Backgrounders on the Bible through Biblical Archaeology

Archaeology News

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.

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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.

 


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.)


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.