In an article published in the new issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, Emile Puech’s view of the Qeiyafa Ostracon is summarized. He believes that it “announces the installation of a centralized royal administration and it makes this announcement to a distant frontier province. He concedes that it is difficult to establish with certainty whether the new royal administration is that of Saul or David. On balance, however, he concludes that, most likely, the ostracon refers to Saul’s accession.”

Gordon Franz discusses three possible locations for the temple to Augustus near Panias/Caesarea Philippi. He concludes that the site of Omrit is likely the backdrop for Peter’s confession.

Using satellite images taken over a span of 40 years, Shmuel Browns shows how the Dead Sea is shrinking.

The first quarter of 2012 saw a record number of tourists to Israel.

The Israel Nature and Parks Authority says that if visitors pay they are less likely to trash a site.
Aren Maeir has announced a major scholarship for those wishing to join the excavations at Gath and/or Tel Burna this summer. The application deadline is May 6.

HT: BibleX

Omrit temple from east, tb032905151

Roman temple at Omrit

Off the top of my head, I cannot think of more appealing places to excavate than the beach or Tel Dan. Summers can be hot in Israel and Jordan and instead of baking at Tel Rehov or Feinan, you can excavate at Ashkelon, with its cool ocean breezes, or at Tel Dan, a lush garden “which lacks nothing whatsoever” (Judg 18:7).

While the registration window is quickly closing for this season’s dig at Dan, there is still time to get in at the site where the famous Tel Dan Inscription was found and where the high place of Jeroboam still stands.

The official website lists the Goals of the 2012 season:

1. We will continue digging in Area B, into the early Iron Age levels (circa 1200-1000 BCE), to flesh out the architectural plans and to facilitate spatial analysis of houses and neighborhoods, to understand lifestyle, economy, social identity (ethnicity) and political organization.  We are especially interested in retrieving carbonized grain from the Strata V and IVA destruction levels and to submit them for C14 dating (we have dates from wood, but the wood might already have been old when the town was destroyed).
2. We will continue digging in the new area in the center of the site, Area L, in the 8th cent. BCE levels destroyed in an earthquake.  What does a town look, one minute before disaster strikes?  How to people react to such a catastrophe? We will also be emphasizing “household archaeology” here. Is the earthquake mentioned in the book of Amos (Chapter 1)?
3. We will continue working in the area outside the city gate, Area A, in an attempt to date and understand the phantom gate of the Iron Age.  Was it constructed in the 10th century BCE, the 9th century or even later?  Will we find more pieces of the famous victory inscription of Tel Dan?

You can download an application here.

HT: Alexander Schick

Dan Iron Age gate with plaza and ruler's podium, tb052907083

Iron Age gate at Tel Dan

After some years away from the site, the Associates for Biblical Research have recently returned to excavating Khirbet el-Maqatir, a candidate for the city of Ai destroyed by Joshua.

The location of Joshua’s Ai has been a matter of mystery and controversy since the beginnings of archaeological research in Israel. Scholars have concluded that the location of Joshua’s Ai is at et-Tell. They have also used this conclusion to discredit the Biblical account of Joshua 7-8 because there is no evidence of occupation at et-Tell during the time of Joshua. We believe they are incorrect, not the Bible.
Since 1995, under the direction of ABR Director of Research Bryant G. Wood (PhD, University of Toronto), ABR research and excavation has uncovered important archaeological finds at Khirbet el-Maqatir, just .6 miles (1 km) west of et-Tell. The discoveries include a city gate and wall system, large amounts of pottery from the time of Joshua, evidence of destruction by fire, ancient coins, a house dating to the first century AD, and a Byzantine monastery. This area is located about 9 miles due north of Jerusalem, near the modern villages of Beitin and Deir Dibwan.

I’ve worked at the Maqatir excavation for a number of seasons and I would offer three reasons for you to seriously consider joining the team this year.

1. The opportunity to be part of a dig which has the potential of revolutionizing our archaeological understanding of Joshua’s Conquest.

2. The opportunity to work and live alongside committed Bible believers, including first-class scholars such as Bryant Wood and Eugene Merrill.

3. The opportunity to learn about biblical archaeology and Joshua’s conquest through evening lectures.

In addition, the team is based at the beautiful Yad HaShmonah, a guest house in the Judean hills overlooking the coastal plain. Because this excavation runs for two weeks, you are not required to make a longer commitment of three to six weeks as at other digs.

More information about the site, its potential significance, and volunteering this summer is available at maqatir.org.

Khirbet el-Maqatir, tbs99

Excavating at Khirbet el-Maqatir

The discovery of a Sabbath boundary marker in the Galilee several months ago makes one wonder just how many more have been preserved. Surely this was not the only one, either for this village or for other villages. Inscriptions in the rock like the Sabbath one were made at least twelve times around the city of Gezer.

BibleWalks made the initial discovery and now they are encouraging others to join in the hunt. To assist in this endeavor, they have created several maps that show the Sabbath marker in relation to two ancient sites. Roads are then drawn out in each direction and the intrepid adventurer can explore these routes to discover the next inscription. As BibleWalks notes, when hiking the hills of Galilee, the joy is not only in reaching the destination but in the journey itself. You can get all of the details here.


What do you do after you’ve learned the historical geography of Israel? Recognize that the other half of the biblical story is on the east side of the Jordan River and plan to learn that.

The best way I know how to do that is through the Historical Geography of the Bible II course offered by the University of the Holy Land. I’ve participated in this study trip taught by Dr. Ginger Caessens and I highly recommend it. You simply cannot find another trip where you will learn and see more about biblical history in Jordan.

The class runs from July 2 to 16, 2012, and the cost is $2200 for full board, double occupancy (single supplement is $376). This includes two hours of credit but does not include airfare to Tel Aviv or transport from the airport to Jerusalem.


Monday, July 2, Transfer from Israel to Jordan via Allenby Bridge; traditional baptismal site (Bethany-Beyond-Jordan?). Overnight in Amman. (Special arrangements can be made for those who
wish to join the group in Jordan rather than in Israel.)

Tuesday, July 3, Lectures. Overnight in Amman.

Wednesday, July 4, The Land of Ammon Field Trip: Amman Citadel (Rabbath-Ammon) and National Museum; remains of Philadelphia (Theater, Odeon); Rujm al-Malfouf (Ammonite tower);
Tall al-`Umayri; Kh. es-Sar; Iraq al-`Amir. Overnight in Amman.

Thursday, July 5, Upper Gilead Field Trip: Tall adh-Damiyya/ ancient Adam (view from road); Tulul adh-Dhahab (Mahanaim?); Tall Dayr `Alla (Penuel?); Ajlun Castle; Mar Elias, Listeb, and Umm al-Hedamus (Tishbeh?, home of Elijah). Overnight in Olive Branch Hotel near Jerash.

Friday, July 6, Lower Gilead Field Trip: view of Tall al-Maqlub (Jabesh-gilead?) from the village of Judeita; Tabaqat Fahel (Pella); Umm Qeiss (Gadara); Beit Ras (Capitolias); Tall ar-Rumeith (Ramothgilead?). Overnight in Olive Branch Hotel near Jerash.

Saturday, July 7, Jerash (Gerasa). Overnight in Amman.

Gerasa city from south theater, tb052908616

Gerasa from south

Sunday, July 8, Free day. Overnight in Amman.

Monday, July 9, Quiz and Lectures. Overnight in Amman.

Tuesday, July 10, Medeba Plateau Field Trip: Tall Hisban (Heshbon); Kh. al-Mukhayyat (ancient village of Nebo); Mt. Nebo; Madaba Mosaic Map; Kh. `Attarus (Ataroth); Mukhawir (Machaerus);
Tall Araʼir (Aroer); Tall Dhiban (Dibon); W. Mujib/Arnon River Gorge. Overnight in Kerak.

Wednesday, July 11, Moab and Edom Field Trip: Kerak Castle; Sela (climb); Buseira (Bozra); view of W. Danna; `Udruh (Roman Fort). Overnight in Wadi Musa.

Thursday, July 12, Little Petra (Siq al-Barid); Petra. Overnight in Wadi Musa.

Friday, July 13, Caravan Routes East and South of Petra: Humayma (ancient caravan stop); Wadi Ram (2-hour jeep ride Wadi Rum Jebel Khazali crevice, tb061504535followed by traditional meal in Bedouin tent); Wadi Yitm. Overnight in Aqaba.

Saturday, July 14, Wadi Arabah Field Trip: ancient Copper Mines at Feinan (Punon?); Kh. en-Nahash; Sanctuary of St. Lot/Deir `Ain Abata; Bab adh-Dhra (view from road); Hot springs of Kallirhoe. Overnight in Madaba.

Sunday, July 15, Exam. Overnight in Madaba.

Monday, July 16, Return to Jerusalem; program ends.

Jebel Khazali in Wadi Rum

The following notice was sent out to the Archeologylist at Southern University.

The exciting new archaeology series “Astonishing Discoveries” with Dr. Michael G. Hasel and Dr. Ron Clouzet will be downlinked live to hundreds of churches across the United States this coming week, September 14-18, at 7:30 p.m. EDT. It can also be seen on Hope Church Channel (http://www.hopetv.org/watch-now/watch-live-online/hope-church-channel/). See the attached schedule for programing. Invite your friends and participate for this major event!

The schedule, available in pdf here, lists the following shows:

Wed., Sept 14, 7:30 pm: Egyptian Wonders That Stunned the World

Thurs., Sept 15, 7:30 pm: Babylon, Sumer, and the Quest for Power

Fri., Sept 16, 7:30 pm: The Greatest Discoveries in the Land of Israel

Sat., Sept 17, 7:30 pm: The Spade and the Historical Jesus

Sun., Sept 18, 7:30 pm: Living Rocks from the Apocalypse