Saturday, March 17, 2018

Weekend Roundup

The Column of King Merneptah has been transferred to the Grand Egyptian Museum.

Popular Archaeology investigates the discovery of three skeletons at Gezer last summer.

Researchers at Bowdoin College Museum of Art are working to reconstruct the color on ancient Assyrian reliefs.

The luxurious Roman silver Berthouville Treasure collection is now on display in Denmark.

James Mellaart, former excavator of Catalhoyuk, is accused of having forged murals and inscriptions that he claimed to have discovered.

Was the synagogue of Capernaum in Jesus’s day white or black? Leen Ritmeyer explains why it was black.

As Easter approaches, Carl Rasmussen shares related photos, including one of a “crown of thorns.”

Gary Rendsburg gives a tour of the world’s oldest Torah scrolls.

Wayne Stiles looks at Abraham’s visit with Melchizedek in Salem.

The latest from Walking the Text is “Returning to the Path.”

This week’s program on The Book and the Spade addresses the tomb of Jonah and archaeological destruction.

For years I’ve used a helpful OT chronological chart with my students. Now Kris Udd is making it available to the public (via Academia).

HT: Ted Weis, Agade

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Undisturbed Canaanite Tomb Discovered at Megiddo

National Geographic announces a major find from Megiddo dating to the 17th century BC. Undisturbed tombs are all too rare in professional excavations.

The extraordinary discovery of a magnificent and untouched 3,600-year-old burial chamber in the ancient Canaanite city-state of Megiddo has stunned archaeologists, not only for the array of wealth found in the tomb, but also for the potential insight it may provide into the royal dynasty that ruled this powerful center before its conquest by Egypt in the early 15th century B.C.


The surprise find began as something of a mystery, when archaeologists began to notice cracks in the surface of an excavation area adjacent to the Bronze Age palaces which were discovered in the 1930s. Dirt appeared to be falling away into some unseen cavity or structure below, Adams recalls. Then, in 2016, they happened upon the culprit: a subterranean corridor leading to a burial chamber.

The chamber contained the undisturbed remains of three individuals—a child between the ages of eight and 10, a woman in her mid 30s and a man aged between 40-60—adorned with gold and silver jewelry including rings, brooches, bracelets, and pins. The male body was discovered wearing a gold necklace and had been crowned with a gold diadem, and all of the objects demonstrate a high level of skill and artistry.

Apart from the rich, undisturbed burials, the archaeologists were also intrigued by the tomb’s location adjacent to the late Middle Bronze Age royal palace of Megiddo.

“We are speaking of an elite family burial because of the monumentality of the structure, the rich finds and because of the fact that the burial is located in close proximity to the royal palace,” Finkelstein explains.

The grave goods point to the cosmopolitan nature of Megiddo at the time and the treasures it reaped from its location on the major trade routes of the eastern Mediterranean. Along with jewelry, the tomb contained ceramic vessels from Cyprus and stone jars that may have been imported from Egypt.

National Geographic has more details, including the report of a DNA study being done at Megiddo.

HT: Joseph Lauer

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Saturday, March 10, 2018

Weekend Roundup

Rome's ongoing subway system project has uncovered several glimpses of the past, this time the ruins of a Roman military commander's 14-room luxury villa.

ASOR Cultural Heritage Initiatives has a report on the current status of the Ain Dara Temple.

Authorities caught tomb raiders in Galilee as they used a bulldozer to loot graves from the Roman period.

3D computational geometry is being used in a long-distance virtual reconstruction to piece together ancient cuneiform texts.

Christopher Rollston is on the OnScript Podcast speaking about the Isaiah seal impression.

The Digital Archive for the Study of pre-Islamic Arabian Inscriptions “seeks to gather all known pre-Islamic Arabian epigraphic material into a comprehensive online database, with the aim to make available to specialists and to the broader public a wide array of documents often underestimated because of their difficulty of access.”

A proposed restructuring at University College London may have adverse effects on the Petrie Museum. You can learn how to help here.

Bible Gateway has published an interview with Lois Tverberg about her new book, Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus.

On sale for Kindle: Provan, Long, and Longman, A Biblical History of Israel ($3.99).

Accordance has a big sale going on now on atlases and related resources. The Satellite Bible Atlas is now available on Accordance, and it too is on sale (40% off) until March 12.

BAS is offering subscriptions to its video lecture service for 75% off for a limited time.

David Z. Moster’s latest video explains how to use the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia.

Wayne Stiles shares some new video footage shot over biblical Joppa.

The LMLK Blogspot links to a new video of aerial footage of Hebron.

HT: Ted Weis, Agade, Charles Savelle, Mark Hoffman

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Sunday, March 04, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 2

A headless statue of Aphrodite and a large mosaic were discovered during subway construction in Thessaloniki.

“Researchers have discovered the oldest figurative tattoos in the world on the upper arms of two ancient Egyptian mummies, the British Museum said.”

Iraqi authorities discovered 75 artifacts near the Shrine of the Prophet Abraham after a torrential rain.

Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities Newsletter for January 2018 has been published.

Rome was covered by a rare snowfall this week. Photos here.

The Frist Center in Nashville is hosting over 200 objects from the Roman Empire, courtesy of the British Museum.

Four Persian kings are buried in the necropolis of Naqsh-e Rustam, including Darius I.

A rare 2nd-3rd century AD Roman ivory relief of Greek mythology is for sale.

A Hungarian pilot has flown his stunt plane through the Corinth Canal.

Wayne Stiles explains how your mind is like an archaeological dig.

HT: Agade, Charles Savelle, Joseph Lauer, Ted Weis, Paul Mitchell, Mark Hoffman

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Saturday, March 03, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 1

Adi Erlich reports the results from the renewed excavations of the Beth Shearim that she directed.

The closing of the Megiddo Prison will (finally) permit the opening of an archaeological park that features an early place of Christian worship.

“A rare, intact bronze ring from the Middle Ages bearing the image of St. Nicholas was discovered by chance during recent landscaping work in the garden of a home in the Jezreel Valley community of Moshav Yogev.”

The shrinking Dead Sea is attracting some strange people.

Photographs from the 1952 Qumran Caves’ Expedition are now online.

Israel’s Good Name explored some places in Jerusalem that many tourists never see.

On Purim 89 years ago the Graf Zeppelin flew over Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

The entire double issue of Biblical Archaeology Review that celebrates Hershel Shanks is currently available in its entirety to all.

Accordance Bible Software is offering a large Lifeboat Switcher discount if you come over from any other Bible software platform.

HT: Agade, Charles Savelle, Joseph Lauer, Ted Weis, Mark Hoffman

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Sunday, February 25, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 2

Seven inscriptions from the Assyrian king Esarhaddon have been found in looter tunnels beneath the tomb of Jonah in Mosul, Iraq.

A rare pair of 2nd AD Roman boxing gloves was unearthed near Hadrian's Wall in Hexham, England.

Egypt has announced the discovery of a large cemetery near the city of Minya. Photos are here.

“Remains of a 2,600-year-old statue with an inscription written in Egyptian hieroglyphics has been discovered in a temple at Dangeil, an archaeological site along the Nile River in Sudan.”

LiveScience reports on the excavations that have identified a different location for the Plutonium at Hierapolis.

The theater in Perga will be restored with a grant of 3 million Turkish Lira.

The Church of the Holy Sepulcher was closed for several hours today in protest of a new tax plan.

The US Supreme Court has ruled the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago will be allowed to retain thousands of cuneiform tablets that originate from Iran.

The Minerva Center for the Relations between Israel and Aram is hosting its annual conference on May 14–17, 2018, in Leipzig, Germany on the theme of “Re-Writing History by Destruction.”

Adriano Orsingher provides a short introduction to tophets on the ASOR Blog.

A conference on “Rethinking Layard 1817-2017” will be held in March in Venice.

BBC and Netflix have created an 8-part series on the Trojan War that is the most expensive drama in BBC’s history.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Ted Weis, @go2Carl

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Saturday, February 24, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 1

A 12-minute video on the discovery of the Isaiah seal impression describes the background and significance of this find. The video includes interviews with Eilat Mazar and Shmuel Ahituv.

Christopher Rollston issues some cautions about identifying that seal impression with the prophet Isaiah. He follows up with more here. Michael Welch goes further and says that the seal belongs to Isaiah (son of) Nobai or Isaiah the Nobian and not the famous prophet.

Biblical Archaeology Review is honoring its founder Hershel Shanks with a double issue, the table of contents of which is now online.

Mark D. Smith investigates the probability of a body of an criminal executed by Rome being buried.

Wayne Stiles considers the purpose of Jesus’s transfiguration and its significance to us today.

Ferrell Jenkins recalls his own experiences in visiting the Jordan River near Jericho.

How was Jesus heard without a microphone? That’s the topic on this week’s The Land and the Book broadcast with Barry Britnell.

Sharon Herbert will be lecturing at the Albright Institute on March 1  on “New Work on the Sealings and the Archive from Tel Kedesh.”

Now’s a good time to sign up for the summer excavations at Tell es-Safi/Gath.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Ted Weis

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Possible Seal Impression of the Prophet Isaiah Discovered in Jerusalem

Eilat Mazar believes that she may have discovered a seal impression that belonged to the prophet Isaiah. The bulla was found south of the Temple Mount along with a couple dozen other seal impressions. The discovery is reported in the just-released issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

Alongside the bullae of Hezekiah and the Bes family, 22 additional bullae with Hebrew names were found. Among these is the bulla of “Yesha‘yah[u] Nvy[?].” The obvious initial translation, as surprising as it might seem, suggests that this belonged to the prophet Isaiah.9 Naturally, this bulla is far more intriguing than all the others found adjacent to Hezekiah’s bulla....

This material, coming from the northwestern end of the foundation trench,10 included the bulla of Yesha‘yah[u] Nvy[?]. It was located only 6.5 feet southeast from the wall of the Building of the Royal Bakers, while the bulla of King Hezekiah was found about 13.1 feet southeast from the same wall; thus, less than 10 feet separated the bulla of Yesha‘yah[u] Nvy[?] and the bulla of King Hezekiah....

Could it therefore be possible that here, in an archaeological assemblage found within a royal context dated to the time of King Hezekiah, right next to the king’s seal impression, another seal impression was found that reads “Yesha‘yahu Navy’ ” and belonged to the prophet Isaiah? Is it alternatively possible for this seal NOT to belong to the prophet Isaiah, but instead to one of the king’s officials named Isaiah with the surname Nvy?

The full story is in the latest issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, and stories based on that can be found at National Geographic and The Times of Israel.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Weekend Roundup

A recent DNA study confirms that the “Screaming Mummy” is the son of Ramses III, and the hanging marks around his neck indicate that he was the conspirator who plotted to murder his father.

Haaretz: “About a dozen life-sized stone sculptures and reliefs of camels have been found in a markedly inhospitable site in northern Saudi Arabia.”

A 2nd-century Roman temple has been discovered in Kom Ombo, Egypt.

Randall Younker will be lecturing on “Ancient Worlds of the Bible” on Feb 23 and 24 in Medford, Oregon.

The Times of Israel has a short article on a seal depicting Cupid that was discovered in Jerusalem in 2010.

The Albright Institute has a busy schedule of events in February and March.

Luke Chandler notes a new video on the Lachish excavation that includes a number of interviews with dig volunteers and career archaeologists.

Carl Rasmussen looks more closely at Herod’s Tomb in the Israel Museum.

Israel’s Good Name describes the second day of the Wadi Qilt Tour.

John DeLancey is wrapping up another tour of Israel.

The Book and the Spade is celebrating 35 years of broadcasts, and this week Mark Fairchild is on the program discussing the latest discoveries at Laodicea.

Gordon Govier was on The Eric Metaxas Show yesterday discussing the world of biblical archaeology.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer

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Sunday, February 11, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 2

The tomb of Hathor’s priestess Hetpet has been discovered on the Giza plateau.

“More than 120 images of ancient Egyptian boats have been discovered adorning the inside of a building in Abydos” from the time of pharaoh Senwosret III.

Excavations of the ancient city of Hadrianapolis have revealed a 5th-century church that is decorated with images of the Gihon, Pishon, Tigris, and Euphrates Rivers.

Archaeologists have been working to discover evidence of Nabatean seafaring, including the location of their chief port, Leuke Kome.

The Awwam Temple is one of many historic sites at danger in Yemen.

Kurdistan is attracting tourists with its ancient fortresses, historic monasteries, and beautiful landscapes.

The “Khirbet el-Maqatir—A Journey through Biblical History” exhibit will open at Southwest Baptist University on February 24.

A 1920 article in National Geographic on the Samaritan Passover, with many photos now in the American Colony collection, is posted online.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Paleojudaica

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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 1

A colorful mosaic with a lengthy Greek inscription has been uncovered in Caesarea. The badly damaged mosaic features three men and dates to about AD 200.

Israeli security forces may have destroyed ancient ruins as early as the Middle Bronze Age in demolition work in Gush Etzion.

Biblical Archaeology Review is teasing “a major new discovery connected to an important biblical figure” in its upcoming double issue.

Israel has begun construction on a permanent pavilion for mixed prayer at the Western Wall near Robinson’s Arch.

An Israeli family had be rescued while hiking in the Nahal Darga in the Judean wilderness.

Wayne Stiles explores the two times that Dothan appears in the Bible.

Carl Rasmussen shares photos from the Herodium display in the Israel Museum.

Leen Ritmeyer refutes the claims of some who argue that the Temple Mount is actually the Antonia Fortress.

Israel’s Good Name went on a hiking trip in and around the Wadi Qelt.

John A. Beck, author of The Holy Land for Christian Travelers and many other works, has just launched a new website. You can check out his resources and sign up for his quarterly newsletter.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer

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Tuesday, February 06, 2018

New Website and Resources: Walking the Text

Brad Gray has just launched a new website with a new eBook and a new weekly teaching series that I’m happy to recommend to you. His ministry, Walking the Text, is dedicated to helping people “learn, love, and live out the Bible” by explaining the original context. (I love that!) Brad knows how to dig deep, and he excels at communicating truth in an engaging way.

You can see what I mean by visiting Watch his new teaching video and download his outstanding new eBook “The #1 Mistake Most Everyone Makes Reading the Bible.”

Everything is free.

WTT New Launch (16x9)


Sunday, February 04, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 2

Lois Tverberg explains the reading tradition used in the synagogue in ancient times, and she provides a list of the triennial reading schedule used in the 3rd to 7th centuries.

Wayne Stiles’s post on “How to live the impossible Christian life” includes a beautiful photo of the Sea of Galilee.

The Young Archaeologists School in el-Alamein, Egypt, is teaching schoolchildren about the importance of archaeology.

“Why don’t most ancient Near Eastern languages have words for ‘blue,’ ‘yellow,’ or even ‘color’?”

G. M. Grena notes a couple of episodes on the “Excavating the Bible” show that mention LMLK seals.

Chris McKinny is one of the authors of a new article entitled “The Agricultural Landscape of Tel Burna: Ecology and Economy of a Bronze Age/Iron Age Settlement in the Southern Levant.

Aren Maeir has posted the schedule for the annual “Aharoni Day,” this year focused on ancient metallurgy.

In honor of Tu B’Shevat, the Temple Mount Sifting Project shares some of the fascinating story of ancient wooden beams from the Temple Mount.

Israel’s Good Name took a field trip to the IAA Warehouse and to the Rockefeller Museum.

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Saturday, February 03, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 1

Excavations of Ein Hanya in the Judean hills have concluded with an announcement of the discovery of an Israelite royal capital (proto-Aeolic?), a 4th century Greek drachma, and a Byzantine pool system. The site is associated in tradition with Philip’s baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch. The site will soon open as an archaeological park.

Eilat Mazar has returned to the Ophel to excavate, and this video shows a large cave she believes was in use during the First Temple period. An interview with Mazar includes an aerial photo with the excavation sites labeled.

A Roman tomb complex has been discovered in the northern Gaza Strip.

The ancient temple at Ain Dara, Syria, which is the closest parallel to Solomon's temple, was heavily damaged in recent Turkish air strikes.

A radar scan is underway in King Tut’s tomb to determine if there are any hidden chambers.

Egypt announced the discovery of a 4,400-year-old tomb in good condition at Giza.

A man carrying a metal detector around the Nabatean ruins of Halutza was arrested for looting more than 150 Byzantine coins.

Five ancient statues stolen during Lebanon’s civil war are back on display in its National Museum.

The Museum of Ancient Greek Technology recently opened in Athens.

A new exhibition showing at the Carthage National Museum highlights the links between the Carthaginian and Etruscan civilisations before the Mediterranean came under Roman dominion.”

Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities is launching a project to document rare petroglyphs throughout the country. 

HT: Ted Weis, Agade, Joseph Lauer

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