Backgrounders on the Bible through Biblical Archaeology

Latest

1588 Clyde Billington – Redating the Gihon Tower/Destruction of the Temple

Francesco Hayez painting of the destruction of the Jerusalem temple.

Francesco Hayez painting of the destruction of the Jerusalem temple.

The construction of a tower guarding the Gihon spring in Jerusalem has been redated by about 1,000 years. The significance of this redating is discussed, along with archaeological remnants of the destruction of the Jewish Temple, first by the Babylonians and then by the Romans, both on the 9th day of the Jewish month of Av, 650 years apart.

These are items from the Israel archaeology news digest from the  latest issue of ARTIFAX magazine.

Advertisements

1587 Clyde Billington – Bethsaida, Huqoq, & Rosh Ha’ayin

A detail of the zodiac mosaic uncovered this summer at the Huqoq excavation

Capricorn – A detail of the zodiac mosaic uncovered this summer at the Huqoq excavation overlooking the Sea of Galilee.

Catching up on the latest discoveries in biblical archaeology, professor Clyde Billington joins me to discuss some of the news digest items in the latest issue of ARTIFAX magazine.

But first, a quick look at one of the top biblical archaeology stories of the summer that will be reported in the next issue of ARTIFAX, and that is the dispute of the true location of the New Testament city of Bethsaida. Excavations at el-Araj, on the northeastern shore of the Sea of Galilee this past summer uncovered some first century remains which has renewed the debate.

For most of the past three decades, archaeologist Rami Arav has been excavating at a site about a mile from the shore called et-Tell, which he says is Bethsaida.

We also discuss the latest mosaic discoveries from the ongoing excavations at Huqoq, near the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, and a giant Assyrian period cistern discovered at Rosh Ha-Ayin, near Tel Aphek and the headwaters of the Yarkon River.

 

1584-1586 Eric Cline – Three Stones Makes a Wall & a Tell Kabri Excavation Update

Assaf Yasur-Landau & Eric Cline

Assaf Yasur-Landau & Eric Cline

Eric Cline, a prolific author, experienced archaeologist, and professor of Classics and Anthropology at George Washington University, has a new book out: Three Stones Makes a Wall – The Story of Archaeology (Princeton University Press).

This is not dull and dry, as archaeology sometimes can be. Eric write “informatively and enthusiastically,” as one critic said. He has an easily accessible writing style and includes a lot of stories to engage the imagination. And he explains, with the title, why archaeologists need an imagination.

I highly recommend the book and it’s a pleasure to welcome Eric Cline back on the program for the fifth time in the last 10 years. We also talked about his excavations this summer at Tel Kabri in Israel, which he co-directs with Assaf Yasur-Landau.

1582-1583 Cynthia Shafer-Elliott Canaanite DNA & Tel Halif Update

s200_cynthia-shafer-elliott-1News reports about Canaanite genetic research, linking ancient Canaanites with the modern residents of Lebanon, flooded the news last week. The news reports had some issues that we took up in this interview with Cynthia Shafter-Elliott, who teaches Hebrew Bible and Archaeology at William Jessup University in Rocklin, California.

We also got an update on Cynthia’s excavation work at Tel Halif in the southern part of Israel and talked about the Israelite 4-Room House.

1580-1581 Steve Ortiz-Gezer’s Tenth Season

Steve Ortiz

Steve Ortiz

Tel Gezer, a benchmark site in biblical archaeology, has been under excavation for the past ten years by Steve Ortiz and Sam Wolff (co-directors). During this year’s final season of excavation, the remains of two adults and one child were found in a destruction layer dated to about 1200BC.

In this 2-part interview we talk with Steve Ortiz about the results of their excavation, what they know about those three skeletons, and why Gezer was such a hard city to conquer, for the Israelites, the Egyptians, and the Philistines, who were all in the area at the time.

 

1579 Scott Stripling-Shroud of Turin Research

Shroud of Turin

The image on the Shroud of Turin

Shiloh excavation director Scott Stripling, featured in our last two programs, also participated in a research project for the Shroud of Turin during a trip to Israel several months ago. The project involved limestone particles that have been found on the shroud, and a visit to the underground tombs at the Ecole Biblique, which are adjacent to the Garden Tomb.

During the interview Scott referenced an article that he and colleague Abigail Leavitt wrote for the BibleArchaeology.org website. He also referenced a study of the Garden Tomb done by archaeology Gabi Barkay, and written up for Biblical Archaeology Review in 1986, which is the definitive archaeological report on the Garden Tomb.

1577-1578 Scott Stripling – Shiloh Excavation Resumes in 2017

he Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle

The Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle in the Wilderness.

Scott Stripling is once again our guest to report on the end of the Associates for Biblical Archaeology excavation in Israel, this year at Shiloh, since they have closed the excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir. Shiloh, of course, was the location of the tabernacle and the ark of the covenant for most of the almost 400 years (by the biblical account), between the time of the exodus and conquest and the establishment of the temple in Jerusalem in Solomon’s time.

Many years ago an archaeologist told me that there wasn’t much left to excavate at Shiloh but that is apparently not the case, as Scott fills us in on what happened during this first season and what they are looking for in the seasons to come.

(illustration from the 1728 Figures de la Bible; illustrated by Gerard Hoet (1648–1733) and others, and published by P. de Hondt in The Hague; image courtesy Bizzell Bible Collection, University of Oklahoma Libraries, via Wikipedia.)