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“Archaeologists have uncovered a marble head of the Roman emperor Augustus in the Italian town of Isernia.”

Researchers “have successfully sequenced the genome of previously extinct date palm varieties that lived more than 2,000 years ago.”

The Roman Colosseum will have its event floor rebuilt in a $18 million remodeling project.

Many academics are criticizing planned renovations to the Athens acropolis.

The Mosul Museum is being rebuilt after its destruction by ISIS.

The ancient site of Assos will be closed for more than a year while work is done to stabilize the slope.

“Turkish Archaeological News collects the most important, interesting and inspiring news from Turkish excavation sites. Here’s the review for April 2021.”

Zoom lecture on May 4: “Clues in Cuneiform: Lives Revealed in Ancient Records of Mesopotamia,” by Amanda Podany

Thousands of monumental structures built from walls of rock in Saudi Arabia are older than Egypt’s pyramids and the ancient stone circles of Britain, researchers say – making them perhaps the earliest ritual landscape ever identified.”

Andrew Shortland investigates the earliest use and production of glass in the ancient Near East.

The French thought it was a toe, but Rome’s Capitoline Museums has recognized the bronze piece is a 15-inch-long index finger, now reattached to a colossal statue of Constantine.

The British Museum blog takes a look at the gods and goddesses of the Greek and Roman pantheon.

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

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A new project aims to restore five ancient theaters in central Greece, including Nicopolis and Dodona, in order to increase tourism to the sites.

An article in Daily Sabah discusses the contribution of Çatalhöyük, Alacahöyük, and Kültepe to Anatolian and Mesopotamian history.

Live Science has more about the amphitheater recently discovered in western Turkey.

Carl Rasmussen shares photos of the theater at Miletus and its inscription mentioning “the place for the Jews and the God-worshipers.”

Gardens of the Roman Empire “is the first complete and authoritative online scholarly corpus of all the gardens attested in the Roman Empire.”

On the British Museum blog, Francesca Bologna considers what we really know about the life and reign of Nero.

Some Syrian refugees are finding shelter in archaeological ruins.

The961 highlights 21 interesting Phoenician artifacts on display at the British Museum.

Ariane Thomas discusses the life of a curator at the Louvre on the Thin End of the Wed podcast.

Zoom lecture on April 27: “What Makes a Great Invention? The Invention of the Alphabet in the Sinai Desert C. 1840 BCE,” by Orly Goldwasser.

Zoom lectures on April 29: “Food in the Ancient Near East,” with Cynthia Shafer-Elliott and Rosaura Cauchi.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, Explorator

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Tutku Educational Travel has a number of terrific tours planned in the latter half of 2021 and on through 2022. I’ve traveled with Tutku several times in the past, and my university is a regular partner with them for our student tours, and so I like to recommend them to others looking for great tours with the best instructors. You can get the full run-down of upcoming trips on the Tutku website, but I wanted to recommend and highlight six in particular:

Open to all:

For faculty and pastors (with discount):

You can see the full list of biblical tours here.

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Archaeologists have discovered dramatic evidence of the conflagration that destroyed Azekah circa 1130 BC, leading them to dub the site as a “small Pompeii.”

According to news reports, a rare Tyrian shekel was discovered during a renovation project at the Tower of David Museum. This is true, except that the coin is not a shekel and not rare. It is a silver tetradrachm of Demetrios II Nikator from Tyre with a date of SE 184 = 129/8 BC.

While undergoing conservation work, a large structural crack was discovered in Herod’s tower in the Citadel of David.

Justin Kelley’s BAR article on “The Holy Sepulchre in History, Archaeology, and Tradition” is summarized in Bible History Daily, where a detailed plan of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is also provided.

Scholars are using high-tech imaging to understand thousands of hand-engraved crosses on the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

A new “Emmaus Trail” allows walkers to travel the 11 miles (18 km) from Abu Ghosh to Nicopolis/Latrun. Leen Ritmeyer takes the occasion to propose that Emmaus should be identified with Bethel in the Old Testament.

David Moster has posted a new video that explains how to “make sense of the new Dead Sea Scrolls,” including a discussion of how important these discoveries are to biblical studies.

Randall Price is on The Book and the Spade discussing the new Dead Sea Scrolls discoveries.

The latest teaching video from John DeLancey is “The Life of Jesus – His Redemptive Purpose.”

New book: Jesus of Nazareth: Archaeologists Retracing the Footsteps of Christ, by Michael Hesemann. The author’s background and motivations are reported here.

Bryan Windle lists the top 10 discoveries related to Jesus.

Robert E. Cooley died on Thursday. During his career, he excavated Tel Dothan and helped to found the Near East Archaeological Society.

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

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On their first day back to sifting, the Temple Mount Sifting Project discovered their first pur, just in time for Purim.

This Times of Israel article has some drone footage that clearly shows the damage to the Mount Ebal altar site. The article details the firestorm that erupted. The Jerusalem Post argues for protection for the site.

Conservators are injecting the stones of the Western Wall with grout to help them withstand the effects of weathering.

Erez Ben-Yosef and Elisabetta Boaretto are interviewed on the weekly podcast from The Times of Israel about Solomonic copper mines and radiocarbon dating.

Aren Maeir’s MOOC on “Biblical Archaeology: The Archaeology of Ancient Israel and Judah” returns on March 8. This will be the fourth run, and the course is free.

Online on March 6: A Virtual Tour of Israel: Haifa, a Shared City. Free registration is required.

Chris McKinny continues his discussion of historical geography and archaeology at sites in central Israel including Gezer, Masada, Qumran, Jericho, Shiloh, and Caesarea.

Dumbest tradition ever: After conquering the Promised Land, Joshua asked God if he could go to Mesopotamia to die.

Bible Archaeology Report’s top three for February: “something deciphered, something discovered and something damaged.”

In light of the oil disaster on Israel’s shore, Shmuel Browns shares a series of Coastline photos.

HT: Agade, Arne Halbakken, Chris McKinny

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An interesting and unique opportunity available this summer is the Global Smyrna Meeting on the Seven Churches of Revelation. Organized by Tutku Educational Travel, this week-long program (June 20-26) has two features that are especially noteworthy: (1) travel to the cities of all seven churches; (2) study with some of the best scholars of the New Testament.

Speakers include Mark Wilson, Ben Witherington, Mark Fairchild, Carl Rasmussen, Jeff Weima, Dana Harris, and Linford Stutzman.

The touring time is much more significant than with a tour group. For example, the schedule provides 4.5 hours touring of Pergamum with an archaeologist, 3 hours at Thyatira, 2.5 hours at Sardis with an archaeologist, and a lecture by an archaeologist at the Ephesus Museum. This is more concentrated time on these cities than any other tour I know of, and the pre-trip lectures enhance the experience even more.

You can find all the details here. As regards the travel situation, Turkey has been the most open of all the countries in the Middle East this past year, so I’m telling people that Turkey is the place to go in 2021. If you haven’t been to Cappadocia, you can add that as a pre-tour extension. If you have traveled with Tutku before, you know that everything they do is top-notch and the accommodations are excellent.

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