Gordon Franz has coined a term for those who assert their authority rather than provide evidence for their archaeological claims.

“Apostolic” Archaeology, a phrase that I have coined, is a sub-discipline of pseudo-archaeology. The practitioners of this discipline are usually adventurers, sometimes treasure hunters, and generally with neither field training in archaeological methodology nor academic credentials in Near East archaeology, but perhaps a superficial knowledge of the Bible. They claim to have discovered objects or places of great Biblical importance and declare it to be whatever they want it to be. They usually try to justify their pronouncements with a Bible verse. Their declarations are made as if they were speaking ex cathedra (i.e., with authority). These self-declared experts have found from experience that the gullible masses will blindly accept the legitimacy of their claims and buy the goods that they are hawking in spite of scholarly academic testimony to the contrary (contra 1 Thess. 2:9-12). So buyers beware!

His brief article continues here. My previous post, “We Sell Hope,” may be relevant.


The archaeologists all agree, according to a leading Muslim authority in Jerusalem. There is no evidence of ancient Jewish presence in the city. From ABNA.co:

Chairman of the Suprerme [sic] Islamic Council in Jerusalem Dr. Ekrima Sabri has declared that after twenty-five years of digging, archaeologists are unanimous that not a single stone has been found related to Jerusalem’s alleged Jewish history.
Sheikh Sabri said Israel’s opening of a Biblical park south of Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem was only a further attempt to erase the Arab-Islamic identity of the region, Sabri said.
Israeli authorities have been building the Biblical park atop the Umayyad palaces in Jerusalem. But Sabri said that archaeologists agree that the stones along the southern wall of Al-Aqsa Mosque are remains of the Umayyad palaces, proving that the entire area is an Islamic endowment.

All archaeologists also agree that there were no native Americans when English colonists arrived.

Stories to the contrary are just lies by Indian propagandists.

Where are the Muslims who will tell the truth? Will any declare that Sabri is a bald-faced liar? If not, why not? The answer to that question is important.

The full story is here. HT: Paleojudaica.

Siloam inscription, tb041705450

The Siloam Inscription, found in Hezekiah’s Tunnel, written in Hebrew and dated to 700 BC.

Preliminary test results are back on the date of the allegedly early Christian metal codices. From the Jordan Times:

Preliminary lab results indicate that a collection of metal books unearthed in northern Jordan may indeed represent the earliest Christian texts ever discovered, according to experts.
According to the Department of Antiquities (DoA), initial carbon tests to determine the authenticity of lead-sealed metal books billed as the greatest find in biblical archaeology since the Dead Sea scrolls have been “encouraging”.
“We really believe that we have evidence from this analysis to prove that these materials are authentic,” DoA Director Ziad Saad told The Jordan Times.
The tests, carried out at the Royal Scientific Society labs, indicate that the texts may date back to the early first century AD, at a time when Christians took refuge from persecution on the east bank of the Jordan River.

The story continues here.

This is surely not the last word.  For background on the subject, see the posts labeled “Pseudo-Archaeology.”  Paleojudaica has a good summary of the case against authenticity.

UPDATE (6/15): Jim Davila takes apart this article piece by piece. The conclusion: “The fake metal codices are still fake.”


A plan by the Israeli government will save the southern end of the Dead Sea from rising waters by harvesting salt

Beersheba. Just say the name, and images come to mind of an old, crusty patriarch leaning on his staff in the dry winds of the wilderness.”

Leen Ritmeyer comments on the report that the temporary bridge to the Mughrabi Gate must be removed within two weeks.

The Bible Gateway Blog answers the question: “How should we respond to sensational archaeological claims?

A 39-year-old archaeology student was arrested for looting archaeological sites, including Tel Shikmona near Haifa.  He was caught by the IAA Theft Prevention Unit when he left his cell phone at the site.

The 4th meeting of the Forum for the Research of the Chalcolithic Period will be held on June 2, 2011, at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.  The conference title: “50 Years of the Discovering of the Nahal Mishmar Treasure.”  A full schedule of the program is here.

Eric Meyers writes in The Jewish Week on the earliest synagogues known archaeologically.  He does not agree with those who wish to re-date many of these synagogues to the 4th-6th centuries.  Of the period immediately after AD 70, he writes:

In my view this period in the history of Judaism was as definitive as the period after the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BCE when the exiled Judeans not only survived but managed to pray without the Temple and began the task of editing the books of Scripture that would help them maintain their identity and keep the traditions of former times. The first centuries after 70 CE also led to publication of the Mishnah by 200 CE and many of the early biblical commentaries. It is unimaginable that all of this literary creativity, along with the development of the synagogue liturgy, could have happened without a physical setting in which it could take shape. The most logical setting is the synagogue as a structure where the Torah was read, translated and interpreted; where homilies were given; and where the liturgy was sung and recited.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Jack Sasson


The Israeli State Comptroller report released yesterday finds that the Muslim work in “Solomon’s Stables” was destructive and illegal.

It is dangerous to travel in the Middle East, but not because of war or terror.  You’re much more likely to die in a car accident.  The traffic fatality rate average is nearly three times that of Europe.

It is not only crazy drivers that one must fear in Israel, but rockslides.  A man driving on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway found his car destroyed when passing the Hemed Junction near Abu Gosh.

A new park near the Ben Gurion Airport will be three times the size of Central Park in New York City, built on top of a large garbage dump. 

The largest dish of hummus was created last year in Abu Gosh (and then again surpassed in Lebanon), but honors for the largest falafel ball go to a chef in Santa Clarita, California.  [What else do Abu Gosh and Santa Clarita have in common? Answer: Proximity to two campuses of one of the best educational institutions in the world.]

Israel received a lot of rainfall in April, but it’s not enough.  And the water level of the Dead Sea is now 1,358 feet (424.44 m) below sea level.

Dennis Dufrene looks back at the “discovery” of Noah’s Ark by the Hong Kong group last year and concludes that “All of these issues point to the fact that the NAMI find was most certainly a hoax.”

Abu Gosh from southeast, tb020305237

Abu Gosh, formerly home to the largest hummus dish and near location of recent rockslide. The Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway cuts across the photo.  View from the southeast.