Happy 66th Birthday, Israel Finkelstein!

Today is Israel’s birthday. He’s an incredibly influential Israeli archaeologist and he has overseen the excavation of most of Israel’s most important sites. Over the years he’s been a great friend and I appreciate his great work. Check out a plethora of posts in celebration of his birth-iversary and a gallery of images:

Happy birthday!

PBS is Re-Airing ‘The Bible’s Buried Secrets’

It was first aired back in 2011 and features Ron Tappy and other archaeologists doing archaeological stuff.  NOVA has aired it around this time every year since.  You’ll enjoy it.  As I opined years ago (and it still remains true), it is the best of the ‘bible on tv’ genre.  Still.


Airing Wednesday, March 25, at 9 pm on PBS.  Watch the Program – Watch the entire program online now if you’d rather not wait.

Excavate Ashdod

From Alexander Fantalkin:

Ashdod-Yam Archaeological Excavations, Israel:
The 2015 Season is coming!

This summer, join the international project (headed by Tel Aviv University and the University of Leipzig), which intends to continue the excavations of the Iron Age compound at Ashdod-Yam, in order to find out what happened when the Assyrians crushed Ashdod and expanded and fortified this nearby city. During the 2015 season we shall continue the exposure of enormous system of fortifications from the 8th century BCE, discovered in 2013. We shall also attempt to locate an artificial harbor nearby and clarify the nature of Hellenistic occupation, traces of which (including what seems to be an earthquake destruction) were discovered last season as well. The excavations will shed light on the on modes of Assyrian imperial control of subjected areas, clarifying the nature of interaction between different peoples in the Mediterranean melting pot at Ashdod-Yam.

That Little Antiquity You Bought May Be Funding ISIS

If morality and ethics didn’t have any influence over your interest in buying antiquities, maybe the fact that funding ISIS by doing so will…

ISIS militants torched 1,500 ancient, historic manuscripts in Iraq and sold looted artifacts on the black market, one day after the terror group destroyed an archaeological site in biblical Nineveh, the country’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said at a symposium Wednesday, according to the Middle East Monitor.

During a symposium in Baghdad titled “ISIS: The Enemy of Humanity, History and Civilization,” undersecretary of Iraq’s tourism minister Qais Hussein Rashid listed archaeological sites that were damaged and ransacked by the Islamic State group.

Read the whole depressing report.  And stop buying stuff that should be in a museum instead.  You aren’t helping to preserve anything- you’re helping to fund atrocity.

The Story of Syria’s Archaeologists and Antiquities

NPR aired this amazing report this morning.  Give it a listen when you can.  It’ll bring a bit of hope into your archaeological world.

The race to protect Syria’s heritage from the ravages of war and plunder has brought a new kind of warrior to the front lines.

These cultural rebels are armed with cameras and sandbags. They work in secret, sometimes in disguise, to outwit smugglers. They risk their lives to take on enemies that include the Syrian regime, Islamist militants and professional smugglers who loot for pay, sometimes using bulldozers.

Their backers, from prominent cultural institutions in the West, refer to them as the “Monuments Men” of Syria, based on the name given those who saved cultural heritage in Europe during World War II.

Academics On The Front Lines

“They are dedicated professionals,” says Corine Wegener at the Smithsonian Institution. She leads a worldwide effort to protect cultural heritage. “This is a new situation,” says Wegener, describing the war in Syria as a cultural emergency. “We are trying to help.”

It’s an encouraging word.

Dig With James Strange at Shikkhin

The Excavations at Shikhin is a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional, international, cultural heritage project whose goal is the recovery and preservation of the site of Shikhin in the Lower Galilee of Israel. Samford University is the primary sponsoring institution. Professor James Riley Strange of Samford University, USA, serves as Director. Associate Directors are Professor Mordechai Aviam of Kinneret College and the Institute of Galilean Archaeology, Israel, and Professor David Fiensy of Kentucky Christian University, USA.

The archaeology is done by volunteers from all over, many of them students from Samford University, Centre College, University of South Florida, and Kinneret College. No experience is necessary in order to participate. 

Apply to participate in the Excavations at Shikhin. Samford students will apply to study abroad at the Office of International Studies.

Find out all the details here.

Study Archaeology at Tel Aviv University

Registration for the 2015/6 academic year is at its peak, and I am delighted to share with you some of the wonderful scholarship and grant opportunities for students of the International MA in Ancient Israel Studies: Archaeology and History of the Land of the Bible, for the coming year.

AYALIM association is offering 13,000 USD tuition assistance scholarships to a limited number of students who are recognized by Masa Israel Journey. For further details please click here.

The Department of Archaeology and Near Eastern Cultures at Tel Aviv University is offering  2,500/ 5,000 USD tuition assistance scholarships to a limited number of students with proven records of academic excellence, who wish to broaden their knowledge and understanding of ancient Israel. For further details, please click here.

Full tuition scholarships (18,000 USD) and grants for the academic year of 2015-6 will be awarded to students from China and India, on the basis of academic excellence. For further details and information regarding application requirements, please click here.

Oded Lipschits