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A boat dating to 2000 BC has been excavated near the ancient city of Uruk in Iraq.

Scientists used a mass spectrometer to identify the smells of ancient food residues in jars discovered in the Deir el-Medina necropolis.

Greek graffiti on a statue of Ramses II at Abu Simbel dates to the reign of Pharaoh Psammetichus (circa 590 BC).

Turkish Archaeological News highlights the top stories for the month of March, including the restoration of the “Serpent Column” in Istanbul.

Chariot racing in the Roman world was “the ancient version of NASCAR, except that it was a lot more dangerous.”

“Researchers in Sweden are using virtual reality (VR) to envision what a lavishly decorated home in Pompeii might have looked like before its destruction in 79 C.E.”

“It is now certain that ancient Greek sculptors used bright colors, as well as gold and ivory, to further beautify the magnificent structures they created.”

Researchers believe they now know the date the Antikythera mechanism was first set ticking—December 23, 178 BC.

New from Brill: Queen Berenice: A Jewish Female Icon of the First Century CE, by Tal Ilan. “This is a biography of Queen Berenice, the daughter of King Agrippa I, sister of King Agrippa II, wife of two kings and lover of the emperor designate Flavius Titus.”

Andrea Nicolotti provides a bit of a teaser on Bible History Daily from his recent book, The Shroud of Turin: The History and Legends of the World’s Most Famous Relic (Waco: Baylor Univ. Press, 2020).

HT: Agade, Arne Halbakken, Alexander Schick, Joseph Lauer

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“Work has begun on the reconstruction of some of the 50 massive marble columns of the basilica in the Ashkelon National Park as part of an overall facelift for the park, and next week the fourth [7.5-ton] pillar will be put in place.”

A volunteer group has begun cleaning up the archaeological sites in Tiberias in hopes of having a national park established for the ongoing protection of the ruins.

On the Mount Ebal curse tablet, Aren Maeir offers some initial thoughts. At Haaretz, Nir Hasson provides a general overview along with some criticisms of the artifact and questions about how it was uncovered and exported. Shawn Zelig Aster weighs in on the inscription’s possible significance. James Davila observes that if the claims are accurate, the amulet would be the earliest inscribed metal amulet by a good five centuries, but he thinks it unlikely that the inscription is a defixio amulet from the Persian period or later.

Biblical Archaeology Review assistant editor Nathan Steinmeyer gives a short video tour atop the walls of Jerusalem (5 minutes, with no 2x option).

“Imagine learning the Bible not as a religious exercise, but as local history. In Israeli public schools, that’s the reality.”

New release: The Jewish Quarter Excavations in the Old City of Jerusalem: Conducted by Nahman Avigad 1969-1982: Vol. VIII: Architecture and Stratigraphy: The Palatial Mansion: Areas F-2, P and P-2. Edited by Hillel Geva.

Hillel Geva has retired from director of the Israel Exploration Society, and Rona Avissar Lewis is now in charge.

“Giants in Judges” is the subject in the most recent episode of the Biblical World podcast with Chris McKinny and Kyle Keimer.

HT: Agade, Arne Halbakken, Alexander Schick, Joseph Lauer

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A new genizah discovered in the Cairo Jewish cemetery last month has been emptied by employees of the Egyptian Antiquities Authority.

“A man plowing his farm in Turkey’s central Çorum province discovered a rare 3,300-year-old ancient bracelet from the Hittite era.”

The Jerusalem Post profiles “Trowelblazers,” a project that celebrates “women’s contributions in the ‘digging sciences’ of archaeology, geology and paleontology.”

The Tower of the Winds in Athens is the oldest meteorological station in the world.”

The Lycian Way is a 335-mile marked hiking trail in southwestern Turkey that passes by 25 historical sites, including Myra and Patara.

New release: Bible Lore and the Eternal Flame: A Numismatic, Historical, and Archaeological Trip through Biblical Times, by Kenneth Bressett; foreword by David Hendin.

New release from Eisenbrauns: The 2006 Season at Tall al-‘Umayri and Subsequent Studies, edited by Larry G. Herr, Douglas R. Clark, Lawrence T. Geraty, and Monique D.
Vincent. Save 30% with code NR22.

Zoom lecture on April 13: “Digging Homer: The Mycenaean Palace at Iklaina & Birth of Greek Epic Poetry,” by Michael Cosmopoulos ($7).

Bible Mapper has released a number of new maps:

Joseph Blenkinsopp died on March 26.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, Explorator

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Biblical Archaeology Review seems to have dispensed with its annual “dig issue,” but the first issue of the year has a story about how various archaeologists think COVID-19 may affect the future of archaeology. The full story from the magazine is now online.

What was thought to be a Phoenician harbor in Sicily turns out to be a “gigantic sacred pool in honor of Baal that operated during the city’s Phoenician period, from the 8th to the 5th centuries B.C.E.” The article includes a nice map showing Phoenician colonies throughout the Mediterranean.

The new archaeologist in charge of Pompeii is hoping that visitors will look at the ancient city through the lens of its complex social stratification.

With Purim last week, Judith Sudilovsky writes about the Persian King Xerxes, known in the Hebrew Bible as Ahasuerus.

Tirhakah, the Cushite King of Egypt, is the latest subject of Bryan Windle’s series of bioarchaeographies.

Jordan has a number of important or impressive churches worth visiting.

Zoom lecture on March 23: “Phoenicians’ Cultural Influence in the Levant/Israel,” by Carolina Lopez-Ruiz ($7)

Webinar on April 6-7: Biblical Studies in Memory of Baruch A. Levine. I don’t see the schedule online, but I can forward it to anyone who asks. Or you will likely receive it when you register.

The webinar on “Colossae, Colossians, and Archaeology” that you may have missed because of its Sunday morning timing is now posted on YouTube.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Charles Savelle, Explorator

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“An archaeological study of the floor under the Church of the Holy Sepulchre will be possible for the first time, after a two-year undertaking to repair and restore its pavement stones got underway in an inaugural ceremony on Monday.”

Turkish officials deny the report that Turkey will be returning the Siloam Inscription to Israel. The Jerusalem Post explains the history of this significant artifact.

The discovery of a thousand charred linseed at Tel Burna (Libnah?) has led to the suggestion that the economy of the Shephelah greatly changed after Sennacherib’s invasion.

A carved stele from the 4th millennium was lost in the storage area of the Israel Museum, but now after five years of restoration, it has been put on display for the first time.

Leen Ritmeyer’s post on Capernaum includes a number of beautiful reconstruction drawings.

Ferrell Jenkins is back in Israel and shares a photo of a sunrise over the Sea of Galilee.

A rare March snowfall blanketed Jerusalem and parts of Israel in white this week.

Andrew Lawler’s article for Scientific American on the history of excavations in Jerusalem would have convinced me not to read his book. (I did read it, and it’s much better than some of the revised history he presents here.)

A recent study concluded that “Evangelical Christian travelers would prefer to visit Israel on a trip led by a well-known Christian leader or Bible teacher.”

Video from the 2022 Azekah Conference is now online. You can listen to all seven talks in 1.5 hours.

New release: Excavating the Evidence for Jesus: The Archaeology of Christ and the Gospels, by Titus Kennedy (Harvest House, $25)

On sale at Faithlife: 30 Days in the Land with Jesus: A Holy Land Devotional, by Charles H. Dyer ($5.99).

I am back for part two of “The Babylonian Destruction of Jerusalem” on Digging for Truth (25 min). In this episode I talk about the extensive evidence of the 586 BC destruction, including numerous discoveries in the last five years.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, G. M. Grena, Explorator

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A marble column from a Byzantine church was discovered by a beach patrol near Ashdod.

Tel Jarmuth (Yarmuth) is now surrounded by the fast-growing city of Beit Shemesh. The relationship between the community and the archaeologists may serve as a model for others.

A plan to expand the Jerusalem Walls National Park to include 68 additional acres, many on the Mount of Olives, has been shelved following opposition from church leaders.

The Times of Israel provides an overview of the $40 million renewal project of Jerusalem’s Tower of David Museum, slated to be finished by the end of this year.

Andrew Califf provides a fascinating look into “a day in the life of an antiquities crime-buster in Israel.”

i24News reports on lions in the Holy Land, including comments from Natan Slifkin, director of the Biblical Museum of National History.

Susan Schmidt has released a new video on “Hiking to the 11 Qumran Dead Sea Scroll Caves and Scrolls Trail.” This 6-minute tour not only introduces the new trail but it identifies where each of the 11 caves are located.

Ynet has an article about the new Dead Sea Scrolls Trail. The article is in Hebrew, but Google’s translation is pretty good.

Hybrid lecture on March 3 in Jerusalem: “The Foundation Date and Northern Defenses of Aelia Capitolina,” by Jodi Magness.

Zoom lecture on March 9: “Architectural Development of Ancient Galilean Synagogues,” by Paul Flesher.

Leen Ritmeyer has created a beautiful reconstruction drawing of the Magdala synagogue. His post provides more details about the synagogue, and a non-watermarked version of the reconstruction is available in his impressive image library.

Bible History Daily provides a summary of three pilgrimage paths from Galilee to Jerusalem, based on a recent BAR article by Jeffrey P. Garcia.

Oded Lipschits has been awarded the 2022 EMET Prize in Archaeology.

Israel is dropping its requirement for tourists to be vaccinated as of March 1.

How can photos, drone videos, and illustrations help you and your audience better understand the Bible? Brad Gray provides a valuable guide to a number of available resources and how they can be used (17 min).

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Keith Keyser, Arne Halbakken, Alexander Schick

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About the BiblePlaces Blog

The BiblePlaces Blog provides updates and analysis of the latest in biblical archaeology, history, and geography. Unless otherwise noted, the posts are written by Todd Bolen, PhD, Professor of Biblical Studies at The Master’s University.

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