Catching up on the news

For the past few weeks I have been marking items to mention on this blog, but I have gotten behind due to a speaking engagement all last week and some other things. Take a look at those that interest you.

Excavation Reports

James Tabor reports on the 2013 Mt. Zion dig season. The team thinks they may have uncovered a Second Temple period priestly mansion. They found a bathroom with a tub adjecent to a “large below-ground ritual cleansing pool (mikveh) — only the fourth bathroom to be found in Israel from the Second Temple period, with two of the others found in palaces of Herod the Great at Jericho and Masada.” To read more click here.

DK sent me a link to an article in The Huffington Post here. The headline is typical media: “Bathtub Unearthed In Jerusalem May Have Belonged To One Of Jesus’ Enemies.” (Or not!) The first line of the story asks, “Have researchers uncovered the bathtub of one of Jesus’ persecutors?” At least wait until they build a structure over the excavation and begin charging admission. There are several nice photos at the bottom of the article.

Abel Beth Maacah (Abel-Beth-Maacah) is in the north of Israel nearly to the border with Lebanon. Excavations under the direction of Robert Mullins and Nava Panitz-Cohen. The team is looking for Abel’s Aramean (Syrian) connection, and to Phoenician connections. The report reminiscences,

A modern illustration of the proximity of Tel Abel Beth Maacah to the Phoenician coast can be found in an exhibit in the local museum at nearby Metulla. An advertisement from the 1930’s invites one to spend their summer vacation in lovely, cool Metulla. According to the ad, the easiest way to get there from Tel Aviv is to take a boat to Tyre and then a carriage from there to Metulla, 35 kilometers away! We dream of the day when we too can take such a ride.

For our previous posts on Abel Beth Maacah, along with Biblical references, see here, here, and here. The brief excavation report, with numerous photos, is in the The Ancient Near East Today here.

North end of Tell Abel-Beth-Maacah with Mount Hermon to the east. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

North end of Tell Abel-Beth-Maacah with Mount Hermon in the background to the east across the Beqa Valley. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The first excavations ever have begun at the ancient city of Derbe. Derbe was visited by Paul and Barnabas on the first preaching journey (Acts 14:20-21). Paul returned with Silas on the second journey (Acts 16:1). We look forward to future reports from Derbe.

See the announcement in Hurriyet Daily News here. HT: HolyLandPhotos Blog.

And More…

The American School of Oriental Research (ASOR Blog) publishes a monthly publication called The Ancient Near East Today. You may sign up for this (currently) free newsletter. In addition to the report on Abel Beth Maacah, I found the illustrated article about “Digging through Data at the Oriental Institute” extremely fascinating. Take a look at the photo of Dr. James H. Breasted breaking ground for the Oriental Institue, and the iconic photo from about 1975 of the famous card catalog and research area. My late friend Dr. James Hodges worked here for several years while completing his doctorate. The article goes on to show the changes wrought by the digital age.

Oriental Institute Research Area about 1975.

Oriental Institute Research Area about 1975.

Leon Mauldin has a good article on “Physical Features of the Land of Israel” here. A helpful map is included with the article. After discussing the geographical features of the land, Leon reminds us,

These factors helped determine where people lived, what crops could be grown where, and what land was good for cattle, etc. No place on earth has as much variety as the Bible land.

One response to “Catching up on the news

  1. I remember our stop at the base of Abel Beth Maacah, and am looking forward to reading the report.

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