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Israel opened up to individual tourists yesterday for the first time in 18 months, and all are hopeful that no more tour groups or individuals will have to cancel their trips.

One of our teammates who lives in Jerusalem, Christian Locatell, went for a walk with his kids through Hezekiah’s Tunnel, and on the way back he discovered that much of the “Pilgrim’s Road” between the Pool of Siloam and the Temple Mount is now open to the public. He sent a few photos. This walk on this 1st-century street is worth adding to your next itinerary.

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We have more stories this weekend than perhaps ever before for a single week (nearly 50), so expect a third installment of the roundup on Monday.

The first-ever ancient depiction of the balm of Gilead was discovered on an amethyst seal found by volunteers sifting soil from near the Temple Mount. There’s a 3-minute video here.

Excavations at el-Araj (Bethsaida?) have wrapped up for the season, and the archaeologists discovered a large apse and two partial inscriptions in the mosaic floor of what they believe is the Church of the Apostles.

A diver found a Crusader-era sword in perfect condition off the coast of northern Israel. There is a short video here.

Not only the Crusader sword but much more has been discovered because of a once-in-a-century storm that occurred in December 2010.

Archaeologists discovered a hoard of silver coins from the Hasmonean era in Modiin.

Daniel Master is a guest on the Book and the Spade to discuss the recent excavations at Tel Shimron.

An organization is calling on the Israeli government to excavate and open to tourists the site of ancient Gibeah of Saul, more recently home to King Hussein’s unfinished palace.

“Members of the Samaritan faith gathered at sunrise on Wednesday to mark Sukkot, a month after Jews celebrated the festival.” The short story includes a brief video.

NY Times: “Rameh, a Palestinian town [in Galilee] surrounded by olive groves, has long had a reputation for producing especially good oil.”

Megan Sauter writes about the importance of three purple textile fragments from the time of David recently discovered in the Central Timna Valley Project.

Andrew Califf writes about seven lesser-known archaeological sites in Israel (Haaretz paywall).

The Museum of the Bible is offering virtual tours of Masada and Megiddo on November 10 and 17, “using advanced images combined with an online interactive classroom to create a rich, immersive experience.”

A new exhibition by the Israel Antiquities Authority at the Yigal Allon Center in Kibbutz Ginossar offers a glimpse of the centuries when Jewish sages managed to rebuild a community in the Galilee.”

Kyle Keimer and Chris McKinny discuss Cabul in the days of Solomon in the latest episode of OnScript’s Biblical World.

When children volunteering at the Temple Mount Sifting Project stole some of the artifacts, the director used the opportunity to instruct them on the community’s responsibility.

On sale for Kindle: A Week in the Fall of Jerusalem, by Ben Witherington ($3.99)

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, Ted Weis, A.D. Riddle, Paleojudaica, Explorator, BibleX

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Many finds have been made during the course of excavations required by the Marmaray project, a railway tunnel connecting the Asian and European sides of Istanbul.

Archaeologists excavating at Istanbul’s Haydarpaşa Train Station have made a number of discoveries spanning three millennia.

New stone ram heads have been discovered in Luxor during the restoration of an ancient road.

“Egypt is using an international award it recently won for restoring the Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue in Alexandria to promote tourism.”

“Slaves were primarily for credit, not for labor,” write Ella Karev and Seth Richardson in a piece entitled “Rethinking Slavery in the Ancient Near East.”

The Oxford School of Rare Jewish Languages is offering free courses in 12 Jewish languages, including Yiddish, Ladino, and Judeo-Arabic.

A 12-minute video of the British Institute of Persian Studies’s contribution to Iranian archaeology of the 1960s and 1970s was recently screened at the Institute’s 60th anniversary and is now online.

A trailer is online advertising a documentary about Susa that will be available on BBC Select.

“The 7 Churches of Revelation: Times of Fire” will be a “virtual cinema event” beginning on October 26.

The Amarna Letters are the subject of the latest podcast episode on the Biblical World, with Mary Buck and Chris McKinny.

Two new books on coins:

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

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A huge complex of 1,500-year-old winepresses capable of producing some two million liters of wine a year has been uncovered by archaeologists in the city of Yavne, south of Tel Aviv.”

Margreet L. Steiner looks at the elusive Persian archaeological evidence in Jerusalem in order to determine what the city was like when the Jews returned from exile.

Meital Sharabi recommends visits to two interesting locations in the Judean hills west of Jerusalem.

Makhtesh Ramon in southern Israel is home to a crew simulating a colony on Mars.

Zoom lecture on October 17: “Family, food and health in the Bronze Age Aegean: Novel bioarchaeological insights into Mycenaean and Minoan societies,” by Philipp W. Stockhammer

Zoom lecture on October 20: “The City of Babylon from c. 2000 BC to AD 116,” by Stephanie Dalley. Her book on this subject was released earlier this year.

Zoom lecture on November 4: “Under Jerusalem: The Buried History of the World’s Most Contested City,” by Andrew Lawler, author of a forthcoming book with the same title.

The Florence Scroll, a 14th-century parchment depicting holy sites from Egypt to Lebanon, is now on display in the Israel Museum as part of the “Painting a Pilgrimage” exhibit.

Bible Mapper has created several new maps, available in high-res for free non-commercial use:

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

Weekend Sale: Cultural Images of the Holy Land – only $20 with coupon HARVEST

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“Archeologists have uncovered a 3,500-year-old mosaic in central Turkey that could be one of the oldest in the world.”

Life-size camel sculptures discovered in Saudi Arabia are now believed to date not to the Roman period but to the Neolithic.

The best preserved shipwreck in the Adriatic Sea dates to the 2nd century BC and was discovered at a depth of only 8 feet.

Archaeologists are planning to excavate a Hittite temple in Kayalıpınar in Central Turkey.

“An ambitious effort to revive Izmir’s Jewish heritage is paying off as the Turkish city vies for a place on the UNESCO heritage list.”

The Times of Israel tells the story of two Israeli engineers who traveled to Iraq to restore the ancient tomb of the prophet Nahum.

Researchers are hoping that AI will one day speed up the translation of Egyptian hieroglyphs.

AramcoWorld has a well-illustrated feature story on Mohammedani Ibrahim, one of the first Egyptian archaeological photographers.

The Berlin State Museums have a new searchable blog page, “Museum and the City,” which includes blog posts on the ancient collections.

After a long COVID-enforced sabbatical, some tour groups are returning to the Middle East. John DeLancey has been posting daily summaries and photos of his Greece-Turkey-Italy tour, now through Day 13.

New release: The Story of the Apostle Paul, by J. Carl Laney

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

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Weekend Sale: Photo Companion to the Bible: 1 Samuel – only $49 with coupon SAMUEL

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Archaeologists discovered a Second Temple period quarry in northwest Jerusalem.

Regarding the recent story about the ancient Jerusalem weight which was falsely labeled to facilitate cheating, some scholars have observed that it was actually labeled correctly as an 8-gerah weight.

A secret tunnel under the slope of Mount Zion that was used by Israelis after Jordan captured the Old City in 1948 has now been opened to the public.

Israel has an “ark museum” of sorts, and Israel’s Good Name describes his visit to the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History in Tel Aviv in a well-illustrated blog post.

Dozens of installations used for the large-scale production of salt have been identified along the northern coasts of Israel.

The Ketef Hinnom silver amulets are the subject of an article in the most recent issue of Ink magazine, published by Tyndale House (pages 12-14).

Egypt is preparing to open the world’s largest open-air museum in Luxor.

“Using a leaf uncovered from the archaeological site of an ancient Egyptian temple, researchers . . . have successfully determined the ancient hybrid origin of some date palms.” The underlying journal article is here.

The National Museum of Beirut has reopened after a $175,000 restoration.

Excavations in eastern Turkey have revealed an unusual tomb belonging to an Urartian ruler who was buried with his dog, horses, cattle, and sheep.

“Out of the ashes of Pompeii, archaeologists recently pulled up a time capsule, though only the bronze hinges remained of what is being described as a ‘sorceress’ toolkit.’”

On December 6 and 13, John J. Collins will be giving a virtual lecture on “The Dead Sea Scrolls: The Light They Shed on Judaism and Christianity.” Registration is required and free.

Coming soon: Excavations in the City of David, Jerusalem (1995-2010), by Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron (Penn State University Press, 712 pages, $99.95).

This Week in the Ancient Near East wraps up the summer with a round-up episode.

The indoor model of 1st-century Jerusalem that was located at the Holy Land Experience in Orlando will be part of a new exhibit at the Ark Encounter. There’s a nice photo of the model here. And some others here.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Andy Cook, Charles Savelle, Arne Halbakken, Keith Keyser, G. M. Grena

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