Weekend Roundup, Part 1

Just as the Biblical Museum of Natural History was about to open in Beit Shemesh, “a plague of biblical proportions struck.” Virtual tours are available at the museum’s website. They are also offering a new book by the museum’s director, The Torah Encyclopedia of the Animal Kingdom, Vol. 1: Wild Animals.

The Hashemite Custodianship of Jerusalem’s Islamic and Christian Holy Sites 1917-2020 CE: White Paper, by the The Royal Aal Al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought (108pp). The labeled photograph of the Temple Mount on page 81 may be of particular interest.

New from Appian: An 80-page study guide to accompany “Lessons from the Land: The Gospels.”

“In Search of King David’s Lost Empire” is a long piece by Ruth Margalit that reviews the history of the maximalist-minimalist debate. Some responses by Eilat Mazar, Gabriel Barkay and others may be found here.

Assyrian soldiers had the edge with the invention of the socketed arrowhead. The underlying IEJ article is on Academia.

An article in the Jerusalem Post summarizes a recent BAR article on life at Tel Hadid near Gezer after the Assyrians deported the Israelites.

Israel should preserve more archaeological sites uncovered in salvage digs, argue some archaeologists. The article reports that there are 35,000 ancient sites in the country.

Tony Cartledge describes his experience in excavating a 12th-century Canaanite temple at Lachish, including his wife’s discovery of what turned out to be a scepter.

Charles Savelle links to three podcast episodes he has enjoyed on Thutmose III and the Battle of Megiddo.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Ted Weis, Mark Hoffman, Alexander Schick, Explorator

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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

“A joint report by German and Syrian organisations has documented severe damage to Syria’s historical heritage and antiquities.” (Report on Academia)

“An ancient cave decorated with distinguished engravings depicting scenes of animals has been discovered at Wadi Al-Zulma in North Sinai.”

“The southern region of Najran [in Saudi Arabia] is set to become the largest open museum of rock inscriptions in the world.”

Egypt is proposing a merger of its tourism and antiquities departments.

“British anti-racism protestors called for the destruction of Egypt’s Giza Pyramids on Sunday, after tearing down a statue of a slave trader in the city of Bristol and throwing it in the Avon river.”

“A comparison between the names mentioned in the biblical book of Jeremiah and those appearing on archaeological artifacts from the period when the prophet is believed to have lived – around the sixth to seventh centuries BCE – offers support to its historicity.”

The British Museum blog: “Whip up a classical feast with nine recipes from ancient Greece and Rome.”

The latest British Museum travel guide is for Thebes in the 13th century BC.

New: Unearthing the Bible: 101 Archaeological Discoveries That Bring the Bible to Life, by Titus Kennedy. The author was on the Eric Metaxas show recently discussing the book.

Coming soon: The Case for Biblical Archaeology: Uncovering the Historical Record of God’s Old Testament People, by John D. Currid (also in Logos)

Carl Rasmussen shares photos of Aphrodisias, one of the most beautiful antiquity sites in Turkey and one that many tourists never see (including, sadly, your roundup writer).

“Windows into the Bible” is a new podcast by Marc Turnage that looks at geographical, cultural, historical, and spiritual contexts. I’ve been told the episode on Pilate is quite intriguing.

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

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Weekend Roundup, Part 1

A sceptre about 3,200 years old made of copper and coated in silver leaf found in the biblical city of Lachish could be the first evidence of life-sized ‘divine statues’ in the Levant.”

Excavations of the underground Siloam Street have been (or were) halted after engineering instruments detected that the ground was moving.

Contrary to previous belief, chalkstone vessels continued to be used in the Galilee for several centuries after the destruction of the Jerusalem temple.

“Israeli archaeologists have published a 360-degree analysis of a rural, affluent Christian town in the Galilee that was most likely destroyed by Persian invaders in 613.”

Analysis of bird remains excavated in Jerusalem confirmed that specific species of birds – pigeons, doves – were indeed sacrificed in the Temple as the biblical text suggests. The story is based on an article in the latest issue of BASOR.

Roman and Byzantine mosaic floors provide insights into how humans restrained animals by the use of cages, ropes, knots, other tethering devices.

“A large number of archaeological sites in the West Bank, including many that are part of Jewish history and tradition, will be placed or remain under Palestinian control according to US President Donald Trump’s peace plan.”

An Explainer piece by Rossella Tercatin in the Jerusalem Post reveals who is in control of the archaeological sites in the West Bank.

Why is the Israel Museum still closed?

Ferrell Jenkins shares some photos and insights about the Judean wilderness.

Daniel Santacruz shares a dozen photos of wildflowers he took near his home in Maale Adumim.

This week we released volume #20 in the Pictorial Library of the Bible Lands. The Western Mediterranean collection focuses on Roman sites in Gaul (France) and Hispania (Spain) and includes more than 1,400 photos and 25 PowerPoints. The sale price ($25) ends on Tuesday.

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

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Guidebooks for the British Museum

(Post by A.D. Riddle)

On my last trip to the Middle East, I was able to spend some time in London at the British Museum. At the bookshop inside the museum, I discovered a guidebook to the museum. It is not new, but it was new to me. The book is entitled Through the British Museum with the Bible, and if you are planning to spend time in the British Museum anytime soon, I highly recommend this guide. The British Museum is awesomely vast, and you could get lost in it for days. This guide (and others like it) will help you get more out of your time there, and make sure you do not miss the important stuff.

Through the British Museum with the Bible is authored by Brian Edwards and Clive Anderson and is already in its 5th edition.

What do I like about this guidebook? First, unlike other Bible guides for the British Museum, this one is actually the correct size for a guidebook. That is to say, it easily fits in a pocket so that you can have it with you while remaining hands-free. It is also written as a guidebook, providing such information as (1) the gallery and display case where an object is located, (2) brief but sufficient descriptions to understand the object and how it connects to the Bible, and (3) a photo of the object which helps in locating it quickly.

Second, Through the British Museum with the Bible covers a larger number of objects than the other two guides by Mitchell and Masters, listed below. This means it should be useful for more than a single day at the museum.

The other two guides mentioned above are:

(1)  T. C. Mitchell’s The Bible in the British Museum: Interpreting the Evidence (2004). This book covers 72 objects in the British Museum. It is slightly heavier with text, and might be better read before and after your visit to the museum. In my opinion, it is too much reading to do while you are actually in the museum.

(2)  Peter Masters’ Heritage of Evidence in the British Museum, 2nd edition (2016). [I am told the 2nd edition reflects changes in gallery and case numbers as the museum has rotated objects, but is essentially the same content as the 1st edition (2004).] This is a very good guidebook as well.

As I was preparing this blog post, I discovered there is a long history of writing books that relate objects in the British Museum to the text of the Bible. Some of these earlier books can be found online for free.

Kitchin, James George.
     1890     The Bible Student in the British Museum: A Descriptive Guide to the                      Principal Antiquities Which Illustrate and Confirm the Sacred                              History. London: Cassell & Co.

Kinns, Samuel.
     1891     Graven in the Rock, or, The Historical Accuracy of the Bible                                  Confirmed by Reference to the Assyrian and Egyptian Monuments                      in the British Museum and Elsewhere. London: Cassell & Co.

Habershon, Ada R.
     1909     The Bible and the British Museum. London: Morgan and Scott.

Jannaway, Frank G.
     1922     The British Museum With Bible In Hand. London: Sampson, Low,                      Marston & Co.

As a final note, Through the British Museum with the Bible is published by DayOne Publications. As I peruse their website, I see a number of other books that might appeal to readers of this blog. Some examples include: Evidence for the Bible, by the same authors Clive Anderson and Brian Edwards; travel guides for Israel, Jordan, Rome, and Egypt; and books on church history. You might find their website worth a visit.

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Weekend Roundup

“A six year old hiking with his family [at Tel Jemmah] . . . discovered a one-of-a-kind, 3,500-year-old depiction of a naked, humiliated Canaanite prisoner and his victorious warden.”

A new study of organic material on the Iron Age altars from the shrine at Arad indicates that frankincense and cannabis were burned on them in ancient times.

A well-preserved Roman mosaic floor from the 3rd century AD has been discovered in a vineyard in northern Italy.

Archaeologists have discovered a well-preserved 3rd century AD Roman ship in Serbia.

A recent review of Egyptian antiquities in Scotland has identified more than 14,000 objects.

The latest post on the ASOR Blog is about the Egyptians’ views of foreigners.

A Jewish leader in Tehran denies that a traditional tomb of Esther and Mordecai was set on fire. The article in a regime-approved newspaper includes other interesting background about the shrine.

Mark Wilson reflects on Paul’s imprisonments in light of his current confinement in Turkey.

A Times of Israel article describes two new documentaries on the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. In one, a priest explains how the “holy fire” is lit with a lighter.

“Following an extreme and unusually long heatwave last week, Israel on Sunday was hit by showers and unseasonably cold temperatures.”

Museums reopening in Italy will use “chaperones” and vibrating necklaces to ensure people don’t get too close to each other.

Now on pre-pub for Logos: A Christian’s Guide to Evidence for the Bible: 101 Proofs from History and Archaeology, by J. Daniel Hays ($19).

Ferrell Jenkins dug up a great photo to illustrate Isaiah 1:18.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Arne Halbakken, Keith Keyser, Explorator

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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

The Atlantic sews together the story of the “first-century Mark,” Hobby Lobby, and Dirk Obbink.

Stephen Oryszczuk takes a tour of the only accelerator mass spectrometry lab in the Middle East, and its contribution to ongoing archaeological excavations.

Scholars are studying erasures and corrections in the Leningrad Codex.

Ruth Schuster considers what caused the collapse of Byzantine farming in the Negev highlands.

Ianir Milevski and Liora Kolska Horwitz investigate the domestication of donkeys in the ancient Near East.

The summer issue of Biblical Archaeology Review includes articles on forced resettlement at Tel Hadid, old Christian manuscripts, and the scarab. (BAR appears to have quietly cut its number of issues each year from 6 to 4.)

The British Museum has created historical city travel guides to Nineveh in the 7th century BC and to Rome in the 1st century AD.

Pompeii Live, “the British Museum’s most popular exhibition of the last decade is set to return, in the form of an online broadcast” that will premiere on May 20.

Lachish is the subject of a 7-minute video, the latest in the Life Lessons from Israel series.

The Ancient World Online (AWOL) has now surpassed ten million page views.

Satire: Stanford will be offering a new course entitled “How to be a Gladiator,” and signed waivers will be required to enroll.

A NPR piece looks at what has happened with tourism at Petra, going from 8,000 people a day to zero. Now the place is being taken over by cats, sparrows, and wolves.

Assassin’s Creed Discovery Tours of Ptolemaic Egypt and Classical Greece are free through May 20. Explore those worlds in a “living museum.”

Accordance has photo resources related to biblical archaeology on sale.

There is no shortage of material for an archaeological biography of King Ahab.

Israel’s Good Name describes his university field trip to Tel Arad and Tel Beersheba.

To celebrate his birthday, Shmuel Browns drove up to Sussita and took some beautiful photos.

Church of the Holy Sepulcher locked, nf7550-sr_thumb[1]

All locked up: The Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, May 12, 2020

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Keith Keyser, Joseph Lauer, Explorator, Brian Johnson

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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

Greece is planning to reopen its tourist sites on June 15.

The Arch of Septimius Severus in Rome will be restored beginning in September. The story includes a video (in beautiful Italian).

The Acropolis in Athens is undergoing a number of renovations to improve safety and enhance the experience for visitors.

As you would expect, National Geographic’s story on the Pamukkale region in Turkey has some stunning photos.

Curators at the British Museum helped border officials confiscate a collection of fake antiquities.

Recent episodes in the Lonesome Curator series focus on “Food in Nazareth” and “The Nebuchadnezzar Brick.”

Sophia Germanidou gives an overview on the use of bees’ honey in the ancient world.

Jennifer Drummond explains how to make Roman “French” Toast.

Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities has produced a video showing how to cook Tiger nuts, based on vignettes in the tomb of Rekhmire.

The Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press is making some of its books available for free pdf download.

The Travelogues website provides graphic materials from Greece and the eastern Mediterranean from the 15th century onward.

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

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Weekend Roundup, Part 1

A team excavating Khirbet a-Ra‘i (the alleged Ziklag) in January and February discovered “a rare ‘smiting god’ figurine, a bronze calf figurine, two seals and decorated Canaanite and Philistine pottery from the 12th Century BCE.”

With everyone home, antiquities thieves are having a field day in Judea and Samaria.

With the Israel Museum closed, the Dead Sea Scrolls are now safely stored “behind five locked doors in a humidity and temperature-controlled vault at the Shrine of the Book.”

Owen Jairus reports on discoveries made in the Nazareth Archaeological Project, as recently published by its director Ken Dark.

The summer season at Tell es-Safi/Gath has been cancelled. Other excavations have apparently cancelled as well, though I haven’t yet seen those notices.

The Temple Mount Sifting Project has unveiled a new virtual exhibition.

The Palestine Open Maps project has just launched, and it is based on the 1940s survey maps from the British Mandate.

On Kindle for $2.99: Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony, by Richard Bauckham.

Hisham’s Delights is a new digital cookbook from the kitchen of the Albright Institute.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Joseph Lauer

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Weekend Roundup

The Sea of Galilee may fill up for the first time since 1992 after rising more than 10 feet in recent months. And since the water is not considered kosher for Passover, it isn’t pumped out during the week-long holiday.

Only 10 people gathered at the Western Wall for the priestly blessing during Passover, and Al Aqsa Mosque will be closed through Ramadan.

“With the coronavirus keeping Israelis indoors, dozens of jackals have taken over a deserted park in Tel Aviv, scavenging for food in what is usually a playground for joggers and families.”

Here’s another video of the 500 mines blowing up at Qasr al-Yahud near the Jordan River.

John Monson answered questions about the state of biblical archaeology in light of the closure of Southwestern’s program.

The Pergamon Museum in Berlin has posted a 16-minute virtual tour video of the Museum of the Ancient Near East (subtitles in English).

The Harvard Semitic Museum has been renamed the Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East. The museum’s website includes a virtual tour of the entire museum.

Oxford University professor Dirk Obbink has been arrested on suspicion of theft and fraud of ancient papyrus fragments from the Oxyrhynchus collection.

The latest video from John DeLancey: Jesus heals the paralytic in Capernaum.

New: A History of Ancient Moab from the Ninth to First Centuries BCE, by Burton MacDonald.

Carl Rasmussen takes a more careful look at the famous Pilate Inscription, with particular interest in its connection to another “son of God.”

Agrippa I: An Archaeological Biography includes photos of coins of this king, Roman baths in Beirut, the Third Wall in Jerusalem, and the amphitheater in Caesarea.

Fun read: “‘Terminate and Liquidate’: How the Megiddo Ivories were Almost Not Discovered.” This fascinating story is taken from Eric H. Cline’s latest book, Digging Up Armageddon: The Search for the Lost City of Solomon.

HT: Agade, Paleojudaica

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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

“Scientists at the University of Chicago are developing a machine learning system that can automatically transcribe text found on ancient clay tablets.”

The Unionville Times offers a guide to virtual tours of museums in Europe and the US.

Colette J. Loll led the investigation into the forged Dead Sea Scrolls at the Museum of the Bible and she offers her assessment of the story.

Erin L. Thompson, a professor of art crime, discusses the cost of forgeries donated to museums.

Appian Media has begun a new podcast entitled “Digging Deeper” and hosted by Barry Britnell and Dan Kingsley. You can check out the trailer here.

Organising an Empire: The Assyrian Way” is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) taught by Karen Radner in six teaching units that take about 19 hours to complete. Began yesterday.

The current issue of Biblical Archaeology Review has been opened up for all to read.

Ferrell Jenkins shares “then and now” photos of the “Tomb of the Kings” in Jerusalem. See also Tom Powers’s extended comment about the date of the Pool of Hezekiah.

Israel’s Good Name went for a hike to Khirbet Luza, near Moza, and saw a striped hyena in the wild.

This year’s Infusion Bible Conference has been postponed. “Paul in His Roman World” will be the subject of the conference in June 2021.

Forthcoming: Has Archaeology Buried the Bible?, by William G. Dever

HT: Agade, Ted Weis

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