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“Archaeologists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem say they have made numerous discoveries, including an ornate first-century villa with its own ritual bath, after a project began to increase access for disabled people to Jerusalem’s Western Wall.”

Elon Gilad surveys the discussion over Gershon Galil’s reading of an ancient inscription discovered in Jerusalem, if it even is an inscription. Galil and Eli Shukrun were interviewed about the matter on i24 News recently.

David Ussishkin believes that Khirbet Qeiyafa was a vast walled cultic compound.

Israel is dedicating $1 million to the restoration of Tel Gezer after the recent fire. Steve Ortiz talks about the effects of the fire on The Book and the Spade.

The season at Tel Burna has concluded, and they have posted a summary of the results from each area with lots of photos.

For the OnScript Biblical World podcast, Chris McKinny interviews Tel Burna’s excavation director Itzick Shai on location during the dig.

i24 News has a 4-minute segment on “Tel Aviv’s hidden gems of antiquity.”

Nathan Steinmeyer writes about the recent restorations at Tel Ashkelon, including ongoing work of the basilica and odeon.

The Times of Israel’s original ‘Into the Land’ docuseries investigates two sensational objects that some have labeled as forgeries—the James Ossuary and the Jehoash Inscription (18 min).

A sale of Zondervan Academic resources for Logos includes the Zondervan Handbook of Biblical Archaeology, by Randall Price, for $8.99. Several of Gary Burge’s Ancient Context, Ancient Faith books are also for sale.

Rivka Merhav, pioneer curator of Neighboring Cultures at the Archaeology Wing of The Israel Museum, died this week (obituary in Hebrew).

Richard Freund, excavator of et-Tell (“Bethsaida”), died last week. The link is worth clicking just for the photo.

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

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This year’s excavations at the Jewish synagogue of Huqoq in Galilee uncovered the first known depictions of Deborah and Jael.

“A professor at the University of Haifa claimed on Wednesday that he had deciphered a 3,500-year-old stone tablet discovered in Jerusalem more than a decade ago, contending that the artifact’s inscription was a curse against the city’s governor at the time.” In response, Christopher Rollston doubts whether it is an inscription at all, and he notes some troubling similarities with the Mount Ebal Lead Inscription.

A brush fire cleared the overgrowth at Tel Gezer but did not cause damage to the archaeological ruins. There are more photos and video (in Hebrew) here.

Week 3 has been the most productive week of excavations at Tel Burna this season.

Was Hezekiah’s Tunnel fitted with a sluice gate to allow water to flow into the Siloam Tunnel and Round Chamber? Chandler Collins summarizes a new theory and identifies some problems with it. You can also subscribe to Chandler’s new newsletter.

Bible History Daily has begun a series on excavations in biblical lands. The first post asks volunteers and students questions about their experiences in the ongoing excavations at Tel Hadid in the Tel Aviv area.

Jason Staples believes that from the exilic period on, the term “Jews” was a subset of the larger group of “Israelites.”

The Albright Institute has issued a call for applications for fellowships for the year 2023-2024.

New release: Women and the Religion of Ancient Israel, by Susan Ackerman (Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library, 2022). Also at Amazon.

New release: Encyclopedia of Material Culture in the Biblical World: A New Biblisches Reallexikon, edited by Angelika Berlejung (Mohr Siebeck, 2022).

Zoom lecture on July 14: “Water the Willow Tree: Memoirs of a Bethlehem Boyhood,” with book author George A. Kiraz talking with Sarah Irving and Jacob Norris.

Online on October 8-9: The 25th Annual Bible and Archaeology Fest, sponsored by the Biblical Archaeology Society and featuring more than 20 speakers.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Explorator

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Restoration experts are very carefully moving several large columns and Corinthian capitals from the Garden of Gethsemane to the Terra Sancta Museum. The columns may have originally belonged to the Roman temple that Hadrian built over Jesus’s temporary tomb.

Archaeologists discovered one of the oldest known mosques in the world in a salvage excavation in the Negev city of Rahat.

The 12th season has begun at Tel Burna, and you can see their dig plan here and the most recent excavation update here.

Yet again: Israel’s Environmental Ministry recommends building a canal linking the Dead and Red Seas (subscription). A few days earlier Jordan decided to cancel the stagnating plan.

Zoom lecture on June 29: “Disease & Death in the Early 1st Century CE,” by Julie Laskaris ($7).

An online lecture on July 6 will discuss the work being done to open up access to satellite imagery over Israel.

In part 2 of his David and Goliath series, Brad Gray looks at the contrast between David and Saul (which is, in my opinion, the central point of the story).

In the latest Biblical World podcast episode, Oliver Hersey talks with Paul Wright about Jesus and Jezreel.

Regular readers know that I greatly appreciate the books of Lois Tverberg, and her recent post is helpful in explaining the difference between the Rabbi Jesus books and whether they should be read in any order. Her first “Rabbi Jesus” book was Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus.

Israel MyChannel has a number of videos with original 3D models of Jerusalem. For instance, this one gives a tour of Jerusalem in the time of Jesus. Impressive.

Upcoming DIVE (Digital Interactive Virtual Experiences) tours through the Museum of the Bible ($20 ea.):

  • The Southern Steps and the Davidson Center: July 13, 2022
  • Ancient Shiloh: August 10, 2022
  • Armageddon — The Valley of Megiddo: September 7, 2022
  • Masada: October 19, 2022
  • The Valleys of Jerusalem — Kidron and Hinnom: November 9, 2022
  • Caesarea: December 7, 2022

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken

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Claudia Chotzen describes her experience as a volunteer excavating the En Gedi synagogue 50 years ago.

The Institute of Biblical Culture is beginning a year-long biblical Hebrew course in July, and you can receive $300 off with coupon BIBLEPLACES.

Jerusalem University College has a number of excellent study options, including Historical and Geographical Settings of the Bible, Jesus and His Times, and Pastor and Parishoner trips.

Bible Archaeology Report: Top Ten Discoveries Related to the Book of Judges. It’s fun to try to make some guesses before reading through.

The latest from Walking the Text with Brad Gray: David and Goliath: Guard Your Shephelah (20 min)

Virtual lecture on June 19: Aren Maeir will be speaking on “New Views on the Philistines: What Archaeology Reveals about Goliath and His Peers” in the BAS Scholars Series ($10).

On sale for Kindle: Zondervan Essential Atlas of the Bible, by Carl Rasmussen

Our team spent years developing the Photo Companion to 1 & 2 Kings, and we finally released it this week. Woohoo!

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, Explorator

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Archaeologists have discovered an inscription at Beit Shearim that proves that a convert to Judaism was buried in this elite cemetery.

“Archaeologists excavating at the base of the Legio VI Ferrata Roman Legion near Megiddo (known as Legio) believe they have found evidence of the first military amphitheater to be identified in the Southern Levant.”

Excavation work in preparation for a new elevator at the Western Wall plaza revealed an ancient ritual bath.

More remains of the lower aqueduct to Jerusalem are being exposed and restored in the Armon HaNatziv neighborhood in order to be incorporated into a public park.

Restoration of a small Hasmonean fortress in the Givat Shaul neighborhood in Jerusalem was recently completed.

Excavations will resume this summer at Lachish, with work focused on Iron IIA and Middle Bronze structures north of the Judean palace.

The ruins of Horvat Tefen in western Galilee are apparently part of a string of military fortress built by Alexander Jannaeus in the early 1st century BC.

“The Tel Moẓa Expedition Project is pleased to announce the creation of two scholarships to fund student participation in the 2022 excavation season at Tel Moẓa (5–23 September 2022).”

“An organization working to preserve Temple Mount antiquities warned this week that the [antiquities] have suffered great damage lately.”

“On Jerusalem Day, three archaeologists spoke to The Jerusalem Post about what it is like to work in a city with so much history underground and so much politics above ground.” The three archaeologists are Ronny Reich, Matthew Adams, and Zachi Dvira.

BAR recently interviewed Gideon Avni, head of the Archaeological Division of the Israel Antiquities Authority, about the practice of salvage excavations. This gives a helpful perspective on a majority of archaeological work in Israel.

David Lazarus begins a new series on the World of the Bible for Israel Today with an article on Jesus and tax collectors.

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

Logos/Faithlife is offering Going Places with God: A Devotional Journey Through the Lands of the Bible, by Wayne Stiles, for free this month. I recommend it.

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

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The alabaster for two of Herod’s bathtubs was quarried not in Egypt but in the Te’omim cave in the Judean hills.

Excavators are claiming that the stump of a juniper tree, discovered near Eilat, may be the oldest Asherah ever found.

A new season of excavations has begun at the Apollonia-Arsuf Crusader fortress on the coast near Herzilya.

“In one of the biggest busts in Israeli history, the Israel Antiquities Authority’s theft prevention unit has recovered over 1,800 ancient artifacts from an unlicensed dealer in the central Israeli city of Modiin. Mostly coins and jewelry, the artifacts also included cuneiform tablets and bronze statuettes.”

Israel’s supreme court has “rejected four petitions against a controversial plan to build a cable car to Jerusalem’s historic Old City, shutting down the legal opposition route for opponents of the plan.”

A renovation project on an ancient Samaritan priestly residential compound is the first step in making the Mount Gerizim archaeological park more welcoming to tourists.

The latest issue of Tel Aviv includes several articles on Iron Age Jerusalem. The titles and abstracts are free, but access to the articles requires subscription.

Virtual tour on June 8: The Room of the Last Supper and Jerusalem, with Museum of the Bible and DIVE (Digital Interactive Virtual Experiences); $20

A colleague of mine at The Master’s University was honored last month by the publication of a festschrift: Written for Our Instruction: Essays in Honor of William Varner. Among the many interesting essays, two are of particular relevance to this blog:

  • “Where Did David Go? David’s Wilderness Wanderings and the Testing of God’s Son,” by Abner Chou (my new boss)
  • “‘What Have I Done in Comparison with You?’: The Itinerary of Gideon’s Pursuit of the Midianites in Judges 7–8,” by Chris McKinny (with additional color maps on Academia)

Andy Cook of Secrets from Ancient Paths has just posted “The life-saving lesson of Bet Shemesh” (5 min).

Joel Kramer at Expedition Bible has released some new videos (4-10 min ea.):

Bruce Cresson died last week. He was director or co-director of excavations at Aphek-Antipatris, Dalit, Ira, Uza, Radum, and Malhata.

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

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