fbpx

On their first day back to sifting, the Temple Mount Sifting Project discovered their first pur, just in time for Purim.

This Times of Israel article has some drone footage that clearly shows the damage to the Mount Ebal altar site. The article details the firestorm that erupted. The Jerusalem Post argues for protection for the site.

Conservators are injecting the stones of the Western Wall with grout to help them withstand the effects of weathering.

Erez Ben-Yosef and Elisabetta Boaretto are interviewed on the weekly podcast from The Times of Israel about Solomonic copper mines and radiocarbon dating.

Aren Maeir’s MOOC on “Biblical Archaeology: The Archaeology of Ancient Israel and Judah” returns on March 8. This will be the fourth run, and the course is free.

Online on March 6: A Virtual Tour of Israel: Haifa, a Shared City. Free registration is required.

Chris McKinny continues his discussion of historical geography and archaeology at sites in central Israel including Gezer, Masada, Qumran, Jericho, Shiloh, and Caesarea.

Dumbest tradition ever: After conquering the Promised Land, Joshua asked God if he could go to Mesopotamia to die.

Bible Archaeology Report’s top three for February: “something deciphered, something discovered and something damaged.”

In light of the oil disaster on Israel’s shore, Shmuel Browns shares a series of Coastline photos.

HT: Agade, Arne Halbakken, Chris McKinny

Share:

The earliest evidence for the production of olives for eating has been found off the coast at Haifa.

The Bible Sleuth describes a relief that may provide a mention of the biblical David that is earlier than the Tel Dan Inscription and the Mesha Stele.

“Herod the Great Gardener” is the subject of this week’s episode on The Book and the Spade, with guest Kathryn Gleason.

A preliminary list of archaeological excavations in Israel this year is pretty short.

Renovation work has been completed at the Western Wall.

John DeLancey has created a video on Hezekiah’s Tunnel.

John Currid explains “Why We Dig: The Importance of Biblical Archaeology.”

Lawrence H. Schiffman looks at the evidence that connects John the Baptist with the Essenes/Qumran group and concludes that there is no reason to believe him was ever a member.

On Logos for $1.99: Unearthing the Bible: 101 Archaeological Discoveries That Bring the Bible to Life, by Titus Kennedy.

Ordinary Jerusalem, 1840-1940: Opening New Archives, Revisiting a Global City, edited by Angelos Dalachanis and Vincent Lemire. Available for free as a pdf.

David Hendin, author of Guide to Biblical Coins, talks about what makes a true collector.

The Jewish News looks back on early news stories of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Glenn J. Corbett is the new editor of Biblical Archaeology Review.

Online lecture on Feb 4: “Temples and Tabernacles: How the Ancient Israelites Worshipped,” by David Ilan.

Online lecture on Feb 10: “Exploring a 3D Model of the Ancient Beth Alpha Synagogue,” by Brad Erickson

Since Shmuel Browns wasn’t guiding tourists in 2020, he took lots of photographs, and he shares his favorite ones on his blog. My favorite is “Olive Tree in Shomron.”

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, Charles Savelle, Keith Keyser, Ted Weis, Alexander Schick

Share:

A Greek inscription from the 5th century AD reading “Christ, born of Mary” was discovered in a salvage excavation in the Jezreel Valley.

Archaeologists discovered a marble statue of a ram dating to the Byzantine period at Caesarea.

Egyptian archaeologists have discovered a new group of 50 wooden sarcophagi at Saqqara, dating to the New Kingdom period.

“Alexandria University launched a new project to excavate and preserve underwater artifacts, in a bid to revive tourism and protect Egypt’s underwater heritage.”

“Tomas Libertiny, a Slovakian artist, has created a beautiful beeswax sculpture of Egyptian queen Nefertiti with the assistance of 60,000 honey bees.”

A Roman fort has been discovered near Aswan.

Ten maps can tell us a lot about the Sinai Peninsula.

Charles F. Aling is interviewed in the latest edition of the Scholar’s Chair at the Bible Archaeology Report.

Leen Ritmeyer provides a brief history of the Samaritan temple on Mount Gerizim, with many illustrations.

The Annual Yohanan Aharoni Day 2021 will be live on Zoom and Facebook on March 4. The topic is “The Forces that Shaped Jerusalem: Earth, Faith and People,” with sessions on landscape, religion, and the charismatic individual.

Conference recordings are now available from the recent conference “‘The Land That I Will Show You’: Recent Archaeological & Historical Studies of Ancient Israel.” (Playback speed is adjustable.)

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Arne Halbakken

Share:

Happy new year to everyone! May we walk wisely in the days ahead.

A new agreement between Israel’s Finance Ministry and the Israel Antiquities Authority will speed up rescue excavations by allowing private companies to bid on carrying out the excavations.

Following the discovery of a Roman bathhouse in Amman, authorities have to decide whether to preserve the antiquities or construct the planned drainage channel.

Egypt has completed the restoration of a temple of Isis in Aswan.

A limestone relief from the Late Period was illegally excavated, stolen, smuggled out of Egypt, tracked through the internet, recovered in New York, and repatriated.

Examination of elephant tusk DNA found on a shipwreck reveals the impact of ivory trade on elephant herds in Africa.

An Achaemenid pedestal and base was discovered in a garden near Persepolis.

“Underwater excavation, borehole drilling, and modelling suggests a massive paleo-tsunami struck near the ancient settlement of Tel Dor between 9,910 to 9,290 years ago.”

Ariel David looks at how the Israelites went from being a people who worshipped idols to a people who did not (Haaretz premium).

Haaretz runs a story on a recent documentary that presents Israel Finkelstein’s views of Kiriath Jearim and how it rewrites biblical history.

Amanda Borschel-Dan provides a review of her 2020 articles “broken down into studies of provenance; who wrote the Bible and on what; how “pure science” is aiding archaeologists confirm historical events; and a number of “firsts” from deep in pre-history.”

Ken Dark clarifies his views about the house in the church crypt in Nazareth, noting that while the Byzantines believed they had found the childhood home of Jesus, there is no way to prove that.

‘Atiqot 101 (2020) is now online, including articles on an ancient pool next to the Pool of Siloam in the City of David.

The Met’s Imaging Department has created a short video showing the interior of a 19th-century model of Solomon’s temple.

HT: Agade, Explorator, Ted Weis, Arne Halbakken, Paleojudaica

Share:

For a year in which most excavations were cancelled, it was remarkably fruitful for archaeology in general. Some of that is owing to the continuation of certain excavations such as rescue projects sponsored by the government. In other cases, discoveries made in previous years were only announced in 2020.

The following list prioritizes archaeological discoveries closer in time and place to the biblical record. It was prepared from a survey of the year’s roundups, without consulting other lists (see below for links to those).

In addition to the top ten, I have included a good number of additional discoveries, primarily as a reminder of just how many interesting finds were made in a year that might otherwise be considered a loss.

1. Three royal (Proto-Aeolic) capitals were discovered south of ancient Jerusalem, providing beautiful evidence of a building that once served Manasseh or Josiah.

2. A large administrative complex dating to the time of Kings Hezekiah and Manasseh was discovered two miles south of the Old City. Finds included more than 120 LMLK jar handles.

3. A stone measuring table and several dozen stone weights were discovered in a plaza along the first-century AD street from the Pool of Siloam to the Temple Mount. Archaeologists believe that the area it was found served as the Jerusalem’s central market.

4. Archaeologists have published a report that they have discovered a “massive Iron II temple complex” at Moza, in use from 900 to 600 BC.

5. A well-preserved complex at Horvat Tevet, near Afula in the Jezreel Valley, served as a royal estate for Israel’s kings.

6. A seal impression of an official of King Jeroboam II has been discovered. It is a smaller version of the famous seal found at Megiddo in 1904 (and later lost).

7. A Canaanite temple was discovered during excavations of Lachish.

8. More than 100 sarcophagi from the Ptolemaic period have been discovered at Saqqara in Egypt.

9. Archaeologists working in Kurdistan have exposed ten new rock inscriptions from the reign of Sargon II.

10. A subterranean complex was chiseled out of the bedrock near the Western Wall before Jerusalem was conquered in AD 70.

Noteworthy stories:

Discoveries by young people:

Small finds in Jerusalem:

More discoveries in Jerusalem:

More discoveries in Israel:

Top Stories Related to Tourism:

For shopkeepers and tour operators in the Old City of Jerusalem, COVID-19 has been worse than all the wars. The situation was no better at Petra.

The last land mine was removed from the Jordan River baptismal area near Qaser al-Yahud.

Israel is moving forward on plans to extend the high-speed train line to a station near the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Opposition continues against Jerusalem’s plan for a cable car to the Old City. One study claims that buses and shuttles are a better solution.

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.

A new outdoor archaeological exhibit was created in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City, featuring 180 items previously scattered around the area.

$40 million will be spent to upgrade the Tower of David Museum, with a plan to double the size of the current museum, including the addition of seven new galleries, a new sunken entrance visitor center outside the Old City walls, and a multi-sensory experience in the Kishle excavations.

The Acropolis in Athens is undergoing a number of renovations to improve safety and enhance the experience for visitors.

Notable Resources of 2020:

Eric H. Cline, Digging Up Armageddon: The Search for the Lost City of Solomon

J. Daniel Hays, A Christian’s Guide to Evidence for the Bible: 101 Proofs from History and Archaeology

Titus Kennedy, Unearthing the Bible: 101 Archaeological Discoveries That Bring the Bible to Life

Joel P. Kramer, Where God Came Down: The Archaeological Evidence

Bob Rognlien, Recovering the Way

Appian Media, “Lessons from the Land: The Gospels,” a 13-part video series aimed at elementary-aged students

Bible Land Passages, “Caesarea by the Sea: Rome’s Capital in Israel,” a 20-minute documentary featuring 3D digital models

Biblical Israel Ministries and Tours, Biblical Israel by Air, with 69 minutes of drone footage of beautiful sites

The Complete ibiblestock Video Library includes more than 4.5 hours of footage.

The Photo Companion to the Bible:

The Pictorial Library of Bible Lands, volume 20: Western Mediterranean (1,400 photos)

Losses This Year:

Francis I. Andersen

Magen Broshi

Shlomo Bunimovitz

Gideon Foerster

Norman Golb

Thomas O. Lambdin

Patrick D. Miller

Shalom Paul

James Sanders

William H. Shea

David Stronach

Other Compilations:

Gordon Govier identified Biblical Archaeology’s Top 10 Discoveries of 2020 in a report for Christianity Today.

Bryan Windle provides his list of the top ten discoveries in 2020.

Lawrence Schiffman wrote about discoveries made in 2020 for Ami Magazine.

Ruth Schuster summarizes the top biblical archaeology stories for Haaretz (premium).

Israel365News posts their top 10 archaeological finds in 2020 that are confirmed in the Bible.

Gizmodo has created a slideshow of about a dozen intriguing archaeological discoveries in 2020.

The Greek Reporter reviews the top ten most spectacular Greek archaeological discoveries of 2020.

The archaeology website Arkeofili suggests the top 10 archaeological finds in Turkey and North Cyprus in 2020.

Gulf News lists 38 archaeological highlights, organized by continent and date announced.

HeritageDaily identifies the 10 most prominent archaeological discoveries of 2020.

Archaeology magazine’s top 10 discoveries of the decade includes finds from Greece and Egypt, but nothing from Israel, Jordan, or Turkey.

Previous Years:

You can revisit the top stories of previous years with these links:

Share:

Archaeologists have found a ritual bath from the first century at the traditional site of the Garden of Gethsemane.

Palestinian farmers have discovered a Hasmonean fortress that can be explored but not excavated.

Archaeologists have recreated a realistic ancient floor from the courts of the Jerusalem temple in Herod’s day.

“A unique Byzantine-era blessing token featuring baby Jesus was recently unveiled by the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.”

A new study in dental calculus reveals that “that ancient Mediterranean civilizations were importing everything from chickens to black pepper and vanilla from as far away as India and Indonesia.”

“An olive press in ancient Yodfat, in northern Israel, sheds light on the role of olive oil in Jews’ lives 2,000 years ago” (Haaretz premium).

“Long Live King David” is a new 1-hour documentary featuring Israel Finkelstein, Yossi Garfinkel, and Eilat Mazar.

Rami Arav recently discussed a pair of spooning skeletons he excavated at et-Tell, a Geshurite city near biblical Bethsaida.

Aren Maeir shares photos from his recent visit to the Museum of the Philistine Culture in Ashdod.

Gideon Avni will be lecturing on Jan 6 at 5pm GMT by Zoom on “Jerusalem between Late Antiquity and Early Islam—The Creation of a Multicultural City.” An announcement is not yet posted online, but you can register at the email address on this page.

The Carta Jerusalem Bible Reference Collection (13 vols) for Logos Bible Software ships soon.

Recordings of 2020 lectures for the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society are available on their website.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Explorator

Share: