Weekend Roundup, Part 1

A sceptre about 3,200 years old made of copper and coated in silver leaf found in the biblical city of Lachish could be the first evidence of life-sized ‘divine statues’ in the Levant.”

Excavations of the underground Siloam Street have been (or were) halted after engineering instruments detected that the ground was moving.

Contrary to previous belief, chalkstone vessels continued to be used in the Galilee for several centuries after the destruction of the Jerusalem temple.

“Israeli archaeologists have published a 360-degree analysis of a rural, affluent Christian town in the Galilee that was most likely destroyed by Persian invaders in 613.”

Analysis of bird remains excavated in Jerusalem confirmed that specific species of birds – pigeons, doves – were indeed sacrificed in the Temple as the biblical text suggests. The story is based on an article in the latest issue of BASOR.

Roman and Byzantine mosaic floors provide insights into how humans restrained animals by the use of cages, ropes, knots, other tethering devices.

“A large number of archaeological sites in the West Bank, including many that are part of Jewish history and tradition, will be placed or remain under Palestinian control according to US President Donald Trump’s peace plan.”

An Explainer piece by Rossella Tercatin in the Jerusalem Post reveals who is in control of the archaeological sites in the West Bank.

Why is the Israel Museum still closed?

Ferrell Jenkins shares some photos and insights about the Judean wilderness.

Daniel Santacruz shares a dozen photos of wildflowers he took near his home in Maale Adumim.

This week we released volume #20 in the Pictorial Library of the Bible Lands. The Western Mediterranean collection focuses on Roman sites in Gaul (France) and Hispania (Spain) and includes more than 1,400 photos and 25 PowerPoints. The sale price ($25) ends on Tuesday.

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

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Weekend Roundup, Part 1

For only the 4th time, a Bar Kochba coin has been found in Jerusalem, possibly brought there by a Roman soldier. This article has nice photos, and this article has a short video.

The Jerusalem Post surveys how archaeology in Israel has been affected by governmental actions in response to COVID-19.

El-Araj, a good candidate for Bethsaida, has been flooded by this winter’s rains and the rise of the Sea of Galilee.

Critics are claiming that construction by the Palestinian Authority is destroying remains at Tel Aroma, the northernmost Hasmonean fortress in Samaria.

“Exploratory drilling has started just outside the Old City for a project to extend the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem fast rail to the Old City’s Dung Gate — the main entrance to the Western Wall.”

The Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem has filed a lawsuit demanding closure of Ein Yael outdoor museum.

Four fragments of Dead Sea Scroll fragments that were thought to be blank are not.

A new excavation at Petra will focus on the lower part of the Treasury as well as nearby tombs and facades.

A new burial chamber has been discovered at the mummification workshop complex of the 26th Dynasty at Saqqara.”

“A stone chest excavated by archaeologists near Deir el-Bahari and the temple of Hatshepsut could lead archaeologists . . . to a royal tomb.”

Egypt’s decision to move ancient objects from their original setting in Luxor to Cairo’s Tahrir Square is stirring controversy.

“The excavation team working on the site of the ancient city of Patara, near the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya, has unearthed a new inscription in the ancient theater.”

“A small sinkhole that appeared next to the Pantheon in Rome has enabled archaeologists to examine the original Roman paving that was laid when the Pantheon was built by Marcus Agrippa around 27-25 BC.”

The traditional tomb of Esther and Mordechai in Hamadan, Iran, was set afire yesterday.

David Moster has created a new video on “Biblical Pandemics.”

The Temple Mount Sifting Project Symposium on May 24 features eight lectures via Zoom on the archaeology of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. Registration is required.

Francis I. Andersen died recently. His breadth of publications is remarkable.

Thomas O. Lambdin died on May 8.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Joseph Lauer, Explorator, BibleX

Ecbatana tomb of Esther and Mordecai, tb0510183126

Traditional tomb of Esther and Mordecai in Hamadan (biblical Ecbatana) before attack

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Weekend Roundup, Part 1

The Western Wall plaza reopened this week, with worshippers limited in number, required to wear masks and to have their temperature checked.

A new excavation has determined that Solomon’s Pools were built by the Romans in the 2nd century AD. The academic report was published in Palestine Exploration Quarterly last year.

“The Dead Sea Scrolls in Recent Scholarship” is a 4-day virtual conference hosted by NYU that begins on May 17. Registration is free and required for each day.

Thieves have plundered and destroyed remains at Khirbet Astunah as well as a number of other sites in the West Bank.

Bill Barrick has written an interested and well-illustrated post on the ancient city of Jezreel.

King Saul appears to be the theme of the week, as Ferrell Jenkins shares photos of Gibeah, Beth Shean and flowers on Mount Gilboa.

Shmuel Browns shares photos from a recent visit he made to Samaria-Sebaste.

Scott Stripling is interviewed in the second installment of “Discussions with the Diggers.”

Walking the Text has created a number of study guides for recent series, including Psalm 23, The Lord’s Prayer, and The Sabbath.

Patrick D. Miller died last week.

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

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Weekend Roundup

Bryan Windle has created a list of the top 10 discoveries of the decade for biblical archaeology.

Amanda Borschel-Dan identifies her top 10 Holy Land archaeology stories of 2019.

“A hoard of seven ancient [7th-century AD] gold coins was found hidden inside a small clay juglet during a dig in the area of Yavne.”

A Hasmonean fortress not far from Beit El is “suffering from robbery and neglect.”
Melissa S. Cradic and Vanessa Linares consider why vanilla was used in a tomb at Megiddo.

The discovery of “The Book of Two Ways,” a precursor to “The Book of the Dead,” is the subject of a NY Times article on what is called the oldest copy of the first illustrated book.

The British chef Heston Blumenthal created a meal inspired by foods discovered in the Pompeii destruction.

Now online: the schedule for the conference at Tel Aviv University on “Mass Deportations: To and From the Levant during the Age of Empires.”

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer

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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

Leen Ritmeyer has written an informative and well-illustrated post on the significance of Shiloh and the recent excavations. Ritmeyer’s reconstruction drawings are available for purchase in his image library, including his new drawing of Shiloh.

A government committee in Jerusalem has authorized the construction of a cable car to the Dung Gate.

A $37 million visitors’ center has been opened at the Huleh Valley Nature Reserve.

Anthony Ferguson shares 5 surprising details about the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls from Weston Fields’ history.

“The only project agreed on by Israel and Jordan that could possibly, in the foreseeable future, help save the Dead Sea from further shrinkage is stuck in a byzantine web of politics, bilateral tensions and Israeli foot-dragging.” This is a well-researched article on a subject frequently in the news.

Excavations have resumed at Tell Ziraa in Jordan, with the recent discovery of an Iron Age house with several dozen loom weights.

Colin Cornell considers whether the Jews living in Elephantine worshipped a goddess in addition to Yahweh.

Egyptian authorities have announced the discovery of a cemetery in Ismailia that dates to the Roman, Greek, and pre-dynastic eras.

The October issue of the Newsletter of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities is online.

History Magazine has the story of how Howard Carter almost missed King Tut’s tomb.

Two vast reproduction Assyrian statues were unveiled in Iraq on Thursday as part of a project designed to restore the cultural heritage of Mosul.”

Wayne Stiles explains the significance of the Arch of Titus and the relevance of an olive tree planted beside it.

“A team of international scholars versed in culinary history, food chemistry and cuneiform studies has been recreating dishes from the world’s oldest-known recipes.”

In a 10-minute video, David McClister explains who Flavius Josephus was.

On sale for Kindle:

Tim Bulkeley has died. He began his biblioblog in 2004 and was a regular encouragement to me over the years. He will be missed.

HT: Agade, Charles Savelle, Keith Keyser

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Weekend Roundup

The Tel Moza website gives details for joining the spring excavation as well as background about recent discoveries.

A family volunteering at an excavation in Lower Galilee discovered remains of an iron industry from the 6th century AD.
Some of the latest discoveries from Shiloh are described in a somewhat disjointed article in the Jerusalem Post.
The “Tomb of the Kings” in Jerusalem has been reopened to visitors (again) by France, which owns the site. Access is allowed only to the outer courtyard.

Naama Sukenik explains how new technology is being used to provide insights into counterfeiting dyes in the ancient textile industry.
Mark Barnes looks at the significance of the Mount of Olives in the Bible, including some interesting comparisons and contrasts between David’s and Jesus’s time there.
Who is Gallio and why is he so important to New Testament history? Bryan Windle explains in a well-illustrated article.

The “world’s oldest natural pearl” has been discovered in excavations on an island near Abu Dhabi.

“Ancient Assyrian stone tablets represent the oldest known reports of auroras, dating to more than 2,500 years ago.”

“Life at the Dead Sea” is a new exhibit about the cultural history of the lowest place on the planet that recently opened at the State Museum of Archaeology Chemnitz.

An exhibit of Egypt’s southern neighbor, “Ancient Nubia Now,” is on display until January 2020 at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Sculptures from the Torlonia Collection will go on public display for the first time ever at the Capitoline Museums in Rome beginning in March.
The Washington Pentateuch is going on display at the Museum of the Bible.
The archaeological museum in Basra is adding English labels in hopes of welcoming more international visitors.
Jaafar Jotheri provides an overview of excavations in Iraq in the last year.
A conference will be held at the Louvre on November 25 on Tappeh Sialk: A Key Site for the Archaeology of Iran.
Farrell Monaco will be lecturing on “Dining with the Romans” at the Walters Art Museum on November 10.
4,500 tourists watched the sun illuminate the face of Ramses II in the temple of Abu Simbel.
Wayne Stiles is leading a tour of Israel (and pre-tour to Egypt) in October 2020.
There will be no roundup next weekend.
HT: Ted Weis, Mike Harney, Joseph Lauer, Keith Keyser
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Weekend Roundup

The latest sensational claim in biblical archaeology is that Kiriath Jearim is Emmaus.

“Archaeologists have discovered a new sanctuary preceding the ancient city of Troy in Turkey’s western Çanakkale province.”

156 cuneiform tablets, brought illegally to the UK, are being returned to Iraq with the help of the British Museum.

One of the big controversies in biblical geography in recent years is the location of Bethsaida, with two candidates. Bryan Windle provides a good survey of the criteria for Bethsaida along with an evaluation of the first candidate, et-Tell.

Mark Barnes has some good observations in the similarities and differences between Elisha’s and Jesus’s raisings of boys on either side of the hill of Moreh.

Megan Sauter explains the value of inscriptions in understanding worship in the Samaritan temple on Mount Gerizim.

The two most popular national parks for Israelis this summer were Sachne and Nahal Senir.

Wayne Stiles has released a new book on Kindle: Top 10 Places in Jesus’ Life: Why They Matter in Yours.

Eisenbrauns has put thirteen of their most popular textbooks on sale.  

Joel Kramer is leading a study tour of Israel in March 2020.

Ferrell’s Favorite Foto #26 – Shepherds by Night

A tourist bought a shwarma in Jerusalem and when he returned home, he found that it cost him 10,100 shekels.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Ted Weis

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Weekend Roundup

A Times of Israel article discusses the newly deciphered Moabite inscription found an an altar from Ataroth.

With international tourism to Lebanon on the rise, there is a new interest in preserving the country’s cultural heritage.

Claudine Dauphin has been trying to figure out how Umm ar-Rasas, in the semi-arid steppe of central Jordan, was able to survive, including in the Byzantine period when it included 16 Byzantine churches.

The July issue of the Newsletter of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities is now available.

Bryan Windle selects the top three reports in biblical archaeology for the month of August.

The Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society has posted an archaeological report for August 2019. Future lectures are also listed.

Jimmy Hardin is interviewed on The Book and the Spade on the controversial topic of state formation in the 10th century.

On the 250th anniversary of Napoleon’s birth, the Jerusalem Post looks at the French general’s visit to the Holy Land.

Alex Joffe wonders what the ancient Near East would look like without the year 1919.

Appian Media is close to meeting two fundraising goals for developing new video resources, but the deadline is today.

Two of John Beck’s geography books have just been released as audiobooks: Land without Borders and Along the Road.

John DeLancey is offering a free online course called “Biblical Israel – Learning the ‘Playing Board’ of the Bible.” You can watch the preview here or see a replay of the first session here.

Carl Rasmussen shares photos of Domus Galilaeae, a Catholic retreat center near the Sea of Galilee that is normally not open to visitors.

Ferrell Jenkins posts a nice color photo of winnowing grain at Shechem.

New: Atlas of the Biblical World, by Mark Vitalis Hoffman and Robert A. Mullins. Mark shares the details on his excellent blog.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer

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Weekend Roundup, Part 1

Writing for Christianity Today, Steven Notley provides the background and evidence for identifying el-Araj as the New Testament city of Bethsaida.

Sergio and Rhoda have released a new video about Bethsaida and “The Church of the Apostles in Galilee.”

A mosaic floor in a church at Hippos apparently depicts Jesus’s multiplication of the fish and loaves (Haaretz premium).

NPR: Here’s what tourists might see if they were allowed to visit Gaza…


Smithsonian Magazine: Two tour guides—one Israel, one Palestinian—offer a new way to see the Holy Land.

The first post in Ferrell Jenkins’s new series “Agreement of Book and Land” is from Psalm 1:1-3.

Israel’s Good Name made a couple of evening trips to the Rishon LeZion sand dunes where he found gazelle, scorpions, and vipers.

New from DeGruyter: The Late Bronze and Early Iron Ages of Southern Canaan, edited by A. M. Maeir, Itzhaq Shai, and Chris McKinny.

The grandma whose congresswoman granddaughter refused to visit lives in the town once known as Upper Beth Horon.

HT: Agade, Tom Powers, Lois Tverberg

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Weekend Roundup, Part 1

Madeleine Mumcuoglu and Yosef Garfinkel explain how a shrine model discovered at Khirbet Qeiyafa may help us to better understand Solomon’s Temple.

Samuel Dewitt Pfister asks whether the latest claim about Bethsaida and the Church of the Apostles should be trusted.

ABR has announced the discovery of three altar horns in their excavations at Shiloh this summer. (Press release not online as of this writing.)

Applications for excavating at Shiloh in 2020 with the Associates for Biblical Research are now being accepted.

“Hamas has done little to protect Gaza’s antiquities and in some cases actively destroys them.”

Though rare and significant, few people know about a First Temple period cistern discovered near the Western Wall of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.

Joe Zias looks at ancient crucifixion, considering the difficulties of the lone archaeological bone and arguing that crosses were shaped as a T.

Clyde Billington reviews the latest archaeological news on this week’s The Book and the Spade.

A slideshow/video on the work of M. G. Kyle at Tell Beit Mirsim’s excavations from 1926 to 1932 is on YouTube. The photos have captions, and if you read faster, you can advance more quickly through parts. The video clips may be the earliest from an excavation in the Holy Land. Near the end, there are scenes from a grain harvest as well as footage from Jerusalem in 1930.

HT: Ted Weis, Agade, G. M. Grena

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