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I’m traveling this month, and this will be the last roundup before Thanksgiving. If you’re at SBL, come find us in the exhibition hall (booth #411).

Corinth’s Lechaion port has been discovered and it is impressively large.

The British Museum plans to allow you to print 3D artifacts at home.

Elad is appealing a ruling that prevents it from running the Jerusalem Archaeological Park along the southern end of the Temple Mount.

Brian M. Howell reviews Walking Where Jesus Walked: American Christians and Holy Land Pilgrimage for Christianity Today.

With the resident of the Amphipolis Tomb now being studied, the excavation has been concluded.

Robert Cargill critiques Simcha Jacobovici’s claim that he discovered the nails of Jesus’ crucifixion.

He concludes that it is “nothing but religious profiteering.” Another reviewer calls it a “sensationalist money-making scheme.”

Volume 2 of the Khirbet Qeiyafa Excavation Report is now available.

Leen Ritmeyer continues his series showing the Temple Mount through the ages, including during the times of Hezekiah and the Hasmoneans.

Ferrell Jenkins links to a video showing flash flooding in the Qumran area. He also notes some restoration work in the Protestant Cemetery on Mount Zion.

Mari is being looted while under ISIS control.

The Wall Street Journal has a video about plans to open Carchemish to tourists in the spring. The site
is only 60 feet away from the control of ISIS. (See here for the transcript.)

HT: Explorator, Ted Weis, Agade, Charles Savelle

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Every now and again a sensational story related to biblical archaeology hits the headlines. (This week it was this one.) It’s not long before I receive emails asking about the authenticity of the alleged discovery. To help my readers better discern whether they are dealing with a potentially legitimate discovery or not, I suggest that the following questions be asked as you read the report.

  • Does this discovery sound too good to be true? If so, it’s probably bogus.
  • It is reported by a news source you’ve never heard of? If so, it’s probably bogus.
  • Does it cite archaeologists that you’ve never heard of before and don’t appear on a Google search? If so, it’s probably bogus.
  • Does the report avoid getting input from known experts in the field? If so, it’s probably bogus.
  • Does the alleged discovery require a radical reinterpretation of the Bible? If so, it’s probably bogus.
  • Does the article use language such as, “This definitively proves…” or, “This is irrefutable evidence that shows…”? If so, it’s probably bogus.
  • Does it relate to newly discovered physical remains related to the crucifixion of Jesus? If so, it’s probably bogus.
  • Does the article mention Ron Wyatt, Robert Cornuke, or Indiana Jones? If so, it’s probably bogus.
  • Is it first announced in a TV special about the time of Easter/Passover? If so, it’s probably bogus.
  • Does the discovery relate to Noah’s Ark or the Ark of the Covenant? If so, it’s probably bogus.
  • Is it reported on a website with links to stories about Bigfoot, UFOs, and conspiracy theories? If so, it’s probably bogus.
  • Does the website name begin with www.world….? If so, it’s probably bogus.
  • Did I ignore it on this blog? If so, it’s probably bogus.

Did I miss some important questions? Feel free to suggest additional ones in the comments below.

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Ross Burns has created a website to mirror his Monuments of Syria with photos, itineraries, and maps. He has also put many photos on Flickr (with watermarks).

Luke Chandler explains why the excavators of Khirbet Qeiyafa have decided to return for one more partial season, with the remainder to be spent at either Socoh or Lachish.

Paleobabble addresses Simcha Jacobovici’s Conspiracy Fantasy.

Ferrell Jenkins reports on new discoveries at Paphos, Cyprus.

The Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology has a helpful list of links to universities and institutions with archaeological programs in Israel.

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I appreciate the careful work that Gordon Franz has done over the past several decades in exposing shoddy scholarship by those who make sensational claims in support of the Bible’s accuracy. Ron 102123642Wyatt was the long-time leader of fraudulent archaeology until his death in 1999. One of those who picked up the baton was Robert Cornuke, a one-time policeman who now alleges to have discovered the location of Mount Sinai, the ark of the covenant, Noah’s ark, and Paul’s shipwrecked vessel on Malta. Indeed, he discovers more on a two-week summer trip than any trained archaeologist discovers in a lifetime! What accounts for his popularity among evangelical Christians? Two things: he tells them what they want to hear in the way they want to hear it. Bible believers want to hear of great discoveries that support their faith, and if you package that in a charismatic presentation or a well-written paperback, you need not bother yourself with truth. 41iLwBUPx5L._SL500_AA300_Gordon Franz is serving the church by investigating Cornuke’s claims and writing critiques to help believers navigate these waters. Franz has recently created a convenient entry point for the articles he has written on Cornuke’s work over the years. Some of those articles include: Mount Sinai is NOT at Jebel al-Lawz in Saudi Arabia Part 1 Yahweh Inscription Discovered at Mount Sinai!111606056 Does “The Lost Shipwreck of Paul” Hold Water? Was the Ark of the Covenant Taken to Ethiopia? The full list is here. You may want to bookmark this link for future reference. For critiques of other dubious “archaeology,” see Franz’s “Cracked Pot Archaeology” section.

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Haaretz has a lengthy profile of Ronny Reich and his 15-year excavation of the City of David. The article is partly based on Reich’s book and deals with the archaeological highlights and the political controversies. Walk the Land: A Journey on Foot through Israel is available as a free Kindle ebook for a limited time. A FoxNews story about the Chinese Christian version of the Noah’s Ark discovery interviews Randall Price and John Morris. The Oklahoma exhibit with the seals of Jeremiah’s captors is previewed in a four-minute video. Joe Yudin takes his readers on a tour of the City of David. He writes that one may walk underground to the Western Wall, suggesting that the tunnel collapse from late December has been cleared and the passage re-opened. An Asclepium has been discovered in central Greece. Christianbook.com’s Fabulous Friday sale includes a couple of great deals: Zondervan Atlas of the Bible, by Carl Rasmussen, and the audio NKJV Word of Promise New Testament, each for $14.99 for the weekend. HT: Craig Dunning, BibleX, Jack Sasson City of David aerial from east, tb010703201City of David aerial from the east

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The Jesus Discovery: The New Archaeological Find That Reveals the Birth of Christianity by James D. Tabor and Simcha Jacobovici releases tomorrow.

The publisher’s description suggests that the book will reveal “an iconic image and a Greek inscription” on two ossuaries which pre-date AD 70 and which “constitute the earliest archaeological evidence of faith in Jesus’ resurrection.” The conclusion is that whoever was buried in this tomb was a Christian.

The authors go further and claim that since this new tomb is only 200 feet (60 m) from the so-called Jesus Family Tomb that it makes it more likely that the Talpiot Tomb is “the real tomb of Jesus of Nazareth.”

It sounds to me that this discovery is one part fact mixed with three parts speculation. If you read the book or listen to the reports in the impending media barrage, keep in mind the difference between the artifacts and the interpretation. If the history of the two authors is any guide, the quest for fame and fortune trumps the desire for truth. The best way to get your name and your book in the media is to question the foundations of Christianity.

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