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‘Atiqot 103 (2021), now online, includes articles about Iron Age pottery at Tel Eton, a fishpond at Illut, and Crusader remains at Acco.

Richard Elliott Friedman argues that Solomon’s temple was destroyed by the Edomites, not the Babylonians (Haaretz premium). An underlying journal article is available here.

David Ben-Gad HaCohen questions the standard identification of the Nahal Zered as Wadi al-Hasa.

Excavations are underway at Tel Burna (Days 1-2, Days 3-4).

A new study suggests that disruption of copper trade in the ancient Near East was not as severe as thought at the end of the Bronze Age.

The collection of 264 gold coins known as the Givati hoard were apparently minted as emergency coinage by Byzantine authorities in Jerusalem shortly before the Persian invasion in AD 614.

Archaeologists found remains of an Urartian castle dating to the 8th century BC in eastern Turkey.

A harpist has created a playable replica of the iconic Gold Lyre of Ur (25 min video).

Kyle Keimer and Chris McKinny conclude their podcast series on the Archaeology of Passion Week with part 2 and part 3. Accompanying visuals are available for each episode.

Zoom lecture on June 22, 11:30 am Eastern: Archaeological Sites of Iraqi Kurdistan as Tourism Destinations (Zoom link)

Zoom lecture on June 23: “What Recent Excavations Reveal About the Formation of Ancient Israel,” by James W. Hardin, Mississippi State University.

Zoom lecture on July 8, 12:00 pm Eastern: The Story of Tell Qasile: A Philistine Outpost in Northern Tel Aviv, by Amihai Mazar

The Bible Mapper Blog has posted some new maps, with downloadable high-res versions:

If you’ve ever wanted to go horseback riding on the Golan Heights, you can experience it through the report and photos of Israel’s Good Name.

HT: Agade, Arne Halbakken, Charles Savelle, Joseph Lauer

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“Archaeologists believe that a 2,300-year-old jar from Ancient Greece containing the bones of a dismembered chicken was likely used as part of a curse to paralyze and kill 55 people in Athens.”

“A multinational team of archaeologists and scientists is reassessing the history of sea-level change in the Eastern Mediterranean based on underwater excavation and photogrammetry at sites on Israel’s Carmel coast.”

“An Egyptian archaeological mission is preparing to launch an excavation project in Saudi Arabia after several discoveries showed that ancient Egyptian King Ramses III had a presence in the Arabian Peninsula.”

Turkish Archaeological News has a roundup of stories from the month of May.

“The Covid-19 pandemic, however, has offered these thieves new opportunities to raid closed archeological sites, churches and museums [in Italy] for priceless artifacts while police are reassigned to enforce lockdowns.”

First discovered in 2015, a cache of Roman coins dating from 200 BCE to 27 BCE are now on display at the Santa Maria della Scala Museum in Siena, Italy.

A replica of Noah’s Ark has been deemed unseaworthy and is prohibited from leaving port.

Charles Aling is on The Book and the Spade discussing “Post-Exodus Disruptions in Egypt.”

Carl Rasmussen shares photos from “The Grotto of Paul” at Ephesus, including ancient paintings of Paul and Thecla.

If you’ll be at the Infusion Bible Conference this week, stop by the BiblePlaces table and say hi to Kris Udd and me. I haven’t had a chance to meet many roundup readers this past year, but our team has used the time to create some great new photo collections.

HT: Agade, Arne Halbakken, Ted Weis, Explorator, Charles Savelle, Paleojudaica

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“A more than 4,000-year-old artificial mound in Syria may be the world’s earliest known war memorial.”

Hobby Lobby is suing former Oxford University professor Dirk Obbink to recover $7 million it paid him for artifacts that he allegedly stole.

A Smithsonian photographer joined a family following the ancient migration path across the Zagros Mountains in western Iran.

Certain artifacts to be loaned by the National Museum of Iran for the “Epic Iran” exhibit in London never arrived.

Portable X-ray fluorescence analysis is a rapid, inexpensive technique that may allow researchers to understand the archaeological record of a site without excavating. The underlying journal article is here.

Zoom lecture on June 9: “Warfare and Mercenary Forces in the Age of Amorites,” by Aaron Burke

International Conference (online) on June 8-10: Multifaceted Edom. Recent Research on Southern Transjordan in the Iron Age from an Archaeological and Cultural-Historical Perspective

As part of the Noah Symposium held at the University of Sirnak, Timo Roller spoke on the history of pilgrimage to Cudi Dagh, a possible landing place of Noah’s Ark. Roller has a couple of posts about the symposium (in German).

Orbis is a useful tool for exploring the Roman world, including determining travel times in 14 different modes in the New Testament era.

Carl Rasmussen shares photos of Cenchrea, a port of Corinth, as well as a very unusual find of glass panels depicting the harbor.

Bryan Windle reviews the latest edition of Mark Wilson’s Biblical Turkey. He also reveals why you may not (yet) want to get rid of your previous edition.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, Steven Anderson, Charles Savelle

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If you’re interested in becoming immersed in the first-century Roman world in an entertaining work of historical fiction, I recommend you pick up A Rooster for Asklepios, by Christopher D. Stanley. I found the book to be the perfect combination of instruction and pleasure, and it pulled together for me so many details I have learned in classes, research, and travel.

As a scholar whose expertise is in the social and religious history of the Greco-Roman world, Professor Stanley knows well the background of the New Testament world. My common sentiment as I read was gratitude—gratitude for the author’s careful research and his ability to weave a fascinating story. Sometimes his descriptions confirmed what I knew, but he usually delved much more deeply than I ever have, and I thoroughly enjoyed soaking it in.

A Rooster for Asklepios: A Slave's Story, Book 1 - Kindle edition by  Stanley, Christopher D.. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

The story follows a master and his slave as they travel from their home in Pisidian Antioch to seek healing from the god Asklepios in Pergamum. The story always kept moving, and yet at the same time, I felt that the author was sneaking in some fascinating historical details on nearly every page. I constantly marveled at how much first-century ground he covered, and I wonder how much could be left for his second and third works of the trilogy.

Without giving away the storyline, here’s a taste of what you’ll experience:

  • How slaves were variously treated by their masters
  • The life of an aristocratic household
  • The morning ritual at the household shrine
  • Daily prayers offered to the gods
  • A festival to the local god Men Askaenos
  • The manumission of a slave woman
  • Class distinctions between slaves, freedmen, and aristocrats
  • Commerce in the marketplace
  • A visit to the Asklepion
  • The nature of patron-client relationships
  • The disdain for a strange new sect related to a certain Paulos
  • The way in which Jews navigated life in a Roman world
  • Food and dining customs
  • A wedding
  • Political maneuvering among city officials
  • Regular visits to a Roman bathhouse
  • Doctors, medicines, and medical treatment
  • Dress
  • Sacrificial practices
  • Athletic contests
  • Common names in the Roman world
  • Jewish proselytes, God-fearers, and the synagogue

Certain subjects were familiar to me, but they struck home in new ways. For instance, when you’re immersed in the life of a couple of Gentile characters, their point of view about how the “Jews undermine the unity of the city” made more sense than it ever had before. Because I usually come at matters from a Jewish or Christian perspective, I have failed to appreciate how distinctly odd Jews and Christians were in pagan cities.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand the Roman world in which Paul traveled and the early church grew. The book only lightly touches on the nascent Christian movement, but you’ll understand the New Testament better if you experience its world. Once again, this journey was so greatly enhanced by my confidence in the author’s decades of research on the social world of Greco-Roman antiquity and his “obsessive concern for accuracy.” 

Because the book is set in modern-day Turkey, I think that those who have traveled to these places would especially enjoy it. I would be happy recommending or requiring this for a group traveling to Turkey, Greece, or Rome as well as for courses in the New Testament, early Judaism, and the Greco-Roman world.

I have already recommended this to my college students, and I think it could be enjoyed as a family with older children, though I would note that the book does include a smattering of coarse language, largely related to the main character’s bowel disorder.

You can learn more about the book and the trilogy at the website, www.aslavesstory.com, as well as on the Facebook page. The book is available on Amazon both as a paperback and on Kindle, and it was just released last week on Audible.

I am looking forward this summer to reading the second book, A Bull for Pluto. But I would note, for those perhaps unwilling to commit to a trilogy, that the first book can be read with great enjoyment all by itself.

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Joshua Berman and Ari Zivotofsky reject the recent study that ancient Judeans ate non-kosher fish because they had no knowledge of the Torah.

About 250 rock-cut tombs from the Old Kingdom to the Ptolemaic period have been discovered in Egypt’s Eastern Desert.

“Saudi Arabia is seeking Greek expertise in archaeological excavation for its nascent cultural sector.”

Sinkholes are a growing problem in Rome due to ancient and medieval tunnels.

The curatorial team behind the Epic Iran exhibition give an overview of the show ahead of its opening.

In the latest episode of the Biblical World podcast, Mary Buck and Chris McKinny discuss Ugarit and possible connections to the Old Testament.

Ariel M. Bagg reviews the history of Neo-Assyrian historical geography, leading up to the recent publication of the final volumes of the Répertoire Géographique des Textes Cunéiformes (Geographical Register of Cuneiform Texts).

Returning to his series on the seven churches, Ferrell Jenkins focuses on the church at Sardis, with a number of beautiful photos.

Bryan Windle’s top three archaeological reports of the month all come from the New Testament era.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Arne Halbakken, Charles Savelle, Ted Weis

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Egypt announced the discovery of 250 ancient tombs in the southern province of Sohag.

Most ancient Mesopotamian statues were covered with colors, and recent research increases our knowledge of the artistic practices.

Sara E. Cole looks that all that a king in ancient Mesopotamia needed to be and do.

Iraq’s ancient heritage is deteriorating in the absence of government funding and conservation efforts.

A rare and striking 2nd century BC funerary statue from Cyrene has been returned to Libya.

“The images of al-Hajar al-Aswad, or the Black Stone [of Mecca], are up to 49,000 megapixels in size and took more than 50 hours to photograph and develop.”

A new study of the longest Roman aqueduct provides insights into water management in the time of Constantine the Great.

Anzu.digital is a community calendar of upcoming online talks, workshops or conferences of Near Eastern / West Asian Archaeology.

A handwritten letter from 1834 describes an American’s stop at the port of Jaffa but the impossibility of traveling up to Jerusalem.

Bryan Windle has a top ten list for discoveries related to Paul. Before you read his take, you might think of what you would put at the top. (You could turn a list like this into a couple of lessons…)

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Arne Halbakken, Joseph Lauer

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