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My longtime colleague William Varner has traveled to Israel more than 50 times, and a few years ago he worked with a team to film a complete tour. The resulting video series has been used with great effect in several courses at The Master’s University, and now TMU’s Center for Thinking Biblically has made the entire series available for free—no tuition required!

Here is a quick index of the eight sections, with notes to help you navigate to specific episodes.

Old Jerusalem (12 episodes, including the topography of Jerusalem, Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Christ Church, and the Tower of David Museum)

City of David (15 episodes, including Hezekiah’s Tunnel, Pool of Siloam, Davidson Museum, Kidron Valley tombs, and Southern Steps)

Temple Mount and more (19 episodes, including Mount of Olives, Jerusalem model, the Shrine of the Book, Western Wall Tunnel, Bethlehem, Herodium, and four episodes on Hebron)

Mount Zion and more (14 episodes, including Burnt House, Temple Institute, Via Dolorosa, Pools of Bethesda, Schindler’s Grave, and Garden Tomb)

Benjamin and Jericho (12 episodes, including Michmash, Wadi Qelt, High Place of Gibeon, and the Mount of Temptation)

Negev and more (22 episodes, including Gezer, Azekah, Lachish, Beersheba, Arad, Tabernacle Model, Masada, and Qumran)

Nazareth and more (17 episodes, including Caesarea, Mount Carmel, Megiddo, Jezreel, Mount Tabor, and Sepphoris)

Galilee and more (21 episodes, including Capernaum, Gamla, Caesarea Philippi, Dan, Beth Shean, Ai, Shiloh, and Mount Gerizim)

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An American damaged several ancient Roman statues in the Israel Museum because they are “blasphemous” and “in violation of the Torah.” See below for a pre-attack photo of one statue (and see tomorrow’s roundup for another).

“Close to 1,000 Levites from around the world converged on Jerusalem’s southern wall near the Western Wall to partake in a momentous reenactment of the ancient Levitical choir of the Temple.” The story includes a couple of short videos.

“Some 10,000 people marched to Joshua’s Altar on Mt. Ebal on Monday to demand protection for archaeological sites in the West Bank and protest against declarations of sites in the West Bank as ‘Palestinian heritage sites.’”

Paleojudaica shows how headlines gradually sensationalized the discovery of (what is now) Alexander the Great’s escort.

A new video from Bible Scenes tours 50 different areas of the virtual 3D model of Herod’s Temple Mount. The timecodes make it easy to jump to any gate, courtyard, chamber, etc. Very impressive.

Aleteia has a list of the mosaic panels discovered in the Huqoq synagogue excavation.

An inscription discovered in Jerusalem suggests that there was a guild of artisans that called themselves the “sons of Daedalus.”

Olivier Poquillon is the new director of the École Biblique in Jerusalem.

Israel Museum Studies in Archaeology Occasional Publications 1 features an iconographic study of the fresco in the Abbey of the Tomb of Mary in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, within the socio-cultural context of Crusader Jerusalem.

The Codex Sassoon, purchased for $38 million in a recent auction, has arrived at the ANU Museum in Tel Aviv.

The Book and the Spade pulls out of the archive a 1996 interview with Anson Rainey about the House of David Inscription in context.

In celebration of his 45th wedding anniversary, Leen Ritmeyer shares how he met Kathleen and their early work together in the Byzantine monasteries in the Judean wilderness. He includes many photos and drawings.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Arne Halbakken, Charles Savelle, Explorator

Head of Athena from Tel Naharon, 2nd century AD; as displayed in the Israel Museum before this week’s vandalism
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Archaeologists discovered a Second Temple period stonemason’s workshop near Jerusalem.

“A United Nations conference voted Sunday to list ruins of the ancient West Bank city of Jericho as a World Heritage Site in Palestine.”

The Temple Mount Sifting Project blog provides a glimpse into the difficulties of protecting the debris that is the focus on their study.

“The ongoing excavation of Horvat Midras/Khirbet Durusiya (Israel) provides an opportunity to study changes in the ethnic and religious makeup of a rural settlement in the ancient southern Levant.”

David Moster explains how tall the Jerusalem temple was by comparing it with other large monuments including the Dome of the Rock. He even found a classical-style building with very similar dimensions to Solomon’s temple.

Jerusalem Post: “Is the biblical ark of the covenant hidden in an Ethiopian church?”

Zoom lecture on October 24: “The Austrian Expedition to Tel Lachish 2017–2023,” by Katharina Streit and Felix Höflmayer.

Registration is open for next year’s excavation season at Shiloh.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken

Middle Bronze gate at Gezer during reconstruction. Photo taken by John Black on Tuesday.
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Abigail Leavitt reports on her recent visits to Khirbet el-Maqatir and Mount Ebal (by the back road). On another day, she visited Gibeah, et-Tell, the “tomb of Rachel,” and Samaria/Sebaste.

Melanie Lidman writes a well-illustrated article about the Badè Museum of Biblical Archaeology’s online exhibition, “Unsilencing the Archives: The Laborers of the Tell en-Nasbeh Excavations (1926-1935).”

On the Biblical World podcast, Erica Ferg discusses the impact of geography on the religious history of the eastern Mediterranean world.

In the final episode of “Jesus in Galilee,” Brad Gray explains why Jesus chose to train his disciples in this area.

New release: What Can You Do with Your Bible Training?: Traditional and Nontraditional Vocational Paths, edited by Brandon C. Benziger and Adam W. Day. There are chapters on “Archaeology,” by Steven Ortiz, “Study-Tour Leading,” by Mark Wilson, and “Design and Illustration,” by Leen Ritmeyer.

New release: Ancient Egyptian Gold: Archaeology and Science in Jewellery (3500–1000 BC), edited by Maria F. Guerra, Marcos Martinón-Torres & Stephen Quirke (open access)

New release: The Amorites: A Political History of Mesopotamia in the Early Second Millennium BCE, by Nathan Wasserman and Yigal Bloch (Brill, $313)

Fritz Holznagel explains what Indiana Jones gets right and wrong about the Antikythera Mechanism.

Why have honeybees been depicted on coins for millennia? (Or, what exactly is the link between honey and money?)

Bryan Windle surveys the top three reports in biblical archaeology in the month of July.

Ferrell Jenkins shares a photo he took in 1969 of some cedars of Lebanon.

HT: Agade, Arne Halbakken, Explorator

The Samaritan Museum on Mount Gerizim recently opened the archaeological exhibit on their lower floor.

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“Experts from Rome have wrapped up weeks of careful archaeological work in one of the most sensitive parts of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre,” the area in front of the Edicule.

A 1,500-year-old “magic mirror” from the Byzantine period was discovered by a 17-year-old Israeli taking part in a Young Leaders’ Survival Course at the Usha archaeological site in northern Israel.”

“A rare 2,500-year-old marble disc designed to protect ancient ships and ward off the evil eye was discovered by a lifeguard” near Palmachim Beach.

“Archaeologists excavating the site of Legio—the legionary camp of Rome’s Sixth Legion located at the foot of Tel Megiddo in northern Israel—have unearthed the remains of a small amphitheater used not for performances but rather for brutal combat training exercises.”

Aren Maeir mentions four sites in the Jezreel Valley that are being excavated this summer. Of Tel Shimron, he writes that they have discovered “some of the nicest and most important finds ever found in Israel!”

A rare half-shekel coin dug up in the Ein Gedi nature reserve was inscribed with the words ‘The Holy Jerusalem’ in Hebrew.”

Scott Stripling discusses the latest results from the excavations at Shiloh on CBN News. Or listen to the two recent episodes of The Bible and the Spade.

UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee will be voting soon on whether to include Jericho on its list.

Aviv and Shmuel Bar-Am have written an informative article about the best viewpoints in Jerusalem (though I think they left one of the best out).

A fox was spotted along the wall of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.

Jonathan Klawans recommends a visit to the Benedictine Monastery of the Resurrection in the village of Abu Ghosh.

“The director of the Israel Museum, Denis Weil, has resigned just a year and a half after taking up the position.”

New release: The Two Houses of Israel: State Formation and the Origins of Pan-Israelite Identity, by Omer Sergi (SBL Press, $55)

Walking The Text’s recommended resource of the month is Experiencing the Land of the Book, by Charles H. Dyer.

Israeli authorities have taken actions to protect Tel Aroma in Area B from destruction by vandals.

Guiding tours of the Dead Sea on his boat, Noam Bedein is making new discoveries, including a bubbling brook and new rock formations.

HT: Agade, Arne Halbakken, Explorator

The newest national park in Israel is Hippos. Now this Roman-Byzantine site in the Decapolis boasts paved paths, clean restrooms, and of course, a shop.

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Bryan Windle’s report on “three things in Shiloh Samuel likely saw” includes discussion and photos of recent discoveries, including a building they think may be the tabernacle.

“Archaeologists working on a 2,000-year-old Roman cemetery discovered in Gaza last year have found at least 125 tombs, most with skeletons still largely intact, and two rare lead sarcophaguses.”

“A sword that was discovered by a diver off the coast of northern Israel in 2021 was likely lost overboard during a fierce naval battle between Crusaders and Muslim residents of coastal cities some 800 years ago.”

David Moster gives a video walkthrough of a beautiful 3D model of Herod’s Temple and Temple Mount.

The latest video from Expedition Bible looks at Jesus’s tomb, showing how strong the evidence is for the authenticity of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

Scott Stripling talks about the New Testament excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir on a recent episode of Digging for Truth.

A volunteer at the Abel Beth Maacah excavations describes what a typical day on the dig is like.

Hybrid lecture on August 10: “Excavations at Khirbet Summeily, 2011-2023: A Preliminary Report,” by Jeff Blakely

Carl Rasmussen shares some older photos of an Intermediate Bronze cemetery discovered at Dhahr Mirzbaneh (Ain Samiya).

Abigail Leavitt shares photos of tombs in Jerusalem she recently visited.

Ferrell Jenkins shares photos of vineyards at Lachish then and now.

HT: Agade, Arne Halbakken, Alexander Schick, Explorator

This is the “Holy Sepulcher ladder” of the Jewish Quarter. This temporary pedestrian bridge floating over the Western Wall plaza is nearly 20 years old now.

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