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The occupants of the 4th century BC Royal Tombs at Vergina have been identified as Alexander the Great’s father Philip, his stepmother, half-siblings, and son.

An Egyptian antiquities official was criticized after he announced that Egypt was restoring the granite casing on one of the three main pyramids of Giza.

The Times of Israel: “A Tel Aviv University team is using muon detectors to track powerful particles, hoping to build a 3D map of undiscovered tunnels, chambers and fortifications under the holey city,” Jerusalem.

Kathryn Oliver describes how conservators at the British Museum restored a sarcophagus relief in conjunction with the ongoing exhibit, “Legion: Life in the Roman Army.”

In the latest video from the Institute of Biblical Culture, David Moster compares Torah scrolls from Yemen with others from around the Jewish world.

Chandler Collins looks at what we can learn about Jerusalem from a travelogue published by William Barlett in the 1840s.

John Drummond gives a preview of “The Seven World Wonders” article that is in the current issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

Bryan Windle’s top three reports in biblical archaeology for the month of January includes a bonus story.

The BBC gives a history of beds through the ages.

“The Bible and Its World” international academic conference will be held in Israel on July 1-3.

Now open access: Syria’s Monuments: Their Survival and Destruction, by Michael Greenhalgh (Brill, 2016, $229; open access pdf – download link temporarily not working)

Stephen Mitchell, author of many books on Asia Minor in the Roman era, died this week.

Zoom all-day seminar today: “In Search of Ancient Israel,” with Gary Rendsburg ($90)

HT: Agade, Gordon Dickson, Arne Halbakken

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Archaeologists discovered a rare silver coin from the Persian period during excavations as part of a highway-expansion project in the hills southwest of Jerusalem.

Ariel David, writing for Haaretz, reports that underground hiding places in Israel have “a more complex history than previously thought.”

A recent article by Nahshon Szanton in ‘Atiqot argues that the small pool at the outlet of Hezekiah’s Tunnel is the true Pool of Siloam and the more recently excavated large reservoir (Birkat el-Hamra) is what Josephus called “Solomon’s Pool.” Leen Ritmeyer (mostly) agrees, and he is not surprised that they have not discovered more steps in the recent excavations.

The National Library of Israel received the world’s largest collection of Yemenite Jewish manuscripts as a donation.

The latest issue of Jerusalem Journal of Archaeology focuses on “Spatial Digital Archaeology and History of Israel.”

Chris McKinny and Kyle Keimer discuss the top 10 archaeological discoveries in 2023 in the first of a three-part series in the Biblical World podcast. Part 2 is here.

A man was arrested while carrying out an illegal excavation at the site of Philippi.

New release: An Ancient Mesopotamian Herbal, by Barbara Böck, Shahina A. Ghazanfar, Mark Nesbit (Surrey Kew, £30). “Combining methods from the humanities and science, the authors provide a concise overview of ancient Mesopotamian culture and herbal lore, along with new identifications of Assyrian and Babylonian herbal medicines, focusing on 25 case studies.”

Zoom event on Jan 31: “The Genizah Research Unit at Cambridge University Library would like to invite you to experience up close the more than 200,000 fragments of the Cairo Genizah Collection.”

On the latest episode of Digging for Truth, Bryan Windle explores the archaeological evidence for King Jehoiachin.

Bryan Windle has written an archaeological biography for King Belshazzar.

There are 42 things you are not allowed to do on the dig.

HT: Agade, Andy Cook, Arne Halbakken, Ted Weis

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My longtime friend, Wayne Stiles, has spent the past seven years developing a wonderful website that features more than 200 videos that connect the Bible and its lands to life. He has traveled and filmed extensively in Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Greece, Turkey, and Italy. 

The links below take you to the various regions and countries with trailers to watch. There’s even an app so you can watch it on the go—and on tours! The cost for joining is nominal—and a whole lot cheaper than taking a tour—and you experience more than many tours combined could offer. 

In addition, you can use this code (BOLEN) to get a $10 credit—which allows you to rent two full episodes or to buy one of your choosing. 

Judah and the South (39 episodes, including Gath, Libnah, Timna Valley, Negev Highlands—and more)

Galilee and the North (23 episodes, including Sepphoris, Tabgha, Hazor, Capernaum, Cana—and more)

Samaria and the Center (20 episodes, including Beth-shan, Jericho, Dothan, Gibeon—and more)

Jerusalem (24 episodes, including the Temple Mount, Kidron Valley, Walls and Gates, Western Wall—and more)

Greece (19 episodes, including Patmos, Rhodes, Philippi, Athens, Corinth—and more)

Rome and Malta (20 episodes, including Appian Way, Roman Forum, Malta, Pompeii—and more)

Turkey (29 episodes, including Troas, Ephesus, Assos, Tarsus, the Churches of Revelation—and more) 

Egypt (8 episodes, including the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings, Nile River, Karnak Temple—and more)

Jordan (9 episodes, including Petra, Mount Nebo, Moab, Machaerus, Ammon—and more)

Interviews (11 interviews, including Bryant Wood, Scott Stripling, Carl Rasmussen, Charlie Dyer, and me)

If you are reading the Bible in 2024, Wayne also has a new Reading the Bible Lands program that goes through the whole Bible with videos, devotionals, and my photos—with the opportunity for Live Zoom calls with Wayne and other members to discuss the Bible reading and Q&A time. 

Some years ago I wrote the following about Wayne, and I don’t think I can say it any better now:

“Wayne Stiles has a unique gift for bringing the biblical world into our own. Some teachers are history gurus, but they can’t translate their research into how it affects us today. Wayne is superb at doing this in his books, on his blog, on his podcast, and at the sites. He is passionate, accurate, and faithful.” 

Wayne’s resources are outstanding in every way, and I’m very thankful for the ways he has applied his giftings and energies to create excellent tools to increase our love for and understanding of God’s Word.

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Israeli reserve soldiers discovered an ancient basalt mortar while on patrol near the Gaza Strip.

Marek Dospěl summarizes the argument for locating Peter’s house at Bethsaida (el-Araj) rather than Capernaum.

“The ancient remains of an unborn fetus found in the headless mummy of an Egyptian teenager shows she died while giving birth to twins.”

The latest issue of ‘Atiqot focuses on “The Archaeology of Purity,” and includes articles about the Pool of Siloam, ritual baths, and a chalk quarry on Mount Scopus.

New release: The Nubian Pharaohs of Egypt: Their Lives and Afterlives, by Aidan Dodson (AUC Press, $35)

The bi-weekly Research Seminar of the Archaeology department at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev will now be accessible to the public via Zoom. Lectures are given in English, and take place every other Tuesday, 9:15-10:45 am Eastern Time. The next lecture will be on January 23 entitled “Identities in the Making: Foodways and Table Manners in the City, Village, and Temple in Hellenistic Idumea,” by Débora Sandhaus.

Petra M. Creamer looks at what burial practices reveal about the power of an empire over its subjects, looking specifically at mortuary practices in couple of Assyrian cities.

The Biblical Archaeology Society is offering a free 2024 calendar (with email address and option to receive daily newsletter).

Steven Anderson who works with me on the Photo Companion to the Bible was interviewed for the Daily Dose of Aramaic (YouTube, Vimeo) to celebrate a special milestone for that ministry.

Carl Rasmussen has posted photos taken by David Padfield inside the Dome of the Rock.

HT: Agade, Arne Halbakken, Ted Weis

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“Archaeologists in Turkey have unearthed more than 2,000 clay seal impressions that ancient [Roman] officials once used to fasten government documents.”

The Imhotep Museum in Saqqara has reopened after a year of renovations.

“An ancient clay tablet at Yale has shed light on how the ‘Epic of Gilgamesh’ has evolved over the ages.

Expedition Bible’s latest video goes to Nineveh in Iraq to explore the site and understand its significance for the Bible.

“A team of German researchers has figured out a new way to train computers to recognize cuneiform and even make the contents of millennia-old tablets searchable like a website, making it possible to digitize and assemble larger libraries of these ancient texts.”

“Authorities in New York have been accused by leading academics in France and Britain of repatriating fake Roman artefacts to Lebanon.” Does this mean that ancient mosaics were never stolen in the first place?

ASOR webinar on Dec 14: “The Wheat from the Chaff: What we can Learn from Studying Plants in Antiquity,” by Jennifer Ramsay ($13).

The world’s only intact Roman shield will be part of an exhibit at the British Museum opening in February.

eHammurabi provides a digital version of the Law Code of Hammurabi, including cuneiform, transliteration, normalization, English translation, some comments, and a brief bibliography.

Konstantinos Politis recalls the impact that Jonathan Tubb had in his career as an archaeologist, working at Tell es-Sa’idiyeh, the Palestine Exploration Fund, and the British Museum. A festschrift was released shortly before his death.

Will Varner explains why Hannukah is not the Jewish Christmas.

HT: Agade, Arne Halbakken, Ted Weis

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A new study suggests that the Great Sphinx of Giza was carved out of natural ridge in the bedrock.

Nathan Steinmeyer summarizes a new reconstruction of the events behind the assassination of Sennacherib, king of Assyria.

BBC: “For millennia, Tyrian purple was the most valuable colour on the planet. Then the recipe to make it was lost. By piecing together ancient clues, could one man bring it back?”

New release: Color and Meaning in the Art of Achaemenid Persia, by Alexander Nagel (Cambridge University Press, $110)

Seetheholyland.net has a new article on the holy family in Egypt, sifting through various myths, legends and might-be-facts. The list of sites with strong traditions is longer than I expected.

Darla Martin Tucker reviews the recently held 15th Annual Archaeology Discovery Weekend hosted by La Sierra University and focused on the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The Tracking Colour website “is dedicated to the research on the use of colour on sculptures and buildings in the ancient Mediterranean world carried out at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek.”

Arim Hawsho has created an hour-long documentary on Ashurbanipal, “the librarian king.” He is also working on a cookbook inspired by recipes from ancient Mesopotamia.

Robert D. Miller died last week.

HT: Agade, Arne Halbakken

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