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.
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.
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.
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
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.