Saturday, August 17, 2019

Weekend Roundup

Excavations under a house in northern Israel have revealed what may be the largest wine factory from the Crusader era.

Archaeologists have discovered an arrowhead from the Roman siege of Jotapata in AD 67.

A i24News video shows the “pilgrim road” leading from the Pool of Siloam to the Temple Mount of Jerusalem.

“Archaeologists working in the buried Roman city of Pompeii say they have uncovered a ‘sorcerer's treasure trove’ of artefacts, including good-luck charms, mirrors and glass beads.”

A new exhibit about a 4th-century synagogue mosaic floor has opened in the Archaeological Museum of Aegina. Aegina is a Greek island not far from Athens.

“Anchors Aweigh: Seaports of the Holy Land” is a new exhibit opening on Tuesday at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem.

Preliminary images of seven (alleged) Dead Sea Scroll fragments owned by the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary are now online. (The link looks unusual, but it works.)

Lubna Omar provides a personal perspective as a Syrian archaeologist unable to protect her country’s heritage.

A guy passionate about ancient Egypt and baking used ancient yeast to bake a loaf of bread.

Egyptian authorities transferred a 90-ton obelisk of Ramses II from Zamalek to El Alamein.

The Oriental Institute is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

Carl Rasmussen shares photos of the largest altar in the world.

I always like the photos that Wayne Stiles includes with his posts, and this week is no different with his reflections on Abraham’s faith.

Matti Friedman writes a helpful review of Jodi Magness’s new book on Masada.

Did you know there are four long distance hiking trails in Israel? They range in length from 37 miles to 637 miles.

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

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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Evidence of Babylonian Destruction Uncovered in Jerusalem

Archaeologists excavating on the Western Hill of Jerusalem (aka the modern “Mount Zion”) have announced the discovery of a destruction layer from the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem in 586 BC.

The discovery is of a deposit including layers of ash, arrowheads dating from the period, as well as Iron Age potsherds, lamps and a significant piece of period jewelry - a gold and silver tassel or earring.

Despite what you might expect, archaeologists working in Jerusalem over the years have not found an abundance of material from this destruction, probably because it has been disturbed by later inhabitation. Shimon Gibson and his team date this material to the Babylonian destruction on the basis of context.

The team believes that the newly-found deposit can be dated to the specific event of the conquest because of the unique mix of artifacts and materials found -- pottery and lamps, side-by-side with evidence of the Babylonian siege represented by burnt wood and ashes, and a number of Scythian-type bronze and iron arrowheads which are typical of that period.

The arrowheads are similar to those discovered at the “Israelite Tower” on the north side of ancient Jerusalem in a destruction context from the Babylonian invasion. Because the excavation site is inside the city walls, it is unlikely to be a dumping area.

"It's the kind of jumble that you would expect to find in a ruined household following a raid or battle," Gibson said. "Household objects, lamps, broken bits from pottery which had been overturned and shattered... and arrowheads and a piece of jewelry which might have been lost and buried in the destruction."

"Frankly, jewelry is a rare find at conflict sites, because this is exactly the sort of thing that attackers will loot and later melt down."

"I like to think that we are excavating inside one of the 'Great Man's houses' mentioned in the second book of Kings 25:9," Gibson speculated. "This spot would have been at an ideal location, situated as it is close to the western summit of the city with a good view overlooking Solomon's Temple and Mount Moriah to the north-east. We have high expectations of finding much more of the Iron Age city in future seasons of work."

The full press release is here, and the story is reported by numerous outlets, including The Jerusalem Post, The Times of Israel, and Haaretz (premium).

Jerusalem from the south, with excavation area circled


Area of Mount Zion excavations (in 2016)

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Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Now Available: Ancient Jerusalem Revealed, 1998-2018

A few weeks ago I mentioned that the new Ancient Jerusalem Revealed: Archaeological Discoveries, 1998-2018 has been published, but I lamented the difficulty for many readers in ordering it from Israel. Now I have received word that you can order it direct from the Biblical Archaeology Society.

I have not yet read the book (my order is going in after I write this), but my expectations are very high given (1) the excellent quality of the two previous books in this series (the first published in 1975, and the second published in 1994); (2) the editorship of Hillel Geva; and (3) the fact that the latest reports from Jerusalem archaeology are bound to be amazing! I’ve told a number of groups touring Jerusalem, as we’re trying to peek behind some protective curtain to see what’s going on – watch for this to be published. Well, here it is, in a single book covering the last 20 years. The price is $60 for a hardcover, and shipping is free.

UPDATE: Now available for purchase on the BAS website!

Here is the official description from the publisher:

Ancient Jerusalem Revealed, Archaeological Discoveries 1998–2018, presents the results of archaeological research conducted in Jerusalem over the past twenty years. xvi + 319 pages + profusely illustrated in color, 27.5 x 21 cm., hardcover. With a ridiculously ugly cover. [OK, I added that last part.]

Image result for Ancient Jerusalem Revealed: Archaeological Discoveries, 1998-2018

The major results of the numerous excavations presented in the current volume cover all parts of the ancient city: the City of David, the Ophel, the Temple Mount, the present-day Old City, and adjacent areas beyond the urban limits of ancient Jerusalem. The articles were written by archaeologists who conducted the excavations. Contents include: The Bronze Age to the Iron Age, The Second Temple Period, the Late Roman to Ottoman periods, and multi-period excavations.

And here’s the table of contents, with an * next to the articles I plan to read first.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Archaeological Research in Jerusalem from 1998 to 2018: Findings and Evaluations— Hillel Geva

JERUSALEM—THE BRONZE AGE TO THE IRON AGE

*Recent Discoveries in the City of David—Ronny Reich, Eli Shukron, and Omri Lernau

Excavations at the Summit of the City of David Hill, 2005–2008—Eilat Mazar

*The Royal Quarter Built by King Solomon in the Ophel of Jerusalem in Light of Recent Excavations (2009–2013)—Eilat Mazar

A “Governor of the City” Seal Impression from the Western Wall Plaza Excavations in Jerusalem—Tallay Ornan, Shlomit Weksler-Bdolah, and Benjamin Sass

JERUSALEM—THE SECOND TEMPLE PERIOD

*The Second Temple Period Siloam Pool—Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron

*Second Temple Period Finds from the New Excavations in the Ophel, South of the Temple Mount—Yuval Baruch and Ronny Reich

Research in the Western Wall Tunnel—Dan Bahat

Wilson’s Arch and the Giant Viaduct West of the Temple Mount during the Second Temple and Late Roman Periods in Light of Recent Excavation—Alexander Onn and Shlomit Weksler-Bdolah

*A Herodian Tricilinium with Fountain on the Road Ascending to the Temple Mount from the West—Alexander Onn, Shlomit Weksler-Bdolah, and Joseph Patrich

*First and Second Temple Period Fortifications and Herod’s Palace in the Jerusalem Kishle Compound—Amit Re’em

Discoveries from the First and Second Temple Periods near the Mamilla Pool in Jerusalem—David Amit

JERUSALEM—THE LATE ROMAN TO OTTOMAN PERIODS

*A First Temple Period Building and the Roman Eastern Cardo in the Western Wall Plaza—Shlomit Weksler-Bdolah and Alexander Onn

A Pool from the Period of Aelia Capitolina in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem—Ofer Sion and Yehudah Rapuano

Wilson’s Arch: 150 Years of Archaeological and Historical Exploration—Tehillah Lieberman, Avi Solomon, and Joe Uziel

The Legio X Fretensis Kilnworks at the Jerusalem International Convention Center—Haim Goldfus and Benny Arubas

Roman Period Workshops at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at Givat Ram—Ron Beeri and Danit Levi

Excavations at Saint John Prodromos Church in the Old City—Jean-Baptiste Humbert

A Gold Hoard Containing Jewish Symbols and the Byzantine Ophel Neighborhood of Jerusalem—Eilat Mazar

Excavations East of Herod’s Gate, 1998—Yuval Baruch and Gideon Avni

New Excavations and Studies in the Holy Sepulcher Compound—Jon Seligman and Gideon Avni

Excavations at Ohel Yizhaq in the Suq al-Qattanin Quarter, Jerusalem—Tawfiq Da‘adli and Hervé Barbé

A New Look at the History of Solomon’s Stables—Dan Bahat

JERUSALEM—MULTI-PERIOD EXCAVATIONS

*The Givati Excavation Project 2007–2015: from the Iron Age to the Early Islamic Period—Doron Ben-Ami and Yana Tchekhanovets

The Line of the Southern City Wall of Jerusalem in the Early Periods—Yehiel Zelinger

Excavations at the Hurva and Tiferet Israel Synagogues in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem—Hillel Geva, Oren Gutfeld, and Ravit Nenner Soriano

New Excavations on Mount Zion—Shimon Gibson, James Tabor, Rafael Y. Lewis, and Steve Patterson

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Sunday, August 11, 2019

Weekend Roundup, Part 2

A Greco-Roman building uncovered in northern Sinai was used as a seat for the ancient Senate.

King Tut’s gilded coffin has been transferred from Luxor to the new Grand Egyptian Museum where it will be restored before being put on display. New images have been released before the restoration begins.

Sara Ahmed reports on the Egyptian Collection at Leiden’s Rijksmuseum.

A salvage project in Cyprus has uncovered a large Hellenistic-era sanctuary.

The new archaeological museum at Troy has opened, and Carl Rasmussen has photos.

A statue of Alexander the Great, long lost in a museum storage room, has recently been re-discovered.

Gordon Franz has posted a new article: The apostle Paul and Dr. Luke on the Island of Cost: Sin, Sickness, and Death.

Sarah Parcak’s new book, Archaeology from Space, looks at the use of technology in archaeology.

Bryan Windle’s latest in the Footsteps series is “Three Things in Babylon Daniel Likely Saw.”

HT: Ted Weis, Agade

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Saturday, August 10, 2019

Weekend Roundup, Part 1

Madeleine Mumcuoglu and Yosef Garfinkel explain how a shrine model discovered at Khirbet Qeiyafa may help us to better understand Solomon’s Temple.

Samuel Dewitt Pfister asks whether the latest claim about Bethsaida and the Church of the Apostles should be trusted.

ABR has announced the discovery of three altar horns in their excavations at Shiloh this summer. (Press release not online as of this writing.)

Applications for excavating at Shiloh in 2020 with the Associates for Biblical Research are now being accepted.

“Hamas has done little to protect Gaza’s antiquities and in some cases actively destroys them.”

Though rare and significant, few people know about a First Temple period cistern discovered near the Western Wall of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.

Joe Zias looks at ancient crucifixion, considering the difficulties of the lone archaeological bone and arguing that crosses were shaped as a T.

Clyde Billington reviews the latest archaeological news on this week’s The Book and the Spade.

A slideshow/video on the work of M. G. Kyle at Tell Beit Mirsim’s excavations from 1926 to 1932 is on YouTube. The photos have captions, and if you read faster, you can advance more quickly through parts. The video clips may be the earliest from an excavation in the Holy Land. Near the end, there are scenes from a grain harvest as well as footage from Jerusalem in 1930.

HT: Ted Weis, Agade, G. M. Grena

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Saturday, August 03, 2019

Weekend Roundup

New excavations in Perga have revealed the well-preserved(!) foundation of the Tomb of Plancia Magna. And Carl Rasmussen also has photos of new reconstruction work at Thyatira.

Pat McCarthy’s newest page at Seetheholyland.net is about the Sisters of Nazareth excavation, including a church possibly built over Jesus’s childhood home.

Aaron Demsky explains how the Samaria Ostraca shed light on the names of Zelophehad’s daughters and Israel’s settlement in Manasseh.

Mark Barnes draws out some lessons from Shechem, including how conflict, covenant, and choice defined its history.

In a new podcast, Clint Burnett discusses the background of the Nazareth Inscription as well as assessing whether it provides evidence of Jesus’s empty tomb (Apple).

Peter grew up in Bethsaida and ended up in Rome. Wayne Stiles explains how he got there by a series of “hard left turns.”

Shemesh Online reports on the compromise reached that will allow for the construction of the highway over the tell, the reduction of the width of that road, as well as the building of a pedestrian overpass to connect the two sides.

Kristina Killgrove gives five reasons why you shouldn’t buy that ancient artifact.

Cathie Spieser looks at the theology of birth and rebirth in ancient Egypt.

Chapter 8 of The Gospel of Mark in the LUMO Project has been dubbed in Koine Greek.

On The Book and the Spade, Clyde Billington and Gordon Govier discuss some recent stories, including Macherus, Melchizedek, and the Philistines.

In his ongoing Footsteps series, Bryan Windle identifies three things Paul likely saw in Corinth.

Ferrell’s Favorite Foto #24 is of Gibeon.

HT: Agade, Jared Clark, Joseph Lauer

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