Weekend Roundup

An 8th-century BC tomb with a child and its parents has been discovered in Achziv on Israel’s northern coast.

Joan Taylor looks at the historical evidence to determine what Jesus may have looked like and what clothes he wore.

Nir Hasson reports on Rona Avissar Lewis’s Hebrew-language book in which the author “examines the traces of the presence of children at biblical-era archaeological sites around Israel. Her conclusions about their births, their lives and their deaths may be somewhat different from the accepted conception of the role and situation of children at the time.”

And for another article on children: “Children in the ancient Middle East were valued and vulnerable—not unlike children today.”

The Temple Mount Sifting Project’s history in 12 objects series continues with #4, focusing on artifacts from the Persian period.

Three mosaics from the 2nd century BC have been discovered in Zeugma, Turkey.

A Polish professor believes that he has discovered eight sundials in ancient mosaics, including one in the Medeba Map (the column on the northern end of the city).

A record amount of rainfall fell in Galilee this week, including 5 inches in Safed and 7.8 inches on Mount Hermon, both in under 24 hours. The link includes a video of Saar Falls in the Golan Heights. For a photo of a snowman on Mount Hermon, see Luke Chandler’s post.

Magdala is the latest in John DeLancey’s video series of Life Lessons from Israel.

A trailer has dropped for “The Museum,” a documentary about the evacuation of the Aleppo Museum during the Syrian Civil War.

Statistics for Christian tourists to Israel in 2019: “55% of the 4.5 million tourists arriving in Israel in 2019 were Christians. Of those, 43% were Catholics, 31% Protestants, and 24% Eastern Orthodox. Of the Protestant visitors, 83% were Evangelicals (comprising 28% of all Christian tourists, and 13% of tourists in general). 15% of Protestant tourists hailed from African American churches. Of the Orthodox, 74% were Russian Orthodox, 26% were Greek Orthodox. 84% of all Christian tourists visited Jerusalem, and 65% visited Tel Aviv-Jaffa. The most visited sites by Christians were the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Via Dolorosa, and the Mount of Olives.”

The newest issue of Electrum includes a number of articles related to ancient Jerusalem including:

  • New Evidence for the Dates of the Walls of Jerusalem in the Second Half of the Second Century BC, by Donald T. Ariel
  • Herod’s Western Palace in Jerusalem: Some New Insights, by Orit Peleg-Barkat
  • Coins of the First Century Roman Governors of Judaea and their Motifs, by David M. Jacobson
  • The Purpose of the Ritual Baths in the Tombs of the Kings: A New Proposal, by Omri Abadi and Boaz Zissu
  • The Training Ground (Campus) of the legio X Fretensis in Jerusalem/Aelia Capitolina—a Possible Identification North of the Damascus Gate, by Avner Ecker
  • Eusebius and Hadrian’s Founding of Aelia Capitolina in Jerusalem, by Miriam Ben Zeev Hofman
  • Jerusalem and the Bar Kokhba Revolt Again: A Note, by Eran Almagor

Some lists highlighting the top discoveries of 2019 have started to appear. I hope to present my own list here next week at which time I’ll link to others I have found.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer

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Weekend Roundup

Excavations under a house in northern Israel have revealed what may be the largest wine factory from the Crusader era.

Archaeologists have discovered an arrowhead from the Roman siege of Jotapata in AD 67.

A i24News video shows the “pilgrim road” leading from the Pool of Siloam to the Temple Mount of Jerusalem.

“Archaeologists working in the buried Roman city of Pompeii say they have uncovered a ‘sorcerer’s treasure trove’ of artefacts, including good-luck charms, mirrors and glass beads.”

A new exhibit about a 4th-century synagogue mosaic floor has opened in the Archaeological Museum of Aegina. Aegina is a Greek island not far from Athens.

“Anchors Aweigh: Seaports of the Holy Land” is a new exhibit opening on Tuesday at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem.

Preliminary images of seven (alleged) Dead Sea Scroll fragments owned by the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary are now online. (The link looks unusual, but it works.)

Lubna Omar provides a personal perspective as a Syrian archaeologist unable to protect her country’s heritage.

A guy passionate about ancient Egypt and baking used ancient yeast to bake a loaf of bread.

Egyptian authorities transferred a 90-ton obelisk of Ramses II from Zamalek to El Alamein.

The Oriental Institute is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

Carl Rasmussen shares photos of the largest altar in the world.

I always like the photos that Wayne Stiles includes with his posts, and this week is no different with his reflections on Abraham’s faith.

Matti Friedman writes a helpful review of Jodi Magness’s new book on Masada.

Did you know there are four long distance hiking trails in Israel? They range in length from 37 miles to 637 miles.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Alexander Schick, Ted Weis

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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

Archaeologists have discovered a 5th-Dynasty tomb in Saqqara, Egypt, that has never been looted.

Excavations begin today. The photos are impressive.

A 4,500-year-old marble pillar that sat in the basement of the British Museum for 150 years has been revealed as the first recorded account of a conflict over a disputed border — and the earliest known instance of word play. The pillar is featured in an exhibit entitled, “No Man’s Land,” that runs through January.

The use of machine translation may open the door to deciphering more than half a million cuneiform tablets from Mesopotamia.

The Syrian Director General of Museums and Antiquities claims that the US is looting ancient tombs in northern Syria.

The November issue of the Newsletter of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities features stories on the latest archaeological discoveries, the transfer of antiquities to the new Grand Egyptian Museum, and cultural events.

All past issues of the “Archaeology in Jordan” Newsletter are now available online. The 2018 issue is also available here.

The new issue of Biblical Archaeology Review includes stories on the destruction of Azekah, an artificial tell in Arkansas, and excavation opportunities in 2019.

Students from all over the world, including Arab countries, have joined Aren Maeir’s MOOC on biblical archaeology.

The Institute of Biblical Culture will be offering two classes in January: Biblical Geography I and Early Biblical Interpreters I. They are also running a buy two, get one free special.

David Moster shares his experience at this year’s SBL conference with a 10-minute video.

The first in Ferrell’s Favorite Fotos series is of Babylon, taken in 1970.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Joseph Lauer, Chris McKinny, Keith Keyser

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Weekend Roundup, Part 1

After being closed for six years to protect artifacts during the civil war, Syria’s National Museum of Damascus has reopened.

A Haaretz premium article suggests that the Israelites at Dan worshiped the Lord. “Suggestive finds include seal impressions with Yahwistic names, temple architecture, and artifacts typical of Yahwistic temple rituals.”

The latest in Brad Gray’s Psalm 23 series looks at the rod and staff (and sling) of the shepherd.

Israel’s Good Name has written a couple of posts about the Autumn Raptor Migration.

Biblical Israel Ministries and Tours has begun a new series of short devotional videos: “It Happened Here—Life Lessons from Israel.”

A snake crawled out of the stones of the Western Wall above the women’s prayer area, creating a bit of a scare.

Glenn Corbett and Jack Green explain the tremendous value of the ACOR Photo Archive.

A new 17-minute film entitled “Paul in Athens” reconstructs the famous events of Acts 17. This documentary was created by Yaron Eliav and the University of Michigan TLTC Team.

John McRay, longtime professor of New Testament and Archaeology died in August. The Book and the Spade shares an archived interview with him about Athens in the Time of Paul.

HT: Ted Weis, Charles Savelle, Agade

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NPAPH Request: Documentation of Mari, Dura Europos, and Apamea

NPAPH has asked me to pass along the following worthy request to our readers. Please contact them at the address below if you can provide them with any help.

The Non-Professional Archaeological Photographs project (NPAPH; www.npaph.com) has the aim to preserve non-professional documentation of past archaeological campaigns to the future and make it accessible to the public via digital archives.
NPAPH Project

The term ‘non-professional’ refers to records made by visitors or participants of excavations who were not part of the trained staff, but who assisted as part of their continuing education or out of interest, for instance students, volunteers, reporters or sponsors.

Secondly, this category of documentation includes also the private photos, slides, films, letters, diaries, etc., made at the excavation by the archaeological staff. So non-professional records are usually not stored in official archives.

At the moment we are tracing documentation of the excavations of the following Syrian sites:

  • Mari/ Tell Hariri (1933-1939, 1951-1956, and 1960–1974)
  • Dura Europos (1928–1937)
  • Apamea (1930-1938, 1947-1953, and 1965)

If you know anyone who joined one of these archaeological expeditions or if you have worked on one of them yourself, please contact info@npaph.com. We are also interested in any other record prior the 1980s related to these sites.

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Weekend Roundup, Part 1

A rare and beautiful Hellenistic-era gold earring was found in excavations in the City of David.

A sphinx has been discovered in Luxor during a road construction project.

Six statues dating back 2,000 years were discovered Saturday in the ruins of the ancient Greek city of Magnesia” in Turkey.

The tombs of two statesmen from the Middle Kingdom period have been discovered at Beni Hassan.

Archaeologists have discovered a Greek shipwreck from 500 BC in the Black Sea.

A pebble mosaic in a bathhouse dated to the 4th century BC was unearthed during an excavation at
the Small Theater of ancient Amvrakia” in Greece.

Renovation work is underway to open an ancient Roman bath in central Turkey to tourists.

The Plutonium of Hierapolis, discovered in 2013, will open to visitors next month.

The ancient Roman city of Volubilis in Morocco is drawing more visitors after its rejuvenation.

The dramatic changes at Palmyra over the years is the subject of an exhibit sponsored by The Institute for Digital Archaeology.

Three looters of Israel’s ancient capital of Samaria were sentenced to either 36 days or 36 months in prison.

The W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem is now accepting applications for fellowships.

The schedule for the 2018 annual meeting of ASOR is now online.

HT: Ted Weis, Agade, Charles Savelle, Joseph Lauer, Daniel Wright

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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

A candidate for prime minister of the UK promises to return the Elgin Marbles to Greece if he is elected. The British Museum has responded.

“An Italian court has ruled that this Greek bronze, known as ‘Statue of a Victorious Youth,’ rescued from the ocean decades ago and long on display at the Getty Villa, should be returned to Italy.”

Nine artifacts smuggled from Egypt have been returned by French authorities.

Russians archaeologists have applied to continue excavations of Palmyra.

A report from Week 2 of excavations in the Venus Pompeiana Project has been posted.

Bleda S. Düring explains the origins of maps in the Near East. Many nice images are included.

“Digital humanities scholars [at Penn Libraries] are orchestrating an epic crowdsourcing effort to sort and transcribe handwriting on thousands of documents discarded hundreds of years ago, known as the Cairo Geniza.”

Mark Hoffman: BibleWorks is closing; what should you do?

Leon Mauldin explains why Michelangelo’s Moses has horns.

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a copy of Kitchener’s Photographs of Biblical Sites for sale, until now ($830).

HT: Joseph Lauer, Agade

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Weekend Roundup

Brian Peterson reviews the events and discoveries of Week 2 of the Shiloh excavations.

Scott Stripling is interviewed about the excavations at Shiloh on The Land of Israel Network (34 min).

Ferrell Jenkins looks at the importance of Shiloh, the longtime location of the tabernacle.


The Times of Israel has a lengthy follow-up on the study that suggests that the carbon-14 calibration scale for Israel is faulty.

ASOR has posted an update on the severe damage to the site of Ebla in Syria.

Israel is opening a new national natural history museum in Tel Aviv.

Israel’s Good Name went on a tour of the Tel Aviv Zoological Research Institute, a place not normally open to the public.

Aren Maeir has posted the lecture and field trip schedule for the Gath excavations.

The American Center of Oriental Research (ACOR) in Amman has posted 9,000 low- to medium- resolution watermarked images from Jordan and the surrounding region, including many taken by Jane Taylor.

Wayne Stiles writes about an important event at the Water Gate in Jerusalem.

Ron Traub writes about the Baram synagogue near the northern border of Israel.

Leon Mauldin is visiting Rome and sharing photos.

Mitchell First has written an article on “The Earliest Surviving Texts of the Torah” for Jewish Link of New Jersey.

The Vatican Library has made 15,000 manuscripts available online, with another 65,000 to come in the next couple of decades.

The ESV Archaeology Study Bible has some recent video posts of interest:

“The Biblical Archaeology Society is now accepting applications for the 2018 Joseph Aviram, Yigael Yadin, and Hershel Shanks fellowships that allow scholars to attend the annual meetings” of ASOR and SBL. (The announcement mentions that Aviram, at age 102, is still the president of IES!)

Norma Dever died on Thursday. William Dever writes an obituary that may surprise you.

HT: Charles Savelle, Agade, Joseph Lauer

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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

A German-Egyptian team has discovered thousands of fragments in old Heliopolis.

Egyptian authorities have charged 70 archaeological inspectors and security officials with looting the site of Quesna.

The March 2018 edition of the Newsletter of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities reports the latest inaugurations, repatriated antiquities, temporary exhibitions, meetings, projects, and more.

Zahi Hawass is leading a crew of more than 100 Egyptian workers in excavating an area in the Valley of the Kings, but so far he is not revealing what he has found.

The site of Mari has suffered severe destruction as a result of the conflicts in Syria.

Carl Rasmussen shares photographs of the harbor of Troas where Paul set sail on his second missionary journey.

Mathilde Touillon-Ricci takes a look at “Trade and Contraband in Ancient Assyria.”

The lead “Jordan Codices” have been proven to be forged.

Margreet Steiner will be lecturing on April 23 at Tel Aviv University on “The Excavations at Khirbet al-Mudayna in Ancient Moab: Some Current Research Questions in Iron Age Archaeology.” The lecture will be held in the Gilman Building, Room 282 at 16:15.

Funerary portrait sculptures, created in Palmyra, Syria between the 1st and 3rd centuries AD are on display at the Getty Villa until May 2019.

Mosaics from Antioch on the Orontes were buried beneath the lawn of the Museum of Fine Arts in
St. Petersburg, Florida, several decades ago and only recently uncovered.

“A three-year renovation at the Penn Museum introduces a $5m collection of nearly 1,200 objects, many of which will be on public view for the first time.”

There is some new ancient world content in JStor.

Accordance is now hosting “April Showers of Archaeology” and they have up to 50% off on all kinds of great resources, including the American Colony Collection, Archaeology of the Land of the Bible,
Biblical Archaeology Review Archive, Bible Times PhotoMuseum, and more.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Agade, Mike Harney, Ted Weis, Keith Keyser, Steven Anderson

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Weekend Roundup

Rome’s ongoing subway system project has uncovered several glimpses of the past, this time the ruins of a Roman military commander’s 14-room luxury villa. ASOR Cultural Heritage Initiatives has a report on the current status of the Ain Dara Temple. Authorities caught tomb raiders in Galilee as they used a bulldozer to loot graves from the Roman period. 3D computational geometry is being used in a long-distance virtual reconstruction to piece together ancient cuneiform texts. Christopher Rollston is on the OnScript Podcast speaking about the Isaiah seal impression. The Digital Archive for the Study of pre-Islamic Arabian Inscriptions “seeks to gather all known pre-Islamic Arabian epigraphic material into a comprehensive online database, with the aim to make available to specialists and to the broader public a wide array of documents often underestimated because of their difficulty of access.” A proposed restructuring at University College London may have adverse effects on the Petrie Museum. You can learn how to help here. Bible Gateway has published an interview with Lois Tverberg about her new book, Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus. On sale for Kindle: Provan, Long, and Longman, A Biblical History of Israel ($3.99). Accordance has a big sale going on now on atlases and related resources. The Satellite Bible Atlas is now available on Accordance, and it too is on sale (40% off) until March 12. BAS is offering subscriptions to its video lecture service for 75% off for a limited time. David Z. Moster’s latest video explains how to use the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. Wayne Stiles shares some new video footage shot over biblical Joppa. The LMLK Blogspot links to a new video of aerial footage of Hebron. HT: Ted Weis, Agade, Charles Savelle, Mark Hoffman

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