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.

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

Second Temple-Era Site Suffers Damage posted by Bryan Windle

The outer wall of one of Solomon's Pools has collapsed, and visitors are asking the proper authorities to make repairs. The pools are a series of impressive 2000-year-old reservoirs that provided water to both Bethlehem and Jerusalem from ancient times until recently. The pools collected water from both the rain and two aqueducts and funnelled it to the towns and the temple. While the pools, as they are seen today, were largely constructed (or enlarged) by King Herod, some believe they are in the same location as the original ones built by King Solomon and mentioned in the Book of Ecclesiastes, where he says that he "made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees" (Eccl. 2:6).
 
Off-site Links:
- http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4801309,00.html
- http://www.christianpost.com/news/solomons-pool-in-bibles-second-temple-era-at-risk-of-collapsing-visitors-fear-163666/

Rare 3700-Year-Old Egyptian Scarab Seal Discovered posted by Bryan Windle

A man birdwatching near Tel Dor, the archaeological site of the ancient port city of Dor at the foot of Mt Carmel, recently discovered an Egyptian scarab seal dating to the 18th century BC. The seal is encircled with gold and is in exceptional condition. An initial study shows that the stone scarab is engraved with the name of its owner as well as his position. While the owner's name has not yet been deciphered, his title of "Overseer of the Treasury" suggests he was an important Egyptian official in the kingdom of the 13th Dynasty, possibly in a role similar to the one Joseph held in Egypt. 
 
Off-site Links:
- http://www.timesofisrael.com/3700-year-old-scarab-seal-found-by-birdwatcher-near-haifa/
- http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4795739,00.html

Dr. Bryant Wood Visits University of Pikeville posted by Bryan Windle

Dr. Bryant Wood, Research Director of Associates for Biblical Research, was the honored guest at the University of Pikeville's "Weekend of Discovery with a Biblical Archaeologist" on April 29-30.

Bryant and Tommy at Pikeville

Dr. Bryant Wood (right) and Exhibit Director Tommy Chamberlin at Pikeville.

Bryant Wood teaching religion class
Dr. Bryant Wood teaching religion
class at Pikeville.

Dr. Wood spoke to two college religion classes and a local high school class, as well as opened a preview exhibit at Pike County library of 35 artifacts from the biblical world. Dr. Wood also gave two public lectures. One was entitled "Digging Up the Truth at Jericho," which explained how a careful examination of the pottery and archaeology of the site support the biblical account.  The second was entitled "Discovery of the Lost Fortress of Ai," which demonstrated how the archaeology and geography of Khirbet el-Maqatir have led to its identification as the Old Testament site of Ai.

Dr. Wood's visit was one of the events leading up to the University of Pikeville hosting "Khirbet el-Maqatir—A Journey through Biblical History." You can learn more about this exhibit at the links below.

Links:
- http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2016/03/08/Khirbet-el-Maqatir-Exhibit-Preview-in-Pikeville-KY.aspx
- http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2016/04/26/View-Presentation-of-Biblical-Artifacts-From-Genesis-To-Jesus.aspx

Tomb of Christ Shrine to be Repaired posted by Bryan Windle

The 206-year-old shrine in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre that many believe houses the tomb of Jesus Christ will be repaired. Fearing the risk of collapse, the Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches reached an agreement on the $3.4 million dollar renovations to conserve the structure. These include plans to remove the marble slabs, repair the 12th-century Crusader shrine underneath, and fill the cracks in the rock-hewn tomb below that. The cost of the work was to have been split equally between the three Christian groups, but the King of Jordan has stepped forward to fund the repairs personally.
 
Off-site Links:
- http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/07/world/middleeast/jerusalem-christians-jesus-tomb.html
- http://www.christiantoday.com/article/why.jerusalems.church.of.the.holy.sepulchre.is.falling.down/83532.htm
- http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/210688#.Vyd123B8U0I

View Presentation of Biblical Artifacts: "From Genesis To Jesus" posted by Bryan Windle

The University of Pikeville will be hosting the "Khirbet el-Maqatir: A Journey Through Biblical History" exhibit from January to June 2017. Exhibit Director Tommy Chamberlin recently filmed a presentation for PikeTV entitled, "From Genesis To Jesus." In it he uses the exhibit's artifacts from the world of Abraham through to the time of Jesus to illuminate stories from the Bible. This exciting presentation highlights such stories as Abraham's 318 trained warriors rescuing Lot, featuring a Middle Bronze age axe head that was likely used as a weapon, and Jesus' parable of the 10 virgins, illustrated with a first-century oil lamp. You can view the one-hour presentation, and learn about 30 biblical artifacts from the exhibit, by following the link below.  
 
Off-site Link:
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Guh9iEyp5_k

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