Weekend Roundup, Part 1

“Colorful remains of mosaics from a 3rd century synagogue in the ancient town of Majdulia are the earliest evidence of synagogue decoration in the Golan.”

“A group of archaeologists, architects and researchers petitioned the High Court of Justice . . . to stop a controversial plan to build a cable car to the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City.”

The latest in the Life Lessons from Israel video series focuses on the Talmudic Village of Katzrin.

Aviva and Shmuel Bar-Am write about a number of small archaeological sites in Pisgat Zeev, a northern suburb of Jerusalem.

Israel21c: Fabulous photos of 5 picturesque places to visit in Israel. The sites include Banias, En Gedi, Masada, Beth Shean, and Caesarea.

Archaeologists are hoping to continue excavations at el-Ahwat, possibly the biblical Harosheth HaGoyim, before modern construction destroys remains.

Israel’s Good Name visited the Horns of Hattin during a reenactment of the famous battle between the Crusaders and Saladin.

Carl Rasmussen reports on his visit to the “real” Bethsaida.

Luke Chandler, Ferrell Jenkins, Chris McKinny, and BibleX note the release of three new volumes in the Photo Companion to the Bible series.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer

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Weekend Roundup

A 3rd-century milestone found on the road leading from Sussita to Caesarea Philippi attests to the existence of Emperor Maximinus Thrax. (Haaretz premium)

Yosef Garfinkel is claiming that he discovered the fortifications that Rehoboam built at Lachish (Haaretz premium).

A few spaces remain for this summer’s excavations at Shiloh.

Aren Maeir posts some new aerial photos of Gath.

David Bivin has updated his article on the history and identification of Emmaus.

Carl Rasmussen visits Nabi Shu’ayb, the holiest Druze site in Israel.

The village of Aphrodito provides a glimpse at daily life in southern Egypt in the 6th century AD.

Zahi Hawass identifies three tunnels in the Sphinx.

A newly published inscription describes the Assyrian king “Sargon’s conquest, occupation, and reorganization of Karkemish, including his rebuilding the city with ritual ceremonies usually reserved for royal palaces in capital cities.”

An Italian team is planning to begin a partial restoration of Persepolis.

A team from Greece is photographing thousands of ancient manuscripts at St. Catherine’s Monastery in Sinai.

“More than 300 artifacts from Queen Nefertari’s tomb are part of the National Geographic Museum exhibit ‘Queens of Egypt,’ which is on view in Washington through September 15.”

Rock&Gem explains the Minerals and Metals of the Bible (Part 1, Part 2)

The May/June issue of Biblical Archaeology Review includes articles on the Huqoq Synagogue, dogs in the biblical world, and the Assyrians.

The Biblical Archaeology Society is having a DVD Blowout Sale, with prices marked down 60-75%.

George Giacumakis died earlier this month.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Ted Weis, Chris McKinny, Steven Anderson

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Weekend Roundup

An intact 2,400-year-old ancient Greek shipwreck, believed to be the world’s oldest, has been found at the bottom of the Black Sea.

The Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C. announced that independent testing revealed that five of its Dead Sea Scroll fragments “show characteristics inconsistent with ancient origin and therefore will no longer be displayed at the museum.” Kipp Davis, who initially questioned their authenticity, thinks that more fragments held by American institutions will be proven to be forgeries.


Haaretz (premium) has an article on the new excavations at Tel Shimron, a biblical site that is three times larger than Megiddo.

At least 19 people were killed when a flash flood swept away a group of students touring on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea.

The Smithsonian magazine looks at the work of Virtual Wonders in using drone and other advanced technology to create extremely detailed 3D models of Petra. The article includes a video preview of their work.

“For a video game that includes bloody mercenaries, extraterrestrial beings, and time travel, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey is shockingly faithful to our contemporary historical understanding of what Ancient Greece looked like during its golden age.”

Leon Mauldin shares photos and descriptions of Troas and Gamla.

Two new books on ancient Israel:

HT: Ted Weis, Keith Keyser, Charles Savelle, Agade

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Weekend Roundup

An ancient artifact discovered in Rome was apparently an instrument, but scholars are uncertain if it was a lute or a lyre.

An analysis of fish teeth discovered around Israel sheds light on the extensive fish trade in the ancient Mediterranean world.

A new discovery raises the possibility that Pliny the Younger got the date wrong for the destruction of Pompeii.

The restored synagogue at Umm el-Qanatir (Ein Keshatot) has been dedicated.

Aren Maeir led a one-day excavation at Gath to remove a balk filled with pottery, and he shares many photos.

Archaeological evidence from Gath supports the historicity of the Bible’s description of Goliath (Haaretz premium).

Authorities captured two antiquities thieves who were plundering the Galilean site of Horvat Devorah.

Pressure has increased on the city of Jerusalem to cancel the plans to build a cable car to the Western Wall and City of David.

The Temple Mount Sifting Project has begun a new series: The History of the Temple Mount in 12 Objects.

A new study surveys ancient sites about to be destroyed as the reservoir fills behind the Ilisu Dam in Turkey.

BibleWalks has posted several hundred drone videos of ancient sites throughout Israel.

The November courses at The Institute of Biblical Culture include The Book of Psalms I and Ancient Near Eastern Texts II.

The Crossway ESV Bible Atlas is available at a pre-pub discount for Logos Bible Software.

The latest issue of Biblical Archaeology Review includes articles on Hasmonean kings and children in the ancient Near East.

Susan Masten, Curator of Antiquities at the Museum of the Bible, is the guest this week on The Book and the Spade.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Charles Savelle, A.D. Riddle, Paleojudaica

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Weekend Roundup

A Roman-era cemetery with 32 tombs has been discovered near Hebron.

Archaeologists have discovered what is “probably the most ancient archaeological solid residue of cheese ever found” in the sands near Saqqara.

Erez Ben-Yosef and Aaron Greener explain the significance of Edom’s copper mines in Timna.

A couple of new studies identify the sources of ancient Egyptian copper.

Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities Newsletter for July 2018 includes the latest archaeological discoveries, repatriated antiquities, meetings, temporary exhibits, and increased fees.

“An antiquities museum in Syria’s rebel-held province of Idlib” has reopened after five years. The museum holds some of the Ebla tablets and was damaged in the war.

“The UCLA Library and Early Manuscripts Electronic Library have partnered with St. Catherine’s Monastery to digitize and publish online on an open access basis some 1,100 rare and unique Syriac and Arabic manuscripts dating from the fourth to the 17th centuries.”

Alexander Schick has written an extended article about the Temple Mount. If you don’t read German, there are many photos of interest.

Gabriel Barkay’s lecture, “Was Jesus Buried in the Garden Tomb?” from 2006 is now available online at Jerusalem Perspective.

The latest excursion of Israel’s Good Name takes him to Gath and the Museum of Philistine Culture in Ashdod.

The September/October issue of Biblical Archaeology Review features articles on Masada, Tel Shimron, and dating.

The Columbian has a touristy piece on Jaffa.

Candida Moss identifies the best ancient Christian sites in Egypt.

A number of streams in the Golan Heights that are popular with hikers have been closed due to contamination.

The oldest hippopotamus in captivity has died at the age of 59 at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo.

The four volumes of the Tel Beth Shean excavation reports are now available for free in pdf format from Amihai Mazar’s academia website. He has also posted a chapter on Tel Rehov in the 10th-9th centuries.

HT: Agade, Charles Savelle, Ted Weis

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Weekend Roundup

The Roman villa of a rich fisherman was discovered in Halicarnassus in southwestern Turkey.

Remains of child sacrifice have been found in a Bronze Age cemetery in Turkey.

The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History in Tel Aviv is designed like Noah’s Ark. It opens on Monday.

Week Four brought the Shiloh excavations to an end this summer, but an elite team returned for some conservation work.

The first week of excavations is over at Gath and Tel Burna. John DeLancey was volunteering at Gath and he shares his experience. (All of these links will take you to the most recent post at the time of this writing.)

On the ASOR Blog, James Fraser writes about dolmens in the Levant.

The new archaeology wing at the Terra Sancta Museum in Jerusalem opened this week.

Assyrian king Ashurbanipal is the focus of an exhibit at the British Museum that runs from November to February. Tickets are £17.

Gershon Edelstein, founder of the Ein Yael Living Museum, died this week.

Adrian Hennigan suggests 9 places tourists should avoid this summer, either because they are hot or crowded (Haaretz premium).

Wayne Stiles considers the historical and spiritual significance of Arad.

Israel’s Good Name shares his trip to the northern Golan.

A guy goes to a garage sale in Minnesota and buys some old negatives. It turns out they are originals taken in Jerusalem in 1858!

Mark Hoffman is very impressed with the ESV Archaeology Study Bible.

The Everlasting Nation Museum opens this summer in Hixson, Tennessee. It includes exhibits of Abraham’s tents, a Jewish wedding, a replica of the Western Wall, and an exact reproduction of Corrie Ten Boom’s “hiding place.”

Ferrell Jenkins has written 2000(!) posts in the last decade or so, and he takes the occasion to reflect back on 50 years of travel “from Ararat to Patmos” and beyond. His work is greatly appreciated!

There will be no weekend roundup for the next week or two.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Agade, Charles Savelle, Steven Anderson

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Weekend Roundup

Following reports of damage to archaeological debris on the Temple Mount, the Israeli police have closed a new observation post.

The Temple Mount Sifting Project gives an update on the damage. The Times of Israel reports on the situation.

Aren Maeir shares some of the objectives for this year’s excavations of Gath, including more work on the possible city gate.

The May newsletter of Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities is now online.

A conference entitled “Archaeology for Peace” is being held today in Leiden.

Somehow Carl Rasmussen got into the never-yet-open-to-the-public theater at Perga, and he shares his photos here. [UPDATE: I’ve learned that the theater renovation is complete and the theater is now open to visitors.]

Carl also has posted a couple of rare photos showing flood waters in the Brook of Elah.

Charles Savelle found the four-horned altar near Shiloh. (I do wish he had moved his bike before he took the picture!)

Ferrell Jenkins shares photos of his drive through Wadi Shu’ayb in Jordan.

Wayne Stiles looks at the spiritual significance of the mountains that surround Jerusalem.

Ticia Verveer gives an illustrated tour of Gamla.

Israel’s Good Name saw quite a bit of wildlife on his trip to the Beth Shean Valley and Agamon Hefer.

HT: Joseph Lauer

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Weekend Roundup, Part 1

A symposium is being held this week in Jerusalem on “The Dead Sea Scrolls at Seventy: Clear a Path in the Wilderness.” The full program is here. The poster is here.

Brad Gray investigates the geographical connection between the leper healings of Naaman and the 10 lepers in the latest episode of The Teaching Series.

Ten students were killed by a flash flood when hiking in Nahal Tzafit this week.

The Druze celebrated their annual pilgrimage to Jethro’s tomb in Galilee last week.

Ferrell Jenkins has written about “the Great Rift” in preparation for a series of articles about the Aravah. His post includes several beautiful photos.

Episode Five of Digging for Truth focuses on the recent excavations of Shiloh.

The site and synagogue of Umm el-Qanatir in the Golan Heights are the subject of an article in Front Page Magazine.

Timna and its copper mines are described by the BBC.

Lyndelle Webster is profiled on the Azekah Expedition blog, and she recounts how her volunteer work changed her life direction.

Israel’s Good Name shares his experience and photos from his visit to Ein Hemed.

Wayne Stiles explains the geographical and theological significance of Kadesh Barnea.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Paleojudaica

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Weekend Roundup, Part 1

Underwater excavations of Corinth’s harbor at the port of Lechaion have exposed five-ton stone blocks and a perfectly preserved wooden post. This article has lots of illustrations. A 2-minute video takes you there.


The New York Times reports on the numerous ancient finds from Rome’s ongoing subway project.

Archaeologists have been excavating a large Byzantine church complex near Beth Shemesh.

Excavations have revealed that the population of Shiloh switched from Gentile to Jewish following the Maccabean Revolt.

New excavations have revealed a Hasmonean-era settlement at Susiya near Hebron.

Israel’s Culture Minister is initiating a $70 million plan to uncover, preserve, and develop historical sites in Jerusalem and vicinity.

The Israeli government has approved funding for a hiking trail through the West Bank and Golan Heights.

“The ancient city of Hazor in the Galilee seems to have muscled its way to fame and fortune partly by developing a unique business in farming sheep, instead of goats like everyone else in Canaan 3,700 years ago.”

Recent excavations at Jericho show a close relationship between the city and Egypt.

Archaeologists have traced the history of a menorah relief in various buildings in Tiberias.

A young girl discovered a Hasmonean-period oil lamp in a porcupines’ den near Beth Shean.

Elsewhere antiquities thieves denied their activities by claiming that they were “just hunting porcupines.”

New book, with free ebook download: Finding Jerusalem: Archaeology between Science and Ideology, by Katharina Galor.

Cuneiform cookies are all the rage this Christmas. This video will teach you how to bake Ugaritic
Tablet Biscuits.

HT: Ted Weis, Joseph Lauer, Agade, Mark Hoffman, Charles Savelle, Explorator, Chris McKinny,
Mike Harney

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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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