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

There will be no roundup next weekend, but if you’re at ETS or SBL, stop by the BiblePlaces booth and say hello to me, A.D., Kris, Chris, and Christian. Kaelyn, Charity, Caden, and Mark will be around as well. I’ll be presenting a couple of papers at ETS, so you’re invited to attend if you’re interested in the archaeology of Esther or the chronology of David. The complete program is online here.

Meg Ramey describes her walk along the route from Troas to Assos, following in Paul’s footsteps.

Professor Aykut Çınaroğlu has been buried in the cemetery next to his excavation site of Alacahöyük, according to his request in his will.

Climbing the pyramids and other “thuggish acts toward Egyptian antiquities” are now illegal and will result in imprisonment or a fine.

Three shipwrecks from ancient and mediaeval times and large sections of their cargoes have been discovered off the small Aegean island of Kasos.”

Excavations on the Greek islet of Chryssi south of Crete have uncovered large quantities of murex shells.

Lucas Grimsley writes about his experience in excavating in Cyprus.

Brent Davis talks about the challenges of trying to crack Linear A.
“Entering Early Christianity via Pompeii” is a resource from The University of Manchester to provide a “virtual guide to the world of the New Testament.” It looks interesting.

St John Simpson of the British Museum explains how they work with law enforcement to fight antiquities looting.


The Jerusalem Post explains the significance of the Washington Pentateuch.

“The National Library of Israel (NLI) and Google have announced that 120,000 books from the library’s collection will be uploaded to Google Books for the first time as part of their collaboration.”

The Gustav Jeeninga Museum of Bible and Near Eastern Studies at Anderson University is being re-opened after being re-located.


The NY Times has a story on this week’s re-opening of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology.

New book: The History and Archaeology of Phoenicia, by Helene Sader ($50).

Eisenbrauns has a sale of 40-50% off selected festschriften.

HT: Agade, Charles Savelle, Keith Keyser, Explorator

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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

“The rare ancient tomb of a wealthy Minoan woman has been discovered at a monumental archaeological complex on the Greek island of Crete.”

“Archaeologists have revealed the face of an Egyptian princess who lived almost 4,000 years ago by painstakingly piecing together the wooden shards of her sarcophagus.”

A study of legal texts from Susa reveals how elderly parents ensured that their children took care of them.

“A replica Phoenician vessel made in Syria is sailing the Atlantic to prove the ancient civilisation did it 2,000 years before Columbus.”

The Biblical Archaeology Society has announced their 2019 Publication Awards Winners.

A review of a new work from Oxford: Peter Mitchell, The Donkey in Human History: An Archaeological Perspective.

“Persepolis, Then & Now” is the title of a conference at NYU on November 21.

The latest issue of Biblical Archaeology Review includes articles on the Assyrian relief at Sela, the search for portraits of Herod, and hiking in Paul’s footsteps.

Bible Land Passages has just released a new video, “Go Now to Shiloh.” Here’s what you’ll see:

This full-length documentary complete with on-site interviews, a behind the scenes look at the process of archaeology, analysis of the newest and most exciting discoveries to date, reenactments, computer generated graphics and illustrations, and numerous biblical connections and faith building lessons.

Appian Media has launched its ‘inRoads’ podcast, and they have made it available via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, as well as video versions on Facebook and YouTube. If you sign up to be a supporter this month, you get a beautiful free coffee mug.

The Biblical Archaeology Society is having an inventory clearance sale on Carta and IES books, with the best prices on some items I’ve seen. Some examples, all of which I recommend:

  • Leen Ritmeyer, The Quest ($30)
  • Carta’s Illustrated Josephus ($30)
  • The Carta Bible Atlas ($25)
  • Jerusalem: Biblical Archaeology Map ($9)
  • New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land, 4 vols. ($100)

There’s still time to catch the second of the two-day Oriental Institute Indiana Jones Film Festival.

Carl Rasmussen has begun a series on hippodromes/circuses, with part 1 and part 2 of what happened there, featuring some beautiful photos of a splendid ancient mosaic in France.

Ferrell’s Favorite Foto this week is of the Siq and Treasury at Petra.

What do we know about Pontius Pilate from archaeology? Bryan Windle pulls it all together in the latest entry in his Archaeological Biography series.

HT: Agade, Keith Keyser

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Weekend Roundup

Excavations under a house in northern Israel have revealed what may be the largest wine factory from the Crusader era.

Archaeologists have discovered an arrowhead from the Roman siege of Jotapata in AD 67.

A i24News video shows the “pilgrim road” leading from the Pool of Siloam to the Temple Mount of Jerusalem.

“Archaeologists working in the buried Roman city of Pompeii say they have uncovered a ‘sorcerer’s treasure trove’ of artefacts, including good-luck charms, mirrors and glass beads.”

A new exhibit about a 4th-century synagogue mosaic floor has opened in the Archaeological Museum of Aegina. Aegina is a Greek island not far from Athens.

“Anchors Aweigh: Seaports of the Holy Land” is a new exhibit opening on Tuesday at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem.

Preliminary images of seven (alleged) Dead Sea Scroll fragments owned by the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary are now online. (The link looks unusual, but it works.)

Lubna Omar provides a personal perspective as a Syrian archaeologist unable to protect her country’s heritage.

A guy passionate about ancient Egypt and baking used ancient yeast to bake a loaf of bread.

Egyptian authorities transferred a 90-ton obelisk of Ramses II from Zamalek to El Alamein.

The Oriental Institute is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

Carl Rasmussen shares photos of the largest altar in the world.

I always like the photos that Wayne Stiles includes with his posts, and this week is no different with his reflections on Abraham’s faith.

Matti Friedman writes a helpful review of Jodi Magness’s new book on Masada.

Did you know there are four long distance hiking trails in Israel? They range in length from 37 miles to 637 miles.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Alexander Schick, Ted Weis

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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

A Greco-Roman building uncovered in northern Sinai was used as a seat for the ancient Senate.

King Tut’s gilded coffin has been transferred from Luxor to the new Grand Egyptian Museum where it will be restored before being put on display. New images have been released before the restoration begins.

Sara Ahmed reports on the Egyptian Collection at Leiden’s Rijksmuseum.

A salvage project in Cyprus has uncovered a large Hellenistic-era sanctuary.

The new archaeological museum at Troy has opened, and Carl Rasmussen has photos.

A statue of Alexander the Great, long lost in a museum storage room, has recently been re-discovered.

Gordon Franz has posted a new article: The apostle Paul and Dr. Luke on the Island of Cost: Sin, Sickness, and Death.

Sarah Parcak’s new book, Archaeology from Space, looks at the use of technology in archaeology.

Bryan Windle’s latest in the Footsteps series is “Three Things in Babylon Daniel Likely Saw.”

HT: Ted Weis, Agade

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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

Excavations in Alexandria have revealed a well-preserved mosaic floor from the Roman period.

An artificial reef and underwater museum is being created in the Red Sea waters of Aqaba from old military vehicles.

The Tetrapylon avenue at Aphrodisias will open soon, following the completion of excavations.

Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities June 2019 Newsletter provides the latest updates.

Four ancient Babylonian tablets at the British Museum were apparently used to calculate the motion of Jupiter.

An exhibition of looted archaeological artifacts is now on display at the Capitoline Museums.

A man who made more than half a million dollars by selling to a museum an “ancient Egyptian figurine” he made in his garden shed is sorry.

Mastic, from the island of Chios (cf. Acts 20:15), is getting a fresh look as a possible super-drug.

In an excerpt from her new book, Sarah Parcak asks, “Will the future of archaeology not require moving dirt?”

Jimmy Hardin discusses the latest discoveries at Macherus on The Book and the Spade.

In the final post in his series on Paul’s shipwreck on Malta, Carl Rasmussen shares photos of a more likely place than the traditional bay.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Agade, Charles Savelle, Mark Hoffman, Steven Anderson, Explorator

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Weekend Roundup (and the fake “Ziklag”)

The big story of the week was the “discovery of Ziklag,” a claim made by archaeologist Yosef Garfinkel regarding his recent excavations of Khirbet a-Ra‘i. You can read about it in the The Times of Israel, The Jerusalem Post, and Haaretz (premium). You can download high-res photos or watch a one-minute silent video showing excavations at the site. I think the whole thing is sad.

Now, to the week’s stories, of which there are not so many:

You might have trouble picking out your friends in this year’s group photo of the Gath excavation team. (Very clever!) You can poke around the blog for recent updates and lots of photos.

The Tel Burna excavation season is over. John DeLancey created a video of the site with his drone.

A journal article has been published on last year’s discovery of a ceramic pomegranate at Shiloh.

Scott Stripling is back on The Book and the Spade discussing this year’s excavations at Shiloh.

A newly constructed building on an archaeological site in the hills near Hebron has been bulldozed.

On the Logos blog, Karen Engle explains the value of biblical archaeology.

It’s always more enjoyable to think about a difficult passage when you feel more immersed in its setting, and that’s what Wayne Stiles does this week with Jesus’s question at Capernaum.

Israel’s Good Name enjoyed a fascinating outing to the Nizzana Dunes. Don’t skip this one if you love wildlife.

Carl Rasmussen has begun a very interesting series (part 1, part 2) on Paul’s shipwreck on the island of Malta.

Ferrell Jenkins shares a photo of Capernaum with a unique perspective.

OK, so I’ll elaborate briefly on my thoughts on “Ziklag.” First, the lead archaeologist who made the claim has a track record of making dubious sensational claims. Second, the archaeologist was very careful to conceal his idea from other scholars until he made his big announcement to the press. Now, that may be the way to do things in the competitive business world, but in academia, you’re supposed to share your ideas with colleagues for fruitful critique. Garfinkel’s approach, once again, is more designed to make headlines than to discover truth.

Third, other sites, such as Tel Sera, have appropriate occupation levels, from the Philistines followed by the Israelites, with destruction layers. From the biblical text, we know that there were dozens of sites in this area, and David no doubt removed the Philistines from more than one of them (1 Chr 18:1). Furthermore, the minimal amount of Philistine pottery gives reason to doubt that Kh. a-Ra‘i was actually a Philistine site at all.

Fourth, Khirbet a-Ra‘i (coordinates 31°35’26.83″N, 34°49’10.03″E), is near Lachish (2.5 miles northwest), but according to Joshua 15, Ziklag is located in a more southern district (grouped with sites like Beersheba and Hormah). That is why scholars have proposed for Ziklag the sites of Tel Sera (15 miles southwest of Lachish) and Tel Halif (13 miles south of Lachish). If Khirbet a-Ra‘i was Ziklag, it should be in verse 38 of Joshua 15, not in verse 31. Fifteen miles distant is a long way in the land of Israel!

As with Kh. Qeiyafa, Garfinkel simply ignores what the Bible says about the geographical situation of sites and chooses the most spectacular name to attach to his site. The press will let him get away with it, because sensational stories mean more money for them. By the time that journal articles are written or professors speak up, the headlines have already raced around the world, and the public’s attention is elsewhere. Khirbet a-Ra‘i is a fine archaeological site; it doesn’t need false claims in order to make it worthy of study or publicity.

Final note: Amanda Borschel-Dan has written a solid report for The Times of Israel in which she quotes at length two scholars dumbfounded by Garfinkel’s claim. Luke Chandler (a volunteer at the site this year) and Ferrell Jenkins also weigh in. My analysis here was written before I read these reports, but you’ll see there’s a good bit of overlap.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Agade, Keith Keyser, BibleX

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Weekend Roundup, Part 1

I go away for one week, and I come back to a large pile of stories in the biblical and archaeological world. This is going to take three long posts to catch up.


Discoveries:

Excavations at the synagogue of Huqoq have uncovered a mosaic depicting the Israelites’ encampment at Elim as well as two of the four beasts of Daniel 7.

Recent research has revealed that Tel Shikmona was not a trading settlement but a purple dye manufacturing center.

The Siloam Road, connecting the Pool of Siloam to the Temple Mount of Jerusalem, was officially opened this week.

Archaeologists discovered an ancient baptismal font hidden inside another baptismal font at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

An ancient Roman-era shipwreck has been discovered at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea off the eastern coast of Cyprus.”


Excavations:

The Tel Burna crew has finished three weeks of their summer dig, with daily posts providing summaries of the finds along with photos. Here’s the latest. John DeLancey has posted his perspective as a volunteer.

The Gath expedition is halfway finished with their season, and they are unearthing a road, a window, architectural remains, and a monster wall.

This summer’s excavations at el-Araj (Bethsaida?) have produced more mosaics from the Byzantine church, a mold for making lead fishing weights, part of a roof roller, and Roman flagstones.


The Jerusalem Report has a feature piece on recent excavations at Tell Beth Shemesh.

Excavations are beginning in Laodicea on the road that leads to the ancient stadium.


Studies:

A new DNA study indicates that Philistines living in Ashkelon in the late 12th century BC originated from Greece, Crete, or Sardinia. These articles are based on a journal article published in Science Advances (pdf).

“New research explains why salt crystals are piling up on the deepest parts of the Dead Sea’s floor.”

Joe Zias argues that nearly all, if not all, of the human remains found at Masada are ethnically non-Jewish.

A new study shows that masons’ marks were used at Hippos only from the late first century to the late second century (Haaretz premium).


Sad News:

Doug Greenwold died on June 23. Doug was the Senior Teaching Fellow at Preserving Bible Times and a co-founder of The Institute of Biblical Context. He will be greatly missed.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Ted Weis, Charles Savelle, Agade, Explorator, Lois Tverberg

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Weekend Roundup

The Ketef Hinnom Archaeological Garden has now opened, no longer requiring passage through the Begin Center to visit the First Temple period tombs.

An agreement was signed to carry out renovations in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher by the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Armenian Apostolic churches. There is no word on whether the ladder will be moved.

Some are claiming that Muslims have turned the Golden Gate into a mosque.

The IDF carried out a simultaneous detonation of 900 landmines in the region of Qasr el-Yehud near the Jordan River.

A number of wildfires have been set this week in the region of Samaria.


The Times of Israel runs a story on the relaunch of the Temple Mount Sifting Project.

I can’t tell which part of this “10th-century gate discovered at ‘Bethsaida’” wasn’t reported last year, but the Jerusalem Post is running it as news.

A Turkish archaeologist discovered a stone with a Greek inscription embedded in a wall during roadwork near Cnidos.

Carl Rasmussen shares photos of Roman-period anchors piled up in a corner of the Malta Maritime Museum.

Glenn C. Altschuler reviews Jodi Magness’s new book, Masada: From Jewish Revolt to Modern Myth. I would expect the book to be a worthwhile read for anyone interested in Masada.

Charles Savelle reviews David Dorsey’s classic, The Roads and Highways of Ancient Israel (now back in print).

HT: Joseph Lauer, Agade, Keith Keyser

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