Weekend Roundup, Part 2

A stunning (!) 36-foot mosaic floor depicting scenes of ancient chariot races in the hippodrome has been revealed outside Nicosia in Cyprus.

Human skeleton remains of a teenage boy dating back to 11 BC have been found on Mt. Lykaion, a site honored as the birthplace of the Greek god Zeus.

The discovery of some rare artifacts in Perge has led to the creation of a special room in the Antalya Museum in Turkey.

After two years of occupation by ISIS, previously unknown Assyrian artifacts in the Syrian city Tal
Ajaja, or ancient Shadikanni have been found looted or destroyed.

A report by Live Science documents the death of children killed as a result of looting in Egypt.

A statue of Zeus lost in the 5th century has been re-created using a 3D printer.

Cal Thomas recommends the new “Ben Hur” movie, opening on Friday.

Ben-Hur the video game is available for free download for Xbox One.

Todd Hanneken has received a $325,000 grant to fund his use of Spectral RTI for the Jubilees Palimpsest Project.

“The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) is proud to announce the completion of our digitization project at the National Library of Greece (NLG).”

Wayne Stiles considers the value of biblical geography for apologetics.

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

Cyprus Chariot Mosaic
Mosaic depicting chariot races excavated in Cyprus
Photo by the Associated Press
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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

Archaeologists working in Pompeii have “discovered four skeletons and gold coins in the ruins of an ancient shop in Pompeii.”

Archaeologists working at Carthage have uncovered a “smart cooling system” for chariot racers.

As restoration work on the Roman Colosseum moves from outside to inside, officials hope to use it one day for cultural events.

A stele depicting childbirth won an Egyptian Antiquities Ministry poll.

Digital scanning is revealing previously unseen portions of the Dead Sea Scrolls and raising new interpretive questions (Haaretz premium).

The latest issue of Biblical Archaeology Review includes stories on Paul’s riot in Ephesus, Eilat
Mazar’s excavations in the City of David, and the reconstruction of the Umm el-Qanatir synagogue.

The Syrian military has cleared thousands of booby traps from Palmyra, yet some are claiming that they are looting. Franklin Lamb has a detailed first-person report in two parts.

Barry Britnell reports on his recent visit to the Biblical History Center (formerly the Explorations in
Antiquity Center) in LaGrange, Georgia.

Ferrell Jenkins shares a couple of photos related to the Story of Sinuhe.

Duane W. Roller reflects on geography in the ancient world.

The Associates for Biblical Research are looking for a Pre-publication Editing Assistant Volunteer for Bible and Spade.

We’ll be taking a couple of weeks off from roundups, but we’ll include any stories you suggest when we return.

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

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David and Goliath Mosaic Pillaged from Church in Syria

A unique and well-preserved mosaic depicting the battle of David and Goliath has been looted in Syria. I was first shown a higher-res version of this image several months ago, but was not allowed to share it. It’s now posted on a French website, and you can read a (poor) Google translation with this link. At this point, there do not appear to be any other stories on the discovery, but perhaps that will change.

David et Goliath
David and Goliath mosaic looted in Syria

An official in the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums in Syria believes that the mosaic comes from a church in northern Syria and dates to about AD 600. This may be the only known depiction of David and Goliath on a mosaic floor. The image depicts the warrior Goliath standing on the right side with full battle armor. To the left stands David with Goliath’s head on the end of his spear with the headless Goliath now laying at his feet. In the upper right corner, Saul and two others (brothers?) are depicted within the walls of a fortress. In the upper left corner are three women, probably those who rejoiced in David’s victory.

A Google search for this image reveals that it was posted on several Arabic websites on July 21-22, 2014.

The Met has an image of a silver plate depicting the battle, dating to approximately the same time (AD 630).

HT: Agade

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Weekend Roundup

A leaked report of a scan of King Tut’s tomb suggests that there are no hidden chambers. A few days earlier, scholars at a conference disagreed on the significance of radar scans.

Three tombs on the west bank of the Nile in Luxor are being opened to the public for the first time.

The symphony orchestra of the St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theater performed in the Roman theater of Palmyra recently.

Of 28 Egyptian obelisks standing today, only 6 are in Egypt. That’s one of many interesting facts about obelisks in a WSJ article that is based on a book by Bob Brier entitled Cleopatra’s Needles.

The collapse of one of the walls of Solomon’s Pools has raised concern that the entire pool could be in danger.

If you’ve never visited the site of ancient Dan, this article is a terrific introduction, drawing out the biblical history, making sound application, and illustrating with numerous photos.

A new 15-volume series entitled the Dead Sea Scrolls Editions will be published by Brill.

The ASOR Archive Photos of the Month is an easy way to revisit the past.

Archaeologists have discovered the weight-loss diary of the prophet Daniel, according to a report in the Babylon Bee.

HT: A.D. Riddle, Joseph Lauer, Agade

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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

A mosaic found in Antioch on the Orontes from the 3rd century BC reads “Be cheerful, enjoy your life.”


The Washington Post has more on the discovery of a waystation built during the early years of Queen Hatshepsut.

A scholar believes he has found the oldest depictions of demons in ancient Egypt.
Atlanta Jewish Times has a story on Jodi Magness’s on-going work at the Galilean village of Huqoq.

New book: Hazor: Canaanite Metropolis, Israelite City, by Amnon Ben-Tor. Available from the Israel Exploration Society.

The Hazor Expedition needs more volunteers this summer. Get all the details here.

A recent donation to the Yale Babylonian Collection includes 360 cylinder seals from the third and fourth millennia BC.

ISIS has destroyed two gates of Nineveh, but most of what they bulldozed is modern reconstruction work.

Most of the 200 objects displayed on the ground floor of the Palmyra Museum were destroyed, including the famous Lion of Allat.

The US Senate has voted to ban all imports of antiquities from Syria in order to discourage looting.

Archaeologists are trying to solve the mystery of why 150 people were buried with shackles near the port of Athens.

An article by Philippe Bohstrom in Haaretz (premium) traces the history of writing materials from clay tablets to wax tablets.

Construction workers in Spain discovered a trove of 1,300 pounds of Roman coins dating to the 3rd and 4th centuries.

A replica of Noah’s Ark will sail from the Netherlands to Brazil before coming to the United States.

Another reason to visit Jordan: Jordanian Food: 25 of the Best Dishes You Should Eat

Wayne Stiles explains why the Judean wilderness is a perfect place to escape.

HT: Charles Savelle, Joseph Lauer, Agade, Ted Weis, Steven Anderson

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Weekend Roundup

The oldest known glass production factory in Israel has been discovered on Mount Carmel. High-res photos are available here.

A new study by Tel Aviv University points to widespread literacy in Israel in 600 BC. Christopher Rollston offers a summary and reflections. An op-ed at the Jerusalem Post is entitled “Holy Shards.”

The academic article is available to subscribers here.

Three Palestinians were arrested attempting to smuggle a statue of Herod’s wife Mariamne. A photo of the statue is here.

The Temple Mount Sifting Project will soon be announcing the discovery of a pendant with the cartouche of Pharaoh Thutmose III.

The Big Picture returns to Palmyra.

Dubai’s plans for the world’s tallest skyscraper are inspired by the hanging gardens of Babylon.

Wayne Stiles goes to Ein Harod to learn how to move from fear to faith.

Yale’s “Old Babylonian Period Mathematical Text” is one of the university’s most-reproduced cultural artifacts.

The Iraqi government is turning Saddam Hussein’s palace in Basra into an archaeological museum.

With Passover around the corner, Haaretz looks at indirect evidence of Israelite presence in Egypt before the exodus.

A Passover sacrifice event will be held on Monday on the Mount of Olives.

Luke Chandler notes that the official website for the Khirbet Qeiyafa excavations has been updated.

The summer excavation of Khirbet el-Maqatir is on and applications are being accepted until April 30.

Ferrell Jenkins and Leon Mauldin are traveling around Israel and sharing photos from their trip.

Filip Vukosavovic has resigned his position as Chief Curator at the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem.

Now free online: The Bible in Its World: The Bible and Archaeology Today, by Kenneth A. Kitchen.

Many people liked the photo we shared this week on Facebook and Twitter of the Mount of Olives
before the churches were built.

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

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Weekend Roundup

Archaeologists have identified the oldest known quarry in Israel at Kaizer Hill near Modiin.

Some radar experts doubt the existence of hidden chambers in King Tut’s tomb. Another scan was done yesterday, but results will not be announced for at least a week. Luxor Times has photos of the scanning operation.

Mosaics from the Roman Empire, depicting scenes from mythology, daily life, nature, and arena spectacles, are on display at the Getty Museum through September. The exhibit catalog is available for free online.

Joseph Aviram, president of the Israel Exploration Society, recently celebrated his 100th birthday!

A German doctor has returned a rare coin that he found in Jerusalem 25 years ago.

A video of the memorial service and academic symposium for William W. Hallo is online.

Wayne Stiles was robbed last week on the Good Samaritan Road and he learned an expensive lesson.

An article in Haaretz tries to debunk the “biblical” notion that the Philistines were crude barbarians.

But perhaps it’s worth noting that the Bible doesn’t make the Israelites look very good at times (e.g., Judg 19; Jer 5; Ezek 16).

Archaeologists now believe that Tell Qudadi, a site in Tel Aviv, was a Neo-Assyrian fortress built in the late 8th century. The final excavation report has all of the details.

With the recapture of Palmyra, the Syrian antiquities director estimates that 80% of the site’s ruins are intact but damage to the museum is “severe.” The Syrian government is planning to restore the site.

Paleojudaica has more its Palmyra roundup.

Iraq is struggling with the looting of archaeological sites.


The Daily Tar Heel carries a brief interview with archaeologist Jodi Magness.

Heavy rains led to the closing of Petra, but adventurous tourists headed north to Little Petra.

TheIsraelBible.com “offers the 24 books of the Tanakh (Genesis to Malachi) in both English and Hebrew, transliteration of selected Hebrew verses as well as the proper Hebrew pronunciation of key biblical names and places.”

The Temple Institute is searching for priests qualified to perform animal sacrifices.

Tom Powers has an interesting and well-researched post on the visit of the Graf Zeppelin to Jerusalem.

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

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Weekend Roundup

Ferrell Jenkins remembers the events of this weekend with photos related to the crucifixion and resurrection.

Michael Heiser offers some links in response to the perrennial “miracles-are-impossible” stories that surface this time each year.

The battle continues over the size of the Kedem Center in the City of David.

Shmuel Browns’ photo of the week is a beautiful shot of the Judean wilderness.

A number of interesting finds have been made in an excavation of a Byzantine church in Gush Etzion.

If you are an American undergrad looking to excavate in Israel this summer, you should apply for a scholarship to join the Tel Burna team.

Wayne Stiles gives three reasons why you should travel to Israel.

The Tel Al-Amarna Visitors Centre has been inaugurated in Minya. Work on the Aten Museum and
Malawi National Museum is on-going, despite rumors to the contrary.

Archaeologists are learning more about ancient watercraft from an Old Kingdom boat excavated in Abusir.

Reproductions of the 50-foot arch that formed the entrance to Palmyra’s Temple of Baal will be erected in New York City and London next month.

The Syrian army is close to re-capturing Palmyra.

John Brown University has received an anonymous gift of $1 million for their Abila Archaeological Project.

The Torlonia collection, with more than 600 statues and sculptures, will be on display in Rome for the first time in decades. An overseas tour will follow.

Described as one of most important recoveries in decades, 45 crates of archaeological material, dating between the 7th century BC to 2nd century AD, has been returned to Italy after being stolen from sites in the 1970s and 1980s.

“Analysis of Herculaneum papyrus scroll fragments reveals the use of metallic ink in Greco-Roman literary inscription centuries earlier than previously thought.”

Bruce and Ken Zuckerman will be lecturing on “Archaeological Photography” on March 28 at the South Bay Camera Club.

Now online: “The Lenkin Family Collection of Photography at the Penn Libraries, as it is now known, comprises over 5,000 original photographs, primarily of Jerusalem and Palestine taken from 1850 to 1937.”

For a limited time, access to the latest issue of Near Eastern Archaeology is available for free without a login required.

Bible Software Review is looking for a new owner-editor.

Going Places with God, by Wayne Stiles, is on sale for Kindle right now for $0.99. It’s at the same price on Vyrso/Logos. The sale won’t last. I recommend it!

Happy 13th Anniversary to Paleojudaica! And Aren Maeir recently celebrated his birthday.

For photos recalling the momentous events of this week nearly 2,000 years ago, check out our posts this week on Facebook and Twitter.

HT: Jared Clark, G. M. Grena, Agade, Ted Weis, Charles Savelle

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Weekend Roundup

Some scholars have weighed in on the seal of the woman discovered in Jerusalem. Christopher Rollston has a lengthy analysis, concluding in part that the seal dates to approximately 700 BC.

Robert Deutsch writes that the archaeologists made several mistakes, including misreading the name on one of the seals. The Daily Mail has a number of photographs. For some political irony, see The Blaze.

The first phase of the Terra Sancta Museum in Jerusalem (at the Monastery of the Flagellation) opens on March 17.

The latest issue of Near Eastern Archaeology features articles on Jericho, Adam (Tell Damiyah), Gustaf Dalman, and more.

A schedule of forthcoming lectures for the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society are online here.

New Excavation Report: Beer-Sheba III: The Early Iron IIA Enclosed Settlement and the Late Iron IIA-Iron IIB Cities, by Ze’ev Herzog and Lily Singer-Avitz. Sold as a 3-volume set by Eisenbrauns.

The latest exhibit at the Israel Museum, “Pharaoh in Canaan: The Untold Story,” looks at Egyptian presence in Israel during the Middle and Late Bronze periods. A one-minute video provides a preview.

“Pharaoh: King of Ancient Egypt” opens at the Cleveland Museum of Art on March 13, featuring many pieces from the British Museum.

Many documents from the 18th and 19th centuries have been discovered in a storeroom in Egypt, including letters from Flinders Petrie and Howard Carter.

Luxor is sending 778 artifacts to be displayed in the Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

National Geographic runs a well-illustrated story on King Tut’s grandparents, Yuya and Tuyu.

The Karnak Temple did not catch on fire.

A New York Times reporter describes some of the challenges of being a tourist in Saudi Arabia.

The BBC reports on the impact of the Syrian civil war on the archaeology of Tell Qarqur (Qarqar).

Clyde Billington is on The Book and the Spade this week discussing the harbor of Corinth and the fortress of Macherus.

Now on pre-pub pricing for Logos: Archaeology in Action: Biblical Archaeology in the Field ($50).

Many of the early volumes of the Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statement are now online.

Recommended book, on sale for Kindle: Israel: Ancient Kingdom or Late Invention?, edited by Daniel I. Block ($2.99)

Zecharia Kallai, professor emeritus of Historical Geography of Palestine at Hebrew University, died last month.

HT: Charles Savelle, Agade, Pat McCarthy, Joseph Lauer

Jaffa, rough sea, mat00699
Our most liked photo this week on Facebook was this one of the harbor at Jaffa (biblical Joppa), from the American Colony and Eric Matson Collection.
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Weekend Roundup

IAA excavations in the Schneller Compound in Jerusalem have revealed a Roman bathhouse and a Roman- or Byzantine-era winerpress. High-res photos and a video may be downloaded here.

Archaeologists have unearthed a cemetery in use from the Middle Bronze to the Iron Ages south of Bethlehem. Two journal articles on which the report was based can be read here and here.

A hidden camera reveals for the first time the condition of Palmyra after ISIS terrorists destroyed temples, arches, and tower tombs.

A missing letter in an inscription brings into question whether the Amphipolis tomb really belonged to Hephaestion, Alexander the Great’s beloved friend and general, and may instead belong to Alexander’s mother, Olympias.

The Bethsaida Excavation Project has posted their 2015 season report (73 pages with lots of photos).

Three looted Mesopotamian sculptures were found in a Slovenian refugee camp.

Haaretz runs a story on the mysterious 90-mile long wall in Jordan.

Two UCSD professors are working with the Israel Antiquities Authority to update the Digital Archaeological Atlas of the Holy Land.

An online Neo-Assyrian Bibliography compiled by Heather D. Baker and Melanie Groß is available.

Egypt is seeking to add four archaeological sites in Alexandria and Sinai to UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Jacob sheep being raised in Canada will be brought back to Israel.

The death of the Dead Sea has probably never been better illustrated than in this multi-media rich “article” at Haaretz. It includes the prediction that within 20 years there may be no access to the shoreline of the Dead Sea.

Clyde Billington and Gordon Govier discuss the latest discoveries on this week’s edition of The Book and the Spade.

Shmuel Browns visits the site of Lifta (biblical Nephtoah) on the edge of Jerusalem.

Minna Silver takes readers on a visit to biblical Haran, once home to the patriarch Abraham.

Eisenbrauns’s Deal of the Weekend: The Horsemen of Israel
Horses and Chariotry in Monarchic Israel, by Deborah Cantrell ($20).

Barry Britnell introduces a new video project entitled “Following the Messiah” and encourages everyone to support the project through their Kickstarter Campaign.

HT: Ted Weis, Gale, Joseph Lauer, Agade, Ferrell Jenkins

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