem in the Old Testament era:

Ronny Reich: The Controversy over Jerusalem’s Fortifications in the Middle Bronze Age

Gabriel Barkay: An Egyptian Temple in Canaanite Jerusalem?

Dan Gil: The Enigmatic Subterranean Waterworks of Biblical Jerusalem

Hagai Misgav: Considerations in the Publication of Epigraphical Finds: The Bulla of “Isaiah the Prophet” – A Case Study

Jerusalem in the New Testament era:

Eyal Meiron: Were the Remains of the Seleucid Akra Fortress Found in Jerusalem?: An Alternative View

Nahshon Szanton: The Dating of the Stepped Street in Jerusalem in Light of the New Excavations in the Tyropoeon Valley

Ronny Reich: Jerusalem as a Pilgrimage City in the Early Roman Period

Avi Solomon, Joe Uziel and Tehillah Liebermann: Jerusalem as Seen from Above – and Beneath – Wilson’s Arch in the Early and Late Roman Period

Hillel Geva: The Upper City in Second Temple Period Jerusalem on the Eve of the Roman Destruction

Additional lectures:

Yosef Garfinkel: The Enigma of the United Monarchy in the 10th Century BC: A View from Hurvat Qeiyafa

Moran Hajbi: A Recently Discovered Monumental Structure from post-70 AD and the Pre-Aelia Capitolina Period at the Stepped Street Excavations in the City of David

Gabriel Barkay: Highlights from the Temple Mount Sifting Project in Jerusalem

HT: G. M. Grena

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Archaeologists discovered a stone anchor in an underwater dig at Tel Dor.

Archaeologists have announced the discovery of 150 clay sealings from a Neolithic site in the Beth Shean Valley.

The Israeli team excavating el-Araj (Bethsaida?) signed a collaboration agreement with an Italian university for the exchange of researchers and students.

Five suspects were arrested after they were caught carrying out an illegal excavation in Galilee.

“Israel has opened its first underwater national park at the ancient port city of Caesarea, where divers can tour the 2,000-year-old remains of what was once a major complex extending into the sea.”

Israel will begin allowing individual tourists to arrive on July 1.

Jodi Magness discussed toilet issues at Qumran in a recent lecture.

The June issue of Near Eastern Archaeology includes a study from Gath on bone projectiles.

The three-day “Caesarea Maritima Conference” will begin on June 13 at 3:15 pm and continue through June 15 at 9:00 pm (Israel Time).

Eilat Mazar will be honored on July 1 with an evening of lectures by Amihai Mazar, Gabriel Barkay, Yitzhak Dvira, and Reut Ben Aryeh (in Hebrew).

“The years of archaeological excavations Israel has conducted at the Temple Mount have yielded no proof that the Temple ever existed in Jerusalem, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said Monday evening.”

Bryan Windle has put together a very impressive list of “Top Ten Discoveries Related to David.”

Israel’s Good Name spent a day on Mount Hermon after it snowed.

New: Ancient Israel: From Abraham to the Roman Destruction of the Temple, 4th edition, edited by John Merrill and Hershel Shanks.

If you get Wayne Stiles and me in a room together, we’ll end up talking about the top 10 discoveries in Israel’s archaeology.

HT: Agade, Arne Halbakken, Ted Weis, Explorator, Charles Savelle, Paleojudaica

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Just as the Biblical Museum of Natural History was about to open in Beit Shemesh, “a plague of biblical proportions struck.” Virtual tours are available at the museum’s website. They are also offering a new book by the museum’s director, The Torah Encyclopedia of the Animal Kingdom, Vol. 1: Wild Animals.

The Hashemite Custodianship of Jerusalem’s Islamic and Christian Holy Sites 1917-2020 CE: White Paper, by the The Royal Aal Al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought (108pp). The labeled photograph of the Temple Mount on page 81 may be of particular interest.

New from Appian: An 80-page study guide to accompany “Lessons from the Land: The Gospels.”

“In Search of King David’s Lost Empire” is a long piece by Ruth Margalit that reviews the history of the maximalist-minimalist debate. Some responses by Eilat Mazar, Gabriel Barkay and others may be found here.

Assyrian soldiers had the edge with the invention of the socketed arrowhead. The underlying IEJ article is on Academia.

An article in the Jerusalem Post summarizes a recent BAR article on life at Tel Hadid near Gezer after the Assyrians deported the Israelites.

Israel should preserve more archaeological sites uncovered in salvage digs, argue some archaeologists. The article reports that there are 35,000 ancient sites in the country.

Tony Cartledge describes his experience in excavating a 12th-century Canaanite temple at Lachish, including his wife’s discovery of what turned out to be a scepter.

Charles Savelle links to three podcast episodes he has enjoyed on Thutmose III and the Battle of Megiddo.

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

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Israel has announced the creation of seven new nature reserves in the West Bank: Ariel Cave, Wadi Og, Wadi Malha, the Southern Jordan River, Bitronot Creek, Nahal Tirza, and Rotem-Maskiot.

The Mausoleum of Augustus in Rome is set to reopen this spring after being closed for 80 years.

The Grand Egyptian Museum, set to partially open in the coming months, expects more than 5 million visitors annually.

Passages, a Christian version of Birthright Israel, is on track to bring 10,000 students to Israel by the end of this year.

Carl Rasmussen shares his experience in using Global Entry for international travel.

A DNA analysis of the York Gospels was done using DNA extracted by using erasers.

Emily Master of The Friends of Israel Antiquities Authority is the featured guest on The Book and the Spade.

Available for pre-order: The Koren Tanakh of the Land of Israel: Exodus. There are early reviews here and here.

King David is the subject of Bryan Windle’s latest archaeological biography.

Shmuel Browns shares his favorite photos of the year and gives his readers a chance to vote on their favorite.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Mark Hoffman, Explorator

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In a recent roundup I criticized Haaretz for writing a dishonest headline, and I chose not to include a link to the story. The headline was “A Chance Discovery Changes Everything We Know About Biblical Israel.” Because time was short, and because Haaretz was making it difficult at the time to access the article, I did not read it.

I have read it now, and I believe that Haaretz did a grave disservice to Erez Ben-Yosef in their headline. Though my assumption was that this story was mere clickbait, what Ben-Yosef writes is quite important.

At the heart of Ben-Yosef’s argument is that archaeology is often used to answer questions that it cannot answer. The foundation of his argument comes from his work at Timna as well as analysis of the comparable mines at Faynan in Jordan. Here’s one quotation:

We know about the existence of a strong nomadic kingdom in the Arava solely because of its copper production; if the economy of the nomadic tribes of the Kingdom of Edom had been based only on commerce and agriculture, archaeologists would probably have reconstructed an “occupation gap” in the Arava region.

You have several options in what to read, should the issue of “archaeological invisibility” be of interest to you. (I’m particularly interested in it with regard to the Israelites in the time of Merneptah, but that is not addressed here.) There is the popular-level Haaretz article which Ben-Yosef wrote himself. That is based on his article in Vetus Testamentum, “The Architectural Bias in Current Biblical Archaeology,” which is available on Academia. A three-page version is published in the current issue of Biblical Archaeology Review (also available on Academia).

As noted before, Israel Finkelstein wrote a response on  Facebook. And Ben-Yosef posted a response on Facebook and Academia, concluding thusly:

In other words, while assertions such as that Genesis 36 depicts a 6th century BCE reality or that David’s activities in Edom reflect an 8th century reality might be based on valid arguments, archaeology cannot be one of these arguments. It is often the case that when convenient, biblical archaeologists from the minimalist school resort to biblical criticism, and when less so, to archaeology (mostly to “absence of evidence”). However, one cannot have one’s cake and eat it too.

Those keeping score at home might be most surprised when they realize that this argument is being made by a professor at Tel Aviv University.

HT: Joseph Lauer

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