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Archaeologists working near the Western Wall of the Temple Mount have discovered the largest collection of ancient dice ever found.

The seventh issue of the newsletter of the Department and Institute of Archeology at Tel Aviv University includes reports on fieldwork at Azekah, Masada, and Jerusalem, along with other articles on research and laboratory work.

I don’t know that the claim of it being the oldest water tunnel is true, but the Balama tunnel near Jenin is certainly interesting and little-known.

A rare sighting of a sperm whale off Israel’s coast was made several weeks ago near Nahariya.

I am happy to see my old friend Jeroboam II getting some attention this week, as he is featured in the latest archaeological biography by Bryan Windle.

Three upcoming meetings of The Minerva Center for the Relations between Israel and Aram in Biblical Times:

The Clinton Bailey Archive of Bedouin Culture is coming to the National Library of Israel. The collection includes a wealth of information about ancient Bedouin tribal cultures, including audio recordings, videos, and photos.

Joel Kramer joins Sean McDowell for a Q&A on the Bible and Archaeology.

New release: The Moses Scroll: Reopening the Most Controversial Case in the History of Biblical Scholarship, by Ross K. Nichols, illustrated by Daniel M. Wright

HT: Agade, Steven Anderson, Explorator, Ted Weis, Paleojudaica, 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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Archaeologists discovered a massive gateway near Persepolis that was built by Cyrus in honor of the conquest of Babylon.

A large-scale production brewery was found in Abydos, Egypt.

“The discovery of a rare ‘mud mummy’ from ancient Egypt has surprised archaeologists, who weren’t expecting to find the deceased encased in a hardened mud shell.

A CT study indicates that Pharaoh Seqenenre Taa II (558-1553 BC) died on the battlefield.

A researcher studied tomb reliefs and conducted dozens of experiments in order to discover how the ancient Egyptians baked bread.

A UNESCO jobs program is helping to restore Byzantine sites in Jordan.

Carl Rasmussen shares photos of Aizanoi in Turkey, where one of the best-preserved temples of the ancient world is located.

Greece Is lists the top 10 archaeological finds in Greece in 2020.

The Paphos Archaeological Museum in Cyprus has reopened after four years of renovations and delays.

Smithsonian Magazine: Iraq’s Cultural Museum in Mosul is on the road to recovery.

“The Encyclopædia Iranica Online is now freely accessible at Brill’s Reference Works Platform.”

5,000 photographs of Arabia taken by Sir Wilfred Thesiger between 1945 and 1950 have been digitized by the Pitt Rivers Museum.

“Excavating the History of the Bible: What Archeology Can Teach us About the Biblical World”—hosted by Dr. Andrew Mark Henry has launched on YouTube. The first episode provides an intro to biblical archaeology. The second is on the Canaanites.

A rare snowstorm covered Athens and its acropolis with several inches of snow.

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

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The Jerusalem Seminary is launching its first online semester, and they have a great slate of classes that begin soon. I know a number of the professors, and they are seasoned scholars who have lived for many years (or all their lives) in Israel. The school is located in the center of Jerusalem, but all of the courses this semester are being held online.

You can jump over to the course catalog for all the details, but I’ve copied a summary below. I will also note two items in particular: (1) the courses are discounted this semester; (2) if you’ve ever wanted to learn some Hebrew, this beginner’s course will be exceptional.

The Gospel of Matthew in its First-Century Jewish Context – explore the lost world of the Jewish Gospels and discover Jesus afresh. (45 hours, 3 credits)  $250.  Instructor: Noel Rabinowitz, Ph.D. Fridays, 9:00-10:30 AM Eastern Time (4 PM Jerusalem Time), starting March 5, for 15 weeks.

The Biblical Landscape: Flora and Fauna – revealing many surprising and significant faith lessons through study of the agricultural and zoological context of the Bible. (45 hours, 3 credits)  $250. Instructors: Ronit Maoz, MA and Malkah B. Abuloff, MA. Tuesdays, 9:00-10:30 AM Eastern Time (4 PM Jerusalem Time), starting March 2, for 15 weeks.

Hebraic Roots of Early Christian Music and Prayer – unpack the Biblical, Temple and Synagogue roots of Christian and Messianic Jewish worship. (45 hours, 3 credits) $250.  Instructor: Brittany McCay, M.M. Saturdays 3:00-4:30 PM Eastern Time (10 PM Jerusalem Time), starting March 6, for 15 weeks.

Beginner’s Spoken Biblical Hebrew (no background required) – one of the best ways to enter into the world and culture of Jesus’ Bible, the Hebrew Bible.  Taught by three certified JS School of Hebrew: Hebrew for the Nations Israeli teachers. (60 hours, 4 credits)  $450.  The course meets live for three one-hour sessions a week (two on Monday and one on Wednesday) for 14 weeks, starting March 1.  Mondays: 9:00-11:00AM, Eastern Time (4:00-6:00 PM Jerusalem Time) and Wednesdays: 9:00-10:00 AM Eastern Time (4:00-5:00 PM Jerusalem Time)

Sign up now to reserve your spot.

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Archaeologists in western Turkey have found a hoard of 651 silver coins dating to the 1st century BC.

“Turkish archaeologists studying the ruins of the ancient town of Myra have found more than 50 terracotta figurines depicting humans, gods and animals.”

Carl Rasmussen shares photos of Adada, a city that Paul and Barnabas probably passed through on their first journey.

“Syrian authorities believe they have found the body of a top archaeologist who was killed by the Islamic State (IS) group in 2015 while he tried to protect the ancient city of Palmyra.”

Why were ostrich eggs so coveted by elites in the ancient Near East?

The builders of the Giza pyramids were locals who were paid for their work and who ate well.

Egypt is planning to open four museums this year, including the Grand Egyptian Museum in June.

Online lecture on Feb 22: “Presenting the Heritage of Jordan at The Jordan and The Petra Museums,” by Khairieh Amr

Edd Hodsdon: “Darius the Great: 9 Facts About The King Of Kings”

New from Eisenbrauns: A Handbook of Gods and Goddesses of the Ancient Near East Three Thousand Deities of Anatolia, Syria, Israel, Sumer, Babylonia, Assyria, and Elam, by Douglas R. Frayne and Johanna H. Stuckey, with illustrations by Stéphane D. Beaulieu. Save 30% with code NR21.

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

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An Israeli soldier discovered a rare coin dating to AD 158 from the ancient city of Geva Phillip near Megiddo.

Israeli archaeologists recently re-discovered a dolmen in northern Galilee in a search inspired by the memoirs of Prince Albert and Prince George (later King George V). The underlying journal article is here.

A portion of the “altar site” on Mount Ebal has been destroyed by road construction work. Israel’s President has asked the Ministry of Defense to investigate.

King Manasseh’s reign is illuminated by archaeological discoveries, as Bryan Windle shows in his latest archaeological biography.

Barry Beitzel is interviewed about his background in biblical geography and his recent work on the Lexham Geographic Commentary series.

Tributes to Hershel Shanks have been shared by Suzanne Singer, Daniel Silliman, Aren Maeir, and the Washington Post. The full Shanks commemorative issue of BAR (from 2018) is now open to all, including kind words from Christopher Rollston and others.

Albright Virtual Workshop on Feb 22: “‘The loss of a minute is just so much loss of life’: Edward Robinson and Eli Smith in the Holy Land,” by Haim Goren.

Jonathan Robker gives some tips for finding and using digital resources related to biblical studies and material culture.

Registration is now open for Infusion Bible Conference (formerly The Institute of Biblical Context Conference), June 14-16, in Franklin, Tennessee.

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

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