Once again we are featuring, from our archives, a series of interviews with Christopher Moroney of the San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble. The interviews focus on SAVAE’s Ancient Echos Project, recreating the music of the Bible.
The area along the ancient border between the Israelites and the Philistines is one of the areas of particular interest in the field of biblical archaeology right now, and one of the largest sites of the more than half dozen currently under excavation is Tel es-Safi/Gath. Gath was not only the home of Goliath and his giant kin, but also the largest of the cities of the Philistine pentapolis.
We first talked with Arean Maier when he was beginning this excavation two decades ago, and it was time for an update on the latest discoveries, including a giant gate from the time of David and Goliath.
Another review of some of the latest digest items on from the summer 2015 dig season, from ARTIFAX magazine with co-editor, professor Clyde Billington. We discuss the Roman Legion fort that has been excavated across the road from Megiddo in the Jezreel Valley.
Then we report on the Sinai fort that was used by Thutmose III, Amenhotep II, and Necho II. We also talk about the British Museum excavations that have been taking place in Sidon.
2015 appears to have been a fairly productive excavation year in Israel, particularly in the Galilee, where two different excavations reported major mosaic developments.
In the excavations at Huqoq, overlooking the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, archaeologist Jodi Magness (University of North Carolina Chapel Hill) continues to excavate a fifth century synagogue with stunning beautiful mosaics. Additional work was done this summer on a mosaic which appears to illustrate the tradition that describes a meeting between Alexander the Great and the Jewish high priest in Jerusalem.
At the same we report on the University of Hartford excavation of the Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth, which uncovered a more plain (crosses, for instance) mosaic dating about a century earlier. The mosaics are about six feet below the current floor level, and plans call for a glass window installation so visitors can see the mosaics.
Additional news reported in this program, with my ARTIFAX co-editor Clyde Billington, a first century miqva discovery in the Ein Kerem area of Jerusalem (traditional home of the parents of John the Baptist) and tensions over the new carpet installation at the Dome of the Rock.
One of the most exciting reports of discoveries and developments this year is actually about an inscription that was found in 2012. The inscription comes from the Khirbet Qeiyafa excavation, directed by Yosef Garfinkel and Saar Ganor (pictured with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu).
The inscription gives the name Eshba’al, a name that is found in history only one other time, in fact in the Bible-I Chron 8:33, as the fourth son of King Saul. The fact that this inscription dates to the 10th century BC, the time of David and Saul, adds more weight to the significance of the Khirbet Qeiyafa excavation. This is the fourth 10th century inscription found in just the last half dozen years or so, before which there were none.
On the second half of this program, featuring my ARTIFAX co-editor Clyde Billington, we discuss reports that archaeologist Nicholas Reeves believes he has found evidence that the tomb of King Tutahnkamen has more chambers, and that he thinks the evidence also suggests that King Tut’s tomb was actually, originally, the tomb of Nefertiti, Tut’s stepmother. This is an interesting story to keep an eye on.
Excavations of a Canaanite Middle Bronze Age Fortress near Akko have revealed the oldest and largest wine cellar ever excavated in the Middle East.
This year was the second season of these wine cellar excavations, starting with one room two years ago, and now a total of four rooms so far.\
This was the first 3-way Skype conversation to be featured on TB&TS. It turned out well.
Excavations continue in the area of a Roman Temple, possibly built by Herod in honor of Augustus Caesar, just a few miles from Banias.
The results of this excavation in 2015 and previous years is increasing our understanding of the region of Caesara Philippi.