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Analysis of soil from Herod’s palace garden in Jericho reveals that he raised “lush bonsai versions of pines, cypresses, cedars, olives and other trees.”

There is more here about the police bust of a major antiquities ring in central Israel.

Israel21c runs an interesting piece on the value and conservation of ancient mosaics in Israel.

With the mines removed, worshipers were able to celebrate Epiphany near the Jordan River for the first time in more than 50 years.

Roger D. Isaacs adds to the lists of top 10 Bible discoveries of 2020.

Because of travel restrictions, Jerusalem University College is offering for the first time ever its full slate of classes online, including courses on physical settings, cultural background, parables of Jesus, and history of the Second Temple period.

New: Heart of the Holy Land: 40 Reflections on Scripture and Place, by Paul H. Wright (and on Kindle)

New: Encountering Jesus in the Real World of the Gospels, by Cyndi Parker

New: Archaeology and Ancient Israelite Religion, edited by Avraham Faust. Hardback for purchase or free pdf. Individual essays are available here.

The Israel Film Archive has some short film clips of historic interest. They are in Hebrew, but visually interesting even if you don’t know Hebrew.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, A.D. Riddle, Arne Halbakken, Explorator, Alexander Schick

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The Tel Burna team has begun a survey of Khirbet ʿAter, a likely candidate for biblical Ether.

Bruno Soltic created a video on “Tel Burna – Week on a Dig,” featuring interviews with Itzick Shai, Steven Ortiz, Chris McKinny, and others.

Registration has now opened for next summer’s excavations at Tel Burna and Gath.

Sepphoris was an important city near Nazareth, and Wayne Stiles looks at its possible place in Jesus’s youth.

Bill Barrick posts about his visit to Sepphoris on a recent research trip, and he includes many photos.

Archaeology magazine has a feature on the dye industry at Tel Shikmona near Haifa.

Israel21c has identified “Israel’s best ancient toilets.”

Three individuals were arrested on suspicion of stealing antiquities from ancient Megiddo.

“In the hills of Timna in the Arava Desert, just north of Eilat, lies a secret lake that has become a magnet for some adventurous Israelis unable to travel abroad due to the coronavirus pandemic.”

Hebrew University has just released the first three volumes in the Tel Rehov final report series (scroll to the bottom).

Shalom Paul died earlier this week.

Israel’s Good Name made a number of outings this year to the Yavne dunes, finding it an ideal place for spotting birds, snakes, and other wildlife.

I am excited about this book forthcoming from Barry Beitzel: Where Was the Biblical Red Sea? Examining the Ancient Evidence. Beitzel defends the traditional location and shows why the Gulf of Aqaba hypothesis is impossible.

The Infusion Bible Conference (formerly the Institute of Biblical Context Conference) has just announced that the 2021 conference will be held in Franklin, Tennessee. This year’s topic is “Paul and His Roman World.”

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, G. M. Grena, Charles Savelle, Explorator

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A rare 7th-8th century masthead from a shipwreck off northern Israel sheds light on sailing and shipbuilding. The underlying journal article is here.

Israel has 320 open-air archaeological gardens and exhibits that are free and accessible 24/7. (Send me an email when you’ve seen them all!)

A collector has donated 130,000 “Postcards of Palestine” from the 19th and 20th centuries to the Hebrew University.

John DeLancey’s latest video tour focuses on Jericho.

I agree with the choices Bryan Windle has made for the “Top Three Reports in Biblical Archaeology” this month.

Free webinar: “The Archaeology of Israel: Where Are We Today?,” with Eric Cline, J. P. Dessel, Jennie Ebeling, and James Hardin, moderated by Rachel Hallote, on Oct 13, 4:00pm Eastern. Free registration is required.

Wendy Slaninka, the granddaughter of James Leslie Starkey, has written several posts about her family’s experiences in Lachish and Egypt.

Just released: CSB Holy Land Illustrated Bible, with 1,200+ images and maps. Details and sample (of Ruth) here. The Amazon listing includes my endorsement.

HT: G. M. Grena, Agade, Joseph Lauer, Explorator

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The Sea of Galilee may fill up for the first time since 1992 after rising more than 10 feet in recent months. And since the water is not considered kosher for Passover, it isn’t pumped out during the week-long holiday.

Only 10 people gathered at the Western Wall for the priestly blessing during Passover, and Al Aqsa Mosque will be closed through Ramadan.

“With the coronavirus keeping Israelis indoors, dozens of jackals have taken over a deserted park in Tel Aviv, scavenging for food in what is usually a playground for joggers and families.”

Here’s another video of the 500 mines blowing up at Qasr al-Yahud near the Jordan River.

John Monson answered questions about the state of biblical archaeology in light of the closure of Southwestern’s program.

The Pergamon Museum in Berlin has posted a 16-minute virtual tour video of the Museum of the Ancient Near East (subtitles in English).

The Harvard Semitic Museum has been renamed the Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East. The museum’s website includes a virtual tour of the entire museum.

Oxford University professor Dirk Obbink has been arrested on suspicion of theft and fraud of ancient papyrus fragments from the Oxyrhynchus collection.

The latest video from John DeLancey: Jesus heals the paralytic in Capernaum.

New: A History of Ancient Moab from the Ninth to First Centuries BCE, by Burton MacDonald.

Carl Rasmussen takes a more careful look at the famous Pilate Inscription, with particular interest in its connection to another “son of God.”

Agrippa I: An Archaeological Biography includes photos of coins of this king, Roman baths in Beirut, the Third Wall in Jerusalem, and the amphitheater in Caesarea.

Fun read: “‘Terminate and Liquidate’: How the Megiddo Ivories were Almost Not Discovered.” This fascinating story is taken from Eric H. Cline’s latest book, Digging Up Armageddon: The Search for the Lost City of Solomon.

HT: Agade, Paleojudaica

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Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) has terminated its biblical archaeology program, laying off five professors and ending the MA and PhD programs of 25 graduate students. The Gezer excavation publication project now lacks funding.

“Pieces of papyrus sold as rare fragments of Dead Sea Scrolls to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary a decade ago are ‘likely fraudulent’ and the seminary might seek financial restitution.”

Sergio and Rhoda show how much the Sea of Galilee’s water level has changed in the last two years.

Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities is launching a series of virtual tours of some of its archaeological sites and museums, beginning with the tomb of Kheti at Beni Hasan.

“New University of Arizona-led research uses tree rings to shed light on discrepancies between archeological and radiocarbon evidence in dating the ancient volcanic eruption of Thera.”

The last land mine has been removed from the Jordan River baptismal area near Qaser al-Yahud, The article includes a video of 562 mines being set off.

Erez Ben-Yosef, director of the Central Timna Valley Project, is interviewed on LandMinds about metallurgy, nomadic societal organizations, and implications for the biblical record.

The Temple Mount Sifting Project has not stopped, though there are no guests or volunteers.

David Christian Clausen discusses the evidence for identifying the location of the Upper Room in Jerusalem.

Rabbi David Moster will be teaching Biblical Hebrew this summer in a 40-session online course. Readers use use the coupon “BiblePlaces” will receive a $500 discount.

For the 100th episode of The Teaching Series, Brad Gray takes a look at the significance of the number 40 in the Bible, reflecting on its repeated presence in episodes of testing and trials.

The Conference DVD Bundle for last year’s Institute of Biblical Context is on sale through Monday, with all 42 presentations available for $79 (digital) or $99 (DVD).

Some Carta resources are finally coming to Logos Bible Software, including The Sacred Bridge, The Quest, and the Carta Bible Atlas. A 13-volume set is also available.

Mark Wilson’s Seven Churches Network website has been greatly updated, including many of his published articles.

Ferrell Jenkins has posted a series this week showing photos of rolling stones from the Tomb of the Kings, the Herodian family tomb, Hesban, and Khirbet Midras.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Paleojudaica

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Note: this blog moved to a new location a few days ago. The old address should forward to the new, but you can update your bookmark to https://www.bibleplaces.com/blog/. Email subscriptions should not be affected, but those using a feed reader will need to update to the new address.

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

An Egyptian anchor discovered off the coast near Haifa is now on display at the Israel Museum. The impressive artifact features hieroglyphics and images.

Excavations at Tel Tsaf in the Jordan Valley have uncovered homes and food silos made of mudbrick and preserved since the Neolithic period.

“Archaeologists on Thursday unveiled 16 ancient Egyptian tombs filled with sarcophagi and other artifacts from a vast burial ground” near Minya in central Egypt.

Israeli researchers have successfully grown six trees from seeds discovered at the sites of Masada, Qumran, and Wadi Makkuk. The seeds date to the 4th century BC to the 2nd century AD, and like their predecessor Methuselah, they have been given biblical names. Photos here.

Shlomit Bechar argues that the Hazor complexes with standing stones were part of a “ruin cult.”

A professor has found a technique to solve quadratic equations that the ancient Babylonians used.

Laerke Recht takes a look at human sacrifices in the ancient Near East.

War has devastated a museum in Maaret al-Numa, Syria known for its Roman and Byzantine-era mosaics.

A terrorist near St. Anne’s Church fired shots toward the Temple Mount, wounding a policeman.

USA Today is having a contest for the Best Religious Museum in the USA. Nominees include the Museum of the Bible, the Ark Encounter, and the Biblical History Center.

The latest video in the “Life Lessons from Israel” is a 6-minute devotional video on Megiddo.

Upcoming events at the Albright Institute include a lecture by Israel Finkelstein on the excavations at Kiriath Jearim.

After renovations to steps and railings, the Ramparts Walk from the Damascus Gate to the Lions Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem has re-opened.

Agrippa II is the subject of Bryan Windle’s latest archaeological biography.

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

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