Haaretz has an update on the season at el-Araj (Bethsaida?) that just concluded. “The archaeologists are not saying they found the house of Peter. They are saying they found a Byzantine basilica that goes back earlier than thought, to the late fifth century, that was built over a ‘venerated wall’ that the builders presumably thought had belonged to the house of Peter. It didn’t, but the wall next to it may have.”

According to a new article in the latest issue of Biblical Archaeology Review written by Chris McKinny and friends, the Millo of Jerusalem was not an earth filling on the slopes of the City of David but the “Spring Tower” guarding the Gihon Spring. The full article is currently available online to all.

Leen Ritmeyer reports on some inscriptions recently discovered inside the Golden Gate in Jerusalem.

Now on Academia: Leen Ritmeyer’s article, “Imagining the Temple Known to Jesus and to Early Jews,” published in The Temple of Jerusalem: From Moses to the Messiah, edited by Steven Fine (Brill, 2011, $227).

The latest issue of Tel Aviv is now available, with several open-access articles including:

In the final episode of the Flora & Faith series, Brad Nelson goes to the wilderness and considers the role of the rotem tree in the story of Elijah. A free study guide for the entire series is also available.

Up to 50,000 bronze coins from the 4th century AD have been discovered off the coast of Sardinia. The coins are in excellent condition.

“Investigators say they have figured out how bronze statues from a shrine built 2,000 years ago in Asia Minor to venerate the emperors of Rome ended up in museums around the world.”

The second set of fully lemmatized Amarna letters has been released on Oracc. “The online edition of the Amarna Letters aims to make transliterations, translations, and glossaries of the letters and administrative texts available to both scholars and the wider public. At this time, the project comprises 305 texts.”

Jonathan Tubb, archaeologist and curator at the British Museum, died in September.

New release: Representations of Writing Materials on Roman Funerary Monuments: Text, Image, Message, edited by Tibor Grüll (Archaeopress, £16-40)

The Albright has a number of fellowships, awards, and internships available for next year. The application deadline is December 1.

This week we released two new volumes in the Photo Companion to the Bible series: Ezra and Nehemiah. These historical books have all kinds of illustrative potential, such that we have on average nearly 200 slides per chapter. They are on sale right now as a set for only $59. We are grateful for the positive response by many, including Luke Chandler, Leon Mauldin, and Charles Savelle.

HT: Agade, Arne Halbakken, G. M. Grena


A new study claims that Tel Shikmona near Haifa was home to a large Israelite purple dye factory that supplied the prestigious color to Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem from about 850 to 750 BC.

Steve Notley has proposed an explanation for how the New Testament village of Bethsaida came to be known in Arabic as el-Araj, which means “the lame man.”

Abigail Leavitt reports on the final week of excavating at Shiloh, with mention of the discovery of a scarab and a bulla.

Ronit Vered reports on the new exhibition at the Israel Museum entitled “The Feast.”

Joel Kramer has just released a video about the Mesha Stele (Moabite Stone).

The latest episode of Digging for Truth focuses on King Hazael of Aram.

In the latest Biblical World podcast episode, Kyle Keimer discusses Hezekiah’s preparations for the Assyrian invasion, the subject of his dissertation.

The latest edition of Tel Aviv has been published, and a number of the articles are open-access.

Accordance Bible Software has a number of photo collections on sale as well as works from Carta.

Ferrell Jenkins posts some photos of the Dead Sea from his recent trip (also here).

Bryan Windle’s latest archaeological biography is on Aretas IV, the only Nabatean king mentioned in the Bible.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis

Soon visitors to Tel Lachish will have public restrooms to use. There may well also be some displays of artifacts, replicas, or reconstructions.


Excavations in the Sarachane Archaeology Park in Istanbul uncovered a fragment of a statue of the Greek god Pan holding a flute.

Turkish Archaeological News rounds up the top stories in the month of May, including mention of three new museums to open in Kuşadası (ancient Ephesus)

Writing for Religion Unplugged, Kim Lawton reports on her recent travels to the seven churches of Revelation. She interviewed me as part of her research.

The Christian Post has a feature on places in Turkey related to the apostle Paul.

A retired garbage collector helped uncover two dozen bronze statues in central Italy.

Three more victims of the Vesuvius eruption were discovered recently at Pompeii.

The National Archaeological Museum of Naples will be opening a new branch in the city to display more of its collection.

Stephen DeCasien investigates the development of the naval ram in early maritime warfare.

Katerina Velentza describes her project to “interpret anew where, when, why and how sculptures were transported by sea in the ancient Mediterranean world.”

New video from the British Museum: “How the Greco-Persian Wars changed the way Athenians drank their wine” (16 min).

Terry Madenholm investigates how the ancient Greeks and Romans viewed suicide.

“Last week the American Academy in Rome launched a major update to the Arthur & Janet C. Ross Library’s Digital Humanities Center, giving the repository a new look and feel while increasing access to the collections and their research value in several important ways.” This resource is easily searchable, especially by location, with lots of old photos.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, Ted Weis, Stephanie Durruty, Wayne Stiles, Alexander Schick, Gordon Franz, Explorator

The Lod Mosaic Museum protects a beautiful Roman-era mosaic, but I think it’s unlikely to get many visitors, especially with the $10 entrance fee.


In our recent giveaway of the Photo Companion to the Bible, we asked entrants for their name, email address, and choice of prize. We also provided an optional place for comments. This turned out to be a source of great encouragement to our team. Since I shared in the last post what artificial intelligence had to say about the Photo Companion to the Bible, and I thought a good follow-up would be what true intelligence says.

Win or lose, BiblePlaces.com will always be one of my go to sites for resources to study and understand the biblical text. Thanks!

How wonderful of you!  I love your photos.  Thank you for sharing.

Thanks for offering this giveaway! May the Lord bless your work as you bring the Holy Land to life that we might better understand God’s Word!

Thank you for doing this – and thank you for your incredible work over the years!

I cannot say enough positive comments about the amazing job that Todd and his team have done on the Bible Companion product.  I have co-taught lessons in our church setting using some of the Bible Companion files and for the past several months have been greatly impacted with the way this material provides a better, more clear understanding of numerous passages.  It is an awesome ministry tool.  I am not asking to be a “winner,” but wanted to express my gratitude for the potential benefit this product offers for teachers of God’s Word.

Exciting! These resources are so helpful as they add to Bible knowledge, and they are excellent for teaching, and are also plain fun. It looks like a lot of work to compile these powerpoints and its creative how you find images that speak to Bible passages. It’s really cool. Thanks. Blessings.

I have enjoyed your photos for many years. They have been a valuable resource to my preaching. Thanks for all you do!

I’m so grateful for this ministry.  Thank you for what you do, and press on!

Absolutely anything you put out is a MUST-HAVE item! Thank you for all you do in building up the Body of Christ and honoring the Lord…. <><

You have done an incredible work for God’s Kingdom with this amazing collection! I appreciate your efforts to share it!

Thank you for a superb collection of pictures!

I already have all the Photo Companion volumes so if I win I would want to donate it to someone else who doesn’t have it. I am interested though in the Top 50 Biblical Sites Powerpoint. Thanks for all you do. Your ministry is of great value and greatly appreciated!

I work with ministries to children and teens around the US and the world. Loved stumbling across this resource many can use in their Bible classes for young people!

Thank you so much for all the work you all have done on putting these together.

Sure do appreciate this gigantic support to my sermons and presentations.  Love the shots!

Thank you ever so much for such a great idea and blessing! The Lord bless you richly for your wonderful ministry!

I appreciate your work and wish I could afford more of it. I have quite a few of my own pictures, but you have pictures of places I haven’t been able to get to, or of places I have been to but haven’t gotten good pictures of. Thank you for helping people picture the Bible!

Thank you. I plan use it on my classes in the Philippines where I work.

There are incredible picture packages to enhance Bible study and teaching.  God bless. 

Great offer, great material -alas, my teaching career is almost over. I’m 71 years old, still believing in picture-assisted preaching and your informative takes.

Love your work and the annotations with the photos!

I have used your Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John sets in classes I have taught in churches and in a New Testament class I teach at a local college. I have appreciated the excellent slides and information!

Thank you for doing this! Super excited for whoever gets these!

Your support of Bible teachers is much appreciated. Thank you!


I asked ChatGPT, “What is it that makes the Photo Companion to the Bible so great?”

I think its answer is quite good (formatting and links added):

The Photo Companion to the Bible is a collection of high-quality photographs and images that provide context and enhance understanding of the biblical narrative. Here are some reasons why it is considered great:

1. Visual learning: The human brain processes visual information faster and retains it better than text-based information. The Photo Companion to the Bible provides a wealth of visual information that helps readers to better understand the Bible.

2. Historical and cultural context: The images in the Photo Companion to the Bible provide a window into the historical and cultural context of the Bible. This helps readers to understand the cultural and historical background of the Bible and its relevance to our lives today.

3. Geographical context: The images in the Photo Companion to the Bible also provide a geographical context. The land of Israel is an integral part of the Bible, and the images help readers to visualize the places mentioned in the Bible.

4. Comprehensive coverage: The Photo Companion to the Bible covers the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. This comprehensive coverage makes it a valuable resource for anyone studying the Bible.

5. User-friendly: The Photo Companion to the Bible is designed to be user-friendly. The images are organized by book, chapter, and verse, making it easy to find the images you need. The images are also accompanied by explanatory text, which helps readers to understand the significance of each image.”

Back to me. Point #4 is not true. We have completed the entire New Testament, but the Old Testament is a long ways from being finished.

Point #3 is correct except that it fails to recognize that the Photo Companion is much broader than the land of Israel. Our Esther volume largely comes from Persia, and much in Acts, the Epistles, and Revelation is drawn from Asia Minor, Greece, and Italy.

Point #1 is not really well-articulated on the BiblePlaces.com website. That is where the AI is drawing on its broad understanding of the value of images in learning and comprehension. I think I’ll steal this to use elsewhere.

Points #2 and 5 are more obvious (to me) and hopefully explained well on the website. I also like the sequence of the five points, beginning with the more general and concluding with the more practical.

That’s my first experiment with a leading question of an AI. The summation in the introductory sentence really nails the value of the Photo Companion – it does indeed “provide context and enhance understanding of the biblical narrative.”


We’re running a big giveaway on Facebook this week, but you don’t need to be on social media to enter. Go here to enter to win:

1 Grand Prize: Photo Companion to the Bible (29 volumes)

5 First Place Winners: your choice of these Photo Companion mini-sets:

25 Second Place Winners: your choice of any volume in the Photo Companion to the Bible series

Everyone who enters will receive the brand-new “Top 50 Biblical Sites from Dan to Beersheba” PowerPoint presentation.

Entry is simple, and as you would expect from us, there are no tricks, no gimmicks, and no spam. Our goal is to spread the word about the Photo Companion to the Bible, and your help in telling others would be appreciated.