Paleobabble posts a report on the Noah’s Ark fraud by one who knows the Turkish guides involved.

The report probably contains some of the true story, but it is obscured by a liberal dose of speculation and hearsay. Confidence in the author is further eroded by her lack of experience in the field, her photos of herself in conservative eastern Turkey, and her forthcoming book entitled Climbing Mount Ararat: Love and Betrayal in Kurdistan.

Eisenbrauns’ Deal of the Weekend is Ancient Place Names in the Holy Land: Preservation and History, by Yoel Elitzur. It is marked down from $65 to $26.

Ferrell Jenkins summarizes his survey of the Babylonian kings in the Bible, concluding yesterday with Belshazzar.

What did Jerusalem look like in Jesus’ days? A brief article at the Jerusalem Post describes the Herodian Quarter (Wohl Museum).

Archaeologists in Egypt have begun restoring a second boat buried next to the pyramid of Cheops (Khufu).

Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, gives a 20-minute presentation at TED on the “biographies” of the Cyrus Cylinder. He believes this artifact is a major player today in the politics of the Middle East.

Eilat Mazar is warning that the antiquities on the Temple Mount are in danger because of plans to unite all of the mosques into one large one.

The seventh season of excavations at Tall el-Hammam concluded this week. According to email newsletters, the major discovery this year was a monumental gateway dated to the Middle Bronze period (2000-1550 BC).

The fifth edition of The Carta Bible Atlas (formerly The Macmillan Bible Atlas) is apparently more than just a cover re-design (as was the fourth edition). According to the publisher, “The Carta Bible
Atlas has been enriched by the addition of 40 new maps. Anson F. Rainey added maps and discussion on contemporary subjects surrounding the biblical narrative and R. Steven Notley revised and expanded the New Testament section. Prof. Notley further enhanced this volume by extending its historical reach to include the map of Palestine at the end of the third century as recorded by Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea.” Eisenbrauns has this updated classic in stock.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Jack Sasson


If you are looking for unique Christmas images, the Accordance Blog tells you where to find them.

A scroll containing the Ten Commandments from Deuteronomy has just been put on display at Discovery Times Square in New York City.

Iraq’s second largest museum is paying smugglers to return the artifacts.

If you’ve been intrigued by the title of Jodi Magness’ latest work, BAR has posted a review by Shaye J. D. Cohen of Stone and Dung, Oil and Spit: Jewish Daily Life in the Time of Jesus. The book is available for $16 at Amazon or $20 at Eisenbrauns.

A bulla with the name of a biblical town has been discovered in the Temple Mount Sifting Project.

According to ANE-2, Gabriel Barkay will present it at a conference at Bar Ilan University at the end of the month.

The new Egyptian Minister of Antiquities has announced new policies for his department.

Ferrell Jenkins has written an illustrated series appropriate for the season:

Fishermen using illegal nets in the Sea of Galilee have been caught and detained.

The Biblical Archaeology Society has released a new edition of its free eBook, The Dead Sea Scrolls: Discovery and Meaning. The new material looks at the War Scroll, the Temple Scroll, and the Book of Enoch. If you have not already, you must register to receive the eBook.

Olive Tree Bible Software now has the ESV Bible Atlas for sale for $22, the Zondervan Atlas of the Bible for $26, and the Holman Bible Atlas for $20. These atlases are supported on the Android, iPad, iPhone, Mac, and soon the PC.

If you ever hear the name Ron Wyatt in connection with some amazing archaeological discovery, run the other way. His death in 1999 did not prevent his frauds from being perpetuated in email forwards and on various websites. His alleged discovery of chariot wheels in the Red Sea and research claimed to date the objects based on the number of spokes is worthy of being featured as the latest post at PaleoBabble.

HT: Jack Sasson


In April 2010, NAMI announced that they had discovered Noah’s Ark on Mount Ararat. They supported this claim by declaring that the date of the wood had been scientifically tested as originating in 2800 BC.

NAMI has never followed up its sensational announcement with data that can be analyzed by scholars. In particular, they have withheld results from Carbon 14 tests done on four samples of wood. Andrew A. Snelling, Director of Research for Answers in Genesis, was provided the test results in order to gain his support ahead of the 2010 announcement. He explained to them why the data did not support their identification of the alleged object as Noah’s Ark, but they ignored his analysis and presented their claim as factual.

Since NAMI continues to attempt to deceive the world, Snelling is now revealing the confidential data they provided. In his report posted online last week, he presents the four test results from the wood. Samples A, B, and C are all less than 700 years old. Sample D was dated by an anonymous lab to approximately 2800 BC and is the basis for NAMI’s claim that the wood comes from Noah’s Ark.

Snelling’s report is lengthy and detailed, but he points to several problems with the date of Sample D:

(1) This sample was tested at only one laboratory, and a different one than the other samples. This
does not squelch rumors that a laboratory fabricated results for a price.
(2) The date of the death of the tree from which the wood came is between 9858-294 BC. That range is too broad to be useful, particularly with a single sample tested at a single laboratory.
(3) The tests of dendrochronology on this sample are not reliable.
(4) Comparison with samples of fossilized wood from trees killed in the Flood indicate that the date of Ark wood should be closer to 20,000 years BP.

In short, the burden of proof is on those who claim that they have discovered Noah’s Ark. Their unwillingness to report their data so that it can be analyzed by scholars suggests that they are perpetuating a fraud.

Previous posts on this blog about the NAMI discovery include:

Noah’s Ark Discovery Exposed (April 27, 2010)

Responses to the Latest Noah’s Ark Claim (April 29, 2010)

Questions about Noah’s Ark Discovery (May 20, 2010)

Noah’s Ark Confession (January 8, 2011)

Noah’s Ark Confession Repudiated (January 21, 2011)

Weekend Roundup – Link to Dufrene article (May 8, 2011)

“We Sell Hope” – written for another false claim, but relevant here also (August 8, 2006)


Simcha Jacobovici is in Jerusalem this week working and filming in the area of the “tomb of Jesus” in the Talpiot neighborhood. Jacobovici previously claimed that he had discovered the actual tomb of Jesus and he is currently producing a new documentary with compelling new “proof.”

One possible strategy is that Jacobovici will take patina samples from the “tomb of Jesus” and claim that they match those from the James ossuary. Since this ossuary is inscribed “James son of Joseph brother of Jesus,” Jacobovici can argue that this was the family tomb of Jesus.

Much of this has been discussed at great length in past years, and with the exception of his partner James Tabor (who benefits financially from Jacobovici’s work), I don’t know of any scholars who accept this claim. Simon & Schuster’s website promotes their forthcoming book and promises a “primetime Discovery television commentary” and press conference.

A few basic points may be recalled:

1. The tomb of Jesus’ family was likely located in his hometown of Nazareth.

2. The economic status of Jesus’ family makes it unlikely that they could afford an expensive rock-hewn tomb.

3. The names Jesus, James (Jacob), and Joseph were very common in the first century.

4. Jacobovici is attempting to do what no one in the first century could do: prove that Jesus is still in the tomb.

5. Jacobovici has made it clear in interviews that his primary interest is entertainment, not truth.

Tabor appears ready to chase after anything that will undermine the historic Christian faith.

6. As long as people will buy, Jacobovici will keep selling his sensational stories, especially before major Christian holidays.


The Jordan Lead Codices are fake, fake, fake. This video by Tom Verenna explains why.
JPost’s weekly column “Off the Beaten Track” is inaptly titled this week, but you still may enjoy the tour of Jaffa Gate and the Old City wall running south to Mount Zion.
Less satisfying is Yoni Cohen’s story describing the trails at Ramat Hanadiv (but little about the site!).

In “Archaeology in Israel Update—August 2011,” Stephen Gabriel Rosenberg writes about the “Boundary stone found in Lower Galilee, “Ancient Shechem to be opened to the Public,” “Jerusalem sewage ditch yields up more treasures,” “Phaesalis [sic] City Unvovered” [sic], and “Bathhouse Hercules in the Jezre’el Valley.”

“Seventy-five archaeological missions will resume excavation projects in Egypt as of Monday.”

It is being reported that Egypt will require visitors to acquire a visa before arriving. If it happens, it will no doubt reduce the number of tourists.

Gertrude Bell is remembered in the Jerusalem Post 85 years after her death.

USA Today has named the Glo Bible the #1 coolest book app for the fall. They are impressed with the “700 images of religious art, 2,300 full-color photos and 500 virtual tours of Biblical sites, 140 interactive maps and study tools.” An Android version is coming for all of those with iPhobia.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Jack Sasson

Old City western wall, tb122006005

Western Wall of the Old City of Jerusalem

Robert Cornuke is well known in evangelical circles as a non-archaeologist with several astonishing archaeological discoveries. His latest video describes “possibly the Biblical find of this century!” He claims to have discovered the four anchors from Paul’s shipwrecked vessel off the coast of Malta.

Gordon Franz does us all a service by evaluating Cornuke’s presentation. He notes a series of minor mistakes, but he focuses on the four pillars of Cornuke’s case, concluding that:

1. Cornuke’s video misleads in claiming that only his location has the ocean depths as given in Act 27.

2. Cornuke’s video fails to inform viewers that there are other qualified bays that have a beach.

3. Cornuke’s greatest mistake is claiming that sailors would not have recognized the east coast of Malta.

4. Cornuke’s argument cannot account for the specifics of the shipwreck as described in Acts 27.

Franz’s article expands upon each of these points and addresses other problems with this sensationalized “discovery.”

For previous posts on Cornuke’s work on Malta, see here and here.

Malta St Thomas Bay view northwest from Munxar Reef, tb112005864

St. Thomas Bay as seen from Munxar Reef, location of Cornuke’s discovery