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The Shelby White & Leon Levy Lod Mosaic Archaeological Center has been dedicated, and the featured mosaic has returned after a world tour. “This is the Rolls Royce . . . the most visually impressive mosaic we have found.”

Scott Stripling is on The Book and the Spade with an excavation report from this year’s dig at Shiloh.

John DeLancey shares photos from his week of excavating Tel Dan.

Five marble statues from the Roman period have been put on display at the Tel Ashkelon National Park nearly 100 years after they were first excavated.

Australian Catholic University is partnering with the Israel Museum to create an interactive virtual showcase that will make the museum’s collection accessible worldwide.

The Times of Israel looks at challenges to archaeological discovery in the Gaza Strip.

The 2002 issue of ‘Atiqot includes excavation reports on Nain, Akko, Avdat, and more.

The Sea of Galilee will be the first natural lake in the world to be filled with desalinated water. This article has a good bit of information about the lake’s water levels.

“Numerous goddess figurines, ritual objects, as well as rich iconography, demonstrate that goddess worship was extremely important in the life of Israelite faith.”

BAS Quarterly Virtual Lecture on Sept 15: “The Archaeology of Qumran 75 Years after the Discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls,” by Jodi Magness ($10).

Jerusalem University College has released its slate of fall online courses, including:

  • Biblical Archaeology I, with Chris McKinny and Kyle Keimer
  • Contexts of the Holy City, with Chandler Collins
  • Cultural Backgrounds of the Bible, with Oliver Hersey

Writing for Bible History Daily, Steve Notley celebrates the life of Emanuel Hausman, founder of Carta Jerusalem.

I was a guest this week on the TheologyMom video podcast with Krista Bontrager, talking about “5 times geography shapes our view of the Bible.” I don’t think I had ever made a “top 5” list like this before, and I enjoyed pulling it together.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, Explorator

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Archaeologists have uncovered a Hellenistic farmstead in eastern Galilee that was abandoned in haste. They also found a significant agricultural settlement dating to the time of David and Solomon.

A brief article at The Jerusalem Post notes the discovery of game boards and game pieces from Gath that date to the 3rd millennium BC. The underlying PEQ article is available for purchase.

Moshe Gilead at Haaretz (premium) provides a lengthy explanation for why Ma’aleh Akrabim, “the most beautiful and dangerous road in Israel,” has been closed for five years.

The latest issue of Biblical Archaeology Review includes articles on Mt. Nebo, Merneptah’s destruction of Gezer, and the year 1177 BC. You can get a taste for the Mt. Nebo article and see many of its photos here.

Biblical Archaeology Review assistant editor Nathan Steinmeyer gives an on-site tour of Caesarea (6 min).

Bryan Windle’s top three reports for the month of May include excavations at Tel Timna, a Galilean farmstead, and Herod’s bathtubs.

Ellen Frankel wrote a mystery novel about the Dead Sea Scrolls that begins with the discovery of a key to crack the Copper Scroll.

The Sacred Thread is a forthcoming series that “explores the original context and culture of the Bible through a worldwide journey to uncover its meaning.” Created by Walking The Text and EvolveStudios, the first episode is now online (free to watch with registration).

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, Keith Keyser, Explorator

Ascent of Scorpions, Maale Aqrabbim modern road from above, tb042207882

Modern road of Maale Aqrabbim – “the most beautiful and dangerous road in Israel”

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The alabaster for two of Herod’s bathtubs was quarried not in Egypt but in the Te’omim cave in the Judean hills.

Excavators are claiming that the stump of a juniper tree, discovered near Eilat, may be the oldest Asherah ever found.

A new season of excavations has begun at the Apollonia-Arsuf Crusader fortress on the coast near Herzilya.

“In one of the biggest busts in Israeli history, the Israel Antiquities Authority’s theft prevention unit has recovered over 1,800 ancient artifacts from an unlicensed dealer in the central Israeli city of Modiin. Mostly coins and jewelry, the artifacts also included cuneiform tablets and bronze statuettes.”

Israel’s supreme court has “rejected four petitions against a controversial plan to build a cable car to Jerusalem’s historic Old City, shutting down the legal opposition route for opponents of the plan.”

A renovation project on an ancient Samaritan priestly residential compound is the first step in making the Mount Gerizim archaeological park more welcoming to tourists.

The latest issue of Tel Aviv includes several articles on Iron Age Jerusalem. The titles and abstracts are free, but access to the articles requires subscription.

Virtual tour on June 8: The Room of the Last Supper and Jerusalem, with Museum of the Bible and DIVE (Digital Interactive Virtual Experiences); $20

A colleague of mine at The Master’s University was honored last month by the publication of a festschrift: Written for Our Instruction: Essays in Honor of William Varner. Among the many interesting essays, two are of particular relevance to this blog:

  • “Where Did David Go? David’s Wilderness Wanderings and the Testing of God’s Son,” by Abner Chou (my new boss)
  • “‘What Have I Done in Comparison with You?’: The Itinerary of Gideon’s Pursuit of the Midianites in Judges 7–8,” by Chris McKinny (with additional color maps on Academia)

Andy Cook of Secrets from Ancient Paths has just posted “The life-saving lesson of Bet Shemesh” (5 min).

Joel Kramer at Expedition Bible has released some new videos (4-10 min ea.):

Bruce Cresson died last week. He was director or co-director of excavations at Aphek-Antipatris, Dalit, Ira, Uza, Radum, and Malhata.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, G. M. Grena

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A farmer in the Gaza Strip discovered the head of a stone statue that may depict the Canaanite goddess Anat. Or not.

“Archaeologists have for a long time unearthed clay pots in medieval Jerusalem. But now, a new study shows that some of them were likely ‘ancient hand grenades.’”

A new study of Dead Sea sediment shows how climate change in the past has affected the level of the lake and the settlement history of the region. The underlying journal article is here.

The Israeli Antiquities Authority is investigating claims that antiquities on the Temple Mount were destroyed in recent riots.

The City of David YouTube channel has released a tour of Warren’s Shaft and the Gihon Spring, including a visit to a cave currently under excavation.

The Museum of the Bible and DIVE (Digital Interactive Virtual Experiences) is hosting a virtual tour of the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron on May 11 ($20).

Leen Ritmeyer shares a number of reconstruction drawings of Capernaum’s octagonal church.

Bryan Windle shares ten thoughts on the lead curse tablet found on Mount Ebal.

Joel Kramer at Expedition Bible has just released a short video about the earliest mention of Yahweh on an ancient inscription found in Sudan. The video includes footage of Joel’s visit to the remote site.

Walking the Text has just announced an original television series called “The Sacred Thread.” The pilot episode has been completed, and you can watch the trailer here. They have some impressive footage.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, G. M. Grena

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Renovations at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher have revealed a medieval high altar that once stood in the center of the church.

A Byzantine-era mosaic floor from a Christian basilica in Nahariya has been restored and will be opened to the public. The 500-square meter mosaic includes 87 surviving medallions, with illustrations of flora, fauna, and scenes from everyday life. A video in Hebrew is here. BibleWalks has more photos of the church and the surrounding area.

A family hiking in the Harovit forest in central Israel discovered a beautiful mosaic from the Byzantine period.

The recently vandalized tomb of Joseph in Nablus has been restored.

Two girls were rescued when they accidentally entered a minefield in Nahal Tamar south of the Dead Sea.

Jodi Magness takes Amanda Borschel-Dan on a walking tour of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

The Museum of the Bible and DIVE (Digital Interactive Virtual Experiences) will be conducting a virtual tour of the Via Dolorosa on April 20 ($20).

The lead tablet found on Mount Ebal is the subject of discussion in the latest episode of the Biblical World podcast.

“After decades of laying beside the sacred lake at Luxor’s Karnak Temple, a team of Egyptian restorers and archaeologists succeeded in re-erecting the restored Hatshepsut’s obelisk.”

“German researchers have tracked down and documented hundreds of antiquities located in Berlin museums that were looted from the island of Samos, Greece.”

“Scientists have debated the reason why Bronze Age wall paintings at the ancient settlement of Akrotiri on the Greek island of Santorini depict monkeys that existed thousands of miles away in Asia.”

The Jerusalem Post has a short interview with a curator of the Museum of the Bible on the role of biblical archaeology.

Expedition Bible has launched a new YouTube channel. In the first video, Joel Kramer goes to Tell Deir Alla to discuss the Balaam inscription.

Roy Albag has created a number of reconstructions of sites in Israel, including the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Herodian Quarter’s palatial mansion, Solomon’s temple, and Herod’s palace in Jerusalem.

New release: Jerusalem and the Coastal Plain in the Iron Age and Persian Periods: New Studies on Jerusalem’s Relations with the Southern Coastal Plain of Israel/Palestine (c. 1200–300 BCE). Research on Israel and Aram in Biblical Times IV. Edited by Felix Hagemeyer (Mohr Siebeck, 119 €).

A number of Eilat Mazar’s publications are for sale, including her excavation reports of various sites in Jerusalem.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, A.D. Riddle, Alexander Schick

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“Work has begun on the reconstruction of some of the 50 massive marble columns of the basilica in the Ashkelon National Park as part of an overall facelift for the park, and next week the fourth [7.5-ton] pillar will be put in place.”

A volunteer group has begun cleaning up the archaeological sites in Tiberias in hopes of having a national park established for the ongoing protection of the ruins.

On the Mount Ebal curse tablet, Aren Maeir offers some initial thoughts. At Haaretz, Nir Hasson provides a general overview along with some criticisms of the artifact and questions about how it was uncovered and exported. Shawn Zelig Aster weighs in on the inscription’s possible significance. James Davila observes that if the claims are accurate, the amulet would be the earliest inscribed metal amulet by a good five centuries, but he thinks it unlikely that the inscription is a defixio amulet from the Persian period or later.

Biblical Archaeology Review assistant editor Nathan Steinmeyer gives a short video tour atop the walls of Jerusalem (5 minutes, with no 2x option).

“Imagine learning the Bible not as a religious exercise, but as local history. In Israeli public schools, that’s the reality.”

New release: The Jewish Quarter Excavations in the Old City of Jerusalem: Conducted by Nahman Avigad 1969-1982: Vol. VIII: Architecture and Stratigraphy: The Palatial Mansion: Areas F-2, P and P-2. Edited by Hillel Geva.

Hillel Geva has retired from director of the Israel Exploration Society, and Rona Avissar Lewis is now in charge.

“Giants in Judges” is the subject in the most recent episode of the Biblical World podcast with Chris McKinny and Kyle Keimer.

HT: Agade, Arne Halbakken, Alexander Schick, Joseph Lauer

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