Weekend Roundup

Israel has announced the creation of seven new nature reserves in the West Bank: Ariel Cave, Wadi Og, Wadi Malha, the Southern Jordan River, Bitronot Creek, Nahal Tirza, and Rotem-Maskiot.

The Mausoleum of Augustus in Rome is set to reopen this spring after being closed for 80 years.

The Grand Egyptian Museum, set to partially open in the coming months, expects more than 5 million visitors annually.

Passages, a Christian version of Birthright Israel, is on track to bring 10,000 students to Israel by the end of this year.

Carl Rasmussen shares his experience in using Global Entry for international travel.

A DNA analysis of the York Gospels was done using DNA extracted by using erasers.

Emily Master of The Friends of Israel Antiquities Authority is the featured guest on The Book and the Spade.

Available for pre-order: The Koren Tanakh of the Land of Israel: Exodus. There are early reviews here and here.

King David is the subject of Bryan Windle’s latest archaeological biography.

Shmuel Browns shares his favorite photos of the year and gives his readers a chance to vote on their favorite.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Mark Hoffman, Explorator

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Weekend Roundup

Bryan Windle has created a list of the top 10 discoveries of the decade for biblical archaeology.

Amanda Borschel-Dan identifies her top 10 Holy Land archaeology stories of 2019.

“A hoard of seven ancient [7th-century AD] gold coins was found hidden inside a small clay juglet during a dig in the area of Yavne.”

A Hasmonean fortress not far from Beit El is “suffering from robbery and neglect.”
Melissa S. Cradic and Vanessa Linares consider why vanilla was used in a tomb at Megiddo.

The discovery of “The Book of Two Ways,” a precursor to “The Book of the Dead,” is the subject of a NY Times article on what is called the oldest copy of the first illustrated book.

The British chef Heston Blumenthal created a meal inspired by foods discovered in the Pompeii destruction.

Now online: the schedule for the conference at Tel Aviv University on “Mass Deportations: To and From the Levant during the Age of Empires.”

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer

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Weekend Roundup

“The Amman Theatre Statue is the ninth standing male figure discovered in Amman.” Joel S. Burnett and Romel Gharib try to explain why there are so many.

A pink granite statue of Ramses II, almost 3.5 feet tall, has been discovered near Giza.

Archaeologists have discovered the oldest known church in Ethiopia, one that indicates Christianity had spread there not later than the 4th century.

“Decorative pavements in the floor of a recently unearthed Roman house in Pompeii offer a glimpse into the life and work of an ancient land surveyor.”

Leon Mauldin looks to the Isthmian Games for background to Paul’s athletic imagery.

The “find of the month” at the Temple Mount Sifting Project is the fragment of an ancient key.

The Jerusalem Post has published four articles on Masada, including one by Jodi Magness and another by Lawrence H. Schiffman.

The destruction of Caesarea’s harbor is the subject of National Geographic’s Overheard podcast.

Jewish worshipers are again praying on the Temple Mount.

There are no archaeologists who believe that the temple was in the City of David, not even Eli Shukron.

David Moster explains why the letter heh is the “swiss army knife” of biblical Hebrew.

All 5 (available and future) volumes of the Lexham Geographic Commentaries are for sale now in Logos format.

The approach of Christmas is a good time for an illustrated archaeological biography on Caesar Augustus.

Robert Cargill introduces the “New BAR,” including a re-designed cover, an expanded table of contents, a new section called “Epistles,” a change of typeset, and the elimination of “jumps” from all articles.

Philip J. King, longtime professor at Boston College and president of ASOR and SBL, has died. Three of his most helpful books are:

BAS is having a warehouse closeout sale, with all books priced at either $5 or $9. There are some good deals, including recent books on Caesarea, Hazor, and Megiddo.

HT: Agade, Charles Savelle, Ted Weis

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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

Aaron’s tomb in Jordan will re-open to Israeli tourists after the site was closed following a group that allegedly prayed there.

A researcher claims that the world’s oldest chess piece was discovered in Jordan.

Sara Toth Stub explains what happened to Petra after it was abandoned by the Nabateans.

It’s not clear where Egyptians came up with five million African sacred ibises, but a DNA study shows that they were not raised in breeding farms.

Archaeologists have discovered five lion mummies in excavations in Saqqara.

3-D scans of the bust of Nefertiti are now available online.

The Ilisu dam will soon flood Hasankeyf, one of the oldest known and continuously inhabited settlements in the world.

The Central Baths at Pompeii have now been opened to tourists.

A reconstruction of the god Moloch is part of an exhibit on Carthage in Rome.

Cyrus, king of Persia, is the latest subject in Bryan Windle’s series of bioarchaeographies.

Save the date: the annual conference of the Institute of Biblical Context, now redubbed the Infusion Bible Conference, will be held on June 8 to 10, 2020 in west Michigan. The topic is “Paul and His Roman World.”

Gift subscriptions are now available for Walking the Bible Lands.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Explorator, Keith Keyser

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Weekend Roundup, Part 3

There will be no roundup next weekend, but if you’re at ETS or SBL, stop by the BiblePlaces booth and say hello to me, A.D., Kris, Chris, and Christian. Kaelyn, Charity, Caden, and Mark will be around as well. I’ll be presenting a couple of papers at ETS, so you’re invited to attend if you’re interested in the archaeology of Esther or the chronology of David. The complete program is online here.

Meg Ramey describes her walk along the route from Troas to Assos, following in Paul’s footsteps.

Professor Aykut Çınaroğlu has been buried in the cemetery next to his excavation site of Alacahöyük, according to his request in his will.

Climbing the pyramids and other “thuggish acts toward Egyptian antiquities” are now illegal and will result in imprisonment or a fine.

Three shipwrecks from ancient and mediaeval times and large sections of their cargoes have been discovered off the small Aegean island of Kasos.”

Excavations on the Greek islet of Chryssi south of Crete have uncovered large quantities of murex shells.

Lucas Grimsley writes about his experience in excavating in Cyprus.

Brent Davis talks about the challenges of trying to crack Linear A.
“Entering Early Christianity via Pompeii” is a resource from The University of Manchester to provide a “virtual guide to the world of the New Testament.” It looks interesting.

St John Simpson of the British Museum explains how they work with law enforcement to fight antiquities looting.


The Jerusalem Post explains the significance of the Washington Pentateuch.

“The National Library of Israel (NLI) and Google have announced that 120,000 books from the library’s collection will be uploaded to Google Books for the first time as part of their collaboration.”

The Gustav Jeeninga Museum of Bible and Near Eastern Studies at Anderson University is being re-opened after being re-located.


The NY Times has a story on this week’s re-opening of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology.

New book: The History and Archaeology of Phoenicia, by Helene Sader ($50).

Eisenbrauns has a sale of 40-50% off selected festschriften.

HT: Agade, Charles Savelle, Keith Keyser, Explorator

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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

Leen Ritmeyer has written an informative and well-illustrated post on the significance of Shiloh and the recent excavations. Ritmeyer’s reconstruction drawings are available for purchase in his image library, including his new drawing of Shiloh.

A government committee in Jerusalem has authorized the construction of a cable car to the Dung Gate.

A $37 million visitors’ center has been opened at the Huleh Valley Nature Reserve.

Anthony Ferguson shares 5 surprising details about the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls from Weston Fields’ history.

“The only project agreed on by Israel and Jordan that could possibly, in the foreseeable future, help save the Dead Sea from further shrinkage is stuck in a byzantine web of politics, bilateral tensions and Israeli foot-dragging.” This is a well-researched article on a subject frequently in the news.

Excavations have resumed at Tell Ziraa in Jordan, with the recent discovery of an Iron Age house with several dozen loom weights.

Colin Cornell considers whether the Jews living in Elephantine worshipped a goddess in addition to Yahweh.

Egyptian authorities have announced the discovery of a cemetery in Ismailia that dates to the Roman, Greek, and pre-dynastic eras.

The October issue of the Newsletter of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities is online.

History Magazine has the story of how Howard Carter almost missed King Tut’s tomb.

Two vast reproduction Assyrian statues were unveiled in Iraq on Thursday as part of a project designed to restore the cultural heritage of Mosul.”

Wayne Stiles explains the significance of the Arch of Titus and the relevance of an olive tree planted beside it.

“A team of international scholars versed in culinary history, food chemistry and cuneiform studies has been recreating dishes from the world’s oldest-known recipes.”

In a 10-minute video, David McClister explains who Flavius Josephus was.

On sale for Kindle:

Tim Bulkeley has died. He began his biblioblog in 2004 and was a regular encouragement to me over the years. He will be missed.

HT: Agade, Charles Savelle, Keith Keyser

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Weekend Roundup

The Tel Moza website gives details for joining the spring excavation as well as background about recent discoveries.

A family volunteering at an excavation in Lower Galilee discovered remains of an iron industry from the 6th century AD.
Some of the latest discoveries from Shiloh are described in a somewhat disjointed article in the Jerusalem Post.
The “Tomb of the Kings” in Jerusalem has been reopened to visitors (again) by France, which owns the site. Access is allowed only to the outer courtyard.

Naama Sukenik explains how new technology is being used to provide insights into counterfeiting dyes in the ancient textile industry.
Mark Barnes looks at the significance of the Mount of Olives in the Bible, including some interesting comparisons and contrasts between David’s and Jesus’s time there.
Who is Gallio and why is he so important to New Testament history? Bryan Windle explains in a well-illustrated article.

The “world’s oldest natural pearl” has been discovered in excavations on an island near Abu Dhabi.

“Ancient Assyrian stone tablets represent the oldest known reports of auroras, dating to more than 2,500 years ago.”

“Life at the Dead Sea” is a new exhibit about the cultural history of the lowest place on the planet that recently opened at the State Museum of Archaeology Chemnitz.

An exhibit of Egypt’s southern neighbor, “Ancient Nubia Now,” is on display until January 2020 at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Sculptures from the Torlonia Collection will go on public display for the first time ever at the Capitoline Museums in Rome beginning in March.
The Washington Pentateuch is going on display at the Museum of the Bible.
The archaeological museum in Basra is adding English labels in hopes of welcoming more international visitors.
Jaafar Jotheri provides an overview of excavations in Iraq in the last year.
A conference will be held at the Louvre on November 25 on Tappeh Sialk: A Key Site for the Archaeology of Iran.
Farrell Monaco will be lecturing on “Dining with the Romans” at the Walters Art Museum on November 10.
4,500 tourists watched the sun illuminate the face of Ramses II in the temple of Abu Simbel.
Wayne Stiles is leading a tour of Israel (and pre-tour to Egypt) in October 2020.
There will be no roundup next weekend.
HT: Ted Weis, Mike Harney, Joseph Lauer, Keith Keyser
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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

Wayne Stiles just walked the last five miles of the Appian Way into Rome, and he shares his experiences along with a video. Only one section was a hair-raising experience!

A preliminary report from the Swedish excavations at Hala Sultan Tekke in Cyprus is now online.

Israeli security inspectors discovered 69 coins from the time of Alexander the Great being smuggled from Gaza into Israel. But one expert suggests the coins are fake.

The Summer Session program of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens is now accepting applications. Scholarships are available.

Why do newspapers write dishonest headlines like this? “A Chance Discovery Changes Everything We Know About Biblical Israel.” Shame on Haaretz.

The lectures are in Hebrew, but you may find the topic list to be of interest for this year’s “New Discoveries and Insights” conference at Tel Aviv University.

The schedule is now online for next week’s Annual Conference, “New Studies in the Archaeology of Jerusalem and its Region.”

The final list of speakers and their topics for the 22nd Annual Bible and Archaeology Fest is now posted.

Yahoo Groups is shutting down. This will affect lists such as Explorator and ANE-2.

The En-Gedi Resource Center website has a new home, with new organization and a “Hebraic Studies” search bar to make it easier to find what you’re looking for.

Carl Rasmussen shares a number of photos of Göbekli Tepe.

John DeLancey is blogging each day on his tour of Greece, Rome, and Pompeii, now wrapping it up on Day 13.

Ferrell Jenkins explains why a photo he took of the cedars of Lebanon in 2002 is one of his favorites.

Bryan Windle has put together another great archaeological biography, this one on King Nebuchadnezzar.

HT: Ted Weis, Keith Keyser, Agade

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Weekend Roundup, Part 1

Amanda Borschel-Dan of The Times of Israel provides a valuable summary of the Siloam Street/Stepped Street/Pilgrim’s Path that has been in the news for the last decade or so. One particular point of interest: the street will not be fully opened to the public for a few more years, because it is still being excavated 7am to 10pm every day.

“Archaeologists have uncovered a well-preserved fresco of two fighting gladiators in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii.” Very nice.

“Scientists report that they may have found the earliest written record of a solar storm in ancient Assyrian tablets.”

Egypt announced the discovery of 20 well-preserved wooden coffins in Luxor.

“Archeologists working in Luxor’s “Valley of the Monkeys” have discovered an “ancient ‘industrial area’ once used to produce decorative items, furniture and pottery for royal tombs.”

The Egyptian Exploration Society has formally accused Oxford professor Dirk Obbink of stealing and selling papyri fragments from the Oxyrhynchus collection.

With Saudi Arabia opening up for tourism, tour agencies are quick to create tours to scam evangelicals.

The Arab World Institute in Paris is presenting an exhibition highlighting the pre-Islamic history of the Al ‘Ula region in Northwest Saudi Arabia.

Tim Frank’s “Visualizing Food Storage in Ancient Houses” article includes a number of video visualizations from sites like Izbet Sartah, Tel Batash, and Beersheba. These could be quite useful.

A new record has been set in the “world’s oldest marathon,” a race from Aphek to Shiloh.

Wildlife inspectors spotted ten bottlenose dolphins off the coast of Israel and have posted footage.

Only 30-40 acacia gazelles survive in Israel, and rangers recently discovered a fawn had been born.

“Cruise passengers held their breath as a 22.5 meter wide cruise liner became the largest boat to pass through Greece’s narrow Corinth Canal.” There are some nice pictures.

HT: Ted Weis, Keith Keyser, Agade, David Padfield

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Weekend Roundup, Part 3

Archaeologists have uncovered the largest Early Bronze city in Israel. The site of En Esur is 160 acres in size and is located 7 miles (11 km) east of Caesarea.

A lengthy inscription discovered at Pompeii in 2017 has been translated. It describes a “massive coming-of-age party for a wealthy young man.”

In the ruins of the ancient Hittite capital, there is a large, beautiful green rock that is a mystery to archaeologists and visitors.

Christopher Rollston is using multispectral imagery to study ostraca discovered at Macherus in 1968.

“The British Library, the largest national library in the world by number of items cataloged, has for the first time ever put some of its rarest and most ancient religious texts online for the general public to be able to access them from around the world.”

In a 2015 article for a special edition of the BBC History Magazine now published online, Aren Maeir identifies 10 key discoveries from the Holy Land. (It seems to me to be cheating for one of those to be “the discoveries of Jerusalem.”)

A portion of the Istanbul Archaeology Museums has reopened after years of renovations.

250,000 objects from the Louvre will be moved over the next four years to a non-public storage facility in northern France.

A student volunteer describes her experiences at Hazor in the last three years.

Wayne Stiles recently led a tour to Rome, and he shares some of his observations and reflections here.

JJ Routley argues that there is such a thing as Christian archaeology.

Bryan Windle has begun a new series of archaeological biographies, and the first subject is King Hezekiah.

The Getty Trust is devoting $100 million over the next 10 years to protect endangered historical sites around the world through dialogue and conservation.

If you would like to volunteer for a winter excavation in Israel, registration is now open for the February season at Timna.

A new survey is aiming to shed light on the Nabateans who lived in what is now Saudi Arabia.

The Wadi Shuʿaib Archaeological Survey Project (WSAS) is a new project in the area northwest of Amman, Jordan.

Bryan Windle has posted a resource review of the Photo Companion to the Gospels, with a focus on how he has used the Luke volume in his preaching.

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

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