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.

World's Oldest Harbor Discovered in Red Sea posted by Bryan Windle

Archaeologists diving off the Egyptian coast near Wadi el-Jarf have discovered the world's oldest known harbor, dating back 4600 years. Papyri discovered near the site identify it as the harbor built by King Cheops (known also as Khufu), to import materials to build the Great Pyramid of Giza. A 200-meter-long, L-shaped pier built of limestone blocks was discovered underwater, which would have served as a breakwater to protect the boats anchored in the harbor. Divers also found 22 limestone anchors in situ where the ships would have been moored. Next to the harbor, archaeologists unearthed the remains of two large stone structures, possibly used for administrative purposes. Between these structures, close to 100 stone anchors were found, some of which had ropes attached to them. Many of these had inscriptions that named the boat they belonged to. The discoveries at the Wadi el-Jarf harbor are testament to the sophisticated level of organization and administration the Egyptians had developed at that time.
 
Off-site Link:
- http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/archaeology/1.754616

Dr. Scott Stripling Named Seminary Provost posted by Bryan Windle

ABR staff member Dr. Scott Stripling has been named the new Provost for The Bible Seminary (TBS) in Katy, TX, beginning January 1, 2017. Dr. Stripling has been an adjunct professor at TBS since 2013, and has developed and taught their graduate theology course, "Church History – Acts."  He also led the seminary's first Holy Land Study Tour in 2015. Friends of the Associates for Biblical Research are no stranger to Dr. Stripling and his work. In addition to being a respected archaeologist, a popular speaker and the author of two books – The Trowel and the Truth and Somebody Call 911 – he has been the Director of the Khirbet el-Maqatir dig since 2010, and will be heading up ABR's new dig at Shiloh in 2017. The Associates for Biblical Research would like to congratulate Dr. Scott Stripling on the honor of this new position at The Bible Seminary.

Off-site Link:
- http://www.thebibleseminary.org/tbs/index.php/en/news/item/279-stripling-named-new-provost

Israel to Search for New Dead Sea Scrolls posted by Bryan Windle

The Israel Antiquities Authority will be heading up a new search for more Dead Sea Scroll manuscripts, the first major expedition since 1993's "Operation Scroll" effort, which found no new scrolls at that time. In recent years, ancient manuscripts and fragments have been for sale on the antiquities market, and it is suspected that they were looted from caves near the Dead Sea. The planned expedition will begin in December, and will be a three-year attempt to unearth previously undiscovered Dead Sea scrolls, as well as other artifacts from the Jewish-Roman War (first century) and the Bar Kochba revolt (second century), when many Jewish fighters hid in the desert caves.
 
Off-site Link:
- http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/israel-launch-major-expedition-find-dead-sea-scrolls-43525925

Canaanite Offerings Discovered at Gezer posted by Bryan Windle

A 3600-year-old trove of gold and silver artifacts has been discovered at Tel Gezer National Park. The hoard was found inside a clay pot, wrapped in cloth, and seemingly placed in the foundations of a building. The specific items include figurines of Canaanite gods, a silver pendant featuring an eight-pointed star, and an Egyptian scarab in a gold bezel that dates to the Hyksos era. Archaeologists hypothesize that this trove was deliberately placed in the foundation of the building as an offering to the gods to seek their blessing for the structure. In the Canaanite period, Gezer was an important city, and was rebuilt during the Israelite period by King Solomon (1 Ki 9:17).   
 
Off-site Links:
- http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/archaeology/1.753136
- http://www.timesofisrael.com/rare-canaanite-era-trove-of-gold-and-silver-unearthed-in-central-israel/

First Temple-Era Artifacts Unearthed on Temple Mount posted by Bryan Windle

Israeli archaeologists recently announced the discovery of the first artifacts to have been unearthed in situ on the Temple Mount that conclusively date to the time of Solomon's Temple. The digs were carried out quietly from 2007 to this past year in a rare display of cooperation between the Islamic Waqf and Israeli archaeologists, and occurred during infrastructure work at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Pottery shards, animal bones and olive pits were found and dated to be 2500-2600 years in age.
 
Off-site Links:
- http://www.timesofisrael.com/archaeologists-reveal-first-solomons-temple-era-artifacts-ever-found-on-temple-mount/
- http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/archaeology/1.749337

Tomb of Jesus Uncovered for First Time in Centuries posted by Bryan Windle

For the first time since at least 1555 AD, the purported tomb of Jesus in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre has been unsealed, revealing the surface of the limestone burial bed on which it is believed Jesus' body lay. The burial bed had been covered with a marble slab centuries ago to prevent pilgrims from chipping off pieces of the tomb as souvenirs. After removing the marble slab, archaeologists were surprised to find a layer of fill, and then a second marble slab with a cross carved into its surface. The researchers had been given only 60 hours to complete their work. Just hours before their time was up, the original limestone surface of the burial bed was uncovered and found intact. Throughout the operation, the archaeologists photographed and documented their findings; these will be studied in further detail in the coming months and years. The tomb has since been resealed, and renovations to the badly deteriorating Edicule (shrine) will continue until next spring. While it is impossible to know conclusively that this is the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth described in the Gospels, the historical claims of the site are significant and nothing initially discovered in the recent unsealing would contradict the long-standing Christian tradition that this is the original empty tomb of Jesus.
 
Off-site Links:
- http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/10/jesus-christ-tomb-burial-church-holy-sepulchre/
- http://www.timesofisrael.com/scientists-expose-original-stone-of-jesuss-jerusalem-tomb/
- https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/justintaylor/2016/10/27/the-burial-place-of-jesus-exposed-for-the-first-time-in-centuries/

Battle Site from the Fall of Jerusalem Found posted by Bryan Windle

The Israel Antiquities Authority has announced the discovery of the site of an epic battle between the Roman forces under Titus and the Jewish forces defending the city. It has been dated to the first century AD on the basis of pottery shards discovered there. A large section of a 1.9m wall has been excavated, which archaeologists have identified as the remains of the Third Wall, which was breached during the fall of Jerusalem. More than 70 boulders and stones that were fired at the wall from Roman catapults litter the ground at the base of the wall. The discovery is said to confirm the description of the breaching of the wall written by Josephus. In 70 AD, the Roman army, under Titus, invaded the city of Jerusalem after a five-month siege, and then destroyed the temple. Jesus himself prophesied that this would happen (Mt 24:1-2).
 
Off-site Links:
- http://www.antiquities.org.il/article_eng.aspx?sec_id=25&subj_id=240
- http://www.timesofisrael.com/archaeologists-find-battle-site-where-romans-breached-jerusalem-walls/
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqT9lFbFT4M

New Dead Sea Scroll Fragments Published posted by Bryan Windle

Two new books have been released that detail more than 25 new, previously unpublished Dead Sea Scroll fragments. 13 scroll fragments were donated to the Museum of the Bible by Steve Green, the owner of the Hobby Lobby craft store chain. They were analyzed by a team of scholars and published in Dead Sea Scroll Fragments in the Museum Collection (Brill, 2016). Included is a fragment of the book of Nehemiah, which, if authenticated, would be the first copy discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls. The other batch of scrolls comes from the collection of Martin Schøyen, and are published in Gleanings from the Caves: Dead Sea Scrolls and Artefacts from The Schøyen Collection (Bloomsbury, 2016). Altogether, the various fragments record parts of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Samuel, Kings, Nehemiah, Psalms, Proverbs, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Joel, Jonah and Micah. Some scholars are questioning whether some of the fragments are forgeries, as little is known of the provenance. The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) recently expressed concern that scrolls are being found by looters in caves around the Judean desert and finding their way to the antiquities market. Scientists are conducting tests on the fragments that were donated to the Museum of the Bible to determine their authenticity.
 
Off-site Links:
- http://www.livescience.com/56428-25-new-dead-sea-scrolls-revealed.html
- http://www.cbsnews.com/news/dozens-of-dead-sea-scroll-fragments-may-have-been-discovered/
- http://www.history.com/news/secrets-of-new-dead-sea-scrolls-come-to-light

Ancient "Logos" Inscription Found at Smyrna posted by Bryan Windle

An ancient inscription which contains the word "logos" has been discovered on the walls of a basilica at the agora of Smyrna (modern-day Izmir, Turkey). The words in the inscription go both top-to-bottom and left-to-right in five columns, resembling a crossword puzzle, with the word "logos" in the center. Because of the significance of the word "Logos" to early Christians (Jn 1:1), excavators believe it may be evidence of Christian graffiti on the walls, although its exact meaning has not been determined yet. The city of Smyrna is known among archaeologists for its ancient wall writings and drawings, which include Greek words, drawings of dogs, ships, and gladiators, as well as love poems. In the Bible, Smyrna was one of the churches which the Apostle John was commanded to write to in the book of Revelation (Rv 1:11; 2:8-17).

Off-site Link:
- http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/ancient-crossword-puzzle-found-in-smyrna--.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104716&NewsCatID=375

Desecrated Gate-Shrine Discovered at Tel Lachish posted by Bryan Windle

Archaeologists excavating a six-chambered gate at the biblical city of Lachish have made three discoveries that they claim confirm details described in the Old Testament:

1) Benches were unearthed at the city gate, confirming what is known from history, that the city gates were a place the elders, judges, governors, and kings sat to do business. "Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land" (Prv 31:23). 
2) Within one of the rooms in the city gate, excavators found two four-horned altars with the horns intentionally broken off. This is believed to be evidence of the reforms of King Hezekiah, who "removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles" as part of his reforms (2 Kgs 18:4).
3) Finally, a stone chair with a hole in the middle, which archaeologists have identified as a toilet, was found in the corner of the room. This suggests an intentional desecration of the gate-shrine, and is reminiscent of the Bible's description of Jehu turning the temple of Baal in Samaria into a latrine (2 Kgs 10:27).

The gate-shrine of Tel Lachish has been dated to the eighth century BC using artifacts that were found in the rooms, including jars, grain scoops, and jar handles stamped with a lmlk ("belonging to the king") seal. The city gate structure is the largest discovered to date from the First Temple period, measuring 80' by 80'. It has six chambers, three on each side, with the main street passing between them, and has been preserved to a height of 16'.
 
Off-site Links:
- http://www.timesofisrael.com/iron-age-toilet-is-evidence-judean-king-dumped-on-the-gods/
- https://kehilanews.com/2016/09/30/archaeologist-in-tel-lachish-confirm-biblical-account-of-king-hezekiah/
- http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Culture/Gate-shrine-from-First-Temple-period-unearthed-at-Tel-Lachish-National-Park-468904

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