119 Blog

The Ancient Library of Alexandria

The West’s most important repository of learning J. Harold Ellens • 09/03/2017 In March of 415 C.E., on a sunny day in the holy season of Lent, Cyril of Alexandria, the most powerful Christian theologian in the world, murdered Hypatia, the most famous Greco-Roman philosopher of the time. Hypatia was slaughtered like an animal in the church of Caesarion, formerly a sanctuary of emperor worship.1 Cyril may not have been among the gang that pulled Hypatia from her chariot, tearing...

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The Palace of the Kings of Israel—in the Bible and Archaeology

Samaria’s Iron Age palace What did the palace of the kings of ancient Israel look like? In the Bible, King Ahab’s palace is called an “ivory house” (2 Kings 22:39). We know from other Biblical passages that Ahab—and successive kings of the northern kingdom of Israel—ruled from Samaria. Ahab’s father, King Omri, had established Samaria as his capital and built an elaborate palace there in the ninth century B.C.E. In his lifetime, King Ahab further...

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5,000-Year-Old Egyptian Billboard Discovered

Monumental inscription communicated royal authority and solar power     Nicola McCutcheon   •  07/20/2017 What do you call a team of Yale Egyptologists who just discovered the oldest known monumental Egyptian hieroglyphs? “Absolutely flabbergasted,” according to Professor John Coleman Darnell, codirector of the Elkab Desert Survey Project. As reported by YaleNews, Darnell and his team came across the hieroglyphs during their study of...

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Was the Dead Sea Scroll Community Celibate?

    One of the many fascinating questions about the Dead Sea Scroll community living at Qumran is whether its members were celibate. Did they marry and have children or not? According to the ancient Jewish historian Josephus and the Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria, the Essenes were indeed celibate.1 The Roman philosopher and naturalist Pliny the Elder agrees and seems to locate an Essene community at Qumran. The question, of course, is whether the Qumran community was...

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Site-Seeing: Petra’s Temple of the Winged Lions

Petra, the 2,000-year-old capital city and trade emporium of the ancient Nabateans nestled amid the rugged mountain landscape of southern Jordan, is a marvel to behold. Visitors to the expansive site meander through narrow passageways and hike up secluded trails to take in the spectacular rock-cut architecture and enigmatic monuments built during the time the city was flourishing, when the Nabateans controlled the lucrative Arabian incense trade and laid claim to a powerful kingdom...

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53 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically

In “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible” in the March/April 2014 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, Purdue University scholar Lawrence Mykytiuk lists 50 figures from the Hebrew Bible who have been confirmed archaeologically. His follow-up article, “Archaeology Confirms 3 More Bible People,” published in the May/June 2017 issue of BAR, adds another three people to the list. The identified persons include Israelite kings and Mesopotamian monarchs as well...

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Dead Sea Scroll Search

In 1946 or 1947, a Bedouin goatherd found a number of ancient texts in a cave overlooking the Dead Sea and the ruins of the town of Qumran in the West Bank. Searches over the next decade yielded around 900 mostly fragmentary ancient Jewish texts in 11 different caves. These texts, known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, are among the greatest archaeological discoveries of the twentieth century. Written primarily on parchment and papyrus, they date from between the third century B.C. and the first...

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Discovery of High Priest's Rare Gold Bell

Amazing Discovery in Israel! Archaeologists have discovered a rare gold bell with a small loop at its end. The finding was made during an archaeological excavation in the City of David National Park (near the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem) by the Israel Antiquities Authority in cooperation with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and the Ir David Foundation. The directors of the excavation on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, archaeologists Eli Shukron and Professor Ronny Reich...

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Ancient Charred Hebrew Scroll Virtually Unwrapped

A new digital analysis of the extremely fragile Ein Gedi scroll — the oldest Pentateuchal scroll in Hebrew outside of the Dead Sea Scrolls — reveals the ink-based writing hidden on its untouchable, disintegrating sheets, without ever opening it. While prior research has successfully identified text within ancient artifacts, the Ein Gedi manuscript represents the first severely damaged, animal skin-based scroll to be virtually unrolled and non-invasively read line by line. The...

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DID SOLOMON'S TEMPLE TREASURE COME TO ENGLAND?

This is an interesting proposition that was first put forward by renowned archaeologist Yigael Yadin. In January 1850 Austen Henry Layard discovered, what he was to call, "The Room of the Bronzes". He found this small room in a palace built by King Ashurnasirpal II of Assyria (c.884-859BCE). In it were twelve bronze cauldrons, some of which contained a total of 170 metal bowls and vessels. These sets of bronze items seem to have made up some form of luxurious drinking services. Some of these...

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Qumran Phylacteries Reveal Nine New Dead Sea Scrolls

Bible and archaeology news After discovering a new Dead Sea Scroll text by conducting a CT scan on a phylactery from Qumran, Ariel University scholar Yonatan Adler began to look for additional tefillin texts. According to a Times of Israel article, Adler’s quest took him to the Dead Sea Scroll lab at the Israel Museum, where he discovered additional rolled up tefillin texts inside fragments of phylactery cases.   Noah Wiener   •  09/23/2016    The...

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Divers find unexpected Roman inscription from the eve of Bar-Kochba Revolt

A statue base from 1,900 years ago found at Dor survived shellfish and seawater, and to the archaeologists' shock, revealed a previously unknown governor of Judea. 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...

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Alexander the Great in an Ancient Synagogue?

Stunning Huqoq mosaic unveiled Robin Ngo 09/14/2016 A 1,500-year-old mosaic that might depict a meeting between Alexander the Great and the Jewish high priest has been unveiled in full by National Geographic. The mosaic was unearthed during excavations of a fifth-century C.E. synagogue at Huqoq, a site in Israel’s Lower Galilee. Led by Jodi Magness, the Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Huqoq...

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Sifting Antiquity on the Temple Mount Sifting Project

Temple Mount Sifting Project investigates Temple Mount soil Robin Ngo   •  10/20/2016 Sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is today a contested site. Archaeological excavations are not allowed here, though one project—the Temple Mount Sifting Project—has been analyzing soil that came from the Temple Mount since 2004. In “Relics in Rubble: The Temple Mount Sifting Project” in the November/December 2016 issue of...

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Gold Nero Coin Comes to Light in Jerusalem

Coin of Roman Emperor Nero discovered by the Mount Zion Project Robin Ngo   •  10/17/2016 A rare gold coin depicting Roman emperor Nero was unearthed in archaeological excavations just outside the Old City of Jerusalem in Israel. The coin was found in the excavations of the Mount Zion Project, codirected by Shimon Gibson, Visiting Professor of Archaeology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and James Tabor, Professor of Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity at...

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Rare Roman gold coin found in Jerusalem

Wed, September 14, 2016 The discovery of a rare gold coin bearing the image of the Roman Emperor Nero at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte's archaeological excavations on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, has just been announced by the archaeologists in charge of the project, Drs. Shimon Gibson, James Tabor, and Rafael Lewis. "The coin is exceptional," said Gibson, "because this is the first time that a coin of this kind has turned up in Jerusalem in a scientific dig. Coins of this...

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The Fishy Secret to Ancient Magdala’s Economic Growth

Cornering the salted fish market Excavations and research conducted around the Sea of Galilee have revealed a great deal about the history of the Galilean towns and their populations during the first century C.E. At Magdala, hometown of Mary Magdalene in the Bible, excavations have uncovered a large marketplace with 28 shops, about 300 fishing weights, 40 pools and more than 4,000 ancient coins, the majority of which were minted in Jerusalem. Putting all of this together, the finds...

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Rare Roman mosaic 'depicting Hercules' unearthed in Cyprus

Posted 14 Jul 2016, 6:33pm Photo: The rare mosaic is dated to the Roman Period (AFP: Iakovos Hatzistavrou) A rare Roman mosaic has been uncovered in Cyprus during sewerage work on the eastern Mediterranean island. Only part of the mosaic, measuring 19 metres long and seven metres wide, has been excavated in the southern coastal city of Larnaca and officials believe more is still buried. "A preliminary estimation would suggest that scenes of the Labours of Hercules are depicted and that...

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Archaeologists Uncover Second Temple-era Priestly Quarter in Jerusalem

Archaeologists Uncover Second Temple-era Priestly Quarter of Jerusalem Luxuries, like a bathtub, signal that the 2000-year old house being dug up in Mt. Zion, near Caiaphas' home, belonged to a member of the ruling class. Philippe BohstromJul 12, 2016 4:55 PM   Archaeologists find the last hideout of the Jewish Revolt in Jerusalem Ancient Romans, Jews invented trash collection, archaeology of Jerusalem hints Jerusalem even older than thought: Archaeologists find 7,000-year-old...

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First-Ever Philistine Cemetery Unearthed at Ashkelon

Discovery brings us face to face with the Israelites’ archenemy The first and only Philistine cemetery ever discovered has been found outside the walls of ancient Ashkelon. As one of the major Philistine city-states during the Iron Age, Ashkelon was a significant Mediterranean port and boasted a thriving marketplace. Excavations at Ashkelon have revealed many details about how the Philistines lived: the kind of houses they built; the food they ate; the plates, bowls, cups, pots and...

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Josephus on the Essenes

Flavius Josephus was a first-century Jewish historian, politician and soldier whose literary works provide crucial documentation of Roman Palestine in the first century A.D. At age 29, he was appointed general of the Jewish forces in Galilee. He was eventually captured by Vespasian, who was at that time the supreme commander of the Roman army. Josephus capitulated and sought to ingratiate himself with the Roman general, eventually becoming part of the imperial court in Rome. He was an...

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Is Our Copy Really The Word Of God?

The Proper Cure for the Disease John Warwick Montgomery tells us a parable: A great king (God) had a son (mankind) who had grown up out of contact with his father. While journeying in a distant province the son fell seriously ill. The doctor accompanying him (reason) was incapable of treating the disease, but the king, learning of his son's plight, sent instructions (the gospel) for the healing of the boy. However, the king's numerous enemies also discovered what had happened, and...

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