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Bryan Windle identifies the top three reports in biblical archaeology in December.

Funding has been allocated to install a new, retractable floor in the Colosseum of Rome. The restored version will include replicas of trapdoors, lifts and other mechanical elements.

Michael Arnold explains how Phoenicia’s banking and commerce allowed them to thrive in the Mediterranean world for a millennium.

A new project is examining the impact of dams on archaeology and heritage in the Middle East and North Africa.

New: Jerusalem and Other Holy Places as Foci of Multireligious and Ideological Confrontation, edited by Pieter B. Hartog, Shulamit Laderman, Vered Tohar, and Archibald L.H.M. van Wieringen

New: M. Campeggi, Karkemish. Report on the Investigations in the Area of the Halaf Kilns at Yunus, by M. Campeggi (fascicle for purchase; download free)

New: Zoara, the Southern Ghor of Jordan: A Guide to the Landscape and Heritage of the Lowest Place on Earth, by Konstantinos D. Politis (open access)

Francesco M. Benedettucci has created a very extensive listing of internet resources on the archaeology of Jordan. The latest updates are provided on his Academia page.

Mark Wilson has published an article in Adalya: “The Discovery of a Menorah in Attalia (Kaleici, Antalya) and its Significance for Jewish Communities in Pamphylia” (pdf).

Online lecture on Jan 5: Ido Koch will be speaking on “One Hundred Years of Assyrian Colonialism,” from the campaigns of Tiglath-pileser III to Ashurbanipal. To receive the Zoom link, write to write to [email protected].

Online lecture on Jan 14: Why are the Dead Sea Scrolls so Sensational?, by James Charlesworth

“Alex Joffe, JP Dessel, and Rachel Hallote announce a new podcast, This Week in the Ancient Near East. Recent episodes feature discussions of the role of a comet in ushering in plant and animal domestication, the discovery of cannabis and frankincense in a Judean temple, an Iron Age figurine suggested to depict the face of God, and other new and interesting finds.” Listen or subscribe on Podbean, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.

The latest on Thin End of the Wedge podcast: Daniel Nicky: Teaching Mesopotamia through music.

In a flashy new video, Aren Maeir invites you to join his team in excavating the Philistine city of Gath this coming summer.

Mike Beall and Mike Markowitz provide a tour of coins of the Bible in a 33-minute video conversation.

Carl Rasmussen gives some suggestions for enjoying what he considers to be the most beautiful museum in Athens: The New Acropolis Museum.

HT: Agade, Explorator, Ted Weis, Arne Halbakken, Paleojudaica, Ferrell Jenkins

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Archaeologists excavating a commercial market in Baalbek found a mosaic from the Roman period.

Though archaeologists have found some 80 thermopolia in Pompeii, they have only now (apparently) completely excavated an entire one. This article has lots of photos.

The Dead Cities, also called the ‘Forgotten Cities,’ are a series of ancient towns, monuments, and settlements located in North-Western Syria on the Aleppo plateau.”

A study has determined that Egyptian mummied baboons came from the area of modern Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, and Yemen, suggesting that this was the area of ancient Punt.

In photos: The forgotten Nubian pyramids of Sudan

“Hidden beneath the sands of the Arabian Peninsula lie secrets dating back thousands of years that tell the story of the people of Arabia.”

Epic Iran is an exhibit opening in London in February that will showcase 5,000 years of Iranian culture.

The latest British Museum ancient city travel guide features the amazing Persepolis in the year 500 BC.

CNN looks at the history of the mausoleum of Augustus as preparations are made to open it as a tourist site in March.

New: The Royal Inscriptions of Sargon II, King of Assyria (721–705 BC), by Grant Frame. Use NR20 for 30% off.

New: The Restoration of the Nativity Church in Bethlehem, edited By Claudio Alessandri.

Aren Maeir’s recent lecture on Philistine Gath is online.

Daniel Master will be lecturing on Jan 7 by Zoom on the Philistines in an event hosted by The Museum of the Bible.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Explorator, Ted Weis

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Archaeologists have found a ritual bath from the first century at the traditional site of the Garden of Gethsemane.

Palestinian farmers have discovered a Hasmonean fortress that can be explored but not excavated.

Archaeologists have recreated a realistic ancient floor from the courts of the Jerusalem temple in Herod’s day.

“A unique Byzantine-era blessing token featuring baby Jesus was recently unveiled by the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.”

A new study in dental calculus reveals that “that ancient Mediterranean civilizations were importing everything from chickens to black pepper and vanilla from as far away as India and Indonesia.”

“An olive press in ancient Yodfat, in northern Israel, sheds light on the role of olive oil in Jews’ lives 2,000 years ago” (Haaretz premium).

“Long Live King David” is a new 1-hour documentary featuring Israel Finkelstein, Yossi Garfinkel, and Eilat Mazar.

Rami Arav recently discussed a pair of spooning skeletons he excavated at et-Tell, a Geshurite city near biblical Bethsaida.

Aren Maeir shares photos from his recent visit to the Museum of the Philistine Culture in Ashdod.

Gideon Avni will be lecturing on Jan 6 at 5pm GMT by Zoom on “Jerusalem between Late Antiquity and Early Islam—The Creation of a Multicultural City.” An announcement is not yet posted online, but you can register at the email address on this page.

The Carta Jerusalem Bible Reference Collection (13 vols) for Logos Bible Software ships soon.

Recordings of 2020 lectures for the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society are available on their website.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Explorator

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An intact oil lamp from the Hasmonean period was discovered on the Siloam/Pilgrimage Road in the City of David.

An oil lamp workshop from the 4th century AD, first found in the 1930s, has been rediscovered at Beth Shemesh.

“A complete rare, early Islamic-era oil lamp workshop from ancient Tiberias on the shores of the Sea of Galilee has gone on display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.”

Renovation works at the “Tower of David” in Jerusalem is leading to new discoveries.

Archaeologists conducting salvage digs in Jaffa over the last decade discovered a baby buried in a jar, Phoenician burials, Hellenistic farms, a Byzantine winepress, and more. Haaretz provides a summary; the full issue of Atiqot is available here.

Excavations in Amman, Jordan, have uncovered Roman baths and a crematorium near the city’s amphitheater.

Haaretz reports on the Herodian palace at Macherus where  archaeologists believe that have located the place where Salome danced before Antipas.

This article from April has some additional information and photos about the work of Ken Dark in Nazareth.

Chris McKinny is interviewed on Windows to the Bible. Part 1 looks at the story of David and Goliath (and more), and part 2 focuses on Saul’s death on Mount Gilboa and its aftermath.

The list of speakers and topics has been released for the Jerusalem University College’s online seminar.

Craig Dunning shares his thoughts on the new 1-2 Corinthians volume in the Photo Companion to the Bible series.

Yesterday Dr. Eugene Merrill, an esteemed mentor of mine, celebrated 60 years of marriage to his beloved, Dr. Janet Merrill. Many people know of Dr. Merrill’s prolific writing ministry, his decades of teaching at DTS, and his wise leadership at ETS, but fewer people know how he faithfully loves and serves his wife daily. He is a model to be emulated in every way.

HT: Ted Weis, Agade, Joseph Lauer, Mark Hoffman, Explorator

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A seal impression of an official of King Jeroboam II has been discovered. It is a smaller version of the famous seal found at Megiddo in 1904 (and later lost).

An archaeologist has brought to light a menorah engraved in a Second Temple period tomb on the outskirts of Mukhmas (biblical Michmash), home of Jonathan the Hasmonean. The press release is here, and a journal article is available here.

Authorities are opening several new areas to visitors to Herodium, including the arched stairway, foyer, and private theater.

The underground excavations in Jerusalem took top prize for “Oddities of the Underground” at the International Tunneling and Underground Space Association Awards.

Israel21c photographs 10 eye-catching sculptures around Tel Aviv.

Wayne Stiles looks at traditional sites associated with Jesus’s flight to Egypt.

Bridges to the Bible has created their first series of videos, focusing on the communal culture of the biblical world.

Jerusalem University College will be hosting its first-ever online seminar on January 10 and 11. The event is free and open to the public.

Now available from ACOR (free pdfs): Archaeology in Jordan 2: 2018 and 2019 Seasons, edited by Pearce Paul Creasman, John D.M. Green, and China P. Shelton. This publication features over 50 reports on archaeological fieldwork, conservation initiatives, and publication projects in Jordan.

New: My Nine Lives: Sixty Years in Israeli and Biblical Archaeology, by William G. Dever

Favorably reviewed in the NY Times: A World Beneath the Sands: The Golden Age of Egyptology, by Toby Wilkinson.

Ferrell Jenkins has a lengthy, informative post about the problem of emperor worship faced by the seven churches in Revelation.

Leen Ritmeyer’s post on the synagogue of Capernaum includes a number of beautiful reconstruction drawings.

Wrapping up her long-distance internship with the PEF, Jade Dang explains how the maps of the Survey of Western Palestine provide a fascinating snapshot of history.

December is the perfect month for an archaeological biography on Herod the Great.

“Who Were the Maccabees, Really? Hannukah, the Hasmoneans and Jewish Memory,” A Conversation with Prof. Joseph Angel and Prof. Steven Fine, Dec 15, 11 am EST.

In asking why Jews today do not read a scroll for Hanukkah, David Golinkin recalls that historically the Scroll of Antiochus was read, but he proposes beginning a new custom by reading 1 Maccabees 1-4.

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

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Archaeologists working near Beit El have discovered an ancient play die dating to the Second Temple period.

Scholars continue to discuss whether Judean Pillar Figurines were depictions of Asherah, fertility figurines, apotropaic symbols, or something else.

An article in Discover Magazine looks at the religious motivations of some archaeological projects in the last century.

A Jewish arsonist attempted to set fire to the Church of All Nations at the Garden of Gethsemane.

Christianity Today interviews Christopher Rollston about forgeries of biblical antiquities.

Drawing on the research of Shmuel Safrai, Brad Gray explains the educational system in Jesus’s day.

Carl Rasmussen’s “Encountering the Holy Land” is now available on Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Android TV.

Leen Ritmeyer has created a new image collection illustrating the Roman destruction of the Temple Mount.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Agade, Explorator, Charles Savelle

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