Backgrounders on the Bible through Biblical Archaeology


1494 Clyde Billington – Megiddo and Sinai Forts

ARTIFAX cover  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.

1493 Clyde Billington – Galilee Mosaics 2015

Huqoq mosaic detail

Huqoq mosaic detail

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.

1492 Clyde Billington – Eshba’al’s Jar and Nefertiti’s Tomb

Netanyahy, Garfinkel & Ganor

Netanyahu, Ganor & Garfinkel

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.

1490-1491 Assaf Yasur-Landau & Eric Cline – Tel Kabri Wine Cellars 2015

Assaf Yasur-Landau & Eric Cline

Assaf Yasur-Landau & Eric Cline

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.

1489 Daniel Schowalter – Omrit 2015 (Caesarea Philippi)

Professor Daniel Schowalter, Carthage College, describing Omrit

Professor Daniel Schowalter, Carthage College, describing Omrit

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.

1487-1488 Jennie Ebeling – Jezreel 2015

Jennie Ebeling Jezreel, the home of Ahab and Jezebel, has been under excavation for the past three seasons. We talked with dig co-director Jennie Ebeling of the University of Evansville two years ago, as they were getting underway. Now we’re back for an update on the environs of Naboth’s vineyard and other results from the 2015 excavation.

No program this week

The Book & The Spade is on vacation this week, but we want to offer our congratulations to Ben Brown, winner of our review copy of the book A Week in the Life of a Roman Centurion, by Gary Burge. And what a good time to be reading the book, with the news this week of the large Roman Legion base discovered at Megiddo.


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