Saturday, June 30, 2018

Weekend Roundup

The Roman villa of a rich fisherman was discovered in Halicarnassus in southwestern Turkey.

Remains of child sacrifice have been found in a Bronze Age cemetery in Turkey.

The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History in Tel Aviv is designed like Noah’s Ark. It opens on Monday.

Week Four brought the Shiloh excavations to an end this summer, but an elite team returned for some conservation work.

The first week of excavations is over at Gath and Tel Burna. John DeLancey was volunteering at Gath and he shares his experience. (All of these links will take you to the most recent post at the time of this writing.)

On the ASOR Blog, James Fraser writes about dolmens in the Levant.

The new archaeology wing at the Terra Sancta Museum in Jerusalem opened this week.

Assyrian king Ashurbanipal is the focus of an exhibit at the British Museum that runs from November to February. Tickets are £17.

Gershon Edelstein, founder of the Ein Yael Living Museum, died this week.

Adrian Hennigan suggests 9 places tourists should avoid this summer, either because they are hot or crowded (Haaretz premium).

Wayne Stiles considers the historical and spiritual significance of Arad.

Israel’s Good Name shares his trip to the northern Golan.

A guy goes to a garage sale in Minnesota and buys some old negatives. It turns out they are originals taken in Jerusalem in 1858!

Mark Hoffman is very impressed with the ESV Archaeology Study Bible.

The Everlasting Nation Museum opens this summer in Hixson, Tennessee. It includes exhibits of Abraham’s tents, a Jewish wedding, a replica of the Western Wall, and an exact reproduction of Corrie Ten Boom’s “hiding place.”

Ferrell Jenkins has written 2000(!) posts in the last decade or so, and he takes the occasion to reflect back on 50 years of travel “from Ararat to Patmos” and beyond. His work is greatly appreciated!

There will be no weekend roundup for the next week or two.

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

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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Weekend Roundup

Following reports of damage to archaeological debris on the Temple Mount, the Israeli police have closed a new observation post.

The Temple Mount Sifting Project gives an update on the damage. The Times of Israel reports on the situation.

Aren Maeir shares some of the objectives for this year’s excavations of Gath, including more work on the possible city gate.

The May newsletter of Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities is now online.

A conference entitled “Archaeology for Peace” is being held today in Leiden.

Somehow Carl Rasmussen got into the never-yet-open-to-the-public theater at Perga, and he shares his photos here. [UPDATE: I’ve learned that the theater renovation is complete and the theater is now open to visitors.]

Carl also has posted a couple of rare photos showing flood waters in the Brook of Elah.

Charles Savelle found the four-horned altar near Shiloh. (I do wish he had moved his bike before he took the picture!)

Ferrell Jenkins shares photos of his drive through Wadi Shu’ayb in Jordan.

Wayne Stiles looks at the spiritual significance of the mountains that surround Jerusalem.

Ticia Verveer gives an illustrated tour of Gamla.

Israel’s Good Name saw quite a bit of wildlife on his trip to the Beth Shean Valley and Agamon Hefer.

HT: Joseph Lauer

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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 2

A candidate for prime minister of the UK promises to return the Elgin Marbles to Greece if he is elected. The British Museum has responded.

“An Italian court has ruled that this Greek bronze, known as ‘Statue of a Victorious Youth,’ rescued from the ocean decades ago and long on display at the Getty Villa, should be returned to Italy.”

Nine artifacts smuggled from Egypt have been returned by French authorities.

Russians archaeologists have applied to continue excavations of Palmyra.

A report from Week 2 of excavations in the Venus Pompeiana Project has been posted.

Bleda S. Düring explains the origins of maps in the Near East. Many nice images are included.

“Digital humanities scholars [at Penn Libraries] are orchestrating an epic crowdsourcing effort to sort and transcribe handwriting on thousands of documents discarded hundreds of years ago, known as the Cairo Geniza.”

Mark Hoffman: BibleWorks is closing; what should you do?

Leon Mauldin explains why Michelangelo’s Moses has horns.

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a copy of Kitchener’s Photographs of Biblical Sites for sale, until now ($830).

HT: Joseph Lauer, Agade

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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 1

Archaeologists have discovered a three-room burial cave in Tiberias, apparently from the first century BC or first century AD. Haaretz has more here.

“Two subterranean Byzantine period winepresses were discovered in recent excavations at Tzippori [Sepphoris] National Park.”

Gary Byers summarizes the third week of excavations at Shiloh. This week they found a scarab, seal impression, inkwell, and lots of walls.

Piles of ancient debris on the Temple Mount were moved this week, in violation of court order.

The Washington Post reports on the glass head discovered at Abel Beth Maacah.

The Times of Israel explains why the world premiere of the seals of Isaiah and Hezekiah is at a college in Oklahoma.

John DeLancey is writing daily updates for his current Israel-Jordan tour. Here is the latest one.

Wayne Stiles explains what the Canaanites, Hittites, Jebusites, and other –ites mean and why it matters.

The topic this week on The Land and the Book is “Traveling to Israel as a Child.”

There were heavy rains in Israel this week—in June!—and Aren Maeir has photos of water puddles at his favorite Philistine city.

I’ve just returned from the annual Institute of Biblical Context conference. The teaching was excellent, and it was great to meet so many others who love the biblical world (and photographs!).

HT: Joseph Lauer, Agade

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Saturday, June 09, 2018

Weekend Roundup

Brian Peterson reviews the events and discoveries of Week 2 of the Shiloh excavations.

Scott Stripling is interviewed about the excavations at Shiloh on The Land of Israel Network (34 min).

Ferrell Jenkins looks at the importance of Shiloh, the longtime location of the tabernacle.

The Times of Israel has a lengthy follow-up on the study that suggests that the carbon-14 calibration scale for Israel is faulty.

ASOR has posted an update on the severe damage to the site of Ebla in Syria.

Israel is opening a new national natural history museum in Tel Aviv.

Israel’s Good Name went on a tour of the Tel Aviv Zoological Research Institute, a place not normally open to the public.

Aren Maeir has posted the lecture and field trip schedule for the Gath excavations.

The American Center of Oriental Research (ACOR) in Amman has posted 9,000 low- to medium- resolution watermarked images from Jordan and the surrounding region, including many taken by Jane Taylor.

Wayne Stiles writes about an important event at the Water Gate in Jerusalem.

Ron Traub writes about the Baram synagogue near the northern border of Israel.

Leon Mauldin is visiting Rome and sharing photos.

Mitchell First has written an article on “The Earliest Surviving Texts of the Torah” for Jewish Link of New Jersey.

The Vatican Library has made 15,000 manuscripts available online, with another 65,000 to come in the next couple of decades.

The ESV Archaeology Study Bible has some recent video posts of interest:

“The Biblical Archaeology Society is now accepting applications for the 2018 Joseph Aviram, Yigael Yadin, and Hershel Shanks fellowships that allow scholars to attend the annual meetings” of ASOR and SBL. (The announcement mentions that Aviram, at age 102, is still the president of IES!)

Norma Dever died on Thursday. William Dever writes an obituary that may surprise you.

HT: Charles Savelle, Agade, Joseph Lauer

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Monday, June 04, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 4

A glazed ceramic head from Tel Abel Beth Maacah that dates to the 9th century BC went on display last week at the Israel Museum.

Scholars have mapped ancient Gerasa using aerial photography and airborne laser scanning.

“For the first time ever, archaeologists have been able to cast the complete figure of a horse that perished in the volcanic eruption at Pompeii.” Several horses were found in the stable, apparently unable to evacuate in time.

A newly unearthed house at Pompeii has many colorful frescoes of animals and has been dubbed the “House of Dolphins.”

A tourist was caught trying to steal some pottery and marble from a house in Pompeii.

A skeleton discovered in northern Italy may provide the second known archaeological evidence of Roman crucifixion.

The ancient Greek city of Bargylia in southeastern Turkey is now up for sale for $8.3 million.

The Levantine Ceramics Project is a crowd-sourced tool designed to make it easier for archaeologists to share information about all things ceramic.

The Getty Museum has acquired a fine, 2nd-century AD Roman marble portrait bust of a man.

A Roman mosaic stolen from Syria was seized at the Palmdale, California, residence of the accused smuggler.

“Armstrong International Cultural Foundation will host the world premiere of ‘Seals of Isaiah and King Hezekiah Discovered,’ an archaeological exhibition, from June 10 through Aug. 19.”

Scholars in Israel using radiocarbon dating for the Iron Age may have a faulty calibration curve.

“We are pleased at the University of Bologna to announce the creation of the new didactic channel in English language ‘OrientLab’ on YouTube.com, which has educational purposes for the archaeological community working in the Near East and beyond. The OrientLab videos intend to serve as a guide for beginners on specific topics.”

The “first-century fragment of Mark” that has long been rumored about has been published and dated to the second or third centuries. Though not as early as hoped, it is still likely the earliest copy of Mark’s gospel.

The video interview of Cyrus Gordon now has an indexed transcript. (I found watching the interview worth my time, and I’m grateful now to have a transcript.)

The contents of the July/August issue of Biblical Archaeology Review is online.

Here is an updated list of all the free Loeb volumes.

BibleWorks is closing.

Philip Davies, Professor Emeritus at the University of Sheffield, died on Thursday.

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

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Sunday, June 03, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 3

“Newly deciphered Egyptian symbols on a 3,400-year-old limestone ostracon from Luxor’s Tomb of Senneferi appears to be the first written evidence of the ABC letter order of the early Semitic alphabet.” The BASOR article on which this story is based is available here to subscribers.

A well-preserved Egyptian tomb at Saqqara belongs to a general who served Rameses II.

“Egyptian archeologists say they have discovered parts of a huge red brick building dating back to the Greco-Roman period north of Cairo.”

Live Science reports on how Egyptian archaeologists rescued two massive carvings from looters.

“After almost three months of study, a new geophysics survey has provided conclusive evidence that no hidden chambers exist adjacent to or inside Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings.”

Cyprus returned 14 items to Egypt that were stolen in the 1980s.

Over 3,600 items illegally smuggled into the US were returned to Iraq in an official ceremony.  

The April 2018 newsletter of Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities has been published.

With the discovery of 92 cuneiform tablets, archaeologists working at an ancient Assyrian site now know that they are excavating the lost city of Mardaman.

An Assyriologist studying cuneiform tablets taken from Hobby Lobby by the federal government discovered evidence for a lost Sumerian city.

The National Museum of Iran has contributed 1,110 inscribed objects to the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative.

Saudi Arabia has begun a new program to study archaeological sites in the region of al-Ula, including the Nabatean city of Madain Saleh.

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

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Saturday, June 02, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 2

An Israeli government grant of $17 million is intended to expand excavations and strengthen tourist infrastructure in and around the City of David.

Lazarus’s tomb in Bethany is the first site to benefit from Virtual Reality glasses in a new “Accessible Palestine” initiative.

ABR’s first week at Shiloh is in the books, and you can read a summary of the discoveries from the 11 squares here.

At Neot Kedumim, “Israel’s foremost food archaeologist” Tova Dickstein is working to understand the biblical diet. If you sign up for one of her biblical cooking workshops, you’ll be learning more about Ezekiel’s “bread” and less about hummus and falafel.

A man has been arrested for illegally excavating near the traditional site of Akeldema.

Eilat Mazar is interviewed on the Land of Israel Network (one hour).

Mordecai Aviam is on The Book and the Spade, talking with Gordon Govier about his dream of “Finding Bethsaida.”

In the month of May, Wayne Stiles looked at the geographical and practical significance of the story of Ruth, the Burnt House in Jerusalem, the Levitical cities, the Jabbok River, and the Plains of Moab.

Ferrell Jenkins has written a series on the Arabah (introduction, northern end, Tamar, Keturah, Ezion Geber, and copper mining) and a shorter series on the Walls Around Jerusalem National Park (#1, #2, and #3).

Israel’s Good Name stays on the move: Gamla II, Tel Gezer, and Jerusalem’s Binyanei HaUma Archaeological Dig.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Agade, Charles Savelle, Pat McCarthy

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Friday, June 01, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 1

I am home. I can’t say any more about it now, but those who follow our work will benefit from my trip in the months and years ahead. On to the first installment of what really amounts to a roundup for the month of May:

“Three extremely rare Jewish-minted coins dating from the 4th century BCE were recently discovered by the Temple Mount Sifting Project.”

“The study of four donkeys found buried under the houses of Canaanite merchants in the ancient city of Gath is giving archaeologists new clues about early international trade between ancient Egypt, Canaan and Mesopotamia 5,000 years ago.”

Infrared analysis has allowed researchers to view previously unknown text of some Dead Sea Scroll fragments.

“The Temple Mount Sifting Project takes its show on the road with a pilot program in which it uses dirt to connect students to the past and future of the Jerusalem holy site.”

A Bar Kochba Revolt coin discovered near Modiin suggests more widespread support for the rebellion than was previously believed.

An article in The Times of Israel addresses the sensationalized headlines about discoveries at Tel ‘Eton as well as some criticism from Israel Finkelstein.

David Gurevich looks at how archaeological discoveries in Jerusalem in recent decades affects our knowledge of the Great Revolt.

The Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem (which now allows photographs) has a new exhibit on the biblical tekhelet (blue).

Some scientists are calling for higher-resolution satellite imagery to be made available for Israel.

Mariusz Rosik interviews me about my photography work, including the new Photo Companion to the Bible. If you prefer the Polish translation, you can find it here.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Agade

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