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Following reports of damage to archaeological debris on the Temple Mount, the Israeli police have closed a new observation post.

The Temple Mount Sifting Project gives an update on the damage. The Times of Israel reports on the situation.

Aren Maeir shares some of the objectives for this year’s excavations of Gath, including more work on the possible city gate.

The May newsletter of Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities is now online.

A conference entitled “Archaeology for Peace” is being held today in Leiden.

Somehow Carl Rasmussen got into the never-yet-open-to-the-public theater at Perga, and he shares his photos here. [UPDATE: I’ve learned that the theater renovation is complete and the theater is now open to visitors.]

Carl also has posted a couple of rare photos showing flood waters in the Brook of Elah.

Charles Savelle found the four-horned altar near Shiloh. (I do wish he had moved his bike before he took the picture!)

Ferrell Jenkins shares photos of his drive through Wadi Shu’ayb in Jordan.

Wayne Stiles looks at the spiritual significance of the mountains that surround Jerusalem.

Ticia Verveer gives an illustrated tour of Gamla.

Israel’s Good Name saw quite a bit of wildlife on his trip to the Beth Shean Valley and Agamon Hefer.

HT: Joseph Lauer

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Archaeologists have discovered the oldest port in Iraq, a large harbor built by the Sumerians circa 2000 BC.

A US organization has kept the traditional tomb of Nahum in Iraq from collapsing.

Scholars have identified an ancient Greek medical text by Galen that was later covered by a 10th-century copy of the Psalms.

Fifteen years after 15,000 antiquities were looted from the Baghdad Museum, half of them have still not been located. Many have likely been sold on the antiquities market.

Mapping Mesopotamian Monuments is a topographical survey of rock reliefs, historical monuments and architecture that covers all historical periods from ancient to modern.”

Touring Jordan: Ferrell Jenkins shares a photo of the Jabbok River and Leon Mauldin posts shots of Tell es-Saidiyeh (Zarethan?) and a sunset over the Dead Sea.  

Apollo Magazine reports on the famous mosaics of Medeba.

In celebration of the acquisition of CDL Press, Eisenbrauns is offering a 30% discount on all volumes in the Cornell University Studies in Assyriology and Sumerology series. Use discount code CUSAS.

Clyde Billington is on The Book and the Spade this week discussing the Roman camp at Megiddo.

Aren Maeir was honored on his 60th birthday with a festschrift prepared for him by more than 100 contributors!

Professor Ephraim Stern, director of the Dor Project from 1980 to 2000, passed away Friday evening in Jerusalem.

James F. Strange has died.

HT: Agade, Charles Savelle, PaleoJudaica

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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

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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

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“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

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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.

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