Current Events

Keep up to date on the latest developments in the world of Biblical Archaeology and related apologetic topics. In this section, you will find links to news reports, articles and staff commentary on the most recent discoveries, reports, and controversies in Biblical Archaeology. Enjoy!

Note: The views and comments made in materials from sources outside of the Associates for Biblical Research are not necessarily those of ABR. Such materials are included only insofar as they relate to the subject of archaeology and related apologetic subjects, and are provided for your information only.

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/

Exciting Volunteer Opportunity posted by Henry B Smith Jr MA MAR

Individuals who are interested in this opportunity should thoughtfully and prayerfully consider the brief description of required tasks listed below.

Bible and Spade Pre-publication Editing Assistant Volunteer

Estimated work: 15-20 hours per month.

Duties include:

1. Collect articles already reviewed and approved by ABR staff and set up a basic structure and outline, putting the material into the format that the editor can use. Perform an initial read-through and preparation, adjusting fonts, italics, pagination, Scripture citations, etc. The volunteer does not need knowledge of the subject matter.

2. Identify prospective pictures from reading the article, find them in the ABR archive, on the web, and other sources, and write captions for the pictures.

3. Learn to use the ABR picture database and other sources for pictures.

4. Communicate with graphics designer and B&S committee on titles and magazine cover, and then disseminate artwork for committee review.

5. The ideal candidate would reside in the Lancaster County, PA region.

All interested parties should contact the ABR office by sending a cover letter and resume to comments@biblearchaeology.org

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

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