Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Museum Photographs

(Post by A.D. Riddle)

A few weeks ago, it was announced that cuneiform texts in the Israel Museum have been added to CDLI, the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative. I would like to draw attention to two of these inscriptions that should be of interest to teachers and students of the Bible.

The first is the Iran Stele, a limestone stele of Tiglath-pileser III which is preserved in fragments that were found in western Iran. The stele depicts the king and symbols of deities, and the inscription records the king's annals, including a report that he imposed tribute upon (among others) king Menahem of Samaria (2 Kings 15:19).

Iran Stele of Tiglath-pileser III, Israel Museum

The second is the "Jerusalem Prism" of the Assyrian king Sennacherib. Sennacherib recounts his campaign to Sidon, Philistia, and Judah in 701 B.C. He reports how he defeated the Egyptians at Eltekeh and Tamna (2 Kings 19:9), reinstalled Padi as king of Ekron, and then conquered many of Judah's towns while confining Hezekiah to Jerusalem like a caged-up bird (2 Kings 18-20). Sennacherib recorded the account of this campaign on several other prisms and cylinders like this one, such as the Taylor and King Prisms and Rassam Cylinder (British Museum) and the Chicago Prism (Oriental Institute).

Jerusalem Prism of Sennacherib, Israel Museum


Readers may also be interested in the British Museum's free Image Service, which is not new. Once you search the museum's online collection for the item in which you have an interest, you will be able to see if there are photographs available. After clicking on the thumbnail, you can enlarge the photo or see if there are "More Views" available. Below the photograph, there should be a link "Image service: Use image." This link will take you to a page where you can register or sign-in to the Image Service and request the photograph. The website will ask you to select how you intend to use the photograph; options include "Classroom or teaching material" and "Private or professional study or research (without print publication)." Once you submit the request, the photograph will be emailed to you within a day or two. The stated limit is 100 images per month. I successfully requested about a dozen images in one sitting for use in a classroom PowerPoint.

Rosetta Stone, British Museum

Objects one might wish to use in teaching could include: Enuma Elish, Atrahasis, Epic of Gilgamesh, Lachish Reliefs, Rosetta Stone, Black Obelisk, Kurkh Monolith, Taylor Prism, Armana letters, and Lachish letters. One could search for the name of a king from Assyria or Egypt or Rome, or a particular type of object such as coins, lamps, papyri, and so forth.

Bronze wheeled stand with sphinx from Cyprus, British Museum

A helpful source to consult as to what kinds of things are to be found in the British Museum that might have relevance for Bible teaching is:

Fant, Clyde E., and Mitchell G. Reddish.
2008  Lost Treasures of the Bible: Understanding the Bible through Archaeological Artifacts in World Museums. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans.

HT: Jack Sasson

Monday, April 14, 2014

Bible-Related Works at Oxford University Press Free This Week

Oxford University Press is opening up their online collections for free use to those in the U.S. and Canada during National Library Week. With the username “libraryweek” and the password “libraryweek,” you can peruse hundreds of titles. Some of these may be on your wishlist (in print) and this provides an opportunity to determine if these will meet your needs. Below are some titles more directly related to the subjects of this blog.

The Oxford Companion to the Bible, eds. Bruce M. Metzger and Michael D. Coogan. “An authoritative one-volume reference to the people, places, events, books, institutions, religious belief, and secular influence of the Bible.” Published in 1993.

A Dictionary of the Bible, 2nd ed., by W. R. F. Browning. “2,000 authoritative entries it provides clear and concise information about all of the important places, people, themes, and doctrines of the Bible.” Published in 2009.

The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Books of the Bible, ed. Michael D. Coogan. “Authoritative reference overviews of scholarship on some of the most important topics of study in the field of biblical studies. The Encyclopedia contains almost 120 in-depth entries, ranging in length from 500 to 10,000 words, on each of the canonical books of the Bible, major apocryphal books of the New and Old Testaments, important noncanonical texts, and thematic essays on topics such as canonicity, textual criticism, and translation.” Published in 2011.

The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Archaeology, ed. Daniel M. Master. From Booklist: “The primary focus of the work is on places—each one with some kind of tie-in with scripture (both Old and New Testaments). There are only 70 A–Z places, but each one receives a surprisingly in-depth treatment….Interspersed with the places are ample topical entries, covering art, dress, gender, music, and religion in the Jewish and Roman worlds.” Published in 2013.

The Oxford Guide to People and Places of the Bible, eds. Bruce M. Metzger and Michael D. Coogan. “325 articles that describe the people and places that appear in the New Testament and Old Testament of the Bible. From prophets, apostles, and groups (such as Hebrews and Angels) to kingdoms and countries, cities and mountains where Biblical events took place.” Published in 2001.

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Biblical Interpretation, ed. Steven L. McKenzie. Nearly 120 entries providing “detailed, comprehensive treatments of the latest approaches to and methods for interpretation of the Bible written by expert practitioners. It will provide a single source for authoritative reference overviews of scholarship on some of the most important topics of study in the field of biblical studies.” Published in 2013.

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East, ed. Eric M. Meyers. “With 1,100 entries written by 560 contributors from more than two dozen countries, the scope of the encyclopedia is wide and provides a full range of perspectives and approaches to archaeological endeavors. Articles span from Bahrain to Libraries and Archives to Ziggurats and offer cultural, historical, and religious perspectives to a wide range of topics of interest to both scholars and lay people.” Published in 1997.

Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls, eds. Lawrence H. Schiffman and James C. VanderKam. “Featuring 450 articles by an international community of 100 distinguished scholars, the Encyclopedia is the definitive account of what we know about the scrolls—their history, relevance, meaning, and the controversies that surround them. The works are viewed in historical, linguistic, and religious contexts, with archaeological evidence providing a clear basis for dating and preservation of the manuscripts.” Published in 2000.

The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion, 2nd ed., eds. Adele Berlin and Maxine Grossman. “In 2,400 entries, The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion covers more than three millennia of Jewish religious thought, custom, law, and practice, from traditional approaches to Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist and post-denominational Judaism. Brief definitions and longer essays, all supplemented with bibliographies, enlighten readers about the major figures, folklore, and events in the history of Judaism throughout the world.” Published in 2011.

The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of the Levant: c. 8000-332 BCE, eds. Ann E. Killebrew and Margreet Steiner. Published in 2013.

Personal subscriptions are available to the Oxford Quick Reference collection for about $15 per month. This promotion seems primarily geared to increase library subscriptions.

In addition to the reference works listed above, others from the “Very Short Introduction” series may be of interest:

Biblical Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction, by Eric H. Cline.

The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Very Short Introduction, by Timothy Lim.

Jesus: A Very Short Introduction, by Richard Bauckham.

Paul: A Very Short Introduction, by E. P. Sanders.

Ancient Egypt: A Very Short Introduction, by Ian Shaw.

Hieroglyphs: A Very Short Introduction, by Penelope Wilson.

The Ancient Near East: A Very Short Introduction, by Amanda H. Podany.

Ancient Warfare: A Very Short Introduction, by Harry Sidebottom.

The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Very Short Introduction, by Martin Bunton.

Free access is to be available for National Library Week from April 13 to 19, but as I go to post this, the login is not working. Yesterday it worked at times and not at other times. Hopefully OUP will resolve the problem quickly.

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Weekend Roundup, Part 2

Now online: the video of Eugene Merrill’s recent lecture on “Ai and Old Testament Chronology: Who Cares?

Places of the Passion Week in 360-Degrees – Wayne Stiles shares some new photos.

The ASOR Blog has a series of posts about Passover and Jesus:

Also on the ASOR Blog: 10 Tips for Packing for a Dig

The sale of a Nebuchadnezzar II cylinder set a world auction record.

Now available for Kindle: Hebrew Bible and Greek New Testament with English translation ($6.99)

iPad users can purchase the HebrewBible app here ($9.99).

Happy 6th Blogiversary to BibleX!

HT: Ted Weis

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Weekend Roundup, Part 1

Leo Depuydt still believes that the “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” is “hilarious” and “patently fake.” His article in the Harvard Theological Review is online as is Karen King’s response. Some excerpts are given in The Washington Post. Christianity Today runs an interview with Nicholas Perrin of Wheaton College about what it all means.

A fascinating new exhibition will be opening next month at the British Museum on mummies and what we know about them from the latest technology. The changing graphic on the museum website provides a preview. This AP article has more details.

Luxor Times has photos of antiquities recently stolen from the Luxor Temple.

Barry Kemp has posted a report from the latest season of excavations of the Great Aten Temple in Amarna.

King Tut began his US tour in Kansas City this week. He will be in San Diego in time for the annual meetings.

Some excellent Zondervan e-resources on sale until tomorrow:

The full list is here. The first two are particular favorites of mine. All 5 volumes of ZEB for only $34 is very good, though this resource may be more difficult to use in electronic format than in print form ($121).

HT: G. M. Grena, Jack Sasson

Tell el-Amarna Small Temple of Aten from west, tb010905318

Small Temple of Aten, Tell el-Amarna
Photo from Pictorial Library of Bible Lands

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Jesus’ Wife Papyrus Fragment Likely Ancient

From the New York Times:

A faded fragment of papyrus known as the "Gospel of Jesus's Wife," which caused an uproar when unveiled by a Harvard Divinity School historian in 2012, has been tested by scientists who conclude in a journal published on Thursday that the ink and papyrus are very likely ancient, and not a modern forgery.

Skepticism about the tiny scrap of papyrus has been fierce because it contained a phrase never before seen in any piece of Scripture: "Jesus said to them, 'My wife...' " Too convenient for some, it also contained the words "she will be able to be my disciple," a clause that inflamed the debate in some churches over whether women should be allowed to be priests.

The papyrus fragment has now been analyzed by professors of electrical engineering, chemistry and biology at Columbia University, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who reported that it resembles other ancient papyri from the fourth to the eighth centuries. (Scientists at the University of Arizona, who dated the fragment to centuries before the birth of Jesus, concluded that their results were unreliable.)

The test results do not prove that Jesus had a wife or disciples who were women, only that the fragment is more likely a snippet from an ancient manuscript than a fake, the scholars agree. Karen L. King, the historian at Harvard Divinity School who gave the papyrus its name and fame, has said all along that it should not be regarded as evidence that Jesus married, only that early Christians were actively discussing celibacy, sex, marriage and discipleship.

The full NYT article is here. The Harvard Theological Review article is available for free download here.

An initial radiocarbon analysis dated the fragment to 404–209 BC; a second analysis gave a mean date of AD 741. King concludes with a date in the 7th or 8th centuries AD. As far as being a reliable witness to 1st century events, it is not. The author notes that the fragment should be studied in light of the Muslim view that prophets were usually married.

In King’s reading, “The main point of the GJW fragment is simply to affirm that women who are wives and mothers can be Jesus’s disciples.”

Previous posts about this subject:

Somebody Once Believed Jesus Had a Wife

Articles on Jesus’ Wife

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Katumuwa Exhibit and Symposium

(Post by A.D. Riddle)

On April 8, the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago opened its new exhibit, "In Remembrance of Me: Feasting with the Dead in the Ancient Middle East." The centerpiece of the exhibit is (a cast of?) the Katumuwa Stele, a basalt monument with Aramaic inscription which was discovered at the site of Zincirli in 2008. The exhibit runs until next January.

Katumuwa Stele from Zincirli. (Oriental Institute)

More information about the exhibit is online here. The catalog for the exhibit can be downloaded free in pdf format.

In conjunction with the exhibit, the Oriental Institute is holding a symposium on Sunday, May 4, at 1:00pm. The speakers include:
Virginia Herrmann
David Schloen
Theodore Lewis
Karel van der Toorn
K. Lawson Younger

The symposium is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Information about the symposium is here and online registration is here.


Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Canaanite Official’s Tomb Discovered in Jezreel Valley

During a salvage excavation just southwest of Nazareth in the Jezreel Valley, archaeologists uncovered a unique coffin from the Late Bronze Age that may have belonged to a Canaanite official serving in the Egyptian army. From the Israel Antiquities Authority press release:

Part of a burial site dating to the Late Bronze Age (thirteenth century BCE) was exposed in an excavation at the foot of Tel Shadud. According to the excavation directors, Dr. Edwin van den Brink, Dan Kirzner and Dr. Ron Be’eri of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “During the excavation we discovered a unique and rare find: a cylindrical clay coffin with an anthropoidal lid (a cover fashioned in the image of a person) surrounded by a variety of pottery consisting mainly of storage vessels for food, tableware, cultic vessels and animal bones. As was the custom, it seems these were used as offerings for the gods, and were also meant to provide the dead with sustenance in the afterlife.” The skeleton of an adult was found inside the clay coffin and next to it were buried pottery, a bronze dagger, bronze bowl and hammered pieces of bronze. “Since the vessels interred with the individual were produced locally”, the researchers say, “We assume the deceased was an official of Canaanite origin who was engaged in the service of the Egyptian government”. Another possibility is that the coffin belonged to a wealthy individual who imitated Egyptian funerary customs. The researchers add that so far only several anthropoidal coffins have been uncovered in the country. The last ones discovered were found at Deir el-Balah some fifty years ago. According to the archaeologists, “An ordinary person could not afford the purchase of such a coffin. It is obvious the deceased was a member of the local elite”.

[…]

A rare artifact that was found next to the skeleton is an Egyptian scarab seal, encased in gold and affixed to a ring. The scarab was used to seal documents and objects. The name of the crown of Pharaoh Seti I, who ruled ancient Egypt in the thirteenth century BCE, appears on the seal. Seti I was the father of Ramses II, identified by some scholars as the pharaoh mentioned in the biblical story of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt. Already in the first year of his reign (1294 BCE) a revolt broke out against Seti I in the Bet Sheʽan Valley. Seti conquered that region and established Egyptian rule in Canaan. Seti’s name on the seal symbolizes power and protection, or the strength of the god Ra – the Sun God – one of the most important deities in the Egyptian pantheon. The winged Uraeus (cobra), protector of the pharaoh’s name or of the sovereign himself, is clearly visible on the seal. The reference to the pharaoh Seti on the scarab found in the coffin aided the archaeologists in dating the time of the burial to the thirteenth century BCE – similar to the burials that were exposed at Deir el-Balah and Bet She‘an, which were Egyptian administrative centers.

[…]

Tel Shadud preserves the biblical name ‘Sarid’ and the mound is often referred to as Tel Sarid. The tell is situated in the northern part of the Jezreel Valley, close to Kibbutz Sarid. The city is mentioned in the Bible in the context of the settlement of the Tribes of Israel. Sarid was included in the territory of the tribe of Zebulun and became a border city, as written in the Book of Joshua: “The third lot came up for the tribe of Zebulun, according to its families. And the territory of its inheritance reached as far as Sarid…” (Joshua 19:10). Tel Shadud is strategically and economically significant because of its location alongside important roads from the biblical period.

The Israel Antiquities Authority is currently looking into the possibility of sampling the DNA from inside the coffin to see if the deceased was originally a Canaanite or an Egyptian person who was buried in Canaan.

The full press release is here. High-resolution images are here. The story is also reported by the Jerusalem Post and Arutz-7.

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The clay coffin at the time of its discovery in the field. Photograph: Dan Kirzner, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

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Parts of the coffin’s lid after an initial cleaning. Photograph: Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

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A general view of the excavation area. Photograph: Skyview Company, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

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Egyptian scarab encased in gold. Photograph: Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

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The bronze dagger and bowl. Photograph: Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

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Monday, April 07, 2014

Tiberias Today

If you haven’t been on a tour of Tiberias in the last decade, you have a lot to catch up on with the work of various excavation projects. Shmuel Browns has a well-illustrated summary of some of the important discoveries, including:

  • The decorative gate of Herod Antipas
  • The main street of the city in use for 700 years
  • The Roman theater built by Herod Antipas
  • A Roman temple (Hadrianeum)
  • A Byzantine monastery and church

His post also includes a number of interesting historical details about the city.

For some interesting descriptions and illustrations of Tiberias in the 19th century, check out Life in the Holy Land.

Mount Hermon from Tiberias, mat08928

Tiberias, the Sea of Galilee, and Mount Hermon
Photo from Northern Palestine

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Saturday, April 05, 2014

Weekend Roundup

IAA Press Release: “An Impressive Byzantine Period Monastery with a Spectacular Mosaic Floor was Exposed at the Entrance to Hura in the Northern Negev.” The high-res photos are here.

Exploring Bible Lands draws attention to the unique site known by some as the “Cove of the Sower.”

If you want to read just one review on the Noah movie, I’d recommend this one by Brian Mattson.

Eric Cline is interviewed on The Book and the Spade about his new book 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed. (Direct link to mp3 here.)

Logos is offering a 9-volume set on the Archaeology of Rome.

A new translation of the Tempest Stela suggests that the Thera eruption dates to the reign of pharaoh Ahmose.

Daily Mail: Archaeologists race to secure ancient burial site of three Egyptian kings that will make the treasure of Tutankhamun's tomb look like a 'display in Woolworths'

Haaretz: Ancient rock art is hidden all over the Negev.

The Associated Press suggests five free things to do in Tel Aviv.

On his recent trip to Israel, Wayne Stiles created 11 360-degree images of biblical sites.

He also has recommendations on great resources to get after your trip to Israel.

HT: Charles Savelle, Jack Sasson, Joseph Lauer

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Byzantine period monastery at Hura.
Photographs by Skyview Company, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

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Friday, April 04, 2014

City of David Visitors’ Center Approved

More than a decade ago, work began for the construction of a new parking lot just south of the Dung Gate in Jerusalem. In the process, archaeological excavations revealed significant finds, including a building once claimed to be the palace of Helene of Adiabene. In recent years, plans were formed to establish a large visitors’ center in the former parking lot. This presumably would replace the current visitors’ center which hovers over ruins believed to be the palace of David. Last night a municipal committee approved plans for construction of the new center. From Haaretz:

The Jerusalem Regional Planning and Building Committee approved the construction of a controversial visitors’ center for the City of David just outside the Old City walls. The committee heard objections to the huge project for eight hours before approving it Thursday evening.

[…]

The proposal was submitted by the Elad association, the right-wing group that administers the City of David National Park, and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, and has the support of the Jerusalem municipality.

The plan calls for the construction of a museum, visitors’ center and auditorium in the area known as the Givati parking lot, some 20 meters from the Old City wall and 100 meters from the Western Wall. It will also constitute a new gateway to the City of David National Park. The building is to be 7 meters tall and cover 16,600 square meters. Beneath a planned parking lot, finds discovered at the site in recent years are to be preserved and made accessible.

“The Jerusalem Regional [Planning] Committee heard the objections to the Kedem Center plan in Jerusalem and thought that the plan to build the visitors’ center will aid in exposing the important archeological finds to the broader public and serve as a focus for tourism that will help in developing the city of Jerusalem,” read the Interior Ministry’s announcement of the approval.

The full article describes some of the objections and the planning committee’s requirements. The story is also reported by Arutz-7. Several months ago the Jerusalem Post reported the objections of a group of archaeologists, though the basis for their views seems to be primarily political and not archaeological. In reviewing previous stories posted on this blog, I see that a nearly identical story was reported in February 2012; it is not clear what is different this time around. For more images, see the Hebrew version of the Haaretz article.

HT: Joseph Lauer

Silwan - Ministry of Interior - February 13, 2012

Proposed Kedem Center near City of David.
Image by Ministry of Interior

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Wednesday, April 02, 2014

City of David Excavations Concluded

The Jerusalem Post reports on the conclusion of excavations in the City of David around the Gihon Spring. Under the direction of Ronny Reich and Eli Shukrun, excavations were focused on the water systems of ancient Jerusalem for about 15 years. This brief article and accompanying video focuses on one aspect of the dig—the Canaanite fortress built over the spring.

"The Spring Citadel was built in order to save and protect the water of the city from enemies coming to conquer it, as well as to protect the people going down to the spring to get water and bring it back up to the city," said Director of Development in the City of David, Oriya Dasberg.

The citadel is believed to have protected the Gihon spring, described in the Book of Kings as the location of King Solomon's anointing.

The Spring Citadel is the largest Canaanite fortress yet discovered in Israel, and is believed to be the largest known fortress pre-dating the reign of King Herod, according to the IAA.

A two-minute video explains what they found and why it took so long. The best resource on the excavation is Ronny Reich’s Excavating the City of David.

New excavations have begun on the eastern slope of the City of David under Tel Aviv University.

Gihon Spring excavations and visitor center, tb031614817

Gihon Spring excavations within City of David Visitor Center

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Tuesday, April 01, 2014

New Article on Authenticity of the James Ossuary

A new article in the Open Journal of Geology strengthens the case for the authenticity of the inscription on the James Ossuary. The article was written by Amnon Rosenfeld, Howard R. Feldman, Wolfgang E. Krumbein and is available for free download. The abstract gives a sense for the technical detail involved in the study.

An archaeometric analysis of the James Ossuary inscription “James Son of Joseph Brother of Jesus” strengthens the contention that the ossuary and its engravings are authentic. The beige patina can be observed on the surface of the ossuary, continuing gradationally into the engraved inscription. Fine long striations made by the friction of falling roof rocks continuously crosscut the letters. Many dissolution pits are superimposed on several of the letters of the inscription. In addition to calcite and quartz, the patina contains the following minerals: apatite, whewellite and weddelite (calcium oxalate). These minerals result from the biogenic activity of microorganisms that require a long period of time to form a bio-patina. Moreover, the heterogeneous existence of wind-blown microfossils (nannofossils and foraminifers) and quartz within the patina of the ossuary, including the lettering zone, reinforces the authenticity of the inscription.

http://lh6.ggpht.com/-U3Kt0_BUd3Q/T2CWwpYzcPI/AAAAAAAACuQ/SYV2ZBQRAZk/image_thumb2.png?imgmax=800

The James ossuary was on display at the Royal Ontario Museum from November 15, 2002 to January 5, 2003.

HT: G. M. Grena

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Magnificent Burial Cave Looted in Jerusalem

The Israel Antiquities Authority captured a group of thieves attempting to sell eleven ossuaries looted from a tomb in Jerusalem. The IAA issued a press release about the arrest and plunder today.

A number of suspects were apprehended in the early hours of Friday (28.3) in a joint operation by inspectors of the IAA Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery and detectives and patrolmen of the Shefet police station in Jerusalem. They were caught while in possession of eleven decorated stone ossuaries – ancient coffins – that the Jewish population used for burial in the Second Temple period, two thousand years ago. Some of the ossuaries still contained the skeletal remains of the deceased.

[…]

Shallow engravings, etched in the past by means of a sharp stylus, were found on the walls of two of the seized ossuaries. They cite the names of the deceased whose bones were collected in the coffins. One of the engraved ossuaries that were found bore the name “Ralfin”, written in squared Hebrew script characteristic of the Second Temple period. This name is apparently a Hebraized form of an unusual Roman name. According to Dr. Eitan Klein, deputy director of the Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery, who examined the ossuaries, “this is the first time this name appears on an ossuary from the Land of Israel”. On the other ossuary is a Greek inscription that could not be deciphered, and below it the name “Yo‘azar”, in squared Hebrew script. The name Yo‘azar is a common Jewish name in the Second Temple period, and occurs in contemporary written sources, such as Josephus’ writings. The name appears in this form and a slightly different form – “Yeho‘azar” – on numerous Jewish ossuaries from this period.

Some of the ossuaries were engraved with inscriptions in squared Hebrew script, characteristic of the Second Temple period and some bore Greek inscriptions, including the names of the deceased.

According to Dr. Eitan Klein, “these are singular finds. The inscriptions on the ossuaries provide us with additional characters and names from amongst the Jewish population in the Second Temple period, and the motifs adorning the ossuaries will supplement our knowledge with new information about the world of Jewish art in this period”. Dr. Klein stated, “There is no doubt that the ossuaries were recently looted from a magnificent burial cave in Jerusalem. Remnants of paint remained on top of the ossuaries and the containers themselves belong to the group of “magnificent Jerusalem” ossuaries that were manufactured in the city in antiquity”.

The full press release is here. High-resolution images are available from this link.

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Photographs by the IAA Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery.

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Weekend Roundup

This video captures the “streams in the desert” during a recent flash flood in the Nahal Zin.

The spring season of excavations at Tel Burna has concluded.

The Times of Israel suggests “five glorious places from which to look out over Jerusalem.”

Mark Hoffman describes the new Google Maps Gallery and National Geographic Lands of the Bible Maps.

Larry Mykytiuk is on this week’s edition of The Book and the Spade discussing 50 Real People of the Bible, Confirmed by Archaeology (direct links to part 1 and part 2).

Seetheholyland.net now covers 100 sacred sites (Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Baha’i) and other places of interest for Christian pilgrims to the biblical world.

Ferrell Jenkins comments on the attempted donkey sacrifice at Nebi Samwil.

BibleX links to an article on the Living Torah Museum in New York.

Popular Archaeology summarizes the recent excavations at Abel Beth Maacah and includes many photos.

The Rose Guide to the Temple is now $3.99 for the Kindle.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Recent Excavations of Jericho

Lorenzo Nigro, co-director of the recent excavations of ancient Jericho (Tell es-Sultan), has posted on the ASOR Blog a summary of discoveries since work began in 1997. You’ll want to read it all to learn about the Neolithic, Bronze, and Iron Ages, but I would note the brief paragraph relevant to the Bible.

The Middle Bronze III city was the object of a violent military destruction, which reduced the role of the site and left a heap of ruins in the place of the city, definitely marking Jericho as an emblematic ruin in collective imaginary.

The excavators are following Kathleen Kenyon’s conclusion that the conquest of Jericho was a myth that the Israelites invented because they saw a destroyed city. Bryant Wood has argued persuasively that the city was not destroyed at the end of the Middle Bronze Age (circa 1550 BC) but instead at the end of Late Bronze I (circa 1400 BC), the same time when the Bible describes the Israelite attack.

The article includes a series of photos. The one below was taken during my travels earlier this month.

Jericho southern end from east, tb031514785

Southern end of Jericho with Middle Bronze revetment wall

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