Resources for Schools - News
Archaeology news and relevant current research about Ancient Israel and its neighbours.
September - October 2018
Archaeologists have long disputed whether the Exodus described in the Bible was a factual, historical account of the Jews’ arrival from Egypt or whether the evidence points toward a non-Biblical version – an internal social development in the region. A recent discovery that may prove Iron Age nomads dwelt in the Jordan Valley may bring researchers one step closer to determining the truth. In an article published in the Biblical Archaeology Review, David Ben-Shlomo, an archaeologist with Ariel University and his American dig partner, Ralph Hawkins of Averett University, described their findings at Khirbet el Mastarah, five miles north of Jericho.
A unique 2,000-year-old stone inscription unearthed in Israel has thrilled archaeologists. The find is the first full spelling of “Jerusalem” on a stone inscription, archaeologists recently confirmed. The artifact was found last winter during an excavation in the area of Jerusalem’s International Convention Center, known as Binyanei Ha'Uma.
For a useful images and descriptions, see:
In the West Bank city of Hebron two excavated ditches set amid uneven and ungravelled walking spaces are cordoned off by flimsy fences. Signs in Hebrew, English and Arabic inform onlookers that the steps that descend into the trenches lead to Jewish ritual baths dating back to the early Roman period in the first century BCE - but from above the newest addition to Israel's illegal settlement enterprise proves less than impressive.
Some 125 human skeletons dating back more than 2,000 years have been dug up in the Russian Compound in downtown Jerusalem. Researchers have established that most of them are the remains of women and children who belonged to the separatist Pharisee community and had been decapitated. Members of this ancient sect of Judaism opposed the rule of Hasmonean King Alexander Jannaeus – popularly as Alexander Yannai – who apparently slaughtered them in the first century B.C.E. In the stratum above the skeletons, Israeli archaeologists unearthed burned bones and other remains that are believed to have belonged to Roman legion soldiers serving in Jerusalem.
Scrambling to save the last unexcavated biblical town from dirt bikers, archaeologists have found layers going back more than 4,000 years, since before Joshua's time.
An ancient Greek trading ship dating back more than 2,400 years has been found virtually intact at the bottom of the Black Sea, the world’s oldest known shipwreck. The vessel is one of more than 60 shipwrecks identified by the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project including Roman ships and a 17th-century Cossack raiding fleet.
The Jewish community in Hebron celebrated the opening of a new archaeological park in the biblical city’s Tel Rumeida neighborhood on Tuesday. It includes excavated artefacts from the Bronze Age to the early Roman and First Temple periods. The site’s opening follows extensive conservation work carried out by the Civil Administration’s archaeology unit, in collaboration with Ariel University.
A team of archaeologists has discovered evidence which they believe backs up the biblical account of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egyptian slavery and into the promised land of Canaan. Despite a long-running debate over the historical accuracy of the story, found in the book of Exodus, archaeologists Ralph K. Hawkins and David Ben-Shlomo have said that there is clear evidence of ruins belonging to a nomadic people group who were traveling from Egypt.
The town of Abel Beth Maacah was known in biblical times as a place for conflict resolution, we may divine from references in scripture. Now archaeologists have found a strange shrine that they think may have been associated with the "wise woman" of the city, mentioned in the bible. But rather than being just a clever elder - they suspect she may have fulfilled an oracular role.
A recent find in the Carmel mountains by an international team of archaeologists indicates that before grains were cultivated for food, they were grown for fermented alcoholic beverages. As Science magazine reports, evidence of wheat- and barley-based beer was found inside stone mortars carved into the floor of a cave near Haifa, Israel.
A Stanford University-led study of three 13,000-year-old stone mortars discovered near a graveyard site called the Raqefet Cave, in the Carmel Mountains near Haifa, identified ancient beer residue that is believed to be between 11,700 to 13,700 years old. The mortars are attributed to Natufians, a semi-nomadic group of people who lived in the Levant between the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods who were also responsible for the world’s oldest known bread, which was discovered in Jordan in July.
For further comments, see:
A unique pile of more than a thousand seal impressions featuring Greek gods, symbols and erotica has been found in an underground closet carved into the bedrock of the biblical town of Maresha. The seals date to the city’s final and most fruitful incarnation, the Hellenistic period, predating its final devastation. The inscription on one of the seals is from 145 B.C.E., the archaeologists believe. It’s impossible at this point to say when the earliest seal is from, but the latest has to be around 107 B.C.E. because the city was destroyed at that time, the archaeologists suggest.
The Museum of the Bible announced on Monday that five Dead Sea Scroll fragments from its collection were proven forgeries. Removed from display, these fragments may prove to be the bellwether of the Washington, DC, institution’s entire 16-piece fragment collection, and beyond. In the wake of similar accusations, other global institutions and private collectors are now likewise struggling with how to address their own questionable fragments.
For further discussion on this issue, see:
Archaeologists racing to save a vulnerable and rapidly disintegrating 2,000-year old Jewish catacomb in Rome gave in to pressure from an ultra-Orthodox Jewish group and let them rebury the bones found within, not allowing their study. The decision spurred outrage among some scientists who protested in frustration as the bones were resealed in their tombs, putting the remains beyond the reach of curious researchers forever. The Italian authorities and the archaeologists involved rebut that the compromise was necessary in order to save the site, which had begun to decay rapidly after its exposure.
Some 3,000 years ago, the Israelites and Philistines faced off on opposite sides of Elah Valley. Throughout 40 days of stalemate, every day, a gigantic warrior named Goliath stepped forward from the Philistines' ranks and shouted his challenge: to fight him in single combat. The Israelites quailed and held back, until a shepherd boy named David arose and, armed with naught but a slingshot, triumphed. So goes the biblical narrative (1 Samuel 17:4), which has been immortalised in popular culture since the day it was written, becoming a symbol of the weak prevailing over the powerful.
“A shortcut.” That was the description given last week to a series of experiments held in Israel by a group of marine archaeologists and computer experts from universities in Rome and Florence. The task in which the Italians have been engaged, in cooperation with the Israel Antiquities Authority, is facilitating the discovery and mapping of archaeological finds spread out across the bottom of the sea – relatively fast and inexpensively. To that end, the Italians are developing the Archeosub – an autonomous underwater vehicle, or AUV, called Zeno. It’s a tiny unmanned submarine that will be able to discover, survey and monitor large areas of the seabed.
A vanished village, buried for centuries under the sands of time, is beginning to emerge in the cave-dotted lowlands southwest of Jerusalem. In typical old-new Israeli fashion, the work of revealing Beit Lehi-Beit Loya mixes painstaking manual labor with cutting-edge technology. Project leaders are now putting their fascinating discoveries on view to the public online in 3D, enlivened by virtual reality.
At the top of a silent, pathless crest in central Israel lies Horvat Hani, where archaeologists have identified the ruins of the first convent ever discovered in ancient Israel, and a burial ground exclusively for women and girls. That cemetery would remain in use for over a thousand years, plied by both Christian and Muslim women in the region. The ruins at Horvat Hani may go back as much as 1,700 years, to the days of early Christianity in the Holy Land. The nunnery and cemetery were built on what the faithful believed to be the grave of Hannah, who the bible says became mother of Samuel by divine intervention.
“Hebron is the eternal city for the people of Israel, the eternal people.” With those words, Israel’s deputy defence minister, Eli Ben-Dahan, inaugurated a new archaeological tourist park in Hebron, where ancient Jewish ritual baths are said to have stood. Behind Mr Ben-Dahan’s comments is an insidious attempt to use the site – and archaeology more broadly – to claim legitimacy for the West Bank’s most militant Jewish settlers. In actuality, Hebron’s history is not purely Jewish. Like much of the Levant, the city, which contains the purported tomb of Ibrahim, or Abraham, Patriarch in Islam, Judaism and Christianity, has played host to a diverse range of communities. But Israel has occupied the area since 1967, drawing extremist Jewish settlers who are hugely outnumbered by their Palestinian neighbours, but protected by one of the world’s strongest and most ruthless armies.
Five of its Dead Sea Scroll fragments are fake, the Museum of the Bible in Washington was forced to admit last week. The embarrassed institution may be in good company: Out of at least 70 fragments ostensibly from the Scrolls held in various collections around the world, scholars warn that all are probably forged. As the experts ponder who is responsible for the scandal in the Museum of the Bible, which may be the largest case of antiquities fraud in years, some researchers are placing a big chunk of the blame on a surprising culprit: themselves.
EIT SHE'ARIM, Israel — Like many veterans, Nichol Fuentes has struggled with some aspects of life since leaving the Marines in 2013. Fuentes, 38, a retired sergeant, suffered recurring ankle injuries while in Iraq and while stationed in Japan. She has also been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
July - August 2018
Roots of the popular Mediterranean diet reached 7,500-years-ago, according to new archaeological evidence found at the prehistoric settlement of Tel Tsaf, in Israel’s Jordan Valley. Archaeologists have recently discovered remains of foodstuffs, consisting mainly of beans, olives, wheat, barley and domesticated meat. The remains of the meat were uncovered in a barbecue pit during the 2018 summer dig season. According to Prof. Danny Rosenberg of the Zinman Institute of Archaeology at the University of Haifa, this “barbecue” may be evidence of communal festive events in which the meat was roasted.
SAFED, ISRAEL—According to a Haaretz report, two intact amphoras estimated to be more than 2,000 years old have been recovered from a tiny cliffside cave in northern Israel. Speleologist Yinon Shivtiel of Safed Academic College was surveying caves in the Galilee that may have been used by Jewish rebels hiding from Roman soldiers during the Great Jewish Revolt between A.D. 66 and 70 when he saw the jars. Based on the jars' shape, however, Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists believe they date to an earlier period. Other storage jars, a bowl, two juglets, and broken pieces of pottery were also found. “Considering that cooking and serving vessels were found, it would appear that those who brought them planned to live there for a while,” said archaeologist Danny Syon. But the small cave, located 100 feet up a sheer cliff above the ground, would have been hard to access. Shivtiel speculates that whoever went to the effort to use the cave must have been hiding food there while living somewhere else. “We have no theory on their identity at this point,” Shivtiel said.
Archaeologists have uncovered the entrance gate to the biblical city of Zer during excavations carried out in the Golan Heights over the past two weeks, the Golan Regional Council said Sunday. In recent days, and after a year of recess, a group of 20 archaeologists from all over the world, together with director of the Bethsaida Project, Dr. Rami Arav, and under the auspices of the Hebrew Union College, Jerusalem, conducted new excavations in two different areas of Bethsaida. The ancient fishing village is mentioned several times in the New Testament as a city where Jesus lived and where he miraculously fed a multitude of people with five loaves and two fish.
For an analysis of the gate's possible connection to the Biblical King David, see:
An extensive excavation carried out over the past year and a half by the Israel Antiquities Authority north of Gedera, near Rehovot, exposed a large-scale, ancient industrial site comprising an intriguing recreational area. The excavation revealed a pottery factory that manufactured large storage jars in the Roman and Byzantine periods—between the third and the seventh centuries CE. In the factory, a room with game boards hewn out of the bedrock, and a complex of 20 hot and cold pools, raised the archaeologists’ curiosity.
An ancient depiction of Moses' scouts in Canaan has been discovered in an "unparalleled" house of worship in Israel. Noah's ark, the splitting of the Red Sea, perhaps even a visit from Alexander the Great: Since 2012, these colorful scenes have slowly emerged as archaeologists excavate the elaborate mosaic floor of a 1,500-year-old synagogue in Israel's Lower Galilee region. The latest scene-stealer? Moses' spies. The mosaic scene, which depicts two men carrying a pole laden with grapes, was recently discovered during the ongoing investigations at Huqoq, the site of the synagogue excavation, according a release issued today by the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. An inscription in Hebrew above the men reads “a pole between two”—a reference to the biblical passage Numbers 13:23.
Another spectacular mosaic has been found in the city of Lod while doing groundworks for a museum to house the spectacular mosaics already found there in previous years. The mosaic was found in a late Roman-era house dating to about 1,700 years ago. The sheer quality of the stonework indicates the owner was extravagantly wealthy. “The villa included a large, luxurious mosaic-paved reception room triclinium and an internal columned courtyard, also with mosaics, and a water system,” says archaeologist Amir Gorzalczany, the director of the present excavation. In fact, this is the third mosaic discovery in this structure – which, in embarrassing contrast to modern construction, seems to have existed for centuries.
For further details, see:
Around 6,500 years ago, an advanced new culture surfaced in what is today Israel. Spectacular pottery, exquisite tools and enigmatic works of art appeared, seemingly out of nowhere. The culture would flourish for about 600 years during the late Copper Age, then disappear as inexplicably as it arose. Secondary burial vessels with human features, over a meter in height and dating to about 6,500 years ago were found in Peki'in Cave yoav Dothan. Now archaeologists believe they have deduced its origins: migrants from across the Middle East and Eurasia, who were actually warmly welcomed by local farmers.
Israeli archaeologists found a 2,000 year-old gold filigree earring featuring a horned animal head in the City of David, an archaeological excavation near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Only the second of its kind found in the area, the earring is an extremely rare discovery from the 2nd or 3rd century B.C.E., the early Hellenistic period. The excavation is headed by Prof. Yuval Gadot of Tel Aviv University and Dr. Yiftah Shalev of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Third-century Roman potters were, apparently, early adopters of the elusive work-life balance. At the central Israel town of Gedera, an Israel Antiquities Authority team has uncovered an impressive 20-bath spa and robust game room alongside evidence of 600 years of a massive ceramic industry. Boards for still-popular games are etched into large stone benches at the 3rd century CE site. Among the game boards, the IAA archaeologists identified mancala, an ancient one- or two-player game using a board and seeds or marbles that is still an international bestseller.
A magnificent Roman-era burial cave was fortuitously found in the northern Israeli city of Tiberias when a contractor clearing ground for a new neighborhood realized the significance of the void his bulldozer almost fell into, and immediately called in the Israel Antiquities Authority. The underground mausoleum unearthed this month is between 1,900 to 2,000 years old, judging by the architectural style.
Students from schools in the Lev Hasharon Regional Council helping on an archaeological dig on the Sharon plain have unearthed an ancient coin dating back to the year 300 C.E., among other finds.
A rare clay Arabic amulet unearthed by archaeologists in the last days of Ramadan brings an unexpected 1,000-year-old blessing from Allah. Discovered last week in the City of David’s Givati Parking Lot excavations near the Old City of Jerusalem, the minuscule 1-centimeter Arabic-inscribed piece of clay bears an unusual two-line personal prayer that reads, “Kareem Trusts in Allah; Lord of the Worlds is Allah.”
An enigmatic sculpture of a head dating back nearly 3,000 years has set off a modern-day mystery caper as scholars try to figure out whose face it depicts. Some believe it likely to show a king, though there is no proof. The 5-centimeter sculpture is an exceedingly rare example of figurative art from the Holy Land during the 9th century B.C.E., — a period associated with biblical kings. Exquisitely preserved but for a bit of missing beard, nothing like it has been found before.
For analysis and interpretation, see:
Israeli archaeologists find 2,700-year-old 'governor of Jerusalem' seal impression
The impression, the size of a small coin, depicts two standing men, facing each other in a mirror-like manner and wearing striped garments reaching down to their knees. It was unearthed near the plaza of Judaism’s Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Israeli archaeologists unearth pregnant woman’s remains at ancient copper mines
In a find that has taken their field by surprise, Israeli archaeologists have unearthed the 3,200-year-old remains of a pregnant woman at the ancient copper mines in southern Israel’s Timna Valley.
Israeli archaeologists unearth pregnant woman’s remains at ancient copper mines. In a find that has taken their field by surprise, Israeli archaeologists have unearthed the 3,200-year-old remains of a pregnant woman at the ancient copper mines in southern Israel’s Timna Valley.
Massive section of Western Wall and Roman theater uncovered after 1,700 years. Sought for 150 years, the remarkable discovery of the small theater changes archaeologists' perceptions of Roman-conquered Jerusalem after the fall of the Second Temple.
Babylonian Trigonometry Table: The World’s Oldest? A new interpretation of Babylonian math
Kingdom of Israel…asking new questions of old data
ANE “Game of Thrones”…apologia
Silk textiles in Southern Levant
Gihon Spring tower dated
Palaeolithic hunting in Israel
Were the Philistines 'local' to ANE?
Evidence of Babylonian destruction from City of David
Water system at Ha’Ayn
Last refuge of rebels in Jerusalem
Apologia of ANE Kings…David and ish-Baal
The Second Temple menorah
New finds suggest Second Temple priests who fled Romans kept up holy rituals in the Galilee.
School students excavating. They discover a 900 year old Crusader jewelry trove.
Computer games and archaeology
A Late Bronze Age discussion starter…asking new questions of old data
Finds from “monarchy” period at Tel Motza
Solomonic Ruins at Gezer
Dead Sea Scrolls
Bronze Age destruction of Khirbet-el-Batrawy
Philistines and pork
Final excavation report on First Jewish Revolt site at Gamla
Machine translation technology developing for cuneiform texts
Evidence of tsunami impact in ancient Israel
Evidence of Second temple
Story of a Bronze Age Syrian refugee
Temple Mount Sifting Project threatened
Ancient Israel in 3-D
Legal papyri from “The Cave of the Letters” at Wadi Hever
Previously unknown Governor of Judea
Caesarea Harbour Entry
The Epic of Gilgamesh
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=6JrOkT6VYKA (Use with care XX version)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rd7MrGy_tEg (first 60 minutes)
(Ensure that students are careful if sent to Youtube…there are numerous offerings re the ‘alien’ origins of humans)
Dead Sea Scrolls
The search for David
Plans to renovate harbour at Caesarea
Second Arch of Titus
Ancient dolmen in Golan
A guide to Babylonian demons
A response to Proto-Sinaitic alphabet link
Life of Jesus
King Solomon and the Passover
More from Temple Mount "sifting"
Possible new site in Iran
Efforts to protect artefacts against theft in Syria
Evidence of life of early Christians
Hebrew linked to Proto-Sinaitic alphabet
Archival footage of Nineveh...1920s and 1930s excavations
Encoding archaeological data...Youtube slide presentation
King Solomon's Mines
Dead Sea Scrolls in USA...real or forgeries?
Nimrud under threat!
Ancient Assyrian Tomb discovered in Iraq
Met Museum Makes 375,000 Images Available for Free
Dead Sea Scrolls reviewed after 70 years
1177 BCE...crisis in the Ancient near East...video lecture
Lachish...resources and links
Crusader shipwreck off Israel
Ancient road discovered at Bet Shemesh
Ancient Rock Art in Galilee
Youtube movies about Biblical-Judaean coins…six in all
Best finds from 2016
Significant ancient inscription found at Peki’in
Archaeology and politics on the West Bank
New Masada expedition
Roman fortifications unearthed at Beth-She’arim
More Dead Sea Scrolls?
New discoveries at Hippos-Sussita near Sea of Galilee
Copper smelting at Early Israel site
Roman theatre in Golan Heights
View old City of Jerusalem
Second temple era engravings in Judean hills
Herodian road may be clue to revolt
Daily or weekly news compilation sites
American School of Oriental Research for Ancient Near East
Photo Archive http://www.asor.org/archives/collections.html
Subscribe to Ancient Near East Today http://asorblog.org/ancient-near-east-today-vol-v-no-3/
Bible History Daily
Biblical Archaeology Society.
Daily News for discoveries from the Holy Land
Bible Archaeology News
Recent discoveries and latest news
Source for latest research in many areas…good cross-over of various disciplines in the Sciences and Archaeology
A facebook page updated regularly with archaeology news from around the world, including good posts on discoveries from Israel.
Ancient News: The Modern Scholarship of the Ancient World
Archaeology: A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
Mosaic found at Jericho
Unique ceramic vessel found in Israel.
Reconstruction of Herodian "tiles"
Early version of Decalogue on stone for sale
More on the Dome of the Rock and the Temple in Jerusalem
Impressive discovery at Tel Hazor
Treasure discovered at Tel Gezer
Destruction layer found at citadel of Khirbet al-Batrawy
Rare early Islamic gold coin found in Galilee
Discovery of papyrus...early reference to Jerusalem...and rebuttal.
Lachish...update on First Temple era gate...reference to new visitors' centre
Temple Mount Sifting Project
Archaeology and politics in Jerusalem…responses to UNESCO resolution concerning the Temple Mount
Recent work at Megiddo
Archaeography of “Holy Land”
David & Goliath…something for the iconoclasts
Unique Mycenaean discovery near Pylos
Discovery of ornamental garden at Petra
New discoveries at Philistine Gath
Water resources and the human colonisation of Australia
First Temple era gate found at Lachish
Toilet uncovered at Lachish
Virtual Unwrapping…reading the scroll from En-Gedi.
Discovery of artefact from Second Temple
Roman frescos in Galilee
Marble “Venus” found at Petra
Rare Roman Coin found in Jerusalem
DNA testing confirms antiquity of Indigenous Australia
5000 year old "houses " found in northern Australia
Archaeology and modern politics?
Roman era mosaic from Israel
Roman artefacts from Caesarea
Bronze Age discovery in Israel
Ancient irrigation system in Israel
Earliest "paleo" diet?
Ancient ceramic "factory" in Israel
Biblical scenes in ancient mosaic
Significant Egyptian statue discovered at Tel Hazor
DNA study identifies origins of early farmers in the Near East
Dendrochronology used to update chronology of the ancient Near East
Atomic physics may hold key to reading "scrolls" from the Villa of the Papyri
Ptolemaic "underwater" City
Philistine Graveyard discovered in Israel
Vampire graves in Poland
Medieval Foundry for weapons manufacture
USA conservation issues
Recovery of site from Jewish rebellion
The driver of a Norwegian Embassy car was caught trying to smuggle ten kilograms of antiquities out of Israel.
Bar Kochba Rebels’ Caves
Divers in Caesarea find largest treasure of gold coins ever discovered in Israel
Divers Unearth Largest Gold Discovery Ever Found in Israel (movie clip of the discovery)
Rare Egyptian amulet bearing the name of Pharaoh Thutmose III dating to 13th century BCE found in Jerusalem.
#Stop Antiquities Theft: If Israel can do, so can India
Rare Egyptian amulet bearing the name of Pharaoh Thutmose III dating to 13th century BCE found in Jerusalem.
Galilee Glass Kilns Prove Ancient Israel’s Manufacturing Prowess
Amazing discovery shows ancient Israel was global glass producer
Bible breakthrough found in Israel
New look at ancient shards suggests Bible even older than thought
Second Temple period bronze implements discovered in Magdala excavations
Were Hebrews Ever Slaves in Ancient Egypt? Yes
Jesus Discovered in Dead Sea Scrolls
Israeli Hiker Finds Rare Ancient Roman Coin
Givati Parking Lot Dig Unearths Rare Seal of a Woman
Pharaoh in Canaan: The Untold Story
3,000-Year-Old Textiles Discovered in Israel.
Boy finds ancient figurine during Beit She’an outing
New Digital Tools Developed for the Dead Sea Scrolls
I Spy: A 3,500-Year-Old Ancient Egyptian Scarab
Israeli Archaeologists Uncover Ancient Inscriptions in Jesus' Language
Israeli high court says antiquities dealers must document all artefacts online
3,400-year-old Canaanite fort to be incorporated into modern high-rise building
Seal impression of King Hezekiah unearthed in the Ophel excavations.
Hebrew University Archaeologists find prehistoric Village
Recent Ancient Discoveries Under the Western Wall
Jerusalem was inhabited as far back as 7000 years ago archaeologists find
Israeli archaeologists unearth unique stepped structure and podium in City of David, Jerusalem
Temple Sifting Project: Dumped Temple Mount Rubble Yields Jewish Artifacts
Rare 3,000-year-old King David era seal discovered by Temple Mount Sifting Project
400,000-year-old dental tartar provides earliest evidence of human-made pollution
Macquarie honour for Israeli professor
Remains of the city wall of the Philistine city of Gath
Ancient farmstead and monastery exposed in Rosh Ha-‘Ayin
2,200-year-old bronze Duck-Shaped Incense Shovel Found in Israel
55,000-Year-Old Skull Fragment Found in Israel