Weekend Roundup, Part 1

The first permanent Roman legionary camp has been discovered near Megiddo. Scholars long knew of its existence because of the site’s preserved name of Legio, but only recently have they found remains. This year-old article at Bible History Daily has more of the background than the recent news reports.

Excavators working at the Jewish village of Shikhin near Sepphoris have discovered a pottery workshop.

A family in Ein Kerem near Jerusalem found an ancient mikveh (ritual bath) underneath their living room. High-res photos are available here.

Jodi Magness has discovered more mosaics in her excavation of the Jewish synagogue of Huqoq. For photos, see the links at the end of the article.

Here’s the latest on the gate discovered this week at Gath.

UNESCO has added the tombs of Beth Shearim, Jordan’s Baptism Site, and Susa to its World Heritage List.

CNN has put the Dome of the Rock in the number one spot of places to visit before they are destroyed. ISIS-controlled Palmyra is not on the list.

This looks interesting: Urban Legends of the New Testament: 40 Common Misconceptions. It quotes this blog and comes out on Monday.

Wayne Stiles is leading a tour focused on the life and land of Jesus in 2016, with a $550 reduction from this year’s tour price with the early bird rate.

A detailed report of the destruction to the archaeological site of Palmyra is available from the ASOR Syrian Heritage Initiative.

Ross Burns is keeping a tally of destruction to historic Syrian sites.

The Palestine Exploration Fund has been celebrating its 150th anniversary.

Here’s a unique aerial photo of Gibeah of Saul (Tell el-Ful), taken in 1931 before King Hussein’s construction destroyed Saul’s palace.

Shlomo Moussaieff died recently.

HT: Agade, Paul Mitchell, Joseph Lauer, Charles Savelle, Steven Anderson

Location of Roman legionary camp at Megiddo

Weekend Roundup

Brian Peterson reports on the third and final week of excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir. The discoveries included a third scarab.

Bible History Daily posts a report on current excavations at Ashkelon.

Arsonists destroyed two storerooms filled with antiquities excavated at Tel Kishon in the Jezreel Valley.

Luke Chandler has arrived for excavations at Lachish. Watch his blog for updates.

Archaeologists working at Hippos have discovered the imprint of a Roman soldier’s shoe.

The mummies of 8 million dogs have been found in catacombs in Memphis.

Ferrell Jenkins takes a new look at Magdala.

Norma Franklin does not carry a Marshalltown trowel, a pencil, notebook, or ruler in her dig bag.

CNN has a 3-minute feature on restoration work on Babylon.

The current issue of BASOR is available for free for a limited time.

The first issue of PEQ from 2014 is also available for free.

The Daily Star reports on the long-running excavations of Sidon.

Robert Deutsch posted some photos from a recent investigation of the ivory pomegranate. He
believes the inscription is authentic.

Israel’s Tourism Ministry is beginning to rank hotels according to the five-star system.

We’ll be sending out a BiblePlaces Newsletter in the next few days. You can sign up for a free subscription here.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer


Weekend Roundup, Part 1

Israeli authorities have arrested 7 Bedouin for illegally excavating at Tel Ma’aravim.

Take a tour of all the discoveries in Ashkelon with Aviva and Shmuel Bar-Am’s well-illustrated article in The Times of Israel.

If you haven’t already purchased Wayne Stiles’s Going Places with God, it’s now only $1.99 on Kindle (for a limited time).

The most detailed article on the Dome of the Rock carpet replacement job is at Israel HaYom.

Exploring Bible Lands shares photos with unique perspectives of the basilica in Nazareth and the spring of Harod.

Gary Manning discusses recent claims of the Talpiot Tomb on the Book and the Spade.

Learn why Jeff Blakely carries a roll of brand new US pennies in his dig bag.

I’ve never had a better perspective of Herodium than from this drone video (2.5 min).


Weekend Roundup, Part 2

Of the latest concerning “the tomb of Jesus,” the evidence doesn’t add up, according to professors at Yale and Notre Dame. Other scholars agree.

Jeffrey Zorn’s talk on Storage Bins at Tell en-Nasbeh (biblical Mizpah) is now online (20 min).

Archaeologists from the University of Manchester are busy excavating a site in Iraq in an effort to save history from ISIS terrorists.

In fear of ISIS’s advance, monks at the Mar Matti Monastery in Iraq hid their collection of ancient manuscripts.

An opinion piece in the New York Times calls on the world to use force to stop ISIS’s campaign against historic sites and artifacts.

Should antiquities be repatriated to countries unable to protect them?

The latest podcast from Exploring Bible Times focuses on the Hill of Moreh.

Yossi Garfinkel’s talk from last fall at Florida College is now online.

HT: Agade


Weekend Roundup

They now think they know who was buried in the Amphipolis tomb. This article has more details and illustrations.

King Tut’s beard was knocked off and then re-attached with epoxy glue. Here’s a close-up of the botched repair.

Leen Ritmeyer suggests a location for the stairs of the Antonia Fortress where Paul went up and down.

Medical imaging technology has been put to use in reading burned papyri from Herculaneum.

Approval has been given to re-open the old Acropolis Museum.

You can subscribe to the weekly podcast of The Book and the Spade at christianaudio.com. This week Clyde Billington gives an update on Temple Mount archaeology. Last week I addressed the problem of sensational stories in biblical archaeology.

The latest issue of Ancient Near East Today is now available.

Ferrell Jenkins shares photos of Aphek/Antipatris and the “other Aphek.” I particularly like his aerial photo of the northern site.

Miriam Feinberg Vamosh describes the history of Jezreel and its recent excavations in an illustrated pdf article at The Bible and Interpretation.

Iraq is seeking to have the ruins of Babylon put on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

ICYMI: Accordance photo collections are on sale through Monday.

HT: Ted Weis, Agade


Glass Bracelet with Menorah Discovered near Jokneam

From the Jerusalem Post:

A fragment of a glass bracelet inscribed with a seven-branched menorah from the Second Temple was discovered during Hanukka at an excavation in the Mount Carmel National Park, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Tuesday.
According to a statement from the IAA, excavations were carried out there in recent weeks prior to the construction of a water reservoir for the city of Yokne’am, at the initiative of the Mekorot Company.
During the excavation, an industrial region and refuse pits were exposed which were part of a large settlement that existed in the late Roman and early Byzantine periods, during the end of the fourth Century and beginning of the fifth Century CE, the IAA said.
The excavation’s co-directors Limor Talmi and Dan Kirzne said in the statement that last Thursday they made the findings at the end of the dig.
“While examining the contents of one of the boxes, which contained hundreds of glass fragments that had been discarded in the refuse pit, we found to our surprise a small fragment of a bracelet,” they said in a joint statement.
“Naturally it was extremely dirty, but still, you could see it was decorated. After cleaning, we were excited to discover that the bracelet, which is made of turquoise colored glass, is decorated with symbols of the seven-branched menorah – the same menorah which according to tradition was kept alight in the Temple for eight days by means of a single cruse of oil.”

The full article considers various theories of the item’s significance and includes four photos.

UPDATE: Joseph Lauer has sent along a link to seven high-res photos.

Bracelet inscribed with menorah
Photo courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority

Weekend Roundup

As a dedication to Sharon Zuckerman, Biblical Archaeology Review has made her two articles available to the public.

Now online: G. M. Grena’s recent NEAS lecture on LMLK seals: Judahite Tithes vs. Assyrian Taxes.

Charlie Dyer explains why Israel is safe.

This week’s edition of The Book and the Spade looks at temples (Megiddo) and tombs (Amphipolis).

Where Are They Now? BAR goes back to check in with individuals featured on former covers of the January/February dig issue.

Seth Rodriquez provides a short introduction to the archaeology of Joshua’s conquest.

It’s December, and that means people are interested in Bethlehem then and now. Begin with Wayne
Stiles’ introduction to the Church of the Nativity. Then see what else is of interest in the city and environs in this Jerusalem Post article.

Rear Vision looks at the history of the contested Temple Mount.

This is a good week to get some fresh illustrations of fishing on the Sea of Galilee. Ferrell Jenkins shares a couple of great images of Tabgha, followed up with a post on fish of the Sea of Galilee with five photos. Leen Ritmeyer shares illustrations on the harbors of the Sea of Galilee.

Three movies being released this month are about ancient Egypt.

A new work from Carta: Understanding the Alphabet of the Dead Sea Scrolls, by Ada Yardeni.

HT: Agade


Weekend Roundup

A Digital Reconstruction of the Northwest Palace at Nimrud, Assyria is a 3-minute video posted by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It’s very good.

Steve Green’s museum in Washington, DC now has a name: museum of the Bible.

Some of Josephus’s works are available in audio format for free.

Shimon Gibson and James D. Tabor summarize their 2014 excavations on Mount Zion.

The Times of Israel: “Beneath the houses of Old Jerusalem’s Cotton Market neighborhood, a massive series of ancient buildings excavated by Israeli archaeologists is set to open to the public.”

ArtDaily: “The huge flat-topped rock on which the ancient Parthenon sits in the centre of Athens is starting to give way.”

Haaretz reports on large-scale animal sacrifice related to the Early Bronze temples at Megiddo.

Science 2.0: The enemy of archaeology is not people, it’s salt.

A Polish team has begun a new archaeological project near Tafilah in southern Jordan.

Filming has begun for a movie about four women whose lives intersect in the siege of Masada. “The Dovekeepers” is being produced by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett and is based on a historical novel by Alice Hoffman.

HT: Ted Weis, Agade, Joseph Lauer

Tafileh, possible Tophel, from north, tb061404220
The area of Tafileh, Jordan
Photo from the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands

Weekend Roundup

Aren Maeir reports on the highlights of the 2013 excavation season at Gath (Tell es-Safi).

A statue of a Phoenician priest dating to the 6th century BC has been discovered in Sidon.

The Pope has arrived in Jordan and heads to Israel soon.

Some religious Jews are afraid that if Catholic mass is permitted in the Upper Room that they will be unable to pray at the Tomb of David downstairs.

A new study suggests that some of Petra’s structures were intended to align with the solstices and equinoxes.

Archaeological work in Jerusalem indicates that it was the Roman construction of Aelia Capitolina that triggered the Bar Kochba Revolt (and not the other way around).

Have you ever wondered how Jonathan defeated the Philistines by climbing the cliff of Michmash?

Wayne Stiles explains it all with maps and photos.

Ferrell Jenkins and Leon Mauldin are traveling in eastern Turkey. They have recently visited Haran
and the Zeugma Mosaic Museum.

Muslims in eastern Syria have apparently destroyed a statue from the Neo-Assyrian period looted from Tell Ajaja.

The 2014 excavation season has begun at Tel Jezreel.

The PACE (Project on Ancient Cultural Engagement) online database has moved.

Judith McKenzie’s black and white photographs taken in 1982-1986 for The Architecture of Petra
(1990) are now all available online at the Petra Digital Archive. Other collections are also online, in high-resolution and free for use in educational and academic publications and research.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Jack Sasson


Canaanite Official’s Tomb Discovered in Jezreel Valley

During a salvage excavation just southwest of Nazareth in the Jezreel Valley, archaeologists uncovered a unique coffin from the Late Bronze Age that may have belonged to a Canaanite official serving in the Egyptian army. From the Israel Antiquities Authority press release:

Part of a burial site dating to the Late Bronze Age (thirteenth century BCE) was exposed in an excavation at the foot of Tel Shadud. According to the excavation directors, Dr. Edwin van den Brink, Dan Kirzner and Dr. Ron Be’eri of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “During the excavation we discovered a unique and rare find: a cylindrical clay coffin with an anthropoidal lid (a cover fashioned in the image of a person) surrounded by a variety of pottery consisting mainly of storage vessels for food, tableware, cultic vessels and animal bones. As was the custom, it seems these were used as offerings for the gods, and were also meant to provide the dead with sustenance in the afterlife.” The skeleton of an adult was found inside the clay coffin and next to it were buried pottery, a bronze dagger, bronze bowl and hammered pieces of bronze. “Since the vessels interred with the individual were produced locally”, the researchers say, “We assume the deceased was an official of Canaanite origin who was engaged in the service of the Egyptian government”. Another possibility is that the coffin belonged to a wealthy individual who imitated Egyptian funerary customs. The researchers add that so far only several anthropoidal coffins have been uncovered in the country. The last ones discovered were found at Deir el-Balah some fifty years ago. According to the archaeologists, “An ordinary person could not afford the purchase of such a coffin. It is obvious the deceased was a member of the local elite”.
A rare artifact that was found next to the skeleton is an Egyptian scarab seal, encased in gold and affixed to a ring. The scarab was used to seal documents and objects. The name of the crown of Pharaoh Seti I, who ruled ancient Egypt in the thirteenth century BCE, appears on the seal. Seti I was the father of Ramses II, identified by some scholars as the pharaoh mentioned in the biblical story of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt. Already in the first year of his reign (1294 BCE) a revolt broke out against Seti I in the Bet Sheʽan Valley. Seti conquered that region and established Egyptian rule in Canaan. Seti’s name on the seal symbolizes power and protection, or the strength of the god Ra – the Sun God – one of the most important deities in the Egyptian pantheon. The winged Uraeus (cobra), protector of the pharaoh’s name or of the sovereign himself, is clearly visible on the seal. The reference to the pharaoh Seti on the scarab found in the coffin aided the archaeologists in dating the time of the burial to the thirteenth century BCE – similar to the burials that were exposed at Deir el-Balah and Bet She‘an, which were Egyptian administrative centers.
Tel Shadud preserves the biblical name ‘Sarid’ and the mound is often referred to as Tel Sarid. The tell is situated in the northern part of the Jezreel Valley, close to Kibbutz Sarid. The city is mentioned in the Bible in the context of the settlement of the Tribes of Israel. Sarid was included in the territory of the tribe of Zebulun and became a border city, as written in the Book of Joshua: “The third lot came up for the tribe of Zebulun, according to its families. And the territory of its inheritance reached as far as Sarid…” (Joshua 19:10). Tel Shadud is strategically and economically significant because of its location alongside important roads from the biblical period.

The Israel Antiquities Authority is currently looking into the possibility of sampling the DNA from inside the coffin to see if the deceased was originally a Canaanite or an Egyptian person who was buried in Canaan.

The full press release is here. High-resolution images are here. The story is also reported by the Jerusalem Post and Arutz-7.

The clay coffin at the time of its discovery in the field. Photograph: Dan Kirzner, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Parts of the coffin’s lid after an initial cleaning. Photograph: Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
A general view of the excavation area. Photograph: Skyview Company, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Egyptian scarab encased in gold. Photograph: Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
The bronze dagger and bowl. Photograph: Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.