Category Archives: Biblical Archaeology

Archaeologists Uncover Lovers Trinket in Jerusalem

Archaeologists working in Jerusalem have uncovered a small clay pipe with the phrase:

“Love is the language for lovers.” or, more literally

“Heart is language for the lover.”

These types of pipes were very common throughout the region during the Ottoman Period. To read more about the romantic discovery, see the article Archaeologists Uncover Lovers’ Pipe Dreams in Jerusalem’s Dig.

What are the Dead Sea Scrolls?

Google, in conjunction with the Israeli Museum, has made a chunk of the Dead Sea Scrolls available online. You can view the the Digital Dead Sea Scrolls here.

However, while many people have heard of the Dead Sea Scrolls, few actually know what they are or why they are important.

This month’s Biblical Archaeology Review highlights the history of the Dead Sea Scrolls including who wrote them, where they were placed, how they were discovered, and their relevance to Biblical Scholars.

Read more in their article “Where Were the Dead Sea Scrolls Found and Who Put Them There?”

Google Makes Dead Sea Scrolls Available Online

Internet giant Google has enabled scholars to post a chunk of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the most important documents to Biblical scholars aside from the Old and New testaments. The announcement has generated a great deal of excitement amongst professional and lay scholars alike – providing ready access to the materials to the public for free.

Google has been making a number of forays into the educational world – most specifically with the Google Art Project. To see the available material of the Dead Sea Scrolls, see the Digital Dead Sea Scrolls.

To learn more about the project, see these articles on the BBC, LA Times, Fox News, and ABC News.

Ossuary Could Identify Final Resting Place of the Family of Caiaphas

Biblical scholarship and archaeology is all a twitter (literally and figuratively) over a new ossuary authentication as belonging to the family of Caiaphas. The full inscription reads: “Miriam daughter of Yeshua son of Caiaphus, priest of Maaziah from Beth Imri.”

Ossuary forgeries are common place in Israel and, especially with the recent high profile case of the “Ossuary of James,” professional antiquities dealers, collectors, and scholars are often hesitant to identify historically relevant boxes. Still, Profesor Goren of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Archaeology feels confident of its identity.

To learn more about this finding, read the full article at Science Daily.

Virtually Tour the Holy Sepulchre

The Holy Sepulchre is one of the most revered location in all of early Christian History. It is recognized by many Christians as the site of the resurrection of Christ. A virtual 3D tour has been produced by 360tr (an organization in Turkey). It’s an excellent piece. You can view different areas of the church and surrounding area, pan, zoom, and examine from different angles. Check it out here.

If you are interested in other interactive exhibits at museums, check out my earlier article: “The Best Online & Interactive Museum Exhibits

Panoramic, 3D Interactive Tour of the Hagia Sophia

The Hagia Sophia (in Greek Ἁγία Σοφία) is one of the most famous churches in all of Christendom. Prior to the building of Saint Peters in Rome, it was the Christian church. The current iteration built by the Emperor Justinian in the 7th century served as the center for Christendom until its fall to the Muslim Turks in the 15th century. For 500 years, it served as a mosque until Atatürk turned it into a state museum.

The Hagia Sophia  is one of the greatest landmarks in history and merits an extensive visit. In fact, I spent 24 hours on a train from Romania to Istanbul just for the opportunity to walk through its halls and visit its famed dome. However, travel is a bit extensive. Here is an exceptional 3D, interactive tour of the Hagia Sophia. Don’t worry about the Greek on the website (unless you happen to know modern Greek). The information in the tour itself is actually english. You can pan, zoom, turn, examine close-ups, etc. It takes a minute to load, so be patient! If you really enjoy Byzantine history, I highly recommend that you follow @Byzantinephil on Twitter

If you’re interested in other interactive museum exhibits, check out my earlier post: “The Best Online & Interactive Museum Exhibits

Who ‘Owns’ the Past? Israel & Palestine Battle Over Antiquities.

A few weeks ago, I highlighted an article in Biblical Archaeology Review in my article “Archaeology & the Holy Lands.” In the modern world, nothing embodies the battle of the ownership of the past than the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

As new peace talks are underway, including possible significant negotiations over territory and state lines, the issue of ‘ownership’ and material culture are yet again at the forefront.

Framing such ongoing and explosive disputes are long unresolved questions of borders and who owns cultural heritage. In principle, archaeology and cultural heritage, like other issues, were to be worked out in Israeli-Palestinian final status negotiations. Every round of peace talks failed though, before archaeology was ever seriously discussed. The heritage committee mandated by the Oslo Accords is non-existent; the void has helped maintain intractable Israeli and Palestinian positions and discouraged co-operation.

Antiquities in this region of the world do not only tie in with national and cultural pride, but for many people have a significant religious implications. Archaeologists, primarily in non-governmental institutions, are working behind the scenes to try to find compromises that protect and recognize the importance of the antiquities themselves – albeit unsuccessfully.

The Art Newspaper highlights this conflict in a well written article.