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.

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

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