Weekend Roundup, Part 1

A sceptre about 3,200 years old made of copper and coated in silver leaf found in the biblical city of Lachish could be the first evidence of life-sized ‘divine statues’ in the Levant.”

Excavations of the underground Siloam Street have been (or were) halted after engineering instruments detected that the ground was moving.

Contrary to previous belief, chalkstone vessels continued to be used in the Galilee for several centuries after the destruction of the Jerusalem temple.

“Israeli archaeologists have published a 360-degree analysis of a rural, affluent Christian town in the Galilee that was most likely destroyed by Persian invaders in 613.”

Analysis of bird remains excavated in Jerusalem confirmed that specific species of birds – pigeons, doves – were indeed sacrificed in the Temple as the biblical text suggests. The story is based on an article in the latest issue of BASOR.

Roman and Byzantine mosaic floors provide insights into how humans restrained animals by the use of cages, ropes, knots, other tethering devices.

“A large number of archaeological sites in the West Bank, including many that are part of Jewish history and tradition, will be placed or remain under Palestinian control according to US President Donald Trump’s peace plan.”

An Explainer piece by Rossella Tercatin in the Jerusalem Post reveals who is in control of the archaeological sites in the West Bank.

Why is the Israel Museum still closed?

Ferrell Jenkins shares some photos and insights about the Judean wilderness.

Daniel Santacruz shares a dozen photos of wildflowers he took near his home in Maale Adumim.

This week we released volume #20 in the Pictorial Library of the Bible Lands. The Western Mediterranean collection focuses on Roman sites in Gaul (France) and Hispania (Spain) and includes more than 1,400 photos and 25 PowerPoints. The sale price ($25) ends on Tuesday.

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

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Weekend Roundup, Part 1

The Jerusalem Post runs a story on the 2013 discovery of a winery at Jezreel. A scholarly article was published this year on the excavation in the Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage Studies.

Analysis of pottery workshops in the Jerusalem area reveals changes brought about by the Roman destruction of the city in AD 70. The underlying journal article was recently published in BASOR.

In his latest “Discussions with the Diggers,” Bryan Windle interviews Robert Mullins, focusing on his current excavations of Abel Beth Maacah. (I read yesterday that Yadin in the 1950s would have preferred to excavate Abel instead of Hazor, but he was unable to because of the military situation.)

Virtual conference on June 15-16: On the Origin of the Pieces: The Provenance of the Dead Sea Scrolls

W. Raymond Johnson of the Oriental Institute gave a lecture this week on “Medinet Habu and Tell el-Amarna: Tales of Blocks and Towers.”

SBL Press has “unpublished” Burton MacDonald’s A History of Ancient Moab from the Ninth to First Centuries BCE after determining that it “does not adequately adhere to the expected standard of marking all direct quotations from other sources.” (If you want a copy, better grab one now. Or if you already purchased, you can send it back for a refund.)

New release: A Week in the Life of Ephesus, by David A. deSilva. I enjoy the way this series makes learning historican context enjoyable. (Also available in Logos.)

Kris Udd gave a one-day Seminar on Bible Chronology at his church a few months ago, and he has made the videos and print materials available for free download. I have benefitted from Dr. Udd’s excellent chronology materials for many years, and I am happy to see them made widely available.

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

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Weekend Roundup

A scholarly study uses radiocarbon dating to determine that “Wilson’s Arch was initiated by Herod the Great and enlarged during the Roman Procurators, such as Pontius Pilatus, in a range of 70 years, rather than 700 years, as previously discussed by scholars. The theater-like structure is dated to the days of Emperor Hadrian and left unfinished before 132–136 AD.”

A 1,800-year-old fountainhead in the shape of a face was uncovered by chance by a visitor at the Tzipori [Sepphoris] National Park in the Galilee.”

Rami Arav discusses his excavations at et-Tell and a newly discovered moon god stele (Haaretz premium).

Excavations will not be possible at el-Araj (Bethsaida?) this summer because of the high water level. The article includes many photos.

NPR has a story on the Israeli and Jordanian sides of the tourist site for Jesus’s baptism, including a discussion of creating a new “soft crossing” to allow tourists to enter Jordan from the Israeli side.

A new study of the DNA of 35 fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls is providing insight into the diverse origins of the parchments.

Mark Vitalis Hoffman has published an interesting article on “Jesus and Jerusalem and the ‘Things That Make for Peace.” He has also created a video to supplement the article.

Gabriel Barkay is on The Book and the Spade this week talking about the archaeology of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.

Israel’s Good Name had a productive trip scouting out the birds and fish at the Beit Zayit Reservoir west of Jerusalem.

A Jerusalem Post piece looks at the resumption of tourism in Israel and the safety measures being put in place.

From boom to bust: with tourism in Israel all but gone, tour guides are considering their options.

The Winter 2019 issue of the ACOR Newsletter is now available (high-res; low-res).

The Bible and Interpretation provides a selection about ancient Moab and the Mesha Stele from the new book by Burton MacDonald.

Gulf News has a write-up on artifacts from Saudi Arabia that are featured in the traveling “Roads of Arabia” exhibit.

Smithsonian magazine has a long, well-illustrated piece on archaeological work in and around Aigai, Philip II’s capital of Macedon. A massive new museum is scheduled to open in January.

The latest historical city travel guide by the British Museum is of Athens in the 5th century BC.

Some stories on re-opening: excavations in Turkey, Vatican Museums, Rome’s Colosseum, Pompeii, Al Ula, Israel’s museums, the Temple Mount.

Two Asian lion cubs were recently born at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Chris McKinny, Agade, Keith Keyser, Steven Anderson, Charles Savelle, Explorator

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Weekend Roundup, Part 1

“A singular two-millennia-old subterranean system of three rooms has been uncovered near the Western Wall. The three-room complex — painstakingly chiseled by hand out of bedrock prior to the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE — is the first evidence of everyday life gone underground in the ancient city.” There’s a nice 3-minute video in English here.

An intact terracotta sarcophagus dating from the second century AD has been unearthed alongside the archaeological site of Ostia Antica” near Rome.

Researchers have found that early Iron Age Nubia utilized bitumen from the Dead Sea in funeral preparations.

An incredible, undisturbed tomb probably dating back to the Punic period has been found in Tarxien” on the island of Malta.

Eberhard Zangger and Rita Gautschy argue that a monumental depiction of the Hittite pantheon in the rock sanctuary of Yazılıkaya near Hattusha actually served as an ancient calendar based on celestial events.

A study of a trash pit in Beth-Yerah/Philoteria provides insights into the diet of the inhabitants in the 2nd century BC.

The founders of Hobby Lobby are suing Christie’s auction house for selling it a stolen copy of the Gilgamesh Dream Tablet.

Some of the lectures from the Bar Ilan archaeology series have been recorded and are available online.

HT: Agade, Keith Keyser, Arne Halbakken

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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

The Atlantic sews together the story of the “first-century Mark,” Hobby Lobby, and Dirk Obbink.

Stephen Oryszczuk takes a tour of the only accelerator mass spectrometry lab in the Middle East, and its contribution to ongoing archaeological excavations.

Scholars are studying erasures and corrections in the Leningrad Codex.

Ruth Schuster considers what caused the collapse of Byzantine farming in the Negev highlands.

Ianir Milevski and Liora Kolska Horwitz investigate the domestication of donkeys in the ancient Near East.

The summer issue of Biblical Archaeology Review includes articles on forced resettlement at Tel Hadid, old Christian manuscripts, and the scarab. (BAR appears to have quietly cut its number of issues each year from 6 to 4.)

The British Museum has created historical city travel guides to Nineveh in the 7th century BC and to Rome in the 1st century AD.

Pompeii Live, “the British Museum’s most popular exhibition of the last decade is set to return, in the form of an online broadcast” that will premiere on May 20.

Lachish is the subject of a 7-minute video, the latest in the Life Lessons from Israel series.

The Ancient World Online (AWOL) has now surpassed ten million page views.

Satire: Stanford will be offering a new course entitled “How to be a Gladiator,” and signed waivers will be required to enroll.

A NPR piece looks at what has happened with tourism at Petra, going from 8,000 people a day to zero. Now the place is being taken over by cats, sparrows, and wolves.

Assassin’s Creed Discovery Tours of Ptolemaic Egypt and Classical Greece are free through May 20. Explore those worlds in a “living museum.”

Accordance has photo resources related to biblical archaeology on sale.

There is no shortage of material for an archaeological biography of King Ahab.

Israel’s Good Name describes his university field trip to Tel Arad and Tel Beersheba.

To celebrate his birthday, Shmuel Browns drove up to Sussita and took some beautiful photos.

Church of the Holy Sepulcher locked, nf7550-sr_thumb[1]

All locked up: The Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, May 12, 2020

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Keith Keyser, Joseph Lauer, Explorator, Brian Johnson

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Weekend Roundup, Part 1

For only the 4th time, a Bar Kochba coin has been found in Jerusalem, possibly brought there by a Roman soldier. This article has nice photos, and this article has a short video.

The Jerusalem Post surveys how archaeology in Israel has been affected by governmental actions in response to COVID-19.

El-Araj, a good candidate for Bethsaida, has been flooded by this winter’s rains and the rise of the Sea of Galilee.

Critics are claiming that construction by the Palestinian Authority is destroying remains at Tel Aroma, the northernmost Hasmonean fortress in Samaria.

“Exploratory drilling has started just outside the Old City for a project to extend the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem fast rail to the Old City’s Dung Gate — the main entrance to the Western Wall.”

The Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem has filed a lawsuit demanding closure of Ein Yael outdoor museum.

Four fragments of Dead Sea Scroll fragments that were thought to be blank are not.

A new excavation at Petra will focus on the lower part of the Treasury as well as nearby tombs and facades.

A new burial chamber has been discovered at the mummification workshop complex of the 26th Dynasty at Saqqara.”

“A stone chest excavated by archaeologists near Deir el-Bahari and the temple of Hatshepsut could lead archaeologists . . . to a royal tomb.”

Egypt’s decision to move ancient objects from their original setting in Luxor to Cairo’s Tahrir Square is stirring controversy.

“The excavation team working on the site of the ancient city of Patara, near the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya, has unearthed a new inscription in the ancient theater.”

“A small sinkhole that appeared next to the Pantheon in Rome has enabled archaeologists to examine the original Roman paving that was laid when the Pantheon was built by Marcus Agrippa around 27-25 BC.”

The traditional tomb of Esther and Mordechai in Hamadan, Iran, was set afire yesterday.

David Moster has created a new video on “Biblical Pandemics.”

The Temple Mount Sifting Project Symposium on May 24 features eight lectures via Zoom on the archaeology of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. Registration is required.

Francis I. Andersen died recently. His breadth of publications is remarkable.

Thomas O. Lambdin died on May 8.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Joseph Lauer, Explorator, BibleX

Ecbatana tomb of Esther and Mordecai, tb0510183126

Traditional tomb of Esther and Mordecai in Hamadan (biblical Ecbatana) before attack

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Weekend Roundup, Part 1

A team excavating Khirbet a-Ra‘i (the alleged Ziklag) in January and February discovered “a rare ‘smiting god’ figurine, a bronze calf figurine, two seals and decorated Canaanite and Philistine pottery from the 12th Century BCE.”

With everyone home, antiquities thieves are having a field day in Judea and Samaria.

With the Israel Museum closed, the Dead Sea Scrolls are now safely stored “behind five locked doors in a humidity and temperature-controlled vault at the Shrine of the Book.”

Owen Jairus reports on discoveries made in the Nazareth Archaeological Project, as recently published by its director Ken Dark.

The summer season at Tell es-Safi/Gath has been cancelled. Other excavations have apparently cancelled as well, though I haven’t yet seen those notices.

The Temple Mount Sifting Project has unveiled a new virtual exhibition.

The Palestine Open Maps project has just launched, and it is based on the 1940s survey maps from the British Mandate.

On Kindle for $2.99: Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony, by Richard Bauckham.

Hisham’s Delights is a new digital cookbook from the kitchen of the Albright Institute.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Joseph Lauer

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Weekend Roundup

The Sea of Galilee may fill up for the first time since 1992 after rising more than 10 feet in recent months. And since the water is not considered kosher for Passover, it isn’t pumped out during the week-long holiday.

Only 10 people gathered at the Western Wall for the priestly blessing during Passover, and Al Aqsa Mosque will be closed through Ramadan.

“With the coronavirus keeping Israelis indoors, dozens of jackals have taken over a deserted park in Tel Aviv, scavenging for food in what is usually a playground for joggers and families.”

Here’s another video of the 500 mines blowing up at Qasr al-Yahud near the Jordan River.

John Monson answered questions about the state of biblical archaeology in light of the closure of Southwestern’s program.

The Pergamon Museum in Berlin has posted a 16-minute virtual tour video of the Museum of the Ancient Near East (subtitles in English).

The Harvard Semitic Museum has been renamed the Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East. The museum’s website includes a virtual tour of the entire museum.

Oxford University professor Dirk Obbink has been arrested on suspicion of theft and fraud of ancient papyrus fragments from the Oxyrhynchus collection.

The latest video from John DeLancey: Jesus heals the paralytic in Capernaum.

New: A History of Ancient Moab from the Ninth to First Centuries BCE, by Burton MacDonald.

Carl Rasmussen takes a more careful look at the famous Pilate Inscription, with particular interest in its connection to another “son of God.”

Agrippa I: An Archaeological Biography includes photos of coins of this king, Roman baths in Beirut, the Third Wall in Jerusalem, and the amphitheater in Caesarea.

Fun read: “‘Terminate and Liquidate’: How the Megiddo Ivories were Almost Not Discovered.” This fascinating story is taken from Eric H. Cline’s latest book, Digging Up Armageddon: The Search for the Lost City of Solomon.

HT: Agade, Paleojudaica

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Weekend Roundup

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) has terminated its biblical archaeology program, laying off five professors and ending the MA and PhD programs of 25 graduate students. The Gezer excavation publication project now lacks funding.

“Pieces of papyrus sold as rare fragments of Dead Sea Scrolls to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary a decade ago are ‘likely fraudulent’ and the seminary might seek financial restitution.”

Sergio and Rhoda show how much the Sea of Galilee’s water level has changed in the last two years.

Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities is launching a series of virtual tours of some of its archaeological sites and museums, beginning with the tomb of Kheti at Beni Hasan.

“New University of Arizona-led research uses tree rings to shed light on discrepancies between archeological and radiocarbon evidence in dating the ancient volcanic eruption of Thera.”

The last land mine has been removed from the Jordan River baptismal area near Qaser al-Yahud, The article includes a video of 562 mines being set off.

Erez Ben-Yosef, director of the Central Timna Valley Project, is interviewed on LandMinds about metallurgy, nomadic societal organizations, and implications for the biblical record.

The Temple Mount Sifting Project has not stopped, though there are no guests or volunteers.

David Christian Clausen discusses the evidence for identifying the location of the Upper Room in Jerusalem.

Rabbi David Moster will be teaching Biblical Hebrew this summer in a 40-session online course. Readers use use the coupon “BiblePlaces” will receive a $500 discount.

For the 100th episode of The Teaching Series, Brad Gray takes a look at the significance of the number 40 in the Bible, reflecting on its repeated presence in episodes of testing and trials.

The Conference DVD Bundle for last year’s Institute of Biblical Context is on sale through Monday, with all 42 presentations available for $79 (digital) or $99 (DVD).

Some Carta resources are finally coming to Logos Bible Software, including The Sacred Bridge, The Quest, and the Carta Bible Atlas. A 13-volume set is also available.

Mark Wilson’s Seven Churches Network website has been greatly updated, including many of his published articles.

Ferrell Jenkins has posted a series this week showing photos of rolling stones from the Tomb of the Kings, the Herodian family tomb, Hesban, and Khirbet Midras.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Paleojudaica

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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

Bryan Windle identifies the Top Three Reports in Biblical Archaeology in March 2020.

Christopher Rollston is a guest on the LandMinds video podcast discussing forgeries of antiquities.

Jeffrey Kloha is on The Book and the Spade discussing the “Fake Dead Sea Scrolls at the Museum of the Bible.”

Writing for Haaretz, Ariel David asks whether the assessment that the 16 Dead Sea Scroll fragments are forgeries calls into question the authenticity of the Dead Sea Scroll fragments previously discovered.

Lawrence H. Schiffman will be giving an online lecture entitled “Old Leather, New Ink: Forgery and the Dead Sea Scrolls” on April 1 at 9 pm (Eastern).

Steve Green will return 5,000 ancient papyrus fragments and 6,500 ancient clay objects to Iraq and Egypt.

A new study suggests that radiocarbon dates for the ANE need to be adjusted, with implications for the dates of the death of Tutankhamen and the eruption on Santorini.

Max Price writes about the history of pigs in the ancient Near East.

The British Museum’s Circulating Artefacts (CircArt) project is a ground-breaking collaborative initiative against the widespread global trade in illicit antiquities, with a current focus on ancient objects from Egypt and Sudan.”

Shiloh is the subject of the latest in John DeLancey’s “Life Lessons” series.

Carl Rasmussen shares some Easter-related photos, including Jesus’s crown of thorns and an unusual photo of a Jerusalem cross.

Mark Hoffman found a Google map of ancient theaters, amphitheaters, stadiums, and odeons in Turkey. (There are more than you might expect.)

Ferrell Jenkins posts a couple of photos of Capernaum from the air.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Paleojudaica, Joseph Lauer

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