Undisturbed Canaanite Tomb Discovered at Megiddo

National Geographic announces a major find from Megiddo dating to the 17th century BC.

Undisturbed tombs are all too rare in professional excavations.

The extraordinary discovery of a magnificent and untouched 3,600-year-old burial chamber in the ancient Canaanite city-state of Megiddo has stunned archaeologists, not only for the array of wealth found in the tomb, but also for the potential insight it may provide into the royal dynasty that ruled this powerful center before its conquest by Egypt in the early 15th century B.C.
The surprise find began as something of a mystery, when archaeologists began to notice cracks in the surface of an excavation area adjacent to the Bronze Age palaces which were discovered in the 1930s. Dirt appeared to be falling away into some unseen cavity or structure below, Adams recalls. Then, in 2016, they happened upon the culprit: a subterranean corridor leading to a burial chamber.
The chamber contained the undisturbed remains of three individuals—a child between the ages of eight and 10, a woman in her mid 30s and a man aged between 40-60—adorned with gold and silver jewelry including rings, brooches, bracelets, and pins. The male body was discovered wearing a gold necklace and had been crowned with a gold diadem, and all of the objects demonstrate a high level of skill and artistry.
Apart from the rich, undisturbed burials, the archaeologists were also intrigued by the tomb’s location adjacent to the late Middle Bronze Age royal palace of Megiddo.
“We are speaking of an elite family burial because of the monumentality of the structure, the rich finds and because of the fact that the burial is located in close proximity to the royal palace,” Finkelstein explains.
The grave goods point to the cosmopolitan nature of Megiddo at the time and the treasures it reaped from its location on the major trade routes of the eastern Mediterranean. Along with jewelry, the tomb contained ceramic vessels from Cyprus and stone jars that may have been imported from Egypt.

National Geographic has more details, including the report of a DNA study being done at Megiddo.

HT: Joseph Lauer


Weekend Roundup, Part 1

Adi Erlich reports the results from the renewed excavations of the Beth Shearim that she directed.

The closing of the Megiddo Prison will (finally) permit the opening of an archaeological park that features an early place of Christian worship.

“A rare, intact bronze ring from the Middle Ages bearing the image of St. Nicholas was discovered by chance during recent landscaping work in the garden of a home in the Jezreel Valley community of Moshav Yogev.”

The shrinking Dead Sea is attracting some strange people.

Photographs from the 1952 Qumran Caves’ Expedition are now online.

Israel’s Good Name explored some places in Jerusalem that many tourists never see.

On Purim 89 years ago the Graf Zeppelin flew over Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

The entire double issue of Biblical Archaeology Review that celebrates Hershel Shanks is currently available in its entirety to all.

Accordance Bible Software is offering a large Lifeboat Switcher discount if you come over from any
other Bible software platform.

HT: Agade, Charles Savelle, Joseph Lauer, Ted Weis, Mark Hoffman


Weekend Roundup, Part 1

“The Legio camp [at Megiddo] is the only full-scale imperial Roman legionary base found so far in the eastern empire” and to date they’ve unearthed a monumental gate, a dedicatory inscription, and the cremated remains of a Roman soldier.

The first royal winery of King Herod was discovered at the Herodium. The story does not seem to be in the English press yet, but you can read a Google-translated version of the Israel Nature and Parks

Authority story here. UPDATE: I’ve posted Joseph Lauer’s improved translation here.

Some Israelis are accusing authorities of not protecting Herod’s palace at Jericho from destruction caused by the nearby building of homes.

A new exhibit at the Haifa Hostel tells the story of ancient Castra on the slopes of Mount Carmel.

A new exhibit at the Hecht Museum at the University of Haifa documents the transition of the city of Sussita (Hippos) from pagan to Christian.

The ASOR Blog has a well-illustrated piece on the Ottoman and Turkish history of Majdal Yābā (aka Migdal Aphek, Mirabel).

Leen Ritmeyer explains how Jerusalem’s garbage dump refutes the theory that the temple was built over the Gihon Spring.

New from Wayne Stiles: How to follow God by pondering amazing bird migrations in Israel.

Now published: The Elephant Mosaic Panel in the Synagogue at Huqoq, by Karen Britt and Ra’anan
Boustan. Authorized photos are available at National Geographic. Dr. Britt will lecture on the subject on Feb. 21 at UNC Asheville.

At The Book and the Spade, John DeLancey talks with Gordon Govier about Excavation Plans for 2018.

Israel’s Good Name describes his experience in an archaeological survey of Tel Goded (Moresheth-Gath?) in part 1 and part 2.

With 3.6 million tourists in 2017, Israel hit a new record. This was a 25% increase over 2016. For some trends in tourism between 1990 and 2011, see this booklet.

Israel saw lots of rain yesterday, but probably not the “100 inches” claimed in this article’s subhead.

Lawrence Stager died at the age of 74 after a fall at his home. He directed the excavations at Ashkelon for 30 years.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Keith Keyser, Charles Savelle


Weekend Roundup, Part 1

Three major salvage excavations in Israel may be excavated by private companies and directed by archaeologists with little experience. (Haaretz premium)

They’re already recruiting for next summer’s excavations in Israel, and you can get all the information for digging at Shiloh here.

Aren Maeir visited the new excavations of Kiriath Jearim and was very impressed with what he saw, suggesting that the site “will become one of the most important excavations in Israel.”

Carl Rasmussen explains how a solar eclipse in 763 BC helps us to establish an absolute chronology for OT events.

Steven Weitzman answers the question, “Can Genetics Solve the Mystery of the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel?”

Israel’s Good Name reports on his Bar Ilan U tour of the City of David.

Ferrell Jenkins explains the Megiddo water system with a drawing he made and several photos (including a labeled aerial photo).

Wayne Stiles shows how Banias Falls is a picture of despair.

We were very encouraged by some positive words about the new Photo Companion to the Bible by Ferrell Jenkins, Andy Naselli, Leen Ritmeyer, Charles Savelle, and Luke Chandler. Luke writes,

There is nothing like this resource available for teachers today. I cannot recommend the Gospels Photo Companion to the Bible strongly enough.

The introductory special continues through Monday, August 21.


Weekend Roundup, Part 2

In the final season of the Tel Gezer Project, archaeologists have found evidence of Merneptah’s fiery destruction of the city, including the skeletons of an adult and child. The capture of Gezer is mentioned in the famous Merneptah Stele, along with the slaughter of Israel.
Norma Franklin explains why the winery they discovered at Jezreel fits the time and place of Naboth’s vineyard.

The IAA has posted a 3-minute video on the “Siloam street” and drainage channel that is being excavated between the Pool of Siloam and the Temple Mount.

Gabriel Barkay is interviewed on the World Affairs Report (28 min, mp3).

Did Jeremiah bury his loin cloth at the Euphrates or at Ein Perat? Ferrell Jenkins provides photos of both and some evidence for the latter.

Carl Rasmussen shares photos and reflects on his time in Jerusalem during the Six Day War.

Photorientalist exhibits photographs from the 19th and 20th centuries, including a number of exhibitions that tell a story, such as “Palestine’s Nativity Trail.” They are accepting submissions.

One of your considerations in choosing a summer excavation to join is the field school. Year after year, the Tell es-Safi team has one of the best schedules of lectures and field trips.

The PEF’s refusal to accept papers which discuss Jewish excavations in Jerusalem ultimately led to its cancellation of the conference on “Anglo-German Exploration of the Holy Land 1865-1915.”

The Book and the Spade reposts a Dead Sea Scrolls Documentary, produced for the 50th anniversary of the discovery and including audio from Albright, Yadin, Trever, DeVaux, and others.

J. C. McKeown writes about famous doctors in the ancient world on the Oxford University Press blog.

Gary Rendsburg has recently posted his 1998 interview of Cyrus Gordon on YouTube.

A new program at Leiden University seeks “to show the great potential video games have for archaeology in terms of public outreach, heritage preservation, and education, but also for actual research.”

Eisenbrauns has a big sale going in July, with 60 titles at 60-80% off. Here are a few recommendations:

HT: Joseph Lauer, Agade, AWOL, John DeLancey


Weekend Roundup, Part 1

Repairs inside the Dome of the Rock are complete, and when they took photos this week, it was revealed that the reconstruction of the tile floor proposed by the Temple Mount Sifting Project is accurate.

The study of fish bones found in a 7th-century AD shipwreck near Dor indicates that a now-extinct subspecies of St. Peter’s fish was being transported on the boat (Haaretz premium).

Scholars are offering competing explanations for the massive trash dump in the Kidron Valley from the first century AD (Haaretz premium).

A jogger along the shore of Ashkelon discovered a 12th-century AD oil lamp.

Aren Maeir is providing daily updates of the excavation of Gath.

The Tel Burna team gives an update from the first two weeks of their season. Chris McKinny’s work on the LB cultic building looks particularly promising in the remaining two weeks.

Jennie Ebeling and Norma Franklin discuss several important facets of their excavations at Jezreel.

Luke Chandler discusses the possibility of a Judahite water system at Lachish and the need for funds to excavate it.

If you’re interested in a brief, well-illustrated study of the world’s largest stones used in construction projects, check out Tom Powers’s latest post.

Felicity Cobbing of the PEF was present at the opening of the Palestine Museum in Ramallah and shares her perspective.

The senior staff of the Ashkelon excavations is wrapping up their final season this month and beginning a new project at Tel Shimron with a geophysical survey this summer.

Appian Media was recently filming in Israel for their upcoming Following the Messiah video series.

They are posting updates on the project and their travels on their blog.

The Fifth Gospel is a new iBook that explores the land, the culture, and the archaeology of the Bible. It was designed for high school students and features maps, interactive quizzes, photos, and short film clips. Check it out on iTunes.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer


Weekend Roundup

The oldest known glass production factory in Israel has been discovered on Mount Carmel. High-res photos are available here.

A new study by Tel Aviv University points to widespread literacy in Israel in 600 BC. Christopher Rollston offers a summary and reflections. An op-ed at the Jerusalem Post is entitled “Holy Shards.”

The academic article is available to subscribers here.

Three Palestinians were arrested attempting to smuggle a statue of Herod’s wife Mariamne. A photo of the statue is here.

The Temple Mount Sifting Project will soon be announcing the discovery of a pendant with the cartouche of Pharaoh Thutmose III.

The Big Picture returns to Palmyra.

Dubai’s plans for the world’s tallest skyscraper are inspired by the hanging gardens of Babylon.

Wayne Stiles goes to Ein Harod to learn how to move from fear to faith.

Yale’s “Old Babylonian Period Mathematical Text” is one of the university’s most-reproduced cultural artifacts.

The Iraqi government is turning Saddam Hussein’s palace in Basra into an archaeological museum.

With Passover around the corner, Haaretz looks at indirect evidence of Israelite presence in Egypt before the exodus.

A Passover sacrifice event will be held on Monday on the Mount of Olives.

Luke Chandler notes that the official website for the Khirbet Qeiyafa excavations has been updated.

The summer excavation of Khirbet el-Maqatir is on and applications are being accepted until April 30.

Ferrell Jenkins and Leon Mauldin are traveling around Israel and sharing photos from their trip.

Filip Vukosavovic has resigned his position as Chief Curator at the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem.

Now free online: The Bible in Its World: The Bible and Archaeology Today, by Kenneth A. Kitchen.

Many people liked the photo we shared this week on Facebook and Twitter of the Mount of Olives
before the churches were built.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Charles Savelle, Ted Weis, Agade


Weekend Roundup

A new study claims that an Egyptian text is the oldest known abecedary.

Haaretz‘s report on Gabriel Barkay’s Temple Mount sifting project include several pictures of findings.

A UNESCO resolution that claimed the Western Wall prayer plaza as an Islamic shrine has made some people unhappy.

German experts are restoring the golden mask of King Tut after its beard was broken off and clumsily repaired.

The Journal of Near Eastern Archaeology reports that there are groups other than the Islamic State who are destroying and plundering antiquities in Syria.

The Getty Villa in Los Angeles is exhibiting 1800’s era watercolor paintings of Greece, many offering insight into how ancient sites looked in the early 19th century.

Emily Corrigan shares her experience of a summer on the Jezreel Expedition.

Egyptian authorities are investigating the embezzlement of $20 million from construction funds for the Grand Egyptian Museum.

Zahi Hawass throws cold water on the proposal that Nefertiti’s tomb has finally been located.

Ferrell Jenkins shares a photo he took of a fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee as the sun was rising.

The newly renovated Waldorf-Astoria in Jerusalem has been ranked the top hotel in the Middle East in a survey by Condé Nast Traveler.

Test your knowledge about Petra with 10 questions at the ASOR Blog.

The newly released NIV Zondervan Study Bible, edited by D. A. Carson, is on sale now for Kindle for $7.99. (I wrote the notes for 2 Kings.)

Chris McKinny has made available on Academia his presentation on “Kiriath-Jearim (Deir el-‘Azhar): Archaeological Investigations of a Biblical Town in the Judean Hill Country.”

Conference at Hebrew U on Oct 29: “I Know What You Did Last Summer: A Glimpse at the Excavations and Surveys of the Institute of Archaeology, 2015 Season.”

Adam Zertal died on Sunday at the age of 79. He was best known for his survey of the hill country of Samaria and his identification of a structure on Mount Ebal as the altar of Joshua.

Thomas Schaub died on Monday at the age of 82. Schaub excavated Bab edh-Dhra.

HT: Ted Weis, Charles Savelle, Joseph Lauer, Agade, Paleojudaica


Weekend Roundup

Just posted: Preliminary Report of the 2015 Jezreel Expedition Field Season

A full schedule of speakers and topics for the Annual Bible and Archaeology Fest is now online. Eric Cline is the plenary speaker.

After the heat wave and brutal sandstorm, Israel this past week experienced lightning, hail, and flash floods. This is not typical September weather.

Near Eastern Archaeology‘s latest issue is devoted to “The Cultural Heritage Crisis in the Middle East.” It is available online for free to all.

Eisenbrauns has just released its fall catalog.

A new book: Distant Views of the Holy Land, by Felicity Cobbing and David Jacobson. 330 pages, 350 illustrations, $200. A free sample is available here.

Here’s more about Penn Museum’s new exhibit, “Sacred Writings: Extraordinary Texts of the Biblical World.”

This Wednesday, Sept 23, Brent Strawn of Emory University will give a lecture at Trinity Evangelical
Divinity School entitled “The Historical Psalms, Iconographically Considered.” The event will take place at 7:00 pm on Trinity’s campus, Hinkson Hall in Rodine Building. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Clashes on the Temple Mount have caused damage to Al Aqsa Mosque.

Aren Maeir is on the Book and the Spade talking about his excavations of Gath and the discovery of a large gate this season (part 1, part 2).

Egyptian security officials have ordered the shutdown of St. Catherine’s Monastery.

From ASOR: Can you pass this Sea of Galilee quiz?

The latest issue of Popular Archaeology includes articles on Gath and Magdala.

Ferrell Jenkins explains the significance of Mahanaim (mentioned 13x in the OT) and shares some photos.

HT: Agade, Charles Savelle, A.D. Riddle, Paleojudaica


Weekend Roundup

The finds keep coming in the excavations of Gath.

A mosaic with a verse from Isaiah 65 has been discovered in Adana, Turkey.

A thief has returned two ballista balls he took from the excavations of Gamla twenty years ago.

The US has returned more than 400 ancient artifacts to Iraq seized from a leader of the Islamic State.

There are many photos here.

Researchers are working to restore Iraq’s destroyed monuments online.

Police have arrested suspects in the arson case of the Tabgha Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fish.

Simon Gathercole: 5 Reasons Why the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife is a Fake

The Temple Institute is raising a red heifer in Israel.

Ayelet Gilboa writes about the significance of Tel Dor in the Jerusalem Post.

Jennie Ebeling talks about the Jezreel excavations on the Book and the Spade.

You can get up to speed on the excavations at Tel ‘Eton (Eglon?) with this article by Avraham Faust and Hayah Katz at the ASOR Blog (registration required).

The Water Gate in Jerusalem gets Wayne Stiles to thinking about its past and present significance.

Are you a Mesopotamian know-it-all? The ASOR Blog has 14 questions to test your knowledge.

The PEF introduces a new series: Interviews from the Jerusalem Chamber.

The dates for the 2016 season at Tel Burna have been announced.

Exploring Jordan: The Other Biblical Land is a free e-book from the Biblical Archaeology Society that includes articles on Bethany, Rabbath of the Ammonites, Philadelphia, Moab, and Petra.

The Illustrated Life of Paul by Charles L. Quarles is $0.99 on Kindle today.

HT: Ted Weis, Charles Savelle, Agade, Paleojudaica