Weekend Roundup

In case you were wondering, the Western Wall is closed too. (Perhaps not technically, but the rabbis are issuing edicts on behalf of the Health Ministry.)

Greece has closed all of its museum and archaeological sites until March 30 because of a shortage of guards.

A study commissioned by the Museum of the Bible argues that all 16 of the “Dead Sea Scroll” fragments that they own are forgeries. National Geographic’s extensive report includes a statement by Emanuel Tov that questions that conclusion.

A student identified that a display of medieval artifacts included a sword from the Early Bronze Age.

“It Happened Here” – Life Lessons from Israel: Beersheba – this 6-minute video is #21 in the series by Biblical Israel Ministries and Tours.

The Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Their website includes a number of links to related presentations (in French).

“The Institute of Archaeology of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is very pleased to announce the establishment of The Roger and Susan Hertog Center for the Archaeological Study of Jerusalem and Judah.” Some generous scholarships for M.A., Ph.D., and post-doc programs require application by May 1.

A couple of our blog readers saw the recent post about “Israel by Foot,” and then combined a hiking trip in Galilee with a tour of Israel we recommended with John and Doro Black. They share their experiences and various travel tips on their website dubbed “The Hitched Hikers.”

Carl Rasmussen shares photos and directions to a well-preserved portion of the Herodian aqueduct three miles north of Caesarea.

Emperor Hadrian was quite the traveler, a fact illustrated in this presentation of coins from all over the Roman Empire.

Eric Cline is on The Book and the Spade this week talking about his new book, Digging Up Armageddon.

Ferrell Jenkins was allowed to take one, and only one, photo in the tomb of Rekhmire in the Valley of the Nobles in Egypt.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis

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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

A German-Egyptian team has discovered thousands of fragments in old Heliopolis.

Egyptian authorities have charged 70 archaeological inspectors and security officials with looting the site of Quesna.

The March 2018 edition of the Newsletter of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities reports the latest inaugurations, repatriated antiquities, temporary exhibitions, meetings, projects, and more.

Zahi Hawass is leading a crew of more than 100 Egyptian workers in excavating an area in the Valley of the Kings, but so far he is not revealing what he has found.

The site of Mari has suffered severe destruction as a result of the conflicts in Syria.

Carl Rasmussen shares photographs of the harbor of Troas where Paul set sail on his second missionary journey.

Mathilde Touillon-Ricci takes a look at “Trade and Contraband in Ancient Assyria.”

The lead “Jordan Codices” have been proven to be forged.

Margreet Steiner will be lecturing on April 23 at Tel Aviv University on “The Excavations at Khirbet al-Mudayna in Ancient Moab: Some Current Research Questions in Iron Age Archaeology.” The lecture will be held in the Gilman Building, Room 282 at 16:15.

Funerary portrait sculptures, created in Palmyra, Syria between the 1st and 3rd centuries AD are on display at the Getty Villa until May 2019.

Mosaics from Antioch on the Orontes were buried beneath the lawn of the Museum of Fine Arts in
St. Petersburg, Florida, several decades ago and only recently uncovered.

“A three-year renovation at the Penn Museum introduces a $5m collection of nearly 1,200 objects, many of which will be on public view for the first time.”

There is some new ancient world content in JStor.

Accordance is now hosting “April Showers of Archaeology” and they have up to 50% off on all kinds of great resources, including the American Colony Collection, Archaeology of the Land of the Bible,
Biblical Archaeology Review Archive, Bible Times PhotoMuseum, and more.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Agade, Mike Harney, Ted Weis, Keith Keyser, Steven Anderson

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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

“Archaeologists in Greece have uncovered rare jewels, coins and other artefacts while excavating tombs near the ruins of the classical city of Corinth dating to between the fourth and first centuries A.D.”

A preliminary report of the 2017 excavation season at Hala Sultan Tekke in Cyprus has been posted.

Participants interested in joining for the 2018 season will receive free accommodations and meals.

Iranian authorities have acted to prevent a gathering at the tomb of Cyrus the Great on the Persian king’s birthday.

Christopher Rollston believes that an erroneous construct form proves that the “Jerusalem Papyrus” is a modern forgery.

Lawrence Schiffman reflects on the history of the Dead Sea Scrolls 70 years after the initial discovery.

Carl Rasmussen shares a video with sounds of a Christian liturgy from the Hagia Sophia (and how they did it).

John DeLancey is posting daily on his current Egypt-Jordan-Israel tour.

BAS is celebrating the retirement of Hershel Shanks with a sale on some of his works.

“What’s So Funny: Discovering and Interpreting Humor in the Ancient World” is the title of a conference to be held in April at The Ohio State University.

You can try Logos 7 Platinum for free now through November 14.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Joseph Lauer, Charles Savelle

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Weekend Roundup, Part 1

Scientists have discovered a void in the Great Pyramid of Giza that is 100 feet long.

Archaeologists excavating in the Timna Valley have discovered remains of a pregnant Egyptian woman.

A swimmer in the Sea of Galilee found a Byzantine-era “chicken-shaped object.”

Young Gazans have begun a campaign on social media to stop the destruction of Tall es-Sakan.

An international team from Spain, Portugal, and the Palestinian Authority conducted excavations at Tirzah (Tell el-Farah North) last month in order to “1. to evaluate the state of conservation of the site in order to implement a program of protection and restoration; 2. topographical survey; 3. archaeological sounding on the Iron Age II sector.” (Not online, as far as I can tell.)

A paper in Astronomy and Geophysics by Colin Humphreys and Graeme Waddington dates the oldest solar eclipse yet recorded to October 30, 1207 BC and suggests this is the “sun-standing-still” event mentioned in Joshua 10. But this connection was proposed last year by H. Yizhaq, D. Vainstub, and U. Avner. The biblical texts, however, date Joshua’s conquest a couple of centuries earlier than this eclipse.

New research suggests that about 80% of antiquities available for sale online are looted or fake.

This week marked the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration and the 100th anniversary of a significant Australian victory over the Ottoman defenses at Beersheba.

A new release on an important subject with many nice photos: The Old Testament in Archaeology and History, edited by Jennie Ebeling, J. Edward Wright, Mark Elliott and Paul V. M. Flesher. Waco, TX:
Baylor University Press, 2017.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Joseph Lauer, Charles Savelle

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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

A Babylonian tablet contains a completely accurate trigonometric table more than 1,000 years before Pythagoras lived.

A donation to the Israel Museum has more than doubled the total number of gold coins on display in Israel.

James Davila has been doing a series on the Jordanian lead codices: Part 1 (the materials test); Part 2 (the inscriptions); Part 3 (the Abgar-Selaman epitaph).

Though most tour groups don’t make it to Eilat on the Red Sea, Wayne Stiles explains why it is important in the Bible.

David M. Weinberg argues that the Israeli government should fund the Temple Mount Sifting Project so that it can continue.

Carta has published some great new books (and maps) recently. I plan to recommend some of them here when I get a chance, but you can take a look at the latest offerings now.

Texas International Bible Institute has created a series of 360º videos on-site at various locations in Israel. You can start here and select from the list on the side.

Eisenbrauns has announced a forthcoming festschrift entitled Studies in the History and Archaeology of Ancient Israel in Honor of Israel Finkelstein (Nov 2017).

Eric Cline is on The Book and the Spade discussing his latest book, Three Stones Make a Wall.

The 20th Annual Bible and Archaeology Fest will be held this year in Boston.


The Routledge Encyclopedia of Ancient Mediterranean Religions is reviewed positively here (but it’s expensive; I don’t think I’ve seen a Kindle book for $408 before).

HT: Joseph Lauer, Agade

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Weekend Roundup, Part 1

Archaeologists have excavated a dolmen on the Golan Heights that is unique because of its large size and artistic decorations. The capstone weighs about 50 tons. You can watch a 2-minute video here.

Two large pharaonic statues, believed to be from the 19th dynasty, have been found near the ruins of Ramses II’s temple in Heliopolis. Zahi Hawass has responded to criticism of the rescue work.


Haaretz (premium): “The long-lost wreck of a Crusader ship and sunken cargos dating to the 13th century C.E. have been found in the bay of the crusader stronghold city Acre, in northern Israel.”

The Sea of Galilee is at its lowest level in a century, and it’s only March.

Here’s a short video of the Assyrian palace remains beneath the destroyed Tomb of Jonah.

Jordan’s Department of Antiquities has announced that the lead codices discovered in 2010 have “not been proven to be authentic so far.” James Davila provides a good review of why he (and others) rejects their authenticity.


The New York Times offers a guide to “make the most of the British Museum,” including sections on

“5 Must-Sees,” “Off the Beaten Path,” and “Tips for Visiting.”

The Grand Egyptian Museum is scheduled to open in the middle of next year.

ISD has a sale on two multi-volume archaeology works: The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Archaeology, ed. Daniel M. Master (was $395; now $150); The Oxford Companion to Archaeology, ed. Neil Asher Silberman (was $595; now $99; sold out?).

The new Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible is for sale on Kindle now for $3.99.

Purim begins at sundown. You might want to grab the kids and read them the book of Esther. Or check out the Maccabeats’ interpretation.

HT: Explorator, Joseph Lauer, Agade, Ted Weis, Charles Savelle, Bill Soper

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Weekend Roundup

Archaeologists have finally discovered the port of ancient Byblos.

Philippe Bohstrom looks at the history of the city of Dan and the tribe of the Danites in a well-illustrated Haaretz article.

Wayne Stiles beat me to the new Virtual Reality tour at the Western Wall in Jerusalem and I asked him to write about it. He did.

Albawaba has a short slide show of the pre-Islamic Middle East.

New tests on the (probably fake) lead codices from Jordan suggest that the lead is ancient.

The Jewish Virtual Library posts a list of significant archaeological discoveries in Israel from 2004 to present. The list seems to be more complete for the last two years than for earlier ones.

Leon Mauldin visited the largely ignored site of Tirzah on his recent trip to Israel.

The Jewish Press posts a 15-minute video entitled “Secrets of the Machpela in Hebron.”

Amazon has a $5 off code good through Sunday on any book(s) that total $15 or more. Enter GIFTBOOK at checkout. Here are three books that qualify:

HT: Charles Savelle, Joseph Lauer, Agade

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Weekend Roundup, Part 1

An in-depth article by the Atlantic Monthly has uncovered the original source for the fake Jesus wife papyrus. The Harvard professor who published the artifact now believes that it is probably a modern forgery.

With the help of Google Earth and drones, researchers have discovered a massive ceremonial platform in Petra.

The Jerusalem Post has an update on the on-going renovations at Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity.

One of the discoveries is a mosaic of an angel.

A $1.3 million gift has launched the restoration of the Edicule in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

People are speculating on what they will find.

“Some 1,800 years ago, Roman troops used ‘whistling’ sling bullets as a ‘terror weapon’ against their barbarian foes.”

Israeli authorities have ordered the Jordanian Waqf to halt construction of toilets just outside the Temple Mount.

A collection of 16 coins from the Hasmonean period were discovered in excavations in Modiin.

A Greek archaeologist thinks he may have found the tomb of Aristotle. Others disagree.

“Massive fortifications and sunken ship-sheds thousands of years old have been found in Piraeus, the harbor city of Athens.”

Canaanites living in Gath in the Early Bronze Age were sacrificing animals imported from Egypt.

The journal article is available here.

The Giza pyramid is not square. The ancients were off by about 5 inches (14 cm).

The Guardian has posted a dozen photos of excavations in Egypt in the 1910s, including several of John Garstang.

The Bible and Interpretation has posted an important new article: Addressing Survey Methodology in the Southern Levant, by Aaron Tavger, Joe Uziel, Dvir Raviv, and Itzhaq Shai.

Scott Stripling is on The Book and the Spade this week talking about the latest from his excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir.

Wayne Stiles traces the geography of God’s dwelling place on earth.

You don’t see this for sale very often: Survey of Western Palestine, 1881 – 1888, 9 vols and 78 maps/plates (set) & The Survey of Eastern Palestine 1889. $10k.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Ted Weis, Charles Savelle, Steven Anderson, Agade, Explorator, Daniel Wright

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Weekend Roundup, Part 1

A woman hiking on an unnamed archaeological site in eastern Galilee picked up a gold coin with the image of Emperor Augustus. High-res images are available here.

Luke Chandler reports on a new excavation at Khirbet Arai, not far from Tel Lachish. The first week has already revealed two massive structures as well as Philistine pottery.

Douglas Petrovich has done some interesting work related to the Israelite presence in Egypt. He has started a Kickstarter project to raise funds to publish a book on it.

The lyre depicted on Israel’s half-shekel is based on a seal now known to be forged. A larger drawing of the forged seal is online here.

A 19-year-old American spent the night in Solomon’s Quarries to dig for treasure.

The publication of Yadin’s final report from his Megiddo excavations will be celebrated at an event at Hebrew U on April 5.

In Photos: Members of an Israeli historical group dressed up in costume for a three-day hike from Jericho to Jerusalem.

The plan to enlarge the mixed prayer area in the Jerusalem Archaeological Park next to the Western Wall prayer plaza is apparently dead.

Archaeologists are opposing plans to build a hotel and apartment buildings in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Abu Tor, the traditional “Hill of Evil Counsel.”

Ferrell Jenkins shares a photo of one of the best preserved stretches of Roman roads in Israel.

Ashkelon excavation veterans are invited to a closing celebration as the thirty-year project ends.

HT: Charles Savelle, Joseph Lauer, Agade, Ted Weis, Daniel Wright

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Weekend Roundup, Part 1

A recent study suggests that most of the terraces in the hill country of Judah were built in the last 400 years and none of them as early as the Iron Age. But that may not be the last word.

The plan to turn the archaeological site underneath Robinson’s Arch into a prayer site is facing opposition from many archaeologists, including Gabriel Barkay, Amihai Mazar, Dan Bahat, and Ronny Reich.

Hundreds of coins in museums in Jordan were replaced with fake ones. Apparently they were stolen years ago but only discovered recently.

Victor Sasson provides a contrary view on the Jehoash Inscription.

Eric M. Meyers shares the story of Yigael Yadin’s last night in America.

The Lod Mosaic, a 3rd century AD Roman work, is touring the United States and is currently in Florida.

Andrew George provides an interesting, behind-the-scenes take on how looting contributed to scholastic knowledge about the Epic of Gilgamesh.

The Caspari Center is offering a ten-day course in Israel in April on “Jesus the Jew.”

Wayne Stiles shows how Jesus’s conversation with his disciples at Tabgha can free you from the comparison trap.

Shmuel Browns shares some recent photographs he took while hiking in Nahal Og.

Time Scanners is a PBS series that uses technology to study ancient structures, including the Temple
Mount and the Colosseum.

HT: Ted Weis, Steven Anderson, Paleojudaica

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