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“A team of archaeologists in north-west the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has uncovered the earliest evidence of dog domestication by the region’s ancient inhabitants.”

“Italian art police recovered a 1st century Roman statue that had been looted from an archaeological site nearly a decade ago after off-duty officers spotted it in an antique shop in Belgium.”

Rebekah Welton looks at excessive and deviant consumption in the Bible, particularly with reference to the rebellious son in Deuteronomy 21.

Now online: “Learning historical geography and archaeology in Israel with Chris McKinny, Part 4.”

Webinar on April 18: “Will the Real Bar Kochba Please Stand Up,” with Isaiah Gafni.

Webinar on April 21: “The Queens of Ancient Nimrud,” with Amy Gansell and Helen Malko.

Webinar on April 29: “Pandemics in Antiquity and Beyond,” with Kyle Harper, Calloway Brewster Scott, and Hunter Gardener.

Virtual workshop on May 4: “Listening To and Learning From Children in the Biblical World,” hosted by the Albright Institute.

NYU Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies is sponsoring a 4-day virtual conference, “The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Second Public Conference” on June 6-9.

New book: Jerusalem II: Jerusalem in Roman-Byzantine Times, edited by Katharina Heyden and Maria Lissek, published by Mohr Siebeck, €154.

HT: Agade, Keith Keyser, Alexander Schick, Arne Halbakken, Charles Savelle

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A “lost city” from the time of Amenhotep III has been discovered near Luxor. “After seven months of excavations, several neighborhoods have been uncovered, including a bakery complete with ovens and storage pottery, as well as administrative and residential districts.” The excavating team is hailing it as the “second most important archeological discovery since the tomb of Tutankhamun.”

The National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Cairo opened on April 3, and Luxor Times has posted a 30-minute walking tour.

NPR has posted a number of photos of the spectacle dubbed “The Pharaohs’ Golden Parade.”

Hikers in the northwestern Negev discovered a rare Egyptian scarab amulet dating to the 9th–8th centuries BC.

500 caves have been excavated in the Judean wilderness in recent years, and it is estimated that it will take 2-3 years to finish what remains.

William A. Ross looks at what the recent Dead Sea Scrolls discovery means for Septuagint studies.

A bronze tablet from Yemen dating to the 1st century BC mentions a temple dedicated to a previously unknown god.

Visitors can now take a virtual tour of Baalbek that shows the site as it looks today as well as at its height in the Roman period.

Carl Rasmussen shares several photos of a well-preserved but seldom-visited portion of the Diolkos near Corinth.

April 13, 8:30 pm (Eastern): Steve Austin will be giving a special session on “Climate Change, Dead Sea Mud & Bible Chronology.” Registration is required, and the session will not be recorded.

April 14, 8:00 pm (Eastern): Lawrence Schiffman will be speaking about the newly discovered Dead Sea Scrolls.

April 14, 8:00 pm (Eastern): Beth Alpert Nakhai will be speaking on “The Real Lives of Women in Biblical Times.” Registration costs $7.

Thomas E. Levy provides a summary of William G. Dever’s life as recounted in his recently published autobiography.

Brunilde Ridgway’s review of John Boardman’s A Classical Archaeologist’s Life: The Story So Far: An Autobiography provides a good summary of an extraordinarily productive life.

“During the next three years, RINBE will create a complete and authoritative modern presentation of the entire corpus of the royal inscriptions of the six kings of the Neo-Babylonian Empire in print and in a fully annotated (linguistically tagged), open-access digital format.” Some is already available, including a pdf of The Royal Inscriptions of Amēl-Marduk (561–560 BC), Neriglissar (559–556 BC), and Nabonidus (555–539 BC), Kings of Babylon (Royal Inscriptions of the Neo-Babylonian Empire 2), by Frauke Weiershäuser and Jamie Novotny (and for sale here).

HT: Agade, Keith Keyser, Arne Halbakken, Ted Weis

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Archaeologists have discovered dramatic evidence of the conflagration that destroyed Azekah circa 1130 BC, leading them to dub the site as a “small Pompeii.”

According to news reports, a rare Tyrian shekel was discovered during a renovation project at the Tower of David Museum. This is true, except that the coin is not a shekel and not rare. It is a silver tetradrachm of Demetrios II Nikator from Tyre with a date of SE 184 = 129/8 BC.

While undergoing conservation work, a large structural crack was discovered in Herod’s tower in the Citadel of David.

Justin Kelley’s BAR article on “The Holy Sepulchre in History, Archaeology, and Tradition” is summarized in Bible History Daily, where a detailed plan of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is also provided.

Scholars are using high-tech imaging to understand thousands of hand-engraved crosses on the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

A new “Emmaus Trail” allows walkers to travel the 11 miles (18 km) from Abu Ghosh to Nicopolis/Latrun. Leen Ritmeyer takes the occasion to propose that Emmaus should be identified with Bethel in the Old Testament.

David Moster has posted a new video that explains how to “make sense of the new Dead Sea Scrolls,” including a discussion of how important these discoveries are to biblical studies.

Randall Price is on The Book and the Spade discussing the new Dead Sea Scrolls discoveries.

The latest teaching video from John DeLancey is “The Life of Jesus – His Redemptive Purpose.”

New book: Jesus of Nazareth: Archaeologists Retracing the Footsteps of Christ, by Michael Hesemann. The author’s background and motivations are reported here.

Bryan Windle lists the top 10 discoveries related to Jesus.

Robert E. Cooley died on Thursday. During his career, he excavated Tel Dothan and helped to found the Near East Archaeological Society.

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

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The Jerusalem Post has more about the very old, very well-preserved woven basket that was announced at the same time as the Dead Sea Scrolls discovery.

The Israel Antiquities Authority has identified 20 caves in the Judean desert “with the potential for good artifacts” that will be excavated in the future.

Herb Keinon reflects on the possible significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls announcement that also mentioned the non-Jewish items of the woven basket and the mummified skeleton.

The city of Jerusalem has publicly acknowledged that the existence of a 150-meter tunnel that connects the Dormition Abbey to another church known as the “house of Joseph.” I suspect that there is much more to this story than is reported here.

Carl Rasmussen shares photos from a very interesting building in Jerusalem that dates to the Hasmonean or Herodian eras.

The Jerusalem Municipality archives, containing materials over 400 years old and more than 600,000 photos, will be digitized.

Jonathan Klawans argues that the Shapira scrolls should be regarded as forgeries because they “are suspiciously aligned with [Shapira’s] own curious mix of backgrounds and commitments.”

Jim Davila at Paleojudaica has some updates on the Shapira Scroll discussion.

Now online, incomplete but free: A Digital Corpus of Early Christian Churches and Monasteries in the Holy Land. This six-year project was carried out on behalf of the Hebrew University and the Institute of Archaeology.

One of my favorite books, Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus, is only $1.59 on Kindle right now. If you prefer paperback, you can support the author by buying it here.

HT: Agade, Arne Halbakken, Ted Weis, Alexander Schick, Explorator, Steven Anderson

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Archaeologists working in a cave in Nahal Hever near the Dead Sea have discovered two dozen scroll fragments. Most are Greek translations of portions of Zechariah and Nahum. Also announced was the discovery of “the world’s oldest woven basket” and the mummified skeleton of a child.

The announcement this morning reported the results of an operation begun in 2017, and the archaeologists are seeking more governmental support to continue the hunt for ancient artifacts in the Judean desert. The Times of Israel reports:

The latest identified finds, two dozen 2,000-year-old biblical scroll fragments from the books of Zechariah and Nahum, were discovered in clumps and rolled up in the Cave of Horror. The conservation and study of the fragments was conducted by the IAA’s Dead Sea Scrolls Unit under Tanya Bitler, Dr. Oren Ableman and Beatriz Riestra.

The team has so far reconstructed 11 lines of Greek text that was translated from Zechariah 8:16–17, as well as verses from Nahum 1:5–6. They join nine, much more extant fragments that were discovered by Yochanan Aharoni, who first surveyed the Cave of Horrors in 1953.

On the new fragments, as well as in the Greek translation scroll discovered by Aharoni, only the name of God appears in Hebrew. It is written in the Paleo-Hebrew script used during the First Temple period, as well as by some adherents of the Bar Kochba revolt (132–136 CE), including on coinage, and in the Qumran community.

For the full story, photos, and a video, see The Times of Israel, The Jerusalem Post, The New York Times, and other major news outlets.

Fragments of the newly discovered Dead Sea Scrolls. Photo by Shai Halevi, Israel Antiquities Authority

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An 11-year-old on a family hike in the Negev discovered a rare fertility figurine dating to about 500 BC.

Haaretz (premium) has a story about the debate over whether the Lachish gate shrine was a shrine, and if so, if it was desecrated by a toilet.

A new book by Idan Dershowitz argues that the scrolls of Moses Shapira, long believed to be forgeries, are actually the earliest Dead Sea Scrolls and were a “pre-canonical antecedent” of Deuteronomy. The book is available on Academia. Christopher Rollston argues that the scrolls are forgeries. Drew Longacre concurs.

A notice from the Hazor Excavations team indicates that foreigners will be permitted to volunteer in Israel this summer with proof of vaccination. The Gath registration webpage confirms this.

My new reflection on the Garden of Gethsemane is now available to members of Jerusalem Perspective.

The New York Times runs an obituary for Hershel Shanks.

Jerusalem University College has announced its newest program: The Christian Movement in the Mediterranean, with a two-week voyage tracing Paul’s voyages in the Mediterranean.

New: Ancient Israel’s Neighbors, by Brian R. Doak (Book 1 in Oxford’s Essentials of Biblical Studies series).

The early-bird discount for the Infusion Bible Conference ends on April 9. The topic is “Paul and His Roman World,” and the new location is Nashville.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Arne Halbakken, Keith Keyser, Explorator

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