Category Archives: pseudo-archaeology

The Hanging of the Greens (And their Museum)

Andrew Tobolowsky writes, among other things

In short, in trying to create a Museum of the Bible, the Greens have been unscrupulous and careless in collecting artifacts thereof. They have muddied the water that we desperately need to be clear because there are so few fish in it to begin with, and we are very hungry. Even a scrupulous Museum of the Bible constructed through the religious commitments that brought you Burwell v. Hobby Lobby would not be very good, and certainly not very informative. They could, however, at least try a little bit to collect real artifacts that are also actually for sale and not stolen. Honest mistakes, not so surprisingly, happen somewhat less often to people who make a little effort to avoid them, as the Museum never has, and may not in the future.

Give the whole a read.  The Greens don’t have a fan in him.

Breaking News: An Archaeological Discovery That May Change Everything!!!

Jerusalem:  DP –  Archaeologist Rob Farfella today announced at a packed press conference that he and his team of international archaeologists working for the Bradbury Archaological Referendum have discovered a parchment in Jerusalem that may indeed be ancient and may contain a series of laws that may date to the 10th century BCE and which may show that maybe some of the laws in the Hebrew Bible may be related potentially to laws that may have originated in Egypt or maybe Babylonia.

Farfella went on to describe the location of the artifact’s extraction as maybe a controlled dig or maybe a shop in Jerusalem’s Old City.  Photos of the artifact may be forthcoming, possibly and potentially, if the IAA gives the discoverers permission potentially.

Fortunately a photo of the image has been leaked by the excavation team:

The excavation team has dubbed this potentially important manuscript ‘Codex Farfellensis Imbecilicus’.

Reports from other sources indicate that there may be nothing at all to the claims being made in today’s presser by Farfella and BAR.  ‘Skepticism is always appropriate when it comes to the announcements of the importance of such trinkets’ said Cindy Tubors of Harvard U.

Other scholars may weigh in, maybe, said Tubors as she wandered off from the press conference to imbibe at the local tavern and lament the death of archaeological seriousness.

Speaking of Rank Speculation…

There’s an archaeologist who says he has discovered the very pillar in Jerusalem where Abram and Melchizedek met…  Nope, not the Onion.  Though by all rights it should be.  With many thanks to Mark Elliott for pointing it out-

An Israeli archaeologist has uncovered the remains of an altar believed to be from around the time when Abraham met the high priest Melchizedek in Jerusalem.

Archaeologist Eli Shukron has spent much of his life looking for Bible history in the City of David.  Shukron gave CBN News an exclusive look at what he feels is one of his most important discoveries kept under lock and key that dates back 4000 years – a stone pillar.

Blerg.  Come on people.  Come on.  What possible evidence is there for such a claim?  None, is the only appropriate answer.

Shukron says the pillar, found in the City of David, is just like the one described in Genesis 28 when Jacob had a dream in Bethel of a ladder reaching up to Heaven.  After the dream, Jacob said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!  Then Jacob rose early in the morning and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it.”

Shukron believes Melchizedek set a stone pillar up in Jerusalem just as Jacob did in Bethel.

Blerg.  What rubbish.  Read the rest if you enjoy migraines.

The Latest Essay From Biblical Archaeology Review

Scholars Now Believe The Last Supper Was Actually A Potluck

A coalition of scholars has announced that the Last Supper partaken of by Jesus and His disciples was actually a potluck.

While it was long thought that the supper was closer to a traditional Jewish Passover meal, evangelical scholars looking into the matter have determined that it was actually a bring-your-own-casserole event.

“It seems that Jesus and His disciples each agreed to bring a casserole, hot dish, or beverage,” Dr. Michael Svigel, Professor of Theological Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary said. “It’s clear that everyone brought really unhealthy, fatty foods to the event. The Messiah passed around a sign-up sheet prior to the supper to make sure that everyone brought something.”

The claim was bolstered by the discovery of several empty casserole dishes in the upper room, as well as a simmering Crock-Pot full of questionably cooked beef, still plugged in and simmering. Archaeologists also confirmed the discovery of a pot of watered-down coffee and a big jug of watery punch. The Apostle Peter brought a delicious tuna casserole, while James and John brought their famous “Sons of Thunder chili,” according to researchers.

At publishing time, sources had confirmed that Judas Iscariot snuck into the potluck without bringing anything, mumbling something about not seeing the announcement, though the event was clearly announced for weeks.

Oh wait a minute, that’s from the Babylon Bee, not BAR.  Oh well, pretty much the same thing these days anyway.

No, The Tower of Babel Hasn’t Been Found. I Don’t Care What Any Numbskull Claims in His Documentary

THE Biblical story of the Tower of Babel could be proved to be true after ancient remains were discovered in Iraq, an Amazon Prime documentary has claimed.

Amazon Prime’s Bible Conspiracy says ruins uncovered at the Borsippa archaeological site have similarities to the tale.

What these tragically ignorant souls don’t understand at all is that the tale of Babel is an etiological tale intending to explain the existence of Ziggurats and to explain the variety of languages. Accordingly, if some Ziggurat is discovered, it doesn’t prove the Tower existed, it proves Ziggurats did! Further, there is simply no way to demonstrate that any one Ziggurat is THE Tower. It’s all just mindless speculation by ignorant imaginers. And if you believe them, you deserve to be fooled.

Get your biblical scholarship from biblical scholars.  Not nitwits on Amazon Prime.

They’ve ‘Discovered’ Noah’s Ark… Again… Using Satellites…

Ugh.

When Archaeology is Dumbed Down and Sensationalized, This is the Result: Megan Fox

Megan Fox is returning to the small screen with her new Travel Channel docu-series, Legends of the Lost With Megan Fox. The four-episode show will the Hollywood starlet embarking on a journey across the four corners of the globe to unearth some of the greatest mysteries of history.

Instead of watching what is sure to be rubbish, take Aren Maeir’s MOOC and learn what archaeology really is and really does.

Chasing Sodom

This kind of nonsense never ends.

A multi-disciplinary team of scientists has a new theory for why all human civilization abruptly ended on the banks of the Dead Sea some 3,700 years ago. According to analyzed archaeological evidence, the disaster of biblical proportions can be explained by a massive explosion, similar to one recorded over 100 years ago in Russia. …

As reported in Science News, at the recently concluded Denver-based ASOR Annual Meeting, director of scientific analysis at Jordan’s Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project Phillip J. Silvia presented a paper, “The 3.7kaBP Middle Ghor Event: Catastrophic Termination of a Bronze Age Civilization” during a session on Environmental Archaeology of the Ancient Near East.

Let’s give it up for rank speculation….

Frank Cross on Unprovenanced Artifacts

“I am indeed to be included among those who think that artifacts, particularly those bearing inscriptions, should be published whether dug up in scientifically controlled excavations or dug up by plundering antiquities dealers, collectors or their minions. Inscribed artifacts have so much—I am tempted to say most—to contribute to history and culture that they dare not be discarded and ignored. . . . To throw away inscriptional materials because they come from illicit digs (or forgers) is in my opinion irresponsible, either an inordinate desire for certitude on the part of those without the skills or energy to address the question of authenticity or the patience to wait until a consensus of scholars can be reached. It is noteworthy that those most eloquent in denouncing the publication of material from illicit digs are narrow specialists, especially dirt archaeologists.

Via, with further thoughts on the topic and the ironic quote of the editor of BAR (ironic given BAR’s history of publishing whatever regardless of provenance).

Interestingly, whether he intended to or not, Cross and his like-minded friends who think provenance doesn’t matter set the stage for fraud, looting, and forgery.  The law of unintended consequences strikes again.

Unprovenanced materials are trash from the perspective of historical reconstruction.  Trash.  Feel free to use trash if you wish, but your conclusions will be trash as well.

Oh So Now the Times of Israel is Suddenly Interested in Ethics…

The Times of Israel, which regularly pumps up any artifact it deems helpful to Israeli political causes, is suddenly concerned about the ethics of promoting fake Dead Sea Scrolls…

The clock is ticking as potential forgeries’ content increasingly skews and pollutes scholarly research. As the corpus of Dead Sea Scrolls material is dissected with surgical precision, any and all information from the presumed scribes is included in numerous scholarly articles, data banks and dictionaries. Correcting these statistical and contextual fallacies could take generations.

Suddenly conscientious.  It’s almost as though the promoters of all kinds of unprovenanced artifacts are afraid that a #ScrollsToo movement may be their undoing, so they’re trying to get ahead of it.

Archaeologist Dr. Josephine Munch Rasmussen and Årstein Justnes, professor of Biblical Studies at the University of Agder, Norway, wrote in an email, “Rather than more physical testing, the provenance and legality of the post-2002 ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ fragments in the MOTB and the Schøyen collections need to be critically addressed.  Justnes runs the blog site The Lying Pen of Scribes to document for free public use the mounting evidence of forgeries in the post-2002 Dead Sea Scroll-like fragments.

Don’t forget that along with Justnes, Roberta Mazza and Michael Langlois have been sounding the alarm for YEARS.  It’s nice to see others coming to the party, even if they’re more than a little late.

The media suddenly being concerned about authenticity is a joke.  If they weren’t afraid of the impending backlash among scholars and donors, they still wouldn’t care and they’d still be hawking any unprovenanced rubbish that generated publicity.

You don’t deserve applause when the jig is up and you ‘suddenly’ see the light.  You just deserve disdain.

More Rubbish Pseudo-Scholarship Dressed In The Garb of Archaeology: The Purported Discovery of the Israelite Encampment at the Jordan

Historical evidence for the biblical account of the Exodus might be located at a site near the Jordan River, according to a recently announced discovery.  …  However, at the Jordan Valley site of Khirbet el-Mastarah, archaeologists Ralph K. Hawkins and David Ben-Shlomo have said that there is evidence of ruins from a nomadic people believed to be the Hebrews coming from Egypt.  Ben-Shlomo said in comments quoted by the U.K. Daily Express on Tuesday that the ruins offer potential evidence for the biblical account.

Nowadays whenever I see the phrase ‘historical evidence for the biblical account’ I already know it’s an unsubstantiated claim.  Plus, ugh-  ‘Potential’…

“We have not proved that these camps are from the period of the early Israelites, but it is possible,” noted Ben-Shlomo.

I.e., we don’t have a case but we do want to pretend that we’ve discovered something…  Ugh.

“If they are, this might fit the biblical story of the Israelites coming from east of the Jordan River, then crossing the Jordan and entering into the hill country of Israel later.”

‘Might’… Ugh.  When in the name of God did ‘potential’ and ‘possible’ and ‘might’ become archaeological claims?

Ben-Shlomo and Hawkins had their findings published in the July/August 2018 edition of Biblical Archaeology Review, noting that the ruins appear to date to the Iron Age, which would be around the time of the Exodus.

But of course.  What says ‘rank speculation’ like BAR?

“Within a range of just a couple of miles, we may be able to see the evolution of early Israel from a domestic-scale culture [at Khirbet el-Mastarah] to a political-scale culture [at Khirbet ‘Auja el-Foqa].”

What?  What’s that even supposed to mean?

I wish archaeology was held to a higher standard of evidence than it presently is among too many.  And that sensationalizing was replaced with solid research and that speculation died the death of 1000 heretics.  But, alas, as long as Fundamentalists clamor for proof and publications like BAR pander to that readership I’m afraid we’re stuck with rubbish like this.

NB– I remember when the editor of BAR used to care about facts and evidence…  Alas.

Did They Find Thecla Or Priscilla’s Skull?

And when they finish their facial reconstruction will we know what Thecla or Priscilla or any number of the women who aided and assisted Paul looked like?   No way to know; and no.  But by giminy that won’t stop BAR and the 700 Club and the other sketchy outlets of archaeological data from touting the discovery and making outrageous claims.

Just watch for it.

A woman buried at St Paul’s Catacombs almost 2,000 years ago is to be ‘brought back to life’ thanks to expert facial reconstruction techniques which will bring visitors face-to-face with an ancient local resident. Eventually, this facial reconstruction will form part of the site’s permanent display, Heritage Malta explained in a statement.   The woman’s skeleton was discovered during archaeological excavations beneath the catacombs’ new visitor centre and was chosen for reconstruction as her skull was the only one found with a complete jaw.

She is believed to have been between 18 and 27 and roughly 145cm tall when she died.  Studies on the bones indicate that although the woman must have had a reasonably healthy childhood, she was already suffering from degenerative joint disease, possibly due to mechanical work.

Osteoarchaeologist and forensic anthropologist Roberto Micciche, Adjunct of Anthropology at the University of Palermo, together with forensic anthropologist Daniele Di Lorenzo are carrying out reconstruction work. The project forms part of the post-excavation studies of the archaeological excavations held at St Paul’s Catacombs.

I’m literally giddy in anticipation at what the sensationalists are going to do to this story.  Can’t wait!

Let the fun commence in 3….. 2…… 1……. GO!

It’s A Fake

An enigmatic sculpture of a king’s 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.

No.  It’s a fake.  Look at the thing.  It’s a modern fake.

The 2-inch sculpture is an exceedingly rare example of figurative art from the Holy Land during the 9th century B.C. — a period associated with biblical kings. Exquisitely preserved but for a bit of missing beard, nothing quite like it has been found before.

‘Preserved’… LOL.  IT’S A MODERN FAKE.

While scholars are certain the stern bearded figure donning a golden crown represents royalty, they are less sure which king it symbolizes, or which kingdom he may have ruled.   Archaeologists unearthed the diminutive figurine in 2017 during excavations at a site called Abel Beth Maacah, located just south of Israel’s border with Lebanon, near the modern-day town of Metula.

Fake.

In a rare move, archaeologists and curators at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem rushed to put the piece on public display. A detailed report is set for publication in the June edition of the journal Near Eastern Archaeology.

‘Rare move… rushed…’ HAHAHAHAHA.  These days rubbish is ballyhooed the second it’s found.  Just ask Karen King…

Eran Arie, the Israel Museum’s curator of Iron Age and Persian archaeology, said the discovery was one of a kind. “In the Iron Age, if there’s any figurative art, and there largely isn’t, it’s of very low quality. And this is of exquisite quality.”

Because Carbon-14 dating cannot give a more exact date for the statue’s creation other than sometime in the 9th century, the field of potential candidates is large. Yahalom-Mack posited it could be kings Ben Hadad or Hazael of Damascus, Ahab or Jehu of Israel, or Ithobaal of Tyre, all characters appearing in the biblical narrative.

Carbon dating huh… ok.   FAKE.  But, hey, ‘proof’ of the Bible… so the BAR mob will love it.

No, It Doesn’t

Stop it BAR.  Just stop it.

Do you know why the Ain Dara temple doesn’t shed any light on ‘Solomon’s Temple’?  Because there’s not an archaeological shred of Solomon’s Temple to be found.  Comparing something you have (Ain Dara) with something you don’t have (Solomon’s Temple) is idiotic.  It’s like comparing a car (which you have) to a submarine (which you don’t have).  You can’t compare the known and the unknown.  Analogy, in other words, is extraordinarily limited and usually misleading.

So stop it BAR.  Just stop it.

Archaeology is More Untrustworthy By the Day

From the blatantly self serving archaeological claims made in support of political goals as evidenced by Mazar and the City of David excavations to the ‘discoveries’ of Mellaart who faked his own finds…. archaeology is becoming less and less credible.

A famed archaeologist well-known for discovering the sprawling 9,000-year-old settlement in Turkey called Çatalhöyük seems to have faked several of his ancient findings and may have run a “forger’s workshop” of sorts, one researcher says.

James Mellaart, who died in 2012, created some of the “ancient” murals at Çatalhöyük that he supposedly discovered; he also forged documents recording inscriptions that were found at Beyköy, a village in Turkey, said geoarchaeologist Eberhard Zangger, president of the Luwian Studies Foundation. Zangger examined Mellaart’s apartment in London between Feb. 24 and 27, finding “prototypes,” as Zangger calls them, of murals and inscriptions that Mellaart had claimed were real.

“He used the same approach for over 50 years,” Zangger told Live Science. “He would first acquire a tremendously broad and deep knowledge [about the area he was interested in]. Then, he would try to use this knowledge to develop a coherent historic panorama,” Zangger said. This process in itself is not uncommon for an archaeologist or historian. The only difference is that legitimate researchers then look for evidence that either supports or refutes their ideas. Instead, “Mellaart would fabricate drawings of artifacts and translations of alleged documents to reinforce his theories,” Zangger said.

Archaeology needs to clean up its house before it becomes the National Enquirer of science.

In Which Eilat Mazar Tries to Spin the ‘Isaiah Seal’ Discovery

Read the interview with Mazar in the Jerusalem Post.  It’s an astonishing piece– chiefly because it shows so clearly that Mazar already knows what she’s going to find before she even finds it.  And that, kids, is not scholarship, it is an agenda.

No, They Haven’t Discovered Isaiah’s Seal

A clay seal from the eighth century B.C. that was discovered in a Jerusalem excavation may bear the name of the biblical prophet Isaiah, according to a new article in Biblical Archaeology Review.

In the article, titled “Is This the Prophet Isaiah’s Signature?,” author and archaeologist Eilat Mazar suggests that the ancient Hebrew script impressed into the damaged half-inch oval of clay may have once read “Belonging to Isaiah the prophet.”

Nope.  No.  Nein.  This isn’t how scholarship works and Mazar isn’t acting like a scholar.  ‘May have’?  How insipidly silly.  Rank speculation.  Stupidity.

It’s time for scholars to say no to this kind of journalistic sensationalizing.

Christmas is Coming…

That can only mean one thing: pretty soon someone is going to announce the ‘discovery’ of a ‘text’ that will ‘shake the foundations of Christian faith’.

Can’t wait to see what it is this year?  I’m all tingly.  Will it be another ‘manuscript’ published by HTR which describes Jesus’s marriage to his sister or will it come in the form of a grave which contains the ‘body of Jesus and his entire family!’

I just can’t wait!

Nope

Ok people, look…  There hasn’t been anyone in the Hebrew Bible ‘confirmed’ by archaeology.  What’s happened is that names found in the Bible have also, on occasion, been found in the archaeological record.  To suggest that ‘Moses’, for example, has been ‘confirmed’ because a sherd has the name ‘Moses’ on it is both disingenuous and misleading.  Moses was probably not the only guy named Moses and Joshua was probably not the only guy named Joshua.  Etc.

BAR needs to be honest here, because their claim is just fake news.  The people of the Bible haven’t been confirmed.  Names have been confirmed to have existed.  That’s it.  Period.

Those ‘Lead Codices’ That Margaret Barker Keeps Pushing? Jordan has Disavowed Them

AMMAN — The Department of Antiquities (DoA) on Thursday announced that the lead codices it seized with the help of security authorities around seven years ago have not been proven to be authentic so far, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

DoA Director General Monther Jamhawi said that a national team of researchers and specialists scanned the area of the alleged cave where the codices were allegedly found but did not find any relevance between the codices and the cave, particularly as no cavities in the cave’s walls were found.

The department described the findings of British scientist David Elkington as baseless, stressing that the cave was not found and the pictures he has have nothing to do with the cave that was visited, which indicates that his insistence on the originality of the codices is groundless and not credible.

With a lot more from the esteemed Jim Davila.  It’s time for Margaret to ‘let it go’.