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.

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

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