Weekend Roundup

If you don’t pay attention, you would think they’re finding all kinds of first-century streets in Jerusalem. But it’s the same one, again and again. The story this week, based on a journal article in Tel Aviv, is that the Siloam Street/Stepped Street/Pilgrim’s Path was built by Pilate. The date is based on the most recent coin, from AD 30/31, found in the fill under the pavement. Leen Ritmeyer rejects the study, saying that the road was actually built by Herod Agrippa II. That last link has a nice map that shows the location of the Herodian/Pilatian/Agrippian Road.

A three-year salvage excavation near Beth Shemesh uncovered a Byzantine Church with an inscription mentioning a “glorious martyr.” The mosaics are quite well-preserved, and there is an intact underground burial chamber. Some of the artifacts are featured in a new exhibition at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem.

Excavators have found a second monumental gate at Hacilar.

These reports from Beirut are from last year, but I did not see them then:

Rachel Bernstein provides an update on the Temple Mount Sifting Project since its recent reboot and relocation.

Israel Finkelstein responds to the “discovery that changes everything we know about biblical Israel.”

Artificial intelligence is better at deciphering damaged ancient Greek inscriptions than humans are.

The ArcGIS Blog interviews Tom Levy and one of his students about their use of GIS and 3D modeling in their work in the copper mines of Faynan.

Officials in Thessaloniki are arguing about what to do with a “priceless” 6th century AD Byzantine site found during work on a subway tunnel.

Spanish experts have replicated for Iraq two Assyrian lamassu statues previously destroyed by ISIS.

Dirk Obbink denies the charges against him of selling items owned by the Egyptian Exploration Society.

Two scholarships are available for students interested in participating in February’s excavation of Timna’s copper mines.

An international conference entitled “Philistines! Rehabilitating a Biblical Foe” will be held on Nov 17 at Yeshiva University Museum. Registration is required.

‘Atiqot 96 (2019) is now online, with reports on excavations at Rosh Pinna, Mazor, and el-Qubeibe.

Biblical Israel Ministries and Tours has released the 16th video in their series, “It Happened Here.” This one features life lessons from Beth Shean.

Jim Hastings shows how he built a model of a gate of Ezekiel’s temple.

Ferrell Jenkins shares photos from his 1970 tour of Iraq.

Aron Tal reflects on the remarkable return of the ibex. There was a day, apparently, when there were no ibex to be found at En Gedi.

HT: Gordon Franz, Mark Hoffman, Agade, Ted Weis, Joseph Lauer, A.D. Riddle, Steven Anderson

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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

Wayne Stiles just walked the last five miles of the Appian Way into Rome, and he shares his experiences along with a video. Only one section was a hair-raising experience!

A preliminary report from the Swedish excavations at Hala Sultan Tekke in Cyprus is now online.

Israeli security inspectors discovered 69 coins from the time of Alexander the Great being smuggled from Gaza into Israel. But one expert suggests the coins are fake.

The Summer Session program of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens is now accepting applications. Scholarships are available.

Why do newspapers write dishonest headlines like this? “A Chance Discovery Changes Everything We Know About Biblical Israel.” Shame on Haaretz.

The lectures are in Hebrew, but you may find the topic list to be of interest for this year’s “New Discoveries and Insights” conference at Tel Aviv University.

The schedule is now online for next week’s Annual Conference, “New Studies in the Archaeology of Jerusalem and its Region.”

The final list of speakers and their topics for the 22nd Annual Bible and Archaeology Fest is now posted.

Yahoo Groups is shutting down. This will affect lists such as Explorator and ANE-2.

The En-Gedi Resource Center website has a new home, with new organization and a “Hebraic Studies” search bar to make it easier to find what you’re looking for.

Carl Rasmussen shares a number of photos of Göbekli Tepe.

John DeLancey is blogging each day on his tour of Greece, Rome, and Pompeii, now wrapping it up on Day 13.

Ferrell Jenkins explains why a photo he took of the cedars of Lebanon in 2002 is one of his favorites.

Bryan Windle has put together another great archaeological biography, this one on King Nebuchadnezzar.

HT: Ted Weis, Keith Keyser, Agade

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Weekend Roundup

A Times of Israel article discusses the newly deciphered Moabite inscription found an an altar from Ataroth.

With international tourism to Lebanon on the rise, there is a new interest in preserving the country’s cultural heritage.

Claudine Dauphin has been trying to figure out how Umm ar-Rasas, in the semi-arid steppe of central Jordan, was able to survive, including in the Byzantine period when it included 16 Byzantine churches.

The July issue of the Newsletter of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities is now available.

Bryan Windle selects the top three reports in biblical archaeology for the month of August.

The Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society has posted an archaeological report for August 2019. Future lectures are also listed.

Jimmy Hardin is interviewed on The Book and the Spade on the controversial topic of state formation in the 10th century.

On the 250th anniversary of Napoleon’s birth, the Jerusalem Post looks at the French general’s visit to the Holy Land.

Alex Joffe wonders what the ancient Near East would look like without the year 1919.

Appian Media is close to meeting two fundraising goals for developing new video resources, but the deadline is today.

Two of John Beck’s geography books have just been released as audiobooks: Land without Borders and Along the Road.

John DeLancey is offering a free online course called “Biblical Israel – Learning the ‘Playing Board’ of the Bible.” You can watch the preview here or see a replay of the first session here.

Carl Rasmussen shares photos of Domus Galilaeae, a Catholic retreat center near the Sea of Galilee that is normally not open to visitors.

Ferrell Jenkins posts a nice color photo of winnowing grain at Shechem.

New: Atlas of the Biblical World, by Mark Vitalis Hoffman and Robert A. Mullins. Mark shares the details on his excellent blog.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer

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Weekend Roundup

A 2,000-year-old bronze ring with a solitaire gemstone was uncovered in the City of David National Park in Jerusalem.

Ceramic jars and cooking pots suggest the Persian Empire used Tel Keisan, near the city of Akko in
Northern Israel, as a base camp in their effort to conquer Egypt (Haaretz premium).

Police caught antiquities thieves in the act of excavating Huqoq for ancient coins.

The petrified remains of a harnessed horse has been uncovered in Pompeii.

Emma Maayan-Fanar writes about her recent study at Shivta which revealed a painting of Jesus.

Longer, hotter summers and drier winters are a threat to the remaining cedar trees in Lebanon.

The NY Times reports on the only tourist boat operation on the Dead Sea.

”By analysing the architecture and historical documentation, it is possible to reconstruct a detailed history of the Karak Castle during the Crusader period.”

Several people are dead and a dozen injured after a bomb blast struck a tourist bus near the Egyptian pyramids in Giza.

“Finds Gone Astray” is a new exhibit opening on Monday at the Bible Lands Museum. The Times of Israel provides some of the background for these artifacts that have been recovered from thieves and smugglers in the West Bank since 1967.

Carl Rasmussen asks: Herod or Jesus: Which “King” Has Had the Most Lasting Influence?

What is the Samaritan Torah? David Moster has created a 10-minute video to answer that question.
National Geographic has produced a 4-minute animated video on The History of the Bible.

Gary Knoppers died last week.

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

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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

The Getty Museum has opened a new exhibit featuring the Rothschild Pentateuch along with old copies of the Bible and Quran.

The Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem has released Out of the Blue, a catalog for its exhibition on dyes of the ancient world.

The British Museum will be returning eight ancient artifacts looted from Iraq after identifying the temple where they originated.

The Oklahoma exhibit of the seals of Hezekiah and Isaiah has been extended from August 19 until January 27, 2019.

The BBC posts a series of photos from the Sinai Trail, a 137-mile (220-km) path that runs from the Gulf of Aqaba to Jebel Katarina.

Ben Witherington traveled this summer to Greece, Israel, and Jordan, and the first of 40+ illustrated posts is here.

An ASOR fellowship recipient writes about her experience in the last season of excavations at Omrit in Galilee.

Clyde Billington and Gordon Govier discuss the latest discoveries from the ARTIFAX magazine in this week’s episode of The Book and the Spade.

The Temple Mount Sifting Project met their funding goal.

It wasn’t only Solomon who imported cedars of Lebanon for his building projects, explains Ferrell Jenkins.

The Uffii Digitization Project is making 3-D images of many Greek and Roman sculptures.

The Biblical Archaeology Society links to a number of virtual tours, including Isaiah, Pharaoh in Canaan, and the Lachish Reliefs.

Jean-Claude Golvin has created beautiful reconstructions from all over the ancient world, including Egypt, Greece, Turkey, the Middle East, and more.

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

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Weekend Roundup

While building an on-site museum to house the massive Lod mosaic, they discovered another mosaic.

Archaeologists working at Gedera have uncovered a 20-bath spa, a game room, and a pottery workshop.

The final season has wrapped up at the site of Horvat Kur near the Sea of Galilee.

Whether one swallowed Jonah or not, whales used to live in the Mediterranean, according to a new study.

Thomas Hikade and Jane Roy assess the evidence for human sacrifice in early Egyptian history.

New: An excavation report from Khirbet Qeiyafa: In the Footsteps of King David: Revelations from an Ancient Biblical City, by Yosef Garfinkel, Saar Ganor, and Michael G. Hasel.

Carl Rasmussen writes about the Solomonic gate at Gezer and shares a photo of Bill Dever and Yohanan Aharoni at the site.

John DeLancey shares about his recent volunteer experience at Gath on The Book and the Spade.

Ferrell Jenkins explains the importance of the cedars of Lebanon and shares many photos.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Agade, Paleojudaica

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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

A British Museum team excavating in Sidon has discovered the remains of a Canaanite child and its funerary jar.

A Hellenistic era temple which dates back to more than 2,000 years has been unearthed in archeological excavations in central Turkey.”

Electricians working near the Tiber River may have uncovered remains of one of the earliest churches in Rome.

Students at the University of Pennsylvania are studying the human remains of the ancient Gibeonites unearthed in the excavations of James Pritchard.

The founder of the Sinai Peninsula Research describes the recent survey project in light of the 150-year history of mapping the region.

A $1.2 million ancient Persian bas-relief must be returned to Iran, the New York Supreme Court ruled this week.

The Dunes Center in Guadalupe, CA, excavates and preserves “Egyptian artifacts” left in the desert by Cecil B. DeMille after filming The Ten Commandments in 1923.

Wayne Stiles explains why the Tel Dan Stele is so significant.

David Hansen addresses the difficult problems of biblical texts that speak of the tribe of Zebulun having seafront property.

Ferrell Jenkins notes the passing of Jack P. Lewis.

Leen Ritmeyer recommends a new video entitled “Solomon’s Temple Explained.”

Carl Rasmussen shares photos of the little-known “Tomb of the Royal Steward” in Jerusalem.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Ted Weis

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Weekend Roundup, Part 1

Excavations of Ein Hanya in the Judean hills have concluded with an announcement of the discovery of an Israelite royal capital (proto-Aeolic?), a 4th century Greek drachma, and a Byzantine pool system. The site is associated in tradition with Philip’s baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch. The site will soon open as an archaeological park.

Eilat Mazar has returned to the Ophel to excavate, and this video shows a large cave she believes was in use during the First Temple period. An interview with Mazar includes an aerial photo with the excavation sites labeled.

A Roman tomb complex has been discovered in the northern Gaza Strip.

The ancient temple at Ain Dara, Syria, which is the closest parallel to Solomon’s temple, was heavily damaged in recent Turkish air strikes.

A radar scan is underway in King Tut’s tomb to determine if there are any hidden chambers.

Egypt announced the discovery of a 4,400-year-old tomb in good condition at Giza.

A man carrying a metal detector around the Nabatean ruins of Halutza was arrested for looting more than 150 Byzantine coins.

Five ancient statues stolen during Lebanon’s civil war are back on display in its National Museum.

The Museum of Ancient Greek Technology recently opened in Athens.

A new exhibition showing at the Carthage National Museum highlights the links between the Carthaginian and Etruscan civilisations before the Mediterranean came under Roman dominion.”

Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities is launching a project to document rare petroglyphs throughout the country. 

HT: Ted Weis, Agade, Joseph Lauer

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Weekend Roundup

The suggestion that el-Araj could be New Testament Bethsaida received lots of media attention, not all accurate. I’d recommend this report by Jeffrey Garcia and Steven Notley at the CSAJCO website.

An on-site interview with archaeologist Mordechai Aviam is posted at CBN’s Facebook page. The Today show sent a correspondent to the site. National Geographic sets some of the record straight. The Times of Israel looks at the two sites laying claim to the name of Bethsaida.

Jonathan Adler guides a video tour of a 2,000-year-old stone quarry that he excavated in Galilee. The Jerusalem Post provides a written report on the excavations.

The Abel Beth Maacah team shares a photo album from the 2017 season.

Nadav Na’aman argues that Khirbet Qeiyafa was not a Judahite city in a recent article in the Journal of Hebrew Scriptures.

Authorities are planning to stop the flow of sewage down the Kidron Valley.


The Wall Street Journal (subscription req’d) traces the path in which ISIS looted artifacts make their way out of the Middle East.

“Researchers have unearthed a 1,800-year-old writing tool, or stylus, at the Assos archeological site in northwestern Turkey.”

Excavations at Carchemish have uncovered 250 Hittite bullae this year.

Excavators at Tell Tayinat found fragments of a large female statue at the citadel gate complex.

Now online: Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities’ Newsletter for July 2017.

Wayne Stiles considers the strategic value of the International Highway (aka Via Maris).

Ferrell Jenkins shares a couple of beautiful photos of ibex at En Gedi and Ein Avdat.

Leon Mauldin explains the location and importance of Akeldama, the Field of Blood.

Cynthia Shafer-Elliott is on the Book and the Spade discussing “Canaanite DNA” and her excavation work at Tel Halif.

We will be making a big announcement in the BiblePlaces Newsletter on Monday. You can sign up for a free subscription here.

HT: A.D. Riddle, Lois Tverberg, Chris McKinny, Charles Savelle, Agade, Ted Weis, Joseph Lauer

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Weekend Roundup

A large 4th-century AD winepress has been discovered and excavated in the Ramat Negev region.

The IAA has posted a 1-minute video in Hebrew.

A new study argues that everything we knew about the origin of the Philistines is wrong.


The Times of Israel reviews discoveries made in excavations at Magdala, with an eye on priestly inhabitants.

A new DNA study indicates that the modern-day Lebanese people are descended from people who
lived in the area 4,000 years ago.

Wayne Stiles reflects on a lesson Jesus taught when he walked on the Sea of Galilee.

The Tempe Mount Sifting Project has begun a video series that tours the Temple Mount, beginning with Solomon’s Stables, including footage of the destruction in 1999.

Steven Ortiz is on The Book and the Spade discussing the 10th season of excavations at Gezer.

On the 75th anniversary of his death, Sir Flinders Petrie is profiled in The National, with the focus on his support of eugenics.

The inaugural issue of Archaeology and Text is now online.

The Tell es-Safi (Gath) team got real creative for their season-end group photo.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Agade, Charles Savelle

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