Current Events Articles: All posts by Bryan Windle

Assyrian Cuneiform Tablets Discovered in Northern Iraq posted by Bryan Windle

Archaeologists excavating at the site of the ancient city of Bassetki in the Kurdistan region of Iraq recently unearthed 93 cuneiform tablets dating to the Middle Assyrian Empire (ca. 1250 BC). Sixty of the tablets were discovered hidden in a ceramic pot in a building which had been destroyed. Many of them are unbaked and worn, which will make the process of deciphering them difficult. While it's not yet certain whether the tablets record business, legal or religious records, one fragment that was translated makes reference to a temple of the goddess Gula, which suggests they may be religious in nature. Researchers are hoping the texts will provide details about the history and culture of northern Mesopotamia in the second millennium BC.

Off-site Links:
- http://www.sci-news.com/archaeology/cache-assyrian-cuneiform-iraq-05350.html
- https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171023180303.htm

Roman Theater Discovered Under Wilson's Arch by the Western Wall posted by Bryan Windle

For the past two years, the Israel Antiquities Authority has quietly carried out excavations beneath Wilson's Arch near the Western Wall. They recently announced that they had unearthed eight stone courses of the wall that had remained buried for 1700 years and had discovered a Roman theater. Archaeologists discovered the curved, theater-like structure while they were searching for a known Second Temple road. The discovery of the theater, which contained 200 seats, confirms historical writers such as Josephus who described a Roman theater near the Temple Mount. The size of the structure and its location, under the roof of Wilson's Arch, has led researchers to suggest it was an odeon, for music or poetry presentations, or a bouleuterion - a place where the council of the Roman colony in Jerusalem met. The excavators believe the theater was never finished, as the stairs are not fully hewn and there are rocks with the guide marks inscribed on them for future stairs. The Israel Antiquities Authority plans to continue excavating for six more months in hopes of uncovering First Temple-era artifacts that are still buried beneath.

Off-site Links:
- https://www.timesofisrael.com/massive-section-of-western-wall-and-roman-theater-uncovered-after-1700-years/
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=231&v=29kVDSYA4hY

Purported Seal of Solomon Declared Medieval Fake posted by Bryan Windle

Despite numerous sensationalistic media reports that a seal from King Solomon has been found, experts have declared the seal in question a medieval fake. Turkish authorities recently seized a number of artifacts from a suspected smuggler, which included a bronze seal purported to have belonged to King Solomon, several metal codices, and a golden bull figurine. One of the codices recovered resembles the infamous Jordanian Lead Codices (see our previous post on the Lead Codices here: http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2016/12/20/Jordanian-Lead-Books-in-the-News-Again.aspx). The items were taken to the Amasya Museum Directorate, where expert analysis revealed that all of the items date to the Middle Ages.

Off-site Links:
- http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/seal-of-solomon-may-be-found-in-amasya-120341
- http://paleojudaica.blogspot.ca/2017/10/metal-codices-seized-in-turkey.html
- https://www.dailysabah.com/history/2017/10/03/artifacts-hoped-to-include-seal-of-solomon-date-back-to-middle-ages-experts-say

First Temple-Era Jewish Town Discovered posted by Bryan Windle

The archaeology department of the IDF Civil Administration recently uncovered a previously unknown ancient Jewish town. The discovery was made at an abandoned training base near the town of Beit El in Samaria. Underneath the old parade grounds, archaeologists uncovered artifacts, such as tools and seals, which date the settlement to the First Temple-era. Research has shown that the town was also inhabited during the Persian, Hellenistic, Hasmonean, and Roman eras as well. It was also periodically settled during the Byzantine and Muslim periods before finally being destroyed by an earthquake in 748 AD.

Off-site Link:

- http://www.jewishpress.com/news/history/secret-first-temple-jewish-city-discovered-under-idf-training-base/2017/09/28/

3500-Year-Old Tomb Unearthed in Luxor, Egypt posted by Bryan Windle

An ancient tomb, originally built for a goldsmith and his wife, was recently unearthed in Luxor, Egypt. Hieroglyphic inscriptions indicate the man's name was Amenemhat and his wife was named Amenhotep. Amenhotep is usually a man's name, but she is clearly given the title "lady of the house." The couple lived during the 18th dynasty, approximately during the time of Moses. The remains of several mummies, wooden coffins, pottery and small statues were discovered. It appears the tomb was reused in the 11th and 10th centuries BC. Archaeologists in Egypt are confident that several other tombs in the area have been located and will be opened soon, adding to our knowledge of Egyptian life and burial customs during that era.

Off-site Links:
- http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/09/luxor-egypt-necropolis-discovery/
- http://luxortimesmagazine.blogspot.ca/2017/09/exclusive-egyptian-archaeologists.html
- https://www.livescience.com/60364-ancient-goldsmith-tomb-mummies-discovered-egypt.html

All Inscriptions from Ancient Athens to be Translated into English posted by Bryan Windle

A new project initiated by Cardiff University and funded by the Arts and Humanities Council will publish all available inscriptions from ancient Athens and Attica in English. The inscriptions, currently housed in various museums around the UK, range from the 6th century BC to the 3rd century AD, and will be available online in open access at the website, "Attic Inscriptions Online." The diversity of these texts, from decisions made by the Athenian Citizen Assembly, to financial records, to dedications to the gods and funerary monuments, all reflect various aspects of life in ancient Athens. As the searchable database of inscriptions grows, it should prove to be a great resource for archaeologist and scholars seeking to study ancient Greek culture and history.

Off-site Links:
- http://www.tornosnews.gr/en/greek-news/culture/27099-cardiff-uni-to-translate-and-publish-ancient-athens-inscriptions-of-uk-collections.html
- https://www.atticinscriptions.com/

University of Pikeville to Host Archaeology Symposium posted by Bryan Windle

symposium poster


Dr. Scott Stripling and Dr. Craig Evans headline the upcoming Text and Trowel symposium on archaeology and the Bible at the University of Pikeville on Oct. 20-21, 2017. The event will kick off with a dinner on Friday night that, while open to all, will also be a reunion for those who have participated in digs at Khirbet el-Maqatir and Shiloh in the past. ABR's Dr. Scott Stripling will be giving two lectures entitled, "Murder at Maqatir: The Grim Fate of Those Who Hid from the Romans" and "'Go Now to Shiloh': Have We Found the House of God?" Dr. Craig Evans will also be giving two lectures: "Were There Cynics at Sepphoris of Galilee? What Does Archaeology Tell Us About the World of Jesus?" and "'On This Rock...' Bethsaida and the Promise to Peter." In addition to these lectures, tours will also be given by visiting archaeologists of the "Khirbet el-Maqatir and A Journey Through Biblical History" exhibit currently being hosted by the University of Pikeville. Tickets are available at the link below.

Off-site Link:
- https://www.eventbrite.com/e/text-and-trowel-a-symposium-of-archaeology-and-the-bible-tickets-37879098403

Stadium at Ancient Laodicea Being Restored posted by Bryan Windle

A Turkish project to excavate and restore the ancient stadium of Laodicea has been approved. Archaeologists have begun the process of renewal focusing on recovering the columns that once lined Stadium Street. While excavations have been ongoing in ancient Laodicea for 13 years, the stadium has only begun to be unearthed. It was once the site of a variety of sporting events as well as gladiator battles, and is the largest stadium of its era in all of Asia Minor, being over 800 feet long. The structure, which dates to the first century, is attached to a massive bath complex, testimony to the wealth of those in Laodicea. The apostle John was given a message from God to the church at Laodicea near the end of the first century and wrote, "You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked" (Rev. 3:17).

Off-site Links:
- http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/ancient-stadium-in-denizli-under-restoration.aspx?pageID=238&nid=116945&NewsCatID=375
- https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.ca/2017/08/stadium-at-ancient-city-of-laodicea.html

Skeletal Remains Found at Khirbet el-Maqatir Recently Reburied posted by Bryan Windle

The bones of seven women and a boy discovered by ABR in 2013 and 2014 at Khirbet el-Maqatir were recently reburied. The remains of the Jewish residents were found in a cave, where they were hiding from the Romans during the Great Revolt of AD 69. The large cave was functioning as an olive press at the time and contained a secret cave for hiding off of the main cave. In addition to the bones, arrow heads and shoe studs from Roman soldiers, were also found in the cave, testimony to their violent deaths. The remains were quietly reburied in Ofra in January, and the residents erected a stone monument (pictured below) on the grave of the victims that tells their story and includes a reference to the vision of dry bones in Ezekiel.

Reburial site

Dr. Scott Stripling, who along with Dr. Bryant Wood headed up the dig at Khirbet el-Maqatir, will be giving a lecture on this story at the University of Pikeville on Oct. 21, 2017.
 
Off-site Links:
- http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/234892
- http://www.ritmeyer.com/2017/09/02/victims-of-great-revolt-against-the-romans-laid-to-rest-in-ofra/

New Gold Coin Exhibit Chronicles 300 Years of Roman Emperors posted by Bryan Windle

A donation of 75 gold coins from Giovanna Adda Coen to Jerusalem's Israel Museum has more than doubled the number of gold coins on display in Israel. The coins were part of Victor A. Adda's famed collection, which numbered over 1000 by the time of his death, and were left to his four daughters. The new exhibit at the Israel Museum, called "Faces of Power," includes the images of 40 Roman emperors as well as the portraits of 13 women who were part of the imperial family. The coins span 300 years of history, from the end of the first century AD to the beginning of the fourth century AD, and give a rare glimpse into the world of those who ruled the Roman Empire. The curators of the museum have grouped them both chronologically and thematically, with titles such as "Forever Young," "The Senator," "The Philosopher," and "Usurpers." The donated coins are insured for $7.5 million and are able to be seen by the general public for the first time.

Off-site Links:
- http://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-museum-coin-exhibit-shows-a-daughters-love-is-worth-more-than-gold/
- http://www.imj.org.il/en/exhibitions/faces-power

Canaanite Cultic Artifacts Discovered at Libnah posted by Bryan Windle

Archaeologists excavating at Tel Burna, identified as biblical Libnah, have unearthed more artifacts that identify a large Canaanite-era building with cultic activities. The 50-foot-long building with a large courtyard was first uncovered in 2009. Since then, the discovered artifacts indicate that the site was used for pagan cultic activity. Discoveries this year include a massebah (a stone pillar used for worship and memorials) possibly representing a deity, as well as other objects associated with cultic practice such as goblets, chalices, figurines, zoomorphic vessels and two ceramic masks. Excavators are not yet calling the building a temple; they do, however, believe that the concentration of cultic objects indicates that the courtyard of the building was used for pagan worship and not daily activities. Libnah was one of the cities that Joshua conquered (Jos 10:29-30) and was later given to the descendants of Aaron (1 Chr 6:57).

Off-site Links:
- http://www.haaretz.com/archaeology/1.808353
- http://www.archaeology.org/news/5860-170822-israel-ritual-canaanite-site

Carchemish Excavations Unearth 250 Hittite Bullae posted by Bryan Windle

Excavations at Carchemish have uncovered 250 bullae (impression seals) from the Hittite kingdom. Archaeologists report that among the bullae, more than 110 of them have inscriptions that are decipherable, and that these identify more than 10 Hittite state officials. Excavations led by the Turks and Italians have been ongoing at the site since 2001, but the discovery of inscriptions dating to the second half of the early Bronze Age only began this year. Carchemish was one of the most important cities in the ancient Hittite empire and the site of an important battle between the Egyptians and Babylonians that is mentioned in the Bible (Jer. 46:2; 2 Chr. 35:20). Much of the confusion surrounding the biblical Hittites has been cleared up by Dr. Bryant Wood in his article examining Scriptures concerning the terms Hittite and Hethite (link below).

Off-site Links:
- http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/impression-seals-to-illuminate-hittite-administration.aspx?pageID=238&nID=116395&NewsCatID=375

Dr. Wood's article on Hittites/Hethites:
- http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2011/11/08/Hittites-and-Hethites-A-Proposed-Solution-to-an-Etymological-Conundrum.aspx

Excavators Suggest el-Araj was Bethsaida/Julias posted by Bryan Windle

For years the site of NT Bethsaida has been a matter of debate, with at least three different sites contending for the honor. Et-Tell has been the frontrunner despite the numerous problems with this identification, including its distance from the Sea of Galilee, its elevation from the ancient level of the lake, and the lack of remains from the first century. Excavators at a competing site, el-Araj, have just announced that they believe they have identified the ancient city of Julias. Josephus writes that Herod Philip expanded the village of Bethsaida to create the Roman polis of Julias. The site is on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, in the Bethsaida Valley Nature Reserve. Archaeologists found a layer of Roman-era remains beneath the Byzantine level, which contained pottery sherds and coins dating from the first to third centuries AD. In addition, the remains of a Roman-style bathhouse were uncovered. Evidence was also discovered that this site, previously thought to be under water during the NT era, was actually near the shore and that the ancient sea level was 6 ft lower than most had believed. If further excavations confirm these findings, it may be that the site of Bethsaida/Julias – home to Peter, Andrew and Philip (John 1:44, 12:21) – may have finally been found.

Off-site Links about These Findings:
- http://www.haaretz.com/archaeology/1.805402
- http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/New-evidence-of-Lost-City-of-Julias-unearthed-near-Sea-of-Galilee-501701
- http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-4999227,00.html
 
Links about the Identification of Bethsaida:
- http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2012/09/14/Text-and-Tell-The-Excavations-at-Bethsaida.aspx
- http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2007/08/15/Three-Woes!.aspx
- http://www.bibleplaces.com/bethsaida/

Evidence of Babylonian Destruction of Jerusalem Discovered posted by Bryan Windle

Excavations at the Jerusalem Walls National Park have uncovered evidence of the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BC. Archaeologists discovered significant burn layers in the buildings that were outside the city walls on the eastern border of the city at that time. Numerous artifacts were unearthed within the collapsed rooms, including an ivory statue of a woman and several smashed pottery jars, one with a rosette seal dating to just before the fall of the First Temple. The rosette replaced the "For The King" seal used during previous administrations in Judea. The Fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonian forces of King Nebuchadnezzar is described in the Bible in 2 Kings 25.

Off-site Links:
- http://www.antiquities.org.il/article_eng.aspx?sec_id=25&subj_id=240
- http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Evidence-of-Babylonian-destruction-of-Jerusalem-unearthed-in-City-of-David-500786
- http://www.timesofisrael.com/new-jerusalem-finds-shore-up-biblical-account-of-babylonian-conquest/

New Shroud of Turin Investigations posted by Bryan Windle

Two new investigations have been conducted to investigate the authenticity of the famed Shroud of Turin.

The first was an initiative begun by the Association of Scientists and Scholars International for the Shroud of Turin (ASSIST), which aims to determine if limestone particles found on the Shroud came from a Jerusalem tomb or from another location. Using detailed collection protocols from ASSIST, ABR's Dr. Wood and Dr. Scott Stripling, along with Abigail Leavitt and Kent Wegner, obtained limestone particles using acid-free tape from the walls, benches and floors of the tomb complex beneath
École Biblique in east Jerusalem. These tombs are less than one km away from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where the body of Jesus was likely entombed. The specimens are currently beginning to be tested.

The second investigation was recently reported in the journal PLOS ONE, in which the authors conducted an atomic resolution study on a fiber from the Shroud of Turin using Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) and Wide-Angle X-ray Scanning (WAXS). Their study showed that the fiber is covered by a "blood serum typical of a human organism" and not dye or paint. Moreover, the particles contained a high level of creatinine and ferritin, which is common in patients who have suffered trauma or torture. The researchers concluded, "the presence of these biological nanoparticles found during our TEM experiments point to a violent death for the man wrapped in the Turin shroud."

Limestone Testing Links:
- http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2017/05/30/ABR-Researches-Jerusalem-Tombs-for-the-Shroud-of-Turin-Project.aspx
- http://tbts.info/episodes/1579
 
Blood Testing Links:
- http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0180487
- http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/cwn/2017/july/new-evidence-blood-of-tortured-man-is-found-on-the-shroud-of-turin

Hobby Lobby Returns 5000 Artifacts, Fined $3 Million posted by Bryan Windle

Steve Green, billionaire president of the Hobby Lobby craft store chain, has returned more than 5000 ancient artifacts and paid a $3 million fine after federal investigators determined that the artifacts came from Iraq, and not from Turkey or Israel as declared on the customs forms. In 2010, Hobby Lobby paid $1.6 million for a collection of tablets, bricks, clay bullae and cylinder seals bearing cuneiform inscriptions. They purchased the collection from a dealer in the United Arab Emirates. Laws in both the United States and Iraq prohibit the purchase of ancient artifacts illegally removed from the country of origin. Hobby Lobby released a statement in which they stated, "At no time did Hobby Lobby ever purchase items from dealers in Iraq or from anyone who indicated that they acquired items from that country. Hobby Lobby condemns such conduct and has always acted with the intent to protect ancient items of cultural and historical importance." Many artifacts from the Green Collection have been donated to the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC, which is scheduled to open in November. None of the artifacts in this settlement were from the Museum of the Bible. Steve Green has said that Hobby Lobby was "new to the world of acquiring items and did not fully appreciate the complexities of the acquisitions process." He admits that they made "regrettable mistakes" and that he should have "exercised more oversight."

Off-site Links:
- http://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2017/july/hobby-lobby-steve-green-artifacts-smuggled-from-iraq.html
- https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/05/nyregion/hobby-lobby-artifacts-smuggle-iraq.html?mcubz=0

Human Remains Discovered at Gezer posted by Bryan Windle

Excavators at Tel Gezer have unearthed the skeletal remains of an adult and child. Researchers found the bodies inside a massive building (15x20 meters in size) that had been destroyed. The fiery destruction layer covered the bodies in a meter-thick layer of ash and burnt bricks. The human remains were too badly damaged in the fire for archaeologists to identify their nationality. The destruction has been attributed to Pharaoh Merneptah and confirms his claim on the Merneptah Stela (also known as the Israel Stele) that, "Canaan is plundered with every hardship. Ashkelon is taken, Gezer captured, [and] Yanoam reduced to nothing. Israel is laid waste, his seed is no more." The layer of destruction indicates that Merneptah may have encountered more resistance from the Gezerites than expected.

Off-site Links:
- http://www.haaretz.com/archaeology/1.798934
- http://www.newsweek.com/israel-ancient-human-remains-discovered-royal-biblical-city-3200-years-after-631954

Earliest Monumental Egyptian Hieroglyphs Found posted by Bryan Windle

Archaeologists exploring near the ancient Egyptian city of Elkab have discovered a monumental hieroglyphic rock inscription. The previously undocumented inscription depicts the earliest stages of hieroglyphics, and will help scholars better understand how the ancient Egyptians created their writing system. The inscription has been dated to 3250 BC and portrays common hieroglyphs, although at a scale not previously seen before. Each individual sign measures over half a meter in height (compared to previous hieroglyphs which were 2-3 centimeters tall). The researchers from Yale University have used new technology to create 3D images of the inscriptions from photographs taken on site.

Off-site Links:

- http://news.yale.edu/2017/06/20/yale-archaeologists-discover-earliest-monumental-egyptian-hieroglyphs
- http://newatlas.com/egyptian-hieroglyphs-billboard/50139/

King Herod's Mikveh Discovered at His Jordanian Fortress posted by Bryan Windle

Hungarian archaeologists have discovered a large mikveh (Jewish ritual bath) during excavations in the ruins of Machaerus, the fortress of King Herod in modern-day Jordan. The mikveh had 12 steps and a reserve pool of water from which to fill the main pool when its water ran low. It was located 9 ft below the courtyard, and was at one time covered by a vaulted stone roof. It was likely used for ritual purification by Herod and his family while they were at Machaerus. According to Josephus, John the Baptist was beheaded at Machaerus. The death of John the Baptist is recorded in both Matthew's and Mark's Gospels.

Off-site Links:
- http://www.haaretz.com/archaeology/1.795720
- http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/hungarian-archaeologists-unearth-herods-fortress-ritual-bath-east-of-jordan-river/2017/06/15/

Advanced Imaging Reveals Previously Undetected Inscription posted by Bryan Windle

Researchers using multispectral imaging have discovered a previously undetected inscription on an ostracon from the Arad fortress. The ostracon (a clay shard with ink text), known as Arad 16, was unearthed at the ancient Judean military fortress of Arad in 1965 and has been dated to 600 BC. While the recto (front side) has been studied extensively for years, the verso (back side), was thought to be blank. The recto inscription is addressed to Elyashiv, the quartermaster of the fortress, and begins with a blessing by Yahweh. Using new, advanced imaging several new lines of text on the recto were discovered, and new readings were provided for other lines with the new clarity of the inscription. The previously unknown inscription on the verso seems to be a continuation of the text on the front, revealing more than 50 characters and 17 new words. Most ancient, biblical Hebrew inscriptions that have survived are ostraca; they are often poorly preserved and fade quickly over time once unearthed. This new technique of multispectral imaging will greatly assist archaeologists and scholars in translating and documenting inscriptions on ostraca which may even be invisible to the naked eye.

Off-site Links:
- http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0178400
- http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Culture/Advanced-imaging-reveals-rare-Hebrew-inscription-from-First-Temple-period-496878
- http://www.sci-news.com/archaeology/arad-16-ostracon-hebrew-inscription-04956.html

Laser Technology Reveals Christian Frescoes in Roman Catacombs posted by Bryan Windle

Deep in the Catacombs of St. Domitilla in Rome, archaeologists have used laser technology to remove centuries of grime to reveal several Christian frescoes dating to the 4th century AD. The frescoes had been covered by a thick layer of calcium deposits, algae, and smoke from oil lamps. Using lasers, the experts removed the filth while leaving the colorful paintings beneath. These frescoes belonged to two wealthy Roman merchants and include Christian scenes, such as Noah's Ark, Jesus feeding the five thousand, and Christ the shepherd carrying a lamb on his shoulders.

Off-site Link:
- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/05/30/laser-technology-uncovers-1600-year-old-christian-frescoes-romes/

"Is Genesis History?" Conference Coming Soon posted by Bryan Windle

You've seen the movie, "Is Genesis History?" Now attend the conference, to be held June 19-23, 2017 in Dickson, Tennessee (near Nashville). The conference will offer college students, graduate students, ministers and educators a chance to learn from and interact with the scientists and scholars featured in the film. The goals are to provide participants with a solid foundation in understanding the world in light of what is recorded in Genesis, provide professional guidance to those seeking higher level degrees in scientific and biblical fields, and show attendees how scientists and scholars do work in their respective fields. There will be presentations on many topics related to a young earth, 6-day creation, and the universal flood. ABR Associate, Dr. Doug Petrovich, will be teaching on archaeology and the exegesis of key texts in Genesis. Plan to attend (students are free!).

Off-site Link:
- https://www.isgenesishistory.com/conference/

Temple of Artemis in Ephesus Suffering Neglect posted by Bryan Windle

The Temple of Artemis of the Ephesians, once considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, has fallen into a state of disrepair through neglect. Not much of its former splendor remains: one marble pillar stands, while other pieces lie haphazardly around the site. A rusty welcome sign and old excavation holes filled with rainwater have turned the temple area into a swamp. The temple is on the UNESCO Cultural Heritage list and draws millions of tourists each year. Some authorities have expressed frustration at the slow pace of plans to improve the temple site, which seem mired in the red tape of environmental planning, preservation board approval, and permission from the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry. In Acts 19, the historian Luke records a riot that took place at the Ephesus Theater because the silversmiths who made their living from the Temple of Artemis saw their livelihoods endangered as many people became Christians and gave up their idol worship.

Off-site Links:
- https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.ca/2017/02/temple-of-artemis-at-ephesus-turns-into.html
- http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/temple-of-artemis-turns-into-swamp-due-to-neglect.aspx

Excavations Reveal Kingdom of Edom Developed Much Earlier Than Previously Thought posted by Bryan Windle

Excavations in southern Jordan associated with the Edom Lowland Regional Archaeological Project (ELRAP) have demonstrated that the rise of Edom as a complex kingdom occurred earlier than previously thought. Some scholars had previously held that the formation of Iron Age Edom only occurred in the sixth or seventh centuries BC, and that no significant building activities took place in the region during the tenth century. Recently Jordanian archaeologists identified two peak copper production periods in the ancient kingdom of Edom, dating to 1200 BC and the ninth century BC. Mining and metal work are indicators of pollical power and social infrastructure in ancient times. This confirms the biblical description of the kingdom of Edom in the time of the Judges (Jgs 11:17-18), as well as one of the nations that King David subdued (2 Sm 8:11-14) and the fact that the king of Edom joined the coalition with King Joram of Israel and Jehoshaphat, king of Judah to fight against Moab (2 Kgs 3:9).

Off-site Links:
- http://jordantimes.com/news/local/excavations-overturn-long-held-beliefs-about-ancient-kingdom-edom-%E2%80%94-jordanian-scholar
- http://en.ammonnews.net/article.aspx?articleno=35026#.WSxYnGjyvIV

ABR’s Excavations at Shiloh Now Underway posted by Bryan Windle

The Associates for Biblical Research (ABR) has begun an exciting new chapter in their archaeological research. From May 21-June 17, 2017, ABR is conducting excavations on the north side of the ancient city of Shiloh which, according to the Bible, was the site of the Israelite tabernacle. There are four candidate locations for the tabernacle at Shiloh; one of these is in the northern sector, where ABR will be excavating. In a recent Bible and Spade magazine article, ABR’s Dig Director at Shiloh, Dr. Scott Stripling, stated, “The new ABR excavations at Shiloh aim to shed light on this perplexing issue [the location of the tabernacle] by re-examining previous findings and exposing new features. As more of the Middle Bronze fortification wall is exposed, it may be possible to pinpoint the ancient gates that are important to this discussion. Excavations on the summit would also yield critical data.” Furthermore, any Israelite material culture uncovered at Shiloh from LB IIB to Iron Age IB would be evidence of a 15th-century BC Exodus and Conquest. This will be ABR’s third major excavation in the Central Highlands of the territory of Benjamin/Ephraim, having spent many years digging at both Khirbet Nisya and Khirbet el-Maqatir (the probable site of the city of Ai). Please pray for God’s rich blessing upon ABR’s upcoming excavations at Shiloh.

Links:
Read more about ABR’s excavations at Shiloh here:
- http://www.biblearchaeology.org/outreach/event.aspx?id=281
- http://www.biblearchaeology.org/page/Join-Us-In-Our-Excavations-at-Biblical-Shiloh.aspx

Read Dr. Scott Stripling’s article, The Israelite Tabernacle at Shiloh, HERE.

Creation Scientist Dr. Andrew Snelling Denied Permit in the Grand Canyon posted by Bryan Windle

Dr. Andrew Snelling from Answers in Genesis (AiG) has been denied a permit to conduct geological research in the Grand Canyon. A lawsuit has been filed on his behalf by the civil liberties organization Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) naming the Grand Canyon National Park (GCNP), and alleging that the civil liberties of Dr. Snelling were violated when he was twice denied a permit by the GCNP to continue research in the canyon due to his religious and scientific views. Dr. Snelling holds a doctorate in geology from the University of Sydney and has written numerous articles in peer-reviewed, mainstream geological journals. His proposed research was to collect 40 small samples at folds inside the Grand Canyon where the layers were bent and not shattered because the rocks were still soft as they folded, allegedly remaining soft over a period of 450 million years. His study could produce results that would undermine the view promoted within the GCNP that the Grand Canyon formed over millions of years. Dr. Snelling has stated, “This case is all about giving the freedom for a scientist to do good science without having to undergo a religious litmus test…We expect debate about what the evidence means, but the park shouldn’t prevent us from collecting data just like other scientists. I am merely asking for equal treatment by the government.” Please pray for Dr. Snelling and the principles that he and ADF are fighting for.

Off-site Links:
- https://answersingenesis.org/about/press/2017/05/09/discrimination-lawsuit-filed-christian-geologist-grand-canyon/
- http://www.adflegal.org/detailspages/blog-details/allianceedge/2017/05/09/grand-canyon-national-park-continues-history-of-hostility-toward-religion
- http://www.adfmedia.org/files/SnellingComplaint.pdf

Khirbet el-Maqatir Exhibit in Pikeville hosts 1000th Visitor; Extended posted by Bryan Windle

The Khirbet el-Maqatir: A Journey Through Bible History exhibit in Pikeville, KY recently hosted its 1000th guest. Visitors from 11 different states (including Oregon and California) have toured the exhibit, currently on display at the Historic York House, and viewed more than 250 artifacts from Israel and Jordan. Due to its popularity, the exhibit has been extended and will remain in Pikeville until the end of October. This will accommodate local tourism, as many tour buses visit Pikeville in the fall. The University of Pikeville (UofP) and the Associates for Biblical Research will be working together again at the new Shiloh dig, with the UofP being a major sponsor of the excavations.

Off-site Link:
- http://www.upike.edu/News/Campus/Exhibit-offers-%E2%80%98Journey-Through-Biblical-History%E2%80%99

Mausoleum of Caesar Augustus to be Restored posted by Bryan Windle

The Mausoleum of Augustus, which has lain in disrepair for decades, is about to undergo a multi-million dollar renovation. The city of Rome recently announced that the project will be funded by the city, the culture ministry and a $6.5 million grant from Telecom Italia (a private company). The mausoleum was constructed in 28 BC out of brick and marble and is 300 feet in diameter. It was the final resting place of the remains of Caesar Augustus, his wife Livia, and the emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero and Caligula. The first-century geographer and historian Strabo once described its white marble foundation and the bronze statue of Caesar Augustus, which originally stood at the top. The renovation project includes plans to clean up the trash and weeds which have accumulated through years of neglect, repair the brick and marble remains, and conduct archaeological excavations on parts of the mausoleum that have not previously been examined, as well as add lighted walkways, a multimedia exhibit and a gift shop. Those overseeing the project hope to reopen the Mausoleum of Augustus to the public in 2019.

Off-site Links:
- http://www.archaeology.org/news/5526-170502-rome-augustus-mausoleum
- http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/rome-finally-restoring-mausoleum-augustus-180963132/
- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/05/02/last-resting-place-romes-emperors-restored-opened-tourists-5/
- http://www.fredericksburg.com/news/news-wire/ancient-roman-monument-turned-eyesore-gets-needed-makeover/article_47326cff-6d1c-5822-bbc6-a06f11b5251e.html

New Discoveries at Caesarea Part of Preservation Project posted by Bryan Windle

A $27 million project to preserve the ancient ruins of the port city of Caesarea has led to a variety of discoveries. Archaeologists have unearthed the base of the altar from the temple built by King Herod over 2000 years ago to honor Caesar Augustus. Josephus described the temple, which was built on the hill across from the entrance to the harbor, as "prominent in its size and beauty." Excavations have revealed the temple was multi-leveled, with two large halls that opened to the sea on a lower level, as well as a large staircase leading up to the altar. Numerous smaller finds were also discovered in the excavations, including the head of a statue of Asclepius, a statue of a ram, and a small tablet made of mother-of-pearl with a menorah inscribed on it. The preservation project is one of the largest and most expensive in Israel's history. Its goal is to restore the ruins, making numerous ancient buildings open to the public, and to attract 3 million tourists by the year 2030. Caesarea is mentioned in the Bible (Acts 12) as the place where Herod Agrippa died, an event that is also confirmed by Josephus.

Off-site Links:
- http://archaeology.org.il/news/news.php?id=215
- http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.785858
- http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Rothschild-Foundation-to-invest-NIS-100m-to-uncover-ancient-Caesarea-489049
- http://www.timesofisrael.com/unique-mother-of-pearl-menorah-etching-found-in-ancient-caesarea/
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjteCDYUMiU

Colossal Statue of Ramses II Re-Erected at Luxor Temple posted by Bryan Windle

The Ministry of Antiquities of Egypt recently completed the restoration of a statue of Ramses II at the Luxor Temple. The statue, which is 11 meters tall and weighs 75 tons, was re-erected after more than 1000 years. It was discovered in 1958 in 57 pieces after having been destroyed in an earthquake, likely in the fourth century BC. The colossal statue depicts Ramses II in a standing position wearing the double crown, and has a 1.5-meter statue of his wife, Nefertari, beside him. It originally stood in front of Luxor's first pylon along with five other statues – four of Ramses II standing, and two of him seated. Ramses II, also known by his Greek name, Ozymandias, ruled Egypt in the 13th century BC, during the time of the judges, according to biblical chronology.

Off-site Links:
- http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/9/40/265287/Heritage/Ancient-Egypt/Ramses-II-colossus-restored-and-rerected-at-Luxor-.aspx
- http://luxortimesmagazine.blogspot.ca/2017/04/history-in-making-luxor-temple-gets.html
- http://af.reuters.com/article/topNews/idAFKBN17L1MC-OZATP

13th Dynasty Pyramid Discovered in Egypt posted by Bryan Windle

The remains of a 13th Dynasty pyramid was recently unearthed north of King Senefru's bent pyramid in the Dahshur royal necropolis south of Cairo. Archaeologists unearthed a corridor leading to the interior of the pyramid, as well as a hall leading to a southern ramp. In addition, an alabaster block inscribed with 10 vertical lines of hieroglyphics was discovered and is being studied further. The pyramid has a unique design, causing some to suggest it may have been an early attempt to build a smooth-sided pyramid. This discovery adds to the list of 123 ancient pyramids known in Egypt. The tentative date of 1700 BC would place its construction after the death of Joseph but before the birth of Moses, during the time the Israelites were living in Egypt according to biblical chronology.

Off-site Links:
- http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/9/40/262156/Heritage/Ancient-Egypt/Remains-of-th-Dynasty-pyramid-discovered-in-Dahshu.aspx
- http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/remains-13th-dynasty-pyramid-discovered-egypt-s-dahshur
- http://www.businessinsider.com/ap-remains-of-a-new-pyramid-discovered-in-egypt-2017-4
- http://www.thenational.ae/world/middle-east/remains-of-pyramid-built-3700-years-ago-found-in-egypt

Capital from Solomon's Colonnade Found at Temple Mount Dig posted by Bryan Windle

The Temple Mount Sifting Project recently announced the discovery of a capital from one of the columns that formed the eastern colonnade of the Second Temple, known in the New Testament as "Solomon's Colonnade." Josephus also describes the colonnade in both Antiquities of the Jews and The Jewish War. The capital itself is in the Doric style and would have adorned the top of one of the columns that surrounded the Temple Mount area to provide shade for those who visited the Temple. Dr. Leen Ritmeyer, one of the world's leading experts on the Temple, has responded to the announcement by agreeing that the capital is likely from Solomon's Colonnade while correcting information about the size of the column the capital likely came from. The Bible records that Jesus (Jn 10:23), Peter and John (Acts 3:11), and the early church in Jerusalem (Acts 5:12) all spent time at Solomon's Colonnade.

Off-site Links:
- http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=41549
- http://www.ritmeyer.com/2017/04/05/a-capital-from-solomons-porch-on-the-temple-mount/

Tomb of Jesus Reopens to the Public posted by Bryan Windle

Following a $3.7 million renovation that took months, the purported tomb of Jesus inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre has been reopened to the public. The shrine, known as the Edicule, which surrounds the site that many believe is the place the body of Jesus lay before His Resurrection, had been in dire need of renovations to prevent collapse. The work was paid for mainly by the World Monuments Fund, along with financing from three denominations and a donation from King Abdullah II of Jordan. Restorers systematically removed, cleaned, and renovated the marble slabs that formed the Edicule. A window was also installed, which allows people to see the actual stone wall of the tomb for the first time. The work has made it possible to remove the unsightly black protective cage that had held the Edicule together for 70 years. Authorities are warning that more work needs to be done, however, as the recent renovations revealed that the floor and foundations under the shrine are unstable.

Off-site Links:
- https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/22/world/middleeast/tomb-of-jesus-reopens-jerusalem.html?_r=0
- http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/03/jesus-christ-tomb-jerusalem-restored-collapse-tunnels/
- http://www.timesofisrael.com/newly-restored-shrine-at-jesuss-tomb-reopens-in-jerusalem/

Dr. Bryant Wood's Research on the Hittites Incorporated Into New Bible Translation posted by Bryan Windle

B&H Publishing Group recently completed a revision of the Holman Standard Christian Bible, renaming it the Christian Standard Bible (CSB). It is the first Bible translation to incorporate the research of ABR's Dr. Bryant Wood, published in 2011, in translating the various Hebrew terms that are generally rendered as "Hittites" (previously translated as "Hethites" in all English translations prior to the Geneva Bible, first published in 1560).
Hethites chart
The appearance of "Hittites" in the Bible has been a historical conundrum as there is little archaeological evidence for existence of the Indo-European people group from Anatolia, known as Hittites, residing in Canaan at the time the Bible describes. Dr. Wood's research showed that the majority of the Hebrew terms for "Hittites" (the singular forms) should be translated "Hethites," the indigenous descendants of Heth, son of Canaan (Gen. 10:15), while a small number (six plural forms) refer to the Hittites of Anatolia, modern Turkey. This solution, based on linguistic and archaeological evidence, refutes the claims of critics that the references to "Hittites" in the Bible are anachronistic or mistakes. It appears that the most famous "Hittite" in the Bible, Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba, was actually a "Hethite."

Link:
- www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2011/11/08/Hittites-and-Hethites-A-Proposed-Solution-to-an-Etymological-Conundrum.aspx

Road to Emmaus Being Destroyed posted by Bryan Windle

In a recent article in Jerusalem Perspective entitled, "A Farewell to the Roman Road," David Bivin documents the slow destruction of the ancient Roman road from Jerusalem to Emmaus. This destruction is a result of neglect, erosion, the building of sewage systems and the expansion of a cemetery. Bivin begins his article by seeking to identify the town of Emmaus described in the gospel of Luke with Motza-Qalunya, although he acknowledges the early tradition of Emmaus-Nicopolis as the biblical Emmaus. He notes that both towns lie on the road that is falling into disrepair and decay, and is the likely route the disciples took to Emmaus on the day of Jesus' resurrection. Bivin is hoping to call attention to the state of this Roman road, in hopes that authorities will act to preserve these important ruins.

Off-site Links:
- http://blog.bibleplaces.com/2017/03/the-destruction-of-road-to-emmaus.html
- http://www.jerusalemperspective.com/16208/

Ancient Palace Discovered Underneath the Tomb of Jonah posted by Bryan Windle

Archaeologists in Iraq have been documenting ISIS's destruction of the purported tomb of Jonah, which they blew up soon after their seizure of the area in 2014. They discovered that ISIS had dug tunnels under the shrine and into the previously unknown palace of Sennacherib and Esarhaddon. While investigating the tunnels, archaeologists found a cuneiform inscription of King Esarhaddon, dating to 672 BC. In another tunnel, an Assyrian stone sculpture of a demi-goddess was discovered. This is the first evidence of ISIS tunneling in ancient mounds in search of artifacts to plunder and sell on the antiquities market. Archaeologists are working against time to document as many of the finds as possible, since the tunnels look ready to collapse soon. 2 Kings 18 and 19 describe Sennacherib's unsuccessful attack on Jerusalem, his murder, and how Esarhaddon eventually came to the throne.

Off-site Links:
- http://www.timesofisrael.com/islamic-state-looting-uncovers-ancient-palace-beneath-jonahs-tomb/
- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/27/previously-untouched-600bc-palace-discovered-shrine-demolished/
- http://www.foxnews.com/science/2017/03/06/biblical-kings-palace-uncovered-beneath-shrine-destroyed-by-isis.html

See ABR’s Dr. Scott Stripling on “Expedition Unknown” posted by Bryan Windle

Dr. Scott Stripling, Director of ABR’s Shiloh Expedition, will be featured this week on the Travel Channel’s program, “Expedition Unknown.” It airs on Wednesday, March 8, 2017 at 9pm EST. In this week’s episode, host Josh Gates goes in search of the Ark of the Covenant. Dr. Stripling will be discussing biblical Shiloh and how it relates to the Ark of the Covenant.

Don’t miss out on this chance to learn more about the Ark, as well as discover fascinating facts about Shiloh. The Associates for Biblical Research will be leading an excavation to Shiloh this coming summer. You can learn more about the opportunity to “Dig Shiloh” at our link below.

Off-site Links:

- http://www.travelchannel.com/schedule.2017.03.08.EST
- http://www.travelchannel.com/shows/expedition-unknown
- http://www.biblearchaeology.org/page/Join-Us-In-Our-Excavations-at-Biblical-Shiloh.aspx

Two Encore Performances of New Documentary, "Is Genesis History?" Announced posted by Bryan Windle

Due to popular demand, two encore performances of the new documentary, "Is Genesis History?" have been announced for March 2nd and March 7th. The movie was first released to cinemas nationwide for a one-night event on Thursday, Feb. 23rd. It explores the origins of the world, with the host, Dr. Del Tackett, interviewing scientists and scholars from different fields. It seeks to answer questions that arise from the book of Genesis and modern science: Was everything created in six days? Did man evolve from apes? Were Adam and Eve real people? What happened to the dinosaurs? With help from experts in their fields, the documentary provides a positive case for creation in six normal days and the historicity of the account of mankind's origins in the book of Genesis.

Off-site Link:
- http://isgenesishistory.com/

View the Trailer Here:
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTh_YFh3Fvg

Roman-era Gateway Unearthed at Beit She'arim posted by Bryan Windle

Excavations at Beit She'arim in northern Israel have revealed a previously unknown Roman-era gate structure along an ancient road leading into the town. The gate system was built of limestone blocks, and included postholes for doors as well as a circular tower. Despite the fact that Beit She'arim literally means "House of Gates," the town was believed to have been too small to have been fortified. While Beit She'arim may have been insignificant in size, it was an important town in the second century AD, as it was the headquarters for the Sanhedrin, the Jewish ruling council, and was where the Mishna (Jewish oral law) was compiled.

Off-site Links:
- http://www.timesofisrael.com/archaeologists-shocked-to-find-ancient-gateway-at-house-of-gates/
- http://hamodia.com/2017/02/15/gate-remnant-discovered-beit-shearim/

New Dead Sea Scroll Cave Discovered posted by Bryan Windle

For the first time in over 60 years, a new Dead Sea Scroll cave has been discovered west of Qumran, near the northwest shore of the Dead Sea. If confirmed, this would be the 12th Dead Sea Scroll cave. A team of archaeologists from Hebrew University, along with Dr. Randall Price and students from Liberty University, recently excavated the cave and found the remains of six jars which were identical to the jars found in several other Qumran caves. The cave appears to have been looted, as the jars were broken, no scrolls were found, and two pick-axes from the 1950s were found, probably left by the looters. One jar did contain a rolled-up blank parchment. Scientific testing will determine if the ceramic and parchment share a similar origin to those discovered in other Dead Sea Scroll caves. Other finds include a leather strap for binding scrolls and a cloth for wrapping scrolls. Moreover, the mouth of a 13th cave, still sealed, may have been discovered nearby, providing the tantalizing possibility of more Dead Sea scrolls yet to be discovered.

Off-site Links:
- https://academic.logos.com/new-dead-sea-scroll-cave-discovered-after-60-years/
- http://www.timesofisrael.com/new-dead-sea-scroll-cave-found-near-qumran-but-scrolls-are-gone/
- http://www.haaretz.com/archaeology/1.770515

New Archaeological Dig at Masada posted by Bryan Windle

For the first time in 11 years, archaeologists will be excavating at Masada, the mountain fortress built by Herod the Great and the place where Jewish rebels made their last stand against Roman troops in 74 AD. Plans are underway to excavate areas that have not been studied in the past, including new sections of the rebels' dwellings, the gardens built by King Herod, and the underground structures detected in aerial photographs. According to Josephus, the sole historical source of the battle, 8000 Roman troops besieged the rebels who were at Masada (the siege ramp can still be seen today), and, when they finally broke through, discovered the bodies of 960 Jews, who chose to die rather than be captured. Scholars hope the new archaeological dig can answer questions about the final days of the Jewish rebels and Roman forces at Masada, as well as provide information about the fortress Herod built.

Off-site Link:
http://www.timesofisrael.com/archaeologists-get-set-to-dig-at-masada-after-11-year-hiatus/

Royal Scribe's Tomb Discovered in Egypt posted by Bryan Windle

A previously unknown Egyptian tomb was recently discovered in Luxor. Excavators who were cleaning the area around the tomb of Userhat, an official under Amenhotep III, stumbled upon a hole that led to the tomb of a royal scribe named Khonsu. The newly discovered tomb is decorated with paintings and frieze patterns depicting various Egyptian gods, including Ra-Atum, Osiris, and Isis. A hieroglyphic inscription describes Khonsu as a "true renowned scribe." The tomb has been preliminarily dated to the Ramesside period based on its style. According to biblical chronology, this would correspond to the time of the judges in the Old Testament.

Off-site Links:
- http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/9/40/257292/Heritage/Ancient-Egypt/Tomb-of-Ramessideera-royal-scribe-uncovered-in-Lux.aspx
- http://luxortimesmagazine.blogspot.ca/2017/01/royal-scribe-tomb-discovered-in-luxor.html

Sacred Agora Excavated at Laodicea posted by Bryan Windle

Archaeologists excavating at ancient Laodicea, the site of one of the seven churches addressed in the book of Revelation, have been uncovering the sacred agora there. Every Hellenistic city in the first century had an agora, which functioned as a city-center and the marketplace. Laodicea's agora is unique in that there was also a temple located there, making it a sacred agora. Excavations have confirmed that Laodicea was one of the most prosperous cities in Asia Minor. Archaeologists have discovered jewelry and sculpture heads, as well as various ceramic vessels. In addition to excavating, a team is involved in a restoration process; in 2016 alone they restored 34 columns in the southern and western portico of the agora. The goal is to restore the agora to the condition it was 2000 years ago, and make Laodicea's archaeological ruins a tourist destination in the next 3-4 years.

Off-site Links:
- http://historythings.com/laodiceas-sacred-agora/
- http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/sacred-agora-unearthed-in-laodicea.aspx?pageID=238&nid=108030&NewsCatID=375

Gatehouse Excavated at Timna Copper Mines posted by Bryan Windle

Archaeologists excavating at an ancient copper-smelting factory in the Timna Valley, believed by some to be the mines of King Solomon, have uncovered a gatehouse that dates to the tenth century BC. The fortified gatehouse and animal stables which were studied reveal a highly organized defensive system. Excavators also analyzed the well-preserved dung from the stables and discovered the remains of hay and grapes which originated from hundreds of miles away on the Mediterranean coast. The archaeologists believe this is evidence of a network of trade within the region. These latest findings match earlier analysis from 2014 of organic material and textiles which indicate a sophisticated society. Despite the claim of minimalists, this is further evidence of an organized and complex tenth-century BC culture thriving in the regions of Israel and Edom, just as the Bible describes, as well as of the military conflicts recorded in Scripture between the Israelites and Edomites in the Arava Valley. In fact, some researchers have suggested that copper may have been the resource at stake in some of these battles.

Off-site Links:
- http://www.livescience.com/57494-fortification-found-israel-mining-camp.html
- http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352409X16305867
- http://www.foxnews.com/science/2017/01/12/king-solomon-era-fort-in-southern-israel-reveals-its-secrets.html

ABR Associate Dr. Doug Petrovich Reveals Ancient "Moses" Inscription posted by Bryan Windle

ABR Associate Dr. Doug Petrovich was recently interviewed on Israel News Live to discuss his new book, The World’s Oldest Alphabet: Hebrew As The Language Of The Proto-Consonantal Script. In the one-hour interview, he reveals how he discovered that the pictographic letters of the early proto-consonantal script were actually evidence of the onset of a written form of the Hebrew language, whose pictographic letters derived from Egyptian hieroglyphs. The entire interview can be viewed here:



According to Dr. Petrovich’s translation, the earliest inscription, dating to 1842, includes the phrase, "Hebrews of Bethel, the beloved." Three of the other inscriptions are discussed in detail, and name three biblical people, including Asenath, the wife of Joseph (Gn 41:45), and Ahisamach, the father of one of the craftsmen who would build the Tabernacle (Ex 35:34). The most exciting inscription, however, may be the one which names Moses and dates to 1446 BC, the year of the Exodus. That inscription reads, "Our bound servitude had lingered, Moses then provoked astonishment."

Top Ten Discoveries in Biblical Archaeology in 2016 posted by Bryan Windle

2016 was a banner year for archaeological discoveries that confirm the reliability of the Bible. From the first-ever Philistine cemetery being unearthed, to a palace from the time of Solomon being discovered at Gezer, to the burial bed from the supposed tomb of Jesus being uncovered for the first time in 500 years, numerous finds illuminated the text of the Old and New Testaments. Some discoveries generated sensational headlines (like the first artifacts to have ever been unearthed in situ on the Temple Mount), while others, like ABR's discovery of numerous coins - including a pristine Tyrian shekel a Khirbet el-Maqatir - quietly added to our growing knowledge of biblical places. Here are the top finds in biblical archaeology in 2016, as chosen by several websites. What finds would be on your personal top ten list?

Off-site Links:
- http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/news/top-10-biblical-archaeology-discoveries-in-2016/
- http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/december-web-only/biblical-archaeology-top-ten-discoveries-of-2016.html
- http://www.haaretz.com/archaeology/1.761814
- https://bryanwindle.wordpress.com/2016/12/29/top-ten-discoveries-in-bible-archaeology-in-2016/

Stolen Relief of Queen Hatshepsut Returned to Egypt posted by Bryan Windle

A limestone relief that was stolen from Queen Hatshepsut's temple in Luxor was recently returned to Egypt. The relief, which is engraved with hieroglyphics, was stolen from the temple in 1975 and smuggled out of the country. It recently surfaced at an auction in Spain and was purchased by a British collector. Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities, working with the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the British Museum, were able to prove that they were the rightful owners of the relief and it was returned to them. It will be placed back in its place at Queen Hatshepsut's temple, where restoration work is currently being done by Polish archaeologists. While Queen Hatshepsut is never mentioned by name in the Bible, there is evidence that she may have been the "Pharaoh's daughter" who pulled Moses from the bulrushes and raised him in the Egyptian royal courts.
 
Off-site Links to News Reports:
- http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/9/40/253502/Heritage/Ancient-Egypt/Stolen-relief-of-Queen-Hatshepsut-recovered-from-L.aspx
- http://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/12/20/egypt-receives-ancient-stolen-limestone-relief.html
 
ABR Articles Regarding Queen Hatshepsut:
- http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2009/02/27/Moses-and-Hatshepsut.aspx
- http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2010/02/04/Amenhotep-II-and-the-Historicity-of-the-Exodus-Pharaoh.aspx

Jordanian Lead Books in the News posted by Bryan Windle

A recent media report (see below) has brought the Jordanian Lead Books back into the news. A group of 70 lead, ring-bound books became news in 2011, although there had been Internet rumous about them as early as 2007. Many scholars have expressed doubt as to their authenticity, or at least urged caution due to the sensationalistic claims were being made about them (i.e., claims that their discovery was of greater significance than that of the Dead Sea scrolls), as well as the lack of information about the lead books that was coming from a single source (authors David and Jennifer Elkington). The latest report presents the findings of tests done on the lead in the codices, showing that they were made of ancient lead (something that was already known from earlier tests that had been done). It also presents the sensationalistic claim that the lead books contain the earliest portrait of Jesus Christ, that "Christ was not starting his own religion, but restoring a thousand-year-old tradition from the time of King David," and that "The God he worshipped was both male and female." As many have pointed out, the fact that the lead used in the books is of ancient origin does not prove their authenticity, as modern forgers are skilled in using ancient materials. Moreover, calls to release the full, unedited findings of the tests and make available all of the photographs of the lead books to critical scholars has gone unheeded by the Elkingtons. Until such time as trained scholars are given access to study the lead books and publish their findings, claims made in the media regarding their authenticity and significance should be viewed with skepticism.
 
Off-site Links:
1. The sensationalistic article in the Daily Mail can be read here:
- http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3985150/Is-written-mention-Jesus-2-000-year-old-lead-tablets-remote-cave-genuine-claim-researchers.html

2. A scholarly response can be found here:
- http://paleojudaica.blogspot.ca/2016_12_04_archive.html#7108291391090192367
- http://paleojudaica.blogspot.ca/2016_11_06_archive.html#8380115713898171799
 
3. Read ABR's original Current Events post about the Lead Books here:
- http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2011/03/30/Possible-Discovery-of-Early-Christian-Books-in-Jordan.aspx
 
4. Some helpful summaries of the Lead Books by Todd Bolen from 2011 are here:
- http://blog.bibleplaces.com/2011/03/early-christian-lead-books-discovery.html
- http://blog.bibleplaces.com/2011/04/jordan-lead-codices-evidence-of-forgery.html

Charles Ryrie's Manuscript Collection Auctioned posted by Bryan Windle

The late Charles Ryrie's famed collection of Bibles and manuscripts, one of the largest private collections ever assembled, was recently auctioned off by Sotheby's. Many of the items sold for well over their pre-sale estimates, with the total collection fetching $7,341,818 (it had been valued at $3.5-5.4 million). Ryrie's collection included rare Greek manuscripts, a Luther vellum Bible, and pages from a Guttenberg Bible. The highest-selling item was a Wycliffe Bible which sold for $1.4 million, triple its estimated value. Many items in this auction were the first in decades to hit the open market, and thus Ryrie's splendid collection elicited much interest. While the buyers remain anonymous at this point, perhaps some of these treasures will find their way into museums so that they can be viewed by the public and studied by scholars in the future.
 
Off-site Links:
- https://danielbwallace.com/2016/12/06/ryries-bibles-and-manuscripts-auctioned-off/
- http://artdaily.com/news/92220/-1-7-million-Wycliffite-New-Testament-leads-Bible-Collection-of-Dr--Charles-Caldwell-Ryrie#.WE6PNFzJKcS

World’s Oldest Alphabet is Based on Hebrew Language posted by Bryan Windle

ABR Associate Dr. Douglas Petrovich has published his first book, The World’s Oldest Alphabet: Hebrew as the Language of the Proto-Consonantal Script. For 150 years, scholars have puzzled over a series of early inscriptions, identifying some of the pictographic letters and translating a few of the Semitic words, but making little headway beyond that. Dr. Petrovich’s new book solves the puzzle, demonstrating that this early proto-consonantal script was Hebrew, and successfully translating all of the disputed letters in 16 inscriptions dating from 1842 to 1446 BC. In addition, his translation of these inscriptions shows that three biblical people are named (Asenath, Ahisamach, and Moses), and demonstrates the far-reaching impact of early Israelite culture. The Associates for Biblical Research would like to congratulate Dr. Petrovich on his new book.

Off-site Links:

1. Order Doug’s ground-breaking book: http://store.carta-jerusalem.com/forthcoming/734-the-worlds-oldest-alphabet-9789652208842.html

2. See a PDF sample: http://store.carta-jerusalem.com/Carta-preview/The%20World%20oldest%20alphabet%20Sample.pdf

3. View an online discussion forum on Academia.edu about Doug’s book:
https://www.academia.edu/s/6862d5d3ab/the-early-history-of-the-alphabet-an-open-response-to-christopher-rollston

4. Fox News interview: http://www.foxnews.com/science/2016/12/05/hebrew-may-be-worlds-oldest-alphabet.html

5. Jerusalem Post article: http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Expert-claims-inscriptions-from-Egyptian-exodus-proves-Hebrew-is-worlds-oldest-alphabet-474718

World's Oldest Harbor Discovered in Red Sea posted by Bryan Windle

Archaeologists diving off the Egyptian coast near Wadi el-Jarf have discovered the world's oldest known harbor, dating back 4600 years. Papyri discovered near the site identify it as the harbor built by King Cheops (known also as Khufu), to import materials to build the Great Pyramid of Giza. A 200-meter-long, L-shaped pier built of limestone blocks was discovered underwater, which would have served as a breakwater to protect the boats anchored in the harbor. Divers also found 22 limestone anchors in situ where the ships would have been moored. Next to the harbor, archaeologists unearthed the remains of two large stone structures, possibly used for administrative purposes. Between these structures, close to 100 stone anchors were found, some of which had ropes attached to them. Many of these had inscriptions that named the boat they belonged to. The discoveries at the Wadi el-Jarf harbor are testament to the sophisticated level of organization and administration the Egyptians had developed at that time.
 
Off-site Link:
- http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/archaeology/1.754616

Dr. Scott Stripling Named Seminary Provost posted by Bryan Windle

ABR staff member Dr. Scott Stripling has been named the new Provost for The Bible Seminary (TBS) in Katy, TX, beginning January 1, 2017. Dr. Stripling has been an adjunct professor at TBS since 2013, and has developed and taught their graduate theology course, "Church History – Acts."  He also led the seminary's first Holy Land Study Tour in 2015. Friends of the Associates for Biblical Research are no stranger to Dr. Stripling and his work. In addition to being a respected archaeologist, a popular speaker and the author of two books – The Trowel and the Truth and Somebody Call 911 – he has been the Director of the Khirbet el-Maqatir dig since 2010, and will be heading up ABR's new dig at Shiloh in 2017. The Associates for Biblical Research would like to congratulate Dr. Scott Stripling on the honor of this new position at The Bible Seminary.

Off-site Link:
- http://www.thebibleseminary.org/tbs/index.php/en/news/item/279-stripling-named-new-provost

Israel to Search for New Dead Sea Scrolls posted by Bryan Windle

The Israel Antiquities Authority will be heading up a new search for more Dead Sea Scroll manuscripts, the first major expedition since 1993's "Operation Scroll" effort, which found no new scrolls at that time. In recent years, ancient manuscripts and fragments have been for sale on the antiquities market, and it is suspected that they were looted from caves near the Dead Sea. The planned expedition will begin in December, and will be a three-year attempt to unearth previously undiscovered Dead Sea scrolls, as well as other artifacts from the Jewish-Roman War (first century) and the Bar Kochba revolt (second century), when many Jewish fighters hid in the desert caves.
 
Off-site Link:
- http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/israel-launch-major-expedition-find-dead-sea-scrolls-43525925

Canaanite Offerings Discovered at Gezer posted by Bryan Windle

A 3600-year-old trove of gold and silver artifacts has been discovered at Tel Gezer National Park. The hoard was found inside a clay pot, wrapped in cloth, and seemingly placed in the foundations of a building. The specific items include figurines of Canaanite gods, a silver pendant featuring an eight-pointed star, and an Egyptian scarab in a gold bezel that dates to the Hyksos era. Archaeologists hypothesize that this trove was deliberately placed in the foundation of the building as an offering to the gods to seek their blessing for the structure. In the Canaanite period, Gezer was an important city, and was rebuilt during the Israelite period by King Solomon (1 Ki 9:17).   
 
Off-site Links:
- http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/archaeology/1.753136
- http://www.timesofisrael.com/rare-canaanite-era-trove-of-gold-and-silver-unearthed-in-central-israel/

First Temple-Era Artifacts Unearthed on Temple Mount posted by Bryan Windle

Israeli archaeologists recently announced the discovery of the first artifacts to have been unearthed in situ on the Temple Mount that conclusively date to the time of Solomon's Temple. The digs were carried out quietly from 2007 to this past year in a rare display of cooperation between the Islamic Waqf and Israeli archaeologists, and occurred during infrastructure work at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Pottery shards, animal bones and olive pits were found and dated to be 2500-2600 years in age.
 
Off-site Links:
- http://www.timesofisrael.com/archaeologists-reveal-first-solomons-temple-era-artifacts-ever-found-on-temple-mount/
- http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/archaeology/1.749337

Tomb of Jesus Uncovered for First Time in Centuries posted by Bryan Windle

For the first time since at least 1555 AD, the purported tomb of Jesus in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre has been unsealed, revealing the surface of the limestone burial bed on which it is believed Jesus' body lay. The burial bed had been covered with a marble slab centuries ago to prevent pilgrims from chipping off pieces of the tomb as souvenirs. After removing the marble slab, archaeologists were surprised to find a layer of fill, and then a second marble slab with a cross carved into its surface. The researchers had been given only 60 hours to complete their work. Just hours before their time was up, the original limestone surface of the burial bed was uncovered and found intact. Throughout the operation, the archaeologists photographed and documented their findings; these will be studied in further detail in the coming months and years. The tomb has since been resealed, and renovations to the badly deteriorating Edicule (shrine) will continue until next spring. While it is impossible to know conclusively that this is the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth described in the Gospels, the historical claims of the site are significant and nothing initially discovered in the recent unsealing would contradict the long-standing Christian tradition that this is the original empty tomb of Jesus.
 
Off-site Links:
- http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/10/jesus-christ-tomb-burial-church-holy-sepulchre/
- http://www.timesofisrael.com/scientists-expose-original-stone-of-jesuss-jerusalem-tomb/
- https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/justintaylor/2016/10/27/the-burial-place-of-jesus-exposed-for-the-first-time-in-centuries/

Battle Site from the Fall of Jerusalem Found posted by Bryan Windle

The Israel Antiquities Authority has announced the discovery of the site of an epic battle between the Roman forces under Titus and the Jewish forces defending the city. It has been dated to the first century AD on the basis of pottery shards discovered there. A large section of a 1.9m wall has been excavated, which archaeologists have identified as the remains of the Third Wall, which was breached during the fall of Jerusalem. More than 70 boulders and stones that were fired at the wall from Roman catapults litter the ground at the base of the wall. The discovery is said to confirm the description of the breaching of the wall written by Josephus. In 70 AD, the Roman army, under Titus, invaded the city of Jerusalem after a five-month siege, and then destroyed the temple. Jesus himself prophesied that this would happen (Mt 24:1-2).
 
Off-site Links:
- http://www.antiquities.org.il/article_eng.aspx?sec_id=25&subj_id=240
- http://www.timesofisrael.com/archaeologists-find-battle-site-where-romans-breached-jerusalem-walls/
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqT9lFbFT4M

New Dead Sea Scroll Fragments Published posted by Bryan Windle

Two new books have been released that detail more than 25 new, previously unpublished Dead Sea Scroll fragments. 13 scroll fragments were donated to the Museum of the Bible by Steve Green, the owner of the Hobby Lobby craft store chain. They were analyzed by a team of scholars and published in Dead Sea Scroll Fragments in the Museum Collection (Brill, 2016). Included is a fragment of the book of Nehemiah, which, if authenticated, would be the first copy discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls. The other batch of scrolls comes from the collection of Martin Schøyen, and are published in Gleanings from the Caves: Dead Sea Scrolls and Artefacts from The Schøyen Collection (Bloomsbury, 2016). Altogether, the various fragments record parts of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Samuel, Kings, Nehemiah, Psalms, Proverbs, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Joel, Jonah and Micah. Some scholars are questioning whether some of the fragments are forgeries, as little is known of the provenance. The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) recently expressed concern that scrolls are being found by looters in caves around the Judean desert and finding their way to the antiquities market. Scientists are conducting tests on the fragments that were donated to the Museum of the Bible to determine their authenticity.
 
Off-site Links:
- http://www.livescience.com/56428-25-new-dead-sea-scrolls-revealed.html
- http://www.cbsnews.com/news/dozens-of-dead-sea-scroll-fragments-may-have-been-discovered/
- http://www.history.com/news/secrets-of-new-dead-sea-scrolls-come-to-light

Ancient "Logos" Inscription Found at Smyrna posted by Bryan Windle

An ancient inscription which contains the word "logos" has been discovered on the walls of a basilica at the agora of Smyrna (modern-day Izmir, Turkey). The words in the inscription go both top-to-bottom and left-to-right in five columns, resembling a crossword puzzle, with the word "logos" in the center. Because of the significance of the word "Logos" to early Christians (Jn 1:1), excavators believe it may be evidence of Christian graffiti on the walls, although its exact meaning has not been determined yet. The city of Smyrna is known among archaeologists for its ancient wall writings and drawings, which include Greek words, drawings of dogs, ships, and gladiators, as well as love poems. In the Bible, Smyrna was one of the churches which the Apostle John was commanded to write to in the book of Revelation (Rv 1:11; 2:8-17).

Off-site Link:
- http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/ancient-crossword-puzzle-found-in-smyrna--.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104716&NewsCatID=375

Desecrated Gate-Shrine Discovered at Tel Lachish posted by Bryan Windle

Archaeologists excavating a six-chambered gate at the biblical city of Lachish have made three discoveries that they claim confirm details described in the Old Testament:

1) Benches were unearthed at the city gate, confirming what is known from history, that the city gates were a place the elders, judges, governors, and kings sat to do business. "Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land" (Prv 31:23). 
2) Within one of the rooms in the city gate, excavators found two four-horned altars with the horns intentionally broken off. This is believed to be evidence of the reforms of King Hezekiah, who "removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles" as part of his reforms (2 Kgs 18:4).
3) Finally, a stone chair with a hole in the middle, which archaeologists have identified as a toilet, was found in the corner of the room. This suggests an intentional desecration of the gate-shrine, and is reminiscent of the Bible's description of Jehu turning the temple of Baal in Samaria into a latrine (2 Kgs 10:27).

The gate-shrine of Tel Lachish has been dated to the eighth century BC using artifacts that were found in the rooms, including jars, grain scoops, and jar handles stamped with a lmlk ("belonging to the king") seal. The city gate structure is the largest discovered to date from the First Temple period, measuring 80' by 80'. It has six chambers, three on each side, with the main street passing between them, and has been preserved to a height of 16'.
 
Off-site Links:
- http://www.timesofisrael.com/iron-age-toilet-is-evidence-judean-king-dumped-on-the-gods/
- https://kehilanews.com/2016/09/30/archaeologist-in-tel-lachish-confirm-biblical-account-of-king-hezekiah/
- http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Culture/Gate-shrine-from-First-Temple-period-unearthed-at-Tel-Lachish-National-Park-468904

Burnt Scroll of Leviticus Digitally Unfolded posted by Bryan Windle

A badly damaged ancient scroll, discovered in the burnt-out remains of a synagogue in En-Gedi, has been digitally unfolded to reveal the first two chapters from the book of Leviticus. Because the scroll was burned so badly (essentially only a charred lump remained), researchers had conserved the scroll until technology had advanced to the point where it might be readable. That day has arrived, as computer scientists from the University of Kentucky worked with scholars in Jerusalem to scan the scroll and use new software to virtually unroll it and translate the revealed text. Carbon-14 tests had dated the scroll to approximately 300 AD. Paleographic analysis of the style of writing used suggests a first-century date between 50-100 AD. The translated text of Leviticus is identical to that in the Masoretic text of the Old Testament. This makes the En-Gedi scroll the earliest copy of the Masoretic text, and bridges a gap in the history of Bible translation that had existed between the Dead Sea Scrolls and medieval copies the Old Testament.
 
Off-site Links:
- http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/2/9/e1601247.full
- http://www.wsj.com/video/scientists-reveal-biblical-text-from-ancient-scroll/FCF75BB3-682E-4099-B463-3234FD59EFF2.html
- http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/09/computers-decipher-ancient-hebrew-ein-gedi-scroll-bible-archaeology/
- http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/22/science/ancient-sea-scrolls-bible.html

Second Temple Floor Tiles Restored posted by Bryan Windle

Archaeologists from the Temple Mount Sifting Project announced that they have restored some of the flooring tiles from the Second Temple using colored stone floor tile segments found in the earth and rubble that had originally come from the Temple Mount. Known as opus sectile, Latin for "cut work," this style of floor tile is more expensive and prestigious than the more common mosaic flooring. Of the many tile segments discovered so far, more than 100 date to the time period of Herod's Second Temple. Seven floor tile designs have been assembled by using basic geometry, the known size of a Roman foot (approximately 29.6 cm), and similarities to the tile designs used by Herod at other sites, including his palaces at Masada, Herodium and Jericho. Archaeological architect Leen Ritmeyer (ABR’s architect at the Khirbet el-Maqatir and Shiloh excavations) suggests that these tile designs adorned the interior of some of the buildings that surrounded the Temple, and/or from under the colonnades around the smaller courts. Paving stones discovered in situ from Herod's Temple Mount show that the open courtyard would have likely been paved with large limestone slabs, which would have weathered better than the more delicate opus sectile floor tiles. 
 
Off-site Links: 
- https://templemount.wordpress.com/2016/09/06/1374/
- http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Archeologists-restore-tiles-from-Second-Temple-in-Jerusalem-467021
- http://www.ritmeyer.com/2016/09/12/flooring-from-the-temple-mount-in-jerusalem/

Evidence for the Kingdom of David posted by Bryan Windle

A new exhibit, "In the Valley of David and Goliath," has opened at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem. It presents the recent archaeological evidence for the kingdom of David discovered in the Valley of Elah. The exhibit displays artifacts discovered at Khirbet Qeiyafa, quite possibly the biblical city of Sha'arayim (which means "two gates" in Hebrew) of 1 Sam 17:52 and 1 Chr 4:31. Almost all of the artifacts in the exhibit were excavated at the site, including tools, weapons and cookware, as well as an inscription that may be the earliest form of Hebrew writing discovered to date. In addition, the Tel Dan Stele, with its famous "House of David" inscription, is on loan to the Bible Lands Museum for the exhibit.
 
Off-site Links:
- http://www.blmj.org/en/template/default.aspx?PageId=155
- https://lukechandler.wordpress.com/tag/bible-lands-museum/

Solomon-Era Palace Found in Gezer posted by Bryan Windle

A 3000-year-old palace, dating to the time of King Solomon, has been discovered in Gezer. The massive building has a large, central courtyard, much like the palatial buildings discovered at Hazor and Megiddo. It is built of large, rectangular-shaped monolithic hewn stones, unusual for domestic structures of the day, but the type of building materials that would be used in a palace. Philistine bichrome pottery and an "Ashdod figurine" – believed to be a Philistine goddess – were also discovered at the site, providing evidence that the Bible's description of Gezer being under Philistine control when King David broke their power "all the way from Geba to Gezer" (2 Sm 5:25; 1 Chron 14:16) is true. The team excavating the site has dubbed the building "Solomon's Palace," not because they believe Solomon dwelt there, but because of the Bible's description of Solomon's building projects at Gezer after his wife – Pharaoh's daughter – received the city as a wedding gift from her father, the King of Egypt (1 Kgs 9:15-17). This discovery demonstrates, yet again, that the descriptions found in the Bible are historically accurate.
 
Off-site Links:
- http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/archaeology/1.739358
- http://www.newhistorian.com/solomons-palace-discovered-gezer-israel/7154/
- http://www.ibtimes.com/archaeology-proves-bible-true-story-king-solomon-era-palace-found-israel-2410311

Secret Hittite Tunnel Discovered posted by Bryan Windle

Archaeologists excavating the ancient Hittite capital city of Alacahöyük, in western Turkey, have unearthed a 2300-year-old secret tunnel. The team was excavating a sanctuary that had been previously discovered in 2014, when they uncovered the tunnel, also known as a potern. So far, 23 meters of the tunnel have been dug and cleaned, but excavators believe it is longer still. These secret tunnels were often dug beneath the castle, and extended into the city. Because this potern is located under a sanctuary, the archaeological team believes it may have had a sacred purpose. 
 
Off-site Link:
- http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/.aspx?pageID=238&nid=103034&NewsCatID=375

Stone Vessel Factory Excavated Near Nazareth posted by Bryan Windle

Recent excavations in a cave near Nazareth have uncovered a 2000-year-old quarry where stone vessels were produced. The cave, hewn of chalkstone, revealed numerous stone vessels in various stages of production, and has lead archaeologists to conclude that there was a healthy market for such items in that geographical region. In the first century, Jews in Galilee used pots and storage jars made of stone, as they did not become ritually impure.  In John 2:6, the gospel writer describes Jesus turning the water into wine in stone jars during the wedding at Cana.  Interestingly, the stone quarry cave is located in the same general vicinity as biblical Cana likely was, suggesting the possibility that the stone jars described in the gospel may have come from the nearby stone vessel factory being excavated today. At the very least, the discovery confirms the use of stone jars in first-century Galilee, just as the Bible describes.
 
Off-site Link:
- http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/216697

First-Century Synagogue Unearthed in Galilee posted by Bryan Windle

A synagogue, predating the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD, has been discovered at Tel Rechesh in Galilee. The synagogue was unearthed at the site of an ancient Jewish farm. The estate was identified as Jewish by the ritual stone jars that were found and the lack of pig bones. The synagogue itself measures 26 feet by 29.5 feet and its walls are lined with the remains of limestone benches. Excavators also found one of the pillars which would have supported the synagogue's roof. This discovery marks the eighth synagogue found in Israel which predates 70 AD, but the first found in a rural rather than an urban setting. The Bible says that "Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people" (Mt. 4:23).

Off-site Links:
- http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4841308,00.html
- http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.736752
- http://www.jns.org/news-briefs/2016/8/15/second-temple-era-synagogue-unearthed-in-northern-israel

Biblical Manuscripts From Greek Library Digitized posted by Bryan Windle

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) has announced the completion of their project to digitize all of the New Testament manuscripts from the National Library of Greece (NLG). The collection at the NLG is one of the largest in the world, and will now be available online for scholars to study in detail. Over 150,000 pages from more than 300 manuscripts were digitized, including 21 manuscripts that were previously unknown to the Institute for New Testament Textual Research (INTF) in Muenster, Germany. According to the CSNTM, these manuscripts will be freely available to all and "will increase our fund of knowledge about the transmission of the NT text and add some important 'discoveries' especially of manuscripts with patristic commentary."

Off-site Links:
- http://csntm.org/Blog/Archive/2016/8/3/MissionAccomplished
- http://csntm.org/Manuscript

Egyptian Statue Discovered at Hazor posted by Bryan Windle

Part of an Egyptian statue was recently uncovered at Tel-Hazor. The lower part of the limestone statue depicts a foot on a square base with a few lines of Egyptian hieroglyphics inscribed on it. It is estimated that the complete statue was that of a life-sized man. This is not the first Egyptian statue to be discovered in Hazor; three years ago, a fragment of a sphinx was discovered in the same building. In fact, over the past 30 years, 18 different Egyptian statues have been discovered in excavations at Tel-Hazor. It seems that all of the statues were already "antiques" at the time they arrived in Israel, as they all predate the city's existence. Hazor is the largest biblical site being excavated in Israel. It is one of the cities that Joshua conquered and burned (Joshua 11:11).

Off-site Links:
- http://new.huji.ac.il/en/article/31994
- http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Historic-archeological-discovery-of-Egyptian-statue-unearthed-in-Tel-Hazor-462312

2200-Year-Old Mosaic Found on Cyprus posted by Bryan Windle

A Roman mosaic depicting the Labors of Hercules was recently discovered on the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus. It was uncovered during work on a sewage system in the city of Larnaca. The mosaic is over 60 feet long and over 20 feet wide, and only a part of it has been uncovered thus far. Larnaca is built upon the ruins of the ancient city of Kition, and the antiquities ministry believes the find will provide evidence of the role it played in establishing Roman culture in Cyprus. Cyprus is mentioned frequently in the book of Acts. Barnabas was a native of Cyprus, and it was the first place he and Saul (the Apostle Paul) visited when the Holy Spirit set them apart for the work to which He had called them (Acts 13:1-5).

Off-site Link:
- http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-15/rare-roman-mosaic-uncovered-in-cyprus/7631368

Possible Priestly Quarters Excavated in Jerusalem posted by Bryan Windle

Ancient houses have been unearthed in the old city of Jerusalem, immediately southeast of the palace of Herod the Great, and close to the home of the high priest Caiaphas. Archaeologists theorize that the 2000-year-old luxury neighborhood was inhabited by members of the societal elite, probably the priestly ruling class. A rare bathtub, vaulted ceilings, and a ritual stone cup with a priestly inscription have all been found. The high priests in the first century were notorious for being corrupt and greedy. Josephus describes Ananias as a "hoarder of money" (Antiquities of the Jews 20.9.2-4).

Off-site Link:
- http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/archaeology/1.730486

Philistine Cemetery Unearthed in Ashkelon posted by Bryan Windle

An unprecedented 3000-year-old Philistine cemetery was recently discovered outside of the city of Ashkelon. The find demonstrates that the Philistines held very different burial practices than their Canaanite and Israelite neighbors. Researchers hope that the discovery will help answer the question of the origins of the Philistines, who seem to have settled along the coast of Israel sometime in the 12th or 13th century BC, ruling from the five cities of Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, Gath and Gaza. An international team of researchers will be conducting DNA tests and biological studies to determine the origins of those buried in the Ashkelon cemetery. In the Bible, the Philistines are described as the oft-times enemies of the Israelites, with infamous people like Delilah and Goliath being of Philistine heritage.

Off-site Links:
- http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/07/bible-philistine-israelite-israel-ashkelon-discovery-burial-archaeology-sea-peoples/
- http://www.timesofisrael.com/philistine-cemetery-find-offers-glimpse-of-deaths-and-lives-of-biblical-enemy/
- http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Bones-unearthed-in-Ashkelon-at-only-known-Philistine-cemetery-may-reveal-ancient-mystery-459973

Possible Water Shaft Detected at Lachish posted by Bryan Windle

A geophysical survey, including ground penetrating radar, has revealed an underground shaft at the site of Tel Lachish. The excavators believe this could be an ancient water shaft similar to those found in Jerusalem, Gibeon and Hazor. The shaft itself appears to be up to 33 feet (10 meters) wide and 66 feet (20 meters) deep. It's possible that a king of Judah (or a prior Canaanite king) built the the underground tunnel to bring water from outside the city walls to the residents inside the city. According to the Bible, Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, fortified Lachish (2 Chr. 11:5-7).

Off-site Link:
- https://lukechandler.wordpress.com/2016/06/27/tests-indicate-underground-shaft-at-tel-lachish-possible-water-system/

2150-Year-Old Silver Coins Discovered in Israel posted by Bryan Windle

A small cache of 16 Hasmonean-era (second-first century BC) coins were found in a crevice in the rock wall of a large agricultural estate being excavated in Modiin, Israel. The coins – shekels and half-shekels – were minted in the city of Tyre. In addition, a number of bronze coins were also discovered at the site. The cache contained two coins from every year between 135 and 126 BC. Other coins bear the date, "Year Two" of the first revolt against the Romans, which began in 66 AD. Some have suggested the owner was a coin collector, while others have proposed he took part in the Bar Kochba uprising.

Off-site Links:
- http://www.timesofisrael.com/cache-of-hasmonean-era-silver-coins-uncovered-in-modiin/
- http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/archaeology/1.723643

Hidden Monument Found at Petra Using Satellite posted by Bryan Windle

Archaeologists using satellite and drone images have discovered a previously hidden monument at the ancient city of Petra in Jordan. The monument is located about 2950 ft (900 m) from the city center and measures 184 x 161 ft (56 x 49 m), roughly the size of six basketball courts. The platform is believed to have been used for ceremonial purposes, and was at one time fronted with columns and a large staircase. Despite being hidden in plain site, it was never recognized from ground level as a monument. After its discovery by satellite imagery, investigations at the site revealed surface pottery dating to the mid-second century BC, the height of Petra's Nabataean civilization.
 
Off-site Links:
- http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-36498234?SThisFB
- http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/archaeology/1.724417

Archaeologists Trying To Rescue Judean Artifacts From Looting posted by Bryan Windle

Archaeologists with the Israel Antiquities Authority have been excavating the Cave of Skulls in the Judean desert in an attempt to rescue ancient artifacts from looting. The excavations are part of a national campaign to recover as many artifacts as possible before looters steal them. About 100 such thieves are arrested each year. Of particular interest to the archaeologists are scrolls and parchments, like the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were hidden by Jewish rebels almost 2000 years ago. In a race against time, authorities are hoping to beat antiquities robbers to the discoveries before important ancient texts end up on the black market.

Off-site Links:
- http://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-archaeology-idUSKCN0YO17J
- https://widerimage.reuters.com/story/searching-for-remains-of-the-dead-sea-scrolls

Statue of Aphrodite Discovered at Biblical Gerasa posted by Bryan Windle

A partial statue of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, was recently found in Jerash, northern Jordan (biblical Gerasa). Only the lower half of the statue was found, yet it alone is over five feet tall. Researchers estimate that when they find the upper half, the full statue will stand over ten feet tall. An inscription on the base says it represents the Greek goddess of love, passion and beauty. It also states that the statue was made to request that the gods heal a sick emperor. The excavations were the collaboration of a French/German group, the Department of Antiquities, and the University of Jordan. It was in this area around Gerasa that Jesus healed the demon-possessed man who lived among the tombs (Mark 5/Luke 8).

Off-site Links:

- http://www.realmofhistory.com/2016/05/20/aphrodite-statue-found-jerash-jordan/
- https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.ca/2016/05/aphrodite-statue-discovered-in-jerash.html#MJPmea7oLYBLZiBi.97

Statues and Coins Found at Ancient Shipwreck Off Israel's Coast posted by Bryan Windle

Divers recently discovered the remains of a 1600-year-old shipwreck in the Mediterranean Sea harbor of Caesarea. The Israel Antiquities Authority called the find the biggest discovery of marine artifacts recovered in past 30 years. Numerous bronze statues and thousands of coins were brought to the surface, including a bronze lamp depicting the image of the Roman sun god Sol, a figurine of the moon goddess Luna, and fragments of three life-size bronze cast statues. The coins from the Byzantine era bear the images of the emperors Constantine and Licinius. "These are extremely exciting finds, which apart from their extraordinary beauty, are of historical significance," Jacob Sharvit, director of the IAA marine archaeology unit and Dror Planer, deputy director of the unit, said in a statement.
 
Off-site Links:
- http://news.discovery.com/history/archaeology/hoard-of-coins-and-bronze-statues-found-off-israel-160516.htm
- http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Culture/Ancient-Roman-treasure-trove-found-off-coast-of-Caesarea-454096

Second Temple-Era Site Suffers Damage posted by Bryan Windle

The outer wall of one of Solomon's Pools has collapsed, and visitors are asking the proper authorities to make repairs. The pools are a series of impressive 2000-year-old reservoirs that provided water to both Bethlehem and Jerusalem from ancient times until recently. The pools collected water from both the rain and two aqueducts and funnelled it to the towns and the temple. While the pools, as they are seen today, were largely constructed (or enlarged) by King Herod, some believe they are in the same location as the original ones built by King Solomon and mentioned in the Book of Ecclesiastes, where he says that he "made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees" (Eccl. 2:6).
 
Off-site Links:
- http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4801309,00.html
- http://www.christianpost.com/news/solomons-pool-in-bibles-second-temple-era-at-risk-of-collapsing-visitors-fear-163666/

Rare 3700-Year-Old Egyptian Scarab Seal Discovered posted by Bryan Windle

A man birdwatching near Tel Dor, the archaeological site of the ancient port city of Dor at the foot of Mt Carmel, recently discovered an Egyptian scarab seal dating to the 18th century BC. The seal is encircled with gold and is in exceptional condition. An initial study shows that the stone scarab is engraved with the name of its owner as well as his position. While the owner's name has not yet been deciphered, his title of "Overseer of the Treasury" suggests he was an important Egyptian official in the kingdom of the 13th Dynasty, possibly in a role similar to the one Joseph held in Egypt. 
 
Off-site Links:
- http://www.timesofisrael.com/3700-year-old-scarab-seal-found-by-birdwatcher-near-haifa/
- http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4795739,00.html

Dr. Bryant Wood Visits University of Pikeville posted by Bryan Windle

Dr. Bryant Wood, Research Director of Associates for Biblical Research, was the honored guest at the University of Pikeville's "Weekend of Discovery with a Biblical Archaeologist" on April 29-30.

Bryant and Tommy at Pikeville

Dr. Bryant Wood (right) and Exhibit Director Tommy Chamberlin at Pikeville.

Bryant Wood teaching religion class
Dr. Bryant Wood teaching religion
class at Pikeville.

Dr. Wood spoke to two college religion classes and a local high school class, as well as opened a preview exhibit at Pike County library of 35 artifacts from the biblical world. Dr. Wood also gave two public lectures. One was entitled "Digging Up the Truth at Jericho," which explained how a careful examination of the pottery and archaeology of the site support the biblical account.  The second was entitled "Discovery of the Lost Fortress of Ai," which demonstrated how the archaeology and geography of Khirbet el-Maqatir have led to its identification as the Old Testament site of Ai.

Dr. Wood's visit was one of the events leading up to the University of Pikeville hosting "Khirbet el-Maqatir—A Journey through Biblical History." You can learn more about this exhibit at the links below.

Links:
- http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2016/03/08/Khirbet-el-Maqatir-Exhibit-Preview-in-Pikeville-KY.aspx
- http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2016/04/26/View-Presentation-of-Biblical-Artifacts-From-Genesis-To-Jesus.aspx

Tomb of Christ Shrine to be Repaired posted by Bryan Windle

The 206-year-old shrine in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre that many believe houses the tomb of Jesus Christ will be repaired. Fearing the risk of collapse, the Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches reached an agreement on the $3.4 million dollar renovations to conserve the structure. These include plans to remove the marble slabs, repair the 12th-century Crusader shrine underneath, and fill the cracks in the rock-hewn tomb below that. The cost of the work was to have been split equally between the three Christian groups, but the King of Jordan has stepped forward to fund the repairs personally.
 
Off-site Links:
- http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/07/world/middleeast/jerusalem-christians-jesus-tomb.html
- http://www.christiantoday.com/article/why.jerusalems.church.of.the.holy.sepulchre.is.falling.down/83532.htm
- http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/210688#.Vyd123B8U0I

View Presentation of Biblical Artifacts: "From Genesis To Jesus" posted by Bryan Windle

The University of Pikeville will be hosting the "Khirbet el-Maqatir: A Journey Through Biblical History" exhibit from January to June 2017. Exhibit Director Tommy Chamberlin recently filmed a presentation for PikeTV entitled, "From Genesis To Jesus." In it he uses the exhibit's artifacts from the world of Abraham through to the time of Jesus to illuminate stories from the Bible. This exciting presentation highlights such stories as Abraham's 318 trained warriors rescuing Lot, featuring a Middle Bronze age axe head that was likely used as a weapon, and Jesus' parable of the 10 virgins, illustrated with a first-century oil lamp. You can view the one-hour presentation, and learn about 30 biblical artifacts from the exhibit, by following the link below.  
 
Off-site Link:
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Guh9iEyp5_k

3200-Year-Old Egyptian Amulet Discovered in Jerusalem posted by Bryan Windle

A 12-year-old girl at the Temple Mount Sifting Project recently discovered an amulet bearing the name of the Egyptian pharaoh Thutmose III. The artifact is a small pendant, which is missing its bottom part and displays a partial cartouche (an oval frame around Egyptian hieroglyphics) bearing the name of the 15th century BC Egyptian ruler. Its inscription has been reconstructed based upon an identical pendant found in northern Israel in 1978. Thutmose III is known for his military conquests, referring to himself as "the one who has subdued a thousand cities." The amulet probably arrived in Jerusalem sometime during the 300 years it was under Egyptian control during the Late Bronze Age.
 
Off-site Links:
- https://templemount.wordpress.com/2016/04/19/rare-egyptian-amulet-bearing-name-of-ancient-pharaoh-found-in-earth-discarded-from-temple-mount/

- http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Culture/Rare-Egyptian-amulet-bearing-ancient-pharaohs-name-discovered-in-Jerusalem-451688
 
Comments:
 
I was just reading a story, from jewishpress.com, about the amulet bearing the name of Thutmose III discovered in sifted soil from the Temple Mount. I'm of the opinion that this adds to the evidence for the early date for Exodus. I was curious as to ABR's take on this, as I value the opinions and research of your worthy organization.

Yours in Christ,

Jeffrey E. Sams — "Jeff"


Greetings Jeff!

Thank you for contacting ABR with your question. The discovery of the Thutmose III amulet was another find of great interest, although, in terms of archaeological context, it has very limited value. I did share your question with Dr. Wood, and he provided this brief response: "Scarabs of T III are fairly common, as he was revered for centuries following his reign. Since we have no context for the scarab, it cannot help us to date the Exodus."

Some scarabs, like that of Nefertiti, are of much greater significance because of their rarity, and because efforts were made to eradicate her from Egyptian records and memory.  Also, when a scarab is found in situ — in its isolated, protected context at an archaeological site, we can determine dating with much greater certainty.  Unfortunately, Thutmose III was such an important figure his scarabs/amulets were continually produced well after his death, limiting their value for dating.

Thanks again for your important question!

Scott Lanser, ABR Director

Analysis of Inscriptions Suggests Widespread Literacy in Judah posted by Bryan Windle

A new analysis of 16 inscriptions on ancient pottery shards (called ostraca) previously unearthed at the Judahite military fortress of Tel Arad points to a widespread level of literacy in the Kingdom of Judah by 600 BC. The researchers from Tel Aviv University developed a computer software program to reconstruct and perform handwriting analysis on the ancient Hebrew inscriptions. The high-tech study suggests that the ostraca were written by at least six different authors, ranging in rank from a top military commander down to a subordinate who worked in the fortress warehouse. The authors of the report have concluded that this implies an education system that would have supported the composition of biblical texts before the destruction of the First Temple.
 
Off-site Links:
- http://www.timesofisrael.com/new-look-at-ancient-shards-suggests-bible-even-older-than-thought/
- http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/spring-2016/article/ancient-inscriptions-testify-to-widespread-literacy-in-judah-by-600-bce

Bronze Artifacts Found at Biblical Site posted by Bryan Windle

A bronze incense shovel and bronze jug were recently unearthed in archaeological excavations at Magdala, a 2000-year-old Jewish community on the shore of the Sea of Galilee and the site traditionally known as birthplace of Mary Magdalene, one of Jesus' followers. The Israel Antiquities Authority has been leading excavations at the site for several years and previously uncovered the remains of a first-century synagogue, along with the famous Magdala Stone, which depicts a carving of the Second Temple of Jerusalem and a menorah. These latest finds were discovered lying exposed on the floor of some ancient storehouses. The incense shovel fits the description given in Exodus 27:1-3: "You shall make the altar...you shall make pots for it to receive its ashes, and shovels and basins and forks and fire pans; all its utensils you shall make of bronze." According to the chief archaeologist, "The incense shovel that was found is one of ten others that are known in the country from the Second Temple period."
 
Off-site Links:
- http://www.antiquities.org.il/Article_eng.aspx?sec_id=25&subj_id=240&id=4190
- http://www.timesofisrael.com/2200-year-old-bronze-artifacts-found-at-biblical-site/

ABR's Dig at Khirbet el-Maqatir is Proceeding posted by Bryan Windle

Join the Associates for Biblical Research (ABR) in our archaeological excavation of Khirbet el-Maqatir – the probable remains of the city of Ai, which Joshua conquered (Joshua 7-8). Recent excavations at the site have also revealed the remains of a city from the time of Jesus – possibly the city of Ephraim mentioned in John 11:53-54.

ABR has monitored the situation in Israel carefully, and after prayerful consideration is planning to continue their excavations of the site from May 22 - June 11, 2016. In 2013, a rare 15th century BC Egyptian scarab was discovered (named Christianity Today's top biblical archaeological find of 2013). What will be unearthed this year?
 
The deadline for applications is April 30, 2016, and there is still room available. Contact Henry B. Smith Jr., Administrative Director, for questions and to sign up.
 
Links:
- http://www.biblearchaeology.org/page/Volunteer-to-Search-for-Joshuas-Ai.aspx
- http://www.Maqatir.com

New Dig Reveals Philistine Artifacts posted by Bryan Windle

Ancient Philistine pottery has been discovered at Khirbet Arai, the site of new excavations located near Tel Lachish. In the three test squares that were dug, archaeologists discovered an undecorated Philistine bell-shaped bowl as well as painted Philistine pottery. Different structures were discovered and the levels have been assigned preliminary dates of the 12th and 9th centuries BC - the biblical periods of the later Judges and Israelite kingdoms. The dig directors are hopeful that new excavations, scheduled to begin this month, will answer questions about the arrival of the Philistines in the area, the decline of the Canaanite culture, and the development of the Kingdom of Judah.
 
Off-site Link:
- https://lukechandler.wordpress.com/2016/03/16/new-dig-at-khirbet-arai-may-reveal-philistines-kingdom-of-judah/

3,500-Year-Old Warrior's Tomb Discovered in Greece posted by Bryan Windle

Archaeologists recently discovered a tomb packed with treasures in Greece, dating to the 15th century BC. The skeleton of a warrior was buried with more than 1400 objects, including weapons, jewels and gold and silver artifacts. In addition to the gold cups found resting on the warrior's chest, a bronze sword with a gold-covered ivory hilt was discovered beside the body. It is estimated that the warrior was 30-35 years of age when he died. The archaeological team hopes this discovery sheds light on the relationship between Greece and Crete, as may of the artifacts are believed to have Cretan origins. 
 
Off-site Link:
- http://magazine.uc.edu/issues/0316/pay_dirt.html

Secret Rooms in King Tut's Tomb Announced posted by Bryan Windle

Egypt's Antiquities Minister recently announced the results of the full report from the scans in King Tut's tomb. Radar scans on the north and west walls of Tutankhamun's burial chamber have confirmed that there are two hidden rooms, and that these rooms contain unidentified objects. These objects seem to be composed of metal and organic materials. A new radar scan is planned for March 31st, which will measure the dimensions of the wall behind and the thickness of those walls.
 
Off-site Links:
- http://www.timesofisrael.com/secret-rooms-almost-certainly-lurking-in-king-tuts-tomb-egypt-says/
- http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/03/160317-king-tut-tomb-hidden-chambers-radar-egypt-archaeology/

Hiker Finds Extraordinary Gold Coin in Israel posted by Bryan Windle

A hiker stumbled upon a rare 2000-year old gold coin at an archaeological site in eastern Galilee. The coin displays the image of the Emperor Augustus, who ruled from 27 BC until 14 AD. It was minted in 107 AD by Emperor Trajan, and was part of a series of coins that paid tribute to previous emperors. Only one other coin like this is known to exist, and is in the British Museum in London. The Antiquities Authority plans to officially thank the hiker with a certificate for reporting and turning over the invaluable artifact.
 
Off-site Links:
- http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Hiker-finds-rare-2000-year-old-gold-coin-in-northern-Israel-447848
- http://www.timesofisrael.com/hiker-finds-2000-year-old-gold-coin-in-northern-israel/

ABR's Dr. Bryant Wood Speaking in Pikeville, KY posted by Bryan Windle

The University of Pikeville Alumni Association is hosting a weekend of biblical discovery on April 29-30, 2016. Dr. Bryant Wood has been invited as the keynote speaker and will be offering two presentations: "Digging up the Truth at Jericho" on April 29th, and "Discovery of the Lost Fortress of Ai" on April 30th. This is an excellent opportunity for people to hear first-hand from a renowned biblical archaeologist on the excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir and their implications. Tickets and additional details are available at the link below.

Those planning to attend will also be able to check out a free exhibit of biblical-era artifacts during the day on Saturday, April 30th. This will be held at the Lee Street Public Library in Pikeville, and Dr. Wood will be at this event too.

Off-site Link:
- https://www.eventbrite.com/e/a-weekend-of-discovery-with-a-biblical-archaeologist-tickets-22613606907?aff=es2

Rare 2500-Year-Old Seal Belonged to a Woman posted by Bryan Windle

The Israel Antiquities Authority has announced the significant discovery of a seal from the First Temple period. Finding such seals is not very common; however, finding one that belonged to a woman is even more rare. The seal is made of semi-precious stone and bears the inscription "to Elihana bat Gael" in ancient Hebrew. The owner of the seal seems to have been from the elite of society: "She had legal status, allowing her to conduct business and possess property," says the Antiquities Authority.
 
Off-site Links:
- http://www.antiquities.org.il/article_eng.aspx?sec_id=25&subj_id=240

- http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Rare-2500-year-old-womans-seal-from-First-Temple-period-unearthed-in-Jerusalem-447113
- http://www.rollstonepigraphy.com/?p=702

- https://www.facebook.com/robert.deutsch.94/posts/10208791861974277?pnref=story

Khirbet el-Maqatir Exhibit Preview in Pikeville, KY posted by Bryan Windle

A special preview of "Khirbet el-Maqatir – A Journey Through Biblical History" was held on Friday, March 11 at 11:00 a.m. at the Pikeville City Hall, Pikeville, KY. The exhibit, which will be on display in Pikeville from January through June 2017, includes approximately 200 artifacts from Israel and Jordan, dating from 3000 BC to the time of Christ. Visitors will learn about the excavation of two cities at Khirbet el-Maqatir, the probable site of Joshua's Ai and the possible site of Jesus' Ephraim.

Click the arrow above to see the video of the WYMT-TV report about the exhibit.
 
Off-site Links:
- http://www.upike.edu/News/Campus/Khirbet-el-Maqatir
- http://www.wymt.com/content/news/Historical-exhibit-coming-to-Pikeville-371849372.html

Unprecedented Discovery: 3000 Year-Old Textiles posted by Bryan Windle

For the first time ever, a collection of fabrics from the era of Kings David and Solomon have been found. The textiles were discovered at the Timna copper mines in the Arava Valley, believed by some to be the site of King Solomon's mines. The fragments, most 5 x 5 centimeters in size, are from clothing, bags, tents, and rope and vary in color, weave, and ornamentation. This discovery sheds a unique light on the fashions of the time period.
 
Off-site Links:
- http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Archaeologists-discover-unprecedented-fabric-collection-dating-to-Kings-David-Solomon-445974
 
- http://www.timesofisrael.com/where-solomon-mined-3000-year-old-fashion-collection-unearthed/

Copper Age Settlement Found in Jerusalem posted by Bryan Windle

Archaeologists have discovered the oldest known remains of an ancient settlement in northeastern Jerusalem. Excavations of two Chalcolithic era (Copper Age) houses revealed complex dwelling structures, as well as pottery vessels, flint tools and a basalt bowl, which were all typical of the time. Artifacts such as small sickle blades, chisels, polished axes and mortars and pestles indicate the kinds of activities that were practiced in the community. The discovery points to a thriving population in the area, much earlier than previously believed.
 
Off-site Links:
- http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Culture/Archaeologists-discover-7000-year-old-Jerusalem-settlement-from-Chalcolithic-period-445206
- http://www.timesofisrael.com/jerusalem-was-inhabited-as-far-back-as-7000-years-ago-archaeologists-find/
- http://mfa.gov.il/mfa/israelexperience/history/pages/remains-of-fifth-millennium-bce-settlement-found-in-jerusalem-17-february-2016.aspx

Ancient Egyptian Boat Unearthed posted by Bryan Windle

A team from the Czech Institute of Egyptology recently discovered a 60-foot-long funerary boat buried near a tomb at Abusir, Egypt. Pottery in the boat and a stone bowl in the tomb bearing the name of King Huni from the Third Dynasty have been used to date the boat to circa 2550 BC. The boat is in remarkable condition, with the wooden pegs and rope holding the boat together surviving millennia in the sand. The boat does not appear to belong to royalty, but rather linked to an important member of Egypt's elite buried in the impressive tomb nearby. Archaeologists hope to learn from it more about the burial customs and shipbuilding methods of ancient Egypt.

Off-site Links:
http://www.archaeology.org/news/4113-160201-egypt-abusir-boat
http://www.history.com/news/archaeologists-uncover-rare-egyptian-funerary-boat-near-pyramid

3500-Year-Old Egyptian Scarab Discovered In Galilee posted by Bryan Windle

An Israeli man and his family were out for a hike at the Horns of Hattin in the Galilee when he spotted a small white object with engravings on it. He quickly handed it over to the Israel Antiquities Authority. It has been identified as a 3500-year-old Egyptian scarab with a carving of Pharaoh Thutmose III sitting on his throne, along with a cartouche of his name in hieroglyphics. The amulet is a seal, which was likely used to stamp objects such as pottery or papyri.
 
Off-site Links:
- http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Israeli-hiker-discovers-3500-year-old-Egyptian-seal-in-Galilee-443605
- http://www.timesofisrael.com/hiker-discovers-3500-year-old-egyptian-antiquity-in-galilee/
- http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.701007

Matching Gift Opportunity for ABR Dig posted by Bryan Windle

ABR has received a $10,000 matching gift pledge for its archaeological dig at Khirbet el-Maqatir

Kirbet el-Maqatir 2016 group

The Lord continues to miraculously bless the excavations at Joshua’s Ai in Israel! An anonymous donor has come forward with an offer to match every gift to the Khirbet el-Maqatir Excavations, dollar-for-dollar, through the end of March 2016, up to $10,000!  Gifts of any size will be a vital part of our continuing to excavate in Israel and demonstrate how archaeology supports the reliability of the Bible.

Please prayerfully consider making a donation today so we might receive the full blessing of this matching gift pledge. Donate towards the Khirbet el-Maqatir excavations using the link below. Type "Matching Gift Campaign" into the Special Instructions field.
 
Link: 
https://www.biblearchaeology.org/support/supportform.aspx?action=donate

1700-Year-Old Inscriptions Unearthed in Galilee posted by Bryan Windle

A group of 1,700-year-old tombstones was recently discovered in the ancient city of Tzipori (commonly known by its ancient Greek name, Sepphoris), near Galilee. The stone slabs are inscribed in Greek and Aramaic with the names of various rabbis. Tzipori grew to be a prominent Jewish city after the temple was destroyed. It was there that Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi compiled the Mishna, a record of Jewish oral tradition. This discovery will help archaeologists to understand the culture and daily life of the Jewish people at that time.

Off-site Links:
- http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/1700-year-old-inscriptions-linked-to-rabbis-unearthed-in-Galilee-442924
- http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/archaeology/1.699872
- http://virtualjerusalem.com/news.php?Itemid=19546

Faulkner University Hosting Khirbet el-Maqatir Exhibit posted by Bryan Windle

Kearley exhibit banner

Buried for thousands of years, the remains of two biblical cities, one on top of the other, have recently been unearthed, shedding light on the ancient world of Scripture. Now you can see these findings firsthand in the exhibit, "Khirbet el-Maqatir: History of a Biblical Site." Over 60 artifacts will be on display throughout 2016 at Faulkner University in Montgomery, AL, including lamps, storage pots, a mortar and pestle, sling stones, coins, and many other items of historical significance.
 
At Khirbet el-Maqatir archaeologists have discovered the probable remains of the city of Ai, which Joshua conquered (Joshua 7-8). From 1995-2000 and 2009-present, the Associates for Biblical Research (ABR) have collected geographic, historical, and archaeological evidence that matches the biblical criteria for Joshua's Ai. These discoveries include a Late Bronze I city gate and wall system, large amounts of pottery from the time of Joshua, remains from the Judges period, evidence of destruction by fire, and a rare 15th century BC Egyptian scarab (named Christianity Today's top biblical archaeological find of 2013).
 
Recent excavations have also revealed the remains of a city from the time of Jesus (in the ancient world, cities were often rebuilt on the foundations of other cities that had been destroyed). In addition to first-century pottery and coins, the fortification system suggests the site was not just a settlement or village, but a small city. It may, in fact, be the city of Ephraim mentioned in John 11:53-54.
 
At Khirbet el-Maqatir, ABR is digging Joshua's Ai and searching for Jesus' Ephraim. The exhibit focuses on two millennia of human history at the site, and helps us understand the people who lived there between 3500 and 1500 years ago.
 
"Khirbet el-Maqatir: History of a Biblical Site" will run through December 2016 at Faulkner University, and the artifacts will be in the F. Furman Kearley Library. The grand opening of the exhibit will be during the university's annual Faulkner Lectures, Feb. 28 – March 3, 2016. All artifacts in the exhibit are on loan from the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria.

Read Faulkner University's announcement here:
https://www.faulkner.edu/2016/01/faulkner-university-announces-archaeological-exhibit/

Learn more about Khirbet el-Maqatir here:
http://www.biblearchaeology.org/page/Khirbet-el-Maqatir-Excavation-Reports.aspx

Multiple New Testament Manuscripts Discovered posted by Bryan Windle

Staff from the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) have discovered as many as 17 New Testament manuscripts at the National Library of Greece. While some were known to those at the library, these manuscripts had not been officially catalogued by the Institute for New Testament Textual Research (INTF) -- the official cataloging house of all Greek New Testament manuscripts. The oldest one discovered dates from the seventh century. Since 2002, CSNTM staff have discovered more than 90 New Testament manuscripts with more than 20,000 pages of text.
 
Off-site Links:
- http://csntm.org/Blog/Archive/2016/1/26/NewManuscriptDiscoveriesAthens
- http://danielbwallace.com/2016/01/27/new-manuscript-discoveries-in-athens/

Possible Pilgrimage Road to Jerusalem Identified posted by Bryan Windle

For hundreds of years, in both Old and New Testament times, Jewish people would make their way to Jerusalem for numerous festivals. Until the temple was destroyed in 70 AD, the average Jewish person would travel to Jerusalem at least three times per year. An ancient road near Beit Horon may have been one of the "pilgrim roads" they traveled. The road is about 10 miles northwest of Jerusalem and is comprised of steps cut right out of the rock, measuring 5.5 feet in width. A Roman imperial road is also nearby; both roads lead to Jerusalem.

Off-site Link:
- http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/ancient-cultures/ancient-israel/jerusalem-pilgrimage-road-identified/

Ancient Greek City of Knossos Larger Than Previously Thought posted by Bryan Windle

Recent excavations at the ruins of Knossos on the island of Crete, Greece have revealed that the ancient city was significantly larger than previously thought. Archaeologists believed the city had suffered decline beginning around 1200 BC. The findings suggest this was not the case, and that Knossos had instead prospered. Many Iron Age ceramics and artifacts were discovered both in dwellings and in cemeteries, which showed its imports came from Cyprus, Greece, Iran, Italy, Egypt, and Sardinia. The island of Crete is the destination of the Apostle Paul's letter to Titus, whom he had left there to "straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town" (Titus 1:5).
 
Off-site Links:
- http://greece.greekreporter.com/2016/01/07/ancient-greek-city-of-knossos-was-larger-than-previously-thought/
- http://www.newhistorian.com/ancient-city-of-knossos-three-times-bigger-than-thought/5743/

3400-Year-Old Canaanite Citadel Unearthed in Israel posted by Bryan Windle

The remains of an ancient Canaanite citadel were recently discovered in the coastal city of Nahariya at the site of a planned residential high-rise building. "It seems that the citadel that we uncovered was used as an administrative center that served the mariners who sailed along the Mediterranean coast 3,400 years ago," say the excavation directors, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority. Numerous artifacts were discovered in its rooms, including ceramic figurines, bronze weapons and imported pottery vessels. Part of the citadel will remain intact and be incorporated into the design of the basement level of the building, there to be enjoyed by residents and visitors.

Off-site Links:
- http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Remains-of-3400-year-old-Canaanite-citadel-unearthed-in-Nahariya-439609
- http://www.jewishpress.com/news/theres-a-3400-year-old-canaanite-citadel-in-my-basement/2016/01/06/

Corinth's Ancient Harbor Excavated posted by Bryan Windle

For over 1000 years, the city of Corinth derived most of its wealth from the maritime trade that passed through its two harbors. It remained one of the most prosperous and powerful cities of the Greek, Roman and Byzantine periods, earning her the nickname "Wealthy Corinth." A group of Greek and Danish archaeologists have conducted underwater excavations of the submerged Lechaion harbor. Hopefully the Lechaion Harbor Project will lead to a better understanding of how Corinth grew into the significant city it was.
 
Off-site Links:
- http://www.heritagedaily.com/2015/12/greek-and-danish-archaeologists-excavate-the-ancient-greek-harbour-town-lechaion/108880
- http://greece.greekreporter.com/2014/10/31/ancient-greek-port-revealed-near-corinth-peloponnese/

Top Biblical Archaeological Discoveries of 2015 posted by Bryan Windle

Each year archaeologists uncover more and more artifacts that confirm the reliability of the Bible. 2015 was no exception! From a clay seal of King Hezekiah, to the long-lost fortress of Akra, discovery after discovery shed light on the world of the Old and New Testaments. Some finds generated sensational headlines (was Jesus' house in Nazareth discovered?), while others, like ABR's discovery of a third Egyptian scarab at Khirbet el-Maqatir, added quietly to the growing knowledge of biblical geography. What were the top finds in biblical archaeology in 2015? Check out these lists. Do you agree?
 
Off-site Links:
- http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/news/top-10-biblical-archaeology-discoveries-in-2015/
- http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2015/december-web-only/biblical-archaeologys-top-ten-discoveries-of-2015.html

Hebrew Inscription Found Near Sea of Gallilee posted by Bryan Windle

A 1500-year-old slab of marble bearing Hebrew text has been discovered on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. A drop in the water level exposed the inscribed rock near a site where fragments from a Byzantine-era pier had earlier been found underwater. It is evidence that a Jewish or Christian community may have been located in that area around 500 AD. Some have tried to use the discovery to bolster the claim that this was the site of Jesus' "miracle of the swine," but this is unlikely, as that miracle was performed in a predominately Gentile area (they herded pigs!).

Off-site Links:
- http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Israeli-archaeologists-find-Hebrew-inscriptions-on-ancient-slab-of-marble-near-Lake-Kinneret-437520
- http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4740314,00.html
- http://paleojudaica.blogspot.ca/2015_12_13_archive.html#1093485732876668487

Scholarship Winner Discusses Dig At Khirbet el-Maqatir posted by Bryan Windle

Matthew Glassman, winner of one of 19 dig scholarships from the Biblical Archaeological Society in 2015, recently described his experience in the field. Matthew joined the Associates for Biblical Research (ABR) for their excavation at Khirbet el-Maqatir, the probable site of the biblical city of Ai mentioned in Joshua 7-8. While serving as an Assistant Square Supervisor, Matthew's focus was to uncover the remains of a Late Bronze Age city wall, and to identify the outer face of it. Some of the discoveries from the dig this season include Hellenistic and Roman era coins, Late Bronze potsherds, an intricate complex of cisterns, a third Egyptian scarab (similar to the ones found in 2013 and 2014), and two small stone weights with inscriptions. Matthew's description of his experience gives an accurate glimpse of what archaeological field work is really like.

Off-site Link: Biblical Archaeological Society - http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/archaeology-today/biblical-archaeology-topics/2015-scholarship-recipients-dig-into-the-biblical-world/

Ancient Inscription Discovered at Lachish posted by Bryan Windle

A 12th century potsherd containing Canaanite text was recently unearthed in ruins of a temple at the biblical site of Lachish. It's the first Late Bronze Age Canaanite inscription discovered in over 30 years, and contains the oldest precursor to the letter "S" ever found. The discovery will provide important information about the development of the alphabet. In the Bible, Lachish grew to be an important fortified city of the Israelite monarchy before being besieged by Sennacherib's army in 701 BC, an event alluded to in 2 Kings 18:13-14 and Isaiah 36:2. 
 
Off-Site Link:

-The Times of Israel: - http://www.timesofisrael.com/at-biblical-site-researchers-discover-abcs-of-how-alphabet-came-to-be/

King Hezekiah's Seal Recently Found posted by Bryan Windle

A 2700-year old "bulla" or clay seal, bearing the inscription "Hezekiah [son of] Ahaz, king of Judah," was recently discovered in Jerusalem. While other seals purported to belong to King Hezekiah have surfaced on the antiquities market, this is the first bulla of an Israelite or Judean king that has been unearthed in an actual archaeological excavation. The bulla preserves an impression of papyrus fibers on the back, which suggests the seal once enclosed a document perhaps signed by the king himself.

Off-site Links:

-The Hebrew University of Jerusalem - http://new.huji.ac.il/en/article/28173

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