Weekend Roundup

Israel is moving forward on plans to extend the high-speed train line to a station near the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Restoration work has begun on the floor of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

Two ritual baths south of Jerusalem are overflowing with water following the winter rains.

$1.3 million has been given to support marine archaeological research off Israel’s coast.

Volunteer applications are being accepted for excavations at Tell Keisan this coming September.

A BBC documentary describes the discovery of a hoard of silver decadrachm coins in Gaza, and what happened to them next.

Egypt has sentenced the brother of an ex-minister to 30 years in jail for smuggling antiquities.

Iran’s Basij Resistance Force is apparently threatening to destroy the historic tomb site of Esther and Mordecai, located in Hamedan.

Wayne Stiles was at Colossae last week and he reflects on the significance of the site and Paul’s letter to the church.

An archaeology park featuring a Roman theater is being developed in Ankara.

Debate continues over whether a skull unearthed 120 years ago near Pompeii belonged to Pliny the Elder.

Italian archaeologists have found underneath the Roman Forum an ancient shrine and sarcophagus that was likely dedicated to Romulus.

A conference on “Sheshonq (Shishak) in Palestine” will be held in Vienna on March 6-7.

Ferrell Jenkins answers questions about the six water jugs at the wedding of Cana.

Herod Antipas, ruler of Galilee during Jesus’s ministry, is the subject of the latest archaeological biography by Bryan Windle.

To listen to the latest episodes on The Book and the Spade, see this page.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Keith Keyser, Explorator

Gezer Solomonic gate from northeast, mjb1902200736

This week on our Facebook/Twitter/Instagram streams we featured sites related to Israel’s kings, including this one of the gate at Gezer that was built by King Solomon’s administration.

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Archaeology Conference in SoCal: The Time of Israel’s Kings

The Master’s University, where I teach, is hosting an archaeology conference on February 29, and you are invited. The schedule is as follows:

Afternoon Sessions
2:00 PM Dr. Chris McKinny | Archaeology of Ahab: The Strength of the Northern Kingdom
3:00 PM Dr. Seth Rodriquez | Archaeology of Hezekiah: Judah Struggles to Survive
4:00 PM Dr. Todd Bolen | Archaeology of Esther: God’s People in Exile
5:00 PM Hors d’oeuvres

General Sessions
6:30 PM Dr. Chris McKinny | Archaeology of David: Israel’s Rise to Prominence
7:30 PM Dr. Seth Rodriquez | Archaeology of Solomon: Israel’s Golden Era
8:30 PM Q&A
9-10 PM Cookies and Coffee in the University Exchange

The afternoon sessions require registration, and the modest fee of $25 includes an hors d’oeuvres dinner, a free gift from one of the speakers, and a chance to mingle with Drs. Rodriquez and McKinny. The evening sessions are free to all. (The non-chronological sequence of the lectures is intentional in order to present the most popular topics when the attendance is higher.)

Longtime readers of the blog are familiar with both Chris and Seth, as they have contributed here over the years. They live and teach in Texas and Colorado, respectively, and we are flying them in for the weekend. The other speaker is of little consequence, flown in from nowhere, and he has brazenly refused to follow the topic of Israel’s kings, even though he wrote his master’s thesis on the reign of Jeroboam II and his doctoral dissertation on the reign of Jehu. He supposed that people might find a study of the archaeology of Esther to be unique and fascinating.

As you can see from the banner below, this series is part of the university’s annual Creation Summit, though this year the organizers have opted to deviate from the origins theme in order to focus on biblical archaeology. So this is an exciting and unusual opportunity, and if you are able, I hope that you will join us.

Creation Summit banner

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Weekend Roundup

The stories this week are about as random as I can remember, making it challenging to figure out a logical sequence. We’ll start with Jerusalem, and we’ll end with a photo that was popular this week on our Facebook/Twitter/Instagram stream.

Journalists were given a tour of the newly reopened Roman square underneath the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem.

With the water level up nearly 6 feet in the last month, Israeli authorities may have to open the dam of the Sea of Galilee for the first time since 1992. (There’s a beautiful sunrise photo at the end of this article.)

Nof Ginnosar and the Sea of Galilee are the focus of the latest in the “Life Lessons from Israel” video series.

“Russian Archaeology in the Holy Land,” by Yana Tchekhanovets and Leonid Belyaev, is the lead article in the latest issue of ANE Today.

Biblical Byways is offering a low-budget study tour of Israel for Spanish speakers in September.

A replica of a 2,600-year-old Phoenician ship finished its five-month transatlantic voyage last week when it arrived in Miami.

Archaeologists have recovered 1,400 cuneiform tablets from the lost Sumerian city of Irisagrig, but they don’t know where that ancient city was located.

The traditional tomb of Ezekiel (in Iraq, not the one in Iran) is again becoming a place of pilgrimage.

Saudi Arabia plans to create the world’s largest living museum in Al Ula by 2035.

For more than a decade now, “Athens-based photographer and animator Dimitris Tsalkanis has cultivated a sort of unusual hobby: recreating ancient Athens via 3D modeling software.”

An archaeologist in Spain is on trial for forging a third-century depiction of Jesus’s crucifixion.

Salman Abu Sitta will be lecturing in London on February 28 on the subject of the “1871 Survey of Western Palestine Revisited: The Visible and The Hidden.”

New book: Roman-Period and Byzantine Nazareth and Its Hinterland, by Ken Dark

Cynthia Shafer-Elliott talks about her recent book Food in Ancient Judah on the OnScript podcast.

Ferrell Jenkins shares photos of the atad tree, the worthless bramble mentioned in Jotham’s parable in Judges 9.

The archaeological biography on King Ahaz features an altar, a seal, and a toilet.

The Global Smyrna Meeting on the Seven Churches of Revelation offers lectures and sites visits given a whole host of popular teachers, including Mark Wilson, Ben Witherington, Mark Fairchild, Carl Rasmussen, and Dana Harris.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer

Wadi Lubban view northwest of Shiloh, db6604081205

This beautiful valley is located in the tribal inheritance of Ephraim, not far from Shiloh. Photo taken in 1966 by David Bivin.

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Weekend Roundup

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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Weekend Roundup

Bryan Windle has created a list of the top 10 discoveries of the decade for biblical archaeology.

Amanda Borschel-Dan identifies her top 10 Holy Land archaeology stories of 2019.

“A hoard of seven ancient [7th-century AD] gold coins was found hidden inside a small clay juglet during a dig in the area of Yavne.”

A Hasmonean fortress not far from Beit El is “suffering from robbery and neglect.”
Melissa S. Cradic and Vanessa Linares consider why vanilla was used in a tomb at Megiddo.

The discovery of “The Book of Two Ways,” a precursor to “The Book of the Dead,” is the subject of a NY Times article on what is called the oldest copy of the first illustrated book.

The British chef Heston Blumenthal created a meal inspired by foods discovered in the Pompeii destruction.

Now online: the schedule for the conference at Tel Aviv University on “Mass Deportations: To and From the Levant during the Age of Empires.”

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer

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Weekend Roundup

Few people will get excited about a “large stone found at Beth Shemesh,” but if you claim that the ark of the covenant sat there, that’s another matter. The archaeologist helpfully notes that the stone is located in the wrong place, and I’ll add that the temple dates to the wrong century and the stone looks to be much too small to qualify as a “large stone” in Israel.

An ancient seawall near Haifa allegedly was built to prevent flooding caused by climate change in the Neolithic period. The journal article on which these stories are based is here.

“A small 1st century factory that produced fermented fish sauce — arguably the most desirable foodstuff of the Roman era — was recently uncovered during excavations near the southern coastal Israeli city of Ashkelon.”

A Bronze Age painting of an Asian monkey on a Greek island suggests that trade and cultural contacts were more far-reaching than previously known.

“Two large tombs have been discovered and excavated at the site of the ancient city of Pylos in southern Greece, suggesting that Pylos played a surprisingly prominent role in early Mycenaean civilization.”

Archaeologists have found physical evidence of the mysterious pointy “head cones” found in Egyptian art.

“Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities witnessed a fortuitous weekend, discovering rare red granite Ramses II statue and seizing 135 relics in a Kidney dialysis centre.”

The homes of ancient Egyptians, Mesopotamians, and “Israelis” are presented in this collection of 40 photographs.

Shawn Zelig Aster has written a short but interesting article explaining how Assyria treated ambassadors from Israel, Judah, and other nations in order to turn them into emissaries for Assyrian ideology.

Bryan Windle pulls together all of the evidence, and a number of photographed inscriptions, in his archaeological biography of Quirinius.

Carl Rasmussen shares a few photos from his visit to the new museum at Caesarea Maritima.

The final Stars Wars movie is the latest Hollywood production to be filmed in Jordan’s Wadi Rum.

Phillip J. Long is quite positive in his review of the new Lexham Geographic Commentary on Acts through Revelation.

Don McNeeley provides a summary of the presentations given at the 2019 meeting of the Near East Archaeological Society.

Pac McCarthy (seetheholyland.net) has written a hymn with a Holy Land theme. A video recording is now on YouTube.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Keith Keyser, Joseph Lauer, Mark Hoffman

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Weekend Roundup, Part 3

Here’s a gem: a video about the excavations at Corinth made in 1945.

The first season of The Holy Land: Connecting The Land With Its Stories with John (Jack) Beck is now available on YouTube.

The Bible and Interpretation has an abridged version of a chapter from Margreet Steiner’s new book, Inhabiting the Promised Land: Exploring the Complex Relationship between Archaeology and Ancient Israel as Depicted in the Bible. This chapter surveys the history of modern scholars trying to locate the patriarchs in various periods.

A new exhibit at the Oriental Institute reveals the original colors of Assyrian reliefs.

Analysis of clay jar lids from the Qumran caves reveals residue of papyrus, supporting the theory that scrolls were once stored in the jars.

Ferrell’s Favorite Foto #33 is of the Cave of Adullam.

John Byron is on The Book and the Spade discussing the subject of his new book, A Week in the Life of a Slave (and Part 2).

The Temple Mount Sifting Project is now enjoying a new state-of-the-art greenhouse.

If you’ve ever been to an academic conference, you may appreciate this series of videos, especially the last one.

Biblical Archaeology Society is selling many DVDs for $5.

A couple of sets of Lois Tverberg’s excellent books are available for reduced prices this month.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer

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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

Aaron’s tomb in Jordan will re-open to Israeli tourists after the site was closed following a group that allegedly prayed there.

A researcher claims that the world’s oldest chess piece was discovered in Jordan.

Sara Toth Stub explains what happened to Petra after it was abandoned by the Nabateans.

It’s not clear where Egyptians came up with five million African sacred ibises, but a DNA study shows that they were not raised in breeding farms.

Archaeologists have discovered five lion mummies in excavations in Saqqara.

3-D scans of the bust of Nefertiti are now available online.

The Ilisu dam will soon flood Hasankeyf, one of the oldest known and continuously inhabited settlements in the world.

The Central Baths at Pompeii have now been opened to tourists.

A reconstruction of the god Moloch is part of an exhibit on Carthage in Rome.

Cyrus, king of Persia, is the latest subject in Bryan Windle’s series of bioarchaeographies.

Save the date: the annual conference of the Institute of Biblical Context, now redubbed the Infusion Bible Conference, will be held on June 8 to 10, 2020 in west Michigan. The topic is “Paul and His Roman World.”

Gift subscriptions are now available for Walking the Bible Lands.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Explorator, Keith Keyser

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Weekend Roundup

The Tel Moza website gives details for joining the spring excavation as well as background about recent discoveries.

A family volunteering at an excavation in Lower Galilee discovered remains of an iron industry from the 6th century AD.
Some of the latest discoveries from Shiloh are described in a somewhat disjointed article in the Jerusalem Post.
The “Tomb of the Kings” in Jerusalem has been reopened to visitors (again) by France, which owns the site. Access is allowed only to the outer courtyard.

Naama Sukenik explains how new technology is being used to provide insights into counterfeiting dyes in the ancient textile industry.
Mark Barnes looks at the significance of the Mount of Olives in the Bible, including some interesting comparisons and contrasts between David’s and Jesus’s time there.
Who is Gallio and why is he so important to New Testament history? Bryan Windle explains in a well-illustrated article.

The “world’s oldest natural pearl” has been discovered in excavations on an island near Abu Dhabi.

“Ancient Assyrian stone tablets represent the oldest known reports of auroras, dating to more than 2,500 years ago.”

“Life at the Dead Sea” is a new exhibit about the cultural history of the lowest place on the planet that recently opened at the State Museum of Archaeology Chemnitz.

An exhibit of Egypt’s southern neighbor, “Ancient Nubia Now,” is on display until January 2020 at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Sculptures from the Torlonia Collection will go on public display for the first time ever at the Capitoline Museums in Rome beginning in March.
The Washington Pentateuch is going on display at the Museum of the Bible.
The archaeological museum in Basra is adding English labels in hopes of welcoming more international visitors.
Jaafar Jotheri provides an overview of excavations in Iraq in the last year.
A conference will be held at the Louvre on November 25 on Tappeh Sialk: A Key Site for the Archaeology of Iran.
Farrell Monaco will be lecturing on “Dining with the Romans” at the Walters Art Museum on November 10.
4,500 tourists watched the sun illuminate the face of Ramses II in the temple of Abu Simbel.
Wayne Stiles is leading a tour of Israel (and pre-tour to Egypt) in October 2020.
There will be no roundup next weekend.
HT: Ted Weis, Mike Harney, Joseph Lauer, Keith Keyser
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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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