“A rare 2,000-year-old silver shekel coin, thought to have been minted on the Temple Mount plaza from the plentiful silver reserves held there at the time, has been uncovered in Jerusalem” by an 11-year-old girl participating in a sifting operation.

A Roman game carved into the city square near Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate is known as Alquerque, a kind of proto-checkers (Haaretz premium).

Archaeologists have identified six prominent characteristics of royal architecture in the Levant during the time of Israel’s kings. The underlying journal article is here.

Andrew Lawler tells the story of when rabbis entered an area under the Temple Mount through Warren’s Gate with hopes of finding the Ark of the Covenant.

Archaeologist Barak Monnickendam-Givon is interviewed on The Jerusalem Post’s Zoomcast series about archaeological evidence related to Hanukkah and the Maccabees.

Israel21c has an article on 6 archaeological discoveries related to the Maccabees.

Bryan Windle’s top three reports in biblical archaeology is out for the month of November.

For the Thanksgiving episode of The Book and the Spade, Gordon Govier shares the story of his own “life in ruins” (direct link).

Zoom lecture on Nov 30: “The Mysteries of the Ark of the Covenant,” by Thomas Christian Römer

Zoom lecture on Dec 16: “Agrippa II: – The Last of the Herods,” by David Jacobson

It looks like another Christmas in Bethlehem without tourists.

Amazon has a buy-2-get-1-free special on the ESV Archaeology Study Bible and other books.

Preserving Bible Times is shifting their resources over to a digital-only format, and now until the end of the year, they are offering their print books and CDs and DVDs at reduced prices.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Ted Weis, Arne Halbakken, Charles Savelle, Explorator


Archaeologists in Egypt have found proof that they are excavating a rare ancient sun temple, the third ever found and the first to be uncovered in 50 years.”

After a ten-year closure, Egypt has begun plans to restore the Aswan Museum on Elephantine Island.

Saudi Arabia has opened the Nabatean site of Hegra to foreign tourists for the first time ever. This detailed article about Petra’s little sister includes many beautiful photos.

Four known Mycenaean corbel arch bridges in the vicinity of Mycenae and Arkadiko villages in Greece are considered to be some of the world’s oldest bridges. Two of them are still in operation and have been so for at least 3,000 years.”

Lina Zeldovich has written the best article I’ve ever read on bathroom practices of ancient Romans.

Now online: “Propaganda, Power, and Perversion of Biblical Truths: Coins Illustrating the Book of Revelation,” by Gordon Franz

It is interesting to see the Tehran Times run a story about Susa without ignoring its role biblical history. (The Bible is effectively outlawed in Iran, and all websites related to the Bible, including this one, cannot be accessed.)

The Biblical Archaeology Society has announced its 2021 Publication Awards Winners.

“Holly Beers and David deSilva discuss life in the first century with Biblical World host Lynn Cohick. Holly and David both wrote novels that explore life on the ground in Ephesus, giving readers a unique opportunity to experience Paul’s world in a very personal way.”

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Arne Halbakken, Keith Keyser, Andy Cook


Last year I alerted you to my colleague William Varner’s book on the Passion Week, and he has now completed a trilogy on the life of Christ. The second book he wrote is called Anticipating the Advent, a timely book as we begin the season where we are looking forward to celebrating Jesus’s birth.

The third book was just released last week, and it covers everything between the Advent and the Passion Week. Entitled Messiah’s Ministry: Crises of the Christ, this book offers Varner’s reflections on a lifetime of studying and teaching the life of Christ at The Master’s University. Some chapter titles will give you an idea of the uniqueness of this book’s approach:

  • Messiah and the Men of Qumran
  • Messiah in the Water
  • Messiah and Women
  • Messiah and the Goyim
  • Messiah and the Mystery Man

Those who know Dr. Varner will not be surprised by the happy juxtaposition of academic and devotional throughout the book, illustrated by each chapter’s closing with a recommended resource and a prayer.

This book will always have a special place on my shelf because of the inscription on the dedication page. Will and I have been colleagues for 25 years now, originally separated by an ocean but now by just a hallway, and I am grateful for his personal encouragement, steadfast faith, and joy in the Lord. But all readers will benefit from his careful research and keen insights into the life of Christ in this book and all three in the trilogy.

The book is available in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle formats. The book’s foreword is written by Robert H. Gundry, and endorsements include these:

“The issues addressed by Dr. William Varner in Messiah’s Ministry relate to the credibility of Jesus’ stunning claims concerning Himself. Throughout His ministry, Jesus claimed to be the Messiah/Christ and to be God come in the flesh (Matt 16:16; John 11:27; Matt 26:63; John 20:30–31). When Paul told them about the remarkable claims and accomplishments of the Nazarene, the Bereans “searched the Scriptures to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11) and thus believed. You will be blessed to walk with Dr. Varner through some of those Old Testament Messianic anticipations which God used to impact the truth-seeking Bereans so long ago.”

Douglas Bookman, Shepherds Theological Seminary

“The best way to describe this excellent work by Dr. Varner is to point out . . . two things which are quite unique to this work. First, he covers what many other similar books cover about the Messiah being a Prophet, Priest, and King. Some of the insights in these three categories, however, are still unique to him and are worthy of consideration and study. Second, here are some new emphases that most books on the Life of Messiah simply do not cover: backgrounds from the Hebrew Scriptures and a frame of reference from rabbinic theology prevalent in first century Israel which is what the Messiah had to interact with whether it came from the Pharisees or from the Sadducees or from the Herodians. This material provides additional perspective in understanding Messiah’s person and work and points out the uniqueness of Dr. Varner’s work. This work is highly recommended, and I encourage all to read this volume as well as the other two volumes in the trilogy.”

Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Director of Ariel Ministries


A new study suggests that Sennacherib’s army collected three million stones in order to construct the massive siege ramp at Lachish in about 25 days.

Researchers studying dolmen fields in southern Jordan discovered several unfinished dolmens, providing insights into how these megalithic tombs were constructed.

Authorities have recovered more than 6,000 ancient coins from the owner of a jewelry store in Ashkelon.

“Why is a citrus fruit – also known in Hebrew as etrog – featured in the magnificent mosaic paving the main hall of a caliphate castle in Jericho?”

La Sierra University’s Archaeology Discovery Weekend is being held today and tomorrow with the theme, “Southwest Turkey: Famous Cities, Churches, and Synagogues.”

In the latest episode of the Biblical World podcast, “Kyle and Chris interview Erez Ben-Yosef (Tel Aviv University) concerning his work on the 11th through 9th century BC copper industry in the Arabah of Israel and Jordan.”

Jordan is eager to end its tourism slump, and the recent filming of movies including Dune, Aladdin, and Star Wars: Rogue One may help to attract visitors.

Zoom lecture on Nov 15: “Coin Deposits: From Ancient Synagogues in Late Antique Palestine,” by Tine Rassalle

Zoom lecture on Dec 2: “Synagogues as Jesus Knew Them,” by James R. Strange

New release: Excavations in the City of David, Jerusalem (1995-2010), by Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron

New release: To Explore the Land of Canaan: Studies in Biblical Archaeology in Honor of Jeffrey R. Chadwick, edited by Aren M. Maeir and George A. Pierce (DeGruyter, $100)

Registration has opened for the 2022 season at Tel Burna.

The Institute of Biblical Culture is now taking registrations for a beginning course in Biblical Hebrew starting in January.

The Top Ten Discoveries Related to Joshua and the Conquest includes some familiar finds and some new ones. With 53 footnotes, this is a well-researched summary that will very useful for many.

The video downloads and conference notebook for the Infusion Bible Conference on Paul and His Roman World are now available for purchase. This is a valuable resource.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Ted Weis, Arne Halbakken, Keith Keyser, Explorator


“The ancient Egyptians were carrying out sophisticated mummifications of their dead 1,000 years earlier than previously thought.”

“A shipwreck carrying Greek ceramics from the 7th century BC, discovered in Italy in 2019, sheds new light on Magna Graecia, the area of southern Italy that was settled by the Greeks.”

The Roman theater of Ankara has been rediscovered in recent years.

Excavations have revealed the largest Byzantine mosaic structure in central Turkey.

Over 100 seal impressions dating to the Hittite Empire were found at Carchemish. Most of the impressions belong to a female administrator named Matiya. Other finds included a seal impression of Piradu from the Middle Assyrian kingdom, an Iron Age cemetery from the 8th-7th centuries BC, and a tomb stela dating to the reign of King Kamani from the 8th century BC.

Archaeologists have discovered a large Assyrian wine factory from the time of Sargon II and Sennacherib. The associated discovery of royal reliefs was previously announced last year.

“Analysis of DNA from ancient remains on the Greek island of Crete suggests the Minoans were indigenous Europeans.”

Smithsonian Magazine posts an account of Montague Parker’s shenanigans in Jerusalem, adapted from Andrew Lawler’s new Underground Jerusalem: The Buried History of the World’s Most Contested City.

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is using technology to enhance the visitor’s experience, including the creation of an animated film to explain the significance of the shift from black figure vase painting to red figure vase panting circa 500 BC.

New from Eisenbrauns: Camels in the Biblical World, by Martin Heide and Joris Peters. Save 30% with code NR21.

New release: The Prophets of Israel: Walking the Ancient Paths, by James K. Hoffmeier, with many of our photos as well as beautiful maps created by A.D. Riddle.

Logos Bible Software users might be interested in the addition of pronunciation to Biblical Places and Biblical Things in the Factbook resource.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, Charles Savelle, Daniel Wright, Paleojudaica, Ted Weis, A.D. Riddle


The Albright Institute is hosting an exhibit entitled “Gateway to the World: Jerusalem Airport 1948-1967” from Oct 28 to Nov 28. Eldad Brin has written an article for the Jerusalem Quarterly with the same title.

The Israel Oriental Studies Annual has been relaunched after a two-decade hiatus.

Mordechai Cogan laments the closing of the Department of Bible at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and especially the manner in which it was done.

“The University of Haifa is establishing the first-of-its-kind School of Archaeology in Israel, which will integrate all archaeological activities and endeavors undertaken by the university—on land and at sea.” It will be headed by Israel Finkelstein.

An antiquities dealer in New York City has confessed to manufacturing thousands of fraudulent antiquities after authorities discovered an assembly-line process in the gallery’s back rooms.

A podcast argues that a 2018 photograph of Kim Kardashian with a 1st century BC Egyptian gold coffin at the NY Metropolitan Museum of Art provided an essential clue toward determining that the coffin was looted and illegally sold.

Zoom lecture on Oct 27: “Old, but Still Topical: The Dispute Between Driver and Sayce on Biblical Archaeology,” by Hugh Williamson.

Zoom webinar on Nov 1: “Virtual Workshop: Jerusalem in Roman-Byzantine Times,” hosted by the Albright Institute with discussions in response to Jerusalem II: Jerusalem in Roman-Byzantine Times, edited by Katharina Heyden and Maria Lissek.

Author panel webinar on Nov 3, hosted by Eisenbrauns, with Seymour (Sy) Gitin, author of The Road Taken: An Archaeologist’s Journey to the Land of the Bible; Martin Heide and Joris Peters, authors of Camels in the Biblical World; and Larry G. Herr, Douglas R. Clark, and Lawrence T. Geraty, authors of The 2004 Season at Tall al ‘Umayri and Subsequent Studies.

Zoom lecture on Nov 4: “Guarding Archaeology: Everyday Labour in the British Mandate Department of Antiquities,” by Sarah Irving.

Zoom lecture on Nov 11: “Work and Worth: Women’s Household Activities in Ancient Israel,” by Carol Meyers.

Robert Mullins is interviewed on Patheos about his archaeological work in Israel and his new book, Atlas of the Biblical World.

Ferrell Jenkins writes about his “longest trip,” the 66-year journey with his wife that ended earlier this month.

Do all roads lead to Rome? It’s a little complicated.

ASOR has dozens of digital maps of the ancient world available for free use.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, Ted Weis, A.D. Riddle, Paleojudaica, Explorator, BibleX

About the BiblePlaces Blog

The BiblePlaces Blog provides updates and analysis of the latest in biblical archaeology, history, and geography. Unless otherwise noted, the posts are written by Todd Bolen, PhD, Professor of Biblical Studies at The Master’s University.


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