Zwinglius Redivivus

Archive for the ‘Archaeology’ Category

Live Streaming the Magdala Conference

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Via Joseph Lauer-

A week ago information was circulated about Nyack College’s hosting today, Monday, October. 20, 2014, in partnership with the Center for the Study of Ancient Judaism and Christian Origins, a gathering of scholars and dignitaries from 4:00–7:30 pm at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Manhattan, focused on discoveries from the excavations at Magdala. See and

Jeffrey P. García, Lecturer in Bible at Nyack College,, has kindly notified us that the conference will be live-streamed. So, if you can’t attend in person, tune in at or and enjoy.

Written by Jim

October 20, 2014 at 12:00

Posted in Archaeology

New From Ido Koch: Goose Keeping, Elite Emulation and Egyptianized Feasting at Late Bronze Lachish

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“Goose Keeping, Elite Emulation and Egyptianized Feasting at Late Bronze Lachish”, just published in Tel Aviv 41/2 (2014), pp. 161–179.

The paper examines an assemblage of goose (Anser sp.) bones found in Late Bronze levels at Lachish and discusses its historical and cultural context. The appearance of an Egyptian trait—the keeping and consumption of waterfowl—is not surprising at Lachish, where a vast amount of Aegyptiaca was unearthed. The assemblage is interpreted not according to the common assumption regarding an Egyptian presence at Lachish but rather as attesting to the local elite that was influenced by the long-term Egyptian hegemony over Canaan. Based on contemporaneous comparanda, the author argues that this local elite adopted the Egyptian trait of goose keeping and adapted it to its own needs of communal feasting—and thus presented themselves as Egyptian.


You’ll wish to get hold of a copy for your edification and instruction.

Written by Jim

October 20, 2014 at 10:04

Posted in Archaeology

The Newly Discovered Documents of the Judean Exiles in Babylonia

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UPDATE:  I’ve received notification that the lecture has been canceled.
Time:  10/21/14 – 12:30 PM to 2:30 PM  – Location:  3105 Susquehanna Hall

Within the last few years, 200 cuneiform tablets have been unearthed that concern the exiled Judean community in Babylonia from the reign of the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar to that of the Persian monarch, Darius I. This coming year, the contents of these documents will be made available to the public for the first time.

These texts come from the two main towns, previously unknown, of the exiled Judeans, Al-Yahuda and Bit-Nashar, and describe the economic life of their inhabitants. This talk will provide the background to better appreciate the significance of these documents and will highlight their most important aspects, including new insights into the pronunciation of their god YHWH.

That sounds fascinating.  Does anyone know anything further of these texts and are there any photos?

Written by Jim

October 17, 2014 at 14:23

Posted in Archaeology

Help Fund the Dig at Kabri

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Eric Cline has put together a Go Fund page- here- and he writes

Help us dig at Tel Kabri this coming summer! When else will you have the opportunity to help support the excavation of a Canaanite palace more than 3,500 years old, decorated with Minoan-style floor and wall paintings, and with the oldest and largest wine cellar yet found from the ancient Near East?

If you have the inclination and the disposable income (and surely you have a bit), then do consider taking part in this project.

Written by Jim

October 16, 2014 at 07:44

Posted in Archaeology

The Temple of Baal at Tel Burna

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baal_temple_burnaWhile archaeologists have not fully excavated the cult complex, they can tell it was quite large, as the courtyard alone was 52 by 52 feet (16 by 16 meters). Inside the complex, researchers discovered three connected cups, fragments of facemasks, massive jars that are almost as big as a person and burnt animal bones that may indicate sacrificial rituals.

The archaeologists said they aren’t sure who was worshipped at the complex, though Baal, the Canaanite storm god, is a possibility. “The letters of Ugarit [an ancient site in modern-day Syria] suggest that of the Canaanite pantheon, Baal,the Canaanite storm god, would have been the most likely candidate,” Itzhaq Shai, a professor at Ariel University who is directing a research project at Tel Burna.

And more, from Antonio Lombatti.

Written by Jim

October 14, 2014 at 13:54

Posted in Archaeology

Crying King David

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What a fine essay!  Julia has a done a very fine job here.

Archaeology is a lucky discipline, in that the public is interested in it, especially in the history of the Land of Israel. Just look at how many shows there are on the subject on National Geographic television, the History Channel, Discovery and the like. People like hearing about what we find and learning about the ancient cultures that once inhabited this land as well as others.

Of course, they also yearn for finds to prove the Bible. They are fascinated that there were illicit shrines and nude female figurines in most of the sites of Judah during the late monarchic period. They want to know what implications these finds have for their understanding of the Bible. All this adds up to powerful proof that the public will continue to support archaeological research without any need to cry wolf, nor King David.

Written by Jim

October 12, 2014 at 16:22

Posted in Archaeology

Shanks Speaks Out About the ‘Ivory Pomegranate’

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Last month, on September 3 to be exact, I posted a new revelation on the Ivory Pomegranate by Ada Yardeni-

Her conclusion was that the inscription was not authentic for several reasons that Yuval Goren had also suggested in his earlier article.

Today Shanks spoke out about Yardeni’s findings.  In lawyer-speak of course.

She focused on another Hebrew letter in the inscription, however, a taw (pronounced tav). Its upper stroke stopped short of the old break. As she put it in an email reporting to me:

I could not ignore the fact that the right upper stroke of the letter taw does not reach the old break, called the ‘bulge’ by [the original IAA committee that had declared the inscription a forgery]. I could not think of any convincing explanation [of] this fact rather than that the engraver, for some reason, did not continue the execution of the stroke at this point. I asked myself if it is possible to forge such an inscription, and I have to admit that it seems possible … I’m sorry to disappoint you in that, in view of my examination of the inscription, I cannot confirm its authenticity. I would have been more than happy to do so.

Warmest regards,
Ada Yardeni
Etc. (Emphasis mine).  That sentence raises questions of its own of course.  But the fact that the inscription, long defended by Shanks, has been declared incapable of authentication, puts the nail in its coffin.  And yet…

However, André Lemaire continues to defend the authenticity of the inscription. His email response:

Thanks, Hershel. It is good to know the appreciation of Ada, but apparently she did [not] look at the pomegranate from the right angle to see the incision [of the taw] that actually is not hindered by the bulge (as could be thought because of the optical illusion).

Above all, [she] did not check the strokes of the heh where things are clearer …


As of this writing, that is where things stand. But I can no longer argue that the inscription on this important relic is unquestionably authentic: Ada Yardeni has her doubts. And that is powerful authority.


Written by Jim

October 11, 2014 at 11:54

Posted in Archaeology


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