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Archaeologists working at et-Tell (aka Bethsaida) have been uncovering an 11th-10th century BC wall with towers this season.

The excavation season has concluded at el-Araj (aka Bethsaida) and daily updates have been posted here. An excerpt from the last day: “This year we demonstrated that the settlement was widespread, and not limited to a small area. This was no mean city. What began around 30 CE as Herod Philip’s transformation of a Jewish fishing village into a polis, evolved over the centuries into a wealthy community.”

Excavations this summer at Huqoq revealed mosaics in the synagogue’s north aisle, including a scene of the Israelite spies, a youth leading an animal, and a fragmentary Hebrew inscription reading
“Amen selah.”

Archaeologists are drawing conclusions on Christian-Muslim relations in the 7th century on the basis of a brass weight discovered at Hippos (Sussita).

The work at Tel Burna is still humming along.

From Aren Maeir’s posts, the excavators at Gath keep having one great day after another.

The wheeled cart depicted at the Capernaum synagogue is not the ark of the covenant.

Sixteen images of Qumran taken by Philip R. Davies in 1970–71 are posted online.

A new exhibit focused on life in New Testament times has opened in the Terra Sancta Museum in Jerusalem.

A rare coin from the fourth year of the Jewish Revolt has been discovered in debris from the City of David.

A complex rescue operation salvaged pottery from the Second Temple period in western Galilee.
Israel’s Good Name visited the Carmel region, with stops at Ramat HaNadiv, the Carmel Caves, Dor HaBonim, Tel Dor, and more.

The Temple Mount Sifting Project is running out of funds, and they now have a quadruple match grant.

New: A Walk to Caesarea, by Joseph Patrich. (Available only in Israel, apparently.)

Ephraim Stern’s life is remembered by Hillel Geva in the current issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

Ada Yardeni died recently.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Agade, Ted Weis, Charles Savelle, Mike Harney

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The Roman villa of a rich fisherman was discovered in Halicarnassus in southwestern Turkey.

Remains of child sacrifice have been found in a Bronze Age cemetery in Turkey.

The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History in Tel Aviv is designed like Noah’s Ark. It opens on Monday.

Week Four brought the Shiloh excavations to an end this summer, but an elite team returned for some conservation work.

The first week of excavations is over at Gath and Tel Burna. John DeLancey was volunteering at Gath and he shares his experience. (All of these links will take you to the most recent post at the time of this writing.)

On the ASOR Blog, James Fraser writes about dolmens in the Levant.

The new archaeology wing at the Terra Sancta Museum in Jerusalem opened this week.

Assyrian king Ashurbanipal is the focus of an exhibit at the British Museum that runs from November to February. Tickets are £17.

Gershon Edelstein, founder of the Ein Yael Living Museum, died this week.

Adrian Hennigan suggests 9 places tourists should avoid this summer, either because they are hot or crowded (Haaretz premium).

Wayne Stiles considers the historical and spiritual significance of Arad.

Israel’s Good Name shares his trip to the northern Golan.

A guy goes to a garage sale in Minnesota and buys some old negatives. It turns out they are originals taken in Jerusalem in 1858!

Mark Hoffman is very impressed with the ESV Archaeology Study Bible.

The Everlasting Nation Museum opens this summer in Hixson, Tennessee. It includes exhibits of Abraham’s tents, a Jewish wedding, a replica of the Western Wall, and an exact reproduction of Corrie Ten Boom’s “hiding place.”

Ferrell Jenkins has written 2000(!) posts in the last decade or so, and he takes the occasion to reflect back on 50 years of travel “from Ararat to Patmos” and beyond. His work is greatly appreciated!

There will be no weekend roundup for the next week or two.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Agade, Charles Savelle, Steven Anderson

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Brian Peterson reviews the events and discoveries of Week 2 of the Shiloh excavations.

Scott Stripling is interviewed about the excavations at Shiloh on The Land of Israel Network (34 min).

Ferrell Jenkins looks at the importance of Shiloh, the longtime location of the tabernacle.


The Times of Israel has a lengthy follow-up on the study that suggests that the carbon-14 calibration scale for Israel is faulty.

ASOR has posted an update on the severe damage to the site of Ebla in Syria.

Israel is opening a new national natural history museum in Tel Aviv.

Israel’s Good Name went on a tour of the Tel Aviv Zoological Research Institute, a place not normally open to the public.

Aren Maeir has posted the lecture and field trip schedule for the Gath excavations.

The American Center of Oriental Research (ACOR) in Amman has posted 9,000 low- to medium- resolution watermarked images from Jordan and the surrounding region, including many taken by Jane Taylor.

Wayne Stiles writes about an important event at the Water Gate in Jerusalem.

Ron Traub writes about the Baram synagogue near the northern border of Israel.

Leon Mauldin is visiting Rome and sharing photos.

Mitchell First has written an article on “The Earliest Surviving Texts of the Torah” for Jewish Link of New Jersey.

The Vatican Library has made 15,000 manuscripts available online, with another 65,000 to come in the next couple of decades.

The ESV Archaeology Study Bible has some recent video posts of interest:

“The Biblical Archaeology Society is now accepting applications for the 2018 Joseph Aviram, Yigael Yadin, and Hershel Shanks fellowships that allow scholars to attend the annual meetings” of ASOR and SBL. (The announcement mentions that Aviram, at age 102, is still the president of IES!)

Norma Dever died on Thursday. William Dever writes an obituary that may surprise you.

HT: Charles Savelle, Agade, Joseph Lauer

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A glazed ceramic head from Tel Abel Beth Maacah that dates to the 9th century BC went on display last week at the Israel Museum.

Scholars have mapped ancient Gerasa using aerial photography and airborne laser scanning.

“For the first time ever, archaeologists have been able to cast the complete figure of a horse that perished in the volcanic eruption at Pompeii.” Several horses were found in the stable, apparently unable to evacuate in time.

A newly unearthed house at Pompeii has many colorful frescoes of animals and has been dubbed the “House of Dolphins.”

A tourist was caught trying to steal some pottery and marble from a house in Pompeii.

A skeleton discovered in northern Italy may provide the second known archaeological evidence of Roman crucifixion.

The ancient Greek city of Bargylia in southeastern Turkey is now up for sale for $8.3 million.

The Levantine Ceramics Project is a crowd-sourced tool designed to make it easier for archaeologists to share information about all things ceramic.

The Getty Museum has acquired a fine, 2nd-century AD Roman marble portrait bust of a man.

A Roman mosaic stolen from Syria was seized at the Palmdale, California, residence of the accused smuggler.

“Armstrong International Cultural Foundation will host the world premiere of ‘Seals of Isaiah and King Hezekiah Discovered,’ an archaeological exhibition, from June 10 through Aug. 19.”

Scholars in Israel using radiocarbon dating for the Iron Age may have a faulty calibration curve.

“We are pleased at the University of Bologna to announce the creation of the new didactic channel in English language ‘OrientLab’ on YouTube.com, which has educational purposes for the archaeological community working in the Near East and beyond. The OrientLab videos intend to serve as a guide for beginners on specific topics.”

The “first-century fragment of Mark” that has long been rumored about has been published and dated to the second or third centuries. Though not as early as hoped, it is still likely the earliest copy of Mark’s gospel.

The video interview of Cyrus Gordon now has an indexed transcript. (I found watching the interview worth my time, and I’m grateful now to have a transcript.)

The contents of the July/August issue of Biblical Archaeology Review is online.

Here is an updated list of all the free Loeb volumes.

BibleWorks is closing.

Philip Davies, Professor Emeritus at the University of Sheffield, died on Thursday.

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

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Archaeologists have discovered the oldest port in Iraq, a large harbor built by the Sumerians circa 2000 BC.

A US organization has kept the traditional tomb of Nahum in Iraq from collapsing.

Scholars have identified an ancient Greek medical text by Galen that was later covered by a 10th-century copy of the Psalms.

Fifteen years after 15,000 antiquities were looted from the Baghdad Museum, half of them have still not been located. Many have likely been sold on the antiquities market.

Mapping Mesopotamian Monuments is a topographical survey of rock reliefs, historical monuments and architecture that covers all historical periods from ancient to modern.”

Touring Jordan: Ferrell Jenkins shares a photo of the Jabbok River and Leon Mauldin posts shots of Tell es-Saidiyeh (Zarethan?) and a sunset over the Dead Sea.  

Apollo Magazine reports on the famous mosaics of Medeba.

In celebration of the acquisition of CDL Press, Eisenbrauns is offering a 30% discount on all volumes in the Cornell University Studies in Assyriology and Sumerology series. Use discount code CUSAS.

Clyde Billington is on The Book and the Spade this week discussing the Roman camp at Megiddo.

Aren Maeir was honored on his 60th birthday with a festschrift prepared for him by more than 100 contributors!

Professor Ephraim Stern, director of the Dor Project from 1980 to 2000, passed away Friday evening in Jerusalem.

James F. Strange has died.

HT: Agade, Charles Savelle, PaleoJudaica

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“The Legio camp [at Megiddo] is the only full-scale imperial Roman legionary base found so far in the eastern empire” and to date they’ve unearthed a monumental gate, a dedicatory inscription, and the cremated remains of a Roman soldier.

The first royal winery of King Herod was discovered at the Herodium. The story does not seem to be in the English press yet, but you can read a Google-translated version of the Israel Nature and Parks

Authority story here. UPDATE: I’ve posted Joseph Lauer’s improved translation here.

Some Israelis are accusing authorities of not protecting Herod’s palace at Jericho from destruction caused by the nearby building of homes.

A new exhibit at the Haifa Hostel tells the story of ancient Castra on the slopes of Mount Carmel.

A new exhibit at the Hecht Museum at the University of Haifa documents the transition of the city of Sussita (Hippos) from pagan to Christian.

The ASOR Blog has a well-illustrated piece on the Ottoman and Turkish history of Majdal Yābā (aka Migdal Aphek, Mirabel).

Leen Ritmeyer explains how Jerusalem’s garbage dump refutes the theory that the temple was built over the Gihon Spring.

New from Wayne Stiles: How to follow God by pondering amazing bird migrations in Israel.

Now published: The Elephant Mosaic Panel in the Synagogue at Huqoq, by Karen Britt and Ra’anan
Boustan. Authorized photos are available at National Geographic. Dr. Britt will lecture on the subject on Feb. 21 at UNC Asheville.

At The Book and the Spade, John DeLancey talks with Gordon Govier about Excavation Plans for 2018.

Israel’s Good Name describes his experience in an archaeological survey of Tel Goded (Moresheth-Gath?) in part 1 and part 2.

With 3.6 million tourists in 2017, Israel hit a new record. This was a 25% increase over 2016. For some trends in tourism between 1990 and 2011, see this booklet.

Israel saw lots of rain yesterday, but probably not the “100 inches” claimed in this article’s subhead.

Lawrence Stager died at the age of 74 after a fall at his home. He directed the excavations at Ashkelon for 30 years.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Keith Keyser, Charles Savelle

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