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.

Second Temple Floor Tiles Restored posted by Bryan Windle

Archaeologists from the Temple Mount Sifting Project announced that they have restored some of the flooring tiles from the Second Temple using colored stone floor tile segments found in the earth and rubble that had originally come from the Temple Mount. Known as opus sectile, Latin for "cut work," this style of floor tile is more expensive and prestigious than the more common mosaic flooring. Of the many tile segments discovered so far, more than 100 date to the time period of Herod's Second Temple. Seven floor tile designs have been assembled by using basic geometry, the known size of a Roman foot (approximately 29.6 cm), and similarities to the tile designs used by Herod at other sites, including his palaces at Masada, Herodium and Jericho. Archaeological architect Leen Ritmeyer (ABR’s architect at the Khirbet el-Maqatir and Shiloh excavations) suggests that these tile designs adorned the interior of some of the buildings that surrounded the Temple, and/or from under the colonnades around the smaller courts. Paving stones discovered in situ from Herod's Temple Mount show that the open courtyard would have likely been paved with large limestone slabs, which would have weathered better than the more delicate opus sectile floor tiles. 
 
Off-site Links: 
- https://templemount.wordpress.com/2016/09/06/1374/
- http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Archeologists-restore-tiles-from-Second-Temple-in-Jerusalem-467021
- http://www.ritmeyer.com/2016/09/12/flooring-from-the-temple-mount-in-jerusalem/

Evidence for the Kingdom of David posted by Bryan Windle

A new exhibit, "In the Valley of David and Goliath," has opened at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem. It presents the recent archaeological evidence for the kingdom of David discovered in the Valley of Elah. The exhibit displays artifacts discovered at Khirbet Qeiyafa, quite possibly the biblical city of Sha'arayim (which means "two gates" in Hebrew) of 1 Sam 17:52 and 1 Chr 4:31. Almost all of the artifacts in the exhibit were excavated at the site, including tools, weapons and cookware, as well as an inscription that may be the earliest form of Hebrew writing discovered to date. In addition, the Tel Dan Stele, with its famous "House of David" inscription, is on loan to the Bible Lands Museum for the exhibit.
 
Off-site Links:
- http://www.blmj.org/en/template/default.aspx?PageId=155
- https://lukechandler.wordpress.com/tag/bible-lands-museum/

Solomon-Era Palace Found in Gezer posted by Bryan Windle

A 3000-year-old palace, dating to the time of King Solomon, has been discovered in Gezer. The massive building has a large, central courtyard, much like the palatial buildings discovered at Hazor and Megiddo. It is built of large, rectangular-shaped monolithic hewn stones, unusual for domestic structures of the day, but the type of building materials that would be used in a palace. Philistine bichrome pottery and an "Ashdod figurine" – believed to be a Philistine goddess – were also discovered at the site, providing evidence that the Bible's description of Gezer being under Philistine control when King David broke their power "all the way from Geba to Gezer" (2 Sm 5:25; 1 Chron 14:16) is true. The team excavating the site has dubbed the building "Solomon's Palace," not because they believe Solomon dwelt there, but because of the Bible's description of Solomon's building projects at Gezer after his wife – Pharaoh's daughter – received the city as a wedding gift from her father, the King of Egypt (1 Kgs 9:15-17). This discovery demonstrates, yet again, that the descriptions found in the Bible are historically accurate.
 
Off-site Links:
- http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/archaeology/1.739358
- http://www.newhistorian.com/solomons-palace-discovered-gezer-israel/7154/
- http://www.ibtimes.com/archaeology-proves-bible-true-story-king-solomon-era-palace-found-israel-2410311

Secret Hittite Tunnel Discovered posted by Bryan Windle

Archaeologists excavating the ancient Hittite capital city of Alacahöyük, in western Turkey, have unearthed a 2300-year-old secret tunnel. The team was excavating a sanctuary that had been previously discovered in 2014, when they uncovered the tunnel, also known as a potern. So far, 23 meters of the tunnel have been dug and cleaned, but excavators believe it is longer still. These secret tunnels were often dug beneath the castle, and extended into the city. Because this potern is located under a sanctuary, the archaeological team believes it may have had a sacred purpose. 
 
Off-site Link:
- http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/.aspx?pageID=238&nid=103034&NewsCatID=375

Stone Vessel Factory Excavated Near Nazareth posted by Bryan Windle

Recent excavations in a cave near Nazareth have uncovered a 2000-year-old quarry where stone vessels were produced. The cave, hewn of chalkstone, revealed numerous stone vessels in various stages of production, and has lead archaeologists to conclude that there was a healthy market for such items in that geographical region. In the first century, Jews in Galilee used pots and storage jars made of stone, as they did not become ritually impure.  In John 2:6, the gospel writer describes Jesus turning the water into wine in stone jars during the wedding at Cana.  Interestingly, the stone quarry cave is located in the same general vicinity as biblical Cana likely was, suggesting the possibility that the stone jars described in the gospel may have come from the nearby stone vessel factory being excavated today. At the very least, the discovery confirms the use of stone jars in first-century Galilee, just as the Bible describes.
 
Off-site Link:
- http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/216697

First-Century Synagogue Unearthed in Galilee posted by Bryan Windle

A synagogue, predating the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD, has been discovered at Tel Rechesh in Galilee. The synagogue was unearthed at the site of an ancient Jewish farm. The estate was identified as Jewish by the ritual stone jars that were found and the lack of pig bones. The synagogue itself measures 26 feet by 29.5 feet and its walls are lined with the remains of limestone benches. Excavators also found one of the pillars which would have supported the synagogue's roof. This discovery marks the eighth synagogue found in Israel which predates 70 AD, but the first found in a rural rather than an urban setting. The Bible says that "Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people" (Mt. 4:23).

Off-site Links:
- http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4841308,00.html
- http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.736752
- http://www.jns.org/news-briefs/2016/8/15/second-temple-era-synagogue-unearthed-in-northern-israel

Biblical Manuscripts From Greek Library Digitized posted by Bryan Windle

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) has announced the completion of their project to digitize all of the New Testament manuscripts from the National Library of Greece (NLG). The collection at the NLG is one of the largest in the world, and will now be available online for scholars to study in detail. Over 150,000 pages from more than 300 manuscripts were digitized, including 21 manuscripts that were previously unknown to the Institute for New Testament Textual Research (INTF) in Muenster, Germany. According to the CSNTM, these manuscripts will be freely available to all and "will increase our fund of knowledge about the transmission of the NT text and add some important 'discoveries' especially of manuscripts with patristic commentary."

Off-site Links:
- http://csntm.org/Blog/Archive/2016/8/3/MissionAccomplished
- http://csntm.org/Manuscript

Egyptian Statue Discovered at Hazor posted by Bryan Windle

Part of an Egyptian statue was recently uncovered at Tel-Hazor. The lower part of the limestone statue depicts a foot on a square base with a few lines of Egyptian hieroglyphics inscribed on it. It is estimated that the complete statue was that of a life-sized man. This is not the first Egyptian statue to be discovered in Hazor; three years ago, a fragment of a sphinx was discovered in the same building. In fact, over the past 30 years, 18 different Egyptian statues have been discovered in excavations at Tel-Hazor. It seems that all of the statues were already "antiques" at the time they arrived in Israel, as they all predate the city's existence. Hazor is the largest biblical site being excavated in Israel. It is one of the cities that Joshua conquered and burned (Joshua 11:11).

Off-site Links:
- http://new.huji.ac.il/en/article/31994
- http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Historic-archeological-discovery-of-Egyptian-statue-unearthed-in-Tel-Hazor-462312

Bible and Spade magazine news! posted by Rick Lanser MDiv

Dear friends,

It is always a blessing to know when one's labor is appreciated, and we at ABR find out about this in different ways. Usually it takes the form of a casual comment to a staffer at a conference, or a brief "Atta boy, keep up the good work!" email. Other times, particularly when an issue of Bible and Spade has been delayed for some reason, it takes the form of letting us know we have been missed. The latter has recently happened; the Spring issue of Bible and Spade has been delayed, and many of you did let us know!

If you are a subscriber to Bible and Spade, please know that we encountered some unavoidable production delays with the Spring 2016 issue. As a result, we have decided to create a longer Spring/Summer combined issue, which we expect to go to the printer in the next couple of weeks. We have on occasion put out combined issues in the past, but it has been a fair number of years since this was last done, so this situation probably took some by surprise and may have caused concern. We hope you will agree the wait was worth it.

By the way, if you are NOT an ABR member or subscriber to the magazine, may we encourage you to consider signing up for it? After the combined Spring/Summer issue goes out, we plan to return to our normal quarterly schedule beginning with the Fall issue. Just go to http://www.biblearchaeology.org/publications/bibleandspade.aspx to become a member of ABR, which includes a subscription to the magazine, or a subscriber.

Thank you for your support and prayers as we strive to make the magazine the best it can be with a very small staff.

In His service,

Rick Lanser, MDiv
Editor, Bible and Spade Magazine

2200-Year-Old Mosaic Found on Cyprus posted by Bryan Windle

A Roman mosaic depicting the Labors of Hercules was recently discovered on the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus. It was uncovered during work on a sewage system in the city of Larnaca. The mosaic is over 60 feet long and over 20 feet wide, and only a part of it has been uncovered thus far. Larnaca is built upon the ruins of the ancient city of Kition, and the antiquities ministry believes the find will provide evidence of the role it played in establishing Roman culture in Cyprus. Cyprus is mentioned frequently in the book of Acts. Barnabas was a native of Cyprus, and it was the first place he and Saul (the Apostle Paul) visited when the Holy Spirit set them apart for the work to which He had called them (Acts 13:1-5).

Off-site Link:
- http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-15/rare-roman-mosaic-uncovered-in-cyprus/7631368

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