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The Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem reopened on June 1 after a $50 million renovation. The Times of Israel explains what’s new.

The Israeli government has approved spending more than $100 million in the next five years on various projects in Jerusalem, including on excavations in the Western Wall Tunnels and the City of David National Park.

To judge from this recent promo video, Israel’s Ministry of Tourism is seeking a different kind of tourist. This video also seems to embody the adage that advertising is another form of lying.

The IAA discovered three ossuaries in a Roman-period burial cave near Kafr Kanna (Cana) that had recently been looted.

A traffic stop near Ramallah led to the discovery of dozens of 10th Roman Legion floor tiles that had recently been illegally excavated.

Israeli police arrested a suspect in possession of dozens of coins illegally excavated in Jerusalem, including a rare coin from the reign of Antigonus Mattathias II.

A three-week operation led to the capture of thieves illegally excavating a Roman-Byzantine site near Nazareth.

The latest volume of the Journal of the Ancient Near Eastern Society includes articles on 1 Samuel 5, the Gezer Calendar, the altar at Tel Dothan, and the story of Dinah. Articles are open-access.

Preprints for a festschrift for Tallay Ornan are available on Academia.

New release: Pushing Sacred Boundaries in Early Judaism and the Ancient Mediterranean: Essays in Honor of Jodi Magness (Brill, $211)

New release: History of Ancient Israel, by Christian Frevel (SBL, $75)

On pre-order sale at Logos: “A Virtual Walk Through the Land of the Bible,” by Charlie Trimm

Logos has just released The New Encyclopedia Of Archaeological Excavations In The Holy Land.

Logos has a sale on The New Moody Atlas of the Bible this month ($10).

Rafael Frankel, retired archaeologist from the University of Haifa, died last week. Some of his publications can be seen here.

Weston Fields, longtime managing director of the Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation, died on May 25. A list of his publications can be seen here.

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

The viewing area for the Broad Wall in Jerusalem will be transformed once they complete construction of these new walkways. Amazing that it took 50 years to get around to this.

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“Researchers found traces of dysentery-causing parasites in material excavated from the cesspits below the two stone toilets that would have belonged to elite households” in Jerusalem. The underlying journal article is here.

A recreational swimmer discovered a shipwreck that included a cargo of 44 tons of marble blocks headed to the Roman port of Ashkelon or Gaza for an elite building project.

A 1st-century receipt was discovered in a 19th century excavation tunnel in Jerusalem.

“Tiny bones from prehistoric birds found at a birdwatching site in northern Israel have been identified as 12,000-year-old flutes.”

The “curse tablet” from Mt. Ebal has been published, but early reactions to the claims are not positive. The journal article is here.

Andy Cook has returned to the Pool of Siloam to give an update on why they haven’t discovered any more remains of the pool.

Carl Rasmussen writes about a new area in Caesarea being billed as the prison of Paul. Carl notes his misgivings with the identification.

In a recent article, Nadav Na’aman argues that the original center of Jerusalem was on the Temple Mount, not in the City of David. Haaretz provides a summary of the Tel Aviv journal article which is available to subscribers. (In my experience, Na’aman is quite good at being provocative but less good at being persuasive.)

Robert Mullins considers the implications of discovering the name of “Benyaw” inscribed on a storejar found at Abel Beth Maacah.

Chandler Collins raises questions about the hypothesis that Jerusalem’s population exploded because a mass of Israelite refugees arrived in the late 8th century BC.

Haaretz premium: “In Israel, everyone wants to excavate – from foreign volunteers to youth groups. But many archaeology experts, warning of damaged sites, now believe it’s time to slow down and focus on what’s already been unearthed.”

The summer issue of Biblical Archaeology Review includes stories on David and Solomon’s “invisible kingdom,” the lost treasures of the First Temple, and the Amorites.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, Ted Weis, Stephanie Durruty, Wayne Stiles, Alexander Schick, Gordon Franz, Explorator

The bulldozers working in the Pool of Siloam left this section for the archaeologists to carefully excavate. So far, no additional remains of the pool’s architecture have been discovered in this year’s work.

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[Due to some website issues, part 2 of the last Weekend Roundup was not sent out. You can read it here.]

A cave near ancient Shechem served refugees for at least eight different historical periods, from the Chalcolithic to the Mamluk periods.

El-Unuk, one of Adam Zertal’s six “Gilgal” sites, is under threat of destruction from construction work.

The Israeli government has approved an $8 million budget to restore and protect the ancient capital city of Samaria. The funding “will go toward establishing a tourism center at the site, building new access roads, mapping untouched areas, and increasing law enforcement to prevent illegal activity.”

Scott Stripling discusses the Mount Ebal Curse Tablet on the latest episode of Digging for Truth.

John DeLancey’s latest video was filmed in the 1st-century synagogue of Magdala.

What are the Lachish Letters and why are they of importance to the Bible? Nathan Steinmeyer explains.

JNS has a story on the Inscriptions of Israel/Palestine project being run by Brown University.

In connection with a new exhibit at the Corning Museum of Glass, Ruth Schuster investigates the history and method of Roman glassmaking in the land of Israel.

Hybrid lecture at the Albright Institute on May 11: “Before the Nabataeans: Arabian Traders in the Negev Highlands,” by Tali Erickson-Gini and Martin David Pasternak

Zoom lecture on May 11: “Jesus Reading Scripture: Exploring the Archaeology of Worship in First-Century Synagogues,” by Paul Flesher ($6/$12).

The online lecture with Ken Dark on “Exploring the Archaeology of Jesus’ Nazareth” has been rescheduled to Friday, 12 May 2023 at 11:00am-12:30 pm ET.

Preserving Bible Times has released Session 5 of The Bible: Its Land & Culture! This session explores Two Different Worlds: Jewish or Hebrew and Roman or Gentile; Peter vs Paul; Deciphering the Roman World; and Roman Exceptionalism. Individual sessions are available here, and all 5 sessions are now available for purchase as a set ($40).

Paleojudaica links to articles that explore connections of King Charles III’s coronation with the Bible and the ancient Near East.

HT: Ted Weis, Explorator

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“A 6,000-year-old copper fishing hook, possibly used for catching sharks or other large fish, has been discovered during an Israel Antiquities Authority excavation in Ashkelon.”

Andy Cook posts a short video he just filmed in the drainage channel underneath the City of David.

Sussita National Park is now open to the public. The site, also known as Hippos, overlooks the Sea of Galilee on its eastern side.

Bible History Daily addresses the question of who lived in the ancient city of Hazor: commoners, elites, or a mix of the two. This issue is explored further in an article by Shlomit Bechar in the latest issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

Several dozen articles on the topic of “The Ancient Written Wor(l)d” have been published in the latest issue of ‘Atiqot (open access). One of the articles challenges the identification of the signet ring of Pilate.

“Jerusalem was named one of TIME magazine’s 50 most extraordinary travel destinations, as part of the publication’s third annual list of the World’s Greatest Places.”

“Caesarea was given awarded the ACTA Archeological and Cultural Award for the best foreign archeological site by GIST, Italy’s foremost tourism press agency.”

Chandler Collins will now be posting information about excavations and publications about Jerusalem on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

As Emily Master steps down after five years as Executive Director of the Friends of the Israel Antiquities Authority, she identifies three milestone projects completed in this time: a renovated Davidson Center, the Shelby White and Leon Levy Lod Mosaic Archaeological Center, and the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel.

Aren Maeir’s latest publication is in a volume dedicated to Indiana Jones. (Despite the date of its posting, the book appears legitimate.)

New release: In the Shadow of the Wall: The Life and Death of Jerusalem’s Maghrebi Quarter, 1187–1967, by Vincent Lemire (Stanford University Press, $32; Amazon).

ASOR webinar on April 13: “New Perspectives on Jerusalem’s 7th Century BCE Elite,” by Yuval Gadot

Online lecture on April 27: “The Archaeology of Mount Zion in Jerusalem – Past, Present, and Future,” by Shimon Gibson. Registration is free and required.

On YouTube: “The Jewishness of the New Testament: An Interview with R. Steven Notley” (17 min)

Israeli authorities are forecasting severe heat waves this summer, with temperatures possibly reaching 120 degrees F (49 C).

The Infusion Bible Conference digital download of all 42 videos of “The Last Days of Jesus” is now on sale for $30 off. Purchase includes the pdf notebook with 170 pages of notes, resources, and recommendations.

Focus on the Family is celebrating Passion Week with a series of devotionals by Will Varner, illustrated with photos from BiblePlaces.com.

HT: Agade, Arne Halbakken, Alexander Schick, Explorator

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The site of Horvat el-Bira, a Roman villa with a later Byzantine church, was cleaned up by local residents during the recent Good Deeds Day.

Ruth Schuster tells the story of Yodfat (Jotapata) in the Jewish Revolt of AD 66-70 and describes the archaeological evidence of its defeat.

Melanie Lidman follows up on the various mistakes that the IAA made in failing to identify the “Darius Ostracon” as a modern inscription.

UC San Diego Today tells the story of Neil Smith, from his days as a 19-year-old using GIS in Wadi Faynan to his work today in co-directing the Center for Cyber-Archaeology and Sustainability.

Israel Today is offering a free virtual tour of Hazor on April 16.

Aren Maeir is on The Ancients podcast to discuss the Philistines.

New release: The Koren Tanakh of the Land of Israel – Leviticus ($50). This volume “provides background scholarship for the book of Leviticus, including archaeology, flora/fauna, ancient Near East parallels, language cognates, historical, and geographical perspectives, to the sacrificial procedures, laws, and narratives of the book.”

New release: Ahab’s House of Horrors: A Historiographic Study of the Military Campaigns of the House of Omri, by Kyle R. Greenwood and David B. Schreiner (Lexham Press, $20).

Paleojudaica is celebrating 20 years of blogging. That’s a remarkable run well worth celebrating!

HT: Agade, Arne Halbakken, Explorator

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Jerusalem Perspective has published “Treasures New and Old (Matt. 13:52): Celebrating 35 Years of Jerusalem Perspective.” The 35 articles are organized under the following sections: “Who Was Jesus?,” “The Sermon on the Mount, “Second Temple Jewish Sects,” Bible Languages and Translation,” “Second Temple Jewish Life and Thought,” “The Land of Jesus,” and “A New Solution to the Synoptic Problem.” Highlights include:

“Was Jesus a Rabbi,” by David N. Bivin

“The Appearance of Jesus: Hairstyles and Beards in Bible Times,” by Marvin R. Wilson

“Jesus’ Devout Jewish Parents and Their Child Prodigy,” by Chana Safrai

“Lilies of the Field,” by Gloria Suess

“Jesus and the Essenes,” by David Flusser

“Spoken Languages in the Time of Jesus,” by Shmuel Safrai

“That Small-fry Herod Antipas, or When a Fox Is Not a Fox,” by Randall Buth

“Let Down Your Nets,” by Mendel Nun

“Six Stone Water Jars,” by Ronny Reich

“‘Shake the Dust from Your Feet’: What Did the Apostles’ Action Signify?” by Joshua N. Tilton

“The Search for Bethsaida: Is It Over?,” by R. Steven Notley

“A Farewell to the Emmaus Road,” by David N. Bivin

These fascinating studies are written by the best scholars in their fields, and I’m thankful that Jerusalem Perspective has made them so easily accessible and affordable. The early bird price of $19.95 for the e-book ends soon.

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