Category Archives: Archaeology

Jerusalem in Virtual Reality: The App

A virtual reality company has produced a visual app that is touted to present an archaeologically accurate 3D reconstruction of ancient Jerusalem as it appeared during the time of King Herod, around the time of Jesus of the Christian New Testament accounts. The company, known as Lithodomos VR, was founded in Melbourne, Australia in 2016 and is purposed to produce meticulously researched, accurate reconstructions of various locations and subjects of the ancient world. It has just unveiled its first app, Ancient Jerusalem in VR, and the  founder, Simon Young, believes it will serve not only as an entertainment product but as an educational tool, as well.


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Posted by on 14/01/2017 in Archaeology


A New Excavation: A Note From Israel Finkelstein

Dear friends,

A new excavation is about to commence at the site of biblical Kiriath-jearim near Jerusalem. The first season will take place in August 2017. The dig is a joint project of Tel Aviv University and the College de France. It will be led by Christophe Nicolle, Thomas Romer and me.

I am attaching a flyer which describes the project. We would be grateful if you could print it and post it on the board of your department, post it on the website of your department, or simply circulate it among your students. We are looking for students to join us, with preference to graduate students. We promise an interesting academic program, with the three of us giving lectures. Students who want more information should go to our website, at The registration forms can also be found there.

Many thanks in advance and best wishes for a happy 2017,


Israel Finkelstein
Institute of Archaeology
Tel Aviv University


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Posted by on 28/12/2016 in Archaeology


They’ve Found More ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’

But they can’t even tell what language they’re in or what they contain.  So, they’ve found bits of scrap.  Yay.  It’s only news because it’s Christmas and the ‘Bible has been proven to be right, again, by archaeology’ crowd eats this sort of thing up, book tours to Israel, and boosts the tourism economy.

New fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls have been found in the Cave of the Skulls by the Dead Sea in Israel, in a salvation excavation by Israeli authorities. The pieces are small and the writing on them is too faded to make out without advanced analysis. At this stage the archaeologists aren’t even sure if they’re written in ancient Hebrew, Aramaic or another language.

Oh boy!  This discovery changes absolutely nothing at all even remotely so it had to be announced!!!  But wait, there’s more!

“The most important thing that can come out of these fragments is if we can connect them with other documents that were looted from the Judean Desert, and that have no known provenance,” says Dr. Uri Davidovich of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, among the scientists investigating the caves.

Ah yes, if even the most tenuous connection can be found it will prove…  something important I’m sure…  But wait, there’s more!!!!

The latest finds, two papyri fragments about two by two centimeters with writing and several fragments without discernible letters, were made during a three-week salvage excavation in the Cave of the Skulls this May and June by a joint expedition of the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The excavations were led by Uri Davidovich and Roi Porat of the Hebrew University, together with Amir Ganor and Eitan Klein from the IAA.

That’s right campers, they’ve had them since May and June and still can’t read them but since it’s Christmas they have to be announced!  Glory!  But wait, there’s still more!!!!

The renewed excavations in the Cave of the Skulls is just the first step in a new project of the IAA and the Hebrew University to continue exploring the Judean Desert caves, to salvage hidden treasures that might still lay in the caves, at least before robbers get there first. “We have all the reasons to believe that there are still scrolls hidden,” Davidovich says. “Several documents from the Roman times and even from the Iron Age have surfaced in recent years in the antiquities market. They must have originated in the Judean Desert caves.”

Yes, there must still be scrolls there and we have to loot them from the Palestinians first (since Qumran is in Palestinian Authority land) before other looters get their Arab hands on them!  The looters have to beat the looters to the loot…

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Posted by on 20/12/2016 in Archaeology, Dead Sea Scrolls


The Kiriath Jearim Videos

Visit here and scroll down the page for the various segments of this morning’s VERY EARLY video introduction to the site by Finkelstein and Römer.


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Posted by on 19/12/2016 in Archaeology


A Livestream Event from Kiriath Jearim with Thomas Römer and Israel Finkelstein

Two of my favorite people will be livestreaming from K-J.  Here are the details-

Israel Finkelstein and Thomas Römer will be visitng Kiriath-Jearim and it will be livestreamed to the Kiriath-Jearim Expedition facebook:

Please stay updated for the exact time!  For more information regarding the Kiriath-Jearim Expedition check out our website, at:

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Posted by on 18/12/2016 in Archaeology


The Putative ‘Tomb of Jesus’ in the News

The tomb believed to be the place where Jesus was laid has been opened for the first time in centuries.  For decades, archaeologists and theologians have debated over whether the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem is the site where Christ was supposedly buried and resurrected after being crucified.   The tomb has been sealed in marble since the 1500s in order to prevent visitors from stealing pieces as relics.

What?  Christians stealing stuff?  They kind of missed the point of being Christians, didn’t they?

Over the preceding centuries, the famous church had been destroyed and rebuilt so many times that experts were left unsure about whether the tomb had been moved and what it might contain. Lifting the tomb’s marble lid for the first time in 500 years, researchers discovered the limestone shelf where Jesus’s body was thought to have been placed, the Mirror reported. Also discovered, was a second grey marble slab previously unknown to the researchers, engraved with a cross they believe was carved in the 12th century by the Crusaders.

This is the splotch of ground Constantine the Wretch’s mom was told was the spot of Jesus’s burial.  Personally I’ve never thought it the right one.  Nor, frankly, is the Garden Tomb.  The site is unknown, like most of the ancient sites pilgrims visit as though they were the ‘real thing’.

Anyway, if you’re looking for something to read this afternoon, enjoy.  And if you don’t like to read, just look at the pictures.

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Posted by on 03/12/2016 in Archaeology


A Previously Unknown Roman Governor of Judah Discovered: Marco Paccius

Antonio writes

Era stato in carica durante la Rivolta di bar Kokhba (132-135 d.C.). Il reperto è stato rinvenuto in mare, al largo di Tel Dor. L’iscrizione decifrata recita «… la città di Dor rende onore a Marco Paccius, figlio di Publio Silvano, governatore della Giudea». SPETTACOLARE!!! L’articolo su Ha’retz.

Ha’aretz says

An underwater survey conducted by divers off Tel Dor, on the Mediterranean Sea, yielded an astonishing find: a rare Roman inscription mentioning the province of Judea – and the name of a previously unknown Roman governor, who ruled the province shortly before the Bar-Kochba Revolt. Historians had thought that based on Roman records, the leaders Rome imposed on its provinces were all known.

The rock with the 1,900-year-old inscription was exposed by a storm on the seabed at a depth of just 1.5 meters in the bay of Dor. The town had been a thriving port in Roman times that even minted its own coins, which proudly proclaimed the city to be “Ruler of the Seas”.
Found by Haifa University archaeologists surveying the remains of the ancient Roman harbor at Dor in January 2016, the rock, 70 by 80 centimeters in size, was partly covered in sea creatures when it was found.

Etc.  And here’s the stone-


As Antonio says, ‘spectacular!!!!’


Posted by on 30/11/2016 in Archaeology