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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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

New Opportunity: Institute of Biblical Culture

The Institute of Biblical Culture has just launched, and they are registering now for courses beginning in the fall. These live online courses are taught by Jewish and Christian professors on subjects such as biblical literature, biblical archaeology, and biblical backgrounds. You can start here, or go straight to the list of classes being offered this fall.

Here’s one suggestion: you can take a course on Rabbinic Literature, including Mishnah and the Talmud, from a rabbi. The early bird discount ($100 off) ends on Friday.

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Saturday, May 05, 2018

No Roundups in May

I’m traveling this month, and thus I don’t expect to be able to compile any weekend roundups until June. It’s possible one of us contributors will write something in the meantime, but you can expect us to return to a more normal schedule in about four weeks.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2018

New: ESV Archaeology Study Bible

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the ESV Archaeology Study Bible for several years now, as the publisher contacted me at an early stage about including some of our photos in it. Now that the project is completed, I am very pleased to see the results. I think this will be a very useful study Bible for many.

Let’s start with the numbers. In addition to the ESV Bible text, the reader gets to enjoy:

  • 2,000+ study notes
  • 400+ color photographs
  • 200+ maps and diagrams
  • 200+ sidebars
  • 15 articles

That’s a lot. To take it on a smaller scale, I counted 15 sidebars accompanying John 1–7, including Bethany and the Place of Jesus’ Baptism, Stone Vessels and Ritual Purity, The Temple Mount, Herod’s Temple, etc.

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You get a sense for the helpful background information included in the sidebars by looking at those for 1 Corinthians, including Celibacy in Antiquity, Greco-Roman Sacrifice, Roman Banquets, the Isthmian Games, Meat Markets, and House Churches.

Wherever you flip in the Bible, you find abundant explanatory information. I’m doing some work on the post-exilic period and I see these helpful articles:

  • Ezra: Zerubbabel’s Temple
  • Nehemiah: Topography of Jerusalem
  • Esther: Darius’s Foundation Record at Susa

I didn’t expect to see much for the Psalms, but I was very wrong—nearly every page is half-filled with study notes. I am very impressed.

Who is responsible for all of this?

John Currid was the editor for the Old Testament and David W. Chapman was the editor for the New Testament. They were helped by a couple of dozen scholars who wrote study notes and articles. Here are a few names that may be familiar to our readers:

  • Steven M. Ortiz: Joshua, Judges, Ruth
  • Lawrence T. Geraty: Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther
  • Boyd Seevers: Isaiah–Daniel
  • Paul H. Wright: Matthew–Luke
  • Mark Wilson: Acts, Revelation
  • Articles written by Barry Beitzel, Larry G. Herr, Barry Beitzel, Gerald L. Mattingly, and others

As you would expect from Crossway, the approach is generally conservative. Regarding the difficult issue of the Conquest, I think that some conservative scholars who have worked for years on this issue will be disappointed that their research was essentially ignored. It will be interesting to see what reviewers say about this.

Did I mention that there are many maps and charts? The maps are similar to the ones in the well-known ESV Bible Atlas, but of course in a study Bible like this, you get them right in the text where you need them, without the need to pull your atlas off the shelf.

Overall, I think this is a fantastic resource, and I’m very grateful that our team could contribute some of the photographs. Those who tell us that we should make our photos into a book are now going to hear this reply from me: buy the ESV Archaeology Study Bible!

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Sunday, April 29, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 2

A bust of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius was found in the Temple of Kom Ombo, in Aswan, Egypt.

The subway project in Thessaloniki has yielded over 300,000 artifacts and provided additional information about the city's 2,300-year-old history.

New evidence shows that Mycenae was destroyed by violence, not by an earthquake (Haaretz premium).

“An eagle-eyed scholar has identified the shadowy outlines of passages from the Bible behind an eighth-century manuscript of the Qur’an – the only recorded palimpsest in which a Christian text has been effaced to make way for the Islamic holy text.”

Pierre Tallet will be lecturing on “The Discovery of the Oldest Papyri of Egypt in Khufu’s Harbor in Wadi el-Jarf (Red Sea)” at the Museo Egizio in Turin on April 30.

Students at Brown University reenacted the Battle of Kadesh between the Egyptians and the Hittites.

CyArk and Google Arts and Culture are partnering to create 3D models of ancient Corinth and other archaeological sites.

On sale for $0.99 for Kindle: Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus, by Wayne Stiles

The Agade list is archived by SBL, and you can find subscription information here.

The new ESV Archaeology Study Bible is a tremendous resource. I hope to post on it here shortly, but in the meantime, you can listen to an interview on The Book and the Spade with John Currid, watch a short video of Currid explaining why archaeology can’t prove the Bible (and doesn’t need to), or watch the publisher’s video introduction. You’ll find the best price for a couple more days at Westminster Bookstore (their genuine leather copy is about the same price as Amazon’s hardcopy; I have a leather copy and it’s beautiful).

HT: Ted Weis, Agade, Joseph Lauer, Mike Harney, BibleX

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Saturday, April 28, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 1

A symposium is being held this week in Jerusalem on “The Dead Sea Scrolls at Seventy: Clear a Path in the Wilderness.” The full program is here. The poster is here.

Brad Gray investigates the geographical connection between the leper healings of Naaman and the 10 lepers in the latest episode of The Teaching Series.

Ten students were killed by a flash flood when hiking in Nahal Tzafit this week.

The Druze celebrated their annual pilgrimage to Jethro’s tomb in Galilee last week.

Ferrell Jenkins has written about “the Great Rift” in preparation for a series of articles about the Aravah. His post includes several beautiful photos.

Episode Five of Digging for Truth focuses on the recent excavations of Shiloh.

The site and synagogue of Umm el-Qanatir in the Golan Heights are the subject of an article in Front Page Magazine.

Timna and its copper mines are described by the BBC.

Lyndelle Webster is profiled on the Azekah Expedition blog, and she recounts how her volunteer work changed her life direction.

Israel’s Good Name shares his experience and photos from his visit to Ein Hemed.

Wayne Stiles explains the geographical and theological significance of Kadesh Barnea.

HT: Agade, Joseph Lauer, Paleojudaica

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Sunday, April 22, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 2

A German-Egyptian team has discovered thousands of fragments in old Heliopolis.

Egyptian authorities have charged 70 archaeological inspectors and security officials with looting the site of Quesna.

The March 2018 edition of the Newsletter of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities reports the latest inaugurations, repatriated antiquities, temporary exhibitions, meetings, projects, and more.

Zahi Hawass is leading a crew of more than 100 Egyptian workers in excavating an area in the Valley of the Kings, but so far he is not revealing what he has found.

The site of Mari has suffered severe destruction as a result of the conflicts in Syria.

Carl Rasmussen shares photographs of the harbor of Troas where Paul set sail on his second missionary journey.

Mathilde Touillon-Ricci takes a look at “Trade and Contraband in Ancient Assyria.”

The lead “Jordan Codices” have been proven to be forged.

Margreet Steiner will be lecturing on April 23 at Tel Aviv University on “The Excavations at Khirbet al-Mudayna in Ancient Moab: Some Current Research Questions in Iron Age Archaeology.” The lecture will be held in the Gilman Building, Room 282 at 16:15.

Funerary portrait sculptures, created in Palmyra, Syria between the 1st and 3rd centuries AD are on display at the Getty Villa until May 2019.

Mosaics from Antioch on the Orontes were buried beneath the lawn of the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, Florida, several decades ago and only recently uncovered.

“A three-year renovation at the Penn Museum introduces a $5m collection of nearly 1,200 objects, many of which will be on public view for the first time.”

There is some new ancient world content in JStor.

Accordance is now hosting “April Showers of Archaeology” and they have up to 50% off on all kinds of great resources, including the American Colony Collection, Archaeology of the Land of the Bible, Biblical Archaeology Review Archive, Bible Times PhotoMuseum, and more.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Agade, Mike Harney, Ted Weis, Keith Keyser, Steven Anderson

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Saturday, April 21, 2018

Weekend Roundup, Part 1

Amanda Borschel-Dan surveys the state of Israeli archaeology as the nation celebrates its 70th birthday.

Jill Katz offers a summary of “Israel Archaeology at 70.”

Philippe Bohstrom looks at Sennacherib’s 701 BC invasion of Judah, focusing on how to account for the Assyrian king’s failure to conquer Jerusalem (Haaretz premium).

By studying the dirt piles of burrowing mole rats, archaeologists working at Tel 'Eton believe that they have found evidence of the site’s significance in the 10th century BC (Haaretz premium).

“The Palestinian government and international organizations started a major excavation to restore St. Hilarion Monastery, locally known as Tell Umm Amer, in the central Gaza Strip, Palestine’s oldest and largest Christian monument.”

In this week’s The Teaching Series, Brad Gray explains the paradox of the two major bodies of water in Israel: the life-giving Sea of Galilee and the lifeless Dead Sea.

The Temple Mount Sifting Project is inviting you to visit their research lab.

Is the Via Dolorosa in the right place? Wayne Stiles explains the controversy.

The “Sanhedrin Trail” will be inaugurated next week. This 45-mile (70-km) route connects Beit Shearim to Tiberias and hikers can take advantage of a Hebrew web app.

Ferrell’s Travel Blog has a new address. You can bookmark the new site, or subscribe to the blog by email (upper right).

Charles Savelle and Luke Chandler recommend our new Photo Companion to the Book of Ruth. The sale ends tomorrow. Shipping is free in the US and satisfaction is guaranteed.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Agade, Mike Harney, Ted Weis, Keith Keyser, Steven Anderson

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