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An Israeli official claims that Turkey has agreed to return the Siloam Inscription to Israel. This inscription was discovered and removed from Hezekiah’s Tunnel in the 1880s. Those who know the history here will believe it when they see it.

“Three 1,500-year-old ‘magic’ incantation bowls and hundreds of other rare artifacts — some dating to the biblical period — were seized from an apartment in an ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem neighborhood under suspicion of illegal antiquities trade.”

Lawrence Schiffman suggests that Manetho’s records give evidence that the Israelite exodus was preserved in Egypt’s historical memory.

A new book in German gives the history of the Gihon/Siloam water system. The publisher’s website has a nice summary in English.

The Huqoq excavations were recently featured in National Geographic’s “100 Wonders of the World.”

I’m not quite sure why the Jerusalem Post published this short piece on Magdala.

A new documentary entitled “The Samaritans: A Biblical People,” by Moshe Alafi and Steven Fine, will be presented on March 27 at the Yeshiva University Museum. It will presumably be made more broadly available sometime after.

Save the date – May 18: “The First International Academic Conference  on New Studies in Temple Mount Research Hosted by The Menachem Begin Heritage Center, Jerusalem. Lectures will be in Hebrew or English, and the conference will be broadcast live. I don’t see details online yet (but see this), but speakers include Aharon Tavger, Tehilla Lieberman, David Gurevich, Avraham Solomon, Rina Avner, Peretz Reuven, Yuval Baruch, Dror Czitron, Joseph Patrich, David Jacobson, Nikos Kokkinos, Zachi Dvira, Gabriel Barkay, and others.

Logos has announced a number of solid Carta reference works available at pre-publication discount, including:

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

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A new study authored in part by Chris McKinny and published in the Journal of Biblical Literature identifies the millo of Jerusalem with the fortifications around the Gihon Spring. The JBL article requires purchase, but Bible History Daily has a summary.

Henri Gourinard is writing a guidebook on the Emmaus Trail, and he provides a brief introduction to the trail for Bible History Daily.

A new Israeli reality TV show named “My Trip is Better” will pit five tour guides against each other in a five-day competition.

“Location, location, location” – Brad Gray explains the significance of geography in his “Lenses of Context” series for Walking the Text. The 20-minute episode includes many photos and maps.

Foreign archaeologists are returning to Gaza to restore archaeological sites and to train Palestinians in conservation (3-minute video).

Thousands of rare antiquities were confiscated . . . in a complex pre-dawn operation in the Nablus area on Monday following a months-long undercover investigation.”

NY Times: “For 10 days, a photojournalist drove across Jordan from north to south, visiting several of the country’s most treasured sites. Here’s what he saw.”

The Bible Mapper Blog has just posted its 100th map. The latest free maps include:

I join Henry Smith on the latest episode of Digging for Truth to talk about Queen Esther in Susa (25 min). In this first part of a two-part series, I describe the excavations of Susa, the layout of the city, and highlights of my visit to Iran.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, Explorator, Charles Savelle, Steve Ulrich, Keith Keyser

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Excavations at the “altar site” on Mount Ebal have uncovered an ancient amulet with Hebrew writing. There’s more about it in this lecture by Scott Stripling (beginning at about 34:38).

Zvi Koenigsberg recounts some of his story in working with Adam Zertal on the Mt. Ebal excavation, and the conclusion of the account provides more information about the recently discovered amulet.

Archaeologists are investigating a group of asphalt-coated skulls discovered in a cave in Nahal Hemer near the Dead Sea.

A 5th-century Byzantine church has been opened in Gaza after a three-year restoration project.

The Israeli government is allocating $3 million toward the preservation of archaeological sites in Judea and Samaria, with half of that allocated to reconstruction work at Sebastia (the ancient city of Samaria) and a significant amount to the winter palaces at Jericho.

Ruth Marks Eglash writes about the $50 million renovation project underway at Jerusalem’s Tower of David Museum, including the discovery that Suleiman’s Old City walls have no foundation.

Bryan Windle’s top 3 reports in biblical archaeology this month include two related to Egyptian pharaohs, a discovery on Mount Ebal, and a discoveries from a Jerusalem toilet.

Chris McKinny and Kyle Keimer discuss the geography of Judges in the latest episode of the Biblical World podcast.

Israel’s Good Name reports on a university trip to the site of Doq above Jericho and the Good Samaritan Museum. He includes many photos.

James Strange reflects on his work as an archaeologist and recent discoveries at Magdala. The story includes a 30-minute video interview.

Zoom webinar on Feb 10: “Tel Rehov: A Major Bronze and Iron Age City in the Jordan Valley,” with Amihai Mazar, Nava Panitz-Cohen, Nota Kourou, Naama Yahalom-Mack, and Robert Mullins.

Zoom webinar on Feb 20: “Excavations at Tel Gezer: A Personal Story,” with Sam Wolff.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a media blitz like that carried out by Andrew Lawler, author of Under Jerusalem. His latest story is on Christianity Today’s website.

There is something special about hiking in Israel.

Snow fell in Israel this week, from the Golan Heights to the hills around Jerusalem. The Times of Israel has photos. Haaretz (premium) has more.

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

Jewish Quarter snow

Snow in the Jewish Quarter and on the Mount of Olives. Photo by Miriam Siebenberg

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Jerusalem model at the Israel Museum. Photo by a museum guard.

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The discovery of bullae in Jerusalem indicates that at the time of Hezekiah there were two central treasuries, one a temple treasury and the other the royal treasury of Judah located at the “Royal Building” in the Ophel excavations. The underlying article will be posted soon at the website of the Jerusalem Journal of Archaeology, but is available now on Academia.

An analysis of remains found under a toilet south of ancient Jerusalem reveals that the people who used it were infected with a variety of parasites.

“Almost four miles of alleys in Jerusalem’s Old City were recently made wheelchair-friendly, while an innovative accessibility system for visually impaired people is also being installed after ten years of work.”

There is a new virtual tour of the City of David. To access it, you have to enter your email address, but once you are in, you can virtually walk around the tour areas of the City of David. I am more impressed with the 360-degree views than the very brief explanations given, but I do not know of anything comparable.

The Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society has announced its upcoming lectures to be held on Zoom:

  • Jan 20: Three Decades of Excavations at Bethsaida, by Rami Arav
  • Feb 17: New Light on Iron Age and Persian Period Jerusalem, by Yuval Gadot
  • Mar 15: Did Rabbis Write Down the Mishnah? Orality and Writing in the Jewish World in Late Antiquity, by Philip Alexander

Aren Maeir reflects on his work as an archaeologist in an interview in the Discussions with the Diggers series.

Israel’s Good Name reports on a couple of recent excursions in the vicinity of Givat Ze’ev in the territory of Benjamin.

Suzanne Singer, one of the original correspondents for Biblical Archaeology Review, has died in Jerusalem.

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

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Israel Nature and Parks Authority has created an educational farm in the Hinnom Valley, and some people aren’t happy about it.

Antiquities robbers have removed some steps and seating in the Roman amphitheater of Sebastia (ancient Samaria).

Jerusalem police arrested a man after a search of his home turned up a Hasmonean coin, a Hasmonean oil lamp, and a seal ring with Hebrew inscriptions.

Israel has returned to Egypt 95 artifacts illegally smuggled into Israel.

The Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem has ordered that there be no singing of Christmas carols in church on December 25.

Bryan Windle has written a well-researched, well-illustrated article on Bethlehem.

Jordan Ryan is the guest on The Book and the Spade, discussing architectural features of churches in the Holy Land.

“The Wisdom of Peers: The Madaba Plains Project After Fifty Years” tells the story of the longest-running archaeological project in Jordan (15 min).

New release: The Prophets of Israel: Walking in the Ancient Paths, by James K. Hoffmeier

Steve Mason: “If we leave biblical and New Testament authors out of the frame, Flavius Josephus (37–100+ CE) was the most consequential ancient writer in the West.”

Zoom lecture on Dec 15: “The Political Expansion of the United Monarchy,” by Steven Ortiz.

The free Jerusalem University College global online seminar, Transitions in the Land, will be held on January 8-9. A full schedule is coming, but registration is now open. Speakers include Gabriel Barkay, Lynn Cohick, Richard Hess, Steven Ortiz, Sandra Richter, William Schiedewind, and your roundup writer.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Ted Weis, Alexander Schick, Arne Halbakken, Paleojudaica, Explorator

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“New archaeological findings in the city of Yavne may shed light on the city 2,000 years ago, when it was the center of Jewish life in the region and home to the Sanhedrin.”

A lead sling stone bearing the name of a Seleucid leader who fought against the Hasmoneans was recently found in the southern Hebron Hills.”

Archaeologists have uncovered ancient glass kilns from the Roman period in the Jezreel Valley.

A Hasmonean-era oil lamp was discovered in the City of David shortly before Hanukkah began.

Chris McKinny and Kyle Keimer talk with Andrea Berlin about her excavations of Tel Anafa and Tel Qedesh and how that illuminates the history of the Galilee in the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

Gordon Govier writes about ancient seal impressions discovered through the use of wet-sifting for Christianity Today (subscription).

Israel’s Good Name reports on his visit to the Crusader ruins of Beit Itab in the Judean hills. He has also begun a new blog: Israel’s Good Bird.

Shechem is the latest site to be considered in Kyle Keimer’s “Why” series.

Jerusalem University College has announced its slate of spring online courses, including:

  • Ancient Egypt and the Biblical World, taught by Paul Wright
  • Archaeology of the Judean Shephelah, taught by Chris McKinny and Kyle Keimer
  • Lessons from the Land: Applications for Teaching and Ministry, taught by John Monson
  • Physical Settings of the Bible, taught by Chandler Collins
  • The World of Jesus and His Disciples, taught by Rebecca Pettit

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

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