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.

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

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