Weekend Roundup, Part 2

The completely buried Roman city of Falerii Novi has been mapped with radar technology.

An Egyptian archaeologist is using technology, including Google tools, to assist in the work of preserving and documenting her nation’s heritage.

A research study is using AI to analyze ancient feces and learning in the process of the relationship between humans and dogs.

Phillip J. Long provides a helpful review of a valuable up-to-date summary of the DSS and their relation to Qumran: Scribes and Scrolls at Qumran, by Sidnie White Crawford.

The final publication of Tall Zira’a, Volume 6, Hellenistic to Umayyad Period (Strata 8–3) is now available online as a free download.

‘Atiqot 99 (2020) is now online.

“Tutankhamun In Colour,” a BBC program featuring colorized photos from Howard Carter’s Egyptian explorations, will air on June 18.

Context Matters is a weekly podcast begun earlier this year and hosted by Cyndi Parker.

In a BBC audio presentation, Bridget Kendall explores ancient Babylon with four experts.

More than 1,000 color sides taken by Kenneth Russell have been added to the ACOR Photo Archive.

Carl Rasmussen shares a photo of an ancient papyrus attesting that a man had offered sacrifices to the gods—a way of proving that one was not a Christian.

The Temple Mount Sifting Project is now offering “remote sifting.”

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

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Weekend Roundup

A scholarly study uses radiocarbon dating to determine that “Wilson’s Arch was initiated by Herod the Great and enlarged during the Roman Procurators, such as Pontius Pilatus, in a range of 70 years, rather than 700 years, as previously discussed by scholars. The theater-like structure is dated to the days of Emperor Hadrian and left unfinished before 132–136 AD.”

A 1,800-year-old fountainhead in the shape of a face was uncovered by chance by a visitor at the Tzipori [Sepphoris] National Park in the Galilee.”

Rami Arav discusses his excavations at et-Tell and a newly discovered moon god stele (Haaretz premium).

Excavations will not be possible at el-Araj (Bethsaida?) this summer because of the high water level. The article includes many photos.

NPR has a story on the Israeli and Jordanian sides of the tourist site for Jesus’s baptism, including a discussion of creating a new “soft crossing” to allow tourists to enter Jordan from the Israeli side.

A new study of the DNA of 35 fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls is providing insight into the diverse origins of the parchments.

Mark Vitalis Hoffman has published an interesting article on “Jesus and Jerusalem and the ‘Things That Make for Peace.” He has also created a video to supplement the article.

Gabriel Barkay is on The Book and the Spade this week talking about the archaeology of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.

Israel’s Good Name had a productive trip scouting out the birds and fish at the Beit Zayit Reservoir west of Jerusalem.

A Jerusalem Post piece looks at the resumption of tourism in Israel and the safety measures being put in place.

From boom to bust: with tourism in Israel all but gone, tour guides are considering their options.

The Winter 2019 issue of the ACOR Newsletter is now available (high-res; low-res).

The Bible and Interpretation provides a selection about ancient Moab and the Mesha Stele from the new book by Burton MacDonald.

Gulf News has a write-up on artifacts from Saudi Arabia that are featured in the traveling “Roads of Arabia” exhibit.

Smithsonian magazine has a long, well-illustrated piece on archaeological work in and around Aigai, Philip II’s capital of Macedon. A massive new museum is scheduled to open in January.

The latest historical city travel guide by the British Museum is of Athens in the 5th century BC.

Some stories on re-opening: excavations in Turkey, Vatican Museums, Rome’s Colosseum, Pompeii, Al Ula, Israel’s museums, the Temple Mount.

Two Asian lion cubs were recently born at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Chris McKinny, Agade, Keith Keyser, Steven Anderson, Charles Savelle, Explorator

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Familiarization Tours in 2021

For our readers who are professors or pastors and are ready to think about planning future trips for your classes or churches, I recommend you take a look at 2021’s familiarization tours offered by Tutku Educational Travel. These trips are subsidized with the hope that you’ll love your trip and come back with a group. It’s a good way to get a good introduction and be prepared to lead a tour. I’ve copied Tutku’s schedule below, and you will recognize the names of a number of excellent scholars. This is a great (and rare) opportunity to learn from the best in their fields. I’ve traveled with Tutku several times and highly recommend them.

BIBLICAL ISRAEL FAM TRIP          $2,190 land & air included

January 1-9, 2021

Tour Host: Dr. Carl Rasmussen      click for brochure

Greetings! The following is the handcrafted itinerary of the trip to Israel that Mary and I are leading in response to those who have  asked us to put together a “not for credit” study tour. I will be giving mini lectures along the way both on the bus and on the sites, drawing from my studies. I have spent 16 years of my adult life living in, and guiding, academic groups in Israel, Jordan, Greece, and Turkey (including living, teaching, and guiding in Jerusalem for 7 years)…


BIBLICAL EGYPT FAM TRIP          $2,990 land & air included

January 6-15, 2021

Tour Host: Dr. Jim Hoffmeier      click for brochure

Growing up in rural Egypt gave me a love for its people, history and culture, so that Egyptology and archaeology were my natural academic studies. On this tour we will visit ancient and modern wonders and  integrate Biblical history, with a goal of making connections  between Egyptian history and culture and the Bible.


BIBLICAL ITALY FAM TRIP          $2,990 land & air included

January 15-23, 2021

Tour Host: Dr. Mark Wilson      click for brochure

“And so we came to Rome!” Twice Luke announces this in the final chapter of Acts. Our tour will begin with Paul’s arrival at the port of Puteoli. Along the way we’ll see Herculaneum, a city destroyed by   Mt. Vesuvius and the archaeological treasures of the Naples Museum. We will then trace the Via Appia to the imperial city, actually walking on this “Queen of Roads” in several places. In Rome we will visit all the major monuments, especially those related to Peter and Paul. The Pio Christian Museum features special Jewish and Christian artifacts in the Vatican Museum. Lastly, we will visit the port of Ostia, whose well-preserved ruins include an early synagogue. Join me as we too come to Rome in the footsteps of the apostles!


BIBLICAL TURKEY FAM TRIP          $1,990 land & air included

March 5-13, 2021

Tour Host: Dr. Mark Wilson      click for brochure

Greetings! At this special trip, we will visit all 7 churches mentioned in Revelation 1-3 and places where New Testament books were written to and/or from! Thus, it is not a mere tour, but a hands on experience as we study the New Testament and its  Greco Roman background together! You will be amazed at what you will be learning along the way and March is perfect—not too hot, not too cool, and the wild flowers are in bloom in most parts of the country!


BIBLICAL GREECE FAM TRIP          $1,990 land & air included

March 6-14, 2021

Tour Host: Dr. Mark Fairchild      click for brochure

Join me for this brief introductory tour of the Biblical sites in Greece. We will travel to all of the ancient sites that were  associated with St. Paul’s journeys in Greece. Additionally, we will  visit other important historical sites along the way, such as the famous Delphic Oracle and the monastic community at Meteora. I invite you to accompany us on this odyssey to the birthplace of western civilization.


BIBLICAL JORDAN FAM TRIP          $1,990 land & air included

March 13-21, 2021

Tour Host: Dr. Mark Fairchild      click for brochure

Many prophets walked the land and performed miracles in Jordan. They bathed in the seas and rivers and trekked the desert. Trace their steps, marvel at the ruins of ancient civilizations, and re-live   history.  Home to Petra, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and the Dead Sea, a finalist for the New Seven Wonders of Nature, Jordan offers one-in-a-lifetime vacation destinations you will not find anywhere else… Explore splendid desert castles or bathe in the restful waters of the Red Sea. Come see the beauty of the Kingdom’s treasures and experience the splendor that has dazzled visitors for centuries.

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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

The Atlantic sews together the story of the “first-century Mark,” Hobby Lobby, and Dirk Obbink.

Stephen Oryszczuk takes a tour of the only accelerator mass spectrometry lab in the Middle East, and its contribution to ongoing archaeological excavations.

Scholars are studying erasures and corrections in the Leningrad Codex.

Ruth Schuster considers what caused the collapse of Byzantine farming in the Negev highlands.

Ianir Milevski and Liora Kolska Horwitz investigate the domestication of donkeys in the ancient Near East.

The summer issue of Biblical Archaeology Review includes articles on forced resettlement at Tel Hadid, old Christian manuscripts, and the scarab. (BAR appears to have quietly cut its number of issues each year from 6 to 4.)

The British Museum has created historical city travel guides to Nineveh in the 7th century BC and to Rome in the 1st century AD.

Pompeii Live, “the British Museum’s most popular exhibition of the last decade is set to return, in the form of an online broadcast” that will premiere on May 20.

Lachish is the subject of a 7-minute video, the latest in the Life Lessons from Israel series.

The Ancient World Online (AWOL) has now surpassed ten million page views.

Satire: Stanford will be offering a new course entitled “How to be a Gladiator,” and signed waivers will be required to enroll.

A NPR piece looks at what has happened with tourism at Petra, going from 8,000 people a day to zero. Now the place is being taken over by cats, sparrows, and wolves.

Assassin’s Creed Discovery Tours of Ptolemaic Egypt and Classical Greece are free through May 20. Explore those worlds in a “living museum.”

Accordance has photo resources related to biblical archaeology on sale.

There is no shortage of material for an archaeological biography of King Ahab.

Israel’s Good Name describes his university field trip to Tel Arad and Tel Beersheba.

To celebrate his birthday, Shmuel Browns drove up to Sussita and took some beautiful photos.

Church of the Holy Sepulcher locked, nf7550-sr_thumb[1]

All locked up: The Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, May 12, 2020

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Keith Keyser, Joseph Lauer, Explorator, Brian Johnson

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Weekend Roundup, Part 1

For only the 4th time, a Bar Kochba coin has been found in Jerusalem, possibly brought there by a Roman soldier. This article has nice photos, and this article has a short video.

The Jerusalem Post surveys how archaeology in Israel has been affected by governmental actions in response to COVID-19.

El-Araj, a good candidate for Bethsaida, has been flooded by this winter’s rains and the rise of the Sea of Galilee.

Critics are claiming that construction by the Palestinian Authority is destroying remains at Tel Aroma, the northernmost Hasmonean fortress in Samaria.

“Exploratory drilling has started just outside the Old City for a project to extend the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem fast rail to the Old City’s Dung Gate — the main entrance to the Western Wall.”

The Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem has filed a lawsuit demanding closure of Ein Yael outdoor museum.

Four fragments of Dead Sea Scroll fragments that were thought to be blank are not.

A new excavation at Petra will focus on the lower part of the Treasury as well as nearby tombs and facades.

A new burial chamber has been discovered at the mummification workshop complex of the 26th Dynasty at Saqqara.”

“A stone chest excavated by archaeologists near Deir el-Bahari and the temple of Hatshepsut could lead archaeologists . . . to a royal tomb.”

Egypt’s decision to move ancient objects from their original setting in Luxor to Cairo’s Tahrir Square is stirring controversy.

“The excavation team working on the site of the ancient city of Patara, near the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya, has unearthed a new inscription in the ancient theater.”

“A small sinkhole that appeared next to the Pantheon in Rome has enabled archaeologists to examine the original Roman paving that was laid when the Pantheon was built by Marcus Agrippa around 27-25 BC.”

The traditional tomb of Esther and Mordechai in Hamadan, Iran, was set afire yesterday.

David Moster has created a new video on “Biblical Pandemics.”

The Temple Mount Sifting Project Symposium on May 24 features eight lectures via Zoom on the archaeology of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. Registration is required.

Francis I. Andersen died recently. His breadth of publications is remarkable.

Thomas O. Lambdin died on May 8.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Joseph Lauer, Explorator, BibleX

Ecbatana tomb of Esther and Mordecai, tb0510183126

Traditional tomb of Esther and Mordecai in Hamadan (biblical Ecbatana) before attack

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Weekend Roundup

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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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

Tourist authorities in Jerusalem and elsewhere in Israel are filming guides giving tours of the city and its museum so that those who can’t come to Israel, or otherwise leave their homes, can enjoy the virtual experience.

More than 100 scholars contributed tributes to “He Inscribed Upon a Stone”: Celebrating the Work of Jim Eisenbraun. The volume (free download here) records some of the history of Jim and Merna’s publishing house that has served so many of us so well for so long.

Christopher Rollston: The Forger Among Us: The Museum of the Bible Dead Sea Scrolls and the Recent History of Epigraphic Forgeries

The 2020 issue of ‘Atiqot is now online, including articles on a tomb in Jerusalem and the settlement history of Nazareth.

“A portrait sculpture that has been at a museum in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya since 1972 was recently found to belong to Greek poet Sappho.”

The Polychrome Hieroglyph Research Project has a new website that displays the results of research “into the use and meaning of colour in Egyptian hieroglyphic inscriptions.”

The Associates for Biblical Research has a new Instagram account.

Israel’s Good Name shares about his day volunteering in renewed excavations of the Montfort Castle in Galilee.

Ferrell shares then and now photos of the house of Peter at Capernaum.

Barry Beitzel is on The Land and the Book with Charlie Dyer, talking about the excellent Geographic Commentary series he is editing.

This 15-minute video is fascinating: “Bread Culture in Jordan.”

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Joseph Lauer

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William Barrick’s Research Tour of Biblical Jordan

Dr. William Barrick, emeritus professor of The Master’s Seminary, recently participated in a research trip to Jordan, and he has written a series of posts describing their daily visits along with discussion of certain controversial issues. I thought my readers would enjoy this, and so I’ve written a roundup of sorts to provide easy access to the various posts and the sites they describe.

Dr. Barrick has an army of former students who are eager to read anything their esteemed professor writes. I am happy to be among that number. In a day in which scholarship has become highly specialized, Dr. Barrick follows the footsteps of William F. Albright or Cyrus Gordon in being a polymath. I commend his latest series to all interested in learning more about the biblical significance of the east side of the Jordan River.

Post 1 – the first stop of the trip is at Tall al-Hamman, a site best identified with Abel-Shittim, not Sodom. (“No one can believe consistently in biblical inerrancy and adopt the northern site as Sodom.”) The post also includes a photograph of Tell ‘Azeimeh, identified with biblical Beth-Jeshimoth.

Post 2 – few groups make the stop at Tell ed-Damiyeh, the site of biblical Adam. Dr. Barrick shares a dramatic photo of the site, with Alexandrium (Sartaba) looming in the background.

Post 3 – this post describes their visit to the Jabbok River and Tell edh-Dhahab, possibly biblical Peniel/Penuel. This area is particularly interesting because of Jacob’s nighttime wrestling match.

Post 4 – traveling to Jordan’s capital city of Amman, this post discusses biblical Rabbah Ammon. Dr. Barrick also highlights some significant inscriptions from the Acropolis Museum, including the Amman Citadel Inscription, the Tell Siran Bottle, and the Balaam Inscription.

Post 5 – on to Medeba, with its famous mosaic map. Then to Mount Nebo, where even after a rainfall, the view toward the Promised Land is still a bit hazy.

Post 6 – the next stop was at Peor, a summit where Balaam blessed Israel, to the horror of the Moabite king. Unfortunately the site has been heavily looted. He suggests four potential solutions to the location of Heshbon. His visit to Dibon prompts a discussion of the Mesha Stele and 2 Kings 3.

Post 7 – the trip continues to southern Jordan, with photos of many sites, including Aroer, the Arnon Gorge, the land of Edom, Sela, and Bozrah. The climb up Sela is given greater detail and more illustrations.

Post 8 – this post describes a full day at Petra and the Petra Museum, with biblical connections, recommended articles, and links to online videos.

Post 9 – this day’s focus was on the southern end of the Dead Sea, with particular interest in the locations of Sodom and Gomorrah. Sites visited included Lot’s Cave (Deir Ain Abata) and Lot’s Cave Museum (aka the Museum at the Lowest Place on Earth).

Post 10 – more evidence is provided related to the locations of Sodom and Gomorrah, with the conclusion that these cities must be on the southern end of the Dead Sea. A visit to Numeira prompts the question of how the chronology of the site may fit the biblical date of the destruction of Gomorrah. Bab edh-Dhra has a massive cemetery and may be identified with Sodom.

Post 11 – the final post in this series features the Hill of Elijah, Bethany beyond the Jordan, Gerasa, and Ramoth-gilead (Tell er-Rumeith). The biblical significance of each site is explained, and photos abound.

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Weekend Roundup

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

Archaeologists working at Tell Damiyah (biblical Adam) are uncovering a religious complex that dates to 700 BC.

Ann Killebrew shares about her experience and discoveries made in the last decade of excavating Tel Akko.

16 tombs from the 26th dynasty have been found at Al-Ghoreifa in Egypt.

New research of the mummified remains of Takabuti, held at the Ulster Museum, reveals the Egyptian had genetic roots to Europe and was likely stabbed to death.

Ueli Bellward explains the complex water collection system of Petra, including how its flash flood system enabled the city to survive.

Archaeologists are concerned about the increasing popularity of Gobekli Tepe.

A story in Discover magazine explains how archaeologists know where to dig.

Archaeologists believe that they have found a second example of crucifixion, discovered near Venice.

The AP has a number of photos of a massive locust invasion in eastern Africa.

Caesarea’s ancient theater stage is undergoing a major renovation.

John DeLancey has just wrapped up another tour of Israel, blogging about each day.

Holly Beers is on The Book and the Spade discussing her new book, A Week in the Life of a Greco-Roman Woman.

Bryan Windle identifies the top three reports in biblical archaeology in the month of January.

BiblePlaces.com celebrated its 20th anniversary this week, and we are thankful for many encouraging words, including reflections from Mark Hoffman, Ferrell Jenkins, Leon Mauldin, and Charles Savelle.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Cam von Wahlde, Joseph Lauer

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Weekend Roundup

“The Amman Theatre Statue is the ninth standing male figure discovered in Amman.” Joel S. Burnett and Romel Gharib try to explain why there are so many.

A pink granite statue of Ramses II, almost 3.5 feet tall, has been discovered near Giza.

Archaeologists have discovered the oldest known church in Ethiopia, one that indicates Christianity had spread there not later than the 4th century.

“Decorative pavements in the floor of a recently unearthed Roman house in Pompeii offer a glimpse into the life and work of an ancient land surveyor.”

Leon Mauldin looks to the Isthmian Games for background to Paul’s athletic imagery.

The “find of the month” at the Temple Mount Sifting Project is the fragment of an ancient key.

The Jerusalem Post has published four articles on Masada, including one by Jodi Magness and another by Lawrence H. Schiffman.

The destruction of Caesarea’s harbor is the subject of National Geographic’s Overheard podcast.

Jewish worshipers are again praying on the Temple Mount.

There are no archaeologists who believe that the temple was in the City of David, not even Eli Shukron.

David Moster explains why the letter heh is the “swiss army knife” of biblical Hebrew.

All 5 (available and future) volumes of the Lexham Geographic Commentaries are for sale now in Logos format.

The approach of Christmas is a good time for an illustrated archaeological biography on Caesar Augustus.

Robert Cargill introduces the “New BAR,” including a re-designed cover, an expanded table of contents, a new section called “Epistles,” a change of typeset, and the elimination of “jumps” from all articles.

Philip J. King, longtime professor at Boston College and president of ASOR and SBL, has died. Three of his most helpful books are:

BAS is having a warehouse closeout sale, with all books priced at either $5 or $9. There are some good deals, including recent books on Caesarea, Hazor, and Megiddo.

HT: Agade, Charles Savelle, Ted Weis

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