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.

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

ABR Digger Publishes New Book posted by Henry B Smith Jr MA MAR

Peggy Consolver, an ABR digger at Khirbet el-Maqatir and Shiloh, recently published a work of biblical fiction, Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer. ABR is delighted to carry her book in our online Bookstore (http://www.biblearchaeology.org/bookstore/product.aspx?id=349), as it brings to life the dusty stones wherein ABR seeks to gain insights into ancient biblical sites. In this story Keshub, a young shepherd boy, lives adventure every day as he defends his flock from predators and proves himself among older brothers. True to Scripture and authenticated by archaeological research, this tale of God's grace puts flesh and blood on the enigmatic Gibeonites who make a treaty with Joshua.

-- "Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer tells the story of the Hebrews' arrival in Canaan from a new point of view. A young Gibeonite shepherd's eyewitness account captures the tension in the ancient land of Canaan. Accurate descriptions of the terrain give the Bible student new insights into this historical event of the Late Bronze Age. The use of the archaeological artifact known as the Gezer Almanac adds credence to the timeline the author constructs." Bryant G. Wood, PhD, Director of Research, Associates for Biblical Research

-- "Here one will experience solid learning interwoven with joyful, sanctified 'filling of the gaps' that make the ancient text alive again in language of the heart." Eugene H. Merrill, PhD, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Old Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary

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/

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