Sunday, September 16, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 2

Archaeologists believe they have found ruins of the church building where the First Council of Nicaea was held.

“Turkish archeologists have found an eye cream jar in a 2,200-year-old tomb during their excavation works in an antique city of Aizanoi in country's west.”

A cache of gold coins dating to the 5th century has been found in an old theater in northern Italy.

A full-scale replica of a Roman triumphal arch from Palmyra will be on display in Washington DC later this month.

Museums are full of fake cuneiform tablets, and Sara Brumfield suggests a few ways to identify them.

An ancient Torah scroll in Brazil’s National Museum was spared from the fire because it was being restored off-site.

The August 2018 issue of the Newsletter of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities includes information about recent discoveries, meetings, exhibitions, and fee increases.

John DeLancey is posting daily summaries of his tour of Greece.

HT: Ted Weis, Agade, Steven Anderson, Gordon Franz

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Saturday, September 15, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 1

Stanford University researchers believe they've found evidence of the world's oldest brewery in the Raqefet Cave, near Haifa.

Miriam Feinberg Vamosh writes about an ancient convent discovered at a possible site of Hannah’s tomb (Haaretz premium).

Haaretz (premium) has an article on the history of the pomegranate.

Aren Maeir will be teaching a MOOC entitled “Biblical Archaeology: The Archaeology of Ancient Israel and Judah” and a trailer is now out.

There is a conference today on Ctesiphon, and Ferrell Jenkins shares a photo from his visit to this city in Iraq.

Luke Chandler explains why there is an island in the Sea of Galilee now.

Leon Mauldin has written an illustrated post about the revolt of Libnah and Edom.

The Institute of Biblical Culture is offering new courses in October, including the Samaritan Pentateuch and Ancient Near Eastern Texts.

New from Oxford University Press: The Oxford Illustrated History of the Holy Land, edited by H. G. M. Williamson and Robert G. Hoyland.

HT: Ted Weis, Agade, Steven Anderson, Gordon Franz

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Sunday, September 09, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 2

Egypt has announced the discovery of an ancient village in the Nile Delta.

A 3-D topographical survey of the Lisht necropolis area in Egypt has been completed.

Archaeologists made some important discoveries in the port of the Greek island of Kythnos.

The fire at Brazil’s National Museum destroyed millions of items, including the entire collection of 700 Egyptian artifacts.

Biblical Archaeology Society has limited space remaining for its Bible History of the Nile tour in February.

Unlike many of the reviews of the Museum of the Bible in D.C., this one by Alex Joffe is intelligent and balanced. has compiled a list of more than 120 tour operators who offer pilgrimages to the Holy Land.

Accordance is running a High Holy Days Sale that includes discounts on significant works from Carta, including The Quest, Echoes from the Past, and The Raging Torrent.

Appian Media has just released a sneak peek for their upcoming series, “Searching for a King.”

HT: Ted Weis, Agade, Joseph Lauer

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Saturday, September 08, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 1

More than 1,000 Hellenistic-era seal impressions were recently discovered in excavations at Maresha.

Underwater archaeologists are searching the sea near Dor in advance of the construction of a gas pipeline.

US military veterans are participating in excavations at Beth Shearim in a program providing therapy for PTSD.

A plan to build a cable car to transport visitors to the Western Wall in Jerusalem is not making everyone happy.

The Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem now offers a virtual reality tour that visits nine vantage points in the Old City.

The IAA is opposed to plans by the Temple Mount Faithful to hold a concert in the excavations area south of the Temple Mount.

The 12th annual conference on “New Studies in the Archaeology of Jerusalem and its Vicinity” will be held next month. Aren Maeir has posted the program.

Joel Kramer has announced the dates of his next study tour in Israel.

Carl Rasmussen links to two videos from Kathleen Kenyon’s excavations of Jericho.

The Methuselah date palm tree is male, but six more ancient date seeds have been planted in hopes of raising a female for Methuselah to pollinate.

HT: Ted Weis, Agade, Joseph Lauer

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Sunday, September 02, 2018

Seminar on United Kingdom at Lanier Theological Library

A little-advertised seminar is occurring next week in Houston, and if you’re able to get there, it should be quite worthwhile. The only thing I’ve found online about it is this registration site, but that should be the main thing you need if you want to secure a seat. The main facts are as follows:

The Lanier Theological Library presents a seminar on “Recent Evidence for Israel’s United Kingdom” on Friday, September 14th, 2:00-5:00 pm in the Stone Chapel.

2:00-2:25 Jane Cahill, “Jerusalem at the Time of the United Monarchy: The Known, the Unknown, and the Next Frontier”

2:25-2:50 Steven Ortiz, “The Westward Expansion of the United Monarchy in Light of Recent Excavations”

2:50-3:15 Chris McKinny, “Going for Gold . . . Bringing Home (mainly) Bronze: Jerusalem’s Role in the Arabah Copper Industry and the Biblical Account of Solomon”

3:30-3:55 Timothy Harrison, “Kingdoms of Idols: Israel’s Northern Neighbors and What They Reveal about the World of the Bible”

3:55-4:20 K. Lawson Younger Jr. “David’s Wars: What Can We Know about his Aramean Enemies?”

4:20-4:45 Gary Rendsburg, “The Book of Genesis as a Product of the United Monarchy”

4:45-5:00 Discussion

This looks very good, and if you haven’t been to the Lanier Library, that’s worth a visit even if no one is speaking. If they do as they’ve done in the past, we might expect that videos of these lectures will appear on their website.


Saturday, September 01, 2018

Weekend Roundup

Scholars are studying sites in the Jordan Valley to see if they are related to early Israelite settlement.

Zahi Hawass tells the story of the discovery of the Solar Boat of Khufu.

An 10-year-old boy hiking in Galilee discovered an ancient stone figure.

Aren Maeir has written an initial summary of this summer’s excavations of Gath. They found quite a bit related to Hazael’s destruction of the city.

Israel’s Good Name describes his excavation experience at Gath.

Gonzalo Rubio explains how eclipses were regarded as omens in the ancient world.

Yosef Garfinkel is lecturing on Khirbet Qeiyafa and Khirbet al-Ra’i on September 15 at the Lanier Theological Library in Houston.

Jerusalem Perspective has posted a lecture by Ronny Reich on “The Mikveh and Ritual Immersion in Jesus’ Day.” Reich is the leading expert on ancient Jewish ritual baths.

The J. Paul Getty Museum has posted a catalog of 630 ancient lamps in their collections.

“Tomb of Christ: The Church of the Holy Sepulchre Experience” will open on November 15 at the National Geographic Museum in Washington, DC. The website includes a digital guide for the exhibition.

Biblical Israel Ministries & Tours has launched an updated website, including a list of their upcoming Israel tours.

The NIV Biblical Theology Study Bible releases on Tuesday. This is a revision of the NIV Zondervan Study Bible, and one major improvement is the more-readable font. We contributed many of the photos, and I wrote the notes for 2 Kings. Westminster Bookstore has it on sale.

Accordance has many graphics collections for sale, including the American Colony Collection and Cultural Images of the Holy Land.

Wipf and Stock are offering 40% off their catalog with code LABOR40.

Now available in the US (from Biblical Archaeology Society):

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, A.D. Riddle, Alexander Schick, Paleojudica

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Saturday, August 25, 2018

Weekend Roundup

A ceramic pomegranate was discovered at Shiloh this past summer. (The news release gives no indication of a date.)

Scientists are learning more about the three people buried in the 30-ton, black granite sarcophagus recently discovered in Alexandria. The presence of a woman indicates all were not soldiers, and a hole in a skull suggests trepanation. One researcher comments on the inscriptions.

An ancient DNA study is shedding light on the Chalcolithic culture in the Upper Galilee. More than 600 people were buried in the Peqi'in Cave.

The presence of a large number gazelle bones in a Galilean village suggests that Shikhin was a production center for parchment (Haaretz premium).

Archaeologists believe they have uncovered a “pleasure-garden” atop Masada.

“Can Caesarea become the acropolis of Israeli tourism?” Haaretz (premium) looks at the large-scale restoration project currently underway.

Plans continue to be made for an underwater museum in Iznik, Turkey.

The Bible Lands Museum is loaning a cuneiform tablet with the name “Benayahu son of Netanyahu” to the office of Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Next month Harvard Art Museums opens a special exhibition, “Animal-Shaped Vessels from the Ancient World: Feasting with Gods, Heroes, and Kings.”

Tel Aviv University’s Institute of Archaeology is hosting its annual conference, “News from the Trenches,” on October 18. There’s a schedule in Hebrew here; I haven’t found one online in English yet.

Robert Mullins will be lecturing on Abel Beth Maacah at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School on Sept. 10 at 7 pm in Hinkson Hall. This is the inaugural lecture in the Claris Nystrom Lecture Series in Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology.

“The land God chose was not arbitrary, for He designed even the land itself to develop the spiritual lives of His people.” Wayne Stiles explains what that means.

Is there any significance to the mention of Zaccheus climbing a sycamore-fig tree? Brad Gray shows how it recalls the prophecy of Amos in his latest Walking the Text video.

Megan Sauter shares her experience in creating date pastries from an ancient recipe from Mari.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, A.D. Riddle, Charles Savelle, Joseph Lauer

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Saturday, August 18, 2018

Weekend Roundup

A Roman-era cemetery with 32 tombs has been discovered near Hebron.

Archaeologists have discovered what is “probably the most ancient archaeological solid residue of cheese ever found” in the sands near Saqqara.

Erez Ben-Yosef and Aaron Greener explain the significance of Edom’s copper mines in Timna.

A couple of new studies identify the sources of ancient Egyptian copper.

Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities Newsletter for July 2018 includes the latest archaeological discoveries, repatriated antiquities, meetings, temporary exhibits, and increased fees.

“An antiquities museum in Syria’s rebel-held province of Idlib” has reopened after five years. The museum holds some of the Ebla tablets and was damaged in the war.

“The UCLA Library and Early Manuscripts Electronic Library have partnered with St. Catherine’s Monastery to digitize and publish online on an open access basis some 1,100 rare and unique Syriac and Arabic manuscripts dating from the fourth to the 17th centuries.”

Alexander Schick has written an extended article about the Temple Mount. If you don’t read German, there are many photos of interest.

Gabriel Barkay’s lecture, “Was Jesus Buried in the Garden Tomb?” from 2006 is now available online at Jerusalem Perspective.

The latest excursion of Israel’s Good Name takes him to Gath and the Museum of Philistine Culture in Ashdod.

The September/October issue of Biblical Archaeology Review features articles on Masada, Tel Shimron, and dating.

The Columbian has a touristy piece on Jaffa.

Candida Moss identifies the best ancient Christian sites in Egypt.

A number of streams in the Golan Heights that are popular with hikers have been closed due to contamination.

The oldest hippopotamus in captivity has died at the age of 59 at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo.

The four volumes of the Tel Beth Shean excavation reports are now available for free in pdf format from Amihai Mazar’s academia website. He has also posted a chapter on Tel Rehov in the 10th-9th centuries.

HT: Agade, Charles Savelle, Ted Weis

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Sunday, August 12, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 2

The Getty Museum has opened a new exhibit featuring the Rothschild Pentateuch along with old copies of the Bible and Quran.

The Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem has released Out of the Blue, a catalog for its exhibition on dyes of the ancient world.

The British Museum will be returning eight ancient artifacts looted from Iraq after identifying the temple where they originated.

The Oklahoma exhibit of the seals of Hezekiah and Isaiah has been extended from August 19 until January 27, 2019.

The BBC posts a series of photos from the Sinai Trail, a 137-mile (220-km) path that runs from the Gulf of Aqaba to Jebel Katarina.

Ben Witherington traveled this summer to Greece, Israel, and Jordan, and the first of 40+ illustrated posts is here.

An ASOR fellowship recipient writes about her experience in the last season of excavations at Omrit in Galilee.

Clyde Billington and Gordon Govier discuss the latest discoveries from the ARTIFAX magazine in this week’s episode of The Book and the Spade.

The Temple Mount Sifting Project met their funding goal.

It wasn’t only Solomon who imported cedars of Lebanon for his building projects, explains Ferrell Jenkins.

The Uffii Digitization Project is making 3-D images of many Greek and Roman sculptures.

The Biblical Archaeology Society links to a number of virtual tours, including Isaiah, Pharaoh in Canaan, and the Lachish Reliefs.

Jean-Claude Golvin has created beautiful reconstructions from all over the ancient world, including Egypt, Greece, Turkey, the Middle East, and more.

HT: Ted Weis, Agade, Charles Savelle, Joseph Lauer, Daniel Wright

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Saturday, August 11, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 1

A rare and beautiful Hellenistic-era gold earring was found in excavations in the City of David.

A sphinx has been discovered in Luxor during a road construction project.

Six statues dating back 2,000 years were discovered Saturday in the ruins of the ancient Greek city of Magnesia” in Turkey.

The tombs of two statesmen from the Middle Kingdom period have been discovered at Beni Hassan.

Archaeologists have discovered a Greek shipwreck from 500 BC in the Black Sea.

A pebble mosaic in a bathhouse dated to the 4th century BC was unearthed during an excavation at the Small Theater of ancient Amvrakia” in Greece.

Renovation work is underway to open an ancient Roman bath in central Turkey to tourists.

The Plutonium of Hierapolis, discovered in 2013, will open to visitors next month.

The ancient Roman city of Volubilis in Morocco is drawing more visitors after its rejuvenation.

The dramatic changes at Palmyra over the years is the subject of an exhibit sponsored by The Institute for Digital Archaeology.

Three looters of Israel’s ancient capital of Samaria were sentenced to either 36 days or 36 months in prison.

The W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem is now accepting applications for fellowships.

The schedule for the 2018 annual meeting of ASOR is now online.

HT: Ted Weis, Agade, Charles Savelle, Joseph Lauer, Daniel Wright

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Saturday, August 04, 2018

Weekend Roundup

While building an on-site museum to house the massive Lod mosaic, they discovered another mosaic.

Archaeologists working at Gedera have uncovered a 20-bath spa, a game room, and a pottery workshop.

The final season has wrapped up at the site of Horvat Kur near the Sea of Galilee.

Whether one swallowed Jonah or not, whales used to live in the Mediterranean, according to a new study.

Thomas Hikade and Jane Roy assess the evidence for human sacrifice in early Egyptian history.

New: An excavation report from Khirbet Qeiyafa: In the Footsteps of King David: Revelations from an Ancient Biblical City, by Yosef Garfinkel, Saar Ganor, and Michael G. Hasel.

Carl Rasmussen writes about the Solomonic gate at Gezer and shares a photo of Bill Dever and Yohanan Aharoni at the site.

John DeLancey shares about his recent volunteer experience at Gath on The Book and the Spade.

Ferrell Jenkins explains the importance of the cedars of Lebanon and shares many photos.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Agade, Paleojudaica

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Sunday, July 29, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 2

A British Museum team excavating in Sidon has discovered the remains of a Canaanite child and its funerary jar.

A Hellenistic era temple which dates back to more than 2,000 years has been unearthed in archeological excavations in central Turkey.”

Electricians working near the Tiber River may have uncovered remains of one of the earliest churches in Rome.

Students at the University of Pennsylvania are studying the human remains of the ancient Gibeonites unearthed in the excavations of James Pritchard.

The founder of the Sinai Peninsula Research describes the recent survey project in light of the 150-year history of mapping the region.

A $1.2 million ancient Persian bas-relief must be returned to Iran, the New York Supreme Court ruled this week.

The Dunes Center in Guadalupe, CA, excavates and preserves "Egyptian artifacts" left in the desert by Cecil B. DeMille after filming The Ten Commandments in 1923.

Wayne Stiles explains why the Tel Dan Stele is so significant.

David Hansen addresses the difficult problems of biblical texts that speak of the tribe of Zebulun having seafront property.

Ferrell Jenkins notes the passing of Jack P. Lewis.

Leen Ritmeyer recommends a new video entitled “Solomon’s Temple Explained.”

Carl Rasmussen shares photos of the little-known “Tomb of the Royal Steward” in Jerusalem.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Ted Weis

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Saturday, July 28, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 1

The big story of the week was that a stone in the Western Wall came crashing down near the prayer area by Robinson’s Arch. There’s a video here. The whole wall is a “danger zone” and no one should be allowed near, says Zachi Dvira. The public needs to do some serious “soul searching,” insists one rabbi. No need to worry, says a geologist.

A crane has now removed this fallen stone. Joseph Lauer remarks, “In watching the videos showing the stone’s removal by the special crane, imagine what it took 2,000 years ago to place that stone and all of the other ones in the Wall.

Before the stone fell, archaeologist Dan Bahat petitioned Israel’s supreme court to halt construction of the egalitarian prayer area here.

The archaeologist directing the dig at el-Araj believes that the case for identifying it as Bethsaida is strengthened by the discovery of a reliquary, which may not be a reliquary, but which may just as well be the reliquary of Peter, Philip, and Andrew, at the Church of the Apostles. The stone box was discovered in the debris of a 19th-century house at the site (Haaretz premium).

Marc Turnage is interviewed by OnScript about his participation in the excavations of el-Araj (Bethsaida?).

Researchers are bringing the ancient city of Beit Lehi in the Shephelah to life by launching a digital guide to this restricted-access archaeological site. (Did the archaeologist really say that this site is a “gold mine”?!)

Walking the Text (with Brad Gray) began a new series on Zacchaeus, focusing this week on the background of the story and including many photos of the geographical context.

The Institute of Biblical Culture is now offering free study groups in several areas, including Inscriptions from Ancient Israel, Dead Sea Scrolls, The Book of Jonah, and more. All study groups are live and online.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Ted Weis, Alexander Schick, Lois Tverberg

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Saturday, July 21, 2018

Weekend Roundup

Archaeologists have discovered a large Neolithic village in Motza not far from Jerusalem.

Researchers working in northeastern Jordan have found early evidence of breadmaking.

The sealed black sarcophagus from Alexandria has been opened to reveal three decomposed bodies.

A pottery-making workshop from the 4th Dynasty has been discovered in Aswan.

Excavations at Sardis have uncovered military equipment believed to have been used in the war with the Persians.

A mysterious papyrus housed at the University of Basel since the 16th century is now believed to be a medical document written by the physician Galen.

The seasons have wrapped up at Gath and Tel Burna.

Scott Stripling speaks about this year’s excavations at Shiloh on The Book and the Spade.

Israel’s Good Name’s tour of Lower Galilee took him to Tel Shimron, Tel Hanaton, Horvat Rosh Zayit, and Tel Keisan.

Mary Shepperson writes an interesting piece about the history of the British School of Archaeology in Iraq.

John DeLancey shares a drone video he created of the Philistine site of Gath. [Link updated]

Ferrell Jenkins shares a photo of a replica of the Shema servant of Jeroboam seal that he purchased in the late 1960s.

Leon Mauldin shares several photos of the cities of the Decapolis.

Wayne Stiles looks at lessons to learn on temptation from the pinnacle of temple.

Lawrence H. Schiffman reflects on the significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls in light of the 70th anniversary of their discovery.

I have learned that the new book, A Walk to Caesarea, by Joseph Patrich, will soon be available in the Biblical Archaeology Society store. I’ll include a note in a future roundup when it is.

You can get 30% off all Eisenbrauns titles with code RAI18.

If you’ve benefited from the ministry of Bryant Wood, you can learn how to support his work here.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Agade, Ted Weis

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