119 Blog

Archaeologists Find 3,200-Year-Old Cheese in an Egyptian Tomb

Mysterious substance found in ancient broken jar. By Niraj Chokshi August 16, 2018 A few years ago, a team of archaeologists cleaning sand from an ancient Egyptian tomb discovered a group of broken jars, one of them containing a mysterious white substance. The team had guesses as to what the material might be, but a new analysis published in the journal Analytical Chemistry offers an answer: What they found during that excavation was an approximately 3,200-year-old piece of cheese, one...

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How Was the Bible Written During and After the Exile?

Biblical Hebrew in a changing world Megan Sauter   •  07/27/2018 The Hebrew language has evolved over time. Even during the course of writing the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), Biblical Hebrew changed, which is apparent when you compare early Biblical texts with late ones. How was the Bible written during and after the Babylonian Exile? Did the Biblical authors continue to use the Hebrew language even though they were living in lands where Hebrew was no longer the common...

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Scribes in the Dead Sea Scrolls

Looking at scribal figures at Qumran Megan Sauter   •  07/23/2018  What’s in the Dead Sea Scrolls? The scrolls, which date from the third century B.C.E. to the first century C.E., mostly contain Jewish religious texts. About 40 percent of the manuscript fragments consist of texts from the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). Pseudepigraphal texts—that is, religious texts that did not make it into the Hebrew Bible—from the Second Temple period (c. 530...

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Daily Life in Ancient Israel

What was life like for the settlers of Canaan during the time of the Biblical Judges? What was life like for the tribes of Israel in the time of the Biblical Judges, the period archaeologists call Iron Age I (1200–1000 B.C.E.)? The evidence for the early Israelite settlers of Canaan comes from two sources: archaeological survey and excavations. Much of the area of the central highlands, where most of the settlers of Canaan established their villages, was archaeologically surveyed in...

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Ophel Excavations Uncover Jewish Revolt Coins in Rebel Hideout

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem recently announced that dozens of bronze Jewish revolt coins from the First Jewish Revolt against Rome (66–70 C.E.) have been discovered in a cave just south of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The coins were found during the renewed Ophel excavations led by Hebrew University archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar following a four-year hiatus.   Mazar believes that the coins, which measure 0.6 inches in diameter, were left by Jewish residents who had fled...

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The “Original” Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls

Can the scrolls help expose the original Bible language within the Masoretic Text and Septuagint?     Noah Wiener   •  03/08/2018   For centuries, Bible scholars examined two ancient texts to elucidate the original language of the Bible: the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint. The Masoretic Text is a traditional Hebrew text finalized by Jewish scholars around 1000 C.E. The Septuagint is a Greek translation of the Torah created by the Jews of Alexandria in the...

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Searching for the Temple of King Solomon

How the ’Ain Dara temple in Syria sheds light on King Solomon in the Bible and his famous temple For centuries, scholars have searched in vain for any remnant of Solomon's Temple.  The fabled Jerusalem sanctuary, described in such exacting detail in 1 Kings 6, was no doubt one the most stunning achievements of King Solomon in the Bible, yet nothing of the building itself has been found because excavation on Jerusalem's Temple Mount site of the Temple of King Solomon, is...

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Isaiah’s Signature Uncovered in Jerusalem

Evidence of the Prophet Isaiah? Megan Sauter   •  02/22/2018 he Assyrian king Sennacherib responded to Hezekiah’s rebellion with force. He campaigned against Judah—destroying many Judahite cities, such as Lachish (depicted on the Lachish reliefs, panels from Sennacherib’s palace in Nineveh, now on display at the British Museum in London), and ultimately besieging the capital city of Jerusalem in 701 B.C.E The prophet Isaiah said that Jerusalem would not fall...

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Miniature Writing on Ancient Amulets

Ketef Hinnom inscriptions reveal the power of hidden writing by Robin Ngo • 01/29/2018 The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.—Numbers 6:24–26When unrolled, the two ancient amulets from Ketef Hinnom revealed miniature writing that had been painstakingly inscribed on them. Researchers discovered that the inscriptions included blessings similar to Numbers...

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Taking Out the Trash in Ancient Jerusalem

Using the archaeology of garbage to reconstruct ancient life     From time immemorial, people have produced rubbish. Yet to an archaeologist, not even this discarded material is a waste! Just as archaeologists can glean information about the past by excavating ancient houses, streets, and temples, so too can they learn by studying ancient trash. What people discarded tells a lot about how they lived.  One of the world’s oldest landfills was recently uncovered in...

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Aerial Technology Directs Archaeologists to Idumean Structure

Bible and archaeology news Samuel Pfister   •  12/06/2017 The archaeologist’s toolbox of gadgets is always expanding. While excavations could previously rely on pickaxes, trowels, and buckets, now archaeologists are adopting the latest technologies, like ground-penetrating radar to detect buried architecture, CAT-scans to examine mummified remains, and aerial and satellite photography to survey patterns and data across broad landscapes. Use of digital technologies in the...

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Jews in Roman Turkey

Jewish presence uncovered at Limyra, Turkey     Megan Sauter   •  10/02/2017   Located on the coast of southwestern Turkey, Limyra has a long, rich history—although the site now lies in ruins. Occupied for more than a millennium, it served as the home for many different religious groups. A recent archaeological discovery at Limyra suggests that a Jewish community also lived there.   Martin Seyer of the Austrian Archaeological Institute explains the...

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Naboth’s Vineyard Unearthed at Tel Jezreel?

“Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard in Jezreel, beside the palace of King Ahab of Samaria. And Ahab said to Naboth, ‘Give me your vineyard, so that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near my house; I will give you a better vineyard for it; or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its value in money.’ But Naboth said to Ahab, ‘The Lord forbid that I should give you my ancestral inheritance.’ Ahab went home resentful and sullen because of...

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