The Western Wall prayer plaza will have a smaller version of a museum and office building after the planning committee listened to opponents.

A Muslim crowd on the Temple Mount attacked police when they opened the site to visitors yesterday afternoon.

A Jewish journalist describes his visit to the Temple Mount with Rabbi Chaim Richman.

The first week of excavations at Tel Burna has concluded.

Luke Chandler explains how a discovery from Khirbet Qeiyafa may help us to understand some details of Solomon’s temple described in 1 Kings 6. He includes a link to the Israel Exploration Journal article by Garfinkel and Mumcuoglu.

Shmuel Browns’ photo of the week is of Nahal Zavitan in the Golan Heights.

Where did Jesus change the water into wine? And what was the purpose of this miracle? Wayne Stiles explains and illustrates.

Scott Stripling is on The Book and the Spade this week, talking about last month’s excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir (Ai?). Direct link here.

Tourism to Israel is at record levels, with 1.5 million visits from January to May this year.

The Sacred Bridge is on sale for Father’s Day at the Biblical Archaeology Society store. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen it lower than $79.95. (Amazon has it for $118 used or $125 new.) This is the standard reference for historical geography. These photos give a sense for how detailed the work is.

The Biblical Archaeology Society has a new free eBook: Masada: The Dead Sea’s Desert Fortress.

And BAR is now available for the iPad, Android, and Kindle Fire.

The ASOR Blog has more from the broader world of archaeology.

HT: Joseph Lauer

Temple Mount aerial from west, bb00030096
Jerusalem’s Temple Mount from the west
Photo by Barry Beitzel, from the Pictorial Library, volume 3

Wayne Stiles recommends 3 Sites To See Along the Mediterranean and 3 High Points to Visit in the Golan. As always, he has lots of photos.

Lois Tverberg has a new e-book out: 5 Hebrew Words That Every Christian Should Know. Only $3.99 and a free sample is available.

After Israel, the next country Bible students should visit is Turkey. Why? Ferrell Jenkins explains.

Tom Powers provides the history of “the bridge that never was.” His post includes illustrations of Robinson’s arch and inaccurate reconstructions.

The Bible and Interpretation features a well-illustrated summary of crucifixion in the ancient Mediterranean world based on a recent monograph by John Granger Cook.

This article explains why museums hate ancient coins.

The “endless archaeological park” also known as Greece is now on Google Street View after overcoming five years of government resistance.

Bible History Daily has a new post on Map Quests: Geography, Digital Humanities and the Ancient World.

Satellite imagery is helping officials monitor looting of sites in Egypt. The New York Times reports on other actions the Egyptian government is taking against antiquities theft.

Work continues in the effort to establish an archaeology park at Carchemish.

For more, see the ASOR Archaeology Weekly Roundup.

HT: Explorator, Joseph Lauer, Jack Sasson

Termessos Hadrian propylon and Artemis temple, tb062506813

Temple of Artemis in Termessos, Turkey
Photo from Western Turkey

Information on the second Qeiyafa inscription coming later this year (Luke Chandler)
The Tel Burna Arch
aeological Project (ASOR Blog)

Israel approves drilling for oil in Golan Heights (Jerusalem Post)

John the Baptist: The First Christian Martyr (Bryant Wood)

Review of The Unsolved Mystery of Noah’s Ark (Gordon Franz and Bill Crouse)

NIV Study Bible for Kindle marked down to $6.64 (Amazon)

Ferrell Jenkins has begun a series on famous people buried in the Protestant Cemetery on Mount
Zion, including Horatio G. Spafford and James Leslie Starkey.

Online Battle Over Sacred Scrolls, Real-World Consequences (New York Times) Includes an interview with Raphael Golb.

Oak forest on Golan Heights, tb020506169
Oak forest on Golan Heights
Photo from Galilee and the North

A dog fell into a hole in Jerusalem and now it will become an open biblical tourist park.

Work continues in Georgia in constructing a museum for artifacts from Israel.

The next time you travel to the Golan Heights, you can remember your day this way: Bastions, Burials, Battles, and Borders.

Ferrell Jenkins shares a photo of a beautiful sunrise over the Sea of Galilee.

The Church of the Holy Sepulcher may close its doors for a day to protest its bank account being frozen for not paying its water bill.

Al Jazeera posts 15 photos on the Western Wall prayer plaza and excavated tunnels.

The Zondervan Atlas of the Bible is marked down to $14.99 for the Fabulous Friday sale at christianbook.com. (Amazon: $26.39). It might make a great gift for someone who wants to understand the Bible better.

The latest SourceFlix video short is about the olive harvest. (If you appreciate their work, you might consider making a donation some time.)

A special exhibition opens next week at the Lynn H. Wood Archaeological Museum on “The Battle over King David: Excavating the Fortress of Elah.”

I bet that this is the first (future) motion picture reference to Shaaraim in connection with the David and Goliath story. (If they ever read 1 Samuel 17, they’ll get rid of it. Shaaraim is not Qeiyafa and it’s not the Philistine base either.)

HT: Charles Savelle, Joseph Lauer

Woman harvesting olives near Bethlehem, tb111106855
Woman harvesting olives near Bethlehem
Photo from Cultural Images of the Holy Land

The north of Israel received a surprise August rainfall this week. Haaretz has more about the rabbi who was accused of stealing bones from an archaeological site near Beth Shemesh. Israel will return two sarcophagi lids stolen from Egypt. The BBC describes Lidar archaeology and some debate about its value. Joe Yudin recommends the view from an inactive volcano in the Golan Heights. I think that Wayne Stiles somehow managed to get all of my favorite Masada photos in this article. The ABR bookstore is now offering free shipping on all orders over $35. They offer a number of books under $10. HT: Jack Sasson, Paleojudaica Syrian city northeast of Quneitra from Mount Bental, tb121802203 View towards Damascus from Mount Bental (photo source)


In February 2010, Israel’s prime minister announced a $135 million plan to restore 150 historic sites throughout Israel. Now, two years later, Haaretz reports on the progress (or lack thereof) in implementing the measure.

The article is largely the result of an interview with the head of the national heritage department in the Prime Minister’s office. Reuven Pinsky says that much planning has been done and by the end of the six-year timetable, two-thirds of the projects will be completed, including 70 large or medium-sized sites and 100 small ones. A full list of sites is not given, but some projects are mentioned.

Other sites included on the list include the Tel Lachish archaeology site in the Negev (where a visitors’ center is to be built); Metzudat Koah (a fortress, also known as the Nebi Yusha police station); Herodion near Gush Etzion, where King Herod’s tomb is located; Gamla and the ancient synagogue in Umm el-Kanatir in the Golan Heights; Tel Arad; the old train station at Tzemah; Hatzer Kinneret and so on.

Lachish, a site not in the Negev but in the Shephelah of Judah, could certainly benefit from a visitor’s center as well as some restoration work on the ruins. When encountering a group of tour guides in training at the tell last month, I mused that this would probably be the last time they ever visited the

The article discusses some political angles and notes that many of the sites proposed for renovation have not yet been approved.

As to which sites are closest to his heart, he refuses at first to say, but later mentions three: Tel Aviv’s Independence Hall, the Umm al Kanatir Synagogue in the Golan, and the archaeological project underway in the heart of Modi’in Ilit. He says dealing with the latter site is like “reinventing the wheel,” because it involves a combination of archaeological excavations and dealing with a Haredi population.

The full article is here.

Lachish aerial from northwest, tb010703290

Lachish from northwest