Weekend Roundup

“A six year old hiking with his family [at Tel Jemmah] . . . discovered a one-of-a-kind, 3,500-year-old depiction of a naked, humiliated Canaanite prisoner and his victorious warden.”

A new study of organic material on the Iron Age altars from the shrine at Arad indicates that frankincense and cannabis were burned on them in ancient times.

A well-preserved Roman mosaic floor from the 3rd century AD has been discovered in a vineyard in northern Italy.

Archaeologists have discovered a well-preserved 3rd century AD Roman ship in Serbia.

A recent review of Egyptian antiquities in Scotland has identified more than 14,000 objects.

The latest post on the ASOR Blog is about the Egyptians’ views of foreigners.

A Jewish leader in Tehran denies that a traditional tomb of Esther and Mordecai was set on fire. The article in a regime-approved newspaper includes other interesting background about the shrine.

Mark Wilson reflects on Paul’s imprisonments in light of his current confinement in Turkey.

A Times of Israel article describes two new documentaries on the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. In one, a priest explains how the “holy fire” is lit with a lighter.

“Following an extreme and unusually long heatwave last week, Israel on Sunday was hit by showers and unseasonably cold temperatures.”

Museums reopening in Italy will use “chaperones” and vibrating necklaces to ensure people don’t get too close to each other.

Now on pre-pub for Logos: A Christian’s Guide to Evidence for the Bible: 101 Proofs from History and Archaeology, by J. Daniel Hays ($19).

Ferrell Jenkins dug up a great photo to illustrate Isaiah 1:18.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Arne Halbakken, Keith Keyser, Explorator

Share:

Weekend Roundup

A stone measuring table and several dozen stone weights were discovered in a plaza along the first-century AD street from the Pool of Siloam to the Temple Mount. Archaeologists believe that the area it was found served as the Jerusalem’s central market. The Times of Israel article includes a video and many photos.

It’s not quite a copy of the Tel Dan Inscription, but a pottery restorer discovered a faint ink inscription of a single Hebrew word on a storejar excavated at Abel Beth Maacah (Haaretz premium).

“Egypt’s recent decision to transport ancient Pharaonic artifacts to a traffic circle in the congested heart of Cairo has fueled fresh controversy over the government’s handling of its archaeological heritage.”

Rainfall this week led to flooding in the Judean wilderness. The video at the bottom of this page shows waterfalls in Nahal Qumran. Aren Maeir shares videos and photos of a river running through the Elah Valley.

The Biblical Archaeology Society is offering dig scholarships for excavations this coming year.

The most recent maps posted on the Bible Mapper Blog are of Southern Greece, the Judean Wilderness, and Philistia.

The photographs of Nancy Lapp, taken during excavations around the Middle East from the 1950s to the 1990s are the subject of an interesting photo essay by Rachael McGlensey. More than 2,000 images from Jordan have been digitized in the Paul and Nancy Lapp Collection at ACOR.

Bob Rognlien’s new book is out: Recovering the Way. The book trailer will introduce you to it. Here’s my endorsement:

Recovering the Way is an enjoyable and fascinating read, combining historical insights from the time of Jesus with practical encouragement for our lives today. All that Bob has learned and experienced in three decades of leading pilgrims through the land of Israel provide the reader with a rich treasure of biblical instruction, wise application, and captivating stories. All of this benefits from dozens of beautiful illustrations which help the reader to see the world where Jesus ministered.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Ted Weis

Share:

Weekend Roundup

An 8th-century BC tomb with a child and its parents has been discovered in Achziv on Israel’s northern coast.

Joan Taylor looks at the historical evidence to determine what Jesus may have looked like and what clothes he wore.

Nir Hasson reports on Rona Avissar Lewis’s Hebrew-language book in which the author “examines the traces of the presence of children at biblical-era archaeological sites around Israel. Her conclusions about their births, their lives and their deaths may be somewhat different from the accepted conception of the role and situation of children at the time.”

And for another article on children: “Children in the ancient Middle East were valued and vulnerable—not unlike children today.”

The Temple Mount Sifting Project’s history in 12 objects series continues with #4, focusing on artifacts from the Persian period.

Three mosaics from the 2nd century BC have been discovered in Zeugma, Turkey.

A Polish professor believes that he has discovered eight sundials in ancient mosaics, including one in the Medeba Map (the column on the northern end of the city).

A record amount of rainfall fell in Galilee this week, including 5 inches in Safed and 7.8 inches on Mount Hermon, both in under 24 hours. The link includes a video of Saar Falls in the Golan Heights. For a photo of a snowman on Mount Hermon, see Luke Chandler’s post.

Magdala is the latest in John DeLancey’s video series of Life Lessons from Israel.

A trailer has dropped for “The Museum,” a documentary about the evacuation of the Aleppo Museum during the Syrian Civil War.

Statistics for Christian tourists to Israel in 2019: “55% of the 4.5 million tourists arriving in Israel in 2019 were Christians. Of those, 43% were Catholics, 31% Protestants, and 24% Eastern Orthodox. Of the Protestant visitors, 83% were Evangelicals (comprising 28% of all Christian tourists, and 13% of tourists in general). 15% of Protestant tourists hailed from African American churches. Of the Orthodox, 74% were Russian Orthodox, 26% were Greek Orthodox. 84% of all Christian tourists visited Jerusalem, and 65% visited Tel Aviv-Jaffa. The most visited sites by Christians were the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Via Dolorosa, and the Mount of Olives.”

The newest issue of Electrum includes a number of articles related to ancient Jerusalem including:

  • New Evidence for the Dates of the Walls of Jerusalem in the Second Half of the Second Century BC, by Donald T. Ariel
  • Herod’s Western Palace in Jerusalem: Some New Insights, by Orit Peleg-Barkat
  • Coins of the First Century Roman Governors of Judaea and their Motifs, by David M. Jacobson
  • The Purpose of the Ritual Baths in the Tombs of the Kings: A New Proposal, by Omri Abadi and Boaz Zissu
  • The Training Ground (Campus) of the legio X Fretensis in Jerusalem/Aelia Capitolina—a Possible Identification North of the Damascus Gate, by Avner Ecker
  • Eusebius and Hadrian’s Founding of Aelia Capitolina in Jerusalem, by Miriam Ben Zeev Hofman
  • Jerusalem and the Bar Kokhba Revolt Again: A Note, by Eran Almagor

Some lists highlighting the top discoveries of 2019 have started to appear. I hope to present my own list here next week at which time I’ll link to others I have found.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer

Share:

Weekend Roundup, Part 1

With summer excavations wrapping up, some dig directors are calling up journalists to report their prize discoveries…

Excavations at Gath this summer uncovered portions of an earlier Philistine city, with massive fortifications suggesting that this period was the city’s actual heyday (=time of David and Goliath). This story by Ariel David is reported in Haaretz (premium), and Aren Maeir provides a pdf version. The Jerusalem Post has a brief account here. The Times of Israel write-up is here.

No, they didn’t find the archive at Hazor, but they did discover a staircase.

Excavators working at Hippos have discovered well-preserved mosaics in the “Burnt Church” that include poorly spelled inscriptions.

Tel Shimron in Galilee has a daily blog for its summer excavations. Here is yesterday’s post.

You have only two more seasons to volunteer in the excavations at Gath before they put the shovels into the shed for good.

In a video posted yesterday, David Moster looks at seven types of rare verses, including the longest and shortest verses in the Hebrew Bible. You can see a list of the rare verses in the notes below the video.

Madeline Arthington writes about her tour of the tabernacle model in southern Israel (with lots of photos).

A new documentary goes in search of the “Apollo of Gaza,” a bronze statue discovered in 2013 that disappeared shortly thereafter. The 47-minute video will be posted online until August 14.

The temperature at the southern end of the Dead Sea last week broke a record at 122° Fahrenheit (49.9° Celsius). That’s still under the national record of 129°F (54°C ) in June 1942 near Beth Shean.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Agade, Charles Savelle, Keith Keyser, Explorator

Share:

Weekend Roundup

A 1st-century Jewish settlement is now being excavated near Beersheba, and one find is an early depiction of a nine-branched menorah.

Christopher Rollston offers some reflections on the Nathan-Melek seal impression, concluding that it is “most likely” that this is the same person mentioned in the Bible.

“Excavation work carried out in Ramses II’s temple in Abydos, Sohag, has uncovered a new temple palace belonging to the 19th Dynasty king.”

Hasmonean-era tombs near Jericho have been looted recently.

Conservation work was done on the Western Wall ahead of the Passover holiday.

“Ancient Color” is “a new exhibition at University of Michigan’s Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, dives deep into the material and application of pigment in ancient Rome, and in doing so highlights a colorful, international history.”

Opening today at the Peabody Museum: “Ancient Mesopotamia Speaks: Highlights from the Yale Babylonian Collection.”

With 40 inches of rainfall so far this year, the Sea of Galilee rose 6 inches last weekend.

Recent rains caused flash flooding near the tomb of Cyrus in Pasargadae.

David Moster explains “Telling Time in Ancient Israel” in a new 9-minute video.

Wayne Stiles has just announced a tour to sites in Turkey and Greece, including a 3-night cruise to the Greek isles.

Reported on April 1: the discovery of the world’s oldest break-up letter.

If you’ve been thinking about registering for the Institute of Biblical Context conference this June, note that the early bird discount ends on Wednesday.

This video shows footage of Jerusalem one month after the Six-Day War in 1967.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Agade, Alexander Schick

Share:

Weekend Roundup, Part 2

New clues to the lost tomb of Alexander the Great are being unearthed in Egypt (National Geographic).

Sinai’s 500 plus photographic entries from mid 19th to mid 20th centuries . . . are now published online with detailed geography and history description . . . based on the 19-year field survey and maps of Sinai Peninsula Research (SPR).”

Erin Blakemore recounts the tale of how a modern attempt to play King Tut’s trumpets went awry.

Somehow John DeLancey is able to post summaries every day for his tours, including their recent days in Egypt.

Iraq is seeking World Heritage List status for the ancient city of Babylon.

Tourists are apparently returning to the ancient city of Ur in southern Iraq.

Esagil, Treasure Hunt in Babylon, is a a board game with a real-scale map of ancient Babylon.

The opening of a spectacular ancient Jewish catacomb in Rome continues to be delayed.

What is “biblical archaeology”? Owen Jarus provides some definitions and an introduction to some of the controversy surrounding its use.


Smithsonian Magazine profiles Wendell Phillips, sometimes known as America’s “Lawrence of Arabia.”

The majority, or perhaps even all, of the 75 new “Dead Sea Scrolls” fragments that have appeared on the market since 2002 are modern forgeries, according to Årstein Justnes and Josephine Munch Rasmussen. UPDATE: I am told by someone I trust that this article has many errors, including in its basic assertions.

ASOR has begun its March Fellowship Madness 2019 to raise funds to help students and scholars.

Ferrell Jenkins explains why he is fond of an “unattractive” photo taken at the Corinth Museum.

Two new videos with Aaron Brody: Introduction to the Bade Museum and Repatriating Antiquities.

HT: Ted Weis, Agade, G. M. Grena

IMG_20190301_134514_thumb[1]
Destroyed baptismal site on the Jordan River after recent flooding
(Photo by Alexander Schick)
Share:

Weekend Roundup, Part 1

A well-preserved Greek inscription from the 5th century recording a blessing for one ‘Master Adios’” was discovered in central Israel.

Plans to convert the Golden Gate of the Temple Mount into a Muslim place of prayer are being resisted by Israeli police.

Two crews of antiquities thieves working in eastern Samaria were arrested in recent weeks. One of them was looting Alexandrium-Sartaba.

A short trailer has been released promoting this season’s excavations at Tel Shimron.

There is still time to sign up for this summer’s season at Tel Burna. Shiloh has some openings as well.

Heavy rains this week caused flooding in the Jerusalem area.

The Times of Israel shares a photo essay of wildflowers of the Dead Sea.

Israel’s Good Name recounts his recent university trip to Wadi Dalia and Sartaba in eastern Samaria.

Leon Mauldin reflects on Proverbs’ view of sluggards and ants, and he shares a photo of ants at Neot Kedumim.

The BBC visits the recently opened Terra Sancta Museum in Jerusalem.

New book: Exploring the Holy Land: 150 Years of the Palestine Exploration Fund, edited by David Gurevich and Anat Kidron. (Amazon)

I am on the Diligent Pastors podcast this week with Scot Chadwick, talking about the land of the Bible, photo collections, and preparing for a trip to Israel. Pastors especially may want to check out other episodes in this new podcast.

HT: Ted Weis, Agade, G. M. Grena

Share:

Weekend Roundup, Part 1

Excavations of Qumran’s “Cave 53” have concluded without discovering any scrolls. The Times of Israel provides a good summary of the efforts of recent years.

Two clay horse figurines were discovered last month in northern Israel,” one near Kefar Ruppin and the other near Tel Akko.

Bible History Daily reports on the discovery of the Roman funerary busts in Beth Shean.

A Byzantine cistern discovered under a playground in Jerusalem may become a national site. The article references Ramla’s “Pool of Arches,” which you can read about here.

There are no parallels to the bearded male head unearthed at Abel Beth Maacah, writes Naama Yahalom-Mack in a detailed description of the object.

Following an outcry, the highway over Tel Beth Shemesh will be 20 meters wide instead of 80.

Ferrell Jenkins shares his favorite photo of a fisherman casting his net into the Sea of Galilee. 

John DeLancey has been posting daily for his current Biblical Israel Tour. For Day 12, they visited the City of David and the Old City.

An earthquake centered in Nazareth shook the Galilee region on Thursday night.

A record amount of snowfall on Mount Hermon has opened the site to a peak capacity of visitors.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer

Share:

Weekend Roundup, Part 1

The Times of Israel reports on the excavations of Kiriath Jearim, including the large platform wall they have discovered.

The archaeologists of Abel Beth Maacah provide a lavishly illustrated account of their first six years of excavation.

Ben Witherington believes that Magdala of Galilee, edited by Richard Bauckham, should be nominated for archaeological book of the year. That post begins a series of short Q&A posts with the editor.

A preliminary excavation report for Tel Yarmuth (biblical Jarmuth) describes the massive Early Bronze walls and plans to make a new archaeological park.

Two new exhibits are opening next week at the Hecht Museum at the University of Haifa.

The Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem has announced their spring lecture schedule. I suspect that all are in Hebrew.

Erez Speiser explains the four paths to get to the top of Masada.

The latest of Ferrell’s Favorite Fotos is a blended shot of the Jezreel Valley from an airplane.

Snow fell in Jerusalem this week for the first time in several years.

Thousands of Orthodox Christians celebrated Epiphany at the Jordan River yesterday.

Eisenbrauns has a sale on its titles in the History, Archaeology, and Culture of the Levant series.

“Searching for a King” premieres on Saturday in Indianapolis, and the event will be livestreamed on Facebook.

Die Ikonographie Palästinas/Israels und der Alte Orient (IPIAO). Eine Religionsgeschichte in Bildern Band 4: Die Eisenzeit bis zum Beginn der achämenidischen Herrschaft (The Iconography of Palestine/Israel and the Ancient Near East. A History of Religion in Pictures), by Silvia Schroer (970pp), is now available for purchase or as a free pdf.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Chris McKinny, Ted Weis, Charles Savelle

Share:

Weekend Roundup, Part 1

Archaeologists have discovered a three-room burial cave in Tiberias, apparently from the first century BC or first century AD. Haaretz has more here.

“Two subterranean Byzantine period winepresses were discovered in recent excavations at Tzippori [Sepphoris] National Park.”

Gary Byers summarizes the third week of excavations at Shiloh. This week they found a scarab, seal impression, inkwell, and lots of walls.

Piles of ancient debris on the Temple Mount were moved this week, in violation of court order.


The Washington Post reports on the glass head discovered at Abel Beth Maacah.


The Times of Israel explains why the world premiere of the seals of Isaiah and Hezekiah is at a college in Oklahoma.

John DeLancey is writing daily updates for his current Israel-Jordan tour. Here is the latest one.

Wayne Stiles explains what the Canaanites, Hittites, Jebusites, and other –ites mean and why it matters.

The topic this week on The Land and the Book is “Traveling to Israel as a Child.”

There were heavy rains in Israel this week—in June!—and Aren Maeir has photos of water puddles at his favorite Philistine city.

I’ve just returned from the annual Institute of Biblical Context conference. The teaching was excellent, and it was great to meet so many others who love the biblical world (and photographs!).

HT: Joseph Lauer, Agade

Share: