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The Shelby White & Leon Levy Lod Mosaic Archaeological Center has been dedicated, and the featured mosaic has returned after a world tour. “This is the Rolls Royce . . . the most visually impressive mosaic we have found.”

Scott Stripling is on The Book and the Spade with an excavation report from this year’s dig at Shiloh.

John DeLancey shares photos from his week of excavating Tel Dan.

Five marble statues from the Roman period have been put on display at the Tel Ashkelon National Park nearly 100 years after they were first excavated.

Australian Catholic University is partnering with the Israel Museum to create an interactive virtual showcase that will make the museum’s collection accessible worldwide.

The Times of Israel looks at challenges to archaeological discovery in the Gaza Strip.

The 2002 issue of ‘Atiqot includes excavation reports on Nain, Akko, Avdat, and more.

The Sea of Galilee will be the first natural lake in the world to be filled with desalinated water. This article has a good bit of information about the lake’s water levels.

“Numerous goddess figurines, ritual objects, as well as rich iconography, demonstrate that goddess worship was extremely important in the life of Israelite faith.”

BAS Quarterly Virtual Lecture on Sept 15: “The Archaeology of Qumran 75 Years after the Discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls,” by Jodi Magness ($10).

Jerusalem University College has released its slate of fall online courses, including:

  • Biblical Archaeology I, with Chris McKinny and Kyle Keimer
  • Contexts of the Holy City, with Chandler Collins
  • Cultural Backgrounds of the Bible, with Oliver Hersey

Writing for Bible History Daily, Steve Notley celebrates the life of Emanuel Hausman, founder of Carta Jerusalem.

I was a guest this week on the TheologyMom video podcast with Krista Bontrager, talking about “5 times geography shapes our view of the Bible.” I don’t think I had ever made a “top 5” list like this before, and I enjoyed pulling it together.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, Explorator

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There’s a brand new excavation opportunity this summer at a site usually identified with Joshua’s hometown of Timnath Heres. The site of Kh. Tibna/Tel Timna has never before been excavated, and this July Dvir Raviv and Avraham Tendler of Bar Ilan University are launching an excavation and survey project in the western hill country of Ephraim.

I’m not sure if I can explain it, but I’ve long had a special attraction toward this site. Perhaps it is related to its beautiful location in the hills that enjoy the afternoon breezes from the Mediterranean. Perhaps it is owing to its remoteness—I have only visited once, and I don’t remember any of my friends or colleagues telling me that they had traveled there. Perhaps it is the fact that of all the places that Joshua could have chosen as his inheritance as one of the two faithful spies, he chose this site to spend his remaining years after the conquest (Josh 19:49-50).

Timnath-serah, Khirbet Tibnah, from east, tb071304492

Kh. Tibna, possibly biblical Timnath Heres

In any case, this summer is the first time that an archaeological spade will begin revealing the secrets of the site. Initial surveys indicate that the city was particularly important during the Iron Age II and the Early Roman periods. There is evidence of a Hellenistic-Hasmonean fortress, and the site may have been a regional capital in the time of Jesus.

The excavation runs from July 24 to August 19, and university credit is available for those interested. The cost of participating ($240/week) is much lower than at many other excavations ($500-$1000/week). They are also offering weekly lectures and fieldtrips. This might be the opportunity you’ve been looking for.

The expedition’s Facebook page is mostly in Hebrew, but you can see some photos there. See the graphic below for contact addresses.

Tel Timna 1

Tel Timna 2

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A nearly completely intact clay oil lamp from 2,300 years ago was found near a stone bath during recent conservation work at the Mount Gerizim National Park.”

Plans to construct a zip line near Haas Promenade south of Jerusalem’s Old City is facing criticism. There are also plans to build a pedestrian suspension bridge over the Hinnom Valley.

Zvi Koenigsberg argues that the discovery of the curse inscription supports his theory that the original “place that He will choose” was a temple on Mount Ebal.

Aren Maeir is interviewed in the History Channel of Israel’s “Whatever Happened to the Philistines?”

Zoom lecture on May 11: “Beer in Israel and the Ancient Near East: New Insights from Archaeology,” by Jennie Ebeling ($7).

Albright Institute hybrid workshop on May 12: “A Comparison of the Monastery at Tel Masos and Byzantine Monasteries in the Negev Desert,” by Rachel Bernstein. Register here.

Hybrid conference at Tel Aviv University on June 13: “Local and Regional Perspectives on Nomads in the Biblical World” (pdf schedule; Zoom link).

The early bird discount for the Infusion Bible Conference ends on June 3.

The latest free maps from Bible Mapper:

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, Charles Savelle

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A farmer in the Gaza Strip discovered the head of a stone statue that may depict the Canaanite goddess Anat. Or not.

“Archaeologists have for a long time unearthed clay pots in medieval Jerusalem. But now, a new study shows that some of them were likely ‘ancient hand grenades.’”

A new study of Dead Sea sediment shows how climate change in the past has affected the level of the lake and the settlement history of the region. The underlying journal article is here.

The Israeli Antiquities Authority is investigating claims that antiquities on the Temple Mount were destroyed in recent riots.

The City of David YouTube channel has released a tour of Warren’s Shaft and the Gihon Spring, including a visit to a cave currently under excavation.

The Museum of the Bible and DIVE (Digital Interactive Virtual Experiences) is hosting a virtual tour of the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron on May 11 ($20).

Leen Ritmeyer shares a number of reconstruction drawings of Capernaum’s octagonal church.

Bryan Windle shares ten thoughts on the lead curse tablet found on Mount Ebal.

Joel Kramer at Expedition Bible has just released a short video about the earliest mention of Yahweh on an ancient inscription found in Sudan. The video includes footage of Joel’s visit to the remote site.

Walking the Text has just announced an original television series called “The Sacred Thread.” The pilot episode has been completed, and you can watch the trailer here. They have some impressive footage.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, G. M. Grena

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Renovations at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher have revealed a medieval high altar that once stood in the center of the church.

A Byzantine-era mosaic floor from a Christian basilica in Nahariya has been restored and will be opened to the public. The 500-square meter mosaic includes 87 surviving medallions, with illustrations of flora, fauna, and scenes from everyday life. A video in Hebrew is here. BibleWalks has more photos of the church and the surrounding area.

A family hiking in the Harovit forest in central Israel discovered a beautiful mosaic from the Byzantine period.

The recently vandalized tomb of Joseph in Nablus has been restored.

Two girls were rescued when they accidentally entered a minefield in Nahal Tamar south of the Dead Sea.

Jodi Magness takes Amanda Borschel-Dan on a walking tour of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

The Museum of the Bible and DIVE (Digital Interactive Virtual Experiences) will be conducting a virtual tour of the Via Dolorosa on April 20 ($20).

The lead tablet found on Mount Ebal is the subject of discussion in the latest episode of the Biblical World podcast.

“After decades of laying beside the sacred lake at Luxor’s Karnak Temple, a team of Egyptian restorers and archaeologists succeeded in re-erecting the restored Hatshepsut’s obelisk.”

“German researchers have tracked down and documented hundreds of antiquities located in Berlin museums that were looted from the island of Samos, Greece.”

“Scientists have debated the reason why Bronze Age wall paintings at the ancient settlement of Akrotiri on the Greek island of Santorini depict monkeys that existed thousands of miles away in Asia.”

The Jerusalem Post has a short interview with a curator of the Museum of the Bible on the role of biblical archaeology.

Expedition Bible has launched a new YouTube channel. In the first video, Joel Kramer goes to Tell Deir Alla to discuss the Balaam inscription.

Roy Albag has created a number of reconstructions of sites in Israel, including the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Herodian Quarter’s palatial mansion, Solomon’s temple, and Herod’s palace in Jerusalem.

New release: Jerusalem and the Coastal Plain in the Iron Age and Persian Periods: New Studies on Jerusalem’s Relations with the Southern Coastal Plain of Israel/Palestine (c. 1200–300 BCE). Research on Israel and Aram in Biblical Times IV. Edited by Felix Hagemeyer (Mohr Siebeck, 119 €).

A number of Eilat Mazar’s publications are for sale, including her excavation reports of various sites in Jerusalem.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, A.D. Riddle, Alexander Schick

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“Work has begun on the reconstruction of some of the 50 massive marble columns of the basilica in the Ashkelon National Park as part of an overall facelift for the park, and next week the fourth [7.5-ton] pillar will be put in place.”

A volunteer group has begun cleaning up the archaeological sites in Tiberias in hopes of having a national park established for the ongoing protection of the ruins.

On the Mount Ebal curse tablet, Aren Maeir offers some initial thoughts. At Haaretz, Nir Hasson provides a general overview along with some criticisms of the artifact and questions about how it was uncovered and exported. Shawn Zelig Aster weighs in on the inscription’s possible significance. James Davila observes that if the claims are accurate, the amulet would be the earliest inscribed metal amulet by a good five centuries, but he thinks it unlikely that the inscription is a defixio amulet from the Persian period or later.

Biblical Archaeology Review assistant editor Nathan Steinmeyer gives a short video tour atop the walls of Jerusalem (5 minutes, with no 2x option).

“Imagine learning the Bible not as a religious exercise, but as local history. In Israeli public schools, that’s the reality.”

New release: The Jewish Quarter Excavations in the Old City of Jerusalem: Conducted by Nahman Avigad 1969-1982: Vol. VIII: Architecture and Stratigraphy: The Palatial Mansion: Areas F-2, P and P-2. Edited by Hillel Geva.

Hillel Geva has retired from director of the Israel Exploration Society, and Rona Avissar Lewis is now in charge.

“Giants in Judges” is the subject in the most recent episode of the Biblical World podcast with Chris McKinny and Kyle Keimer.

HT: Agade, Arne Halbakken, Alexander Schick, Joseph Lauer

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