Backgrounders on the Bible through Biblical Archaeology

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1677-1678 Todd Bolen-A Visit to Susa

Todd Bolen

Todd Bolen

Susa is one of the four capital cities of the Persian empire, and where the stories of Esther, Mordecai, Nehemiah, and Daniel all intersect, in the Hebrew Bible. It’s a long way from Israel, and not an easy place to visit in these modern times. Ancient Persia is the modern nation of Iran.

But Todd Bolen of Bibleplaces.com visited Iran a few months ago, and Susa was one of the main places he wanted to see. So we talked about his visit on these two programs.

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1675-1676 Jimmy Hardin – State Formation in the 10th Century BC

jimmyA recent conference allowed archaeologists to hear about the latest research into one of the most important periods in the history of Israel, the 10th century BC. A number of archaeologists are focused on this period — the time of the biblical kings Saul, David, and Solomon — and excavating sites along the border between Israel and the Philistines.

One of those archaeologists is Jimmy Hardin, director of the Cobb Institute of Archaeology at Mississippi State University. He is one of the excavators of Khirbet Summeily, a border site which is part of the Hesi Regonal Project.

In this interview, we talk about why the 10th century BC is such a critical period, and what’s going on there.

1674 Clyde Billington – Thessalonian Subways and Seneca’s History

Seneca the Elder

Seneca the Elder

Our final review of archaeology digest news items from the Summer 2019 issue of ARTIFAX news magazine includes information from Thessalonica, where a subway construction project is far behind schedule due to all of the archaeological treasures which are being found, and a copy of Seneca’s Histories has been found for the first time in history. Up til now Seneca’s work has only been found quoted in other ancient documents.

Other news items include the excavation plans for the huge hippodrome at Laodicea, one of the seven cities of Revelation; a discovery of the oldest shipwreck in the Mediterranean (dating to 1600 BC) carrying a cargo of copper ingots, and plans to make the historic site of Karkemish an open air museum along the Euphrates River.

1673 Clyde Billington-Room of the Last Supper and the Sons of Immer

Room of the Last Supper

Room of the Last Supper

More discussion of biblical archaeology digest news items from the latest issue of ARTIFAX, our biblical archaeology news magazine:

Room of the Last Supper – a laser scan of this medieval construction which commemorates the Upper Room has revealed faded artwork on the walls.

Another biblical name has been found on a clay seal impression. The bulla says, “Belonging to Ga’alyahu, son of Immer.” The family of Immer is widely attested in the Bible, particularly Jeremiah 20:1.

3D photography has also been used to preserve the excavated remains of a 9,000-year old Neolithic settlement discovered just 3 miles west of Jerusalem.

A Watchtower in the Negev desert has been excavated by volunteers from IDF paratroopers.

1672 Clyde Billington – Ziklag, Huqoq, and First Century Fast Food

Mosaic image of Elim, excavated at Huqoq.

Mosaic image of Elim, excavated at Huqoq.

More news items to discuss from the many news reports in the summer issue of ARTIFAX, the biblical archaeology news magazine. Ziklag, a city associated with King David, has been tentatively identified at a dozen different locations in Israel but now finally we have the correct location, says archaeology Yosef Garfinkel. (Other archaeologists are not so sure.)

More mosaic discoveries in this summer’s excavations at Huqoq, at the site of a fifth century synagogue overlooking the Sea of Galilee. The mosaics depict the Exodus spring of Elim, and the four beasts of Daniel 7.

We also discuss a photo from professsor Carl Rasmussen, showing a first century thermopolia, a fast food establishment excavated at Pompeii. In the first century this is where people got their food because they didn’t have kitchens in their high rise apartments.

1671 Clyde Billington – Machaerus, Melchizedek, and the Philistines

ARTIFAX magazine, Summer 2019

ARTIFAX magazine, Summer 2019

A little further discussion about our ARTIFAX cover story on Machaerus, details of how John the Baptist ended up a prisoner there, and was then beheaded, as reported in Matthew 14 and Mark 6. Also a few more words about the Pilgrimage Road that just opened in Jerusalem, an important pilgrimage spot for both modern Jews and Christians, between the Pool of Siloam and the Temple Mount.

Archaeologist Eli Shukron reports the discovery of an altar related to Melchizedeck and Abraham. We are skeptical but looking forward to hearing more. And finally, another major story of the summer, reported in the latest issue of ARTIFAX, DNA evidence that traces the Philistines, or at least some Philistines, to southern Europe.

 

1670 Jimmie Hardin – Herod’s Fortress at Machaerus

ARTIFAX magazine, Summer 2019

ARTIFAX magazine, Summer 2019

The cover story on the latest (summer) issue of ARTIFAX focuses on Machaerus, a fortress palace built by Herod the Great overlooking the Dead Sea from the East. Machaerus is most famous for the imprisonment and beheading of John the Baptist, as recounted in the Gospels and by the historian Josephus.

The first excavation of Machaerus was undertaken by Jerry Vardaman, the founding director of the Cobb Institute of Archaeology. We talk with the current interim director, Jimmy Hardin, about some of the results of that excavation that were recently discovered at several locations.