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The Biblical Museum of Natural History in Beit Shemesh has a large collection of animal horns, but not all qualify to be used for the Feast of Trumpets.

A fire broke out at Tel Gezer yesterday, forcing the evacuation of some hikers.

Archaeologists are making significant discoveries in eastern Turkey underneath the Zerzevan Castle.

Turkish Archaeological News has a roundup of major stories in the month of August.

Archaeologists have uncovered new evidence related to the battle of Salamis.

Some people are not happy with a new wooden ceiling installed at the Karnak Temple.

Mohy-Eldin E. Abo-Eleaz writes about the harsh life of diplomatic messengers in Egypt in the Late Bronze Age.

The US returned to Lebanon a dozen looted artifacts valued at $9 million, including three from the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The “Origins of Olive Oil” is the subject of the latest podcast on The Ancients.

The price for the 2023 Friends of ASOR Seminar, with many well-known speakers, has been greatly reduced.

Writing for Bible and Spade, David Spoede reviews the overwhelming archaeological evidence for the domestication of camels in the time of Abraham.

Michael Holmes explains why a newly published Greek fragment related to the Gospels is a big deal.

In the latest episode of Walking The Text, Brad Nelson explains how “understanding how a fig tree produces fruit clarifies exactly what’s happening when Jesus curses the fig tree.” The website includes discussion questions as well as resources for further study.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Arne Halbakken, Keith Keyser, Gordon Franz

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One of the earliest water channels in history was discovered in the Izmir province in Turkey.

Ben Witherington is impressed with the new Izmir Museum (parts 2, 3, 4, 5). He also recently traveled to Patmos (part 2) and the tombs of Philip of Macedon and family (parts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).

Mark Hoffman explains how you can walk in Paul’s steps from Corinth to Cenchrea. His guide includes maps, photos, and detailed instructions for two routes, each about 7 miles one-way.

A 30-minute documentary follows archaeologist Stephan Lehmann in his work in detecting forged antiquities.

A forensic archaeologist says that the British Museum theft is the “worst in modern history.” The BBC story says that only 1% of the museum’s artifacts are on display, and not all of the rest is “properly catalogued and registered.”

More than 20,000 Achaemenid tablets from Persepolis will be returned to Iran from the Oriental Institute by the end of the year, according to an Iranian official.

NY Times: “The Egyptian government has demolished historic tombs, cultural centers, artisan workshops and gardens in pursuit of large-scale urban renewal.”

“Scientists have decoded an ancient aroma by identifying the ingredients used in Egyptian mummification balms — and resurrected the scent.”

Silvia Zago reviews Egyptian views of the otherworld.

Megan Sauter explains how to see some of the earliest Christian art in the entire world—located in the Catacomb of Priscilla in Rome.

Barbara Sofer visited Ostia to learn about the ancient synagogue and Jewish population of Rome’s port city.

HT: Agade, Arne Halbakken, Ted Weis, Explorator

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Excavations at Metropolis in western Turkey have uncovered a Greek inscription honoring Gaius Fabius, the governor in 57/56 BC.

Officials have recovered 550 high-quality ancient artifacts from the earthquake rubble in ancient Antioch on the Orontes (modern Antakya).

“Archaeologists have excavated subterranean rooms and a tunnel under an early church in Istanbul, formerly Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire.”

Archaeologists working in Pompeii have found a servant’s quarters in the house of a rich person.

“A 30-day exhibition on agriculture – with fruits grown and tools used in cultivation – in ancient Egypt is on at the Luxor Museum to celebrate Inundation Day.” The article includes several photos.

“For the first time, a group of researchers have successfully extracted ancient DNA from a 2,900-year-old clay brick.”

“A team of Swiss and Greek archaeologists recently successfully completed the third season of a research program (2021-2025) on the famous wreck of Antikythera, which dates back to the first half of the 1st century BC.”

“Rare photographs of the excavations at the Greek Island of Delos from the 19th Century have come to light in a book by French archaeologists.”

Seth Sanders explores the question of who invented the alphabet.

“The electronic Babylonian Library (eBL) Project brings together ancient Near Eastern specialists and data scientists to revolutionize the way in which the literature of Iraq in the first millennium BCE is reconstructed and analyzed.”

An employee was fired and police are investigating after British Museum officials discovered that some of their artifacts were being sold on eBay. And now the director of the museum has resigned.

Zahi Hawass is imploring Arabs with British nationality to sign his petition to give the Rosetta Stone to Egypt.

HT: Agade, Arne Halbakken, Jason Borges, Ted Weis, Explorator

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Ruins of Nero’s theater have been discovered in Rome.

“An iconic bronze statue of the Roman emperor Hadrian, which is one of three found worldwide and dates back some 2,000 years, was turned into an active honeycomb as 50,000 bees produced their wax onto 3D-printed grid replicas of the original.”

“Archaeologists have recovered thousands of pieces of glassware—many of them ‘perfectly preserved’—from a 2,000-year-old shipwreck in the waters between Italy and France.”

Impressed by costly Persian metal vessels, Athenian craftsmen created imitations in clay.

Local women are helping to renovate the mosaic floor of the ancient synagogue of Sardis.

Kim Lawton recently visited important, but less-visited, sites in Turkey related to Paul’s ministry, including Pisidian Antioch, Lystra, and Tarsus. The well-illustrated article includes a couple of quotes from an interview with me.

Leon McCarron spent ten weeks traveling the length of the Tigris, from its source in Turkey to its mouth at the Persian Gulf.

“Gems have unique elemental compositions that can be used to identify their location of origin.”

Mark Hoffman writes of his discovery of the Gardens of the Roman Empire website.

Steven Anderson’s book on Darius the Mede has been translated into Persian Farsi and published by Qoqnoos Press in Iran (ISBN: 9786220404651). It can be purchased from Agah Bookshop.

Howard Golden is donating his collection of hundreds of European maps dating to the 15th to 18th centuries to the National Library of Israel.

Don’t delay: “The permanent galleries in the Pergamon Museum will close on October 22, 2023 and will remain closed for renovations until 2037 (estimated).” Photos of many of their artifacts are available online.

The James Ossuary will go on display in Dallas beginning on August 25. This is the first time it has been displayed in the US. The price should keep the crowds down.

HT: Agade, Arne Halbakken, Explorator

The experience at Nazareth Village, with the increased number of exhibits and actors, has never been better. One caveat: it doesn’t work so well with large groups.

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If you want the non-Indiana-Jones explanation of the Antikythera Mechanism, check out NASA’s recent Astronomy Picture of the Day.

“For the first time, scientists have recently obtained genetic material and analyzed genome sequences from the ancient Minoans and Mycenaeans.”

Bleda Düring explains why the Assyrian empire was more resilient than those of the Hittites and Egyptians.

The size of the illegal antiquities market is much smaller than usually claimed.

Ruth Schuster considers how archaeological technology has changed how we see ourselves.

“The East Garage Necropolis Area, which was once a public market in the southern province of Antalya [in Turkey] and where archaeological excavations started after the discovery of rock tombs, has been opened as a museum.”

Leon Mauldin has just returned from a trip to Malta and shares a few photos of St. Paul’s Bay.

Andy Cook has just released “Discovering the Bible inside your Bible.” This is a 10-week Bible study of the Gospel of John that is filled with full-color photos. The study includes videos to go with each week’s study. This resource could be used individually or with a small-group Bible study. Only $20.

There will be no roundup next weekend.

HT: Agade, Arne Halbakken, Alexander Schick, Explorator

A visit to el-Araj, possible site of Bethsaida, is most impressive with regard to seeing just how close this ancient fishing village was to the Sea of Galilee. The water almost touches the site itself (immediately behind the tree in the center of the photo).

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“A team of Israeli physicists and archaeologists is now attempting to track the movement of subatomic particles called muons to map a complex array of ancient tunnels, cisterns and other underground voids beneath Jerusalem.”

Ancient rock engravings at Timna Park are now being studied using 3-D micromorphological characteristics of the incisions.

A new study questions the view that there were Jewish gladiators in the Roman empire. The underlying journal article is here.

Noam Aharon has created a map of the kingdom of Ugarit, c. 1300 BC. Bibliographic references are here. Permission is granted for non-commercial use.

“A bronze head of Emperor Septimius Severus on display at a Copenhagen museum has become a bone of contention between the Danish museum and Turkey, which claims it was looted during an archaeological dig in the 1960s and wants it back.”

Turkish Archaeological News rounds up the top stories for the month of June.

Ferrell Jenkins explains the possibility that Paul visited Adramyttium.

“A new virtual reality (VR) app which takes users on a journey back in time to Ancient Greece where they are able to experience first-hand what it was like to consult with the Greek god Zeus at the Oracle of Dodona has been developed by a team of academics led by the University of Bristol.”

Timothy P. Harrison has been appointed director of the University of Chicago’s Institute for the Study of Ancient Cultures, West Asia & North Africa (ISAC; formerly Oriental Institute).

Open access from Brill: Ancient Egypt, New Technology: The Present and Future of Computer Visualization, Virtual Reality and Other Digital Humanities in Egyptology, edited by Rita Lucarelli, Joshua A. Roberson, and Steve Vinson (free pdf; hardback $174)

Free download on Academia: Cultural Atlas of Mesopotamia, by Michael Roaf

Heinz-Wolfgang Kuhn, one of the first to engage with the archaeological research of Bethsaida, died last week.

Aren Maeir is guest on the What Matters Now podcast, discussing archaeology in the shadow of Indiana Jones. The link includes a transcript.

Nathan Steinmeyer explains why archaeologists love Indiana Jones.

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

I’m thankful that the Tabernacle Model in Timna Park is still going strong after nearly 25 years, though one could wish that the Park authorities could park their RVs somewhere else.

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