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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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

The completely buried Roman city of Falerii Novi has been mapped with radar technology.

An Egyptian archaeologist is using technology, including Google tools, to assist in the work of preserving and documenting her nation’s heritage.

A research study is using AI to analyze ancient feces and learning in the process of the relationship between humans and dogs.

Phillip J. Long provides a helpful review of a valuable up-to-date summary of the DSS and their relation to Qumran: Scribes and Scrolls at Qumran, by Sidnie White Crawford.

The final publication of Tall Zira’a, Volume 6, Hellenistic to Umayyad Period (Strata 8–3) is now available online as a free download.

‘Atiqot 99 (2020) is now online.

“Tutankhamun In Colour,” a BBC program featuring colorized photos from Howard Carter’s Egyptian explorations, will air on June 18.

Context Matters is a weekly podcast begun earlier this year and hosted by Cyndi Parker.

In a BBC audio presentation, Bridget Kendall explores ancient Babylon with four experts.

More than 1,000 color sides taken by Kenneth Russell have been added to the ACOR Photo Archive.

Carl Rasmussen shares a photo of an ancient papyrus attesting that a man had offered sacrifices to the gods—a way of proving that one was not a Christian.

The Temple Mount Sifting Project is now offering “remote sifting.”

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

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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

The British Museum has made nearly 2 million photos from its collection available for free use under a Creative Commons Non-Commercial license.

Smithsonian: What Rome Learned from the Deadly Antonine Plague of 165 A.D.

National Geographic describes the important role Hittite chariots played in the war with Egypt at the Battle of Kadesh in 1275 BC.

Jodi Magness has been invited to deliver the Schweich Lectures on Biblical Archaeology in 2022.

The Online Egyptological Bibliography is being made available for free during the COVID-19 crisis.

Mark Hoffman has discovered The Ancient Theater Archive, with detailed information about theaters all over Europe and the Middle East.

Carl Rasmussen shares photos from the only fully preserved structure where Roman emperor worship took place (and part 2).

Ferrell Jenkins captured a photo of Mount Gilboa with a nice atmospheric effect.

John DeLancey has produced a 6-minute devotional video about Joppa.

ibiblestock.org is a new resource featuring many photos and videos of Israel. In addition to the free offerings, the entire library is available for sale on a USB key for $290. Some of the Israel  are are available for free.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Jason Beals, Joseph Lauer

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Weekend Roundup

Happy Leap Day! See below for a photo taken on this day sixteen years ago.

Bryan Windle identifies and explains the “top three reports in biblical archaeology” for the month, including the royal estate of Horvat Tevet, the Moza temple, and the Lachish temple.

Ira Rabin believes that the ink used in writing the Dead Sea Scrolls will shed new light on these ancient manuscripts.

A historian has re-discovered a well-preserved 616-page codex of the “Writings” section of the Old Testament that dates to AD 1028. The more technical journal article is available here, and the 1905 article is available here.

Yinon Shivtiel has identified a number of the caves that Josephus fortified during the First Jewish Revolt.

The latest issue of Biblical Archaeology Review features two articles making the case for competing sites for Bethsaida: et-Tell by Rami Arav and el-Araj by Steven Notley and Mordechai Aviam.

A 2,000-year-old silver dagger and its sheath has been restored to like new condition.

“Ancient Greeks had a great love and respect for their dogs, cherishing them as companions, protectors, and hunters, as evidenced by several dog tombstones discovered over the centuries.”

David Moster will be teaching a course in March on Ezra and Nehemiah for The Institute of Biblical Culture.

“Mesopotamia: Civilization Begins” is a new exhibition that opens at the Getty Villa on March 18 and runs to July 27.

New book: Digging Up Armageddon: The Search for the Lost City of Solomon, by Eric H. Cline

Scholars have digitized high-resolution photos taken by U-2 spy planes over the Middle East in the 1950s.

The Smithsonian has released 2.8 million images for free use, and Mark Hoffman briefly shares his experience in searching.

The icon collection for St. Catherine’s Monastery at Mount Sinai is now available online.

Ferrell’s Favorite Foto #34 – “I will make your enemies your footstool”

Shmuel Brown shares a number of photos of the “lovely carpet of wildflowers in reds, yellows, purple and white along the shore of the Dead Sea.”

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Pat McCarthy, Keith Keyser, Ted Weis

Qumran area of Caves 1 and 2, tb022904796

A view of green grass below the Qumran cliffs where Cave 1 is located;
photographed on February 29, 2004

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Weekend Roundup

A stone measuring table and several dozen stone weights were discovered in a plaza along the first-century AD street from the Pool of Siloam to the Temple Mount. Archaeologists believe that the area it was found served as the Jerusalem’s central market. The Times of Israel article includes a video and many photos.

It’s not quite a copy of the Tel Dan Inscription, but a pottery restorer discovered a faint ink inscription of a single Hebrew word on a storejar excavated at Abel Beth Maacah (Haaretz premium).

“Egypt’s recent decision to transport ancient Pharaonic artifacts to a traffic circle in the congested heart of Cairo has fueled fresh controversy over the government’s handling of its archaeological heritage.”

Rainfall this week led to flooding in the Judean wilderness. The video at the bottom of this page shows waterfalls in Nahal Qumran. Aren Maeir shares videos and photos of a river running through the Elah Valley.

The Biblical Archaeology Society is offering dig scholarships for excavations this coming year.

The most recent maps posted on the Bible Mapper Blog are of Southern Greece, the Judean Wilderness, and Philistia.

The photographs of Nancy Lapp, taken during excavations around the Middle East from the 1950s to the 1990s are the subject of an interesting photo essay by Rachael McGlensey. More than 2,000 images from Jordan have been digitized in the Paul and Nancy Lapp Collection at ACOR.

Bob Rognlien’s new book is out: Recovering the Way. The book trailer will introduce you to it. Here’s my endorsement:

Recovering the Way is an enjoyable and fascinating read, combining historical insights from the time of Jesus with practical encouragement for our lives today. All that Bob has learned and experienced in three decades of leading pilgrims through the land of Israel provide the reader with a rich treasure of biblical instruction, wise application, and captivating stories. All of this benefits from dozens of beautiful illustrations which help the reader to see the world where Jesus ministered.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Ted Weis

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Weekend Roundup, Part 1

“Colorful remains of mosaics from a 3rd century synagogue in the ancient town of Majdulia are the earliest evidence of synagogue decoration in the Golan.”

“A group of archaeologists, architects and researchers petitioned the High Court of Justice . . . to stop a controversial plan to build a cable car to the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City.”

The latest in the Life Lessons from Israel video series focuses on the Talmudic Village of Katzrin.

Aviva and Shmuel Bar-Am write about a number of small archaeological sites in Pisgat Zeev, a northern suburb of Jerusalem.

Israel21c: Fabulous photos of 5 picturesque places to visit in Israel. The sites include Banias, En Gedi, Masada, Beth Shean, and Caesarea.

Archaeologists are hoping to continue excavations at el-Ahwat, possibly the biblical Harosheth HaGoyim, before modern construction destroys remains.

Israel’s Good Name visited the Horns of Hattin during a reenactment of the famous battle between the Crusaders and Saladin.

Carl Rasmussen reports on his visit to the “real” Bethsaida.

Luke Chandler, Ferrell Jenkins, Chris McKinny, and BibleX note the release of three new volumes in the Photo Companion to the Bible series.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer

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New Photo Collections: Esther and Daniel

I am excited to announce the release of the Photo Companion to Esther and the Photo Companion to Daniel. These books both lend themselves well to illustration, and yet acquiring relevant photographs is quite challenging for a number of reasons. Our team has been at work on these resources for more than a year, and we are very pleased with the results. Highlights of Esther include:

  • The exact spots where Mordecai overheard the conspiracy, Ahasuerus sat on his throne, and Haman waited early in the morning
  • Contemporary Persian reliefs depicting Ahasuerus, his officials, and his soldiers
  • Plans and models of the city of Susa and its palace that bring the story to life

Highlights of Daniel include:

  • Inscriptions, reliefs, and artifacts that shed light on the ancient Babylonian and Persian empires which Daniel served
  • Ancient images of lions, beasts, and human statues that provide the context for Daniel’s persecution and his visions
  • A march through Daniel 11, with images of nearly every king and queen prophesied by Daniel hundreds of years in advance

As always:

  • Satisfaction is guaranteed
  • Shipping in the US is free
  • Immediate download of everything you order

Here’s one early endorsement for Esther:

An amazing resource! The photographs and graphics included in this collection are not only beautiful, they’re also extremely helpful for visualizing the world of Esther and the events described in the book. The authors are to be commended for this remarkable volume.”

Anthony Tomasino, author of Zondervan Illustrated Bible Background Commentary: Esther and Evangelical Exegetical Commentary: Esther You can download Daniel 3 and Esther 4 to see the detail and abundance of these collections. Our introductory prices are the best, and today you can pick up Esther for $34, Daniel for $39, or the set for $59. We also offer a download-only version. We hope that these resources prove to be extremely valuable for studying and teaching these extraordinary books that testify to God’s sovereignty and care.

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Review by Phillip J. Long of Photo Companion to Acts

Phillip J. Long, Professor of Bible and Biblical Languages at Grace Christian University, recently reviewed the Photo Companion to Acts on his blog, Reading Acts. His review is the lengthiest of this work to date and we are most grateful for drawing readers’ attention to the strengths and weaknesses of this resource.

He begins by commenting on his familiarity with our work:

I first became aware of Bolen’s Pictorial Library of Biblical Lands at an ETS [Evangelical Theological Society annual meeting] in 2003. I have used these photographs in virtually every class I teach in order to add some colorful graphics to an otherwise dull PowerPoint presentation.

Big smile here! We are thankful that our photos have been so useful.

My favorite part of the review follows next:

If you are teaching the Book of Acts, then the Photo Companion to the Bible is an essential collection of images to use to illustrate your lectures and sermons. If you are a student of the Bible, you can read the text of the Bible and page through the slides in order to place the text into a physical context.


He notes a number of strengths of the collection, including the aerial photographs, the explanatory notes, the references to journal articles, and the free updates. In particular, he highlights the copyright concerns in using photographs that are alleviated by this resource.

He also provides some critiques, including slides which do not seem on topic or which may be unnecessary. You can go to his full review for those and all of his other observations.

We are very grateful to Dr. Long for his careful and thoughtful review. We invite you to consider using the Photo Companion to Acts in your own study or teaching of this book.

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Gift Ideas for 2018

Some valuable resources became available this year that I thought I might briefly summarize, either as a gift-buying guide or as additions to your own wish list.

Let me start with the Lexham Geographic Commentary to the imageGospels.
Originally released for Logos Bible Software, it is now available in print.
The volume is loaded with 48 essays written by people who have lived and breathed biblical geography and archaeology for many years, including Barry Beitzel (editor), Benjamin Foreman, Gordon Franz, J. Carl Laney, Chris McKinny, Elaine Phillips, A.D. Riddle, and Paul Wright. I wrote two of the essays—one on the disciples’ statement about the “magnificent stones and wonderful buildings” of the Temple and the other on the location of the swine dive in the Sea of Galilee. I think that this book should win an award for its unique contribution. It’s on sale now for $25, including free shipping, plus you get the ebook for free. Or Amazon has the print book alone for $27.

The ESV Archaeology Study Bible was released earlier this year after many years of research, writing, and production. This up-to-date resource is filled with excellent sidebars and commentary notes. You can see my earlier description here. It’s available now at Amazon for $42.Image result for esv archaeology study bible

Randall Price and Wayne House wrote the Zondervan Handbook of Biblical Archaeology. I’ve heard that it’s gone through several printings already. I hope to offer a longer review here on the blog in the next few months. My expectation is that it will be very useful to both Bible teachers and students alike.

The National Geographic Atlas of the Bible was released in June. I haven’t purchased it yet, but the listing tells me that it is 112 pages long and includes 17 maps. One Amazon reviewer says that the text is written from a minimalist perspective.

The Biblical Archaeology Society store has a sale now, including free shipping on orders of $50 or more. Two new books of most interest to me are A Walk to Caesarea: A Historical-Archaeological Perspective, by Joseph Patrich ($34), and Megiddo-Armageddon: The Story of the Canaanite and Israelite City, by David Ussishkin ($60)

Filament is a new resource that I saw at a recent conference that combines a print Bible with digital content on your phone or tablet. The printed book has the Bible text only, and the accompanying app provides study notes, photos, and videos.

Doug Greenwold at Preserving Bible Times has just released a new book on John 4 entitled Jesus Engages a Samaritan Woman. Shipping is free through the end of the year.ruth-dvd-frontback-500

Finally, I’d encourage you to consider for yourself or others the newest resources created this year by us at BiblePlaces.com.

We have a limited audience and every sale helps us to continue forward with the next project. This year we released Ruth and Psalm 23 in the Photo Companion series ($29 and $24, respectively, or $39 for both). We also created a beautiful photo book entitled Psalm 23: A Photo Commentary, available from Amazon for $20. The latest volume of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands is Persia, available for two more days at the introductory price of $25.

If you shop on Amazon, use the code GIFTBOOK18 to get $5 off a $20 book order through 12/21.

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