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Scholars have long wondered if an Amorite language existed, until the discovery of two tablets written at least partially in the language.

“An archeological site at Girsu, in modern-day south-central Iraq, a major city in the ancient Mesopotamian civilization of Sumer, has been unearthed revealing a palace and a temple that date back over 4000 years.”

Egyptian police discovered a fake tomb created to defraud antiquities traffickers.

Kim Phillips addresses questions of what’s real and what’s hype in the sale of Codex Sassoon.

Eric Cline explains how the recently discovered evidence of a drought in 1198-1196 adds to our knowledge of the collapse of the Hittite Empire and other societies.

France 24 shows drone footage of the earthquake damage to Turkey’s Gaziantep castle.

“It’s still an open question among scholars whether Mycenaeans participated in long-distance metallurgical trade in the Bronze Age. The mythological narratives found in Greek literary tradition suggest they did.”

“The UK is working on a new arrangement with Greece through which the Parthenon Sculptures could be seen both in London and in Athens.”

Greece has announced a four-year renovation project of the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.

Online lecture on Feb 28, 10am: “Excavations at Nineveh and Nimrud in 2022.” Join by Zoom here, or watch the recording a few days later here.

New York tells the story of Michael Steinhardt and the investigation of his antiquities collection.

New release: The Most Extraordinary Life: Discovering the Real Jesus, by Bob Rognlien. Also on Kindle.

My colleague William Varner has just published his latest work, The Preacher and the Song: A Fresh Look at Ecclesiastes & Song of Songs.

HT: Agade, Explorator, Arne Halbakken, Gordon Dickson, Alexander Schick, Ted Weis

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Bryan Windle highlights the top three reports in biblical archaeology in January 2023.

Expedition Bible’s latest video considers whether the archaeological evidence supports the authenticity of the traditional tomb of Lazarus in Bethany.

Carl Rasmussen shares some musings from his recent tour of Israel.

In preparing a map for the Bible Mapper Blog, David Barrett identified the hill of Ammah in the pool of Gibeon story (2 Sam 2) with el-Qubeiba, which has also been identified as the Emmaus of Luke 24.

Antiquities police caught a couple of thieves at the bottom of a pit, after they had already caused irreversible damage to a 1st-century winepress in western Galilee.

Antiquities thieves who had discovered an ancient sarcophagus at the site of Samaria were caught by authorities.

Aren Maeir has collected a number of videos where he discusses the Philistines and his excavations of the city of Gath.

The Israel Antiquities Authority has begun moving into its new home at the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein National Campus for the Archaeology of the Land of Israel in Jerusalem.

The Great Isaiah Scroll arrived at what is now known as the Albright Institute on February 19, 1948. To celebrate the 75th anniversary, Marcello Fidanzio will be lecturing on Qumran Cave 1 and the Great Isaiah Scroll on February 21 at the Israel Museum.

“The Tel Shimron Experience is a 5-day, 6-night archaeological excursion in Israel where you will have the opportunity to participate in a real archaeological dig.” The price is similar to a 3-week half-season, so you are effectively paying for the privilege of a shorter commitment.

A heygo tour of “The Colosseum Inside” is planned for tomorrow morning.

HT: Agade, Arne Halbakken, Explorator

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Archaeologists have now finished a chronological mapping of Megiddo, with radiocarbon dates for the two dozen layers of habitation from the Early Bronze Age to the end of Iron II.

Archaeologists excavating a deep rock-hewn moat along the northern side of Jerusalem’s Old City walls have discovered a handprint carved into the stone.

Not all scholars agree that the name of David is on the Mesha Stele.

The Technion and the University of Haifa’s School of Archaeology and Maritime Cultures have launched a joint initiative to support cooperation between the two institutions in archaeological sciences, especially microarchaeological research.

“Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly promised King Abdullah II that the status quo on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem will be preserved.”

“Jerusalem’s Tower of David was never built to be accessible.” The Times of Israel gives the backstory on the ingenuity required to make the ancient fortress accessible to those with disabilities.

Chandler Collins writes about a significant geographical feature in Jerusalem that he calls the “Fortress Saddle.” This was the city’s most vulnerable area on its most vulnerable side.

The Mardigian Museum has opened in Jerusalem’s Armenian Quarter, documenting the community’s history and serving as a memorial to the Armenian Genocide.

“A riveting new exhibition, titled ‘Peace and War: The Assyrian Conquest of Lachish,’ will open on January 30 in the Lynn H. Wood Archaeology Museum on Southern Adventist University’s campus.” I’m not sure how much “peace” was involved in the Assyrian conquest.

Excavations at ancient Capitolias, a city of the Decapolis in modern Jordan, are shedding light on the production of glass in the Roman, Byzantine, and Umayyad periods.

A former director of the Citadel Museum in Amman, Jordan, was convicted of stealing 6,000 ancient coins and replacing them with forgeries.

Oded Lipschits will be giving a series of lectures in the UK in honor of the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society’s Diamond Jubilee between February 20 and March 6. One of them will be online: “New Light on Jerusalem and its Surroundings during the Reign of King Manasseh,” on March 2. Registration required.

Preserving Bible Times has released The Bible: Its Land and Culture, Session 4, including Galilee aerial videos, cultural vignettes, and biblical culture.

Nathan Steinmeyer gives advice on finding the right archaeological dig to join. This is also the topic of an OnScript Biblical World podcast with Steinmeyer, Chris McKinny, and Kyle Keimer.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, Ted Weis, Explorator

Pool of Siloam excavations Jan 2023

Pool of Siloam excavations Jan 2023b

Excavations at the Pool of Siloam this week; photos by John Black

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A new study confirms that the name of David is indeed written on the Mesha Stele.

Smithsonian Magazine profiles Michael Langlois, an unusual scholar who identified many “Dead Sea Scroll” forgeries in various private collections around the world. More recently he has confirmed the reading of “David” on the Mesha Stele.

A BAS Dig Scholarship recipient describes his experience excavating at Khirbat al-Balu’a, a Moabite site in Jordan.

Flashfloods in Petra caused the evacuation of 1,700 tourists and locals.

Egyptian archaeologists believe they have uncovered the tomb of a queen from the 18th dynasty in Luxor.

Ten mummified crocodiles were found in an Egyptian tomb.

Three men were arrested in Aswan for trying to steal a 10-ton statue of Ramses II.

“An ancient wooden sarcophagus that was featured at the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences was returned to Egypt.”

“There’s a good chance you were told ancient Egyptians pulled chunks of brains out through the nose. Experiments suggest there was a much easier way to do this: scrambling the brains.”

Middle East Eye posts several dozen interesting and annotated satellite images of Egypt.

In recent episodes on the GTI Tours Podcast, Jerrell Jobe discusses Egypt’s significance in Scripture, and Matt Bach identifies some “hidden gems” in Israel.

“As of March 2023, ‘Atiqot will become a thematic journal, publishing volumes dedicated to specific topics related to the archaeology of Israel from the protohistoric to Ottoman periods. The journal will be published in English only, both online (Open Access) and in print.” Themes of future issues include:

  • `Atiqot 112: Ancient Hoards, Caches, and Deposits
  • `Atiqot 113: The Archaeology of Purity and Impurity
  • `Atiqot 114 (March 2024): Wine and Drinking Habits in Antiquity
  • `Atiqot 115 (June 2024): Rural Life in the Southern Levant
  • `Atiqot 116 (September 2024): Cult and Religion
  • `Atiqot 117 (December 2024): Burials and Burial Practices

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, Gordon Dickson, Ted Weis, Wayne Stiles, Mondo Gonzales, Alexander Schick, Charles Savelle, Keith Keyser, Explorator

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“Accumulated disquiet among Israeli archaeologists over the widespread publication of sensational claims regarding ostensibly newly deciphered, once-in-a-lifetime biblical inscriptions in Jerusalem has spilled over into an open letter.”

A recent episode of This Week in the Ancient Near East discusses the way in which new alleged inscriptions in Hezekiah’s Tunnel were announced.

Israeli archaeologists discovered the oldest hoards of silver, attesting to its use as currency some centuries earlier than previously thought. The underlying journal article is here.

Excavations at Khirbat el-Masani revealed the remains of a Byzantine monk whose neck, hands, and feet bore heavy iron rings, perhaps as a symbol of his ascetic lifestyle.

“Newly uncovered remains of fabrics from the Far East dating to some 1,300 years ago in Israel’s Arava region suggest the existence of a previously unknown ‘Israeli Silk Road.’”

The United States has returned an 8th century BC cosmetic spoon, probably taken from the region of Hebron, to the Palestinian government. This the first such repatriation of an antiquity by the US to the Palestinian Authority.

The Palestinian Authority is apparently planning to construct homes on the area of the altar on Mount Ebal.

Walking The Text has begun a mini-series on Ruth, with a number of helpful maps and illustrations.

El-Araj, possibly Bethsaida, is the latest site featured in the “Digging In” series of the Biblical Archaeology. The article includes a 6-minute video taken on location.

Hybrid lecture on Jan 26: “Byzantine Bethsaida and the House of St. Peter,” by R. Steven Notley and Mordechai Aviam, at the Museum of the Bible.

New from Eisenbrauns: Yotvata: The Ze’ev Meshel Excavations (1974–1980) The Iron I “Fortress” and the Early Islamic Settlement, by Lily Singer-Avitz and Etan Ayalon

Aaron Demsky provides a extensive discussion of the location of Rachel’s tomb, concluding that it was near the border of Benjamin and Ephraim.

GTI Tours is offering a study tour specifically designed for those who have visited Israel before, with a variety of experiences most tourists don’t have.

The BAS Scholars Series includes four lectures, with a discount for purchase of all four:

  • Mar 5: “Holy City Hotspot: Exploring Jerusalem’s Acropolis,” with Andrew Lawler
  • June 4: “A Wise Woman and a Bearded Man: Ten Seasons of Excavation at Tel Abel Beth Maacah,” with Nava Panitz-Cohen
  • Sept 28: “Free Health Care Is a Miracle: Psalm 8, Jesus, and the Jerusalem Temple,” with Amy-Jill Levine
  • Dec 6: “The Life of Jesus Written in Stone: The Earliest Commemorative Churches in Roman Palestine,” with Jordan Ryan

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, Gordon Dickson, Ted Weis, Wayne Stiles, Mondo Gonzales, Alexander Schick, Charles Savelle, Keith Keyser, Explorator

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Christy Chapman and Brent Seales describe the technology that allows Dead Sea Scrolls to be read without even unwrapping them.

NY Times: “Prodded by law enforcement, and pushed by foreign governments, American museums are increasingly returning artifacts to countries of origin, but critics wonder at what cost.”

The inscribed ivory lice comb is the subject on the latest episode of This Week in the Ancient Near East.

Author Rod Dreher reflects on his visit to Turkey and the seven churches of Revelation.

Andrew Lawler will be speaking in the BAS Scholars Series on March 5 on “Holy City Hotspot: Exploring Jerusalem’s Acropolis” ($10).

Brad Nelson looks at the “Magi from the East” in the latest episode from Walking The Text’s Teaching Series.

BAS has posted its list of dig opportunities for 2023 in Israel, Jordan, and Turkey. They are also accepting applications for $2,000 dig scholarships.

Douglas Clark, Larry Herr, and Larry Geraty reflect on Burton MacDonald’s legacy.

Robert Mullins reflects on the life of Father Bill Broughton.

The Institute of Biblical Culture is giving away hundreds of books related to the Semitic languages.

Carl Rasmussen will be leading a 33-day Bible Study Tour to Israel, Jordan, Turkey, and Greece in April and May.

HT: Agade, Arne Halbakken, Ted Weis, Wayne Stiles, Charles Savelle, Keith Keyser, Gordon Dickson, Explorator

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