“The Acropolis Museum in Athens is welcoming the summer season with an extraordinary free concert of music played on an ancient Greek water-organ.” You can see a reproduction in operation here.
The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) has received a million dollar grant “to implement a sustainable, extensible digital library platform and set of curatorial processes to federate records relating to the cultural heritage of the Middle East.”
An international team from Spain, Portugal, and the Palestinian Authority conducted excavations at Tirzah (Tell el-Farah North) last month in order to “1. to evaluate the state of conservation of the site in order to implement a program of protection and restoration; 2. topographical survey; 3. archaeological sounding on the Iron Age II sector.” (Not online, as far as I can tell.)
A paper in Astronomy and Geophysics by Colin Humphreys and Graeme Waddington dates the oldest solar eclipse yet recorded to October 30, 1207 BC and suggests this is the “sun-standing-still” event mentioned in Joshua 10. But this connection was proposed last year by H. Yizhaq, D. Vainstub, and U. Avner. The biblical texts, however, date Joshua’s conquest a couple of centuries earlier than this eclipse.
New research suggests that about 80% of antiquities available for sale online are looted or fake.
“A large number of expansive rock tombs which could constitute part of the world’s largest necropolis have been discovered during work carried out by the Şanlıurfa Municipality around the historic Urfa Castle in southeastern Turkey.”
“Excavation teams at an ancient site [Side] in the southern province of Antalya are struggling to find sponsors after it emerged that the site contains an ancient brothel.”
The Lion of Babylon is not faring well in part because of the visitors that keep climbing on its back.
“Dendrochronological and radiocarbon research by an international team led by Cornell archaeologist Sturt Manning has established an absolute timeline for the archaeological, historical and environmental record in Mesopotamia from the early second millennium B.C.”
Ben Witherington III has more than 20 posts on his recent trip to Turkey. Highlights include visits to the Miletus Museum, the Izmir Museum, and the ZeugmaMuseum (which has a splendid mosaic).
by Chris McKinny Many visitors to Israel have visited the Nahal Zin and hiked into Ein Avdat. While witnessing the canyon’s spectacular views and wildlife, visitors will probably be informed that Nahal Zin was the southern border of the promised land (and thereby Canaan and the tribe of Judah) based on a connection between the large, continuous canyon (Arabic – Wadi el-Marra) and the southern boundary descriptions in the Bible (Num. 34:4; Josh. 15:3).
Southern Boundary Markers of Canaan/Judah on Karte Von Arabia Petraea (A. Musil 1906)
This identification was made over a century ago by Alois Musil in his Karte Von Arabia Petraea who was told that the northern cliff face of Wadi el-Marra (i.e. Nahal Zin) was called Jebel Halaq by the local population. Since “jebel” means “mountain” in Arabic and the second part of the name is identical to the biblical place name, this identification was generally accepted. However, since the early cartographic projects did not cover the Negev Highlands (e.g., the Survey of Western Palestine, Van De Velde’s Map) most are unaware of this connection and its implications for biblical geography. Mount Halak is mentioned twice in the book of Joshua, in both cases it is within a north-south boundary description describing the territory that Joshua conquered.
“So Joshua took all that land, the hill country and all the Negeb and all the land of Goshen and the lowland and the Arabah and the hill country of Israel and its lowland from Mount Halak, which rises toward Seir, as far as Baal-gad in the Valley of Lebanon below Mount Hermon. And he captured all their kings and struck them and put them to death. Joshua made war a long time with all those kings.” (Josh. 11:16–18 ESV)
“And these are the kings of the land whom Joshua and the people of Israel defeated on the west side of the Jordan, from Baal-gad in the Valley of Lebanon to Mount Halak, that rises toward Seir” (Joshua 12:7 ESV)
Aerial view of Nahal Zin with view of Mount Halak (Jebel Halaq), photo by Bill Schlegel
Jebel Halaq faces towards southern Jordan and the mountains of Edom (i.e. Mt. Seir), which matches the passages from Joshua. When we add Mount Halak (Jebel Halaq) to the accepted identifications of Tamar (En-Hazeva), the Ascent of Akkrabim (Roman road west of Tamar rising to Mamshit), and Kadesh-barnea (Ein el-Qudeirat), it is clear that the various boundary descriptions were describing the same border, which they demarcated using various topographical features (oases, mountains, and natural roads).
For those who visit the Nahal Zin/Ein Avdat, Mount Halak (Jebel Halaq) can be seen either on the bus ride down to the hike or at the Ben-Gurion tomb, which overlooks the Nahal Zin. Be sure to look that way next time you make it down there!
Ben-Gurion tombs with Nahal Zin and Mount Halak in background
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.