Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Hatshepsut Mummy Identified

From the New York Times, a stray tooth and DNA analysis has shown that a mummy found decades ago in a humble tomb is that of the famed Egyptian queen.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Some tidbits for everyone . . .

1.) The latest issue of BAR has entered the mail stream and our subscribers should be receiving it shortly. The cover article is about Galilee in Jesus' time and the cover picture itself is of Pan, the god of the forests, from a first century A.D. altar in Beth Shean. Another article of note concerns the rediscovery of a site that was reburied almost a hundred years ago containing the forgotten tombs of two Israelite kings. We also continue our celebration of the sixtieth anniversary of the Dead Sea Scrolls with interviews of Geza Vermes and Lawrence Schiffman.

2.) For those of you who don't subscribe, the issue should be on the newsstand within two or three weeks. If you'd like to subscribe, here's the link.

3.) For our premier members, the May/June 07 issue is now available in the archive. (If you'd like to be a premier member, with all of the benefits that entails, you can sign up here.)

3.) Our editor has just completed a report from a conference we sponsored in January in Jerusalem concerning recently allegations of the authenticity of certain items in the Israel Museum's collection. A free download of the report can be had here. The page also has an audio selection where you can listen to Gabriel Barkay present his 10 key points for judging the authenticity of items.

4.) Hershel has just completed a new book called The Copper Scroll and the Search for the Temple Treasure. I'll let you know when it's available (it should be up on our site in a couple of days), but the fun part is that Hershel will be autographing the first run of copies we sell.

5.) In related news, Hershel has also completed another book on the Temple Mount that will be published by Continuum in the near future. I'm told by reliable people that everything is ready to go and we're just waiting for one or two details to be cleared up before we go to press. Once the book is available, I'll let everyone know where to find it.

6.) We're still in the process of interviewing for an editorial position, so if you live in the DC area and have an interest in our subject matter, please send us your resume. Information for the position can be had here.

7.) Finally, here's a special freebie from the archives of Bible Review. It's an article we published in 2005 called The Holy Bible: A Buyer's Guide (pdf). It's an interesting look at the variety of bibles available on the market, from the scholarly to the colloquial. The author, Leonard Greenspoon, reviews them all and compares one common passage, Genesis 1:1-2, from each version.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The World's Most Endangered Sites

The World Monuments Fund has released its bi-annual list of the world’s 100 most endangered sites. On the list are the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, which badly needs structural repair, and the Jordan River, which has suffered from environmental mismanagement. Here's their global map showing all of the endangered sites on the list. I do have to say I like the zoom function and the small windows letting you preview each site.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

But Did They Have a Beer Frame?

An Italian team digging in Egypt has discovered a bowling alley from the Ptolemaic period.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Malling of Jerusalem

The first section of a $400-million luxury shopping and residential quarter has opened just outside Jaffa Gate. Designed by Moshe Safdie, the famed architect, the project is credited with being sensitive to the archaeological remains in the area. Keep Reading . . .

Friday, June 8, 2007

The Pyramids of Sudan

An archaeologist from Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum is unlocking the mysteries of ancient Meroe, in northern Sudan. The area contains more royal pyramids than all of Egypt. Keep reading . . .

Thursday, June 7, 2007

In the Arab-Israeli Crossfire

The recent discovery of Herod’s tomb has prompted the former director of the Holocaust Museum to examine the role archaeological finds play in today’s political disputes. Keep reading . . .

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Burials Along Temple Mount Halted

Israeli police have prevented further Muslim burials in an area along the eastern wall of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. Archaeologists say the area was not used as a cemetery in the past, that plots had been sold by people who did not own them and that the area contains priceless ancient remains. Keep reading . . .

Friday, June 1, 2007

A Gospel Hoax?

In a column in The New York Times (March 31, 2007) Peter Steinfels revisits a controversy that has divided New Testament scholars for decades: Did Morton Smith, the late Columbia University professor and an acknowledged giant in the field of ancient history, forge a document that seems to describe a shocking passage in a “secret” version of the Gospel of Mark? Two recent books say “Yes,” but a third volume strongly answers “No.” The author of that third book, Scott Brown, of the University of Toronto, detailed his defense of Smith in a BAR article, “The Secret Gospel of Mark,” which you can read by clicking here:

The Secret Gospel of Mark: Is It Real? And Does It Identify “Bethany beyond the Jordan”?By Scott Brown

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Work at BAS!!

We're currently offering two opportunities for employment at the Biblical Archaeology Society. One is for a full time job in our editorial department. The other is for an internship. Descriptions of each with contact information can be found here.

Dinosaurs in Eden?

A culture critic for the New York Times pays a visit to the just-opened Creation Museum near Cincinnati, which presents dinosaurs coexisting with people and believes the earth was created 6,000 years ago.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

King Tut Would Have Loved a Philly Cheesesteak

By Steven Feldman

May 29, 2007

Greetings from the City of Brotherly Love. I’m writing this within the elegant halls of Philadelphia’s Union League. The first day of our seminar has just concluded, and it has been great so far.

The BAS Seminar group gathers around Prof. James Hoffmeier as Big Ben watches.

We’ve gathered to hear two fine Egyptologists, James Hoffmeier and Ellen Morris, lecture on King Tut and his world. The seminar was built around a visit to the spectacular Tut exhibit currently at the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia’s venerable science museum.

Before our group headed out for the exhibit, Jim gave us an introduction the Boy King, explaining that Tut, though he had a relatively short reign (he was dead by 19) played a key role in Egyptian history. His predecessor, Akhenaten, revolutionized Egypt by restricting religious worship to Aten, portrayed as the sun disc. That’s why he’s sometimes called the first monotheist. Tut, who may have been Akhenaten’s son or his younger brother, reestablished traditional Egyptian religion; in the process, he changed his name from Tutankhaten (“the living image of Aten”) to Tutankhamun.

The BAS group after seeing the King Tut exhibit in Philadelphia.

Ellen then gave us an overview of ancient Egyptian royal tombs and burial practices. Poor Tut seems to have had his intended tomb usurped by his successor, Ay, and was buried in a much less grand tomb that likely was meant for a non-royal figure.

But if Tut’s tomb was second-rate, I’d sure like to see a first-class tomb. The objects on view in the Tut exhibit are simply stupendous—beautiful objects of all sorts, made of gold and other precious materials. The mind boggles at how many hours must have gone into the making of these objects.

I’ll conclude by mentioning what two participants told me on the bus back to the Union League. The first told me how stunned he was to see many objects in the Tut show painted the same beautiful shade of blue as a Persian vase he owns from the 15th century A.D. Two cultures separated by nearly 3,000 years, yet they seem to have shared the same decoration techniques. The second person asked if we could share the names and addresses of our seminar participants because he was already making great friendships—after not even a full day! That’s what BAS seminars are like. You won’t know what you’ve been missing until you attend one yourself.