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Construction work in the Gaza Strip has uncovered a Roman cemetery. There have been reports of looting.

Ongoing work at a quarry near Bethlehem has destroyed about 100 meters of a 1st-century aqueduct that brought water to Solomon’s Pools. There are calls on the government to stop the destruction.

Haaretz (premium) runs a short story about the Gal On Citadel, a Canaanite fortress in the Shephelah between Gath and Lachish. But, as Moshe Gilad writes, “it is advisable not to have too high expectations.”

Schoolchildren hiking in Nahal Besor discovered a coin with the head of Roman Emperor Valentinian I.

The latest episode of This Week in the Ancient Near East podcast questions whether there were really two synagogues in Magdala.

Peter Feinman surveys what prominent Egyptologists in the last century have thought about Israel’s exodus from Egypt.

Pharaoh Hophra ruled Egypt when Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians, and he is the subject of the latest archaeological biography on the Bible Archaeology Report.

A series of videos featuring Alexander Schick discussing the history of the Bible, Tischendorf, and the Dead Sea Scrolls is being released this month as the “focus series” by the Historical Faith Society (membership required).

On The Book and the Spade, John DeLancey discusses what’s new for tourists in Israel after returning from his first tour following Covid shutdowns.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, Explorator

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Excavations at the “altar site” on Mount Ebal have uncovered an ancient amulet with Hebrew writing. There’s more about it in this lecture by Scott Stripling (beginning at about 34:38).

Zvi Koenigsberg recounts some of his story in working with Adam Zertal on the Mt. Ebal excavation, and the conclusion of the account provides more information about the recently discovered amulet.

Archaeologists are investigating a group of asphalt-coated skulls discovered in a cave in Nahal Hemer near the Dead Sea.

A 5th-century Byzantine church has been opened in Gaza after a three-year restoration project.

The Israeli government is allocating $3 million toward the preservation of archaeological sites in Judea and Samaria, with half of that allocated to reconstruction work at Sebastia (the ancient city of Samaria) and a significant amount to the winter palaces at Jericho.

Ruth Marks Eglash writes about the $50 million renovation project underway at Jerusalem’s Tower of David Museum, including the discovery that Suleiman’s Old City walls have no foundation.

Bryan Windle’s top 3 reports in biblical archaeology this month include two related to Egyptian pharaohs, a discovery on Mount Ebal, and a discoveries from a Jerusalem toilet.

Chris McKinny and Kyle Keimer discuss the geography of Judges in the latest episode of the Biblical World podcast.

Israel’s Good Name reports on a university trip to the site of Doq above Jericho and the Good Samaritan Museum. He includes many photos.

James Strange reflects on his work as an archaeologist and recent discoveries at Magdala. The story includes a 30-minute video interview.

Zoom webinar on Feb 10: “Tel Rehov: A Major Bronze and Iron Age City in the Jordan Valley,” with Amihai Mazar, Nava Panitz-Cohen, Nota Kourou, Naama Yahalom-Mack, and Robert Mullins.

Zoom webinar on Feb 20: “Excavations at Tel Gezer: A Personal Story,” with Sam Wolff.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a media blitz like that carried out by Andrew Lawler, author of Under Jerusalem. His latest story is on Christianity Today’s website.

There is something special about hiking in Israel.

Snow fell in Israel this week, from the Golan Heights to the hills around Jerusalem. The Times of Israel has photos. Haaretz (premium) has more.

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

Jewish Quarter snow

Snow in the Jewish Quarter and on the Mount of Olives. Photo by Miriam Siebenberg

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Jerusalem model at the Israel Museum. Photo by a museum guard.

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Israel’s Good Name reports on his tour of four sites in the Nahal Tirzah area, including a possible site for Gilgal and a Roman army camp.

“People may find it hard to believe that tiny little Israel has more than 300 wineries,” with more than 50 in the foothills between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Foreign tourists are again allowed in Israel, and John DeLancey is posting daily updates about his group’s travels.

With the celebration of his 200th anniversary around the corner, Conrad Schick’s work in Jerusalem is highlighted by Bible History Daily. The article also notes that Shirley Graetz is working on a historical novel about Schick’s life.

Les and Kathy Bruce are leading an English/Spanish tour of Israel in April/May, and a Turkey/Greece tour in May.

Susan Laden and Rob Sugar share about the impact of Suzanne Singer on Biblical Archaeology Review.

New in paperback: Children in the Bible and the Ancient World Comparative and Historical Methods in Reading Ancient Children, edited by Shawn W. Flynn.

Zoom lecture on Jan 26: “The Roman Army in the Negev,” by Alexandra Ratzlaff ($7).

Jerusalem Seminary has announced its spring course offerings, including courses on the “Life and Land of Yeshua,” “Jewish Life and Literature,” and “Faith, Politics and Ministry.” The description and the various instructors in that last course look particularly interesting to me. You can see the full list here.

The latest free maps from Bible Mapper include:

Emanuel Hausman, founder of Carta Jerusalem Publishing House, died this week.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Explorator, Arne Halbakken

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Marine archaeologists working near Caesarea have discovered a gold ring with a green gemstone depicting the “Good Shepherd,” a red gemstone depicting a lyre, and a hoard of Roman coins. A 2-minute video announcing the discoveries has been produced by the IAA.

“New research suggests that the Roman prefect Pontius Pilate is the one that built the Biar Aqueduct, the most sophisticated ancient aqueduct of the Jerusalem area” and the main one supplying Solomon’s Pools (Haaretz premium). The underlying journal article is available on Academia.

“Archaeologists say discovery at Tel Tsaf in the Jordan Valley is first known instance of alcohol being imbibed inside a community in the ancient Middle East.”

Authorities found the lid of a Roman sarcophagus in a garbage dump in Ashkelon.

The Jerusalem Post runs a brief story on the legend of the ark of the covenant being brought to Ethiopia.

The Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem has added a number of new programs and educational opportunities in the last year.

This Week in the Ancient Near East podcast: “Even More New Amazing Iron Age Finds from a Cult Site West of Jerusalem, or, To Gaze Upon the Knees of God”

A recent video of the Temple Mount shows the interior of the Golden Gate now furnished as a mosque.

The Conversation provides an explainer on what it is like to volunteer on an archaeological excavation.

The second episode in the “State of Jerusalem” miniseries by The Times of Israel looks at the Christian community in the city.

The Israeli government has again cancelled Christmas in the Holy Land for most, but not all, tourists.

Chris McKinny and Kyle Keimer discuss the history and archaeology of Christmas on the Biblical World podcast.

Andy Cook at Experience Israel Now has created a two-part special entitled “The Journey to Christmas.” Part One came out a few days ago, and Part Two will be released tomorrow. The videos include drone footage of the route that Joseph and Mary took from Nazareth to Bethlehem.

We’ll have a part 2 for this roundup on Sunday.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, Alexander Schick, Charles Savelle, Explorator

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Israel Nature and Parks Authority has created an educational farm in the Hinnom Valley, and some people aren’t happy about it.

Antiquities robbers have removed some steps and seating in the Roman amphitheater of Sebastia (ancient Samaria).

Jerusalem police arrested a man after a search of his home turned up a Hasmonean coin, a Hasmonean oil lamp, and a seal ring with Hebrew inscriptions.

Israel has returned to Egypt 95 artifacts illegally smuggled into Israel.

The Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem has ordered that there be no singing of Christmas carols in church on December 25.

Bryan Windle has written a well-researched, well-illustrated article on Bethlehem.

Jordan Ryan is the guest on The Book and the Spade, discussing architectural features of churches in the Holy Land.

“The Wisdom of Peers: The Madaba Plains Project After Fifty Years” tells the story of the longest-running archaeological project in Jordan (15 min).

New release: The Prophets of Israel: Walking in the Ancient Paths, by James K. Hoffmeier

Steve Mason: “If we leave biblical and New Testament authors out of the frame, Flavius Josephus (37–100+ CE) was the most consequential ancient writer in the West.”

Zoom lecture on Dec 15: “The Political Expansion of the United Monarchy,” by Steven Ortiz.

The free Jerusalem University College global online seminar, Transitions in the Land, will be held on January 8-9. A full schedule is coming, but registration is now open. Speakers include Gabriel Barkay, Lynn Cohick, Richard Hess, Steven Ortiz, Sandra Richter, William Schiedewind, and your roundup writer.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Ted Weis, Alexander Schick, Arne Halbakken, Paleojudaica, Explorator

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“New archaeological findings in the city of Yavne may shed light on the city 2,000 years ago, when it was the center of Jewish life in the region and home to the Sanhedrin.”

A lead sling stone bearing the name of a Seleucid leader who fought against the Hasmoneans was recently found in the southern Hebron Hills.”

Archaeologists have uncovered ancient glass kilns from the Roman period in the Jezreel Valley.

A Hasmonean-era oil lamp was discovered in the City of David shortly before Hanukkah began.

Chris McKinny and Kyle Keimer talk with Andrea Berlin about her excavations of Tel Anafa and Tel Qedesh and how that illuminates the history of the Galilee in the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

Gordon Govier writes about ancient seal impressions discovered through the use of wet-sifting for Christianity Today (subscription).

Israel’s Good Name reports on his visit to the Crusader ruins of Beit Itab in the Judean hills. He has also begun a new blog: Israel’s Good Bird.

Shechem is the latest site to be considered in Kyle Keimer’s “Why” series.

Jerusalem University College has announced its slate of spring online courses, including:

  • Ancient Egypt and the Biblical World, taught by Paul Wright
  • Archaeology of the Judean Shephelah, taught by Chris McKinny and Kyle Keimer
  • Lessons from the Land: Applications for Teaching and Ministry, taught by John Monson
  • Physical Settings of the Bible, taught by Chandler Collins
  • The World of Jesus and His Disciples, taught by Rebecca Pettit

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, Explorator, Ted Weis

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About the BiblePlaces Blog

The BiblePlaces Blog provides updates and analysis of the latest in biblical archaeology, history, and geography. Unless otherwise noted, the posts are written by Todd Bolen, PhD, Professor of Biblical Studies at The Master’s University.

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