Weekend Roundup

The stories this week are about as random as I can remember, making it challenging to figure out a logical sequence. We’ll start with Jerusalem, and we’ll end with a photo that was popular this week on our Facebook/Twitter/Instagram stream.

Journalists were given a tour of the newly reopened Roman square underneath the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem.

With the water level up nearly 6 feet in the last month, Israeli authorities may have to open the dam of the Sea of Galilee for the first time since 1992. (There’s a beautiful sunrise photo at the end of this article.)

Nof Ginnosar and the Sea of Galilee are the focus of the latest in the “Life Lessons from Israel” video series.

“Russian Archaeology in the Holy Land,” by Yana Tchekhanovets and Leonid Belyaev, is the lead article in the latest issue of ANE Today.

Biblical Byways is offering a low-budget study tour of Israel for Spanish speakers in September.

A replica of a 2,600-year-old Phoenician ship finished its five-month transatlantic voyage last week when it arrived in Miami.

Archaeologists have recovered 1,400 cuneiform tablets from the lost Sumerian city of Irisagrig, but they don’t know where that ancient city was located.

The traditional tomb of Ezekiel (in Iraq, not the one in Iran) is again becoming a place of pilgrimage.

Saudi Arabia plans to create the world’s largest living museum in Al Ula by 2035.

For more than a decade now, “Athens-based photographer and animator Dimitris Tsalkanis has cultivated a sort of unusual hobby: recreating ancient Athens via 3D modeling software.”

An archaeologist in Spain is on trial for forging a third-century depiction of Jesus’s crucifixion.

Salman Abu Sitta will be lecturing in London on February 28 on the subject of the “1871 Survey of Western Palestine Revisited: The Visible and The Hidden.”

New book: Roman-Period and Byzantine Nazareth and Its Hinterland, by Ken Dark

Cynthia Shafer-Elliott talks about her recent book Food in Ancient Judah on the OnScript podcast.

Ferrell Jenkins shares photos of the atad tree, the worthless bramble mentioned in Jotham’s parable in Judges 9.

The archaeological biography on King Ahaz features an altar, a seal, and a toilet.

The Global Smyrna Meeting on the Seven Churches of Revelation offers lectures and sites visits given a whole host of popular teachers, including Mark Wilson, Ben Witherington, Mark Fairchild, Carl Rasmussen, and Dana Harris.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer

Wadi Lubban view northwest of Shiloh, db6604081205

This beautiful valley is located in the tribal inheritance of Ephraim, not far from Shiloh. Photo taken in 1966 by David Bivin.

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Weekend Roundup

If you don’t pay attention, you would think they’re finding all kinds of first-century streets in Jerusalem. But it’s the same one, again and again. The story this week, based on a journal article in Tel Aviv, is that the Siloam Street/Stepped Street/Pilgrim’s Path was built by Pilate. The date is based on the most recent coin, from AD 30/31, found in the fill under the pavement. Leen Ritmeyer rejects the study, saying that the road was actually built by Herod Agrippa II. That last link has a nice map that shows the location of the Herodian/Pilatian/Agrippian Road.

A three-year salvage excavation near Beth Shemesh uncovered a Byzantine Church with an inscription mentioning a “glorious martyr.” The mosaics are quite well-preserved, and there is an intact underground burial chamber. Some of the artifacts are featured in a new exhibition at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem.

Excavators have found a second monumental gate at Hacilar.

These reports from Beirut are from last year, but I did not see them then:

Rachel Bernstein provides an update on the Temple Mount Sifting Project since its recent reboot and relocation.

Israel Finkelstein responds to the “discovery that changes everything we know about biblical Israel.”

Artificial intelligence is better at deciphering damaged ancient Greek inscriptions than humans are.

The ArcGIS Blog interviews Tom Levy and one of his students about their use of GIS and 3D modeling in their work in the copper mines of Faynan.

Officials in Thessaloniki are arguing about what to do with a “priceless” 6th century AD Byzantine site found during work on a subway tunnel.

Spanish experts have replicated for Iraq two Assyrian lamassu statues previously destroyed by ISIS.

Dirk Obbink denies the charges against him of selling items owned by the Egyptian Exploration Society.

Two scholarships are available for students interested in participating in February’s excavation of Timna’s copper mines.

An international conference entitled “Philistines! Rehabilitating a Biblical Foe” will be held on Nov 17 at Yeshiva University Museum. Registration is required.

‘Atiqot 96 (2019) is now online, with reports on excavations at Rosh Pinna, Mazor, and el-Qubeibe.

Biblical Israel Ministries and Tours has released the 16th video in their series, “It Happened Here.” This one features life lessons from Beth Shean.

Jim Hastings shows how he built a model of a gate of Ezekiel’s temple.

Ferrell Jenkins shares photos from his 1970 tour of Iraq.

Aron Tal reflects on the remarkable return of the ibex. There was a day, apparently, when there were no ibex to be found at En Gedi.

HT: Gordon Franz, Mark Hoffman, Agade, Ted Weis, Joseph Lauer, A.D. Riddle, Steven Anderson

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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

Wayne Stiles just walked the last five miles of the Appian Way into Rome, and he shares his experiences along with a video. Only one section was a hair-raising experience!

A preliminary report from the Swedish excavations at Hala Sultan Tekke in Cyprus is now online.

Israeli security inspectors discovered 69 coins from the time of Alexander the Great being smuggled from Gaza into Israel. But one expert suggests the coins are fake.

The Summer Session program of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens is now accepting applications. Scholarships are available.

Why do newspapers write dishonest headlines like this? “A Chance Discovery Changes Everything We Know About Biblical Israel.” Shame on Haaretz.

The lectures are in Hebrew, but you may find the topic list to be of interest for this year’s “New Discoveries and Insights” conference at Tel Aviv University.

The schedule is now online for next week’s Annual Conference, “New Studies in the Archaeology of Jerusalem and its Region.”

The final list of speakers and their topics for the 22nd Annual Bible and Archaeology Fest is now posted.

Yahoo Groups is shutting down. This will affect lists such as Explorator and ANE-2.

The En-Gedi Resource Center website has a new home, with new organization and a “Hebraic Studies” search bar to make it easier to find what you’re looking for.

Carl Rasmussen shares a number of photos of Göbekli Tepe.

John DeLancey is blogging each day on his tour of Greece, Rome, and Pompeii, now wrapping it up on Day 13.

Ferrell Jenkins explains why a photo he took of the cedars of Lebanon in 2002 is one of his favorites.

Bryan Windle has put together another great archaeological biography, this one on King Nebuchadnezzar.

HT: Ted Weis, Keith Keyser, Agade

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Weekend Roundup, Part 1

Amanda Borschel-Dan of The Times of Israel provides a valuable summary of the Siloam Street/Stepped Street/Pilgrim’s Path that has been in the news for the last decade or so. One particular point of interest: the street will not be fully opened to the public for a few more years, because it is still being excavated 7am to 10pm every day.

“Archaeologists have uncovered a well-preserved fresco of two fighting gladiators in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii.” Very nice.

“Scientists report that they may have found the earliest written record of a solar storm in ancient Assyrian tablets.”

Egypt announced the discovery of 20 well-preserved wooden coffins in Luxor.

“Archeologists working in Luxor’s “Valley of the Monkeys” have discovered an “ancient ‘industrial area’ once used to produce decorative items, furniture and pottery for royal tombs.”

The Egyptian Exploration Society has formally accused Oxford professor Dirk Obbink of stealing and selling papyri fragments from the Oxyrhynchus collection.

With Saudi Arabia opening up for tourism, tour agencies are quick to create tours to scam evangelicals.

The Arab World Institute in Paris is presenting an exhibition highlighting the pre-Islamic history of the Al ‘Ula region in Northwest Saudi Arabia.

Tim Frank’s “Visualizing Food Storage in Ancient Houses” article includes a number of video visualizations from sites like Izbet Sartah, Tel Batash, and Beersheba. These could be quite useful.

A new record has been set in the “world’s oldest marathon,” a race from Aphek to Shiloh.

Wildlife inspectors spotted ten bottlenose dolphins off the coast of Israel and have posted footage.

Only 30-40 acacia gazelles survive in Israel, and rangers recently discovered a fawn had been born.

“Cruise passengers held their breath as a 22.5 meter wide cruise liner became the largest boat to pass through Greece’s narrow Corinth Canal.” There are some nice pictures.

HT: Ted Weis, Keith Keyser, Agade, David Padfield

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Weekend Roundup, Part 1

Discoveries:
Tablets excavated at Gezer and the nearby Tel Hadid indicate that Israelites were not living in the area following the Assyrian invasions in the late 8th century BC (Haaretz premium).

A new study by Tel Aviv University has determined that the kingdom of Edom was flourishing in the 12th and 11th centuries BC, led in part by a high-tech copper network. The underlying journal article is available here.

Tin ingots from the 13th-12th centuries BC discovered near Haifa were apparently mined in Cornwall, England.

“Egyptian authorities have unintentionally discovered several historical monuments dating back to the Greco-Roman and Ptolemaic era in roughly 20 archaeological sites in the east and middle of Alexandria.”

A temple of Ptolemy IV was discovered in northern Sohag, Egypt, while drilling for a sewage drainage project.

An archaeologist in Aphrodisias, Turkey, discovered a Roman milestone that had long been used as a table base in a coffee shop.

Excavators continue to work to expose the forum area in ancient Alexandria Troas.

Nadav Shragai reports on the Adonijah seal impression and other discoveries that have come as a result of the excavations at the foundations of the western wall of the Temple Mount.


Museums and Exhibits:
The Bank of Israel in Jerusalem has opened an archaeological exhibit featuring “several spectacular ancient coin caches,” one of which includes more than 10,000 large coins.

Two Roman statues discovered last year near Beth Shean are joining the permanent collections of the Gan Hashlosha–Sahne Museum.

The largest-ever exhibition of treasure from King Tut’s tomb will be on display at the Saatchi Gallery from November 2, 2019 to May 3, 2020.

The Palestinian Museum in Bir Zeit recently won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. The museum does not have a permanent collection.

New York’s Metropolitan Museum is returning a beautiful gold coffin of a high-ranking priest to Egypt after learning the item was stolen and its import papers forged.


Books:
Available at a pre-pub discount on Logos: Zondervan Handbook of Biblical Archaeology, by Randall Price and Wayne House.

Two new books from the Oriental Institute:

  • Discovering New Pasts: The OI at 100, edited by Theo van den Hout. Purchase ($134). Free download.
  • 100 Highlights of the Collections of the Oriental Institute Museum, edited by Jean M. Evans, Jack Green, and Emily Teeter. Purchase ($80). Free download.

The Times of Israel reviews Jodi Magness’s new book, Masada.

The German Protestant Institute of Archaeology in the Holy Land (GPIA) has produced a catalogue of the exhibition “Tall Zirā’a—Mirror of Jordan’s History.”

In tomorrow’s roundup, we’ll cover tourism, lectures, and videos.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Ted Weis, Keith Keyser, Explorator, Jared Clark

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Weekend Roundup

The latest sensational claim in biblical archaeology is that Kiriath Jearim is Emmaus.

“Archaeologists have discovered a new sanctuary preceding the ancient city of Troy in Turkey’s western Çanakkale province.”

156 cuneiform tablets, brought illegally to the UK, are being returned to Iraq with the help of the British Museum.

One of the big controversies in biblical geography in recent years is the location of Bethsaida, with two candidates. Bryan Windle provides a good survey of the criteria for Bethsaida along with an evaluation of the first candidate, et-Tell.

Mark Barnes has some good observations in the similarities and differences between Elisha’s and Jesus’s raisings of boys on either side of the hill of Moreh.

Megan Sauter explains the value of inscriptions in understanding worship in the Samaritan temple on Mount Gerizim.

The two most popular national parks for Israelis this summer were Sachne and Nahal Senir.

Wayne Stiles has released a new book on Kindle: Top 10 Places in Jesus’ Life: Why They Matter in Yours.

Eisenbrauns has put thirteen of their most popular textbooks on sale.  

Joel Kramer is leading a study tour of Israel in March 2020.

Ferrell’s Favorite Foto #26 – Shepherds by Night

A tourist bought a shwarma in Jerusalem and when he returned home, he found that it cost him 10,100 shekels.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Ted Weis

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Weekend Roundup

New excavations in Perga have revealed the well-preserved(!) foundation of the Tomb of Plancia Magna. And Carl Rasmussen also has photos of new reconstruction work at Thyatira.

Pat McCarthy’s newest page at Seetheholyland.net is about the Sisters of Nazareth excavation, including a church possibly built over Jesus’s childhood home.

Aaron Demsky explains how the Samaria Ostraca shed light on the names of Zelophehad’s daughters and Israel’s settlement in Manasseh.

Mark Barnes draws out some lessons from Shechem, including how conflict, covenant, and choice defined its history.

In a new podcast, Clint Burnett discusses the background of the Nazareth Inscription as well as assessing whether it provides evidence of Jesus’s empty tomb (Apple).

Peter grew up in Bethsaida and ended up in Rome. Wayne Stiles explains how he got there by a series of “hard left turns.”

Shemesh Online reports on the compromise reached that will allow for the construction of the highway over the tell, the reduction of the width of that road, as well as the building of a pedestrian overpass to connect the two sides.

Kristina Killgrove gives five reasons why you shouldn’t buy that ancient artifact.

Cathie Spieser looks at the theology of birth and rebirth in ancient Egypt.

Chapter 8 of The Gospel of Mark in the LUMO Project has been dubbed in Koine Greek.

On The Book and the Spade, Clyde Billington and Gordon Govier discuss some recent stories, including Macherus, Melchizedek, and the Philistines.

In his ongoing Footsteps series, Bryan Windle identifies three things Paul likely saw in Corinth.

Ferrell’s Favorite Foto #24 is of Gibeon.

HT: Agade, Jared Clark, Joseph Lauer

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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

Excavations in Alexandria have revealed a well-preserved mosaic floor from the Roman period.

An artificial reef and underwater museum is being created in the Red Sea waters of Aqaba from old military vehicles.

The Tetrapylon avenue at Aphrodisias will open soon, following the completion of excavations.

Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities June 2019 Newsletter provides the latest updates.

Four ancient Babylonian tablets at the British Museum were apparently used to calculate the motion of Jupiter.

An exhibition of looted archaeological artifacts is now on display at the Capitoline Museums.

A man who made more than half a million dollars by selling to a museum an “ancient Egyptian figurine” he made in his garden shed is sorry.

Mastic, from the island of Chios (cf. Acts 20:15), is getting a fresh look as a possible super-drug.

In an excerpt from her new book, Sarah Parcak asks, “Will the future of archaeology not require moving dirt?”

Jimmy Hardin discusses the latest discoveries at Macherus on The Book and the Spade.

In the final post in his series on Paul’s shipwreck on Malta, Carl Rasmussen shares photos of a more likely place than the traditional bay.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Agade, Charles Savelle, Mark Hoffman, Steven Anderson, Explorator

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Weekend Roundup, Part 3

The story around the “First Century Gospel of Mark” text has turned very strange. (Michael Holmes, Elijah Hixson, Brent Nongbri, Candida Moss, Jerry Pattengale)

An Egyptian statue resembling King Tut sold for $6 million in a controversial auction.

A luxury hotel built in Antakya (biblical Antioch on the Orontes) preserves the ancient ruins found below.

Boxes of material from Jerry Vardaman’s excavations at Macherus have been dug out of storage and will be studied and published.

Omri Lernau explains what kinds of fish were eaten in ancient Jerusalem.

Dozens of metal archaeological artifacts excavated at Caesarea were stolen from an Israel Antiquities Authority storage facility (Haaretz premium).

The latest issue of Biblical Archaeology Review is a double issue, featuring articles on the wise woman of Abel Beth Maacah, the Royal Stoa of the Temple Mount, Jewish purity practices, inscriptions from Mount Gerizim, and the Copper Scroll.

Here’s a tutorial on how to write in cuneiform.

The newest Bible Land Passages documentary has been released. This 18-minute video looks the candidates for the tomb of Jesus.

In a recent episode of Hebrew Voices, David Moster explains how toilets worked in ancient Israel.

And David just produced part 2 of “How to Use the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: the Masorah Notes” (20-min video).

Recent interviews on The Book and the Spade:

Carl Rasmussen explains how a Lewis Bolt was used to lift heavy stones in the ancient world.

Leen Ritmeyer shares some photos from his underground work at the Temple Mount in the 1970s.

Ferrell Jenkins posts an idyllic photo of an olive tree and two olive presses.

A friend at my church is leading a 20-day tour of New Zealand this January and he has a few open spots. He’s a native New Zealander and a seminary graduate, and he will be giving biblical instruction along the way (for example, NZ has 30 million sheep!). I can’t imagine a better tour of New Zealand. Here’s a flyer with more info.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Ted Weis, Charles Savelle, Agade, David Padfield, Mark Hoffman, Explorator

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Weekend Roundup

This year’s Institute of Biblical Context conference was superb. If you can make it to next year’s conference (theme: the contextual world of the apostle Paul), I’d recommend it (June 8-10 in Zeeland, Michigan).

(Re-)Opening day for the Temple Mount Sifting Project was a great success.

Abigail VanderHart provides an interesting look into how the antiquities market is regulated in Israel.

The Israel Antiquities Authority is offering visitors a chance to volunteer in an archaeological excavation. There are other options with Volunteers for Israel.

Biblical Israel Ministries and Tours has produced a 6-minute devotional video with footage from Gamla.

With the summer excavations about to begin at Gath, Aren Maeir shares a preview of the 2019 shirt.

Israel’s Good Name recounts his travels in the southern Aravah, including Timna Park and several other off-the-beaten-track sites.

Walking the Text has just released the 2nd edition of “The #1 Mistake Most Everyone Makes Reading the Bible.” Select “More” at the top right.

The American Center of Oriental Research Newsletter for July-December 2018 is now online.

Egypt is asking the UK to stop Christie’s auction of a bust of King Tut.

In a well-illustrated article on the ASOR Blog, Vanessa Davies explains why the Egyptians and the Hittites made “peace”  16 years after their major battle.

Crowds of tourists are causing big problems at major tour destinations around the world.

All of Jerusalem will become a “clean air” zone under a new law passed by the City Council.

Ferrell Jenkins explains the history of the cedar of Lebanon trees at Neot Kedumim Biblical Landscape Reserve.

HT: Agade, Charles Savelle, Ted Weis

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