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


Archaeologists have finally discovered the port of ancient Byblos.

Philippe Bohstrom looks at the history of the city of Dan and the tribe of the Danites in a well-illustrated Haaretz article.

Wayne Stiles beat me to the new Virtual Reality tour at the Western Wall in Jerusalem and I asked him to write about it. He did.

Albawaba has a short slide show of the pre-Islamic Middle East.

New tests on the (probably fake) lead codices from Jordan suggest that the lead is ancient.

The Jewish Virtual Library posts a list of significant archaeological discoveries in Israel from 2004 to present. The list seems to be more complete for the last two years than for earlier ones.

Leon Mauldin visited the largely ignored site of Tirzah on his recent trip to Israel.

The Jewish Press posts a 15-minute video entitled “Secrets of the Machpela in Hebron.”

Amazon has a $5 off code good through Sunday on any book(s) that total $15 or more. Enter GIFTBOOK at checkout. Here are three books that qualify:

HT: Charles Savelle, Joseph Lauer, Agade


Archaeologists have uncovered evidence of the Roman breach of Jerusalem’s “Third Wall” in AD 70.
Some high-res images are available here.

Excavations around the “Ramesses Gate” in Jaffa have revealed a massive destruction layer that attests to a battle between Egyptians and Canaanites.

Researchers have discovered two secret chambers in the Great Pyramid of Giza.

The Temple Mount Sifting Project shares some finds related to the feast of Sukkot.

Scientists have recently discovered the two components that gives frankincense its distinctive odor.

An archaeologist has created a 3-D model of the Heraion at ancient Olympia using photogrammetry.

An AP article describes the work and accomplishments of Robert Bewley and David Kennedy in documenting archaeological sites in Jordan from the air.

The New York Times profiles the early farming village of Ain Ghazal in central Jordan.

A new pleasure cruise line is carrying travelers between Haifa and Acco.

The National Museum of Beirut has opened its basement to the public for the first time in 40 years.

Touch Point Israel has compiled a list of 13 “must-see museums” in Israel.

This week in New York City a new photo exhibition opened: “The Day Memory Dissolved: an artistic perspective on endangered archaeological sites in the Middle East.”

Progress is being made on the National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel. The Jewish Press article includes photos and a 2-minute video.

According to UNESCO, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem has nothing to do with Judaism.

Carl Rasmussen shares several photos from one of the least visited places in Jerusalem, the Tomb of the Royal Steward.

Wayne Stiles looks at the ancient and modern significance of Gideon’s battle in the Harod Valley.

The Associates for Biblical Research are having a big sale on the complete archive of Bible and Spade.

New book: The Five-Minute Archaeologist in the Southern Levant. (Out of stock at Amazon)

The schedule for next month’s Bible and Archaeology Fest XVIII is now online.

HT: Charles Savelle, Joseph Lauer, Agade, Steven Anderson

(Post by A.D. Riddle)

As a follow-up to Todd’s post on using GPS in Jordan, here are the steps my brother used to turn his iPhone into a navigation system. On a trip to Lebanon two years ago, we were able to use my brother’s iPhone as a GPS. His iPhone is an unlocked GSM (meaning that he could swap out SIM cards—this is important!).

1.    At the airport in Beirut, my brother purchased a SIM card and a T-Mobile 3G+ data plan in Lebanon. For our two-week trip, 2GB of data was sufficient, as long as we avoided using apps such as Google Earth which load image tiles every time you swipe or zoom. This near-constant loading of raster images really gobbles up data.

2a.    While within the city of Beirut, my brother discovered that Apple Maps worked better. (Location Services has to be enabled.) It updated our present location faster and with greater precision than other apps, which was quite important in the city so that we did not miss any turns. The street maps in Apple Maps are vector data, so they loaded quickly. The problem with Apple Maps was that road names were in Arabic, so not easy to read. But, since we knew our destination, and we could see where we were at that moment, we could figure out which roads to take.

2b.    Outside Beirut on the way to the next city, Google Maps worked better. Google Maps did not update our position as quickly, but it did show more of the smaller roads (very helpful!) and was pretty accurate. The street maps in Google Maps are also vector data, so the maps loaded quickly.

2c.    Once we were within a mile or so of whatever obscure site that we were trying to find, my brother used OpenStreetMap within the app GaiaGPS. (GaiaGPS is $20 in the App Store; it works on both iOS and Android phones.)

As Todd did, before leaving on our trip, we located all sites in Google Earth. The Google Earth kml file was converted to a gpx file using the free kml2gpx website. My brother then loaded the gpx file into GaiaGPS. As with Google Maps, OpenStreetMap also showed more of the smaller roads and showed where our Google Earth site was located in relation to our position. Because OpenStreetMap is tile-based, sometimes it took the maps a little longer to load. To get around this, we could cache our route the night before, though sometimes we did not always know exactly which roads we would be using, or we did not cache all the zoom levels that we needed. GaiaGPS was not quite as fast at updating our position as Google Maps, but my brother could force GaiaGPS to update simply by snapping a photo within GaiaGPS. (Since GaiaGPS geotags photos, taking a photo forced GaiaGPS to update our location in order to write the coordinates to the jpg image file.)

3.    We also used GaiaGPS to store waypoints. In essence, this feature kept track of the path we travelled by recording GPS coordinates every few seconds. Once we returned home, we were able to use the waypoints (a gpx file) from GaiaGPS to geotag all my photos using the free COPIKS PhotoMapper. The COPIKS app marries waypoint coordinates with a photograph based on matching timestamps. (It is important beforehand to sync up the date-time on your camera with the date-time on the iPhone.) COPIKS then writes the coordinate data to the jpg image file.

4.    As Todd did in Jordan, we found screen captures from Google Earth to be helpful on several occasions. Rather than printing them, we loaded the images onto an iPad for reference.


This week’s sandstorm in Israel is the worst it has experienced since the nation was founded in 1948.

Air pollution in Jerusalem was 173 times higher than average. Carl Rasmussen shares a video showing how bad it was on the Mount of Olives.

What exactly is a 100-foot-deep shaft doing next to the Rockefeller Archaeological Museum in Jerusalem?

Andrew Bernhard posts on the End of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife Forgery Debate.

Thieves in Galilee were caught removing a sixth century mosaic church floor in Gush Tefen.

The cisterns at Arad are now open to visitors.

Muslim “sentinels” protecting the Temple Mount from “sacrilege” have now been outlawed by Israeli police.

If your interest is in exotic shofars and what Jewish halakah has to say about it, Zoo Torah has a free pdf on the subject.

The BBC reports on six “lesser-known wonders of the ancient world,” including the site of Baalbek in Lebanon.

The Jerusalem Post Magazine reports on sinkholes around the Dead Sea. (At the moment of posting this, the link is not working. Perhaps it will return.)

ISIS is destroying ancient buildings in order to conceal evidence that they are looting for profit.

The Institute for Digital Archaeology plans to distribute 10,000 3-D cameras in the coming year in
order to document archaeological sites and objects in West Asia before they are destroyed.

A luncheon will honor James F. Strange at this ASOR meeting in Atlanta.

Ferrell Jenkins illustrates what David meant when he wrote about “a dry and weary land where there is no water.”

Did you know that the Upper Room is located directly above David’s Tomb?

The Dead Sea Scrolls scam at the California Science Center closed this week.

“The Manar al-Athar open-access photo-archive (based at the University of Oxford) aims to provide high resolution, searchable images, freely-downloadable for teaching, research, heritage projects, and publication. It covers buildings and art in the areas of the former Roman empire which later came under Islamic rule (e.g. Syro-Palestine/the Levant, Arabia, Egypt, and North Africa), from ca. 300 BC to the present, but especially Roman, late antique, and early Islamic art, architecture, and sacred sites.”

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

Our Facebook photo with the most clicks in the past week was the final one in our “holy rocks” series.

Gezer standing stones, bowing down, tb091405098
Standing stones at Gezer

A mikveh from the first century has been discovered in a southern Jerusalem neighborhood. This one was unusual because of the numerous wall paintings. Leen Ritmeyer comments here. You can access high-res photos here.

Excavations at Horvat Kur near the Sea of Galilee have exposed the mosaic floor of a Byzantine-era synagogue. For background and a map, see our previous post.

Nicholas Reeves believes that he has identified two unrecognized doorways in King Tut’s tomb, one of which leads to the undisturbed tomb of Nefertiti. The Economist gives a summary; Reeves’s published article may be read at academia.edu.

An exhibition with hundreds of Egyptian artifacts discovered underwater opens next month in Paris.

Lebanese authorities are working to halt the antiquities trade that passes through their country.

Babylon 3D has many beautiful reconstruction images of the ancient city.

The Museum of the Ara Pacis in Rome is hosting an exhibition on how the Roman Empire and its people ate.

Two suspects have been indicted on charges of setting fire to the Church of the Multiplication of
Loaves and Fish at Tabgha.

International Bible Study Week provided participants in Jerusalem with three days of lectures and one day of touring.

Thomas Levy announces the publication of papers from a 2013 symposium on the exodus. (ASOR Blog requires subscription.)

Karaites follow the Mosaic Law but not the rabbinic law expounded in the Mishnah and Torah. There are about 25,000 of them living in Israel today.

The threat of ISIS is pushing Iraq to digitize the Baghdad National Library.

The Megalithic Portal provides many articles on sites in Israel.

Where is the Land of Uz? Wayne Stiles considers the evidence and suggests some application.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Agade, Ted Weis, Ryan Jaroncyk, Mark Vitalis Hoffman

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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