Backgrounders on the Bible through Biblical Archaeology

Archaeology News

1571 Clyde Billington – Solomon’s Donkey Dung and Dan Wall Fall

The Iron Age Gate at Dan

The Iron Age Gate at Dan

Two of the top archaeology news stories in the latest issue of ARTIFAX magazine concern the dating of copper mining operations at Timna through ancient donkey dung and the collapse of the wall near the Iron Age Gate at Dan following recent rainfall.

These stories and more from the latest issue of ARTIFAX are discussed with my ARTIFAX co-editor, professor Clyde Billington.


1570 Clyde Billington – Dead Sea Scroll Fragments and Hippos Theater

An evening visit to Hippos/Sussita

An evening visit to Hippos/Sussita

There are a number of unpublished Dead Sea Scroll fragments in the possession of U.S. institutions. We discuss the significance and meaning of this situation, and whether they will be published soon. This story is one of the news digest items from the latest issue of ARTIFAX magazine.

The discovery of a large theater, apparently used for cultic worship, at the decapolis city of Hippos/Sussita is another news development reported in ARTIFAX. We discuss these stories and others from the latest issue.


1569 Clyde Billington – Temple Mount Sifting Project

Sifting Temple Mount material

Sifting Temple Mount material

For the last decade the Temple Mount Sifting Project has been sifting material illegally excavated from the Temple Mount in 1999. The project is about 70 percent completed but has now gone on hiatus. It appears to be partly a funding issue but also a slowdown so that the important publishing of the finds can catch up.

Among recent finds, the discovery of a column capital from the Temple Mount, perhaps from Solomon’s portico. We discuss these latest developments as well as other reports from the news digest of the latest issue of ARTIFAX magazine.


1566 John DeLancey – The Church of the Holy Sepulcher

The newly renovated edicule in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

The newly renovated edicule in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Photo by John DeLancey

This Easter, the Church that marks the traditional location of the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is coming out of a 4 million dollar renovation.  John DeLancey, co-leader of our Israel tour next year, is just back from another visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and discusses the newly renovated edicule in its rotunda.

The edicule, a small structure that covers the tomb of Jesus, has been rebuilt and strengthened against collapse.

In addition, we review news coverage of a recent open house at the Israel Antiquities Authority warehouse where relics from the time of Jesus are displayed for reporters.


1564 Clyde Billington – Walls of Jerusalem, Jebusite and Roman

Walls of Jerusalem - built in the 16th century

Walls of Jerusalem – built in the 16th century

News stories about the walls of Jerusalem, reported in the latest issue of ARTIFAX magazine, include stories about the discovery of two triclinia (banquet rooms), along the western wall of the Temple Mount; the discovery of the location where the Romans breached the “Third Wall” during the first Jewish revolt; and new information about the Middle Bronze Age fortifications built by the Jebusites around the Gihon Spring.

 


1563 Clyde Billington – The Hyrcanus Inscription and The Thinker

The Thinker

The Thinker

More stories from the news digests of the latest issue of ARTIFAX magazine, including inscriptions that name a newly discovered Roman governor of ancient Judea, and that connect to the ruling family of the Hasmonean period.

An inscription naming Gargilius Antiquus was found in the harbor of Dor, indicating that he was probably the governor of the Roman province of Judea when the second Jewish revolt broke out.

An inscription, “Hyrcanus,” was found in the massive Givati Parking Lot excavation just outside the walls of Jerusalem. It is probably one or the other John Hyrcanus, from the Hasmonean lineage of the 1st and 2nd centuries BC.

“The Thinker” is the name given to the figure of a man found sitting atop a pot dating to around 1800 BC, the patriarchal period. The man is shown deep in thought.

And finally mention of some of the finds from last summer’s Gezer excavation of the Bronze Age gate.

 


1562 Clyde Billington – Dead Sea Scrolls & The Sinai Inscription

Serabit el-KhademCatching up with some of the archaeology stories in the news digests of the latest issue of our ARTIFAX magazine, co-editor Clyde Billington and I discuss some new Dead Sea Scrolls fragments that have been found. That is, they were found in some caves along the western shore of the Dead Sea but not at Qumran, rather further south near Masada, along Wadi Tze’elim.

Another discovery in the same cave (known as the Cave of the Skulls) is the Jerusalem Papyrus, which was one of our Top Ten biblical archaeology stories of 2016. This papyrus contains what appears to be the oldest mention of Jerusalem in the Hebrew language, dating to the 7th century B.C.

And finally, we discuss the recent proposition put forth by Douglas Petrovich, that the alphabetic Semitic inscriptions from Wadi el-Hol in Egypt and Serabit el-Khadem in the Sinai were actually written by ancient Hebrews.