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Four Roman swords were discovered in a cave near En Gedi. Three are spatha swords, and all were likely stolen from Roman soldiers by Jewish rebels during the Bar Kochba revolt.

The swords were discovered incidentally while doing multispectral imaging on a 7th-century BC inscription in the cave. The new reading of the inscription may include the word “salt.”

An Israeli teenager discovered an bronze Roman ring at Sussita/Hippos.

i24News visits the “dig for a day” program in the caves of Bet Guvrin.

The German Protestant Institute for Archaeology will celebrate its 125th anniversary with a conference in Jerusalem on October 16-17.

Jordan Ryan is a guest on The Book and the Spade discussing the 2023 excavation season at Tel Shimron.

Abigail Leavitt shares a number of photos from her walk around the Old City of Jerusalem.

The IBEX program in Israel where I taught for some years is featured in the new issue of The Master’s University Magazine.

Was a major discovery related to the Pool of Siloam made this week? Some unreliable websites suggest something new was revealed. The regular sources seem to be ignoring it, though The Jerusalem Post has recycled this reporting, with a completely irrelevant photo. When you read beyond the headline, the claim is that eight steps were discovered. A comparison of the published photo with earlier photos suggests that a portion of the lowest flight of steps, previously partially revealed, has now been fully exposed along with a portion of the reservoir and walls within.

Pool of Siloam steps. The wooden boards are located on the second (of three) flight of steps, filling in gaps in preserved stones. Photo published with the news reports this week, courtesy of the City of David Foundation. Comparison with the photos below indicates that this was taken earlier this summer.

Pool of Siloam in 2006, with three flights of stairs. The lowest flight is not fully exposed.

Pool of Siloam last month, showing third flight of steps and on-going excavations in pool below the steps. Some walls appear to be visible within the pool. Photo by John Black.

Pool of Siloam on Wednesday, September 6, showing wall inside the area of the pool. Photo by John Black.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, Alexander Schick, Ted Weis, Gordon Dickson

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Two sets of large channels uncovered in the City of David (Givati Parking Lot) and dating to the time of King Joash (ca. 800 BC) have stymied investigators as to their purpose. Barnea Levi Selavan interviewed archaeologist Yiftach Shalev on location (15 min).

About 1,000 feet of the Upper Aqueduct bringing water to Jerusalem was discovered in a neighborhood south of the Old City. This is the longest section of this aqueduct ever discovered.

Bryan Windle highlights the top three reports in biblical archaeology in the month of August.

“The Western Wall Heritage Foundation conducted its biannual examination of the Western Wall stones on Tuesday in preparation for the influx of visitors expected around the Jewish High Holy Days.”

The Albright Institute has just opened applications for fellowships, awards, and internships for the next academic year.

The toilets of Iron Age Jerusalem are the subject of the latest episode of This Week in the Ancient Near East podcast.

Seetheholyland.net has added an article on the Church of St. John the Baptist in the Muristan, the oldest intact church in Jerusalem, built around the year 1070. The article includes photos of this rarely open church.

Mitchell First has written a short biographical article on Josephus.

John Delancey shares a video shot from the top of the Redeemer Lutheran Church in Jerusalem.

Brad Gray looks at the viticulture context behind Jesus’s words in John 15.

Leen Ritmeyer shares several reconstruction drawings and a photo of the Middle Gate of Jerusalem mentioned in Jeremiah 39.

HT: Agade, Arne Halbakken, Alexander Schick, Will Varner, Ted Weis, Explorator

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Archaeologists working on Mount Zion have discovered, for the first time ever, destruction levels from the Romans and the Babylonians in the same space. Shimon Gibson believes that the evidence from the Persian period suggests that Nehemiah’s wall included not only the City of David but also the Western Hill.

“Ground-penetrating radar is revealing the secrets of a Roman legion camp near Tel Megiddo, including the ancient camp’s amphitheater for combat training.”

Chris McKinny and Joe Uziel write about “The Millo: Jerusalem’s Lost Monument” in the forthcoming issue of Biblical Archaeology Review. They discuss the subject in a video interview with Nathan Steinmeyer.

Bible Archaeology Report has created a list of the top ten discoveries related to the book of Isaiah.

Jerusalem Seminary has been given a grant to provide discounts on tuition for their fall courses. The grant also enables increased scholarships.

Jordan has a severe water crisis.

A rockslide at the waterfall in Nahal David at En Gedi led to the death of an 8-year-old boy and injuries to eight others. The Yonatan Bar David mentioned in the article is from Yad HaShmonah.

Amnon Ben-Tor, the director of excavations at Hazor since 1990, died on Tuesday at the age of 88.

An expanded edition has just been released of Amnon Ben-Tor’s Hazor: Canaanite Metropolis, Israelite City (Israel Exploration Society, 180₪)

Conference on Sept 11-12 at Ariel University: “Boundaries and Influences in the Archeology of Israel and the Eastern Mediterranean”

Ferrell Jenkins shares photos of carob pods like those that were eaten by the prodigal son.

The Bible Mapper Blog is now the Bible Mapper Atlas, with more than 150 maps freely available. You can find lists organized by historical event and by region here.

HT: Agade, Arne Halbakken, John Black, Alexander Schick, Explorator

The recently collapsed section of the Roman aqueduct at Caesarea. Photo by Michael Schneider

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Excavations conducted during the laying of a water pipe not too far from Lachish revealed the “most ancient gate ever discovered in Israel.” They are dating it to about 300 years earlier than the Early Bronze gate at Tel Arad. The gate has already been backfilled.

Archaeologists excavating Tel Shimron announced the discovery of a massive Middle Bronze monument that was 15 feet tall and covered the entire acropolis. The monument was very well-preserved because soon after its construction it was filled in with gravel.

A beautiful Herodian ceiling panel was discovered in secondary use in the Ophel excavations (YouTube).

One of the arches in Caesarea’s Roman aqueduct collapsed on Friday.

A suspension bridge crossing the Hinnom Valley is now open to pedestrians (YouTube).

Zedekiah’s Cave (aka Solomon’s Quarries) reopened earlier this month, and Zahi Shaked gives a 30-minute tour.

Some Jews and Christians are arguing over the right to pray in the area of a possible tomb of Elisha at Stella Maris on Mount Carmel.

Israeli officials are considering loaning the Megiddo Mosaic, which comes from an early Christian building, to the Museum of the Bible. (Ilan Ben Zion’s AP article is a disappointment.)

WUNC interviews Jodi Magness upon the completion of her 11-year excavation of the Huqoq synagogue.

Aviva and Shmuel Bar-Am write about some of the many ritual baths that have been discovered throughout Israel. The article includes many photos.

Abigail Leavitt recounts various sites she visited this summer in Jerusalem. She has another post about a tour of the Shephelah.

“The Jewish National Fund, KKL-JNF, recently welcomed guests to visit the ancient Jewish synagogue in Ma’on, located in Israel’s southern Negev desert.”

Tour Caesarea virtually with DIVE (Digital Interactive Virtual Experiences) on August 30 ($20).

Joel Kramer goes to Mamre in the latest episode from Expedition Bible.

There are a number of late-summer festivals being held around Israel.

New release: The Changing Landscape of Israeli Archaeology: Between Hegemony and Marginalization, by Hayah Katz (Routledge, $42/$136).

The latest Jerusalem Tracker has been posted, with a roundup of news, publications, and media.

It may be hard to believe, but apparently there are unscrupulous shopkeepers in the Old City of Jerusalem.

HT: Agade, Gordon Dickson, Al Sandalow, Will Varner, Arne Halbakken, Roger Schmidgall, Keith Keyser, Wayne Stiles, Explorator

With the Israeli military gone, there are no obstacles to visiting Hyrcania in the Judean wilderness.

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The Times of Israel has the best summation of the Huqoq synagogue excavations that I’ve read.

Melanie Lidman writes a story about the University of Haifa’s School of Archaeology and Maritime Cultures, the only underwater archaeology certification program in Israel.

The Israeli government has a plan to protect Jewish archaeological sites in Area C of the West Bank. Of 3,000 antiquity sites in the West Bank, about 80% are in Area C.

The Times of Israel writes about the opportunity for the public to join conservation work at Gezer on Thursdays in the month of July.

Archaeologists are using chemical imaging technology in ancient Egyptian tombs to analyze the process in which the walls were painted.

So many tourists are visiting the Acropolis of Athens this summer that they will be implementing crowd control measures for the first time ever, including time-slot system for groups and electronic ticketing. There is also talk of enlarging the Propylaia.

The BBC shares the latest discoveries at Pompeii, including serpents, frescoes, and yes, more skeletons.

Charging for admission to Rome’s Pantheon may make the site like the Colosseum—impossible to visit without joining a tour at many times the ticket price.

The NY Times has a lengthy story of Shelby White’s antiquities collection, pieces she has returned, and artifacts recently seized.

BiblePics is a new AI tool that allows users to chat with biblical characters.

New release: Hesi after 50 Years and 130 Years: Beginning a New Generation of Research, edited by John R. Spencer, James W. Hardin, and Jeffrey Blakely (Eisenbrauns, $70 with code NR23)

New release: West Semitic Inscriptions & the Hebrew Bible (AOAT 410), by Bob Becking (Ugarit-Verlag, €123; Amazon)

I have not seen the new “Borderland: Israel in the Time of Jesus” exhibit at The Creation Museum in Kentucky, but the exhibit book contains hundreds of the best reconstruction artwork I’ve ever seen—everything from Herod’s temple at Caesarea to a Jewish funeral and much more. This link gives a video preview of the book, and the book may be purchased here ($30-45).

HT: Agade, Arne Halbakken, Explorator, Ted Weis

It’s always better when artifacts stay at the site and are not transported to some distant museum. The new visitors’ center at Caesarea provides archaeological displays and visual presentations that enhance the site experience.

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Scholars at UNI Graz claim that a 3rd century BC papyrus has evidence of a binding, making it the oldest book in the world discovered. The press release is in German, but the video of the press conference is partly in English. Brent Nongbri offers some thoughts.

A network of stone walls along the Nile River provide evidence of ancient hydraulic engineering.

“A team of computer scientists and archaeologists from the University of Bologna in Italy has developed a new tool for identifying archaeological sites using artificial intelligence … [which] reached a predictive accuracy of over 80 percent.”

“A team of archaeologists and computer scientists from Israel has created an AI-powered translation program for ancient Akkadian cuneiform, allowing tens of thousands of already digitized tablets to be translated into English instantaneously.”

The square in Rome where Julius Caesar was assassinated has been opened to the public.

Renovations of the Carthage Museum will begin in 2025 and expand the exhibition space to three times the current size.

The book of Esther’s independence from classical sources makes it “more important as a historical source for Achaemenian history than has traditionally been assumed.”

“An ancient Hebrew Bible and more than 100 Roman coins were recovered by Turkish military police.” The photo with the article is not the seized manuscript.

New release: A Jew in the Roman Bathhouse: Cultural Interaction in the Ancient Mediterranean, by Yaron Z. Eliav (Princeton University Press, $45; save 30% with code P321).

New release: Wounded Tigris: A River Journey Through the Cradle of Civilization, by Leon McCarron (Simon & Schuster, $29)

New release: Famine and Feast in Ancient Egypt, by Ellen Morris (75 pages, Cambridge University Press, $22; free download until July 3).

In the latest episode of Thin End of the Wedge, Agnès Garcia-Ventura discusses the historiography of Assyriology.

Mark Janzen is guest on The Book and the Spade discussing the historicity of Moses.

Now that the Plutonium at Hierapolis (aka the gate to Hades) is open, Carl Rasmussen shares photos and explains what you are looking at and how the ancient rites were carried out.

HT: Agade, Alexander Schick

The worst experience in Jerusalem is walking through the drainage channel under the Siloam street. Unless you’re under 5 feet tall.

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